C4SS.org | The composition of the military, its members paying unconditional obeisance to mindless hierarchical controls, provides an instructive microcosm of all statism. Like the larger system of violence from whence it derives, the military relies on an arbitrary, dictatorial chain of command, a process through which orders take on the impression of validity. For the hierarchy to function — to prevent it caving in on itself from its own madness — the actions of its agents must be based on the source that dictates them rather than on a critical process of thought. If soldiers even perfunctorily scrutinized their orders, if they reflected on their grounds for but a moment, the whole system would be exposed for its psychotic unreason and would crumble like the feeble foundation it rests on.
The state is no different, fostering a habitual, reflex inclination to obey, and it is this eradication of the individual conscience that enables horrors like those going on in Afghanistan right now. It is in this way that the psychology of statism, the particular mindset that it both engenders and depends on, dehumanizes to some degree every life that it interferes with.
By reducing human beings to cogs within a centrally steered machine, the state sets in place the best possible environment for thoughtless violence and wastefulness. When a soldier murders an unarmed civilian, acting under the aegis of the U.S. military, there is the impression that the military, as an abstract entity distinct from the people who make it up, committed the killing. Upon being fingered for any kind of misconduct, the ineludible excuse is some version of the superior orders defense, that the soldier is just a tool of the general, the general of the political leader, and so on ad finitum. The state’s hierarchical, bureaucratic arrangements also render individuals’ actions impersonal, so that when some people steal it is just the state taxing, and when some people kill it is just “national defense.” Read Entire Article
By David S. D’Amato