Monday, January 04, 2010

"The Purpose Of A System Is What It Does"

That's why I always maintain that the people in the USofA who claim the USer school system is a "failure" do not understand what the system is designed to do--and does, flawlessly (which is to sort the children of the proles into the hierarchical categories of usefulness to the Owners). This is the gist of complaint by the justifiably dyspeptic Chris Floyd in his first column of the New Year which focuses on the "war on terror," in this structuralist/systems frame:
The Terror War is not an event, or a campaign, or even a crusade; it is a system. Its purpose is not to eliminate "terrorism" (however this infinitely elastic term is defined) but to perpetuate itself, to do what it does: make war. This system can be immensely rewarding, in many different ways, for those who operate or assist it, whether in government, media, academia, or business. This too is a self-sustaining dynamic, a feedback loop that gives money, power and attention to those who serve the system; this elevated position then allows them to accrue even more money, power and attention, until in the end -- as we can plainly see today -- any alternative voices and viewpoints are relegated to the margins. They are "unserious." They are unimportant. They are not allowed to penetrate or alter the operations of the system.
Foucault got this point and expanded it greatly under the rubric of 'discursive practices.'

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