Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Destroying the Lie

Most of us grew up here in the United States during the last half century, give or take a decade or so, and as such, most of us attended modern schools. Whether public or private, religious or secular, we sat in classrooms for more than a decade where we absorbed a number of lies. The biggest lie we absorbed came merely from sitting in that classroom:

Sometimes, the government needs to force people to do what's best for them.

We absorbed this lie in a number of ways, in a number of classes, but we all absorbed that lie just the same. The day we all fully understood this lie (though we probably didn't understand it was a lie at the time) was the day we found out that our institutionalization was a government requirement. Our parents could not merely let us stay home or they'd be punished.

In Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security, Richard Maybury states:

This is why the American Founders were so intent on protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. They did not want anyone controlling the flow of information because they knew controlled data leads to controlled models, which yields controlled behavior....

This is why all tyrants try to keep an iron grip on their school systems. When a government controls the schools, it does not need to control the press; it already has control of the people's models. Without realizing it, the people automatically ignore information the tyrant wants them to ignore because models inserted into their minds when they were children tell them this information is unimportant.

Abraham Lincoln said something very similar:

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

So did Hitler:

When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.

But no matter the source, people do not give up their models easily, no matter the facts.

Bastiat explains the purpose of The Law:

For, remember, that law is force, and that consequently the domain of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the domain of force.

When law and force keep a man within the bounds of justice, they impose nothing upon him but a mere negation. They only oblige him to obstain from doing harm. They violate neither his personality, his liberty, nor his property. They only guard the personality, the liberty, the property of others. They hold themselves on the defensive; they defend the equal right of all. They fulfil a mission whose harmlessness is evident, whose utility is palpable, and whose legitimacy is not to be disputed....

But when the law, through the medium of its necessary agent--force, imposes a form of labour, a method or a subject of instruction, a creed, or a worship, it is no longer negative; it acts positively upon men. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own will, the initiative of the legislator for their own initiative. They have no need to consult, to compare, or to foresee; the law does all that for them. The intellect is for them a useless lumber; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property.

Thomas Jefferson stated the same ideal rather more succinctly:

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise 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.

But, there is still the lie, that the government has to force people to do things for their own good. The government must protect us from our own folly, and protect children from the folly of their parents.

The sad thing is that so many people don't even understand that they are still living under this lie, but it becomes evident when instead of talking about REFORMING public education, we talk about ABOLISHING it. It becomes evident when instead of talking about REFORMING health care laws, we talk about ABOLISHING them. It becomes evident when instead of talking about REFORMING drug laws, we talk about ABOLISHING them.

"No, no! The system is flawed, to be sure, but the system MUST exist. On their own, people will make bad decisions!"

And we're supposed to ignore the fact that sometimes, quite often in fact, the government forces bad decisions upon us.

If you believe in drug laws, allow me to ask: Are you really only not a meth addict because it's against the law? Have you been so seduced by the romantic lifestyle that you think to yourself that if only it weren't illegal, you'd certainly try that? And would meth even be around today if it were not for the laws that made other drugs so hard to obtain?

It took me days to wrap my head around these ideas when I read Vin Suprynowicz's Send in the Waco Killers. I had absorbed the lie, and I did NOT want to let go of it. That change in How I View the World was my final step towards being an absolute radical by most people's definition.

Freedom has always been a radical concept.

There is no such thing as a crime against society. That's another lie. Crimes are committed against individuals, sometimes groups of individuals, but not against society as a whole. Therefore, if no one was injured or had his property encroached upon, then there was no crime.

The entire notion of "victimless crimes" is a lie.

Vin points out that one of the most violent periods of our history was during Prohibition. The alcohol did not cause violence, the law forbidding it did. The violence ended when Prohibition ended. When you drop the lie and look at facts, it's easy to see, and to see the same thing happening with drugs. Illegal goods cost more because of the risk involved in obtaining and selling them. Because of these artificially inflated prices, it becomes much more difficult to obtain the money to keep up with the habit by legal means, making drug related crimes much more likely. Violence breaks out to protect territory and profit margins. And all of this rides on the back of the law.

Believe that drug users will automatically commit crimes? Fine, then arrest them when they've actually committed a crime against another person. It's not like drug laws have stopped the crime, and the prisons will have plenty of room once we clear them of people who have never committed a crime against other people. Believe that legalized drugs will put drugs into the hands of minors? It's not like drug laws have stopped minors from obtaining drugs.

Bring up any objection that you like to legalized drugs, but be prepared to explain how drug laws have ended the problem. If the laws haven't ended the problems, then you can't cite the problems as a good reason to have the laws. Circular reasoning won't fly.

Of course, this post isn't merely about drug laws. It's about how the lie has robbed us of our freedom. Once the majority of people accept that it's okay for the government to force us to do what's best for us, then we devolve to discussing WHICH things the government should force and which things we should be able to decide for ourselves-- that is the heart of the argument between modern conservatives and liberals.

The parties are nothing but groups of people who have also absorbed the lie, and each follows its own agenda regarding which things we should force people to do. As Ernie once put it, today we have conservatives who don't conserve and liberals who don't liberate.

Each party is holding a slave collar. Do you want the red one or the blue one?


Bluesgal said...

Yes, you've distilled things down very succintly. Children turned in their parents in Hitler's Germany, reported "commies everywhere" in the US in the 1950's and the list goes on and on...

Recently children have not been taught HOW to think only WHAT to think....

Sonshine said...

A good reason to homeschool.

suvalley said...

There is a burgeoning movement called "unschooling" which is gaining traction.

I remember my emotions and thoughts when I read the foreword to "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" (Book is now free for download, author has video too) a few years back. I was completely blown out of the water, putting it mildly. I was outraged, furious, and knew I had been a "victim" of this programming my entire life.

I don't know how to guard my son from this, he is in public school. I am afraid they'll quash his intellect with jargon that has no relevance, with concepts my own common sense knows to be false, and so forth.

The communitarian phrases are started to be used here too, and every time I see or hear the word "stakeholder" my blood boils....