American Samizdat

Friday, December 01, 2006. *
This is ripe for abuse. Ahh, back in 73 you were a democrat. No job for you. Uh, Mr. Joe public I see you have been with us for 12 years, however, we can not approve your application for advancement because we see that in 1981 you voted against the ol' gipper. Your medical records report you had a emergency room visit once for...

Anthropologist Laura Nader calls such things as this, the authoritarian and coercive character of law under "coercive harmony."* Where everyone has a place and a label.

Thomas Jefferson once called "legerdemain tricks upon paper. Today we have tricks upon data.

If the proposal goes into effect, many employers using the FBI’s system could discover a job applicant had been convicted for drinking in public, or had been arrested for vagrancy as a teenager, among other offenses.

Well, son you didn't vote the company way, I'm afraid I can't give you a raise this quarter.

But I work hard Mr. Hegimon.

Sure, maybe next quarter, if you donate to Mr. Senator's campaine and...

So Miss Jane Doe, I see you were arrested in college for nude dancing around december of 2003.

But sir, I'm a single mother and have a young son to feed.

Well, Miss Jane Doe maybe we can work something out, I like thongs and fishnets, get the hint?

When the admirable Tiberius upon becoming emperor, received a message from the Senate in which the conscript fathers assured him that whatever legislation he wanted would be automatically passed by them, he sent back word that this was outrageous. "Suppose the emperor is ill or mad or incompetent?" He returned their message. They sent it again. His response: "How eager you are to be slaves." ~Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

* "coercive harmony": "basically a movement against the contentious in anything, and it has very strange bedfellows, from people with various psychiatric therapy movements, Christian fundamentalists, corporations sick of paying lawyers, activists who believe we should love each other We are talking about coercive harmony an ideology that says if you disagree, you should really keep your mouth shut."
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:12 PM
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