"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will." ~ Adam Smith
The Invisible Reality
Column by Alex R. Knight III.
Exclusive to STR
Let’s try to unmask and decipher a few things right now, and to make things a bit easier, let’s also take as our example a topic that is front and center stage politically at the time of this writing. In order to get there, however, we’ll have to provide some background.
John and Jane and their baby Adam all live together in Anytown, USA, and have, by any modern standards, what most would consider a decent life. They are not affluent, but nor are they abjectly poor, and so manage to have a modest house in a suburban neighborhood, and a pair of used economy cars in order to get back and forth to work. For of course, unlike the majority of their parents’ lives – and certainly unlike their grandparents’ entire lives – both John and Jane must work full-time. Inflation, brought on by government’s acquiescence to the Federal Reserve’s fiat currency creation scheme, coupled with the high rates of taxation this fosters in turn – all while government expands in size and scope to accommodate the welfare-warfare state it has become during the past century of its existence – have made this necessary. During the era of both of Adam’s grandmothers’ working lives, the idea of both parents working was sold to the public as “Women’s Liberation,” but it was actually closer to enslavement: It got former housewives onto the income and Social Security tax rolls, away from the family, and government has never been the same.
But all of that is four decades in the past, and now, after John leaves for his job, Jane prepares to leave for her own, dropping little Adam off at daycare, where he enjoys only the company of other kids, and few nannies who are paid blue-collar wages (after taxes, of course). They look after Adam and the others, and see that they don’t get into mischief while playing with blocks, toy cars, and coloring books, until Jane comes back from her own job to retrieve Adam. Then she brings him home to John (Dad) and dinner and some TV before bedtime. This process confuses the young Adam: Why he is left alone so often by his parents, to whom he otherwise feels so close, but he is still too young to articulate any of this, and so things go on as such for a while.
Flash forward a few years, and Adam is able to then ride each weekday morning on a bus that picks him up in front of his house or on a nearby street corner, and takes him to a government building known as “school.” This alleviates Jane from the responsibility of transporting Adam – although his attendance at this “school” is something which those in government have made mandatory at any event. John and Jane would, pending a certain measure of government approval, have the option of sending Adam to a private school of their choosing, or homeschooling him, but alas, inflation and taxation – even worse still than when Adam was in daycare – have made this an impossibility. And since they must pay the taxes levied against their house (in addition to the mortgage and interest) even if Adam were to receive an education elsewhere than at this one-size-fits-all government “school,” John and Jane both shrug their shoulders and agree that sending Adam to this place is their best available option. Plus, they reason, Adam will learn to enjoy the company of his schoolmates.
This “school,” however, is very different from the daycare Adam once attended. There is a different classroom he must be in for each subject he is being taught. A bell rings at the end of each 45 or 50 minute period, telling him and his classmates that it is time to move to the next room and the next topic and the next teacher. Lunch is served in a cafeteria on plastic trays not unlike meals are eaten in a prison. And indeed, a full-time police officer is permanently posted at this “school” in order to monitor the students’ conduct, search for drugs or drug use, and stand by the metal detectors Adam and his classmates must pass through each day to prevent weapons and other banned objects from entering this important government building.
While Adam is in each classroom, he is expected to be seated, be quiet, and do as he is told. He cannot get up, move, leave, or go to the bathroom without permission. If he rebels or resists in any way, he risks punishment in the principal’s office, or even arrest by the on-duty officer. All his movements are monitored by closed-circuit cameras, the locker he is assigned may be searched for any reason at any time, as can his own clothing and person, and his conversations with classmates are routinely overheard by the faculty. Anything he says that is deemed in any way controversial will likely be reported to the principal or the police.
Many of the kids adapt to this environment. Though they, like Adam, are full of youth and hormones and curious energies, they manage to sublimate these natural qualities of development and conform to the dictates of the government “school.” But Adam does not – although this is apparent only in subtle ways at first. He finds difficulty in making any lasting friends. Upon arriving home each day, he prefers to withdraw to his room, watch TV, or mope about the house. Over time, his grades begin to slip. He begins to find more and more excuses to not go to “school.” He just doesn’t want to be there anymore.
John and Jane become understandably concerned. They arrange for Adam to see a “mental-health professional.” After this individual asks Adam a series of widely divergent questions and subjects him to a battery of visual tests, he then tells John and Jane in confidence that Adam is simply suffering from something a whole lot of teenagers are these days. It’s an attention disorder that is often also accompanied by depression, and if they’ll just take this prescription to the “school” nurse, Adam should come around soon. If not, this “professional” assures them with a friendly smile, he’ll be more than happy to schedule another appointment for Adam in a few weeks or so.
Thus, with “professional” permission, the school nurse sees Adam once a day to administer a cupful of pills allegedly designed to curb his depression and increasing feelings of alienation. At first, these pills do little but make Adam feel kind of funny, but his depression lifts a little bit. He smiles a little more, is a little more outgoing with classmates. His appetite – usually robust for any teenager – improves.
But a month in, and Adam is feeling worse than ever. He’s still taking his prescribed “medication,” but now he finds himself forgetting huge chunks of time. He has trouble distinguishing between things he dreamed while asleep, and events that actually happened. And he’s becoming increasingly frustrated with doing homework, and the guff he’s getting from his teachers about not handing it in on time – or not doing it at all. In fact, Adam has had short episodes of downright anger, of late, and his parents again grow concerned.
Another round of talks between John, Jane, and the mental-health “professional.” It is agreed that Adam should come in for another round of tests, and that, pending the results, perhaps Adam’s “medications” ought to be altered, or reduced -- or maybe even increased. These things are not always an exact science, reassures the “professional,” and as such often require some touch-and-go experimentation before a happy medium can be achieved.
During the time both John and Jane have taken away from their respective jobs in order to meet with this “professional,” however, nothing Adam is involved in at present is either happy, or medium: He has skipped going to “school” today – an increasingly common occurrence – and has retrieved his father’s 9mm pistol and two extra clips of ammo from the lockbox where they are kept secured. John had purchased the gun in reaction to a series of break-ins in the neighborhood a couple of years ago (it was later revealed that the thieves were looking for money and valuables they could use to purchase drugs that the Drug War had made too expensive to procure through honest after-tax earnings), and due to the very stringent gun-control laws in the government jurisdiction where the family resides, kept the gun both on the property and locked up at all times (rendering it virtually useless against an actual attacker or invader).
However, Adam has long known where his father hides the key, and so after tucking the weapon and ammo in his waistband, he jumps on his bike and rides the relatively short distance to school. He also knows that, unlike when arriving on the bus wherein he and the others must pass through metal-detectors positioned at the front doors, that there are side doors which are unlocked and not so monitored due to local fire codes and a lack or misallocation of tax revenues, and so he slips into the building with relative ease – only subsequent examinations of the video camera footage by police and others will reveal his entry into the building.
Adam begins shooting in the doorway of the room where his math class usually takes place, and finishes 15 minutes or so later in a stairwell between floors by shooting himself in the head, ending his own life. In between both events, he also manages to kill two teachers and seven kids, while wounding a dozen others. He does pause to reload once, as the alarm is sounded and faculty move to evacuate the building, while the on-duty cop radios for additional police backup. One clip of ammunition is never used.
In the days and weeks and even months that follow, hysterical cries for even “tougher” gun-control laws are put forth, along with stricter security measures for government “schools,” and steeper penalties for gun crimes.
Guns and government buildings – schools and prisons – are visible things, you see. They are tangible. There is a clear way to act towards or against them, regardless of whether such actually addresses or solves any actual problems. They are easy targets in that, and all ways.
Not so easy to identify, or extricate, or unweave, is the invisible reality, however – the actual set of government-engendered circumstances responsible for such tragedy in the first place. Certainly not without stepping all over a lot of firmly-held, emotionally-charged political convictions with utterly zero basis in substance. Which is why the real problems never get solved, but only grow worse. And why all the wrong tactics, all the missolutions, are the only things that get employed – in the name of political expedience, and growth of government power. To admit otherwise would be, after all, to tear at the very foundations of the structure of society – to effectively uproot and deep-six some 7,000 plus years of human endeavor.
Yet, this is what is required.
It’s time to see the reality for what it is, and damned well do something about that.
The next Adam, and his victims, are already on their way. They never had to be. They don’t have to be.
Identifying the problem is the first step. Eliminating it – all of it – is the next logical step.
That’s reality. See it, for once. Own up to it. Live in accordance with it.