"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
America, $#@& Yeah!
Yeah, I stole my title for this article from the Team America theme song. Maybe I should have titled this piece Two Cheers for America instead, because as someone who has written articles against Bush and the so-called War on Terror for Mises.org and made fun of it on LRC, I'm regularly called anti-American. This is a common accusation that I'm sure is loaded up and fired at libertarians here at STR, too. What critic hasn't become the target for a neocon Two-Minute Hate, filled with all sorts of statist myths and talk radio clich's? As one of them said to me "[Its] not the government that brings about [the] loss of freedoms but the insane radical terrorists. Do not put the cart before the horse."
It seems that as soon as you publish what amounts to a sensible and pro-American critique of what the Bush regime has done to the liberties and future of Americans, banana Republicans and conservatives button up their brown shirts and pound out a furious email screed questioning not only your patriotism, of course, but also your fitness to exist.
As many Americans prepare to vote yet again (surely an expression of hope over experience) to save America from one or the other evil, but in reality for which scoundrel will make their lives miserable for the next four years, (meanwhile voting is still a fraud), if you express opposition to George W. Bush and his vacuous platitudes and nonsensical mumblings, his administration and his spending like a drunken president, you must either be a pacifist, gay, a Marxist, perhaps a gay Marxist, for Kerry, a "LIBERAL" or some other perceived enemy of all that is right, holy and good about neoconized America. Such is the quality of political discourse in modern America.
And of course, by merely expressing opposition to the Iraq War, the phantom war on terror and the despotism of the TSA and other elements of the Fatherland Security Bureau, you are a defeatist, a pessimist and quite possibly, a sissy and a coward. Real Men, of course, support shooting and bombing women and children, and surrendering to the dictates of the political class. We're even disparaged as young and naive, unlike those wizened old soldiers who successfully prevented a Vietnamese apocalypse over America somewhere on the beaches of Kansas or something, right?
But are we critics really the pessimists? We aren't the ones who apparently really believe America faces destruction by terrorists.
In truth, it is the nationalists/socialists at Brownshirt Review, Brownshirt Republic and in the White House (the Brown House?) who are really pessimistic. To hear them wax on the latest perils to face America, she lies completely vulnerable and trusting, near death and blindfolded. Banana Republicans urge ever more war and interventions, lest those evil ('Japs,' Germans, Russians, Chinese, in days gone by) Arabs/Muslims impose a second Caliphate on America's cities and towns, while Americans smile and wave. These so-called conservatives have abandoned any semblance of regard for limited government and instead defend the grossest expansions of state power and assaults on individual liberty in the name of preserving American liberty. For them, apparently Big Government is needed to preserve a little liberty.
America has indeed fallen into dark times, the darkest probably since the censorship and despotism of Wilson's New Freedom, which is also the disgusting name for George W. Bush's mental health Gestapo. Unfortunately, for many today, they have given in to the greatest weapon of State power, the fear of the unknown, and have opted to forego the uncertainties of freedom in favor of the (alleged) security of the State blanket. Most of these right-wing idolaters of the state, enemies of the real America-- peace-loving, liberty-loving, and devoted to commercial, voluntary exchange--are devoted to a strange duopolistic religion, based on verbal fealty to a Jewish zombie, but full-throated cries to the war god. It is the idolaters of Bush and his regime and the U.S. military as a liberating, societal transforming machine (a notion that conservatives would be expected to pour scorn on) who have betrayed America and its ideals. They have sided with the State against the People. For war and against truth. For Power and against Liberty.
A common refrain I hear from the warmongers is that Afghanistan and Iraq have been "liberated." I always ask them if they would consider themselves freemen if America had been invaded and occupied by a foreign military? If a foreign army governed the U.S., would they say Americans were free? Does military rule equate to individual liberty? If it did, so much for the American Revolution. So much too, for these supposed super-patriots.
Thankfully, America is (not yet) under military rule (although "doomsday" planning exists). Even with all that has been done to American society by deluded and frankly evil political interests at the expense of individual liberty and many individual rights, property and opportunities, America still retains those great ideals that we, as critics of the Bush administration, seek to not only defend, but to exercise.
Why do we criticize? As critics of the claims of the state, we often--all too often, we've seen--expose the lies that justify the expansion of state power over individual liberty and voluntary society. By exercising the true values of the Founding generation (but not necessarily all the Founding Fathers), we are defending the true light of America, that light of liberty that shines brightest when it is a model for others, rather than a light funding the military shadow; when it is a conscious choice for others, rather than an echo of past imperialisms.
By criticizing the regime--all regimes--we are not only defending the classical American ideals, we are demonstrating them in action. We critics are demonstrating the sovereign individual rights of being free to exercise our own thoughts and actions, of forming and expressing our own opinions, because we want to be able to buy and sell, to invent, to move around and otherwise live free from the coercive control of the special-interest complex. These ideals live on in rhetoric, but have increasingly become modern-day heresies. By criticizing the growing shade of political despotism, we are demonstrating that American ideals are not dead.
We are anti-Bush, because we are anti-State. We are anti-State, because we are for liberty. And we are anti-U.S., because we are for America.
America's light, that shining city on a hill, has dimmed over the past century, but it hasn't been extinguished. The beacon is still shining, and although the clouds of war and domestic tyranny gather, the light of liberty can still break through.