Friday, April 20, 2018

Follow The Immunity - 4

This series is about the ghostlike phenomena brought about by a wind of change.

I say "a" wind of change, because it is "a" wind of change that becomes "the" wind of change.

The change I am talking about in this case, today, is the metamorphosis from good government to corrupt government (Follow The Immunity, 2, 3).

What is it that precedes the institutionalization of corruption to the point that it infects an entire government, to eventually bring about the decline of a nation or a civilization?

Several things.

II. Today

Today, I want to look at this dynamic from "the other side of the tracks" so to speak.

But, to tease the flow I will first say that around the edges it is a systemic camouflage, a conflation of perceptions to the point that immunity swallows up accountability (When Accountability Is A Plague, 2, 3, 4).

But more than that, it is as subtle as the dynamics of aging swallowing up youthfulness at an invisible speed.

Or as undetectable as a retrovirus hijacking or avoiding an immune system:
"Retroviruses leave a clear trail of their evolutionary history: They borrow a host cell’s enzymes to copy their single strand of genetic material and hide it within the host cell’s DNA. When the cell does get around to copying its own code, it mistakenly copies the virus’ imposter genes, too. Eventually, the viruses burst from the cell, sometimes killing it, but not always. Every now and then, viruses will insert their genetic code into sex cell DNA, and, in these cases where the extra code isn’t fatal, it can be passed down through generations of animals. Some of our own immune system, it turns out, has been shaped by genes from retroviruses."
(Nature). It is a situation where all hands must be on deck if we are to avoid the new corruption posing as "the new normal."

The most important thing of all in the detection of these dynamics is that, as applied to nations or civilizations, the antidote is common sense.

Groups, societies, nations, and civilizations that lose their common sense will lose much more:
"In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Unlike Spengler in his The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilization as inevitable, for it may or may not continue to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual, not economic forces" ...
(Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 5, quoting Toynbee). A 'minority' in this sense is not a racial concept, it is a cognitive concept (how we think).

If the broad-based social foundation (the public) loses its ability to detect social pathogens ("when their leaders stopped responding creatively") there will be an onslaught of activity directed at spreading corruption.

In all 26 civilizations that Toynbee studied, corruption was a fatal attraction which swallowed them up over a span of time.

III. Notice Anything Strange in Government That Seems Incurable?

For whatever reason, there are some graphic examples in nature that detail the dynamics we are focusing on today:
Is propaganda only something that humans do?

For the purposes of this post, we will define propaganda as anything that deceives others.

That is, anything that advocates or nurtures a false sense of reality in others so as to lead a victim or victims into any behavioral pattern that is believed to be real, but in fact is actually unreal.

Additionally, we will expand that meaning to include activity in the environment, the ecosystem of the entire Earth.

This is not being done to denigrate the "natural" world around us, rather it is being done to show that many activities that take place deep within that realm we call nature are behaviors that are not "good," in the sense of Ecocosmology, so we need not define them as "good."

Most microbial life is helpful to other life, only about 1% being pathogenic or harmful to humans, who are composed mostly of microbial cells.

Our first example of propaganda usage is about Sacculina, a parasite:
When a female Sacculina is implanted in a male crab it will interfere with the crab's hormonal balance. This sterilizes it and changes the bodily layout of the crab to resemble that of a female crab ... The female Sacculina has even been known to cause the male crabs to perform mating gestures typical of female crabs ... The natural ability of regrowing a severed claw that is commonly used for defense purposes is lost after the infestation of Sacculina. Although all energy otherwise expended on reproduction is directed to the Sacculina, the crab develops a nurturing behavior typical of a female crab... The male Sacculina looks for a female Sacculina adult on the underside ... then implants himself ... and starts fertilizing ... The crab ... then cares for the eggs as if they were its own, having been rendered infertile by the parasite.
(Wikipedia). Can there be any stronger deceit or propaganda than to deceive a male into thinking it is a biologically functioning female, robbing that male of reality?

Let's take a quick look at two other examples, beginning first with the protozoa Toxoplasma gondii:
If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they're going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-infected rodent, and they're no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat's stomach.
(Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power). The acts of propaganda also take place in order to deceive plant species:
Phytopathogens can manipulate plant hormone signaling to access nutrients and counteract defense responses. Pseudomonas syringae produces coronatine, a toxin that mimics the plant hormone jasmonic acid isoleucine and promotes opening of stomata for bacterial entry, bacterial growth in the apoplast, systemic susceptibility, and disease symptoms. We examined the mechanisms underlying coronatine-mediated virulence and show that coronatine activates three homologous NAC transcription factor (TF) genes, ANAC019, ANAC055, and ANAC072, through direct activity of the TF, MYC2. Genetic characterization of NAC TF mutants demonstrates that these TFs mediate coronatine-induced stomatal reopening and bacterial propagation in both local and systemic tissues by inhibiting the accumulation of the key plant immune signal salicylic acid (SA). These NAC TFs exert this inhibitory effect by repressing ICS1 and activating BSMT1, genes involved in SA biosynthesis and metabolism, respectively. Thus, a signaling cascade by which coronatine confers its multiple virulence activities has been elucidated.
(Cell - Host & Microbe). This is akin to war practices in the days of castles, with draw bridges and moats, in the sense that sometimes enemies would dress up like knights of that castle, then rushing toward the castle would give a secret signal that deceived the guards into lowering the draw bridge, allowing the adversary into the castle to wreak havoc.

What has been illustrated is that propaganda does not exist only in the human realm, and therefore brings the definition of "natural" to the table.

That debate takes place in both politics and law sometimes, so that what is "natural" ends up being defined as "anything that happens in nature."
(On The Origin of Propaganda). These are examples of radical changes caused by an entity intruding into a space where it does not belong.

You have noticed that there are a lot of people, both domestic and foreign, who are observing strange government behavior in the USA (here are a few out of hundreds):
Alarmed by Trump, Obama alums launch campaigns of their own

Former intelligence officers alarmed by Trump's briefing readout

US intelligence officials sound the alarm on the Trumps' FBI attacks

Leaks Suggest Trump's Own Team Is Alarmed By His Conduct

Former DOJ Official John Carlin: Flynn-Russia Controversy Is

Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms

To the five former presidents: You can lead us to safety

Can It Happen Here?

Obama White House Official: 'Alarming' for Trump to Lie
When we see strange things happening to a democracy, together with a growing sense that nothing is being done about it, and together with it spreading to the point government becomes paralyzed, we need to speak up and become a part of the nation's immune system.

IV. Back To Immunity

Our system of government is many things, but one of the (if not the) most important historical aspects is that no person is above the law.

What that means is that we hold government officials accountable for corrupt behavior.

Sometimes the importance of that is lost, so let's review its significance:
"Accountability is the missing conceptual link in the current debate over how best to advance democracy. Democracy affirms the need to justify decisions made by citizens and their representatives: it is a system that connects the values of the individual with the decisions of the collective. The preferences of citizens revealed by fair elections (representation) or organized and definitive discussion (deliberation) are the starting points of democratic legitimacy.
A clearly defined accountability system is crucial to any system of representative democracy because citizens, through their vote, legitimize or give authority to leaders to act."
(When Accountability Is A Plague). Use it or lose it.

V. Conclusion

Corruption must not be allowed to convince us that accountability is the disease rather than it being the cure.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. Be a Thomas Paine in the butt of authoritarians by using Common Sense (link)

  2. "A Complete Disaster": Noam Chomsky on Trump and the Future of US Politics