Posted by: Millard J. Melnyk | March 19, 2015

Capturing Captivity

Captivity distinguishes authoritarianism from collaboration and influence, both of which recognize the sanctity of freedom of choice and, when properly understood, encourage instigation and exploration, seeing removal of borders, limitations, and hurdles as more of a virtue than a risk.

In contrast, authoritarians cannot bear the uncertainties of unconfined freedom, fear the potential of open-ended, transparent inquiry, and suppress instigation outside of strict governing parameters.

Every authoritarian vehicle hinges on captivity, favoritely euphemized as “security.” To an authoritarian, securing something means trapping it, confining it, binding it. Preserving it means holding it hostage, imprisoned, which is euphemized as “ownership”. Defending its captive state requires violence. The ultimate form of authoritarian defense is killing and, if deemed necessary, annihilation. This indicates a crude, rudimentary mentality towards problems and challenges. Authoritarians reserve sophistication for manipulation of materials, systems, and mentalities after the question of security has been settled.

Despite their proclamations and parades of power, authoritarians assume a contingent position, reacting to presumed adversaries, without which they emerge from the smoke of their own dread as clearly no better than brute abusers. Contingent, because authoritarians depend on the adversity they oppose and seek to overcome, without which they would have no intelligible basis for their programs of domination — a kind of moralistic M√ľnchausen syndrome by proxy occurring at all levels of human relations. Authoritarians presume resistance without sufficient cause for the presumption, which then generates actual resistance to their attacks against supposed enemies on whom they project self-spawned specters of disrespect, defiance, and subversion. Despite their warring against adversarial figments fabricated in anticipation rather than from observation, actual adversity against authoritarians is glaringly, demonstrably absent.

This is why, no matter how far and how long authoritarians go out “conquering and to conquer,” they cannot stop and it’s never enough. No matter what and how much they capture and rule, their true adversary still roams free. Their fear of life continues haunting and threatening and tormenting them, untouched by their efforts to imprison and subdue it through subjugating the hapless that agitate their terrors and evoke their rage, incessantly and painfully reminding them that they are not safe until they secure safety.

In this light, the saying about the Christ takes on new significance:

When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
and gave gifts to men. ~ Ephesians 4:8

Could it be that we must sequester authoritarianism — or more aptly, confine the paranoia that underlies it?

What would the world be like if we captured and imprisoned authoritarians?

Would there be any “world” left?


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