The totalitarian instinct -- the will to control others' behavior -- has ancient roots amongst faunal and floral species that have survived the great winnowing process of evolution. Eat or be eaten. Defend your turf or lose your place in the sun. Or, in Baby and Tiny's case, above, apply the Think System to the "little people" -- that would be ourselves -- to get the cat food into the bowls. For visual resonance, see also "Lengthy sequences without dialogue."
"When the roots collapse from the acid, the plant loses its integrity and dies. It's like having a building with no foundation -- it's on its way to self-destruction," University of Delaware plant biologist Harsh Bais told a Live Science reporter re phytoterrorist Phragmites australis, "one of the known thugs of the invasive plant world," as Greenman Tim explains:
I have personally spent many seasons in the field combating the spread of this species in sensitive habitats and know it to be a fearsome adversary. The introduced strain of this giant reed has out-competed native Phragmites in eastern North America, altered species composition and wetlands hydrology, and created virtual monocultures in the habitats it infests. It has all the hallmarks that make a plant species an effective invader -- vegetative propagation as well as by wind dispersed seeds, thrives in disturbed areas, able to leap spatial gaps -- and now we learn that it has another arrow in its bristling quiver. Phragmites uses chemical warfare against its neighbors (GWB, take note).
We have seen the devastation wrought by the asymmetric warfare being waged against native marsh species all along Rte I 95 in our travels down east to Goomp's. Able to thrive in both fresh and brackish water, Phragmites has overrun vast stretches of the Great Bog in Portsmouth, NH, and is quickly crowding out the few remnants of saltwater marsh left in our own backyard along the Chelsea Creek. Gory details from the Live Science article:
Phragmites takes this cunning chemical warfare to a new level, using the strategy not so much to keep away other plants as to aggressively conquer them and invade new territory . . .
[Plant biologists] found both invasive and native Phragmites produced so-called gallic acid, a chemical humans use to tan leather. But the invasive plant released the acid from its roots at much higher concentrations than did natives.
Once exuded into the surrounding environment, the toxin targets a structural protein called tubulin found in the roots of neighboring plants. The protein keeps plant roots intact and helps them grow straight in the soil.
Within 10 minutes of exposure to the toxin in the lab, the tubulin of a marsh plant started to disintegrate. In 20 minutes, the structural material was gone.
Phragmites's insidious allelopathic destruction of the roots of native plant species called to mind -- what else? -- the Soviet Union's toxic targeting of our elite cultural institutions -- the government, the entertainment industry, the press and academia -- last century with memetic exudations of politically correct, multi-cultural Gramscian discourse designed to destroy the roots of the Tree of Liberty and replace the shining city upon a hill with the soul-deadening monoculture of a totalitarian state. The Barrister at Maggie's Farm has our number:
[The Totalitarian State] is what governments always tend towards, and it must be resisted by proud, strong free men and women before we all become serfs of The State. If you think that is hyperbole, then just watch, say nothing, and do nothing.
The "political class" isn't wise -- it's crafty and smart, but fundamentally rendered insane by power. It is a governmental disease, akin to alcoholism, and it seems to be universal. Our Founders feared this, predicted it, and made valiant efforts to prevent it.
As we ourselves are forever blogging, Gramscian infiltration or not, "the totalitarian instinct runs dark and deep in our species." A couple of recent examples making the rounds of the blogosphere:
1. Steve Chapman at RCP [via Betsy]: Heady with their unaccustomed majority status, [the Democrats] have decided mere laws are not enough. They want to amend the Constitution . . . The amendment would give Congress complete authority to regulate "the raising and spending of money, including the setting of limits," for any federal campaign.
2. Mike S. Adams at Townhall: The University of Delaware has just become one of the most Orwellian campuses in America. Students in its residence halls are now being subjected to a re-education program that is actually dubbed -- in the university’s own taxpayer-funded materials -- as “treatment” for students who have incorrect attitudes and beliefs.
More elucidations from Perry de Haviland of Samizdata on "The mechanism by which the Total State is being built":
As a result my view is that we in the west are already well on the way to a new form of post-modern totalitarian state (what Guy Herbert calls 'soft fascism') in which behaviour and opinions which are disapproved of by the political class are pathologised and then regulated by violence backed laws "for your own good'' or "for the children" or "for the environment".
Bubba's grating "What if you spend YOUR money WRONG?" and Hillary's equally condescending "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good," blogged here, come to mind. They ought to stop talking and start listening to the voices of those they claim to speak for. But whether or not they listen, those voices are speaking out and being heard, thanks to the new technologies.
"The leftist utopian dream was doomed from the start because it denied the economic logic of nature and human nature," we blogged in "Bloggers are 'cracking, popping, drilling and peeling their victims open'":
The long-repressed voices of opposition in a free society, now ringing loud and clear through talk radio, cable TV and -- of course -- the blogosphere, will force the left to rethink its arguments or go extinct.
Update II: Bloggers really are "cracking, popping, drilling and peeling their victims open." For a pile of evidence, check out Dr. Sanity's latest Carnival of the Insanities.