I had a weird dystopian dream recently where I was running away from these evil Agent Smith-type characters who looked just like normal people, so there was no way to recognize them; they could be an old man or a child or a librarian, or anyone.
The only sign that allowed me to tell them apart from real people always came too late: if I ever talked about the dark forces I was fighting, at some point they would say the words “Well, what did you expect?”
As in, what did you expect when you disobey us? What did you expect when you try to stand against our power? Did you think we wouldn’t come after you? Did you really think you could win?
It was a really scary, trippy dream, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
I’ve been thinking about it because it’s such an accurate reflection of how subservience to power actually manifests in our world. You talk about abusive power structures in our world, from police brutality to corporate predation to imperialist military interventionism, and many people are receptive. But you always wind up standing across from some freaky empire zombie saying “Well, what did you expect?”
It really is like a zombie infection, like a virus of the mind which spreads through propaganda and toxic ideologies and leads people to support the abuse of the disempowered by the powerful.
She is 14 years old.
— Brynn (@pcbrynn) July 27, 2020
Whenever there’s an act of police brutality caught on video, no matter how brutal or inexcusable it may be, when that video circulates online you will always see comments saying “Well, what did you expect? That person was disobeying.”
Literally always. Always, always, always, without a single solitary exception. There’s a certain type of mind virus whose victims literally cannot help themselves. They absolutely cannot resist the impulse to start making excuses for the authority figure explaining why it’s okay for them to assault and abuse the disobedient weaker party. You get the impression that they’re not even really thinking about it; it’s an entirely mindless reflex for them. Like robots. Or zombies.
And it’s the exact same mind virus which justifies literally any violence by the powerful against those who disobey them,