"It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men." ~ H.L. Mencken
Respect, Trust and Society
Exclusive to STR
"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." ~ Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
The above premise is flat wrong. The state did not create arts, letters, or society. The state cannot eliminate fear, poverty, loneliness or violence: it institutionalizes them. The premise of state worshipers that life is "nasty, brutish and short" ignores what individuals are capable of when left free. It is the state that leads to conditions making life unbearable, not liberty. The state is based on restricting, controlling and expanding its power. Society is based on respect and trust for and among individuals.
Endeavoring to increase production and/or decrease labor brings people together with a harmonious spirit that cannot be forced. Fellowship and cooperative efforts are rooted in the nature of mankind. The state is then created on the premise that it is needed to protect these efforts previously created by society. Then the state gradually assumes more and more control of society based on the premise that control is the only method which it can use to protect individuals from each other. This process reveals how the state comes to control society with the blessings of so many people.
The state is a monster that takes on a life of its own. How this monster (Leviathan) somehow mitigates the conditions of life established in their premise is never quite explained by state worshippers. Of course, elitists who issue dictates never feel compelled to explain their logic, as they believe their superiority to be self-evident to the enlightened, and the unenlightened are irrelevant. In the end, they believe that force is its own logic.
A person's word was once the most important factor judged by those seeking to cooperate with each other. The act of bonding relationships through common experiences builds first respect and then trust. Respect is individual-based and trust is built with growing mutual respect among neighbors. Trust only exists when people respect each other. Small acts of cooperation lead to more opportunities.
People will seek to earn respect when given a chance. This is one reason why minimum wage laws undermine the ability of young people "to start out at the bottom and work their way up." Regulations that intervene between individuals building trust are evidence of how the state restricting liberty weakens society.
Respect-worthiness for individuals is a function of a person's ability to demonstrate that they will indeed do what they say they will do. Or, on the contrary, that they will not do what they say they will do. There are some people who maneuver in society with the intent to deceive and others who maintain a stringent code of honor. The mode of operation people choose is most often a function of upbringing. Still, human action is the result of individual choices. The first step in achieving real respect starts with this understanding.
Just because everybody does not wish to cooperate on every issue does not mean that "man in a state of nature" results in "war of every man against every man." This is a line of thinking that obviously leads to establishing a controlling authority to save us all from each other. That is ruling elite controlling the masses. Imagine that.
Individuals choose to say what they say and choose to do what they do. When these two independent actions are shown to be positively consistent on a regular basis then a person may be accepted and trusted in the company of those who have knowledge of these words and actions. When these individuals are deemed worthy of respect then others can decide to have faith in their words. If not, then they have created the conditions for the demise of their standing within, or even expulsion from, that society. Trust is crucial in order to form agreements to cooperate and make contracts. A network of such agreements and trust building leads to a society. Central controlling authorities not only cannot create these conditions, they undermined these conditions.
The uncertainty inherent with the passage of time leads to decision-making difficulties. These difficulties can be overcome by faith in one's ability to build respect and create trust in a community. Considering the possibility of future events and deciding how to plan for a better tomorrow requires respect, trust and faith in yourself as an individual as well as in your fellow humans. When the people in a society no longer respect the sovereignty of individuals to make personal decisions, then that society starts to deteriorate.
People who do not trust their own abilities and fear their fellow men seek refuge in forms that appear to provide order based on authoritative force. Chaos mystifies and frustrates simple minds while the use of force provides clarity to them. This is how the elite have been able to gather the support of the enslaved masses for so long. But this order is unraveling as it always has and always will.
The circle of life for a society, you could say, starts with chaos, allows for spontaneous cooperation, builds upon respect for individuals, and develops networks of trust with the elite seeking a way to institutionalize their gains culminating in the golden chains of statehood. Once a society is chained by a state, the respect for individuals and the mutual trust accumulated in that society begin to die. Look about and this should be evident as the society we live in comes full circle.
A person must first understand that we are each alone in order to yearn for fellowship. An individual must confront frustration achieving timely success in order to recognize how cooperation can enhance personal productivity. Respect-worthiness in modern society is now based on group affiliation according to the high priests of Big Media (BM) and Big Government (BG). This statist agenda undermines what is worthy in society. The goodwill in a society generated out of a state of chaos is harnessed by state controllers even as they disrespect the chaos that birthed the goodwill.
Individuals in today's politicized society get a free pass to supplant their word with their group affiliation. When "officials" are being judged for respect, their group affiliation takes precedence over their ability to demonstrate competence and integrity. The old political saw comes to mind: "That son-of-a-bitch may not be worth a damn, but he's our son-of-a-bitch." The politicization of our culture has spread this cancer throughout society. How else could a loser like GWB have so many rabid supporters to this day?
Some groups seek to marginalize the very idea of individuals by grouping people together by race, gender, income, wealth, class, education, language, etc. Political groups use guilt to enslave more successful groups. Since the victim-group was formerly exploited, it is believed to justify the current and future exploitation of all other groups. Individual respect is thus replaced by group pride as a guiding principle for cooperation.
The state apparatus is used by these groups to incorporate their gains over society as a whole and not just the alleged offending group. The grievances of all victims and the resources of all exploiters are collectivized into pools. Power comes from brokering alliances between group leaders. The spoils of victory are then distributed via group affiliations by gatekeepers elected from this pool of group leaders. Your respect-worthiness in a state-dominated society is determined by your status in the political-group hierarchy. Recognizing that the sanctity of a person's word as the foundation of trust in society has been lost in such a world should come as no surprise.
Melting away individual identities into the pot of conformity undermines individual character, initiative and reason. The Leviathan-state mechanism that turns people into cogs is a remnant from a time when feudalism provided order and industrialization was considered the future of humanity. The bastard child of democratic-socialism spawned from this mating is now in its last days. Men are not parts of a great machine that can be driven by a skilled operator. Modern state-controlled society is a failed dream of idealists who thought that they could establish respect and trust for all on an equal basis by way of a monopoly on the use of force as the ultimate righteous weapon against heathen individualists.
The "self-contained hermit" lifestyle as well as the "we are a sponge colony totally interconnected to the cores of our beings" lifestyle can provide a successful coping strategy for individuals when they are left alone by the state. These extremes and all of the paths in between have their pitfalls and their advantages suiting different individuals in different ways. People who live totally different lifestyles can come to an agreement on how to peacefully trade what is beneficial to both and to not intervene into each other's personal lives. Harmony can be reached where force is not considered profitable, much less morally acceptable. People can trust each other (or not) in spite of, but not because of, central authorities. The state fosters conflict between these groups as a means of expanding power over them.
Trust is the best alternative for building relationships and resolving disputes while resorting to force is the worst. This statement is laughable to those who cannot see beyond a world of "might makes right." Even though the benefits of a free and peaceful society should be self-evident when compared to a controlled and violent society, "we" have chosen to allow society to be ruled by a political system that is based on a monopoly on the use of force. The acceptance of this system does not reach the standard of noble being. Nobility is a choice, not a birthright. Politeness, dignity and decency are personal lifestyle choices as are baseness, disrespect, and contempt. Living a long, beautiful and peaceful life has always been within the reach of every person. It depends on individual choices; choices that others can't make.
Only individuals can think, reason, make choices, forgive, judge, respect and trust. Political groups are arbitrary collectives created by demagogues to achieve political agendas. Electing people to think for you, make choices for you and be the source of your respect-worthiness in society is acquiescing to the role of a slave. If you ever want to stand on your own two feet and be respected as "a man" (read adult person) in this world, then it starts by doing what you say you will do. Show that you can do what you promise and judge others by the same standard, not what group you perceive that they belong to or they may claim to belong to.
When society was created, "a man's word is his bond" was the common standard for initiating cooperation. Judging the respect-worthiness of others was a way of life; today it is politically incorrect. Society was built with respect and trust. The voluntary and spontaneous nature of this process frustrates idealists who see their fellow man as universally incompetent and in need of elite guidance. The state created by society to protect what trust and respect had previously been built eventually supplanted free society with state rule while replacing respect with force and trust with fear. A man whose word "wasn't worth a damn" once became an outlaw; now they run for political office, work for think tanks or become lobbyists. Some do all three.
Respect for the state leaves no room for respect for individuals. Trusting the state means that you do not trust yourself or your neighbors. Accepting the state monopoly use of force as legitimate for controlling society is accepting slavery. Accepting democracy as a justification for this slavery is ignoble and foolish. The state exists to enslave the masses and elevate elite "deciders" to positions of authority. No more and no less despite the fairy tales you have been taught by BM and BG schools.
Liberty will assert itself on human systems as surely as will gravity. Chaos offers infinitely more opportunities than being a slave to elitists playing on the fears of simple minded sheeple. The circle of life for a society starting with chaos, leading to a natural spontaneous order (horizontal organizations) and ending with state imposed order (vertical organizations) leads back to chaos and will go on. Maybe next time around society will have learned its lesson to leave Mother Nature, and individuals, alone.