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Culture of Impunity

The Culture of Impunity

By David Nollmeyer


Homini homo lupus

Man is a wolf to man…

Thomas Hobbes


The culture of impunity has been assailed far and wide by those individuals and institutions capacitated to uphold both individual and collective rights. The alienation of this duty under the civil state reveals an important lack of unity and or linkage with the culture of natural humans that comprise the nation within the state. It is a certainty that we as humans are individuals before we are a collective of which has the family for it’s first domain. This is to state that the individual must also be responsible for one’s input into the culture (Rousseau).

Here I will discuss culture as the creation of a culture of impunity as an emergent worldview, a dysfunction of those manifest cultural processes that have arisen from our mal-adaptation and return to be systematically, often at the hands of agents of social control, operational to make us more antisocial in the sense of psychopathy.

Anthropologists claim that through evolution human beings are attempting to classify experiences and then to encode such for communication symbolically. Here the biological nature which has some deterministic basis becomes an external linkage that will develop entropy as all mechanistic linkages will. Here the symbolic linkage of learned beliefs, processes, and artifacts that pertain to a culture are both considered symbolic and material.

Within this framework of an emergent worldview there shall be posited the negative valuation of values, norms, and artifacts have in supporting the culture of impunity.

In continuation of this framework would be the economic basis that both helps the production and consumption of these processes not strictly as a manner of creating wealth and storing such in a value but as a mode in which to manipulate those artifacts, technologies, and processes to foster a culture of impunity.

Totalitarianism seeks to isolate the individual or the group ex-communicado thereby destroying the natural equilibrium that is needed for support from the environment. (In the beginning of 2005 the Darfur/Sudan crisis highlights this tactic). The alienation of the individual or group if by organized forces external to one supports fatalism as expounds by Durkheim. Here I am stating an adaptation of his suicide theory. The fate and the condition here of the living is more contingent under conditions of realism of a controlling external power over such. In this light these persons are suffering from dependency. Their own autonomous range of choices and activities may be insufficient to remedy their predicament. Here the need of assistance radiates beyond the territory of the instant case.

The fatalistic agents of control have created a lesser of two evils culture of tacit condonement of the existence of serious violations of human rights. The continuum of this pattern appears now to penetrate and taint all those events of which learned persons have come to define culture in the positive.

As natural systems that are open bound towards the environment, humans need inputs to be sustainable. Activities in the Darfur area of Sudan demonstrate that war by other means can be perpetuated with impunity from the international communities. Polemics and missives are not in themselves a remedy. It appears that perpetrators of these acts assume carte blanche that interference with activities will be minimal or symbolic.

As human systems demonstrate a tendency to organize so then a tendency to totalitarian institutions develop. This is problematic as it is a precursor to the next level of organization. This is systematization of torture. Heinrich Himmler of Nazi Germany is an excellent example.

Himmler was the architect of the German police state and the formation of the death camps. In this degree he began experiments with gassing undesirables to alleviate the stress to German soldiers from having to shoot untermenschen or undesirables. Here history has documented the systematic isolation and genocide against Jews, Roma (gypsies) criminals, gays and lesbians, and those with various biological problems as subject to "the struggle for the extermination of any sub-humans, all over the world who are in league against Germany, which is the nucleus of the Nordic race; against Germany, nucleus of the German nation, against Germany the custodian of human culture: they mean the existence or non-existence of the white man; and we guide his destiny." (Himmler 1936). By 1933 Himmler had organized the first concentration camp in Dachua.

The argument here is how is it possible for an individual as Himmler to organize material and human resources of the state to arrange for the systematic genocide of a specific group of persons without be checked? Here is the context of being dependent to a fatalistic organization. By the time the Allies had entered the death camps in France after D-Day upwards of 6 million people had died.

A dependent circular pattern of abuse emerges. The culture itself has a basis for supporting these organizations. Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler did not act unilaterally. An essentialist perspective at times eliminates the perspective that these operatives had to have organization. The dark point here is that the culture had to have in its basis a foundation for the agents of social control to manipulate. One cannot one hundred percent rule out biological sources but such are beyond any demonstrable proof. In their activities the organization of a paramilitary and military system with obstruction from the courts was essential to perpetuate these horrific acts.

The culture of impunity in itself does not exclusively pertain to genocide or acts of mass destruction. The systematic alienation of rights can begin with only an individual and marginally expand. This may seem incredible but culture itself is not created overnight. Many events as Darfur and the Holocaust have historical antecedents, which are thousands of years old.

Here we cannot models of totalitarianism as Convergent Totalitarianism and Oligarchical Totalitarianism. Here there is a simple loss of right to the government. In this context those in power gain in status and wish to obtain social power from gaining power and or property. This does not exclude systems that claim to be religious, socialist, or communists. 

In the new trajectory the business community is integrated as business expands such has the potential for its resources to be used against the community here the forces of social control simply co-opt the trade and economy to use as a weapon. This tactic is not new it is associated more openly with the Mafia as in Russia. Here although the majority of the population may not be in immediate danger of losing life. A systematic attempt is made to intimidate and extort activities from the population. The use of paramilitary forces in drug trafficking also reflects this pattern.

The United States is not immune from this totalitarianistic trend as domestic social disorders matize with the War on Terror. Here the miscalculation and escalation aid all persons engaged in criminal acts as the government attempts to maintain social order and defend its borders.

In close the concept of an emergent worldview of the culture of impunity  is correct in that most models of culture are abstract and artificially culturally neutral. They do not take into account that the natural human does have a potential for abuse. The current levels of historical cultural outputs must integrate into the models the contingencies of reality. The models of totalitarianism do at least focus on the creation of totalitarianism.

Works Cited

Heinrich Himmler.  Retrieve from the World Wide Web April 20,2005 :

Lieber, Robert J. No common power (1988) USA: Forseman and Company: USA

Rousseau, Jean Jacques. (1968). The social contract. London: Penguin Books.

Culture. Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Retrieve from the World Wide Web April 20,2005 :



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