In Defense of 'Flat-Earthers' (A New Meaning of Government)
7/5/17, 2:15 pm EDT
By John Corry, photo from Wikipedia
I saw a video today from Vice of an interview with a flat-earther. It was mind-blowing #TheMostMindBlowing . For those who don't know, a flat-earther, is someone who believes that the Earth is flat. I'm not going to into why this theory is bogus, the science to me seems fairly obvious. Then again, however, this pretentious 'obvious' thinking on my part displayed just there is exactly why the flat-earthers have some actual ground to stand on, at least on political-epistomelogical terms: the 'norm' has now become so 'normal' and unquestioned that we now, as the 'proletariats', one might say (;D), have to take back our ability to find information ourselves, and question every aspect of the status quo. This pretty much sums up my understanding of the psychology behind refuting several hundred years of evidence-proving scientific observation.
There is indeed lots of evidence to support the fact that the Earth is round, just type 'earth' into Google and it becomes pretty easily apparent (idiots!). Rhetorically speaking, however, in addition, and for the record #ForTheRecord , not one flat-earther I've met or seen online has actually been to space, and all those who have (been to space) seem pretty convinced that the thing they saw with their own eyes (a sphere, which they orbited around), is indeed what the Earth is (as far as its shape is concerned).
However, this is still ignoring the primary fact that flat-earthers simply don't believe that humans have ever been to space at all. That is their main argument, and this revelation brings up the question that the existence of 'flat-earthers' (or all 'crazy' conspiracy theorists, for that matter) asks in the first place, and my primary concern here, one that is inherent in the basic fundamentals embedded in the complex relationship between the government and its citizens (its 'bosses', technically), what a 'democracy' is, and, then, the nature of 'Power' and how humans relate to it: what is government, really, if its citizens cannot know what it does?
Let's break this down #LessonsAreForSmartPeople :
Lesson 1: You cannot have a peaceful world, either domestically or internationally, if there are any secrets allowed to be kept by the government from its own people.
This is because 'the people' are essentially the 'bosses' of the government. This is one the most basic principles of government, and especially of 'Democracy', and it goes all the way back to before Plato, causing him and many other thinkers to believe that democracy was only yet another, albeit perhaps better done, masked path to tyranny (because, given the division of the people in the world, governments will always have to keep secrets from its people (always)). As a simple salesmen, you wouldn't keep from the owner of the shop how much money you made from a sale, that's pretty obvious grounds for firing ('it's my sale, boss, why do you need to know how much I sold it for?!' ('Because I'm (the boss) the one who bought the product to be sold in the first place. I employ you, this is a mutual agreement here, dude, I thought we understood this)').
As mentioned, this concept can be difficult to see in practicality, if anything because, as of right now (on July 5th, 2017), the government must keep secrets from its potential enemies for security reasons, and 'potential enemies' of course may very well mean those amongst its own citizenry, as is fairly obvious at this point in time (and as it always has throughout all of human history #IfYouWantABetterWorldStopBeingADick ), but this does not take away from its legitimacy as a basic fact of the theory of 'free' government.
There will never be peace in the world if governments keep secrets from its citizens. Citizens are the bosses of their government; government answers to citizens, not the other way round, and this is an absolute. Elected officials are citizens before they are elected officials. The government is made up of citizens. This problem is one of the fundamental paradoxes of our time, and is one with which the most difficulty must be had to accept, without forgetting about, given how shitty people can sometimes be. People must remember this fundamental fact, because it is the fundamental fact of the concept of government that as much as people can't now be trusted, people will never prosper without trust.
Lesson 2: Because of this fundamental flaw, government will never see itself as a functional form of civilized/organized socialization until mankind is no longer in constant fear of itself.
And I know how much of a bitch this is. We are a long way from being able to trust a stranger. However, this fact may also be inherent in the idea of 'government' as a whole (insofar as government must retain some type of inherent relationship with 'Power', but that's a topic for another time), but a kind of quasi-republic-democracy mash-up of sorts is the best we've currently got, and it very much so has no chance of being realized without the trust of the populace in its arbiters. This is because the entire idea of 'government' is synonymous with one of man's greatest fears: the fear inevitably begot from willingly giving up personal power (in this case to the government for the sake of security and prosperity) (power which is any survival instinct's ability to preemptively fend for itself).
It is something that no political ideology has yet fully addressed, Republican, Democrat, libertarian or otherwise (because, as far as I can currently tell, political parties are still entrenched with the idea that government and populace are two fundamentally different things, government needing auspice from its own party (that being the party of 'government') rather than from any other source (like, again, it's 'bosses', those who pay its salary and literally, willingly, give it the potential for absolute power and the trust that comes with doing that), and which, by the way, is a main reason why populism is such a powerful political tool), and it is a philosophical question only very recently (relatively speaking) discovered by Nietzsche with his 'WIll to Power' (or as I put it: 'Will-to-Power). The trust which comes with willingly giving up power should not be underestimated, especially given the power of those groups who give it, as history has shown time and again, for good or for ill, once their patience has been exceeded.
Lesson 3: Without the government, people's lives indeed become much more dangerous, anxious, and more filled with fear.
And there's another paradox (we give the government power for an alleviation of a more 'primal' kind of fear, yet, as of now, are given a replacment of a more 'intellectual' kind of fear given current, seemingly unavoidable (and, again, I realize how difficult of a question that implies), mistrust and/or misappropriation of/involving given or attained power in a world seemingly more willing than thoughtful.
I know this may seem arbitrary, but it's in here for my anarchist friends out there; this is part of why government became a thing in the first place: as a kind of social denomination of Adam Smith's much later discovered Division of Labor. The government's job is to protect its citizens, as said citizens see fit. But so long as the government keeps secrets, this mutual understanding of equal work and benefits, or willful grant of power, becomes not so 'willful', as the people giving up the power don't actually know what 'the power' even is that they're giving up anymore, or at the very least they don't know what it will be used for #PotentialForTyranny (Plato) (and sorry to vaguely reiterate here, but I want this thought to be as clear as possible). Back in the day, the government's power was used simply to protect the land and the people's assets, but as time has gone on, the concepts of 'protection' and 'assets' (private property) have become more complicated, as, as such, so should the understanding of, and the mutual relationship between, the government and its citizens (citizens: the government(president)'s fucking bosses).
As the centuries have gone by, however, this has not happened. What has happened is that a body of people, in this case: the people who make up the government, have formed a mutual coalition to retain their power, producing the same situation which caused Plato and Aristotle to question the nature of government in the first place almost 2,500 years ago. This may the be the simple result of time, or of natural human evolution, but, either way, it's not going solve itself without a general re-examination of those in charge: the populace through which ideas can be maneuvered without the brainwashing, overwhelming prospect for absolute power.
For all their faults, the flat-earthers and the conspiracy theorists do get one thing right, and they raise several important questions that every free-thinking individual should attend to: what is the government doing that we don't' know about and is it in the best interest of humanity, or myself personally?, what is the true nature of intellectualized power?, and what is the relationship of the will-to-power when it comes to willingly giving up some of it for the sake of individual prosperity. "Power begets only the need for more power," said I-Don't-Know-Who (but please let me know if you do =D), but only when that power is left unchecked. The occasional 'extreme nature' and the passionate discourse of guys like Alex Jones is the by-product of this lack of metaphysical checks and balances in the realm of philosophical politics (or: political metaphysics? political theory? whatever), an inevitable side effect, the result of Life actively trying to force itself into the submission of those given power, who then, naturally or otherwise, want to retain it, and expand it, albeit for simple 'security' and/or 'prosperity' purposes.
The flat-earthers are ridiculous in their conscious idea: Earth was proved a sphere several centuries ago (also see: what are the clouds doing? what about those satellites that stream across the sky? what about that curve in the earth you see on a plane if you're up high enough? 'Ugh, government conspiracies' 'Didn't happen' 'Big Brother, man'...), but just because they're potentially insane in several, what may seem to us 'smart' people, obvious aspects, doesn't mean they're not human, or not worth the time of day when it comes to thinking-about/figuring-out The Way People Work.
The same goes for everyone.