The State is an Autoimmune Disease (Thomas L. Knapp)
Wednesday August 15th, 2012
“Autoimmune diseases,” per the Wikipedia article on same, “arise from an inappropriate immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks its own cells.”
Analogizing from autoimmune disease to political government has its dangers — foremost among them the fact that any such analogy requires us to think of society as a sort of super-organism with its own interests separate from and superseding those of its constituent parts, people — but I don’t think the analogy is a poor one. If there really is such a thing as “the body politic,” the nation-state is to that body as lupus or multiple sclerosis is to an individual human body.
The most advanced stages of the disease are easily identifiable: Mussolini’s “everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” sums them up rather neatly.
But as with any disease, the final stages are actually the least interesting; the body is withered, doped up on painkillers, attempting to pass as gently as possible into that good night. The real action is in the painful intermediate stages of the disease — after it’s become too advanced not to notice, but while the patient might still be expected to struggle against its progression. It is at this point that we can see the true evil of the disease itself.
Which brings me to the case of freedom activist Adam Mueller, aka Ademo Freeman, convicted in New Hampshire earlier this week on “wiretapping” charges for having taped “public officials” in the conduct of their “public duties.”
While the details of Ademo’s case are certainly interesting — they highlight the increasing arrogance of state functionaries in their demands for “privacy” from scrutiny by those whom they allegedly serve — I don’t find them nearly as interesting as the fact of the verdict and what it says about the American progression of the autoimmune disease.
One bulwark of liberty versus the depredations of the state has, for several centuries now, been “jury nullification” — the inviolate power of citizen juries to acquit defendants who have clearly done no wrong, even if the letter of the state’s law demands otherwise.
In Ademo’s case, observers had good cause to believe that even if the state of New Hampshire’s technically weak case held together through trial, no panel of 12 reasonable people could plausibly vote unanimously to convict. Ademo was too clearly in the right, the state too clearly in the wrong, for conviction to happen. A hung jury was the worst-case scenario, outright acquittal a strong possibility.
And yet the jury returned a conviction, after less than an hour of deliberation.
While it’s fortunate that Ademo has been sentenced to “only” three months (of a possible 21 years) in a cage for attempting to hold “public officials” accountable, any confinement at all is still a major crime against humanity, morality and rule of law.
And that crime was committed not only by the permanent, cancerous infrastructure of the state itself, but by semi-randomly selected cells of the “body politic” — citizen jurors. This, it seems to me, is evidence that the disease has metastasized and that we are indeed approaching its final stages. Jury nullification is, in this analogy, the body politic’s lungs and their ability to take independent breath.
Or, to switch analogies to the biblical, take God’s response to Abraham’s inquiries vis a vis Sodom and Gommorah: Abraham: “Peradventure ten [righteous people] shall be found there. God: “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”
In Manchester on Monday, not even one righteous juror was to be found. 12 of 12 were shown to have been so corrupted by the disease of statism that they would vote to send an innocent, even heroic, individual to prison for the “crime” of exposing the disease in the body politic. And so we must consider that body politic doomed and beyond redemption.
It’s depressing. The only up side is that when the body politic dies, the state will die with it — and that the body might be able to resurrect itself minus the disease. But that doesn’t make these terminal times any easier, on Ademo or on us.
Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst and Media Coordinator at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).