The Coercive State Is the Bill Cosby of Global Society

Column by Glen Allport.

Exclusive to STR

The Internet has been on fire lately with allegations that 77-year old Bill Cosby drugged and raped more than a dozen women over the years. Yikes.

Cosby was a popular stand-up comedian in the 1960s and has been a major show-business success ever since. He did an Emmy-winning stint as co-star of the ground-breaking I, Spy series (banned in parts of the South for the clear impropriety of casting an African-American as an equally-important partner to a white man) and then a number of other network series including the long-running Cosby Show (202 episodes!) and two other television series with Cosby's name in the title, among many other achievements. I count 17 honorary degrees listed for Cosby on his Wikipedia page; he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; his awards and honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. For more than a half-century, Bill Cosby has been hugely successful, popular, and well-thought-of – a role model and purveyor of child-safe entertainment for the entire family.

But now this: If his accusers are telling the truth, the man has been a serial rapist – and those accusers are, sadly, quite believable. Still, it seems worth mentioning that a young and fit Bill Cosby, one of the biggest names in show business, would have had trouble avoiding gorgeous young women (actress-hopefuls and not) who wanted to sleep with him – as Robert Wenzel describes in a recent column. I have my own opinion on the topic, but opinions aren't actual knowledge. I remain agnostic on Cosby's guilt or innocence.

Allegations of rape and other sexual misconduct by Cosby go back decades but have only gained traction with the public and the media recently, and rather suddenly, after Hannibal Buress, a male comedian, called Cosby a rapist onstage in his act at the Trocadero. Barbara Bowman, one of Cosby's early accusers, wonders – in a piece for the Washington Post – why it took 30 years for people to believe her story. Bowman at least partly answers her own question: “I was a teenager from Denver acting in McDonald’s commercials. He was Bill Cosby: consummate American dad Cliff Huxtable and the Jell-O spokesman.” Cosby's intense fame, and the character of that fame, made it unthinkable that he would be guilty of such crimes.

My thesis is that, like Mr. Cosby (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the allegations against him are true), the coercive State has a carefully-crafted, long-running positive reputation that obscures, in this case, an even darker and longer-running series of crimes.

Cosby may (or may not) have committed a dozen rapes, or perhaps even several dozen, over a decade or more. The coercive State is responsible for millions of rapes – in prisons, on and off the battlefields of its never-ending wars, and by armed and unarmed agents of many kinds over thousands of years. These crimes continue in the present day.

Unlike anything Bill Cosby has been accused of, the coercive State has also committed mass murder and done so repeatedly. This is more than “just” the famous six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the death camps or the eleven million total counting additional, non-Jewish victims of the Nazi camps; after decades of research, professor R. J. Rummel estimated that in the 20th Century, governments across the globe murdered roughly two hundred sixty-two million (yes, 262,000,000) people – in addition to war dead, which include 16 million deaths or more in WWI and 50 million to 85 million deaths in WWII. The war in Vietnam killed 800,000 to 3.1 million Vietnamese; a much smaller but still horrific number of 58,220 U.S. service members also died in that war. The United States has been on a serious war streak in the last few decades, threatening and often attacking small, weak, harmless (to the United States, certainly) countries in the Middle East especially (or see here) – Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, and others that have been bombed or droned but not invaded. Death, destruction, and misery are the results; imagine living in the dysfunctional horror we have made of Iraq. To paraphrase a (possibly apocryphal) remark by Senator Dirksen: a million deaths here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking real numbers.

Number of murders Bill Cosby has been accused of, to my knowledge: zero.

But doesn't the coercive State, like Mr. Cosby, at least have a long list of positive contributions it has made to society? Well, no. Unlike Bill Cosby's genuine legacy (mostly of entertainment, but still), what the coercive State has is a long list of fraud, lies, theft, scams, tyranny, and repression masquerading as help, or at least as “necessary evil.” Evil this litany of crime surely is, but as with our aggressive wars, it is only “necessary” to keep the power elite in control and rolling in (our) money.

Examples include:

The War on Drugs – building criminal empires and destroying lives for decades (for generations, actually)

Constant lying to the people it allegedly “serves” – about what it is doing, what it plans to do, how it is spending zillions of our dollars, and – well, pretty much everything else.

Spying on everyone, including those not suspected of any crime – and lying about this and everything else about the Orwellian surveillance State.

Social Security (Don't understand why? Click the link.)

Business and environmental regulation (as opposed to real, uncorrupt, non-corporatist, and effective regulation by market forces and groups, such as Underwriter Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association, both founded in the late 1800s and still going strong today.)

The long-running, ever-larger mess of corporatist “healthcare reform,” which has ruined what was once widely regarded as the best and most affordable healthcare system in the world (TrueFact: As children, my siblings and I received housecalls from the family doctor, paid for cheerfully – or at least without visible grumbling – by our hard-working, not-long-out-of-college father. Yes, housecalls by the family doctor were a real thing, within living memory – until government stepped in to help).

Perhaps government's biggest crimes (because they enable most of the others) involve the monopoly on what we use as money, including coercive legal tender laws that require use of our entirely fiat, tied-to-nothing dollar – despite the Constitution's Section 10 still requiring that “No State shall . . . make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” The dollar was, for over a century, legally defined as $20.67 per ounce of golda critically important safeguard against tyranny and theft by the elites, as I describe in the linked column. Today, the dollar isn't defined as anything at all, and the cleverly-misnamed Federal Reserve can create as many new dollars as it wants, and get away with it – a counterfeiter's dream! (Imagine how many trainloads of dollars have been created from thin air since 1913, when $20 could buy – or rather, was – roughly an ounce of gold). No wonder we can pay for all those wars, all that spying on us, all those prisons, and all the corporate and individual “welfare” that has turned this country from the most productive and wealthy nation on Earth to an increasingly poverty- and despair-stricken hell-hole.

Note that many of the things coercive government now does would be positive – if they were done without coercion. Even a War on Drugs might be positive, if we took the aggression, violence, prison terms, and intellectual dishonesty out of it – meaning if the War on Drugs was a free-market program of education and voluntary treatment for those who willingly participated. How beneficial such a program might be is debatable, but it would certainly not be the violent, expensive, corrupt, and destructive nightmare that the government version is today.

Coercion is a crime, which is why rape is a crime. The allegations against Bill Cosby have gotten millions of people to re-evaluate, or to at least think about, their positive views of one man. What will it take to get people to re-evaluate the positive views they have been taught since childhood about the most destructive force on this Earth – coercive government, an organization defined by its coercive and thus criminal nature?

Your rating: None Average: 9 (1 vote)
Glen Allport's picture
Columns on STR: 111

Glen Allport co-authored The User's Guide to OS/2 from Compute! Books and is the author of The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity.


Paul's picture

"What will it take to get people to re-evaluate the positive views they have been taught since childhood about the most destructive force on this Earth – coercive government, an organization defined by its coercive and thus criminal nature?"

An economic crash ought to do it.

Glen Allport's picture

You've hit the nail on the head, Paul: an economic crash -- a REAL one, an end-of-the-world sort of crash -- might get people to actually rethink things, although I wonder how many will come to reasonable conclusions. In any case, we've got a crash like that coming right up, apparently. My guess is it's coming in the next few months, or possibly later this evening. Wish I thought the results would be positive.

Samarami's picture

The "allegations" against Cosby are obvious divide-and-conquer piffle. Cosby has been lampooned and scuttled. Groupies scorned are loose cannons indeed -- and none volunteer as to why they "happened" to be in his room 10 or 15 years ago, or for what.

You make good analogies here. Keep the hoi polloi wigging and wagging about alleged sex malfeasance by prominent and successful individuals and they will never waver from their celebration of the most evil, murderous group of psychopaths known to man.

Insanity is, without question, the social norm. Sam

Glen Allport's picture

Yes, Sam, insanity IS the social norm. I have to say that some of the womens' stories in this sorry Cosby drama are more detailed and (to me) believable than you suggest, but whether he's guilty or not, the tactic you describe works fine -- just as the Reichstag fire "worked" for the Nazis no matter who started the flames and the 9/11 attacks "worked" for the neocons regardless of who the perps were. Keeping the public focused on trivia, minor scandals, and small-time individual criminals does wonders to keep attention off the Big Picture crimes being carried out daily but ignored by the media.