The other day while reading the news, I stumbled across a particularly revealing peace on USA Today that was shared through the Rational Review News Digest, wherein the author discussed that Democrats could not rely on “preventing the government from getting anything done” as a tactic, because the core of the liberal philosophy is that the government should be doing stuff.
The author obviously has a point. Stalling the government, and even shutting down the government, is a tactic that works for conservatives and Republicans because, at least in the uninformed public eye, Republicans are the party that doesn’t want the government doing stuff in the first place. Republicans want a small government that doesn’t do much, so being a wrench in the gears that prevents anything from getting accomplished is a means to that end. As for what Republicans really want, I’ll put it briefly by saying that if Republicans actually wanted small government, then I’d be a Republicans. Republicans are totally fine with a big government that enforces socially conservative policies, such as giving the state the authority to tell people what gender they are.
It’s almost perplexing that we could even reach this point in the United States of America, a nation founded by people who said things like:
- “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.” — Thomas Paine
- “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America [the government] cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. ” — Noah Webster [Not really about evil government, but critically important nonetheless]
- “[T]he general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” — James Madison [also only tangentially related, as the Federal Government was not designed to be the all-powerful Hindu god with a thousand omnipotent arms]
- “I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” — Thomas Jefferson
There’s no point in continuing to source quotes from the American Founders; we all know that they founded the Federal Government under the principles of classical liberalism–the government should exist to protect the lives, liberties, and right to pursue happiness of its people. It was founded on the idea that we would not be subjects of the government but that it would be our subject–a tool to be used not to oppress with an energetic government but to protect the liberty and property of the people:
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
Yet this flies in the face of modern liberalism, an ideology that embraces social welfare in extreme ways, up to and including the notion that health care–the product of the labors of doctors, pharmacists, and biochemists–is a human right. It is an appalling idea. To suggest that health care is a human right is to suggest that doctors, pharmacists, and biochemists are slaves, and that we have the right to take the fruit of their labors and force them to labor for us. We may or may not be willing to reimburse them, but this is hardly of relevance considering that even American slaves were “reimbursed” with food and shelter. Reimbursing someone is of no consequence to the discussion, whether you pay the slave $1 an hour or $100 an hour. It is not the wage that denotes slavery but that one is forced to do it and has choice removed.
This is where the liberal uses the term “wage slaves.” In most senses, this is as asinine as it sounds. No one is forcing anyone to get a job and work for a wage. Someone is not forcing a person to get a job and earn money; something is, and that “something” is universal attrition itself, that an organism starves and dies if it does not secure for itself something to eat. Taking issue with being “forced” to get a job in order to buy food and have a place to live is to take issue with existence for creating hunger in the first place. If one did not “have” to get a job, then one could go out and hunt for food, or start a farm. In this case, the person is not a “wage slave,” but becomes a “food slave.” Their apparent master is no longer a corporation but nature itself.
“It isn’t fair, though!”
No, it isn’t. This is a characteristic of the universe and existence, however, and is not a characteristic of human society. As such, it is not something that human society can fix, no matter how much energetic government oppression it uses. Equality means that one is allowed the opportunity to succeed; it does not mean that one is guaranteed to succeed.
All that said, it’s obvious how we ended up in this position. First, we were sold a series of promises that turned out to be horrifically inaccurate and, more often than not, total lies. Take the United States Post Office as an example, because it’s a great example. Indeed, excluding the military, every single federal institution to which we can point serves as a beautiful example of something that started with the highest of hopes aiming to fulfill wonderful promises and failed spectacularly. The military, of course, is the government’s sole success. This is not a coincidence.
Anyway, there are two types of buildings that always stand out, no matter where in the country you go. Here in Mississippi, we have a lot of churches. I mean… We have a lot of churches. More than you’d think from that statement alone. Between my house and the nearest town of 10,000, there are at least six churches that I can see easily during the commute, and that’s a distance of five miles. This trend holds true in every direction, though rural areas tend to drop to about two churches every five miles. There are churches everywhere, and they are almost always the nicest buildings in the vicinity.
The second type of building is the government building, and how interesting is it that they are so similar in appearance? Rather than crosses on its side, the government buildings have large, brass government seals and other official symbols. In any part of town, the nicest buildings are almost guaranteed to be the churches and the government buildings.
For churches, this makes total sense. The whole concept of the church originated with the cathedral, a place of worship specifically designed to be an engineering marvel, a place to which a person could go to feel awe and majesty. Despite what many of my fellow atheists want to believe, religion and Christianity aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and, whether religious people are right or wrong, the churches provide crucial roles to both individuals and societies, and certainly have played a role in shaping human morality. Something else churches have, in addition to believers, is money. Lots and lots of money. It is common for atheists to object to the grandiose buildings as wastes, but the majesty of the buildings is a key part of the entire concept, and it isn’t a waste unless a church does something stupid like Mt. Zion Baptist did when they built a new, “more modern” church for their congregation that consists mostly of elderly people and where their place of worship is literally a basketball court, even though they had a perfectly good, and substantially nicer, building a quarter of a mile away.
My grandmother and father attend that church, and that whole thing was a boondoggle that someone has kept very well-hidden. The main worship area–I forget what it’s called–literally is half a basketball court, with a basketball goal that retracts upward toward the ceiling. As far as I know, no one has ever played basketball there. It has the distinct impression of being a second-hand building, something the church bought for cheap and repurposed, where it once had been some sort of athlete thing. There’s no carpet; it’s a gym floor. Yet this building was custom-built by the church for the church…? It’s also a mostly steel building, while they have a very nice–it’s probably the nicest church in the county, honestly–brick building within viewing distance of the new one. Something really weird happened with a lot of money, and someone scrambled to cover it up. No doubt.
Banks could be added to this list, as well, as certain banks are designed the same way. The bank is a place where you put your money. People want their banks to be big, wealthy, secure, and nice. No one wants to deposit their money into the Bank of Falling Apart Hovel. Churches use the same general tactic–people don’t really want to worship at Church of Falling Apart Hovel, unless it’s a community church, but then it’s more a community thing anyway… Either way, a random visitor wouldn’t attend Church of Falling Apart Hovel. And then we have government buildings, surreptitiously playing the same psychological tricks.
Like the churches and the banks, these are buildings that want you to believe in them. They fly their obscenely large flags and emblazon their walls with enormous brass seals, while oddly large dedication plates are placed near the door. The building is designed to make one feel awe, to stir up feelings of patriotism and loyalty, which we are allowed to identify with personally by claiming its successes as our own. “Yeah! That’s my government! That’s my building!” This misplaced sense of pride mixes with the intentionally conjured awe, something we become accustomed to and stop noticing, but which we can readily see children doing. Those feelings don’t go away just because we grow up. Deep down inside, we’re still impressed and proud of our majestic government building.
Behind the lustrous veil of the church and the bank, there is something substantiating those feelings. A bank with lots of customers and lots of money, and a church with lots of members and lots of money. The bank is backed by its clients while the church is backed by its believers–to say nothing of the belief itself and whether the church is backed by something even greater. Yet behind the shiny mask of the government building is horror.
Bankruptcy, inefficiency, waste, disgruntled employees, an absolute lack of accountability, and a maze of red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. When FDR ratcheted up the fascism several notches with the New Deal, we were sold an empty box that was elegantly wrapped in the most beautiful of Christmas wrapping papers. Strangely, this is something that even liberals are aware of, as this Guardian article clearly alludes to.
This era ushered in a series of sweeping changes that redefined the American Government, taking us out of the world of liberty where individuals solved problems and into the world of fascism where the government solves problems. The difference is night and day.
I will never tire of calling attention to IEEE, an independent body of technology experts who have prescribed standards and specific protocols for all manner of electronic technologies. The 802.11 set of protocols is the reason that you can connect any model of phone by any manufacturer using any carrier to any wireless access point running any firmware made by any manufacturer that is connected to any modem made by any manufacturer through any ISP and have Internet access. This is something that today we take for granted, but it actually represents one of the most astounding achievements in humanity’s history. It would be impossible to convey all the variables, but if you’ve ever tried getting two electronic devices that weren’t designed for each other to actually function together, then you might be able to appreciate the magnitude of this accomplishment. And yet IEEE is completely voluntary. It is not a government, and no one is required to follow its standards and protocols.
Compare the marvel of email–something else we take for granted–to the mess of the United States Post Office, and ask yourself this simple question: Why didn’t the Post Office invent email? This question is absolutely critical, and it’s one that every person who believes that “Government action can improve people’s lives” needs to seriously consider. The United States Post Office’s entire existence is about communicating messages from one person to another. Here is an interesting article about the USPS’s relationship with email, and it’s worth a read. Liberals should particularly note that the USPS initially tried to implement an email system they called E-Com. Yet the USPS didn’t innovate and create this marvelous, instantaneous, and efficient message delivery system; furthermore, when they went “Me, too!” their system sucked and isn’t known to anyone today.
Now look over this stupidly long list of Post Offices that were built under FDR. This should come as no surprise, of course. The same promises by the same man with the same administration and same “noble intentions*” gave us the Social Security Administration, a mess that quickly proved to have been an outright lie. Today people recoil at the very idea of abolishing Social Security, as though we would let our elderly starve, despite the fact that humanity managed to get along pretty well without the Social Security Administration for hundreds of thousands of years.
We were sold snake oil, and it’s a myth that many people continue believing today. The question we must ask, then, is… How? How did this happen? How did a nation founded by people who expressly stated as the core of their philosophy that government is freaking evil twist into this nation of people who genuinely believe that “government action can improve people’s lives?”**
* Debatable. Autocracy and Fascism did not rise only in Italy, Germany, and Japan. It rose worldwide, including in the United States, and it manifested here as the New Deal. It’s worth nothing that, for all practical purposes, Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini also offered their citizens a New Deal. The Soviet Union called theirs the Five Year Plan. We called ours the New Deal. Hitler called his the Neuordnung–translated to “New Order.”
Despite how it breaks so many rules of writing, the above point is crucial enough that I’m going to continue the article here, rather than above.
It should come as absolutely no shock that 1953 saw the true rise of the Department of Education, not long after the many schemes of FDR began falling apart. It would take many, many years for the full breakdown of the systems to occur, requiring ever increasing amounts of money to keep them going. People are resistant to huge changes and will put up with a lot of bullshit before they do anything about it. A woman might not leave her abusive, alcoholic boyfriend until the third time he’s broken one of her bones and put her in the hospital. The list of grievances the colonies had with the British Empire fills several pages of the Declaration of Independence, and many of them are pretty serious. In 2016 the American Government dropped more than twenty-six thousand bombs in seven countries. We tolerate a lot of shit that we shouldn’t tolerate, and so we were always going to give the many New Deal programs plenty of time and opportunity to straighten themselves out.
That all became unnecessary with the rise of the Department of Education and state control of virtually all school systems. I’ve written a little bit about the school system here in the United States. Unfortunately, there’s no better way to be written off as looney than to say that we’ve all been brainwashed to worship the state, but… we’ve all been brainwashed to worship the state. However they did it, they planted these ideas there. I certainly don’t ever remember being taught in school that the government protects us from rape gangs, murderers, constant civil wars, faction wars, and “OMG, Mad Max!”
But that idea certainly came from somewhere, and it’s ubiquitous throughout the country. I doubt you were ever straight up told this, either. But compare it to the actual founding principles of our nation–that government is evil and, by its very nature, oppressive and tyrannical. Yet you will find very, very few Americans who don’t believe that government is generally a force for good. Go to any random Q&A site–or Quora–and look for questions about whether government is necessary or good. For every one person pointing out, for reasons identical to those given three centuries ago, that the state is an institution of evil, there will be five or ten who allege that the government is a force for good.
No one bats an eye at this guy’s certifiably wacky statement that “government action can improve people’s lives.” It’s just taken as a given, by nearly every American–Republican and Democrat. Republicans hover in a state of denial about it, but they, too, share the conceit. The only thing that almost all these Americans have in common is that they were brought up and educated by the government, with government-approved textbooks, by government employees, according to government standards, and thereby given government-approved information.
Oh, sure, we learned that the Founders said that government is evil, and that liberty is good. That’s where things get so weird. Because it’s not our government that is evil, is it? No, the founders in their infinite wisdom managed to create the only government that wasn’t evil, and it’s “all those other governments” that are evil. It’s like the rock band that says “All record labels are evil… except the one that signed us!” Believe it or not, that’s a common attitude among up-and-coming rock bands. “Our label is totally not evil,” they say. “We got lucky and found the one good one in this huge sea of evil ones.”
And that’s how we came to this mess today–decades of this idea that because the founders knew the government was evil, they took steps to create a government that wasn’t evil–all because, in their writings, it doesn’t seem any of them bothered to point out, “Hey, yeah, that whole ‘government is evil’ thing…? It applies to this government we just created, too. Yeah, it’s evil, too.”
Sure, the early Americans needed arms, but that was to protect themselves from the evil British Imperial government! We don’t need guns, tanks, landmines, grenades, assault rifles, jets, and SAMs to protect ourselves from our government, because ours isn’t one of the evil ones. Ours is the one good one floating in the huge sea of evil ones. “Government” doesn’t stop being evil just because it’s our government. It’s still evil.
I’m an anarchist, and I would never make the case that the government is a necessary evil. But that is the bare minimum that any rational adult should be willing to accept. This nonsense that the government can improve people’s lives? It flies in the face of the very essence of what government even is: oppression. Government is evil. Republics are evil. Federalists are evil. Democracy is evil. Saying “We can tolerate this little evil to stave off this even greater evil” is precisely the reason that we’ll be saying “President Trump” in eight more days. It is precisely the reason we allowed our lesser evil fascism to rise, so that we could fight off the greater evil fascism that Hitler and Mussolini, and then Stalin, represented.
It is time we returned to the simple fact that was first noticed more than three hundred years ago, and it is something we need to apparently etch into stone so that we never, ever forget it and never, ever again give rise to generations of people who think that, despite all evidence and logic to the contrary, government can somehow be a force for good…
Government is evil.