by  Hagbard Celine

   As  every thinking person has noticed, our national  life  has 
become increasingly weird and surrealistic.  The waiting lines at 
banks  and  post offices are growing longer all  the  time,  even 
though  demographers tell us US population is no  longer  rising.  
The  street  signs more often than not say WALK on  the  red  and 
DON"T  WALK  on  the  green.  You can't  get  a  plumber  on  the 
weekends.  Nobody has been able to explain the cattle mutilations 
yet.   Every survey shows that the price of consumer  goods,  the 
number  of violent crimes, and the eerie popularity of  THE  GONG 
SHOW are ominously accelerating.
   I  believe  I  have found the  explanation  these  distressing 
trends.   Needless to say, I cannot present, in a short  article, 
all  the  evidence which I have accumulated in three  decades  of 
careful  metasociological research; that will have to  await  the 
publication  of  my three-volume study, "Why Everybody  Is  Going 
Bonkers."   Here  I  can  only mention  the  thousands  of  depth 
interviewws,   the   innumerable  flowcharts   and   helix-matrix 
equations,  the  vast  files of computer readouts,  the  I  CHING 
divinations,  and  other rigorous scientific techniques  used  in 
developing  what I modestly call Celine's Laws of Chaos,  Discord 
and Confusion.
   Celine's  First  Law is that National Security  is  the  chief 
cause of national insecurity!
That may sound like a paradox, but I will explain it at one.
   Every secret police agency must be monitored by an elite corps 
of secret-police-of-the-second-order.  There are numerous reasons 
for this, but three are especially noteworthy.

1).  Infiltration  of  the  secret police,  for  the  purpose  of 
subversion,   will   always   be  a  prime   goal   of   internal 
revolutionaries.  This is an ordinary part of the  spy-counterspy 
game.   There  is nothing Weather Underground would  like  better 
than having a few agents in the FBI or CIA, for the same  reasons 
that  the FBI or CIA would like to have a few agents  in  Weather 

2).   Such  infiltration  will also be a prime  goal  of  hostile 
foreign powers, for the same reasons.

   Please  note that these are simple facts of the  secret-police 
game, well-known even to the general public, the subject of  many 
ingenious  plots  in  popular spy  films,  and  not  particularly 
alarming...yet.    Nonetheless,  the  seeds  of  Chaos,  Discord, 
Confusion,  and Paranoia are already here, for the simple  reason 
that  once  a  human  being develops  the  habits  of  worry  and 
suspicion,  he  or she finds increasing justifications  for  more 
worry and more suspicion.  For instance, Richard Q. (not his real 
initial),  one of my interview subjects, became concerned,  after 
ten  years  in the CIA, with the possibility of  infiltration  by 
"extraterrestrial"  agents.   He was eventually retired  when  he 
began  to  claim that demons in the form of dogs  wanted  him  to 
assassinate Laverne and Shirley. 

3).   Secret-police  officials acquire  fantastic  capacities  to 
blackmail and intimidate others in goverment.

   Stalin  executed three chiefs of his secret police in  a  row, 
because  of this danger.  One of my informants claims that  every 
president since the National Security Act was passed in 1947  has 
learned  how to have sexual intercourse without making  a  single 
audible sound, because of the possible electronic  eavesdroppers.  
As Nixion says so wistfully on the Watergate transcripts,  "Well, 
Hoover performed.  He would have fought.  That was the point.  He 
would  have  defied a few people.  He would have scared  them  to 
death.   HE HAS A FILE ON EVERYBODY!" .  Thus,  those 
who  employ secret-police organizations MUST monitor them  th  be 
sure they are not acquiring too much power.
   In  the United States today, the superelite that monitors  the 
CIA  is the National Security Agency. ( And a group  called  "The 
Store" monitors the NSA).  
   Here  is  where a sinister infinite regress enters  the  game.  
Any  such elite, second or third order secret-police agency  must 
be, according to the above pragmatic and necessary rules, subject 
to infiltration by native subversives or hostile foreign  powers, 
or  to acquiring "too much power" in the opinion of its  masters.  
(It  may  even  be  subject, if Richard Q.  was  correct  in  his 
anxieties,  to extraterrestrial manipulation).  And so, it,  too, 
must be monitored by a secret police of the third order.

    But this third-order secret-police (such as Nixon's notorious 
"plumbers",  or more currently, "The Store"). is also subject  to 
infiltration  or  to acquiring too much  power...and  thus,  with 
relentless logic, the infinite regress builds.  Once a  goverment 
has  n  orders  of secret police spying on each  other,  all  are 
potentially suspect, and to be safe a secret police of order  n+1 
must be created.  And so on, forever.

* THUS WHO EMPLOY SECRET                 *
* TOO MUCH POWER.                        *

   In  practice,  of  course,  this  cannot  really  regress   to 
infinity,  but  only to the point where every other  citizen,  or 
until the funding runs out, whichever comes first.

   National Security in practice, then, must always fall short of 
the  logically  ideal  infinite regress which we  have  shown  is 
necessary  to the achievement of its goal.  In that  gap  between 
the  ideal  of "One nation under survillance, with  wiretaps  and 
mail  covers for all" andthe strictly limited real  situation  of 
finite funding, there is ample encouragement for paranoias of all 
sorts  to  flourish.   In short, every  government  that  employs 
secret-police agencies must grow more insecure, not more  secure, 
as  the  strength, versatility, and power  of  the  secret-police 
agencies grow.
   For  instance, a certain left-wing nation which  has  employed 
secret-police  agencies  for 61 years has now reached  the  point 
where  the  leaders  are terrified of  painters  and  poets.   In 
another, right-wing nation infested with secret-police  agencies, 
several  purges  have been caused by three practical  jokers  who 
regularly  call  middle-rank officials on the phone and  talk  in 
what appears to be a code.  The secret police, of course, are  no 
fools,  and  are aware that this might be what it in fact  is,  a 
form of anarchist humor; but they can't be sure.

   What  usually  happens  in such cases  is  this:  an  official 
receives  one  of these mystery calls, saying  perhaps  "Pawn  to 
queen rook five. No wife, no horse, no mustache.  A boy has never 
wept  nor  dashed  a thousand kim."  He  knows  immediately  that 
surveillance upon him will be increased tenfold.  In the next few 
days,   while  memories  of  all  his  mistakes,  small   bribes, 
incautious  remarks,  and other incriminating  events  haunt  his 
imagination,  he observes the increased surveillance, and  begins 
to  suspect even the most loyal of his subordinates  of  watching 
him  with  eyes  that  miss  nothing  and  to  give  a   sinister 
interpertation  to  everything.   Within  ten  days,  he  usually 
attempts  to  contact  a  foreign  goverment  to  seek  political 
sanctuary, and the secret-police net closes on him.

   By  the  same  process  of worry leading  to  more  worry  and 
suspicion  leading to more suspicion, the very act of  joining  a 
ecret-police  organization will eventually turn a man  or  woman 
into a clinical paranoi; in layman's terms, "bananas" or  "wigged 
WHO IS SPYING ON HIM!  Could it be his wife, his girl friend, his 
secretary, the newsboy, the Good Humor man?
   For these reasons, secret-police agents develop elaborate  and 
complex  theories  to  account for what  is  actually  going  on.  
According  to  one  of my tables of data, there  isn't  a  single 
theory  held  by professional conspiracy buffs which  isn't  also 
believed  by many members of our various secret-police  agencies.  
In  fact, the exact percentages of believes in these  extravagant 
scenarios are quite similar among a group of 1,000 CIA agents and 
a  control  group of 1,000 readers of the underground  press,  as 
shown in table 1.

Table 1.  True Believes in various Conspiracy Theories Among  CIA 
Agents and Underground-Press Readers.
::                        ::     :: UNDERGROUND PRESS          ::
::CONSPIRACY THEORY       :: CIA ::                  READERS   ::
::The Yankees (Eastern    ::     ::                            ::
::millionaires) run       :: 25% ::            30%             ::
::everything              ::     ::                            ::
:: The Cowboys(Western    ::     ::                            ::
:: millionaires) run      :: 25% ::            15%             ::
:: everything             ::     ::                            ::
:: It's the result of     ::     ::                            ::
:: civil war between      :: 23% ::            17%             ::
::Yankees and Cowboys     ::     ::                            ::
::It's the 33 degree      ::     ::                            ::
::    Masons              :: 5%  ::             5%             ::
:: It's the Jesuits       ::  5% ::             5%             ::
::It's the Elders of Zion ::  2% ::             2%             ::
::It's the Military       ::     ::                            ::
::Industrial Complex      ::  1% ::             2%             ::
::It's the Bilderbergers  ::  1% ::             2%             ::
::It's the Gnomes of      ::     ::                            ::
::              Zurich    ::  1% ::             2%             ::
::It's the Lesbian        ::     ::                            ::
::      Vegetarians       :: 10% ::            28%             ::
::It's the Rock n Roll    ::     ::                            ::
::     Empire             ::  2% ::             2%             ::

a).  Source:  Gallup, Roper, and Hogtied, "WHO'S  WATCHING  WHOM" 
(Washington, DC: US Goverment Printing Office, 1979), p. 432.

b).  All figures are percentages. Figures do not add to 100,  for 
a  variety of reasons.  For a list of them, please send 25  cents 
and  a list of suspicious persons in your neighborhood to the  US 
Dept. of Bedding, Washington DC 20001.

c).  Includes those who blame it all on the Bavarian  Illuminati; 
those  who  hold  a multiconspiracy  theory  (e.g.,  the  Lesbian 
Vegetarians are allied with the Yankees and Bilderbergers against 
the  Cowboys, the TV Networks, and the Cattle Mutilators);  those 
who  believe  it is all part of the UFO Cover-Up; and  those  who 
claim  that demons in the form of dogs told them  it's  connected 
somehow with the alligators in New York's sewers.


   Now, Table 1 clearly gives a picture of a rather  schizzed-out 
nation.   This is the result of the impossible  infinite  regress 
and its resultant of worry leading to more worry.
   Furthermore, if there is a secret police at all, in any nation 
you  care  to  imagine,  every  branch  and  department  of  that 
country's government becomes suspect, in the eyes of cautious and 
intelligent people, as a possible  front or funnel to the  secret 
police.   (That is, the more shrewd citizens will recognize  that 
something  titled a branch of the HEW or even PTA might  actually 
be  run by the CIA).  Inevitably, the government as a whole,  and 
many  nongovernmental  agencies, will be regarded  by  reasonable 
persons  with fear and trepidation.  Proverbs like "One can't  be 
too  careful  these days" and "Better safe than sorry"  become  a 
kind of sinister folk wisdom.

   But  further  yet: any government which already has  a  secret 
police  (and a secret police monitoring the secret police,  etc). 
will   become  alarmed  on  observing  that  its  more  hip   and 
intelligent citizens now regard it with loathing and  misgivings.  
The government will therefore increase the size and powers of the 
secret  police.   This  is the only  rational  move,  within  the 
context of the secret-police game.

* FRONT FOR THE CIA!         *

   (The  only  alternative was once  suggested  sarcastically  by 
playwright  Bert  Brecht, who said, "If  the  government  doesn't 
trust  the  people, why does'nt it dissovle them  and  elect  new 
people?"  No way has yet been invented to elect a new people;  so 
the  police  state will instead spy on the existing  people  even 
more vigorously).
   This,  of  course,  creates additional paranoia  in  both  the 
governors  and  the citizens, because  a  suffciently  pugnacious 
secret  police  will  eventually  "have  a  file  on  everybody," 
including  its  own  creators.  This leads  to  another  infinite 
regress:  the  more people will loathe the government,  the  more 
power will be given to the secret police. 
   Thus,  whether any of the hypothetical conspiracies  mentioned 
earlier  really exist or not, a system of  clandestine  goverment 
inevitably produces, in both the rulers and the ruled, a mood  of 
paranoia in which such conspiracy theories flourish.
   This escalating sense of suspiciousness is accelerated by  the 
fact  that every secret-police organization engages in  both  the 
collection  of  information and  the  production  misinformation.  
That  is,  you  score points in the secret-police  game  both  by 
hoarding  signals (information units)---that is, by hiding  facts 
from  competitive players---and by foisting false  signals  (fake 
information  units)  on  the other  players.   This  creates  the 
situation which I call Optimum Fuckup, in which every participant 
has  rational  (not neurotic) cause to suspect that  every  other 
player may be attempting to deceive him, gull him, con him,  dupe 
him, and generally misinform him.  As Henry Kissinger is  rumored 
to  have  said,  "Anybody  in Washington  these  days  who  isn't 
paranoid is crazy!"
   One  could generalize the remark: anyone in the United  States 
today who isn't paranoid must be crazy!!!

* NEW PEOPLE?"                   *

   The   deliberate   production  of   misinformation   (or,   as 
intelligence    agencies    more   euphemistically    call    it, 
disinformation)  creates a situation profoundly  disorienting  to 
the philosopher, the scientist, and the ordinary Joe who wants to 
know  the  best time to go to the bank.  The desire  to  discover 
"what-the-hell-is-really-going-on"  (the  definition  of  science 
offered  by  physicist Saul-Paul Sirag) is  totally  incompatible 
with  the circulation of disinformation; we all need to know,  at 
least roughly, what the hell is really going on if we are not  to 
stumble around like blind robots colliding with things we weren't 
told were there. 
   Maybe  the  UFO's  really  exist---or  maybe  the  whole   UFO 
phenomenon is a cover for an intelligence operation.  Maybe there 
are  black  holes  where space and time  implode---or  maybe  the 
entire  black-hole cosmology was created to befuddle and  mislead 
Russian scientists.  Maybe Jimmy Carter really exists---or  maybe 
he  is,  as the National Lampoon claims, an  actor  named  Sidney 
Goldfarb specially trained to project the down-home virtues  that 
the  American people nostalgically seek.  Perhaps only three  men 
at  the  top  of the National Security Angency  REALLY  know  the 
answers  to  these questions---or perhaps those three  are  being 
deceived by certain subordinates (as Lyndon Johnson was  deceived 
by  the CIA about Vietnam) and are as disoriented as the rest  of 
us. Such is the logic of a Disinformation Matrix. 
   Personally, I find it easier to believe in UFO's than in black 
holes  or Jimmy Carter; but that may just indicate the damage  to 
my  own brain caused by the Optimum Fuckup of the  Disinformation 
   According  to  a recent survey 19 per cent of  the  population 
believe  the  moon landings were faked by Stanley Kubrick  and  a 
gang of special effects experts.  Perhaps these archskeptics  are 
the  sanest  ones left among us.  Who among the readers  of  this 
file  has a security clearance high enough to be ABSOLUTELY  sure 
that these ultraparanoids are wrong?

   This  general  tendency toward chaos discord,  and  confusion, 
once  a  secret police has been established, is  complicated  and 
accelerated   by   Celine's  Second  Law,   to   wit:   "Accurate 
communication  is  only possible in  a  nonpunishing  situation."  
This is a very simple statement of the obvious, and means no more 
than  that  everybody  tends to lie a little, to  flatter  or  to 
protect  themselves, when dealing with those who have power  over 
them, especially the power to punish.  (this is why communication 
between parents and children is notoriously befoolzled).  
   Every authoritarian structure can be visualized as a  pyramid, 
with  very few at the top and very many at the bottom, as in  the 
flowchart  of  any  corperation or bureaucracy.   On  each  rung, 
participants  bear  a burden of nescience in  relation  to  those 
above them.  That is, they must be very, very careful that  their 
natural  sensory activities as conscious organisms---the acts  of 
seeing,  hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, drawing  inferences 
from  perception,  etc.---be in accord with the wishes  of  those 
above  them.  This is absolutely vital; job security  depends  on 
it.   It  is much less important---a luxury that  can  easily  be 
discarded---that  these  perceptions  be in  accord  with  actual 


   For instance, in the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, the agent  had 
to  develop  the capacity to see godless  communists  everywhere.  
Any  agent whose perceptions indicated that there  were  actually 
very  few  godless  communists  anywhere  in  this  country  wold 
experience  what psychologists call cognitive dissonance: his  or 
her  reality grid was at variance with the official reality  grid 
of  the  pyramidal  authority  structure.   To  talk  about  such 
divergent  perceptions  at all would be to invite  suspicions  of 
eccentricity, of intellectual wiseacreing, or of being oneself  a 
godless  communist.   The  same  would  apply  to  any  Dominican 
Inquisitor  of earlier centuries who lacked the capacity  to  see 
witches  everywhere.   In such authoritarian  situations,  it  is 
important  to see what the authorities see; it  is  inconvenient, 
and possibly dangerous, to see what is actually there. 
   But this leads to an equal and opposite burden of  omniscience 
on  those  at the top, in the Eye of the  authoritarian  pyramid.  
All  that  is forbidden to those at  the  bottom---the  conscious 
activities  of perception andand evaluation---is demanded of  the 
master classes, the elite and the super-elite.  They must attempt 
to do the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling,  thinking, 
and decisionmaking for the whole society. 
   But  a man with a gun (the power to punish) is told only  what 
his  target thinks will not cause him to pull the  trigger.   The 
elite,  with  their burden of omniscience, face  the  underlings, 
with  their  burden  nescience, and  receive  only  the  feedback 
consistent  with their own preconceived notions.  The  burden  of 
omniscience becomes, in short, another and more complex burden of 
nescience.  Nobody really knows anything anymore, or if they  do, 
they are careful to hide the fact.
   As  the national security paradigm approaches (or attempts  to 
approach)  the ideal infinite regress  of  spies-spying-on-spies-
spying-on-spies,  etc., the resultant general trepidation  causes 
all  persons to hide anything they know (if it differs  from  the 
official reality), not only from their superiors, but from  peers 
and inferiors as well.  Anybody, after all, might be part of  the 
nth-degree secret police.  "One can't be too careful these days."  
The  burden of nescience becomes omnipresent.  More and  more  of 
reality becomes unspeakable.  
   But  as  Freud  noted, that  which  is  objectively  repressed 
(unspeakable) soon becomes subjectively repressed  (unthinkable).  
Nobody likes to feel like a coward and a liar constantly.  It  is 
easier to cease to notice where the official reality grid differs 
from  sensed experience.  Thus Optimun Fuckup  gradually  becomes 
Terminal  Fuckup, and rigiditus bureaucraticus  sets in; this  is 
the last stage before all brain activity ceases, and the  society 
is intellectually dead.  
   Celine's Third Law is like unto the first two, and holds  that 
AN HONEST politician is a national calamity.
   At  first  glance,  this seems preposterous.   People  of  all 
shades  of opinion agree that at least on the axiom that we  need 
more honest politicians, not more crooked ones.  Please remember, 
however,  that people of all shades of opinion once  agreed  that 
the Earth is flat.
   Your  typical dishonest politician (bocca grande normalis)  is 
interested  only  in enriching himself at the public  expense,  a 
goal  he  shares  with most of his  fellow  citizens,  especially 
doctors  and  lawyers.  This is normal behavior for  our  primate 
species,  and society has always been able to endure and  survive 
* HIDE THE FACT!               *

   An  honest  politician (bocca grande giganticus) is  far  more 
dangerous.  He or she is sincerley commited to bettering  society 
by  political  action.  In practice, that means  by  writing  and 
enacting  more laws.  Indeed, many groups of idealistic  citizens 
publish  rating sheets on politicians every year, and  those  who 
have created more laws are estimated as having higher value  than 
those  who are frequently absent when bills are voted upon.   The 
assumption  is  that  adding  more laws to  statute  books  is  a 
positive achievement, like adding more money to our paychecks  or 
more art works to a museum. 
   A  little thought, however, shows that this assumption is  not 
tenable.   Every  law  creates a whole new  criminal  class;  for 
instance, when marijuana was illegalized in 1937, several hundred 
thousand   formerly   law-abiding   citizens   became   criminals 
overnight, by Act of Congress.  As more and more laws are passed, 
more and more citizens become criminals.  The chief cause of  the 
rising crime rate is the rising number of laws being enacted.  An 
honest   politician,  who keeps his nose to  the  grindstone  and 
enacts several hundered laws in the course of his career, thereby 
produces as many as several million new criminals.   

   It  is furthermore mathematically demonstrable that  the  more 
laws there are, the more restrictions there are on the freedom of 
the  individual.  If there were, say, only three laws in a  given 
society---e.g.,  Thou shalt not kill; thau shalt not steal;  thou 
shalt not lie or defraud---there would be only three restrictions 
on freedom, which all rational persons would accept as  obviously 
necessary  to the maintenance of order.  When there  are  several 
hundred thousand restrictions on freedom, most of which are  felt 
as extremely irksome by large segments of the populace.
   In  fact,  it would take a brigade of lawyers  several  weeks, 
minutely  examining  your  affairs, to determine  if  you  are  a 
criminal.   Certainly,  no  ordinary  citizen  has  the  time  or 
research facilities to discover if he or sshe is in violation  of 
one out of skillions of laws currently on our statute books.   In 
many  cases,  two  lawyers  consulted  independently  will   give 
opposite  opinions about whether or not a given course of  action 
is in violation of the statutes.
   And  new  laws  are being enacted all  the  time.   Obviously, 
unless  there is a sudden paper shortage, the number of  laws  on 
the books will eventually reach the point satirized by T.H.White, 
in  which  "everything not prohibited is compulsory."   It  would 
then  probably only take a few years or decades more for a  cadre 
of honest politicians diligently writing even more laws to  reach 
the  complementary  point  where "everything  not  compulsory  is 

   At  that  stage the nightmare world of Orwell's 1984  will  be 
achieved.   Crooked politicians, merely interested in the  normal 
human  activity of making themselves rich and comfortable,  could 
never  create  that ultimate horror; but  honest  and  idealistic 
politicians  bring us closer to it every day, with every new  law 
they enact.
   These three generalizations---that national security  produces 
national     insecurity;    that    authoritarianism     produces 
miscommunication and eventual idiocy; and that honest politicians 
are  a plague upon society---will be found to fully  explain  the 
Decline  and  Fall of Rome, the Decline and Fall of  the  British 
Empire, and the Decline and Fall of any country you care to name.  
They  are  as universal as Newton's laws of motion and  apply  to 
ALL cases.  Of course, the American Sociological Association says 
I  am mad.  Mad, am I?  They said the Wright Brothers  were  mad.  
They  said  Edison  was mad.  They said  Baron  Frankenstein  was 

HABARD  CELINE was trained in contract law and naval  engineering 
but claims he acquired his real education playing the piano in  a 
whorehouse.   He  is  captain  of  the  world's  largest   yellow 
submarine,  the  Leif Erikson, and president of  Gold  and  Appel 
Inc.,  an   import-export firm that has  frequently  aroused  the 
suspicions  of  law  enforcement agencies ("137  arrests  and  no 
convictions," Hagbard brags).  Some claim that he is a master  of 
disguise  and  has  successfully passed himself  off  under  such 
alternative  identities  as Howard Cork, Carl Cory,  Hugh  Crane, 
Clutch  Cargo, Captain Nemo, etc., and has appeared in  countless 
epics and sagas.
I am mad.  

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