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Grupo de Cooperativas de las Indias

Ethics and the State is like freedom and Tony Soprano

Can you think of suicides or any other thing in terms of “public policies?” Of course, but it’s unethical position… which I roundly reject.

SopranoYou have to be pretty shameless, in the middle of decomposition, to say that, literally, we owe our lives to the State… but that’s the inevitable result of the biopolitical thinking that characterizes nationalism-statism. It starts with the idea of the worker as an inferior being, needing protection and care… and after convincing half the population of their inability to survive without it, when it reduces its level of protection and some people collapse, the moral is… you see how much you needed us? Not even Tony Soprano would be so tan crudely cynical.

Personally, I think the only decent ethic is one that refuses to think in terms of “public policies,” and as such, refuses to accept that real people are mere constructs, lab mice in a social machine controlled by a caste. A caste that famous authors, like so many others, look to in the illusory happiness of “feeling safe,” of placing themselves above the mice, at the “control panel” of a divine rationality, but which, in the end, was only made by tax collectors and civil authorities in many different uniforms.

But, in any case, shouldn’t we “assume” the state, and therefore, think like it for a while, even just to avoid its abuses? My ethical position is very clear: no. We can see the State as a data point, or as a player in the game, we can predict its moves like predicting the weather or the attack of a wild animal, trying to be as dispassionate as we can. We can even pass it the ball in the game, but without forgetting that we don’t play on the same team, much less singing songs to it, or telling it our strategy.

Hasn’t the State sometimes played a positive role in people’s freedoms and even survival? Yes, but that doesn’t require us to identify with it. And what happens if we don’t have an alternative to every “solution,” at every moment? Nothing. It’s like free software, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, we’ll improve it; it doesn’t matter if there’s support or not, we’ll organize it. Freedom is fundamental to what is truly alive and human. It’s the starting point for all ethical thinking, not a distant objective. It’s not with Toni Soprano — or what’s worse, with his bards, or, worse still, as the case may be, with the initiation chants of the children of his theoreticians and rentiers — that the starting point lies for thinking in communal and social terms.

What we can’t do, under any circumstance, is take its point of view in responding to questions, concerns, or reservations, from real people and communities, because as soon as we do, we accept a reasoning, a logic which is, in itself, destructive and corrosive, even if it offers “protection”… like any mafioso, even one as nice as Tony Soprano.

Translated by Steve Herrick  from the original

«Ethics and the State is like freedom and Tony Soprano» recibió 1 desde que se publicó el lunes 4 de marzo de 2013 . Si te ha gustado este post quizá te gusten otros posts escritos por David de Ugarte.

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