The Heavenly Surveylance Network of the Imperial Court [ was: I-P: Capitalism vrs. commies ]

Bill Humphries bill@whump.com
Fri, 8 Mar 2002 21:13:13 -0800


On Friday, March 8, 2002, at 08:50 PM, Kelley wrote:

> At 01:05 AM 3/9/02 +0000, Ian Welsh wrote:
>> From: "John Hall"
>>
>> Absolute despotism does not a totalitarian state make. The first Chinese
>> Emperor had absolute political power, but he did not and could not have
>> aspired to have a totalitarian society.
>>
>> Why not?
>
> because Totalitarianism, so the theory goes, requires the ability to 
> engage in mass communication and, therefore, mass control of the populace.
>  totalitarianism requires modernity, IOW.

I think there are some low-tech ways to enforce that. An example Stan 
Robinson uses in _The Years of Rice and Salt_ is how the Manchurian 
Emperors forced men to wear their hair in a (wanders off to find the right 
spelling) queue as a sign of submission. Cutting it off was a major 
offense and signal to the powers-that-be.

I remember a short story from the Atlantic Monthly (a search of their 
archives returns no love) about a youth who accidently breaks the 
omnipresent household picture of Mao during a bout of lovemaking, which is 
noted by ubiquitous sensor net of 'aunts and grandmothers', and in turn 
gets him in trouble.

I agree that Kelley's analogy of the 'converted' rather than the 'enemy-of'
  is a better metaphor for Sowell.

-- whump