Punchinello’s Chronicles

February 16, 2009

Why America Will Survive

Filed under: The Great Adventure! — Punchinello @ 5:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

Following the passage of the new debt-spending package by congress, everybody is talking about the pros and cons. As always, polarization is split totally between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives assume the consequences will be disastrous, liberals argue that it’ll help the people of the country.

What’s really fascinating, though, examining the general flurry of discussion is that so few conservatives take the nation’s government seriously.

It’s not that we don’t believe the government can ruin any one of us. Nor do we take lightly the consequences of a suspension of rights. We don’t disagree that the federal government could put the Constitution on hold, and we know it’s entirely possible that everybody in the entire country could be arrested.

No, it’s that there’s a clear undercurrent emerging that shows how the average citizen hasn’t the slightest doubt that he or she can disobey the government. That’s unique!

Many countries have fallen to communism, dictatorships, socialism, and even anarchy. We’ve had countries run by religions, or those run by aristocrats and royalty. History is filled with examples of a national political structure that controls the population. In many cases, that control has extended for decades and generations.

But there’s one thing that hasn’t been a factor in all those other situations: the American foundation of personal freedom, civil rights, private property, and capitalism.

When the communist party took over Russia, there had to be an underlying populist (new word for liberalism or progressive) agreement. Most people had to first believe that a government, any government, is the solution to their daily life problems.

In America, half the population has no such belief whatsoever. Conservatives and traditional Americans both look at the government as a necessary burden, a continuing pest that needs to be dealt with and avoided as much as possible. This demographic has lived their entire lives without much interest at all in “helping” the government do a damn thing.

That’s never been done before! From as far back as medieval times, a major part of any nation’s population has grown up with an automatic assumption that “leaders” are either genetically or spiritually ordained. As such, a follower has a “natural destiny” to obey those leaders.

America holds no such assumptions. True, a major portion of the population has been brainwashed into believing that the government is the solution, not the problem, but even there, it’s a supposed choice. Those who want a tyrannical government still assume it’s a political process and can be controlled. They don’t believe that a government could take over the entire country, lock it down, and turn us into a Soviet Union or pre-war Iraq.

The problem for those who vote for socialism is that they haven’t seen the personal results of lost freedoms and rights. They haven’t experienced a bankrupt nation, where business and capital have been confiscated and shut down. They’ve never seen the systemic incompetency of a total bureaucracy.

It’s not that these useful idiots prefer to live with a socialist bureaucracy, it’s that they’re too ignorant to project forward and envision the consequences. Anyone who’s on food stamps or welfare has to deal with that bureaucracy. But when they get finished, they go out into a country and economy based on their freedom to buy pretty much whatever they want.

Poor people do get subsidies, benefits, help and charity. But when they receive that help, they remain in a context where they can travel, walk, move about the country, or do pretty much anything excepting legitimate illegal activities. They’ve never experienced a situation where they’re not allowed to buy this or that. They’re not allowed to go out whenever they want, or buy candy from many different stores.

Taken together, this fundamental world-view of personal freedom means a natural, root-level “disbelief” in the authority and power of a national government.

On the conservative side, there’s a routine rejection of the power of government. Look at the standard comments regarding Illinois ex-governor Blagojevich: “Well, politicians are politicians. They’re all corrupt.” Then we try to get on with our lives.

The only thing wrong with all this is that so few people understand the logistics of handing over control to a governing body. The Founding Fathers did, because they grew up in a world emerging from kings and queens, peasants and lords, and an America that was a wholly-owned subsidiary of England. With 200 years of freedom, nobody remembers any of that kind of despotism.

So yes, we’ll have a period of time where the “duly elected government” will also believe that it can nationalize the country, confiscate wealth, shut down the markets. We’ll likely see wage and price controls, employment and termination freezes, and it may even become against the law to quit a job (if it’s for the public safety, of course). We’ll see attempts to isolate and control communications, strengthen propaganda channels, and censor free speech.

All this likely will be attempted at some point. We’ll probably see a push towards an American Union, joining Canada and Mexico with the US. We’ll probably see central banking, and even a new money system. After it becomes clear that the US dollar isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, we’ll have to do something.

But the more these things happen, the more angry the citizens of the country will become. With that anger, there won’t be any kind of in-bred caution or belief that “perhaps the government knows what it’s doing.” We all have grown up with stories of the American Revolution. We’ve learned about the Civil War and the secession of one section of the country from the other.

“United” States isn’t just a name. It didn’t “just happen, somehow.” We became United as a result of a massive amount of thought, reason, argument, debate, anger, violence, and experience. We documented in a Constitution the reasons for and methods of that unity, and we used guns and explosives to make it happen. All of us have a cultural memory of going to war for personal freedom, even if we didn’t actually live at that time.

Throughout history, no other nation has had that kind of cultural assumption. The best they could do was remember back to when peasants stormed the gates with pitchforks and torches. The person who laughed at the government was rare, and they quickly were beheaded. Not so in America.

The government may try to convert (Vote for Change) the United States into a socialist republic. But to do so in a real and lasting way would require first that politicians be taken seriously. Secondly, it would require a military that stood to gain by following those politicians. Finally, it would require a way to engage in real commerce with some form of medium of exchange. Those conditions can only come from a population of agreeable citizens.

Not many folks are all that agreeable, these days.

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