Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Authoritarian Look

Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin,
mugshot by Ramsey County Sheriff's office
I see that face, the look in those eyes, and I flash on the description that the British poet Shelley applied to an ancient Egyptian Pharoah, who had his face carved in stone to capture for all the ages his "sneer of cold command."

And much on my mind this morning are the lines of William Butler Yeats in "The Second Coming":

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

1 comment:

Red Hornet said...

Why are there police?
Of late they are said to harvest the bodies of the unfortunate to populate jails and prisons (a profitable private industry) or to write citations and make arrests for local revenue. (hard to tax the rich and mobile, and impossible to tax those too deprived to make ends meet).
But critics observe police are more needed by those who hold great wealth and property, or who operate predatory (but government sanctioned) enterprises.
Repression becomes raw and obvious when unpopular and illegitimate leaders
depend on the National Guard and even active duty troops using mass destructive weapons to dominate the populace. An occasional engineered election is an ineffectual check (too slow and uncertain). Authoritarianism means a knee comes down on the majority so that any hope of democracy is asphyxiated. (Groucho: Knee comes down, fines you ten thousand dollars.)