Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Can you face the truth about your government?

hat is the truth about your government? Murray Rothbard eviscerates every myth surrounding the State in this short essay. The truth about the government of whatever country in which you reside is that it is nothing more than a crime syndicate with a monopoly on law and force that maintains the perception that it is morally legitimate. Does this sound like insanity to you? If you are scientifically inclined, do you remember the feeling of bewilderment and borderline disbelief the first time you read about Einstein's theory of relativity or Schrodinger's and Heisenberg's formulations of quantum mechanics? If you are mathematically inclined, do you remember how you felt the first time you encountered Newton's and Leibniz's calculus of variations? Anyone who has experienced a mental "conversion", that is, a realignment of the mental model by which they interpret the world has experienced the initial feeling of disbelief and disorientation upon encountering a staggering challenge to their own preconceived ideas - possibly cherished - with evidence and clear, consistent reason.

Most people believe that modern government is "pretty good overall", that while it has some bad apples in it, most of those eventually get found out and drummed out by exposure and embarrassment in the media, and so on. But if you look at history dispassionately, it does not appear that there is any improvement or reduction in the corruption of the State. Granted, the State finds it harder to control the flow of information to hide its crimes, with the advent of new technologies that enable the rapid dissemination of information. However, this indicates no "progress" or "enlightenment" on the part of our rulers from the times of whips, racks and crucifixions. Consider the eagerness of the Bush administration and its allies (Blair, Brown, Chirac, Sarkozy, Merkel, Howard, and the US puppets in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) to resurrect these powers in kind: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, waterboarding, indefinite detentions even of US citizens (Padilla) and "outsourcing" of torture to foreign countries (Egypt, Syria) and private contractors (David Passaro), secret imprisonment (extraordinary rendition... some vestige of this program still exists under Obama), warrantless wiretaps, sneak-and-peek search warrants, no-knock warrants, gagging National Security Letters (all thanks to the most wonderful PATRIOT Act), shoot-to-kill protections (Australia), even summary execution of innocent civilians in broad daylight (de Menezes). Western governments are supposed to be models of enlightenment and moral decency in politics but the intent to exploit the populace to whatever extent it will bear has never diminished and the evidence bears this out.

As for the supposed moral goodness of Western governments, history shows again and again that there never was any moral superiority of Western governments over others. We need only look at the war crimes of the Allies in targeting civilians in the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (the Allies were much more successful and deadly in their efforts to kill civilians than the Axis powers were even if it was the Axis powers that first resurrected the doctrine of targeting civilians) - not to mention the unapologetic war crimes of General Sherman against fellow Americans during the war of 1861-1865 - the war crimes committed in Operation Keelhaul, the conspiring of US generals at the level of the Joint Chiefs to initiate and simulate terrorism against American citizens in Operation Northwoods, the war crimes committed by the CIA in MKULTRA and the crimes against humanity committed during the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments on black men. Not to mention the orchestrated deposition of an elected leader like Mohammed Mossadegh in Operation Ajax and innumerable other imperial interferences in the affairs of other countries, especially in South America and the Middle East. And I have not even touched on the rampant abuses of basic human decency and dignity within our own borders in the brutal crushing of civil rights protests, the FBI's targetting of anti-war movements and even intimidation of celebrities and people of note.

Reason tells us (see Rothbard's essay above) that the inevitable result of granting an organization the powers which we entrust to the government (monopoly on law and force) is exploitation, war, destruction and constant conflict. The historical record amply confirms what reason tells us. The state is a crime syndicate, a protection racket and nothing more.

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