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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Revolting I within the wolf's lair


Set in an alternate-era Fascist Japan, the animated film “Jin-Roh: the wolf’s brigade” successfully portrays the danger of a government that does not answer to the people. The classic symbol of a dictatorship is set in place, namely the non-public paramilitary force named “ (Cerberus)”. Controlled by the central government, this heavily armed militia is independent of local police authority and is immune to the regulations that apply to them. Although it’s official purpose is to combat Communist elements in society, their activities include the killings of unruly protesters.

The story of Constable Fuse (and the mentality of the Kerberos) is a metaphor for the mentality of life under a dictatorship. Their main creed is that they are part of the “team”, and they are subordinate to it. Very much like the wolf pack, the doctrine of the Kerberos emphasizes conformity and discourages individual initiative. This manifests itself when Fuse fails to shoot down a protester before she blew herself up. This failure results in Fuse being sent back to retraining because he “endangered his squad mates”. A further example is during the re-training phase, when Fuse and his training mates are scolded for not acting as one. Although this may be normal for military units such as Kerberos, such mentality is harmful, if not downright dangerous for civil society as a whole.

What dictatorships cherish most is Collectivism. Throughout history, tyrannies like the Soviet Union, the Fascist states and North Korea have ingrained into their people the idea that the welfare of the group is more important than their individual rights. Now let me state that this creates a precedent for whatever outrage the tyrants want to impose. This gives the tyrants power to own their people like subjects. For example, if a dictatorship decides that it is to the national interest that certain programs should be undertaken such as forced sterilizations, seizures of land/property and conscription, they trample the individual’s NEGATIVE LIBERTY and impose their will upon him. Furthermore, the people, under the poison of the idea that they are merely servants of the group (the state) would conform to the atrocities of the tyrants. All it takes is a little appeal to patriotism to do the job. At the same time, Collectivism discourages individuality. Displays of individuality, such as political dissent, free expression and works of art are usually (violently) suppressed in dictatorships, although the last two are approved only under the supervision of (or compliance with) the people in power. With this, dictatorships violate the individual’s POSITIVE LIBERTY while using flimsy reasons like national security, public morals or public safety to justify their methods. How many times have we heard heads of states give themselves unusually great leeway over the people from these reasons? How many times have we seen the figurative Reichstag fire to justify acts to scrap civil liberties, Is the fire a model for Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and in our own case, the “Destabilizers”, "Coup plotters" or the "Terrorists" for such atrocities like the American PATRIOT act and our own “Calibrated Pre-emptive Response” to be ordered? I hope that we are not mindless sheep to believe in the tyrant's foolishness. We, as citizens of a democratic nation have the right to question our public servants.

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