"A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence." ~ Jean-Francois Revel
Hope: From Russia With Love
Exclusive to STR
The greatest reason to be optimistic about the future of liberty is the growing awareness of the lack of credibility the state has. The full faith and credit of the United State are inextricably intertwined. When the credit (ability to borrow) of the United State Government is gone then the faith in the United State Government will also be gone. Many believe that the ability to forcefully take money from (tax) the wealthiest citizens in the world is akin to a blank check to spend unlimited amounts of money. The apparatchiks pulling the levers behind the curtains of the Soviet-style central planning behemoth in Washington , D.C. become more and more detached from both reality and the American People every day. The peaceful break-up of the U.S.S.R. gives me hope in more ways than one.
The biggest obstacle to the majority of the population recognizing what is obvious to those who have been deprogrammed is the perception instilled by Big Media and government schools that the people who live within a defined territory are synonymous with the state that rules them. You know "We the People" and "government of the people, by the people and for the people" lore is ingrained into the national psyche. Children are indoctrinated every morning, first thing, with a Pledge of Allegiance to the most popular symbol of the state. Many people getting goose-bumps and tears welling up at the sight of this symbol is evidence of the power that this indoctrination process has had. And some people think that the government schools haven't been successful.
Identifying with the collective has evolved from being part of a family, a clan, a community to ever-larger meaningless scales until we are all part of the Great State Collective. When the collective that a person identifies with looses credibility, that person typically faces an emotional dilemma. As the state over the past century has undermined the historical tendency of people to identify with those collectives closest to them, in their families and local communities, the credibility of the state has been enhanced in the minds of most people. Charity has been morphed into welfare, education into schooling, personal security into law enforcement, and on and on. People actually believed that this "bigger is better" collectivization was "progress." This ideal was shattered around the world by the collapse of the Soviet Union and at home by the current crop of idiots pulling the levers.
People who do not have a clue who Murray Rothbard, Herbert Spencer, Albert Jay Nock and Gustave de Molinari are know who the Wachowski Brothers and Charlie Sheen are. People who have never read a book in their life will watch V for Vendetta and Showbiz Tonight. It is a sad fact of life that "The Simpsons" and "South Park" have more influence than Strike The Root or the Ludwig von Mises Institute. But this sad fact is coming back around to bite the state on the butt.
Most kids today instinctively know that the state has no credibility. It's the Baby Boomers who challenged The Establishment, The Man, when they were younger who have sold out their principles for a few pieces of silver. When our children start standing up to The Man to end this War on Everybody and to end the taxes confiscated from them to support too many old people, will the Baby Boomer generation cut their legs out or join them to do what's right?
The War on Drugs, Terrorism, Poverty, and every other moronic, liberty-destroying "policy" began by the United State has not only been woefully unsuccessful, expansive and expensive, it has made every "problem" worse. The State and its sister Corporations have gotten bigger while the individual has gotten smaller, but this trend has run its course. Propaganda can only keep people in the dark for so long. Many are struggling with vested economic interests, emotional attachments to traditional institutions and the fear of change. It appears to me that the changes coming cannot be stopped. The United State, like all hubristic states before it, will go bankrupt and collapse. Alas, fear not.
I have some good friends who emigrated from Russia in 1992 just as the Soviet Union collapsed. They told me that under the old state, there was a general sense of "just survive" before the collapse and it was replaced by a sense of "we can prosper" after the collapse. These are good people with a great work ethic and integrity, as opposed to the robotic, godless, welfare-loving, crazed murderers portrayed in the propaganda that I grew up with. The state with the second most powerful military in the world fell apart not because it was overrun by invaders, but because it went bankrupt and lost credibility. That is, it went financially and morally bankrupt, forcing its people to reorganize their society. The similarities to the U.S. Government today are striking.
The United Soviet State got undermined by its own lies. It lied about how it was winning the war in Afghanistan because it was building schools, water plants and freeing women from an evil religion. It lied about how services and goods could be better and more abundantly produced with central planners controlling the economy. It lied about how evil were its foreign enemies, who were jealous, hateful and sub-human. It lied about its history, its daily news and how good everything would be in the future if the people just kept sacrificing and "staying the course." All that was needed was a little tinkering with the existing system. Finally, the United Soviet State lied about its lies until it realized that nobody believed them any longer. So it tried "glasnost" to regain some credibility, and the floodgates were opened.
The Berlin Wall coming down was the watershed event of the end of the United Soviet State . The people had had enough of the lies, the central planning and warmongering. The troops refused to fire on their own people. A peaceful collapse of a militarily powerful state occurred for a people with no tradition of liberty and no existing free markets to pick up the state-supplied goods and services. America has a history of liberty even if we have squandered much of what our forefathers left us. America has somewhat free markets just waiting to be turned loose from the shackles imposed by central planners in Washington , D.C. The American people today are much better off than the Russian people were in 1992.
Roman, British, French, Mongolian, Persian, Greek, Turkish, Russian and all the other great empires in history grew too big to feed their insatiable desires, ruined their currencies, squandered their liberties and finally fell into ruin. Some held on until their neighbors had had enough of their bellicose bullying and ganged up on them to end their rule with violence. Some like the British retreated to their borders and pushed surrogates out to protect them. Some like the Russians kicked the existing rulers out and then invited in new rulers with better intentions (lies). I believe we can do better in America. A breakup into smaller states like the Republic of Florida, Republic of California, and so forth, at the very least, would be a big step in the right direction.
The people of America once formed a centralized state apparatus that was to be forever shackled by a piece of paper because they believed in the power of that paper. It worked for a while, but those days are long gone. Nobody except those who think that dark is light can still believe this. The welfare-warfare state is bankrupting the Great Central Government, and it is time to foreclose on it. Small states still have the same immoral basis in which they govern, but it is locally controlled. Seceding into smaller and smaller political units will eventually lead to politics withering away.
When the mountain of debt that both the American people and the United State Imperial Federal Government have created comes crashing down on our heads I have no doubt that life will become significantly more troublesome for nearly everybody. However, it will be an opportunity to recognize that the state is the problem and not the solution to the problems of individuals, families and communities. Americans past have faced greater trials and tribulations only to survive and then prosper; so can today's Americans.
Unfortunately, the collapse will also be an opportunity for a demagogue to set up a totalitarian nightmare: a man promising the sheeple that if he is made Super-President, he will use a monopoly on the use of force to make everything better. We will see if America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave or the land of the slaves and the home of the cowards. I am optimistic that we are still the former, or I would be packing.
The current desperate measures to stave off the coming collapse of the full faith and credit of the Federal Government including increased immigration, creating infinite amounts of fiat money through debt and invading the world will just continue to make matters worse. The question isn't whether this pyramid scheme can last forever; the question is how much longer it can last. Maybe another five years, ten years, or 50 years? I certainly don't know. Another major terrorist attack will certainly hasten the collapse (the Chinese Central Bank may have something to say about this as well), but I truly hope that a popular movement to break up the Federal Government and revert to independent States precedes a more violent demise.
For instance, the land owned by the U.S. Federal Government should be sold off by a commission formed by seceding states to pay off its debts, including the welfare promised to the elderly who have been totally scammed and should not be hung out to dry. All Federal politicians and bureaucrats should be fired and sent home to find productive jobs. Washington , D.C. should be turned into a museum documenting the evils of centralized states and their corrupting influences. Perhaps this is tilting at windmills, but it could happen. Who thought that the U.S.S.R. would crumble so fast and so peacefully?
Thoreau once said that when people are ready for a world without government, then that is the world they will have. I am optimistic that mankind will soon be ready and that America will be its place of birth. Not that it will be easy and painless, but that it will be. If the Russians can peacefully replace a totalitarian state that lost its credibility with a limited state, then Americans can peacefully replace a limited state that has lost credibility with a stateless society. At the very least, a Republic of Florida, Michigan, Iowa , etc. would be a vast improvement for liberty in our society. The end of the Super-States will not be the end of civilization, but the renewal of civilization.