The state is defined by some as being the entity that has a monopoly on violence.
But there’s more to a society than just who has the guns. There are other forms of control.
I’m more interested in the entity that has a monopoly on normal.
And that entity is not necessarily just “The State.”
What is acceptable?
What can you do?
What can you think?
Who is it that you can criticize? And who is it that you can’t?
And who makes these rules?
There’s this tendency, which I find laughable, of constantly deriding the 1950s as an era of overwhelming, stifling conformity, a boogeyman to be invoked every time we beat our chests and crow about “how far we’ve come.”
And while certain things are better–many, in fact–in other ways thigs today are just as stifling.
Every era has its problems. And every era has standards that you will be nudged to comply with–at first gently, and then with increasingly greater force. Until, eventually, the guys with the guns, threatened or actual, will come pay you a visit. Continue reading “The Monopoly on Normal”