government sadism

The Sadism Factor


I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has wondered why the US Deep State could not come up with a more convincing puppet than Joe Biden.

As one friend asked, “You mean with all the well-credentialed amoral people available in the Democratic Party, this is the best they could do? And to top it off they put the babbling idiot named Kamala Harris in office to serve as his backup?”

It is indeed a rather remarkable thing to behold.

But the more I think about it, I suspect we might be asking the wrong questions.

The queries above assume that the Deep State respects us enough to want to make a credible show of the candidate selection process.

But what if that is not the case?

What if the goal is not to entreat us with some semblance of excellence, but rather to humiliate us, and in this way, makes us internalize the idea that all attempts to resist are futile?

I mean if you have the ability, through your complete control of the government and media matrix to get an obviously mentally incompetent man into the highest office in the most powerful country in the world (while placing another—Fetterman—with similarly limited cognitive capabilities in that same country’s Senate in order to stave off possibly devastating Republican investigations) what can’t you do?

Most importantly, from their point of view, it seems that those of us here and abroad who still have the temerity to admit the grotesqueness of what is going on, begin to sink into despair regarding the possibility of wanting or engendering meaningful change under such circumstances.

It’s not like any of this is new. Sadistic humiliations rendered from above have a very long and illustrious historical genealogy.

There are many, many stories of potentates and mafia dons forcing the “lesser” members of the groups they control or seek to control to salute their favorite animals in public or, as we used to say on the playground, to “Eat Sh-t” in both its real and metaphorical forms.

Closer to us in time and space are, of course,  the systematized humiliations and tortures at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and a whole host of Black Sites around the world imposed on prisoners either captured or kidnapped by the US in its so-called War on Terror.

There were, of course, many ways our government could have dealt with such people. We could have treated them the way we treated German Nazis and Italian Fascists, who were held at Ft. Devens not far from my hometown in the last years of WWII, where they were fed, housed and used as farm labor in the fields beside Americans of both genders, and received—as a member of my family who helped provide it told me—regular medical and dental care.

But no, the Neo-Con architects of that conflict had no time, in an objectively much less dangerous era dealing with an objectively much less dangerous and much less destructive enemy, for separating the core humanity of their opponents for what were, from the US point of view, their mistaken beliefs and actions. 

They wanted to completely humiliate and destroy them, and set up intricate systems in Cuba and other places for doing so. 

And it didn’t stop there. 

While rounding up human beings to be tortured abroad, the same government-entrenched sadists began subjecting those of us at home to rituals like shoe removal at airports, or the bizarre, march-in-track-lanes-while-sniffed-by-dogs thing they do at RDU in North Carolina, measures that, as anyone who travels to other countries knows, are not done anywhere else because they contribute nothing substantial to insuring safe flights.

But, of course, they are very good at making many the citizen feel small and powerless before the state. 

If you pay close attention, you’ll see that the present oligarch class’s desire to rub our noses in it is proliferating like mushrooms in a damp forest. 

Here are just a few of the completely shameless F-Yous that come quickly to mind. 

—The entire Deep State and its media acolytes concertedly lying about the reality of the Hunter Biden Laptop

—Pretending with a straight face that Putin blew up his own pipelines and now the dam whose disappearance threatens lands and cities he currently controls. 

—That January 6th was violent but the summer of BLM riots was not.

—Basically admitting in the February 4th, 2021 Time magazine article how a coalition of powerful non-elected forces (they of course elide the Deep State’s coordinating role in all of it) came together to insure Biden’s presidential victory, while criminalizing anyone else not from their camp who even brings up such manipulations as a concrete possibility.

—Using the combined might of Big Pharma, Big Tech and the Deep State to demand, in violation of all existing moral and medical norms, that hundreds of millions of people be forced to take an untested genetic therapy that, even if its claim to efficacy were true, which they were not, was clearly not needed by 98%+ of the population, an operation topped off by having our 21st century version of Caligula’s horse say he was ”losing
patience” with the morally grounded people among his electorate who refused to go along with the madness.

The list is infinite. 

And it doesn’t end with what we generally think of as the world of politics.

Have you tried getting a problem resolved by telephone or online customer service in the last few years, years marked, of course, by an obscene rise in both corporate consolidation and overall corporate profits?

Good luck! 

“Oh, so you’ve got a problem with some thing or service we sold you? Great, we’ve got a person who we pay cents per hour to in another country who barely speaks English and who reads off a script and has no actual power to resolve anything who will deal with you. Ok? And you’ll have the privilege of speaking to him after waiting for hours during which time you could have done many other enjoyable or productive things with your own life. Ok? What’s that? After waiting all that time and talking to the poor underpaid script reader your problem wasn’t resolved? Oh well, We’ve got the power and we’ve got your money and you’ve got no recourse. F-You! Peasant!” 

I know a 4th-generation Chinese acupuncturist who lived through the Cultural Revolution. He tells me with bitter laughter of what it was like at the hospital where his father was a senior doctor during those times. There is one story he references again and again to underscore the idiocy of those times: how the government appointed the coal shoveler from the boiler room to be president of the hospital complex for several years. 

The government obviously knew he was incapable of doing anything but destroying the important institution. 

So why did they do it? 

They did for the same reason that the Deep State placed the self-evidently incompetent Biden in the chair. 

To show us that they can do it, and in this way, to have us internalize the idea that we are effectively powerless to oppose anything else they choose to medically, culturally, and economically shove down our throats in the coming months and years. 

The next move is ours. 

Will we live down to the image they have of us as scared and stupid beings? 

Or will we decide to recover some of our lost dignity and struggle to bring rationality and democracy back to our lives? 

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Thomas Harrington

    Thomas Harrington, Senior Brownstone Scholar and Brownstone Fellow, is Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where he taught for 24 years. His research is on Iberian movements of national identity and contemporary Catalan culture. His essays are published at Words in The Pursuit of Light.

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