22 September 2016

The Domestic Consequences of German Militarism

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160823/05582635308/germany-interior-minister-pushing-deployment-facial-recognition-software-public-areas.shtml

Militarism and democracy are incompatible. Militarism requires massive funds and it is inevitable that social inequities will arise. This will lead to social and political dissent.

Militarism also requires a great deal of secrecy and with it comes suspicion and fear. There's the fear of the enemy, of counter-intelligence strategies, sabotage, internal subversion and exposure.

Social dissent weakens the state and destroys the necessary cohesion that is required to support the militarist state and its goals. Militarism amplifies the danger, makes the state's enemies (real or perceived) into existential threats.

Social dissent and protest become treason. Surveillance and police empowerment is necessary for security and to quell dissent.

Militarism is dependent on fear and the generation of anger. It seeks to exploit angst through apprehension of enemies seen and unseen.

Is this social climate deliberate? Is it engineered?

There's little doubt that it is, at least in part. All too often society's institutions are eager to collaborate. In fact the various components of the bureaucracy stumble over each other in displays of zeal in order to receive greater budgets and thus more power within the system. Security and secrecy lead to bureaucratic compartmentalisation. This actually tends to create more bureaucracy and fosters bureaucratic obedience.

The state doesn't always have to openly suppress speech. Society and the public begin to do it on their own accord. Self-censorship often goes beyond what is actually required. Even the slightest dissent is thus amplified.

These are all necessary consequences that result from a turn to militarism. It generates a different frame of mind and creates a very raw and suspicious intuition. Even those who are something less than True Believers and Ideologues get pulled into this path and at the very least will acquiesce in order to retain positions and status.

Dissenters put their heads down, close their curtains and speak in whispers.

Militarism's destruction of democracy and civility isn't necessarily deliberate or wholly engineered. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It comes about as something of a necessary consequence.

During the early stages it will generate distrust and dissent and in order to counter these 'threats' the state cracks down. This leads to more unrest and resistance and so it furthers the suppression of journalism, whistleblowers and ultimately free speech. It ends up becoming authoritarian but not to counter enemies real or imagined. It's a course that it falls into, akin to a trap from which it cannot escape.

The German shift to the Right combined with a reborn militarism is a disturbing trend. If removed from the context of the EU and NATO, the implications may prove catastrophic.

2 comments:

  1. While the quote referencing Thomas de Maiziere's desire to implement widespread facial recognition software is perhaps unsettling, the article's overall sensationalism undermines its veracity. Token references to the Stasi do not a sound argument make.

    What I glean from both the author and the commenters is that this is a website geared to right-wing civil libertarians. I've always been put off by the blatant double standard these people apply to governments and businesses. According to them, the state should never have more power than a spastic invalid but businesses can do whatever they want because they're "innovators" and the forces of competition somehow magically prevent them from accumulating too much power.

    History has demonstrated the exact opposite.

    The guy who wrote this should be far more concerned about transnational corporate entities like Goldman Sachs, which have no scruples whatsoever about using their financial resources to effectively bribe governments.

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  2. When it comes to critiquing the police state, militarism and empire I often resonate with Libertarians.

    Only I would argue their doctrines lead to the nation state, corporatism, oligarchy, militarism, empire and thus result in the police state and the destruction of liberties and freedoms.

    You're right they would grant business the functions of government. While democratic government is often unaccountable and wasteful there are still some checks on its power and wanton exercise. Corporations can also function with a great deal of secrecy, unaccountability and even worse... the bottom line is the main motivation. Wasteful use of tax monies is bad enough, but the corporate model can never be content. It must expand and increase profits or die.

    I'm with you. I'm very concerned about Goldman-Sachs, Walmart, Google and a lot of other companies. Increasingly some of these entities are becoming inseparable from government. We're getting the worst of all worlds so to speak.

    The article wasn't above critique, I found the subject matter interesting especially in light of Germany's political shift. That shift cannot be divorced from the German techno-industrial complex and finance sectors.

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