Just about a week ago I read an article by Wendy McElroy over at Mises.Org titled ‘Grappling with the Banality of Evil‘ that got me thinking. Banality was not a term in my lexicon that I ever used, if it were ever in really my lexicon at all. It sounded familiar, but it was not clear. So I did like I always do, I looked it up and looked for it’s origin. The modern definition is ‘common in a boring way, predictable’ but this is not how Wendy was using it, nor how I understood it.
McElroy was using it in a compulsory sense describing how war atrocities are banal in a legal, coercive, and excusing sense, and low and behold the term derives from Medieval Latin ‘bannalis’ meaning ‘pertaining to compulsory feudal service, command, proclamation’. It is Legal Evil. This made more sense and as I stated above, it got me thinking. It got me thinking about the Evil of Banality itself.
Banality is Feudalism. It is compulsory service. It is the Authority behind the “I was just following orders” excuse so often used by Government Employees and their Employer. It is Legal Plunder, Legal Slavery, and Legal Murder all committed under the Banner of Law. But Banality is more than that, it not only is the Excuse of Atrocity, it spreads culpability so thin it never hurts those behind the Authority.
Worse yet, culpability is ultimately placed upon the system of government for which those who are offended pay for and are forced to depend upon. Think Law Enforcement murders an innocent in the line of duty, accident or not. The Officer may be punished, but it is the City with money so ‘they’ get sued and ‘they’ pay the most while the People get to reimburse the City. You start to wonder whether justice should be served since the innocent are once again offended, again under the Banner of Law.
(There is a difference between Law Enforcement and Peace Keeping so don’t take the analogy too far or suppose that I seek a community without a Sheriff or Order, quite the contrary)
Now this is a huge subject, somehow I never choose (or perhaps they do not choose me) simple subjects, so this is a good place to stop. I will pick certain Banalities of Government (Compulsory/Mandatory Evils) to write about in the near future, but I would like for you to ponder the Banality (Gov’t Mandated Planning) of our Government and how it affects your daily life.
Life is a Journey and the End is Far . . .