How Statism Is a Sickness, and Not Just a Destructive Political System (Scott Lazarowitz)
Sunday August 14th, 2011
From the recent debt ceiling hysterics, we have seen just how dysfunctional America is now, as the Establishment satisfies its short-term, immediate-gratification needs at the expense of the people and future generations. Every subsequent day is increasingly depressing and discouraging, with one news item after another how the controlling rulers in Washington are just rearranging the deck chairs and kicking the can further down the road. Out of the rulers’ own narcissistic selfishness, greed and self-absorption, they continue to increase our financial insecurity and enslavement, and increase the risk of total economic collapse and societal ruin and chaos.
America has been falling apart for some time, and is committing suicide now. But most Americans, oblivious to the realities around them, are unaware that they are killing themselves – with dependence, debt, serfdom – with their statism sickness.
America’s sickness is statism: the anti-liberty, anti-property, immoral philosophy in which people may act aggressively against and enslave their neighbors and covet wealth and property with impunity, and that’s it in a nutshell.
The use of the State, with its compulsory monopoly powers of aggression, has enabled the people to realize their infantile, primitive drives without regard to the lives, liberty or property of others. Statism is the sickness that has made criminals out of decent people. And statism is the sickness with which society has afflicted itself to ruin itself.
Statism is a pathology of human thought and behavior that causes people to passively and obediently lie on the ground while the rulers and their obedient servants walk all over the people, and enslave their labor and torture them with impunity.
What is terrifying is the coinciding of the possible coming economic collapse and the steadily strengthening police state in America.
The Growing Big Brother Police State and Its Subservient Supporters
Thanks to the police state that George W. Bush greatly expanded, people are sheepishly going through high radiation-emitting scanners at airports, putting themselves at higher risk of cancer, and for no reason except to serve the profits of the scanners’ makers, and to serve the porn-lusting cravings of the pervs who get off on the nude images they’re seeing. Or, the obedient serfs get groped and molested in their most private parts. And that’s at the airports, although the "security" statists are taking it to the train stations and bus depots – and shortly this example of the statism sickness will be at the malls, theaters, and, maybe even in your neighborhood on street corners. Government police bureaucrats are already sending out vans to x-ray other vehicles on the streets, and I’m sure they are using those x-ray vans to peek into private homes.
There are already "Smart Meters," the new type of electric meters that enable the electric company, and obviously the government, to keep every aspect of your private home life under surveillance. And, the police are now attaching GPS devices underneath cars to track the owner even without any suspicion of crimes.
Is it fair to refer to George Orwell as a "prophet"?
People who know and understand history and human nature can see what’s coming, and it is not good, and that is what is so terrifying. We have a homeland "security" chief, Janet Napolitano, who wants people to "say something if you see something," so she is encouraging the people to "rat out" their neighbors. Napolitano is encouraging brownshirts, frankly, and this will lead us to a situation in which, when some people don’t like their neighbors, they will leave anonymous tips to the government. Yes, this will happen, because we know what kind of bitter, malicious people there are now in America, especially in this economic downturn, a period of high unemployment and increasing social unrest.
And there will be plenty of people who will think there is wrongdoing going on next door or in their neighborhood, because of a misunderstanding or because something innocent occurred that was taken entirely out of context. For example, a homeschooling family is being tormented by the government because of an anonymous tipster. And a man in New Hampshire committed suicide by immolation because of the State’s campaign against him, and against fathers and the family in general.
The attitude of many government officials, police and military personnel is very authoritarian now. People are getting arrested because of trivial, technical laws that anyone could unwittingly violate, and the police just go "by the book." And because "it’s policy," firefighters stand by and watch a house burn to the ground, or watch a man slowly drown in the ocean.
"The Law" is now being used now to harass the people, collect money for the State, and to act as ego-reinforcements for the goons in blue with badges and guns.
They are arresting people merely for feeding the homeless, for other nonsensical reasons, and for engaging in political activism. A woman in an Arizona town was arrested at a public meeting merely for pointing certain things out during her time to speak. Now, that town is a dictatorship, apparently. And elsewhere, a woman has been charged with the misdemeanor of "unlawfully entering a school bus," which she did because she believed her little boy might’ve been ill.
There no longer seems to be any common sense, there are too many laws and regulations on the books, and our culture has become one in which those in positions of State authority take their power and authority way too seriously.
An example of the gradually increasing corruption of society’s law enforcers is the issue of videotaping police. The good cops don’t mind being videotaped. The ones who don’t like it and react violently toward the videotaping are the ones who know they may possibly (or probably) be violating someone’s rights. They are like cockroaches scurrying away when you turn on the light.
Unfortunately, the job of police officer naturally seems to attract narcissists and psychopaths. The job attracts people who like to have power over others, and who like to bully other people around, be above the law and get away with it. In a nutshell, the job attracts those who are inclined toward criminal behavior, and who are lacking in moral scruples. A government monopoly in community policing and security restricts free entry into that field, it gives the police an artificial authority, and such a monopoly reinforces unaccountability and encourages the bad behavior.
The widespread mentality of those who are afflicted with the statism sickness is an authoritarian mentality, which is antithetical to the philosophy of individualism and to liberty. While I will not dwell on too many psychological analyses of the inner-workings of the typical statist – because I realize many readers are not interested in that – I will state my belief that many statists are conditioned in their childhood to identify with their abusive or neglectful caretakers, and they then transfer such an "unhealthy identity" onto their substitute parent authorities: the State. (And see here, here, and here.)The obedient statists become their tyrants. Believe it or not, some (perhaps many) people even desire to be belittled, treated like a baby, used as a punching bag by authority figures such as police, and, ultimately, tyrannized.
As 20th Century novelist George Orwell wrote in his bestseller, 1984, from a dialogue between O’Brien and Winston (O’Brien speaking):
"The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual….Alone – free – the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal…." Americans’ deference to authority, particularly to governmental authority and police, has been reinforced for a century by their State-controlled education, which indoctrinates this identity with and obedience to the State.
That statist indoctrination has discouraged individualism and has excused (or, in fact, promoted) the State’s authoritarian sadism and cruelty. And as the individual’s own sense of self-worth and motivation toward independence have been constantly crushed by the authoritarians of the government-controlled schools and universities, so many more people seem to be attracted to those positions of power and control that the State provides them: police, government bureaucrats, and especially, politicians driven toward the power of legislation, enforced by the policeman’s guns and bullets.
Our politicians now do not seem to care whom their legislation hurts, and they certainly do not care about putting America at greater risk with their irresponsible increasing debts. Most of our politicians value campaign contributions and votes from special interests to win elections far more than they care about principles. For example, regarding the issue of Israeli settlements at the expense of the Palestinians, Barney Frank, who privately opposed the settlements, was quoted to have said to anti-settlements anthropologist Jeff Halper,
"I’m with you 100 percent... If you bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you, tomorrow morning I change my vote… If you can’t do that… I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians…" And we have seen the pathological extent to which some politicians seem to have merged their identities with the all-mighty State, with delusions of grandeur and God-complexes, such as Sen. Charles Schumer and former President George W. Bush, for instance.
Schumer has stated that he thinks God gave him the role of the U.S. Senate’s protector of Israel:
"You know, my name .... comes from the word shomer, guardian, watcher. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov. And I believe Hashem [Orthodox for God] actually gave me that name. One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer – to be a or the shomer Yisrael." And George W. Bush believed that God chose him to run for president, and then Bush was on a faith-based "crusade" against terrorism. And with these politicians’ delusions of grandeur has been the American people’s deifying of the State.
America’s Militaristic and Economic Statism
Because of the general ignorance of the majority of the American population – ignorance of what their own government had been doing to people in the Middle East for many decades prior to 9/11 – and because of their post-9/11 fears and panic that were exploited by U.S. government officials, the population "rallied around their president" after the terrorist attacks. The indoctrination of statism had caused the American people to support more U.S. government aggressions in the Middle East that have provoked a greater number of its inhabitants there, support a greater police state and infringement of their own rights at home, and support additional bankrupting bureaucracies, deficits and debt.
Further, the authoritarian loyalty to the State practiced by many people in our society now causes them to react emotionally not to their own government’s corruption and war crimes when exposed, but to a military whistleblower such as Bradley Manning, someone who allegedly exposed not secrets whose exposure could have harmed Americans or soldiers, but exposed the military’s corruption and war crimes. Many people respond to that by wanting to punish or kill Manning, not to prosecute the criminals he had allegedly exposed. For a year, Manning, not having been convicted of any crime, has been held in solitary confinement, and has been treated with sleep deprivation and 23-hour-per day isolation. Manning is being treated worse than actual convicted spies.
In the military, there are too many soldiers and officers now who actually sexually assault one another while their senior officers blame the ones who get assaulted. And we have seen just how sick some in the military are in their behavior at Abu-Ghraib and in groups such as the ritualistic "Kill Team."
The American culture has been one in which most people had a good degree of self-respect and respect for others, and would condemn police, government or military abuse and corruption. Now, it is a culture in which police assaults against innocent civilians seem to be brushed aside.
Those who openly condemn abusive police are referred to as "terrorists" in the same unjustified way that Tea Partiers are referred to as "terrorists" merely for opposing raising the debt ceiling.
Economically, some of the sick cruelty in America has involved the compulsory powers of the State to prevent upward mobility and create impoverishment. For example, many people now know that it is not a good idea for low-and middle-income folks to purchase a home they can’t afford with money they still won’t have years down the road. And that it has been shown to be a bad idea for members of Congress to make legislation forcing banks and lenders to lend to those would-be homeowners, involving risks to the homeowners and to the banks.
Supposedly, the government’s forcibly "encouraging" the lending to high-risk borrowers was involved in the 2008 financial crisis (although some people disagree with that), but what banker or lender in his right mind would lend to someone he knows could never afford to own a home? Either an idiot or predator.
And why would Congressman Barney Frank support expanding the legislation that encouraged the risk-taking, following the 2008 downturn? Frank and many of his fellow congressional and activist supporters of "affirmative action lending" that invites predatory lending that has now led to foreclosure fraud are not stupid, and would either have to know what they are doing, or they live in a total fantasy world, or they are sadists.
Western culture has seen a great evolution of advancements since the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, but because of the intrusions of the State and compulsory State apparatus (taxation, regulatory trespasses, central banks, wars of aggression, etc.), and because of decades of immediate-gratification selfishness, materialism and indebtedness, the West has been on a steady decline – a devolution.
The irresponsible oinkers in Washington have raised the debt ceiling once again, and the Federal Reserve will go on to print more money and cause more price inflation that will lead to more impoverishment, crime and civil unrest. The criminal mob violence that some have predicted has begun at the Wisconsin State fair, and in England – those of the lower economic scale are committing wanton acts of violence because they can. That will be followed by an increasingly hungry and desperate middle class doing the same. Statism has caused the devolution of Western civilization.
The statism sickness is de-civilizing our society, our culture, our world. And it is statism that will have been the main cause of the possible impending economic collapse.
Besides Dr. Miller’s prescription of Austrian Economics as the cure for economic illness, the cures for the statism that has caused so much suffering for America (and the world) are decentralization and a voluntary society of private property, total freedom of association and contract, and a return to common sense.
We know that the statists of the ruling class will never let go of their powers. But can the cures be implemented solely by withdrawing consent and participation from the current compulsory State?
Scott Lazarowitz [send him mail] is a commentator and cartoonist at Reasonandjest.com.
Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com