The Philosopher Between the Capitalist and the Communist
Chapter 19 : Get Me a Cop!
In another palace in Athens, one could hear, "Everything I built up -- it is gone, the winds of change beaten back by the storm of chaos. How could my own children defy me so much?" Solon leaned back, stretched, closed his eyes, and then returned focus to his court, "Advisors! Get me our best assassin!"
"Of course, my king," a uniformed and badged party-member responded, "I'll make sure this assassin is hired from the highest-paying tier in our 37-tiered wage system. There is no possibility that you'll find a better or more devout Communist assassin to destroy our enemies in Anarchia."
"You actually, I don't think a high-tiered, party-member would be right for this job," Solon said, "Get me a magistrate!"
"A what?" the advisor asked.
He sighed, "You know... a cop."
"Oh, right, of course," the advisor replied.
"Cops typically are somewhere between tier-11 and tier-18, depending on experience and loyalty. We'll bump them up to a tier-37 if they can accomplish this job," Hammurabi replied, "Incentive. How evil it is to a human being's private life. And that's exactly what we need to spread across so thoroughly and deeply into the soils of that Anarchist land. We shall make them repent, in a way that no other sinner has ever repented before. They are have not just sinned against Communism -- they have sinned against all orderliness within society."
"You intend for a police officer to accomplish this?" one advisor inquired, "If so, we shall have to make it the most fit, capable, disciplined, and strongest of all of our officers. Almost like Hercules, he will break through those walls by punching out the bricks and kill their citizens by merely poking them."
"Hercules wasn't like that," Solon replied, "And his real name is Theseus. Capitalists and only Capitalists call him Hercules."
"I wonder what name they have for him in Anarchia," one advisor quibbled to himself.
"They probably don't have a name for him at all," Solon said, "Anarchists don't believe in the greatness of a single person, they only believe in the greatness of peoples. The legend of Theseus wouldn't make sense to them in any way."
"Or maybe the Anarcho-Capitalists still call him Hercules, and maybe the Anarcho-Communists still call him Theseus," one advisor replied, "But your idea about how the social organization of Anarchia excludes the spread of legends based on great kings and queens and rulers seemed like it was much better. It must certainly have required much more thought."
Solon turned his head to the advisor who had just spoken, half-squinted his eyes, and from his lips, everyone was quiet as they listened to each word, "What did you just say? Just now?"
"About the Anarchist legends?"
"No, no, before that, what did you say?" small pockets of eagerness poured through Solon's face.
"How the Anarcho-Capitalists say 'Hercules' and how the Anarcho-Communists say 'Theseus'?"
"Yes, precisely!" Solon said, "You may have won this war for us. Assemble the Communist Party Chairman and his Assistant Party Officers. I need to meet with him in private."
The footsteps of a messenger jogging through the halls could be heard echoing off of the king's chamber walls. He stood there, in a room showered in sunlight, the smell of a few burnt candles, and just that one painting on the wall, standing before him: the Martyrdom of Olmo, a famous oil-on-canvas artwork known around the world. It depicts the execution of one of the first Communists in the world by an angry, insensate, and compulsive mob. Solon twiddled his thumbs behind his back, while watching Olmo's being broken off by a middle-aged, screaming woman. The artist never told the world what she was saying, but after looking at the expression on her face for decades, Solon thought he had finally figured it out: "This is so you won't write a single word when you're in Hell!"
"Solon? I understand you require my presence and advice?" the Communist Party Chairman walked into the room, disrupting the mild hypnosis that the painting had put Solon under. "What can the leader of the only right and correct Communist Party in the world do for you?"
"You can tell me what I need to do to bring common decency and basic society back to human civilization," Solon boldly proclaimed, and then turned back to the expression on the victim's face in the painting, "It's no longer just about Communists or Capitalists, propertyless or propertied, worker or owner -- it is now a struggle between the State and Anarchy, order and chaos, destroyers and creators. If there's anything you can do for me, please, by all means, be the physician to my social illness. You know the symptoms, give me the diagnosis and recommend a medicine, but leave the ultimate decision-making up to me."
"The recently-instated programs on Marxism from the educational department have brewed up a really passionate and hard-fighting crop of Communist soldiers this year," the Chairman said, "I have no doubt, within five years or less, we shall have everything necessary within our power to crush this Anarchist revolt -- for to us Communist soldiers, it is just another revolt based on measly insignificance and putrid worthlessness. Not one against conservativism or liberalism, but one against all things social in civilization. But within five years, I guarantee, we shall have the hard-fighting soldiers and the tax-paying citizens to finish this war on our terms."
"Politics is a game of time, it always has been," the Chairman said, "Time and influence Battles may be won in a day, but not wars."
"But why not this one, when it's so important to all of humanity and civilization?" Solon begged, "Why can't this one war be successful in a single day? Why can't the forces of straightness and rigidness destroy the forces of incongruity and flexibility? Why can't the arrow dash through the flesh of the deer? What's to stop us? Isn't their army just a bunch of beggars dressed in black? Aren't they pure lumpenproletariat?"
"Of that, you can be positive," the Chairman said, "But of victory in a day, you cannot. If they're desperate enough to beg and sell drugs and mug people and prostitute themselves out, then they're desperate enough to die in battle in a single moment. Their armies breath desperation, because they are not just fighting us -- they are defending some small village or town from being razed and pillaged. They waste no time and do everything they can to eviscerate our forces in moments. Do not doubt their enthusiasm to bring a dagger to our throats. Because that is precisely the position that we're in. If it wasn't, then you wouldn't need my advice on the matter. Am I right?"
"You are right today, as in you have been in many ways of the past," Solon said, "But if the ways of the Marxist past were good, would they really produce someone such as Pannekoek? The one that the Anarchists call Pan?"
"Pannekoek was an enigma, to himself as much to the party," the Chairman said, "That's probably what contributed to his legend so much, where they say he was once a well-revered and well-respected Communist Party member. We're not trying to rewrite history so that a traitor always looks like a traitor, but we did have to rewrite his entry in the newest, fortieth edition of Who's Who In Communism? But we're only doing what is necessary in our domestic affairs to guarantee what we want in our international affairs. Will the Communist Party of Greece produce another Pannekoek? Probably not. I have learned the lesson of letting horses go wild and untamed; you have to break them in early otherwise they will be impossible to ride. I am teaching the lesson to all party officers, they will teach it to all they come in contact with, and they will give each of their orders more of the same sternness that I give them."
"But if it's all that simple, then why haven't you taken these steps before?" Solon asked, "I like your clever ideas on how to solve this, but I need to know how they're going to work before I can believe in them. Why couldn't we have made a stricter Party to begin with?"
"Millions of reasons," the Chairman said, "But they're all gone now. The Socialists, the Cooperativists, the Unionists, the rebels who screamed 'property is death' while dangling from street lamps and the insurgents who threw Molotov cocktails at any bankers who tried to visit our city -- they've all left. Athens isn't dominated by a coalition force of Leftist elements. Virtually all of the positions of power are now held by strictly Marxist or Marxist-sympathetic individuals. The entire Communist Party has been reworked and reformatted to account for this change-up in personnel. The only way that someone like Pannekoek survived so long and received so much respect was because he knew exactly how to bounce off of any of the Communist groups he wanted to when he had to -- he could inspire a Socialist, a Social Democrat, a Workerist, a Fabian, a Titoist, and Wobbly. At any point he irritated one of them, the others poured out their adoration onto their hero, like washing dirt off of a toy that fell in the mud. But with Marxists in power, we're too grown-up to be playing those games. You won't find another Pannekoek in our midsts, so long as we Marxists continue to dominate. Of that, you have my fullest confidence."
"Good, good," Solon replied, "That is a logical approach to the issue. But, it causes other issues, as well."
"A number of nations have backed out of the Coalition Forces," Solon said, "Some complained that they were merely reacting to dissent among their own people and even their armed forces. But for some of the others, it seems like they might think that we're too Marxist. It's okay to have a couple of Reds down at the local library, spending 12 hours a day reading and the other 12 hours sleeping, without leaving the premises during the whole day, naturally. But when every building of importance in your city hoists that Red flag with Hammer and Sickle, some of the diplomats from the Coalition Countries expressed concern. They felt like we were making this into a battle of Communism versus Capitalism, instead of a battle of Government versus Anarchism, which is what it's supposed to be."
"Well, who do you hate more? The Anarchists or the Capitalists?" the Chairman asked.
"I only love the dream of Communism, and I love it so much that I would push anyone out of my way to get there, no matter who stands there," Solon said.
"So, if there were two paths to that dream, one blocked by an Anarchist, and another blocked by a Capitalist, which would you take? Who would you fight first?"
"The Anarchist," Solon replied, "There's so little pretense and so much heart in that little beastly creature, that I could either push it aside or convince it to let me walk by. But it's not just the ease and tactics and strategy of the matter."
"It's not?" the Chairman asked, "From my point of view, that has very much so been the whole of the matter."
"There's more to it than that," Solon said, "The Capitalist has to exist for us. Without the Capitalist, there can be no Communist. Our entire frame of thinking is based on how we're going to get away from that old way of society and get into a new way of society, how to escape the exploitation of the ancient era so we can land ashore on the beaches of a glorious and plentiful utopia. You may as well call us the Anti-Capitalist Movement instead of the Communist Movement. If every Capitalist were to disappear tomorrow, it would shatter the basis for the dreams of every Communist -- we would be water salesmen, without a drought for another thousand years. We only retain our power by the fact that there is a Capitalism that needs to be destroyed."
"Babylon is certainly a wicked and evil place," the Chairman said, "Child labor, shootings of workers on strike, imprisonment of independent journalists, you name it, you can find it there."
"Right. The only thing we have here are truant officers to snatch up children, execution by firing squad of citizens who refuse their labor quota, and rudimentary proceedings for Disrespecting an Officer to imprison anyone who writes a word against the state," Solon agreed, "Our two Communist and Capitalist worlds are as far apart as planets. But at least there is a gravitational pull. At one point, we were the same society, the same world, the same shooting star, but then we split apart, us from them, and them from us. There is a way from the Capitalist side to the Communist side; just follow the stardust, and then enough of their citizens will be ours. But the Anarchist is a black hole, sucking up those potential recruits in the class war. The don't come out of Capitalism, because their gripe is with all authority, not propertied authority. They have a hatred against something much bigger than either us or Capitalism; they've declared a war against civilization itself. Communism cannot come out of Anarchy. It has come out of Capitalism -- but never Anarchy."
"Between us and ruling the world," Solon said, "There is only Anarchia. Capitalism will fall. It has to fall. And when there's someone needed to pick up the pieces, and put civilization back together, we'll be the one's in the best position to do so. Then when we look back, at how the Communists and Capitalists fought, and how there was this band of people called the Anarchists, we'll think of it all like it was some horrible nightmare, something parents tell their children to scare them to sleep -- 'Careful, youngin'! Out of the darkness, any Anarchist could pop out, whether wielding a flag with the circled A, or a Molotov cocktail!' The biggest opposition to our power now isn't the Capitalists, the Militarists, the Landowners, the Churches -- no, no, it's just the Anarchists."
"Capitalism has so miserably abused people, that I'm not at all surprised that we have such deformed and deranged human beings as... those so-called 'anti-authoritarians'," the Chairman replied, "Perhaps we should treat them like madmen who have just recently escaped the confines of some brutish torturer. Their screams of laughter and bellowing of cries make sense to nobody, but they must be perfectly logical to the mind where they come from."
"And what's so logical about hating authority?" Solon asked, "When people go mad, they should become more submissive, not more wild -- they should ask more for the help and guidance of father and mother, not resist more against their approaches and association. Well, if human nature is broken, we will only have all of history and civilization to thank us once we Communists fix it."
"It has to be us Communists who fix it," the Chairman agreed, "Only we have the foresight on how society works to build an entirely new one starting from where we are. Only we truly appreciate the history of all of humanity. It has to be us, because we devote more resources to state scholars than any other state. Who else would you ask to build a new era for the next one thousand generations? Nobody's even going to remember any of those insignificant countries that make up the Coalition Forces. When people look back to history, they will only see Communists and Capitalists fighting. If we do this right, they will also see that the Anarchists are just a hiccup during the fight."
"I hope it is as easy as that," Solon said, "But we have the people on our side, and we have no right to disappoint them and their wishes. We have devoted soldiers, dedicated farmers, and developed artists. And, of course, we have devout messengers and assistants." A small smile crept through the hood of one of the Chairman's assistants.
"Our best assassins have failed, and I'm not prepared to wait five years to have another good crop wasted on removing influential Anarchists," Solon said, "Get an espionage agent. Get a sleuth, a spy, a trickster. Get someone who likes to gamble, but knows when the odds are too narrow to throw down a bet. That's what you need to dismantle the little situation we've gotten ourselves into in this world."
"Understood, your highness," the Chairman said, "We shall get the best agent we have to handle the Anarchists. And what about the Philosopher? And the Anarcho-Communist and the Anarcho-Capitalist?"
"Capture and prosecute the Philosopher according to any treason violation he may have committed by working with Anarchists during the war, make sure he serves his time, and give him the most back-breaking tasks in prison, but not do a thing more," Solon said,"Kill the Anarcho-Capitalist. If you can bring him back here alive, I will accept him here alive, but he will be cut down quickly. The Anarcho-Communist, get her back here, and I want her alive. But, it shall be considered no great loss at all, if she should arrive without a heartbeat. Just make sure she arrives. Even if you have to tell here that we're preparing for a war of the worlds, and that we are going to raise insurrections in every country against Capitalism, yes, just tell her that, tell her all about it. She's inconsequential, except to Anarchia, which is extremely consequential to us. Never forget where the pieces are or how they connect to each other."
"Think of the Cassandra Complex," [*1] the king continued, "It's the ability to know what the future holds but the inability to do a damn thing about it -- all Anarchists have it," Solon said, "It may be better to force them into disillusionment than to defeat them. Think of it like that. They never would."
*1. Twelve Monkeys, Terry Gilliam.
"I never thought of them in a psychological light, but perhaps I may be ignoring one of the most important branches of state-sponsored research," the Chairman said, "But those Anarchists perfectly fit the symptoms for the Cassandra Complex. (1) A dysfunctional relationship with someone who believes in order and authority, (2) emotional or physical suffering, and (3) being disbelieved when trying to explain 1 or 2. [*1] Why don't we just start calling them Cassandras and do away with the poetry of words like 'Anarchist' and 'Anarchy'?"
*1. Laurie Layton Schapira, The Cassandra Complex: Living With Disbelief: A Modern Perspective on Hysteria (1988). A 1988 Jungian study, by Laurie Layton Schapira.
"You're right," Solon grinned, "It would sound so much more glorious if we told our children that we defeated Cassandra instead of winning the war on Anarchy."
"To the glory of the party!" the Chairman smirked. He turned his pen and pad, wrote down some notes, and held the note in his hand out in the air, "Would a squire please take this to the commander of the local barracks?"
One walked forward, but he stopped to turn around at a noise behind him. "Aha!" the Philosopher unmounted his hood, exposing himself to the others. But before they could even make eye contact with him, he dove through the air and grabbed the secret messaged, somersaulting to the window, and before anyone could tell what had happened, he was already climbing down a rope from the window. The guards began climbing down after him, none of them concerned that the rope appeared to be wet, except when it turned out to be wet with gasoline, and lit at the bottom by the Philosopher. With a small flame and the path of the soldiers cut off, the trot of sandals against gravel disappearing into the distance was all that Solon was left with.
But the trotting was interrupted for a brief moment. Solon squinted to identify where the Philosopher had stopped, and then finally identified that mysterious, old man. Once the Philosopher knew he was being noticed, he lifted his arm up very calmly, and gave the thumbs-up. A moment of hesitation, and then another smile across his face, before he disappeared again into the thickness of nature.