Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hired Muscle

Why is everyone acting surprised that soldiers are raping each other?

Soldiers are hired muscle. They are not idealists. They cannot formulate morality. They are brainwashed, vicious petty thugs. When you look at a soldier you have to realize that you're most likely no longer seeing an individual. You are seeing a trained animal. That thing you're looking at is not a self-aware intellect but a wind-up toy. Its every thought and action is tied into abusing the power given it by its social hierarchy and reinforcing that hierarchy which gives it power over others.

What's that catchphrase about prison? If you want to survive, either kill a guy on your first day there, or become some other inmate's bitch. Barracks and prisons are not unrelated. We are discussing institutionalization, an induced dependency on one single power structure. We are slaves to social hierarchies throughout our lives, to government bureaucracy and corporate control over our material resources, to family pressures and academic schools of thought and the ever-present blare of televised normalcy, and retaining a personal locus of control (both psychologically and practically) is difficult enough without such a system carrying an intrinsic physicality and threat of violence.

There is no intrinsic difference between the various types of hired muscle which have existed throughout history. It's as basic a pattern as an older brother beating his younger siblings in loco parentis, adopting and enforcing the morality of those which have power over him. Stockholm syndrome is not an isolated behavior pattern, but only one representation of the human tendency toward the Nietzschean master-slave morality, though Nietzsche undervalued the mutability of the two behavior patterns. The same dog which may bite your hand to take your food, if beaten, will lick your hand to beg for food. It's all a matter of establishing social rank, and social apes are no better.

The power, the justification from above to beat others, to torture, to stab, shoot and nuke, is a mark of superior social status, and the implicit benefit to social status is carte blanche in dealing with those of lower status. This hierarchical thought is intrinsic to our evolutionary past and always dependent on the threat of violence. The tribal chief rapes whom he wants. His enforcers rape a smaller subset of those the tribal chief has not specifically declared off-limits.

It's also no accident that rape is so often symbolic of social control. Evolution prunes away every mutation, every behavioral adaptation which does not serve the overarching goal of reproductive success. One of social systems' prime functions is establishing an internal hierarchy of mating rights. As a group-dynamic tautology, declaring sexual superiority over another is a de facto assertion and reinforcement of superior rank. Instinctively, there's no better way to put another member of the tribe in his place but to make him bend over and take it. At least the Spartans admitted it. I am using masculine pronouns for the sake of simplicity, but it also underscores the gender disparity. Males compete directly with each other for reproductive rights, while females are usually in a race to better control males. The chief instinctive benefit of acting as hired muscle for one's tribe is direct competition. It feeds directly into the image of masculinity, of reproductive fitness based on the ability to overpower others. The reward for such status is, to put it as crassly as the topic of discussion warrants, pussy. Women are doubly at risk when placed in the reach of male hired muscle. One: they are available, and all females are by default fair game to a male which has established his reproductive fitness by becoming hired muscle. Two: they're uppity, overstepping their bounds, need to be put in their place, and the best way to do that is...

All hired thugs rape. It's a basic benefit, a pattern at least as old as our species. I cannot say this enough times. There is no intrinsic difference. Street gangs, mafia, prison gangs, high school and college jock cliques, armies, police, mental hospital orderlies, it doesn't matter. They are all enforcers of the threat of violence. They are all the tribal chief's right hand, indoctrinated into one over-riding ethos, the rule of law, the chief's law, and secure in the importance of their place in the hierarchy. The chief's bloodline comes first, the chief's favorites are off-limits, then muscle with its various internal ranks, then the lower classes. The lower classes are fair game. Out in the wild, soldiers would not rape each other. They'd sack a village and grab themselves some women. In the confines of a barracks, cut off from their social superiority over other social classes, it's the internal hierarchy which becomes paramount, the object of all power struggles. Reinforcing it by taking one's tribal, instinctive right to rape is only one facet of power-mongering.

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