Imagine yourself in a position of role-play. Baton at your side. A shimmer at your heart granting you license to harm when need be. A pair of mobile prison tucked to avoid the clink. And all the literal lights and whistles necessary. You’re a cop. A citizen above the citizen. A controller. A regulator. A tool belt at the ready for all the kinks that need to be hammered steady and back in unison.
In Philip Zombardo’s Stanford, the cops were just that, minus all the gear just mentioned. A prison, they had. Inmates, fellow role-players themselves—swept-up off the streets like the real scum and buried away in some educational basement.
The guards became guards. Authoritative. Power hungry, and always on the prowl for more in one of those ‘just cause’ kind of ways.
The inmates became inmates. Mostly docile and always at the bow. Some sustained, but this ‘some’ often broke and more than wore their numbers as they lost their identity.
In the hypothetical stage of life, and in this case, Zombardo’s study, this is entirely controversial. Cruel. Not benign, but the curious cousin of evil.
In real life, it is nothing more than the badge and legal system that protects and serves. We’re not able to peer in on these individuals in the way we can in an experiment. These individuals are genuine guards and inmates, but in a shelled sort of way, in that we only see the arrests and headlines wagging a finger. Occasionally there will be some blight—some corruption to undo gravity, but more often than not, local to whatever’s bigger than the CIA and FBI, most is kept confidential, either in a cabinet or in the recess of the mind.
What similarities do these two groups share, that is Zombardo’s college role-players and those with an actual paycheck behind the shimmer? Simple, they protect and serve.
Zombardo’s cast can be thought of as villainous because they were not actually protecting nor serving anyone or anything. They were given a role at the random and the freewill to do as they pleased, with proper precautionary advice to avoid brutal hostility, although torture at any level is brutal, whether or not bruises set sail or bones are crushed.
Our cast, the mighty blue, the ones we fear mostly when speeding in our automobiles, are villainous in another way entirely. This has nothing to do with the kinship that prevents a cop, or a cop’s family, or a cop’s extended list of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances from ever meeting the ticket at the end of the radar. It has to do with what they are actually protecting and serving, because unlike those in the Stanford study, there must be someone or something to protect, or our law enforcement would be truly unnecessary.
Well, let’s break this down. What can you be arrested for? Murder. Rape. Larceny. Destruction. Threat. And on. And as our abilities to do harm change with the modern swing of things, the list papers on in ink.
I would like to argue that murder, rape, larceny, destruction, threat, and a good chunk of it are survivalist traits. Especially murder and rape, which go un-cuffed among those species that lack the tongue for justice. In nature, animals can be territorial, but I don’t believe they are materialistic. They will kill for their young and fend their circle, but if another living creature Kool-Aid man’s their place of residence or sneaks around back and ‘lifts some items of interest, whether it be sticks or food, I don’t believe they would actively pursue a lawsuit. Even further, I don’t believe they entertain the vengeance that builds then flickers from incident to a burial of all that remains. Rape and murder are just that. Natural occurrences. Defended, but not the permanent inflammation we wear as black and blue.
I would like to argue that modern law serves and protects one thing and one thing only. We must look past what must be considered petty, and focus on the reality of the situation. I am not calling for an uprising. All I ask, or all I encourage, is a deepened perspective. An ability to perceive the hidden weaves beneath the seams.
The underlying difference between us, an experiment, and all the non-law-abiding feather and fur out there, is that our justice system is built to serve and protect the elite. Our law prevents an overthrow. It prevents equality by sustaining the injustice of classes. Little at the top. Lot at the bottom. A pyramid scheme worthy of protection.
Most ironic of all, that would be us. The followers. The prisoners. The law. The elite are not the soldiers of the courtroom, we are. We serve to protect our own inequality in an effort to ensure their abundance of excess. Wage slavery. A little power for yourself. Everybody being lost in everybody. Kept at bay because we allow ourselves to be the victims of their ongoing fortunes.
Ever obvious why the more rung you can ladder, the less you will serve.
Ever obvious why stealing what you truly need to survive can and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.
But how unfortunate, that the threat of a few could topple the many upon many that provide it all, despite having very little themselves.