I have been watching American presidential elections since Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960 in an election that was probably really won by Nixon and stolen in Chicago. Of course no one cares now who really won that election and I doubt that history would have been much different if Nixon had won that year — other than the CIA would not have needed to assassinate Nixon for going soft on wars.
In the years since 1960 I have watched a government grow in size, power, scope, intrusiveness, and in raw brutality. The US state in 1960 would never have publicly admitted to torture, much less publicly defended the practice. But the growth of the US government over time did not start in ’60. Consider the following quote from decades before:
“Government today is growing too strong to be safe. There are no longer any citizens in the world there are only subjects. They work day in and day out for their masters they are bound to die for their masters at call. Out of this working and dying they tend to get less and less.” H.L. Mencken
Law Professor Butler Shaffer once wrote:
“The central premise of much of my writing over the years has been that the psychopathic nature of the political establishment has reached a critical mass.”
It seems to me that the US central government has now reached a critical mass of corruption, cronyism, brutality, and raw evil.
The definition of the “state” that I have often seen is that entity that enjoys a monopoly on the legitimate use of force or violence within a given geographical territory. The USA is now claiming the right to use force throughout the entire world, and I don’t know how that will turn out given that other nations see the Empire as an overbearing bully. One thing we know is the the state, the USA in particular, depends on the regular exercise of using force and violence both inside its borders and outside its borders. It is easy to see the meaning of Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state.”
As we approach yet another presidential election, we have to ask ourselves if we really think that the outcome will change our future all that much. Given that the neocons have pretty much taken control of foreign policy in both parties, and they intend to keep us forever attacking some forever changing “enemy” that we “must” destroy to “keep our freedoms”. What freedom? The freedom to obey the state?
Consider the surveillance by the State of its own people as outlined by Edward Snowden. Consider the government’s control over eating habits, health care, schooling of the young, the rise the nanny state, and the fact the government asserts total ownership over the children. Consider that one mother was arrested for letting her kids go play in the public park that was across the street from her house. Oh my!
The state has increased its control and domination of the people with the increased militarization of police. They now have tanks, armored troop carriers, battlefield weapons, drones, and military helicopters. Who knows what all they have that we don’t know about? The police also have assumed the powers of an occupying army. They pull no-knock SWAT raids, they torture, they put people into prison without trials, they steal people’s assets, and there appears to be no real accountability. They police claim to be protecting us from “the bad guys” but it is the police that are the psychopaths and murdering bad guys.
This monstrous police state that is the USA started out as a “night watchman” small government in the style that the Classical Liberals thought would be constrained and controlled by the Constitution. I think we can all agree that the USA is in no way bound by the constitution — it is all in the interpretation you see. And who gets to interpret the constitution? Why the state itself gets to interpret the constitution. The failure of the experiment in a minarchist government does not seem to have registered on my minarchist friends. They still seem to think that some “night watchman” government can be instituted without it gaining ever more power over the people as time goes on. Nothing as blind as those who will not see.
The next election? It will have no more meaning than the babbling of an insane man who is talking to his imaginary friends. We can root for the “best candidate” if we want; after all I always have a favorite in the World Cup matches; but there will be no real difference in the two candidates running. It was once observed that if voting made a difference then it would be against the law. I hope you don’t think that observation was just humor.
Our future depends on the people waking up to the fact that the state is our enemy. We must educate people in the libertarian philosophy of the non-aggression principle. The modern state is only a few centuries old. We can overcome the modern state and find a way to live in peace without a tyranny brutalizing us at every turn. We can live stateless, and really that is our only path forward if we hope to survive and prosper.
Educate yourself, and then be willing to educate others that want to learn. It is our only hope.