"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
State of the State
Exclusive to STR
'That government is best which governs not at all.' ~ Civil Disobedience, 1849
A close friend wrote to me: 'They passed the Patriot Act in the Senate today, despite everything. I'm ready to give up. God, it's so depressing.'
Yes, it is depressing, especially to a political activist who believes in the Bill of Rights, rationality, and traditional American decency. While US Senate Republicans have painted themselves as neo-fascists in recent years, their supposed opponents have betrayed their Democratic grassroots base by climbing on the corporate payola wagon, and rubber stamping whatever the Republicans want. Or is something else going on?
I hesitate to think that the three branches of government know what they're doing. They are pushed to and fro like so much flotsam by tides of opinion, influence peddling, and threats. Being human, they must lie awake at night with fear that that the people will see though their smoke and mirrors and identify the raw fraud they perpetuate. They seem to be getting worried about that.
Why do we suddenly need concentration camps in the US? Will the now revealed open spying on US citizens by the NSA and the Pentagon produce so many enemies of the state that, to protect itself, the state needs to lock us up? Torture us? Punish us? Execute us? This is the logic of the feeble-minded. I have one question: When did it ever work? I mean, frightened Congressperson, when in history did attacking your own people ever save you from the wrath of those people? Ask an aide to look it up.
Many of my dear friends believe the US can turn the tide in November. Personally, I'm on record in opposition to voting in political contests. I believe in voting with my money in the marketplace, and voting with my feet out of some political jurisdictions. But since the voting debacles in 2000 and 2004, I no longer need to wax philosophical on the subject: The outcome is determined in advance. Don't bother.
What we are witnessing today is the end of the Western Enlightenment. As usual, the end is predicated on the beginning, and the sole culprit was and is the tacit belief in political government, that is, government based on the use of force and fraud. It never worked. Never. It can't be fixed. Thoreau knew this:
'And when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.'
We should begin to prepare. The State is crumbling.