Friday, July 21, 2006

The String Theory Of Government

People who believe that power descends from above like the drip of trickle-down economics often also believe that everybody has a string that can be yanked. Moreover, that there is a guy out there somewhere who yanks the strings of all the other string-yankers and of the yankers of yankers. The top dog.

Other people know differently. Others know the power of the flock, both for staying on course and for remembering where to find food and rest. My power is the power of the flock.

At the recent G8 Summit meeting of world leaders in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Bush illustrated his understanding of political string theory with a statement that will live in history for its natural candor. "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over." He threatens to use candor again, if necessary.

The fact of the matter is that Syria holds little sway over Hezbollah. There is no string to yank of the sort that Mr. Bush imagines.

In Mr. Bush's Yale MBA world, every transaction has a "quid pro quo", a "this for that". If I do you a favor, you owe me one. This may not be the case in Islamic countries. I think that people there may often do good for one another invisibly and silently, just as practicing Christians do. Both are flocks.

If you live in a world where favors are transactions, then for every favor there is a debt. You can call in favors. You can pull strings.

If only we could pull a string with someone who could pull strings in Syria, who could pull strings in Hezbollah, then the problem would match the theory, and voila! It is solved!

However, the problem does not match the theory. Perhaps there is a theory that matches the problem? And what do we know of the problem?

Islamic governments are contributing to non-governmental organizations which perform coercive and violent acts outside the law. These include not only Hezbollah and Hamas but also the Janjaweed militias in the Sudan. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has grown more powerful than the Lebanese government. Lebanese army forces were not sent to the Israel border as was specified in the last peace treaty. Hezbollah didn't want it.

As noted above, while Syria provides a lot of Hezbollah's budget, intelligence from the ground reveals that they really don't have much control over them. There are no strings attached.

A theory that matches this problem needs to understand worlds where there are no strings attached. One may possibly develop this understanding by observing the nature and power of the flock. What does a member do for the flock? What does a member get from the flock?

The theory needs to include not only need-driven transactions but also the gifts people give from their surpluses to others, both within and beyond their flock. It needs to explain life beyond strings.

Given a person in the Presidency who believes in pulling strings and an intelligence service that is doing its best to get the goods on everyone, one begins to wonder about the value of a string-free existence.

Freedom may lie in the personal discovery of a life without strings.


Added note, 07/26/06:

There is still a lot of string-pulling in the Middle East. Perhaps any situation involving people will always contain both a "flock" effect and a "string-pulling" effect. Where people are like sheep, the string-puller may become a herder. Where they are like birds, he may become a poop target.

In the Middle East, the string-pullers are trying to herd the birds. Poop is landing. Meanwhile, the sheep are growing wings. Apparently all that a modern revolutionary must do is to help sheep grow wings and loosen their tether. The rest takes care of itself.

How democratic.

On the TV news, more and more video is from cellphone videocams. The human element comes through strongly. Bombed houses, wounded children, and neighborhood rallies are recorded by ordinary individuals. They can immediately sell what they record, or they can save it on the web in places like YouTube.com. If it is popular, TV news teams, working around the clock, may discover it and harvest it for the evening news. The evening news on TV then shows what the world has been watching the most on the web.

The larger flock observes.


Today Israeli forces targeted and destroyed a UN observation post. As madmen yank their strongest strings, the world watches, bemused.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dan McIntyre said...

A CIA contact tells a retired friend that

"My source confirmed in detail the fact that intelligence being produced for the Bush Administration by the Pentagon strongly supports the thesis that Hizballah operations are directly controlled and closely managed from Teheran. My source considers this an exaggerated picture of the real situation. He believes that this assessment contributes to an unhealthy and even dangerous mindset in Washington, leading to potentially serious miscalculations and errors of judgment by President Bush and his closest advisors at this very critical time."

Link below, then click through to Larry Johnson.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/009235.php

1:17 PM, July 29, 2006  
Blogger Dan McIntyre said...

From another direction, here's a YouTube video about the rise of the flock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xAA71Ssids

8:42 PM, July 30, 2006  

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