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"The System" defined by Zimbardo is so pervasive it is proper to give it a special name. Phillip Zimbardo first identified, then illustrated how EVIL it can be. He lived the system in his laboratory and later participated in the defense of a sergeant victimized by the American system at Abu Ghraib. The Abu Ghraib System condemns the lowest-level actors only. The hierarchy is immune from punishment, even if its designers created the system and gave the orders orally. The single officer tried was acquitted of ordering abusive behavior. Zimbardo indicted the entire chain of command, and we do too. At least one signing statement authorized by President Bush reserves the right to himself to decide whether to use torture, never mind that Congress passed a law making it specifically illegal.

Systems generally benefit humanity. Perhaps the earliest system arose in the stone age when early Homo organized hunting and warfare around the advanced tools developed by artisans of the time. From then on, systems came into being in pace with technology. Thus the sailboat, a structural system comprising: 1) a flotation, 2) steering and 2) energy capturing devices, came into being for use by people for good or bad reasons. A jet engine is a sub-system on a more complex airplane system which uses yet another system of airways and airports to transport people and cargo. And so on and on. Society cannot exist without systems.

Political systems undoubtedly accompanied the rise of tribal chieftains in antiquity. Their purpose was primarily a means for controlling others in an organized way. Pack and herding animals do also, just to survive. While animals do not get much beyond family groups, Homo, being inquisitive and bright, tinkers with the political systems and advances. It took millennia to reach the condition we find ourselves in today.

Remnants of earlier systems abound, tribal chiefs and war lords still exist in places where the local system is essentially feudal, often with power inherited. Royal rule was the most successful system of governance of its day. It, too, is hanging around. Nevertheless, the scale of political systems slowly expanded as the more successful models displaced inferior ones by war or other competitive means.

Although the roots of democracy and freedom, are traced back to the Magna Carter, the rule of law predates the charter. The only difference was that the earlier governors enforced their own laws, whether or not codified, a practice dictators in our time still practice.

Underlying all of this is the "system." Systems are now doing battle on the world stage. And many of us do not even realize it, even though we each know "our way is best." When a group of people agree, there is a system. Moreover, systems are as indispensable to civilization as water is to a fish.

One often hears: "The American Way." Every society has its own ways of doing things. So how does this preamble apply in our times? The simple answer is that the US system of governance is corrupt, deeply corrupt.

A Google search turned up the following; it is worth study:

Definitions of corrupt on the Web:
  • corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality; "debauch the young people with wine and women"; "Socrates was accused of corrupting young men"; "Do school counselors subvert young children?"; "corrupt the morals"
  • lacking in integrity; "humanity they knew to be corrupt...from the day of Adam's creation"; "a corrupt and incompetent city government"
  • crooked: not straight; dishonest or immoral or evasive
  • alter from the original
  • bribe: make illegal payments to in exchange for favors or influence; "This judge can be bought"
  • containing errors or alterations; "a corrupt text"; "spoke a corrupted version of the language"
  • defile: place under suspicion or cast doubt upon; "sully someone's reputation"
  • touched by rot or decay; "tainted bacon"; "`corrupt' is archaic"
  • In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse of public office for private gain. All forms of government are susceptible in practice to political corruption. Degrees of corruption vary greatly, from minor uses of influence and patronage to do and return favors, to institutionalized bribery and beyond. The end-point of political corruption is kleptocracy, literally rule by thieves, where even the external pretense of honesty is abandoned.
  • Changed from good to bad, dishonest, to make wicked, to defile. Bible Dictionary

The foregoing reads almost like a catalog of American nature. It is natural that this administration is so closed. The paper trail may be beyond reach (classified for national security reasons--or license for deception?). But the corporate profits are not and they are bloated by the war in Iraq, and more importantly, by the misery of New Orleans.


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