Posts Tagged ‘Jefferson’

Death By Police State: The Case Of Dean Potter

May 24, 2015

HUMANITY WOULD NOT BE WITHOUT LOVE FOR RISK TAKING

Some pragmatic and biased partisans of the police state will immediately interject that the famous climber Dean Potter died from hitting the ground as he flew his wingsuit too low in Yosemite. The Guardian, though, saw a bit further: “Did rules, not risk, cause Dean Potter’s Base jumping death?”

Potter Above The Alps. Some Day, We Will Fly Better Than That, Because We Tried

Potter Above The Alps. Some Day, We Will Fly Better Than That, Because We Tried

See also: The Last Flight of Dean Potter by my friend Dan Duane.

Humanity evolved because it learned to enjoy ever greater feats, by taking ever more risks thanks to, and inciting to inventing ever more sophisticated technology.

Therefore risk takers have to be respected: they are animated by the essence of what makes us humans.

That does not mean one should make a cult of them. And the cult around many a climber has irritated me over the years. Yes, when risk takers go too far, and misrepresent the risks they take to the youth, thus making a lot of victims, they have to be cut down to size. In that sense Dean Potter, and other like him, some of them personal friends, have irritated me. I think climbing is dangerous enough to not overdo it. Most of my friends died climbing.

Wingsuit flying is even more dangerous: around 5% of wingsuit fliers die, every year.  However, the philosophy of wingsuit flying holds together.

Indeed, I am a climber too, and I have free soloed (mostly by force, during mountaineering, because it was safer than the alternative). I have observed, during a long climbing career, that those who solo too much, or at too high a level, die. They don’t necessarily die climbing: they get so used to cheat death free soloing, that they take inconsiderate risks in other activities such as driving, or BASE jumping (indeed). So I view the hard line taken by Dr. Paul Preuss, a fanatical free soloist and with hundreds of first ascents as stupid and criminal. A free soloing Preuss died in 1913, at 27, after falling off a thousand feet. Preuss was a genius, but he went too far.

I use to climb a lot in U.S. National Parks, especially Yosemite. However, over times, those parks turned into training grounds for the police state. Once, long ago, after a hard climb in Rocky National Park, Colorado, our ropes got cut by rock fall on the descent. We had to spend the night at 13,000 feet, freezing, and finished the descent the next day. By the time we made it out to the trailhead, hours away, a ranger was there to arrest us for staying out without an overnight permit (we had only a permit to climb that particular mountain).

In Yosemite, entire casual, or cheap campsites were closed, while the Valley itself became a city, complete with judge and jail. Rangers go about with infrared detectors to arrest those who would be out in the woods at night. And so on.

There is little doubt that forcing parachutists to jump with low visibility, or worrying first about arrests, is a factor increasing the probability of dying.

Why then have the National Parks, and a lot of the wilderness, in the USA, be transformed into a police state? Well, precisely because, so doing, people are trained to live in a police state.

A particularly comic aspect of this happened when the government of the USA ran out of money, and closed all the National Parks.

I came for one of my mountain runs, starting at the end of a dirt road where there is never anybody. For this sort of long, solitary runs, I get dropped somewhere, and run to somewhere else, where I get picked up (it’s more challenging than climbing, these days).

But that period, the Parks were closed. And to make sure that the Parks would stay closed, the government had sent plenty of supplementary law enforcement (so the government spent more money, because it wanted to spend less money!). A runner had to run in the woods to escape the Rangers’ SUVs, and then play hide and seek with a horse patrol, which had been especially sent in pursuit. Those days I saw plenty of rangers in places where one never sees anyone (let alone rangers), on access dirt roads to various Parks. Many people, even families, with children, got actually chased down and arrested for daring to penetrate their National Parks, on their habitual dominical hikes.

What was taught by Big Police by this barely credible repression? That in the USA, the law is hard, but it is the law, and humanity is nothing, if it stands in the way of the law. So Dean Potter died, flying at dusk, and many in law enforcement in the USA rejoice, and so do their fellow travelers. Because it reminds all that people are nothing, and orders, everything. National Park do not teach nature first. They teach the police state, first. That is considered much more important, nowadays.

There has been recently some indignation about the methods of the police in the USA. Racist allegations were made. However, those familiar with the police in the USA know that racism is not the fundamental problem. Some of the officers indicted for violence were actually “colored” (to use an old American expression). Police, in the USA, is very well paid, and associates with the rich, and the order they gave rise to. But not just that.

The Romans used to say: ”The Law Is Hard, But It Is the Law!” The Americans say the same. Brutal application of “justice” and the law is what holds the USA together.

(Obama himself has perceived this, and just cracked down, deciding to forbid the police access to some military equipment.)

325 million citizens of the USA are taught to toe the line, and there is no better place to do so, in a semi-playful way, than in National Parks. And it’s getting worse, in parallel, and related to, the mercantilization of the Parks. That’s why I don’t go there anymore.

Increasing authoritarianism is multifaceted: this week, all my comments to the New York Times, but one, were censored. I cannot even imagine why. But the general trend is clear: if one has something really interesting to say, don’t try to say it on the New York Times: this is the propaganda piece of the pseudo-fair. (Most interesting commenters have disappeared  from there. However, The Guardian, and other British publications publish my comments. So does the… Wall Street Journal.)

Increasing authoritarianism is a slow suffocation of the human spirit. Resisting it, our essence. As Jefferson, third president of the USA pointed out, when a law is bad, it’s not just our right, but our duty, not to obey it.

Patrice Ayme

Jefferson: Bountiful Barbarity

February 11, 2014

Jefferson was an abominable human being. That helped make him an irreplaceable Founding Father, and great American president.

Obama got the bright idea to celebrate the Francophile, long time Paris resident, and Franco-inspired Jefferson with Hollande, to celebrate their love and partnership. I want to thank him for giving me the occasion of firing a broadside at another celebrity, mounted on a colossal amount of darkness.

Civilizations are defined by, and articulated around, master ideas, and the celebrities that incarnated them. Jefferson became one of the greatest American presidents, because he was so abominable. Let me explain.

Why The USA Really Got Rid Of The Brits: To Invade Indian Lands

Why The USA Really Got Rid Of The Brits: To Invade Indian Lands

Sorry to break the spell: the USA did not revolt just because of taxation without representation, but because of a frontier with limitations. (Details in past and future essays.)

The president of the USA showed the president of France the neo-classical palace where Jefferson, the third president of the USA, held his slaves. They both admired whatever they were supposed to admire. Ironical.

Jefferson turned into a great enemy of both France and people of African descent. Jefferson’s purchase of gigantic Louisiana (1803) was the result of his massive CIA-NSA like secret support of the black rebellion in Haiti, to weaken France. In spite of his fear that “the blacks are out to murder us”. But, for Jefferson, greed proved stronger than fear.

Jefferson was twice part of the crack diplomatic team in Paris coordinating crucial help from Louis XVI. The French police visited his residence and ordered him to pay his servants a living wage, and to free them, because slavery was unlawful in France. (Slavery had been unlawful for eleven centuries.) Jefferson is the nexus of the American Dark Side, the quintessential horror of winner take all exploitation.

When the time came to go home to fight the war, Jefferson’s slaves wanted to stay in Paris. However Jefferson promised them freedom. He lied. In his lifetime, Jefferson freed just two slaves.

Jefferson, one of the wealthiest plutocrats in Virginia, held more than 200 slaves. When Jefferson, an author of the Declaration of Independence wrote: “He has excited domestic insurrections among us,” he was actually condemning the English King for “inciting American Negroes to rise in arms against their masters.”

While governor of Virginia for years during the Revolution, Jefferson promoted military enlistment by offering white men “a healthy sound Negro…or £60 in gold or silver”. Hey boys, let’s boogie.

The cult of Jefferson is strong in Washington. Jefferson has his own memorial, much more interesting and beautiful than the massive, Nuremberg bunker like Lincoln Memorial. Inside engraved on the walls, soaring writings of Jefferson.

As president, Jefferson massacred Indians and stole their land. That was, of course, horrific. Only an abominable person could do such a thing. Jefferson was that abominable person. He had carefully trained by mistreating his slaves and raping children. (Sally Hemming, who he bedded when she was at most 14, was three quarter Caucasian.)

The Dark Side of Jefferson was strong. A friend of his, an idealistic Polish Count, who had fought in the American War of Independence, left Jefferson, in his will, a considerable amount of money, so that Jefferson could free his own slaves. Jefferson pocketed the money, and did not free his slaves.

Patriotic Americans, most of them more or less descendants of European immigrants to America (yes, even Michelle Obama) are supposed, implicitly, to be grateful to the child rapist, slave master, holocauster Jefferson. How do I know this? Well, that’s what the cult of Jefferson is all about. Or actually the cult of the USA, as the USA owes so much to Jefferson.

Let Jefferson speak in his own words:

our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians… it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only. Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi , as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation….this strategy would “get rid of this pest, without giving offence or umbrage to the Indians”.

In cases where Native tribes resisted assimilation, Jefferson believed that they should be forcefully sent west. Jefferson in a letter to no less than Alexander von Humboldt, 1813:

“You know, my friend, the benevolent plan we were pursuing here for the happiness of the aboriginal inhabitants in our vicinities. … On the commencement of our present war, we pressed on them the observance of peace and neutrality, but the interested and unprincipled policy of England has defeated all our labors for the salvation of these unfortunate people. They have seduced the greater part of the tribes within our neighborhood, to take up the hatchet against us, and the cruel massacres they have committed on the women and children of our frontiers taken by surprise, will oblige us now to pursue them to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach.

Jefferson ordered his Secretary of War, General Henry Dearborn (top government official responsible for Indian affairs): “…we will never lay [the hatchet against any tribe] down until that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi”

Obama did good to celebrate Jefferson with Hollande in their presidential field trip. Jefferson, ultimately, celebrated the Enlightenment. But the road to light led through darkness.

And what if France and Britain, instead of fighting with each other, had kept control of North America? Well, the place would have got more civilized, much earlier, and Prussian anti-semitic racial fascism, and thus the USSR, would never have arisen. The USA may not have become as strong. But then, there would have been no need…

Last, but not least. Jefferson implemented further what I call the “exploitative mentality“. That’s the mood attending, but not reserved, to foundation of the English North American colony (think of the “Virginia Company and her sisters, properties of bloodied plutocrats, the West Country Men). Some, in their naivety, will smart that this is the past. Not so.

The dominant economist system of thought claims markets ought to decide all.

That system is called “Austrian” (because of Hayek and company). That anachronistic name cover-ups its sinister nature. The exploitative mentality is how the USA was founded. “Markets” loved slavery & Indian holocausts, and thus implemented them. Markets sell everything, even civilization.

Patrice Aymé


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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism