CONSCIONABLE SOCIAL ANARCHY FOR POLITICALLY CORRECT LUDDITES
Today’s Wall Street Journal is simply chock-a-block full of delicious little bits of intelligence about the continuing disintegration of the American model of capitalist materialism, which is one reason why reading this politically conservative paper is tolerable within a certain narrow margin of tolerance. They (the WSJ) call it ‘news’; I call it ‘more evidence of social and cultural decline (instigated by rapacious capitalism)’.
As slime-ball super-capitalist Rupert Murdoch takes his long overdue knocks over the recent ‘World News’ scandals, I can’t help but sit here and gloat over the fact that not only has this corporate mega-exploiter been caught by his (graying) short and curlies, an insult to his carefully cultivated image of being the respectable businessman that he can shrug off easily enough, the hits are also causing him some very genuine and substantial pain in the form of financial losses (partly consequent to his bid to take over the British Sky Broadcasting satellite group being knocked out by the continuing contentions centering on the World News hacking). The consequent costs of the damage control campaign his organisation is now being forced to mount are also having a potentially huge impact on Mr. Murdoch (more satisfaction). There is, it would seem, some justice left in this pre-frontally lobotomised world we live in after all, but the reactive wave of barely constrained vituperousness that lies behind some of the responses to the ‘World News’ scandals is almost embarrassing. As Murdoch’s insular world comes into increasingly acute public question, one might almost feel sorry for him. If he weren’t so obscenely wealthy and economically cavalier, I might entertain a few empathetic thoughts towards his predicament myself, as well, but with all his endless acquisitions, a drop-dead beautiful trophy wife whose economic ambitions almost match his, and the fact that he has profited obscenely (and unquestioned) from human stupidity for so long, the quality of mercy, from my viewpoint, is indeed strained. His reputation as a mercilessly ruthless 'take-no-prisoners' corporate mogul certainly doesn't argue for much sympathy, at any rate. In fact, he's one of the very few native-born Australians I've ever intensely disliked (and I've known quite a few).
Among the articles in Friday’s WSJ issue that caught my eye in particular, one of them dealt with the continuing expansion of the wireless culture that has swept up most Americans in the form of personal communications media devices and the other concerned itself with the absolute frenzy that has accompanied the supposedly ‘last’ J.K.Rowling ‘Harry Potter’ movie (The Deathly Hallows, Pt. II), due for release within days. In the latter association, the piece concerns itself with how Warner Brothers (the Time-Warner Company that owns the movie and spin-off merchandising rights) is in a dither over how to keep the 22 billion dollar cash-cow that is all things Potterish alive, despite the movie series coming to (thank the gods!) an end. The thought of their philistine predicament almost brings a (glycerine) tear to my eye!
Regarding the profundity of personal communications devices that the American people are being inundated with, but more specifically with regard to their effects as instruments of social control that permit the success of highly focused commercial marketing efforts, I am seemingly unable to shake off the impression that these devices are rather rapaciously seizing control of our lives, to our increased collective detriment. The stereotypical image of the average American, standing, walking or driving with his/her right hand clapping one of these devices to the ear is so ubiquitous that it’s difficult to even imagine a person who is not engaged in constant communication with someone (or thing) in this manner, from first awakening to finally going to sleep at night. Of course, the quality of that communication is highly contentious for the most part, in terms of both its value and worth to users, since the preponderant bulk of cellular devices (whether they are simple phones or the newer internet linked omni-access devices) are used for serenely trivial personal socializing and not for absolutely essential communication. That is at least the case for most users under the age of about 25, at any rate, and possibly also the case for most users with an IQ of below 100 (the 50th percentile on the Gaussian Distribution Curve).
Doctor Charles Murray, W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., published in 2008 a fascinating 219 page book titled Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. In that book, Mr. Murray, also co-author of an equally important book titled The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, examines the politically correct, fuzzy-headed fallacy underlying the ‘No Child Left Behind’ wisdom that all American Children need a college education. In his book he explores the nature of intelligence as it relates to the ability of children to learn and makes a compelling argument (albeit a very erudite one) against the notion that all children, regardless of their circumstances, social class, family background, environmental influences and native (genetically inherited) intelligence, may cope successfully with a college-level course of study, given the right wherewithal (typically, Federal and State subsidies, specially funded learning programs, and such) and ‘appropriate’ support.
Going over his material, it is difficult enough to disagree with his premise on the basis of his cogent analysis alone, although his findings do seamlessly parallel one of my own strongest convictions: that college is not (and should not be) for everyone. Lest there be any strident disagreement raised (without checking the evidence he presents), I highly recommend this book to anyone who has the remotest concern about how the United States continues to slump into a quagmire of smug and wildly unfounded dogma (like the NCLB sentiment and other bodies of like thought). Among Murray’s findings is the fact that, much to the contrary of popular feeling that it is the inferior quality of America’s public schools (and by extension, its teachers) that contribute disproportionately to extant high levels of adolescent cultural illiteracy, these effects may be traced back and attributed to only about 10 percent of all American public schools. Additionally, his findings suggest that the single most important factor impacting scholastic achievement (aside from basic intelligence) is the family, a determination affirmatively underscored by a number of other studies following parallel lines of inquiry.
Drawing upon his prior work (The Bell Curve), in which he exhaustively analysed what constitutes intelligence in human beings, Murray makes the point that despite the most heroic efforts by modern PC romantics to turn pigs’ ears into silk purses, without possession of a certain basic level of intelligence uniformly consistent and intrinsic higher academic achievement (read: true college level scholasticism) is virtually impossible for the preponderant number of adolescents to attain. Naturally, when one takes a look at the Gaussian Distribution Curve of human intelligence, it is difficult to be unmindful of the fact that half of any population group measured is below average. This is true, of course, whether one is measuring a wide range of ’ordinary people’ or a room full of Rhodes Scholars, but 'below average' has far more profound implications when a range of 'average' individuals is assessed (naturally enough). It is further estimated that the percentage of the entire US population with an IQ of 115 or higher composes only 16% of the total, and those with an IQ of 120 about 9%. Back in the 1950s, the standard assumption among academic psychologists was that the minimum IQ required to handle a college-level program of education was 115. Today that standard is generally regarded as having risen to about 120.
Among the interesting findings Murray offers up for reflection is that in 1905 less than half of the American adolescent school population finished the 8th grade, a fact that has particular relevance to me, since my own father (a successful parochial school educator and professional career Army officer), never completed his own 8th grade studies. In those days there were many reasons why students didn’t remain in school, not least of them being that education was costly, those costs born entirely by the individual or his family, and subsidised post grammar level public education was not yet a legal mandate or norm anywhere across the nation. Individuals that came from relatively modestly endowed or overtly disenfranchised (read: ‘poor’) families simply dropped out of school after completing a few years of elementary school and subsequently took up a trade or industrial job, hoping for the best personal advancement attainable through hard work, perseverance and sheer determination.
Of course this was long, long before the civil rights movement helped reverse (somewhat) the many decades of racial prejudice that prompted the higher classes to virtually disregard entirely the notion that people of color weren’t worthy of receiving just and equal rights (in education as much as in society at large). For a whole spectrum of reasons in today’s uncomfortably ‘diverse’ society things have progressed to a polar status quo, one that is almost equally absurd and untenable. After the publication of ‘self-esteem’ studies (first popularised in the 1950s) advancing the notion that poor self-esteem was the primary cause of academic failure, the sociopolitical course was set for a new era of political correctness that in attempting to right social wrongs, actually reversed the trend to a ludicrous 180 degree extreme. Instead of challenging the poor students to a certain limit and then directing those who clearly could not achieve in the demanding surroundings of a higher academic environment towards a vocational (skilled labor) career, the highly ‘romantic’ (euphemistic) concept gained powerful proponents who truly believed that every student could achieve academic success if only pushed hard enough (and provided with sufficient motivation and support).
Viewed against a backdrop of numerous balanced and reasoned researches, this sentiment has been sufficiently shown (in my opinion) to be just a muddle-headed, fuzzy thought, with poor or unacceptable students being increasingly coddled within protective paeans of ‘self-esteem’ in an effort to enable educators to avoid having to bluntly speak the politically incorrect and unpopular truth: that some students simply cannot achieve sufficiently well enough to handle a suitably challenging college-level course of studies. Naturally, no parent of a minority (or majority, but most particularly socially ‘disadvantaged’) child wants to accept the bitter fact that their offspring are not academically on the same par with truly bright or ‘gifted’ children, since the symbolism therein contravenes virtually all the self-serving rhetoric that leftist-liberal educators have been promulgating since the 1950s, nearly peeing themselves in their frantic haste to be ever politically correct. Even to those parents who are less astute, the overt ‘class distinctions’ lurking just behind such pronouncements appear immediately oppressive and onerous, whether apt or not.
My point in stating all of these considerations here is that once one realises how intellectually deficit so vastly many individuals in our society are, it becomes fairly easy to understand why fully half or more of today’s corporate advertising and marketing efforts are directed specifically (often mercilessly) towards exploiting this wide-spread socio-demographic deficit in critical (reflective) thought processing (that rightly stigmatizes at least half of our nation’s entire population, conservatively estimated).
In any society emulating the American socioeconomic model of corporate capitalist materialism, a national philosophy that ostensibly prioritises elevating the welfare of the individual over the collective good of the great majority (contrasted for purposes of our argument here to any collectivist society in which the greater needs of all presume to have ascendent merit), it would almost seem a natural law of economics resulting there-from that the smartest and the brightest would tend to naturally predate on the weak-minded and less astute. In other words, the principal task of the economic predators becomes how to create wealth and power by exploiting those who are less able to grasp the larger economic realities associated with all aspects of socially structured human life. Enter our old 'down-under' Pommy mate Rupert and his scurilous ilk!
That is exactly the status quo America has devolved to, in terms of the development of its socio-economic ethos, and the Wall Street Journal article dealing with expansion of the present pervasive wireless culture by marketing groups expresses that state of affairs with regrettably tart succinctness. The (WSJ) article went on to discuss emerging strategies and methods by which to create new markets for small, hand-held internet devices in a target population already oversaturated with such products of new technology. Reading through the article, I was semi-shocked by this frank discussion on how to market the sale of even more of these devices to an already ‘wirelessly drugged-out’ population (a fact even the marketers admit, in candid moments), so as to create entirely new levels of needless consumption (and thereby boost profit margins for corporate stockholders) among the proles; since it seems fairly clear to me that that ‘new market share’ will be comprised of those who are least capable of reflecting on the nature of this trend to utterly enslave people to their technological gizmos, the inferences are both unsettling and condemnable to the extreme. Specifically, by ‘targeted market share’ we are referring to the same percentage of adolescent and post-adolescent individuals who never learned to think critically or reflect qualitatively on the nuances of their life and those of others in the society around them. In this corporately targeted population it is fair, in my opinion, to include both the truly ignorant (those with functionally low or marginal inherent intelligence) and those who have passively yielded up their cognations to higher powers (wealthy corporations and commercial organisations bent on extracting maximal profit from those same proletarians who are so easily duped, deceived, or simply blatantly exploited).
One of the co-facilitator dynamics in this process is the state of material equality all Americans exists within. While there are without question marked differences in intellectual ability in any given population, the soothingly glib promises of American materialism act to lessen or entirely remove factors that formerly served as class-distinctions and status indicators affecting the given socio-economic strata. Traditionally, and by hard, cold economic necessity, symbolic material goods denoting high status were usually reliable means of discerning at a glance where one fit into the social hierarchy of class divisions. Then came the development of ‘creative bank financing’, a subsequent response to the expanded aspirations of modern corporate commerce, and new credit purchase options soon enabled just about any consumer to live quite far beyond his or her realistic means, whether economically well off (read: possessed of a good education and a well-paying occupation) or not. Thus, one no longer had to actually be upper class to acquire at least the superficial status accoutrements and trappings that formerly exclusively marked off the well-educated and higher class individual.
To use merely one example for illustration, an appreciable percentage of individuals driving around in automobiles that are perceived to be extremely costly (and therefore high-status) are very likely possessed of very humble occupational situations; they have merely leased the expensive vehicle they drive to make a virtual statement about who they believe themselves to be (i.e. socially equal to far wealthier people who can actually afford to purchase the vehicles outright). After first noting the expensive nature of a vehicle in the adjacent lane it may therefore be somewhat surprising to note that the driver, almost hidden behind those blackout windows, does not visibly match the assumed profile of a driver of such a vehicle one might presume. The disconnect apparent between that person’s actual status/class reality and the projected status fantasy represented by their vehicle is often starkly complete to a startling degree. Unfortunately, despite a vehicle that suggests high achievement (and perhaps elevated social consciousness, resulting from a higher academic background), the person driving the vehicle more likely than not has somewhat non-extraordinary or even ill-developed perceptions, more suited to a poorer, possibly somewhat ignorant individual.
[Note: By extension, the fact that class lines and social equality indicators have become so blurred (due to common availability of and access to material goods formerly only obtainable and status-displayed by upper class individuals) in today's American culture accounts to an appreciable extent for the prevalance of the wide-spread dillusional belief that all adolescents are equally capable of achieving academic success on par with the truly gifted (read: more intellectually developed). This belief is further evidence of the insupportable faith held by so many that we live in a 'class-less' society, when in fact concrete class distinctions in America are almost as profoundly in evidence as they formerly were in the early 1900s.]
The veiled premise underlying this message of material equality is ‘You are as good as anyone else, regardless of your actual class or social status, if you buy/own/use this product’. Thus, since there are relatively few genuinely well-off, higher-class people in any society (percentage-wise), the desire to be perceived by others as being better than your actual circumstances have enabled has a near universal, fateful allure that corporate marketers exploit over and over and over to sell material goods that may be otherwise be neither needed nor wanted. This game is played by corporate marketers with all the maneuvering brilliance of a chess master engaged in a masters’ tournament, but the functional economic coup-de-grace is cleverly disguised as an assert to one's self-esteem.
This campaign, designed to re-saturate an already saturated market (cellular phone & communications technology users), seems to be taking form in a concerted effort to keep the pace of innovation, improvements and expansion of technological capabilities advancing at high speed, so that with the constant introduction of new devices (or new apps and services), there is tremendous pressure kept on gullible consumers to constantly upgrade both hardware and software. This translates, most often, into feeling compelled to buy the latest device, despite having perhaps just recently acquired the prior model. Thus, instead of buying just one device every now and again (due to wear considerations or other attrition factors), those who can’t tolerate the thought of not having the best and latest expression of person communications state-of-the-art are buying new devices almost concurrently. Again, there is little or no rational, reflective thought behind the impulse, merely the desire to remain on the leading edge of whatever faddish preoccupation has hit the public’s fancy (thanks to relentless marketing and advertising campaigns that saturate media).
On any given day, on any given street, glancing about at those who are visible in the immediate vicinity, it is probably a safe bet to guess that almost everyone within sight has a cell phone on their person, either in actual use or in their pocket; most are in the habit of using the devices continually. Consequently the sight of someone walking down a street without a phone clapped to his ear is remarkable mostly due to the fact that everyone else is using one.
Yesterday, for perhaps the thousandth time on my daily bicycle commute home from the office I was almost run down by the driver of a large, expensive, late-model car with blacked-out windows (not black enough, however, to be unable to discern a 30s-ish white male at the wheel talking distractedly into his cell phone), who failed to legally yield at a merging intersection. It happens every day, despite the fairly high intensity of repeated public spirited efforts to remind automobile drivers that use of cell phones is not only ill-advised but illegal. Drivers simply ignore the law and continue to use their phones as much as before, merely shifting the phone from their left hand (where it is more conspicuous to passing LEOs) to their right, where a phone is more easily concealed from outside view. In this instance, as soon as I got over being highly pissed off to think that this careless person was willing to kill me simply out of the convenience of habit (and careless failure to maintain adequate situational awareness while engaged in a potentially dangerous activity), I was moved to return my thoughts once again to the problem at hand. The broader issue is how completely clueless the vast majority of people are in terms of seeing themselves as having any obligation whatsoever to exercise concern for the safety of others while pursuing their narrow personal agendas. But at that point, I had to remind myself also that the chances are extremely good that this individual, although driving a fancy, expensive care, was likely not all that 'bright' to begin with (possessed of average or better intelligence perhaps, but not given to regular reflective exercise of that resource). More rumination on this fact usually follows (subsequent to an adrenalin producing moment of this magnitude), prompting me to meditate a bit further on what great need there is in our society to encourage people to think critically, every moment of their lives.
What am I trying to express here? Among other things that American ‘democracy’ (as transmogrified into the Frankensteinian model of capitalistic materialsim) tends to lower expectations towards a coarsely common mean (that of unthinking over-consumption of material goods), rather than elevate them (to a higher plane of beneficial collective social awareness). When you allow people of limited thoughtfulness (who may also lack basic inherent intellectual abilities) to possess, own, operate and acquire material products (and/or consumer goods) that have (when improperly used) the potential to adversely affect the safety, security and well-being of others, rather than benefit the common good, a greater, broader social liability is the more likely result. Considering this paradigm within the specific milieu of personal cellular communications and/or internet linked consumer devices, it would seem to me that the potential for dissemination of profoundly adverse effects throughout our culture (some quite obvious and others considerably more subtle in nature) is indeed worrisome.
At this point, it is perhaps propitious to reflect a bit on the philosophy of what I like to call ‘conscionable social anarchy’. Few (hopefully) need to have the terms ‘Luddite’, ‘anarchist’, and/or ‘provocateur’ defined or explained, but in the event they are not familiar words, here are a few useful defining contexts. Without going into a definitive history of the Luddite movement of the 19th Century (involving British textile workers), suffice it to say that in today’s casual frame of reference the term usually refers someone who is generally opposed to modern technology or increased industrialization on principle. An anarchist in the same modern context suggests a person who believes that all modern states are oppressive and advocates voluntary cooperation as an acceptable substitute for stringent civil regulation. A provocateur is someone who incites others to rebel, usually through the accomplishment of illegal acts and against selected sources of formal social authority.
Most would agree, I feel, that all of the individuals who fit these terms pose a threat of varying magnitudes to traditional, conventional and/or normalized systems of collective socio-economic forms of organized civil governance. In their extreme forms (viz. Timothy McVeigh and 'Unibomber' Ted Kaczynski) they can be extremely harmful to both individuals and to organisations (public or private). A common thread of philosophic dogma running through all three of these schools of social resistance holds that modern civilisation, tied closely to economic powers that manipulate and control through tools of science and technology, is anathema to the innate human spirit. That modern, technologically enhanced economic enterprise is not just oppressive, but spiritually destructive to the highest ideals of enlightened human meaningfulness. Apart from the tendencies of that radical fringe who favor excessively destructive means to bring about change, individuals who maintain strong beliefs in these philosophies do not necessarily have to commit overtly criminal acts in order to effectively raise collective consciousness. One may also be what I call a ‘conscionable anarchist/Luddite’ who employs non-violent, non-destructive means. Think of this as a constructive dynamic, say perhaps that of being a ‘non-violent rebel WITH a cause’ (in contrast to extreme anarchism that espouses no cause except that of pure destruction of existing convention). The fine art of consciousness raising finds equally suitable expression here.
All that is needed to be a ‘conscionable social anarchist’ is to reflect critically on all aspects of every nuance of one’s life, as it relates to the economics of material consumption and attempt to promote reflection in others. That is, applied intelligent reflectivity as an integral component of every act of acquisitive activity one engages in. Keeping the brain engaged in our unhappy role as active consumers of material things is the key, since everything we do, everything we buy, and everything we think has consequences and repercussions that may not be immediately apparent (or desirable) to many.
Aristotle once famously observed that virtue is an acquired quality, reinforced and enhanced only by repeated conscious and conscientious practice, over and over until virtue becomes an ingrained part of one's personal worldview. The same is true for developing a benevolent, collectivistic outlook on life, improving our interactions with others, and focusing on our environment (the entire world). None of this sentiment is innate or inherent in all of human experience. It must be embraced, cultivated and refined if it is to truly make a difference in the quality of the life each of us leads, as we are pulled this way and that by powers beyond our immediate control. The fact that so many individuals lead reactive ‘knee-jerk’ lives, rather than thoughtful ones, tends to point out the urgent need for reflective thought and critical resistance in our daily experience
A good starting point for cultivating a reflectively productive outlook (‘functional social virtue’) is to adopt a stance of critical skepticism towards anything that we are being told by commerce, corporations, or marketing efforts is desirable to possess. Not many years ago, the Nike Corporation, with one of the largest and most formidable marketing presences in the entire world’s economy, came out with a clever marketing motto: ‘Just do it!’ The deceptively simple exhortation caught up the spirit of youthful abandon that characterises adolescent behavior perfectly, obviously, delighting the marketeers who spawned it. The subtle, more complete message was “Don’t reflect, don’t think, don’t analyse and above all don’t examine your life critically; just do it.” Of course, few things could be more damaging to the quality of our spiritual nature than encouraging spontaneous acts of thoughtless reactivity in this manner, but the motto was short, succinct, and above all VERY effective in helping Nike channel adolescent energy and spirit into the buying of Nike products.
As the Wall Street Journal figuratively rubs its grimy capitalistic hands with glee, contemplating the carving up of entirely new slices of the consumer market (by saturating it with endless products and services whose true merit and utilitarian value are eminently arguable by any logical and reasoned analysis), it is well past time for the consuming public to ‘Just say no!’ to more and more of this material surfeit of unnecessary, distracting, often annoying and highly intrusive devices.
Instead of observing the passers-by stumbling past me, jerking along, sporadically stopping to stare intently at their hand-held communications gizmos and clearly completely oblivious of all that is going on about them, how wonderful it would be to see them fully immersed in the proximal realities they exist in, to see them actually looking at trees, birds, and the physical world they occupy, using all the richness of their senses to fully actualise their lives on a real-time, second-to-second basis! Sadly, the present status quo does not appear to be changing any time soon, as more and more people switch off their brains and switch on these personal electronic anaesthesia machines.
Once, in an attempt to engage in a little of that ‘conscionable social anarchy’ I have been referencing, I decided to conduct an experiment in consciousness raising. It was close to the end of the fiscal year and the entire State of California hummed with anxious energy as the annual critical budget deadlock remained unresolved. Out on the Capitol sidewalks small clots of somberly attired politicians, lobbyists and other political groupies surged back and forth, nearly all chattering away into their cellular communication devices as important senate business progressed nearby. Dressing up in a dark, pin-striped ‘power suit’ myself, I got out my expensive pig-skin brief case and decided to go out for a fast walk around the California State Capitol. In my left hand, as I made my way around Capitol Square, I held an extremely dirty old running shoe up to my ear and began talking into it as if it were a cellphone while I cruised around the block surrounded on all sides by the other dark-suited, briefcase carrying clones.
To anyone actually focused on things going on around them, the sight must have been rather remarkable and yet not a single other person on the sidewalk appeared to notice that one of their number was speaking into a dirty running shoe, rather than a cell phone. After completing the one mile walk around the State Capitol in this manner, I returned to the State Treasury Building and took off my ‘power clothes’, changing back into more comfortable office attire as I reflected on the fact that my entire ‘street theatre’ performance had not drawn so much as a single askance glance by my electronically drugged peers.
What this little street theatre vignette tells us about the sorry state of behavioral insularity and social detachment that our personal communications devices have cloaked us in is certainly open to variable interpretative conjecture (not least of which is the functional effectiveness of acts of mild ‘conscionable social anarchy’), but it was a fascinating experiment in human psychology, nonetheless, even if the apparent impact seems to have been somewhat meaningless in the final analysis. While one single act of innocuous social sabotage like this may have null impact on the issues commented upon in this discourse, can you imagine the potential cumulative effect if more people engaged in harmless efforts like this to get others to stop and think for a change? It’s an interesting thought, to be sure.
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Postscript (25 Jul 11):
News of the Norwegian mass shooting and terror bombing carried out on 24 Jul 11 by a coinservative, ultra-extremist native Norwegian man (Anders Behring Breivik, 35) has just spread across the globe. It is an interesting coincidence that I chose to comment on a topic concerning anarchy and Ludditism just a day before this atrocity occured, with no less than the Wall Street Journal using those terms as descriptive of both Breivik and one of his arch-inspirations (Ted Koczynsky). Nevertheless, Breivik, seemingly quite rational (at least appearing so externally), if fanatically committed to using ultra-violent terrorist tactics to 'get the message across' about the undesirability of encouraging elements of religiously divergent diversity in the Northern European (white) nations, is an extreme example of the application of the darker nihilistic aspects of unconstrained anarchistic terror to further awareness (according to Breivik's own convoluted online manifesto). In my opinion, causing mass deaths and wanton destruction like this (with coldly mechanical and emotionless functionality) to make a sociopolitical point contravenes the permissable actions appropriate to any social critic who maintains due regard for the sanctity of innocent human lives. It has no more relationship to the philosophy of 'conscionable social anarchy' I discussed than reason has to pure instinct. My sincere empathy extends to all Breivik's innocent victims, whether politically opposed to his extreme views or not.