Thursday, November 11, 2010

Burning Bridges (and dams and highways and power plants and…)

Yes, destruction of physical infrastructure is an important objective.  And anyone who takes out a dam or a coal supply line has my approbation.  But I think Kaczinski’s admonition not to target the fist is good advice. 

A fighter dodges the fist, blocks the fist, tries to get to the soft parts of the body behind the fist.  He doesn’t attack the fist itself.  The superficial infrastructural trappings of civilization, highways, communication conduits, dams, rail lines, all play a “fist” role.  As do—far less metaphorically—the police, the government, and the legal system.  It’s these things that give civilization its “punch”.  But the punch is being directed from somewhere else.

Also, by pointing out the weak links in the system, the destruction of physical infrastructure has an unwanted side effect.  Future structures will be built with an eye to removing the weakness.  In this way random and uncoordinated attacks on infrastructure serve the interests of the system by uncovering points of vulnerability that need reinforcement. 

And the fist becomes stronger.

The forces directing the punch, however, are seated in civilization’s vital and largely unprotected organs.  One good punch to the spleen and it’s all over.

Think, OldDog.  Where is civilization’s spleen? 

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