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September 28, 2007

The Mother Of All Shocks Black Ops  Corporations, Globalization  War and Peace

I'm reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, and I think it's an enormously important book. One of those books that can fundamentally restructure your mental model of how the world works. A real paradigm shift. I'll have more to say about it later. Still reading.

In the meantime, John Cusack does a good video interview with Klein, here. Go watch it.

The thesis, in a nutshell, is that recent history has seen a series of conscious, highly-organized efforts to exploit shocks — economic catastrophes, natural disasters, wars, 9/11, Katrina — to jam through "reforms" that people would never tolerate otherwise. Economic shock therapy, suspension of civil liberties, the Patriot Act and Gitmo, etc., etc. But above all, disaster capitalism — privatization of all kinds of formerly public functions, extending now even to privatized war-fighting. Enormous fortunes are being made by companies that now have a vested interested in more and bigger catastrophes. And it's not only about dollars. Each shock drives us further to the right politically. In the event of another shock of national scope — another 9/11, or worse — the groundwork has been laid to fundamentally alter just about everything about how the US government functions and the rights of US citizens.

Which brings us to Iran. I've been generally skeptical that Bush/Cheney will, when all is said and done, attack Iran. I've reported the warning signs, because I think that's the responsible thing to do, but I've been skeptical. Because the results of such an attack would be cataclysmic. Surely, they're not that reckless, that self-destructive, that crazy.

One of Past Peak's readers, however, raises a terrifying question: what if that very cataclysm is the desired result. The mother of all shocks, the one that will let our world be remade in undreamed of ways, practically overnight. The mother of all shocks — but in the eyes of some, the mother of all opportunities. I'm not saying it will happen, but here's the point. Should it happen, don't let yourself be swept away in the tide of shock and horror. Don't let yourself be paralyzed by fear. Realize what you are witnessing: the deliberate instigation of a catastrophe for the purpose of creating a window where anything goes. Keep your wits about you. Recognize the shock doctrine and disaster capitalism when you see them.

That's the ultimate importance of Naomi Klein's work: a psychological innoculation before-the-fact, so that next time we won't sit by dumb-founded as the jackals move in to pick our bones clean.

Even better, let's not sit by passively beforehand and just let the shock come. War with Iran is madness. We must prevent it.

[Thanks, Miles]

Posted by Jonathan at September 28, 2007 05:52 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb