"People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal 'families' — there has been no end to the varieties of human collectives, but it seems to me that these examples have quite a lot in common. I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob." ~ Jaron Lanier
Turning the World to Crap
Try as he might, President Bush will never prove that he is a capable leader, just as his staunch supporters will never prove that they are capable of rational thought. No, the only thing President Bush continues to demonstrate is that government success is measured by its colossal failure. Death, destruction, despair, and suffering are the ageless achievements of government.
Enough Americans still like to delude themselves into believing that their government promotes harmony, ends suffering, and creates plenty, solely because we're the 'good guy' in the world. It is holy writ for many that our government does good things for us and people around the world. Whenever our government undertakes any mission, it is as much for the good of the affected foreign population and even the world, as it is for the American people.
If our government kills and maims people in another country, confiscates and destroys their possessions, and lays waste to the infrastructure of their society, you can bet that our government has a good reason for doing it. Our government, inherently benevolent, would only act 'defensively.' If some distant people are to be pulverized, surely they must pose a legitimate threat to our freedom and security.
Perhaps those pulverized, their leaders, and their degenerate society were just plain evil, so they got what they deserved. Maybe they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time when the bombs started falling. Regardless, the reduction of 'collateral damage' due to advanced weapons demonstrates that those chosen by our government for future destruction will be exterminated under the most 'humane' conditions, as was said recently by President Bush.
Who are we to challenge the judgment of democratically elected leaders, men and women who we chose through free elections to protect and guide this nation? Such talk is heresy, criminal, and most certainly un-American, perhaps even treasonous: questioning democratically elected and divinely inspired leaders during a national crisis. Why, if we allow such behavior to continue unpunished, the enemies of freedom, righteousness, and women's rights throughout the world will be empowered by our lack of resolve. It will be Munich , 1938, all over again.
The crowd that still holds faithful to this philosophy doesn't get it about government and never will. They cling to a Pollyanna-ish view of government. Government protects them and their families from bad guys, ensures justice and fairness, and builds roads and schools. Government regulates the economy, promotes prosperity and 'full' employment, and provides for those who fall through the cracks in the capitalist system. Government protects the water supply from contamination, keeps the air breathable, and replenishes the soil with nutrients. In this fantasy world, government ensures life itself.
The reality of government is quite different. Many Americans will deny and even take offense at the suggestion that their government, in principle, and, to a large degree in practice, is no different than the most oppressive governments in the world today. For every Iraqi that the Bush administration parades before the world media claiming to be better off with Saddam gone, there are ten who claim the opposite.
Like all oppressive governments, our government murders, kidnaps, intimidates, and imprisons scores of its own citizens on the flimsiest of pretenses. It steals citizens' property through taxation, devaluation, and confiscation. Our government grants special privileges to some groups at the expense of others. It criminalizes commerce, activities, and speech offensive to its sense of morality and assumes self-anointed authority to protect the people from debauchery and degradation.
Rather than protect our God-given liberties, our government erodes them at will to 'balance' individual freedom with the 'needs' of the state. Because all of this is done under the pretense of democracy and the 'will of the majority,' our government rejects the strict scrutiny it demands be applied to other governments, especially those it brands as oppressive and tyrannical.
Americans, constantly brow-beaten by Nazi-like propaganda techniques, acquiesce and see other governments exactly as their government commands. Predictably, they see their own government as virtuous and above criticism. To do otherwise would be an admission of poor judgment and gullibility; after all, it was the democratic process that gave them the 'right' to choose their leaders.
At least since the start of the Twentieth Century, the judgment of history has been clear: all government is tyrannical. The manner in which various governments have been constituted over the last hundred years does not offer immunity from this judgment, either.
In a scathing indictment of governments in the Twentieth Century, R. J. Rummel wrote in Death by Government, '170 million men, women, and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; burned alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners.' Americans, no doubt, will look upon that portion of men, women, and children who died at the hands of their government as necessary sacrifices in the cause of defending freedom.
Doug Casey offered a comparatively milder, but no less accurate, indictment of government. In an essay titled, 'The Essence of Government,' Casey wrote, 'Government sponsors untold waste, criminality and inequality in every sphere of life it touches, giving little or nothing in return. Its contributions to the commonweal are wars, pogroms, confiscations, persecution, taxation, regulation, and inflation.'
Americans must accept that their government is not, and has never been the 'good guy' in the world. Now, more than ever, it has become what Richard Maybury has called 'an alien city-state that rules America , and much of the rest of the world, in the way that Rome ruled the Roman Empire .' Rome eventually bore responsibility for the destruction of the world it created. In the end, it was government that facilitated the decay and destruction of the Roman Empire . As history has taught, government ultimately fails and leaves misery and death in its wake.
Perhaps the accomplishments of government were summed up best by Ringo Starr, who said, 'Everything government touches turns to crap.' The judgment of history couldn't have said it better.