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Butler Shaffer

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For What Do We Stand?


The humanoid collective is in an unforgiving snit over the refusal of NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, to stand for the playing of the national anthem. For a society that was once grounded in a greater tolerance for individual values and preferences, this reaction is another symptom of a system that no longer serves – much less tolerates – the diverse nature of human life.

Why would an intelligent person in any country want to stand for and sing a “national anthem?” How would such an act contribute to the well-being of someone who engaged in it? Let me state, at the outset, that in all matters relating to my conduct, I am a firm agnostic when it comes to evaluating the conduct others expect me to follow. Consensus-based definitions of reality or propriety do not impress me.

My mind will always insist upon asking my favorite word in the English language – the word that children ask of the adults in their lives until they are forced to abandon its use – “why?” If you would like me to follow a prescribed course of behavior, please inform me how my doing so would benefit me.
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Do Flags Kill People?


No sooner had a sociopath carried out the murder of nine black people at a South Carolina church, than the voice of Boobus Americanus rose up, as one, to get to the cause of the slayings: the Confederate battle flag! The South Carolina legislature hurriedly passed a bill to remove this flag from the capitol grounds. Not content with so limited a measure, it was decided to also cut down the flagpole that had flown it, the pole having been tainted by the flag’s presence thereon. 

Proponents of the anti-flag proposals dismissed concerns for “Southern heritage,” ignoring the fact that the real issue was one of causation. If otherwise intelligent minds want to focus on the interconnection between “flags” and “racism,” they would be better advised to go after the federal flag, a symbol behind which the Ku Klux Klan carried out its parades, as well as the federal “Fugitive Slave Act” which forced the return of runaway slaves from Northern states to their slave-masters!

Not wanting to be left out of the frenzied madness that was giving the South Carolina legislature so much media attention, Congress’ House of Representatives has been considering a bill to make it unlawful for people to display the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries. If your great-great-grandfather had fought for the South in the Civil War, and was now buried in a federal cemetery, you might become a politically-incorrect criminal by placing a small Confederate flag beside his gravestone.
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On Being Thankful...For State Violence?

When people ask me which of the books I have written was my favorite, I respond with my first one: Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. In it, I analyze how institutions – i.e., organizations that have become ends in themselves – have a need to structure our thinking and our behavior in order that we may dedicate our lives to their purposes. Political systems are the most pervasive and vicious expressions of this syndrome, but other institutions have learned to play this same game. The modern corporate-state is the most apparent example, wherein business corporations have managed to convince most Americans that their interests are synonymous with those of the nation-state. The song from the musical Li’l Abner reminds us that “What’s good for General Bullmoose is Good for the U.S.A.”

The entertainment industry, the mainstream media, schools, churches, foundations, and other permanent organizations have, with but few exceptions, climbed aboard the bandwagon of corporate-state-collectivism to extoll the virtues of a society structured around the principle of state-directed violence. So widespread is the practice that most people hardly recognize it.
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