"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
The State of Lala Land, USA
Technically, Lala land is still a territory. Though the most populous region in the country, the powers-that-be never kick-started the constitutional process to ratify our 51st state ' the state of willful self-delusion. As a former resident and frequent visitor, I don't want to disparage Lala or its people too much. No one makes plans to move there. You sort of pass through at the first highway rest stop and never quite get back on the road again.
The lure in Lala land for people is the Wishful Thinking Wells. There are thousands of them, and people just love to come and stand on their banks and toss in their clipped Federal Reserve coins. Unfortunately, there are all manners of roadside hucksters by the wells hawking miracle cures, free lunches, and all sorts of make-believe crap. What's a body to do? The spiels sound so enticing in the beginning. Even if you're wary of the con men, sometimes it's someone you know and like that you follow into Lala. I say again, it's terribly easy to get lost in there and takes some growing up to get out.
Let me give you my case in point. In my high school group of friends, we had one guy who was a deadbeat and pathological liar. Otherwise, he was a wonderful guy. He was funny, loyal and would have your back in a tight spot. Just don't ask him where he bought his shoes. He may have bought them at Montgomery Ward's department store, but he would tell you K-Mart. There was no reason to lie, mind you, because you didn't care from where the shoes came. Lying was simply as natural to him as stink on a skunk. And since he spent money ' literally ' as if there was no tomorrow, he always needed it and was always concocting some new lie to coax a ten or twenty out of one of us 'until payday.' Well (shameful admission time), we loaned the guy money for years and took turns becoming indignant when he wouldn't pay us back. Of course, because we liked him, we always found reasons to keep loaning him money like 'he has a job this time,' or 'he wouldn't screw me this time after he saw how mad I got last time.' I didn't realize it at the time, but we had followed him into Lala where you sort of like the people, and you're always hoping the latest slice of baloney you keep eating is finally going to be a good piece.
Now, while I will grant that Lala is an easy place into which to stumble, at least pass by the carnival acts on the shoulder of the road and save your gullibility for friends or deadbeat in-laws. A stand with an elected or unelected apparatchik salesman shouldn't even give you a moment's pause. For example, look at the 9-11 'commission/think-tanks/media whores/take-your-pick' booth. Most of the barkers shouting to sell you something are professional liars who've been discredited as recently as 'last month/the day before yesterday.' Still, millions of people stop and gawk. I mean, one supposes a peasant living in southern Italy during the disintegration of the Roman Empire might be excused to go listen to his talking heads babble about the latest economic or military debacle. After all, the report of how someone screwed up and let Germanic barbarians raze a border province of the empire was probably the first and only news he'd ever hear of it. But we're not 4th century technology deprived serfs. Even those of us who've yet to absorb that government-owned and operated security monopolies are systemically flawed by their very nature, every person with eyes and slightly pre-eleven year old reasoning ability need have done nothing more than look at a television on the day itself. No interpreters should be needed to reveal the 'mystery' of how killer fanatics got the drop on our supposed protectors ' it unfolded real-time on the boob tube. We know who was supposed to be on guard at the time. We know which authorities were responsible for keeping those victims safe. And we have news accounts of what these people were doing prior, during and post-event. There's no layered puzzle to solve here; rather simply, a criminally irresponsible bureaucratic state fouled up and keeps fouling up. Uh-oh, here comes the B.S. again with something new to sell.
'Hey, buddy, wanna buy a piece of cakewalk in Iraq ? Oh, that piece didn't taste so good, eh? Here, take a bigger slice! Still no good? Well, Iraq was never my best cake to begin with. What you actually want to try is this delectable double-decker Iranian treat over here.'
Living in Lala Land is one continual string of surprising disappointments, though only for the people who refuse to leave. Until Americans reject its easy shibboleths, a succession of timeshare salesmen will continue to dupe us into one mess after another. To paraphrase an April 12th C-SPAN caller's answer to the 9-11 responsibility question, 'The real intelligence failure that led to 9-11 was the intelligence of the American voter.' No kidding.