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My Own Private Auschwitz

Written by: Anonymous Prisoner From the South

Do you wonder why I compare my ever-so-pleasant prison in the South to Auschwitz? Millions died at Auschwitz… And so, an ordinary thought travels, since millions are not dying in the South, then Wireworld cannot be so bad.

After all, the prisoners are still alive.

Yet this dissimilarity at the outset doesn’t dismiss the premise. This is because the dissimilarity emanates from execution, while the similarities emanate from function. From biology we know that form follows function; and the corresponding opposite that function must fit the pattern allowed by form. These are productive comparisons.

Prison is the idea of restriction given physical form; prison embodies restriction. Prison is restriction made flesh.

Prison restrictions are meant to be unwanted. The announced purpose of prison restrictions is to make the prison an unpleasant place, a place to be avoided. This is intended as a teaching tool.

But as a practical matter, no living creature would choose pain; mental pain and physical pain are the tools nature uses to produce avoidance. Humans that choose pain deliberately are usually considered insane. (Doctors have a name for the condition.) Normal creatures will try to avoid pain.

So prison is a double-bind: the pain that might be avoided by rule breaking, and the pain that comes from rule breaking.

Eventually every prisoner discovers that little difference exists between the two options. After ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, these restrictions cut curves into the prisoner’s mind. The curves are necessary to get around the mental obstacles formed by Wireworld.

This is the function that comes from form. This isn’t different from Auschwitz.

This prison in the South is a pleasant place—hot food and flush toilets—but physical amenities, or apparent physical amenities, are only the tricks of pretense. As a matter of normal human nature, prisoners choose to break the rules to avoid deprivation.

This isn’t different from Auschwitz.

And it is clear that the teaching tool trains the prisoners to break rules as a matter of necessity, and then as a matter of habit. Since prison rules are often absurd, prisoners accept—automatically—that a rule is meant to be broken.

This isn’t different from Auschwitz.

Deliberate punishment by the agency provides the balancing force against this human inclination to break unwanted rules. Prisoners will avoid breaking any rule that leads to real, consequential punishment. They detect these important rules with a fear-sharpened eye, and these rules cause them to fight amongst themselves.

This isn’t different from Auschwitz.

Is anything else about Wireworld actually different from Auschwitz?

The Nationals Socialists used the Konzentrationslagers, from the outset, as an instrument of control through terrorization. They built prisons, and filled them with people, to terrorize their social and political opponents. Despite the mutations of their system caused by warfare, they never wavered from that initial purpose.

Forced labor and mass murder were both secondary functions of the Konzentrationslager.

My pleasant prison in the South doesn’t bother with forced labor or mass murder. Does that leave anything to rationalize the purpose of prisons? Well, reduction does leave a single expressed purpose for further examination.

So prison is primarily a means of control, and prison exists primarily as a potentiality. The means of control expressed in prison’s potentiality is not aimed at the prisoners.

The truth? This prison was not built to hold me. This prison was built to frighten you.

Another truth? Mass incarceration was never intended to control crime. Mass incarceration is an industrial process that uses humans as raw material.

Industrialization amplified the wealth of this nation. Industrialization also amplified the potentiality of restriction made flesh. Industrialization applies mechanization to the processes of life, and industrialization now forms the skeleton of America.

I sometimes say this simpler: America is ugly along that side of her face.

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No forced labor or mass murder in SC prisons? Not so sure about that.

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