Wednesday, November 06, 2019
On Systemic Corruption
It is useful because it makes it possible to draw a certain axis—between free action and compelled action—that runs through not just violence but every type of vileness and perfidy. Subjective violence is an instance of the former: you punch a person you don’t like as an expression of your personal opinion. Systemic violence, on the other hand, is where, for instance, depersonalized knuckle-dragging drones have no choice but to imprison parents for their children’s truancy—nothing personal, the rules are the rules. This axis runs through many aspects of individual and group behavior. Lying, for instance, can be done privately (to spare someone’s feelings or to teach a fool a lesson) or publicly (such as excluding close to 100 million long-term unemployed Americans when calculating the official unemployment rate).
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