The Iconography of Evil

Column by Alex R. Knight III

Exclusive to STR

If you ever want an irrefutable indication of what’s wrong with America today, I suggest you have a look at some of the iconography government is putting out there – symbolism, if you will. 
It has long been a known psychological principle that symbols and icons are a powerful yet subtle means to instill certain emotions and attitudes in individuals, including entire groups and populations. Just think of a few you probably encounter in your day-to-day life as an American: The Stars and Stripes. State flags. Dollar signs. Credit card logos. The list is almost endless, and all with one object, more or less, in mind: Influencing behavior.
So note this DEA patch pictured here. It features a skull with a hissing viper behind it and the caption, “Interdiction by Force.” Let’s even set aside for the moment that all forms of government by their very nature are nothing but force. What is the logical extension of the message intended? It’s not too difficult to decipher: If you grow, manufacture, transport, deal, or use drugs – ones we, and the bureaucrats from whom we take orders, at least – disapprove of, we are prepared to kill you. In other words, a person such as whom would actually wear one of these hideous insignias has decided that, rather than allowing people to get high, it is simply better to murder them.
Now when you next have a chance, I suggest you see for yourself a page on Facebook, titled Big City Cops. There you will find both versions of the following skull and crossbones logo. One bears the number 1942 – the year the Axis powers were at the crest of their influence during World War II.
Another is emblazoned with the motto: ODERINT DUM METUANT. This is a Latin phrase last used by the famously deranged and bloodthirsty Roman emporer Caligula. Translated to English, it means, “Let them hate, so long as they fear.”
I ask you: What kind of a person, from whatever profession or walk of life, would wish to adhere to such a philosophy? This is literally the creed of a brutal and unthinking monster.
Observe how these skull and crossbones iconographies sharply (perhaps deliberately?) emulate those of Hitler’s Nazi Waffen SS.
Naturally, Hitler was a master of symbology, and was well aware of the fear-inducing effects of such death imagery. Hence, he made sure his internal security forces were adorned with such morbid attire. As well, the mysterious Skull and Bones society at Yale University, from whom so many future American political figures have sprung, has openly used this icon (supposedly the remains of Geronimo), along with the equally elusive number 322 and rituals about which little is known and even less publicly revealed by insiders.
Knowing all of this, can any reasonable person imagine that anything of a benign or constructive nature could arise from people or organizations who choose to utilize such occult-like images?
Take yourself back to 1950s America. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t old enough to remember it firsthand (I’m not), just conjure the image in your mind. True, I’m sure that not every cop who ever walked a beat was a perfect Norman Rockwellish Andy Griffith, but contrast the policeman of yesteryear to today. In many ways he was indistinguishable from the neighborhood mailman – a local protective figure who helped get the family cat out of the tree, picked up young Johnny if he fell off his bicycle, blew on his whistle and shook his finger at a teenager who might be taking the family sedan through the town common with just a little bit of a lead foot. 
It is a sad and frightening indication of how far things have digressed to contemplate that such a man would be laughed at in today’s police circles. The cops of this Brave New World are dressed, armed, and have the attitudes of soldiers in an occupying army, intent on subduing and smashing an enemy. 
The uniforms are not yet (at least most of the time) camouflage, but otherwise they might as well be boots on the ground in Afghanistan or Iraq. These are the minions who do the bidding of the politicians. They do the bidding of the lawyers in black robes referred to erroneously as “judges.” It must of necessity be an indication of what these politicians and “judges” think of you and I, what their ulterior motives and ultimate game plans must be, for them to turn the other cheek – or even condone – the existence of police forces across the land as hostile and as militarized as these ones now are, with their armored vehicles, riot gear, sound cannons, and surveillance devices. It shouldn’t be difficult to determine their mindset when we observe that, rather than try to relax the atmosphere, they simply pass more and harsher laws, build more prisons using money extorted from you and I, all while they drive us further into insoluble debt and utterly destroy the economy in the name of their own political survival.
We need look no further to understand what government is. It is pure evil. And nothing besides.


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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 153

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales.  He has also written and published poetry, non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues.  He currently lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University.  Alex's Amazon page can be found here, and his work may also be found at both Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  His MeWe group can be found here.


WhiteIndian's picture

The armed violence professional (POLICe, the enforcer of POLITical POLIcy) was one of the first "divisions of labor" of the agricultural city-State (POLIS, or Civilization.) Think about that next time some Austrian school of economic bloviation praises the wonders of city-Statism's (civilization's) "division of labor" (and hierarchy. *)

As long as there are cities and city-people (POLI,) there is going to be aggression, and lots of it. The "voluntary city" is an oxymoron.

Jefferson didn't know about Dunbar's Number ** -- the concept that explains the "behavior sink" *** of humans maladapted to mass societies beyond their neurobiological evolutionary limits -- yet he was a good observer, as follows:

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe." ~Thomas Jefferson

* Egalitarianism is an essential part of human nature; it is the very thing that led to our humanity...

Thesis #11: Hierarchy is an unnecessary evil.
by Jason Godesky | 21 October 2005

** If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it’s physically impossible for this to be a number larger than 150. Most of us do not have room in our Monkeysphere for our friendly neighborhood Sanitation Worker. So, we don’t think of him as a person. We think of him The Thing That Makes The Trash Go Away.

Here we see the essential problem with any large-scale society: we cannot conceive of so many people. It speaks to the very heart of Stalin’s cold truism: “One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are a statistic.” Thus, for any society much larger than 150 people, we become neurologically incapable of maintaining an egalitarian society. Hierarchy becomes necessary, yet the human animal is very much adapted to egalitarianism–and in no way adapted to hierarchy. Cross-culturally, we all have some expectations rooted in that egalitarian heritage. We expect freedom, and we expect to be treated as a human being rather than a stereotype. We all feel some negative feeling of stress when these expectations are not met–as they invariably are not met in any large, HIERARCHICAL society.

Thesis #7: Humans are best adapted to band life.
by Jason Godesky | 22 September 2005

*** As the scientist observed, a social HIERARCHY developed...

Plumbing the ‘Behavioral Sink’
Medical Historian Examines NIMH Experiments in Crowding

WhiteIndian's picture

Since you mentioned symbols — and related them to the professionally violent — I can't help but recall the following essay:

"The need for symbols — and violence — did not always obtain, however."

The Failure of Symbolic Thought
by John Zerzan
(from his book Running on Emptiness)

John T. Kennedy's picture

"I suggest you have a look at some of the iconography government is putting out there – symbolism, if you will. "

Whoa, are these symbols being put out by government, or privately by some who work for government?

Interesting either way, but I think the difference is significant.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

This was a wonderful and particularly accurate depiction of the state of civilization in this horrible train-wreck of a society, which has departed in every way possible from its overt excuse for existence. The anachronistic and silly observations of WhiteIndian above are an example of the intellectual product of arrested cases of development. His assumption is that were are to somehow revere the Greeks! What silliness. The Framers themselves looked with horror upon both Greece and Rome -- and with good reason. In his abject worship of the Greek Polis and its absurd civilization, he must assume that we revere the very people who forced the hemlock on Socrates and destroyed their own civilization from inside-out by bankrupting it on building projects and imposing dominion on its neighbors -- thus increasing the bankruptcy! I suppose if one wishes to model the dysfunctional behaviors of the Greeks, the absurd and criminal miscreants in Washington, D.C. can be said to be the re-enactors of de-civilization.

And to address the actual topic of your article -- something that the swerving intellect of WhiteIndian was unable to do -- Alex, you have reminded us of the parallel paths that democracy took in Germany and is now imitating in the USSA. We now have two systems of courts -- one that pretends to hold sway (with habeus corpus and the rest of the legal framework) and the other that mimics the infamous "people's courts" of Nazi Germany (the off-the-books, secret, torturing, extra-judicial kangaroo courts and assassinations that are used to sweep away people that the government would like to silence lest the booboisie be stampeded away from its devotion to shopping).

Bravo, Alex, for reminding us that -- as my friend Tim once said to me about those who want to wear a uniform in a plunder-based society of coercion: "Larry, you know what's wrong with cops? They wanted to be cops."