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"Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes."  --Alexander Haig

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Author Topic: "Just doing my job"  (Read 818 times)

Kat Kanning

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"Just doing my job"
« on: May 23, 2008, 04:47 PM NHFT »

Reading Francois Tremblay's book "But Who Will Build the Roads" to review for the paper.  I really liked this part - will probably use the exerpt in the review:

When we say that the State is responsible for murder, temporary slavery, theft, kidnapping, and extortion, all on a grand scale, we should not stop there.  IT is not an abstract concept of the state which does these things, but individuals acting under orders.  Not only policemen and soldiers, but everyone is doing his their hob:

The judges say, “We don't make the law, we just interpret it.”
The cops say, “We don't make the law, we just do what we're told.”
The legislators say, “We're just following the desires of our constituents.”
The jailers say, “We're just warehousing those they tell us to warehouse.”

To this I would add:  the voters say, “We don't make the system, we're just voting for what we want.”

In our democratic societies, we act without thinking.  Even you may have done something morally questionable because your boss or a State agent asked you to do it.  We simply do things because we're supposed to.  Even when someone is under orders and does something highly questionable, we blame his superiors and his organization.  If we're not ready to blame SS officers for the Holocaust, then obviously we cannot blame an employee for dumping garbage in a river or a bureaucrat for kicking families out of their homes.  The system sustains itself because everyone is on automatic and no one even does to apply a more check to what they are doing.

So are the actions of judges, cops, legislators, and jailers just “business as usual”?  Recently, a case of police brutality made the news.  A UCLA student was brutally tasered by two police officers in the library computer lab, for refusing to show ID because he was Iranian and thought he was being unfairly targeted, until he was unable to get up and had to be dragged out.  But the important part here is that, while some people wanted to attack the officers for their assault, they were thwarted by the officers saying, “Back over there, because I said so” and threatening them with their tasers.  If these thugs had been non-legitimate aggressors, they would have been attacked by others trying to defend the student.  But because there were legitimized in the eyes of the students, they were not attacked.  It becomes the victim's problem.  Rarely does a victim even dare to defend him or herself against legitimized force.

We are constantly told that all of these thugs use force for our own good and for the good of society.  This becomes such a religious dogma that we constantly rationalize their aggression in our own minds, even me.  The only alternative would be to believe that we are attacked by those who pretend to protect us, which is unacceptable for a lot of people.  But isn't it better to follow an uncomfortable truth that to believe a comfortable lie that dooms millions to death or misery?

We must reject the belief that, as the individual dissolves his values into the collective, he also dissolves his responsibility in the collective.  Only individuals act, and only individuals can decided whether it is moral for them to act in a certain way or not.  No one can do that for anyone.  “Just following orders” is not an option, as you still have to take the moral decision that following orders mindlessly is a justified attitude.  But this belief cannot be true either, as morality is predicated on the use of one's reason in applying the principles of reality to one's choices.   Were the UCLA thugs acting as moral agents, or in the name of their police force?  Here is an easy way to answer this question:  who would you attack in self-defense?  The two thugs who were tasering the student, or the “UCLA Police Force”?

Putting oneself at the mercy of another person's morality, when said person has different objectives than we do, with no contract to insure against evil, is as self-destructive as putting our money in a random person's hands and expect them to invest it for us, hoping never to suffer, or giving oneself up as a slave.  Should we trust people who could commit the worst of atrocities at the drop of a hat, merely because there were supposed to and just following orders?
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ancapagency

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Re: "Just doing my job"
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2008, 05:28 PM NHFT »

Amen.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: "Just doing my job"
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 06:01 PM NHFT »

The legislators say, “We're just following the desires of our constituents.”
we are just compromising to get things done

The jailers say, “We're just warehousing those they tell us to warehouse.”
we are treating those placed in our care as good as possible, while maintaining their and the publics safety
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Tom Sawyer

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Re: "Just doing my job"
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2008, 06:20 PM NHFT »

The responsibilty is spread so thin that no one is to blame.
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Kat Kanning

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Re: "Just doing my job"
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2008, 06:21 PM NHFT »

I've heard them say all of those  :o  

Quote
But we're just doing our jobs!  It's not me!  Even though it was my hand who busted in some junkie's head.
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Vitruvian

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Re: "Just doing my job"
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2008, 06:55 PM NHFT »



Death by asphyxiation
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memenode

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Re: "Just doing my job"
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 03:27 PM NHFT »

So much truth..  The only thing I am uncomfortable about with regards to this truth is the fact that realizing it makes me so incredibly angry.
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