Robert Higgs has this article on Mises Daily at the Mises institute, The Power of the State vs. the Power of Love. Higgs recognizes that the State is not a force for “good,” but for evil. Here are some excerpts:
Hardheaded people mock the idea that “love is the answer” to the people’s dire situation. They insist that evil forces and evil men are afoot in the world, men who care nothing for love and seek only vile ends, and that such malevolence can be fended off effectively only by meeting it with adequate force and violence.
Yet, here we are, inhabiting a world divided in countless ways by mutual misunderstandings, hatreds, and yearnings for vengeance. Because each society is subject to a state whose own interests are served by keeping this vicious pot boiling, we have no prospect of ever breaking out of the endless cycle of evil, violence, and retribution. In the process, the whole world forgoes the immense blessings that would flow from mutual cooperation, peace, and tolerance.
So long as the state exists, with its intrinsic violence, plunder, and insolence, and we seek solutions to our pressing social problems through it or in its dark shadow, we are doomed not to second-best or third-best solutions, but to make-believe solutions that are, at best, momentary rest stops on the road to our worsening degradation and ultimate demise.
Love turns us in the opposite direction. It seeks to build up, whereas the state seeks to overawe and kill in the service of the self-interested elites who control it at the expense of the people at large. Love has no need to flex violent muscles or seek vengeance time and again. Love intends the good of the other for its own sake, not as a means toward the end of one’s own aggrandizement. Love is patient and long-suffering; power is impatient and easily provoked.
Now, there are a lot of things that have been in the news lately which show just what the State is all about. And it isn’t love, that’s for sure.
Here is just one example of the State’s incompetence, violence and destruction:
According to Patrick Toomey of the ACLU, the Justice (sic) Department will now notify criminal defendants when evidence to be used against them that was obtained through criminal and unconstitutional warrantless wiretaps. This is yet another story in which the federal government continues to commit criminal intrusions against the people it supposedly serves, for no good reason whatsoever. However, the supposed “terrorist threat” (such as it is) being used to justify the government’s criminality, wouldn’t even exist if our “national security” bureaucrats hadn’t been starting wars of aggression and occupations, sanctions, extraordinary rendition kidnappings and indefinite detentions of innocents, and the 22-year destruction of Iraq. You see, when your stupid non-productive imbeciles of the bureaucracy inflict aggression against foreigners, then of course they will retaliate.
If you want to have peace, then you behave peacefully. It shouldn’t take too much thinking to understand that. However, in today’s America, even if many people attempted to think for themselves and to finally choose to challenge the propaganda being fed to them by TPTB and the useful idiots of the media and talk radio, I doubt that even then would they grasp such a concept. As Leonard Read would say, “Anything peaceful.”
But, as Justin Raimondo explains, some of the hard-core statists in Washington will never learn, despite obvious realities that if such realities were a snake it would have bit these buffoons. In the Raimondo article, we see that John McCain and Lindsey Graham are at it again, in their wanting to go back into Iraq. Well, why don’t THEY go there, and let our troops stay here where they belong.
Now, when it comes to the “power of the State vs, the power of love,” which side do you think McCain and Graham are on?
And John Whitehead writes of the NSA spying and the dangers of secretive authoritarian governments. Is the NSA really spying on us because it loves us and wants to protect us? Or is it spying for the sake of building up “dossiers” on everyday, innocent Americans who have never given the government any reason to suspect them of anything?
Related: Michael Rozeff on the LRC blog asks if America’s government leadership is “mentally ill.” (Michael Rozeff tends to ask rhetorical questions. But, as Stuart Smalley would say, “That’s … okay.”)
In fact, the sickness of these power-grabbing statists is more obvious in the enforcement wing of the State. For example, Alex Knight writes about tasers, and asserts that the real purpose of the tasers is to make the cops’ job more fun. The job of government police monopoly agent draws in the most psychopathological amongst us. That is because monopolists do not have accountability, especially when the general population are compelled by law to use these monopolists’ services.
That is why government-controlled medical care will attract the worst of the worst. For crying out loud, the medical industry already has its share of “bad apples,” thanks to licensure which protects the bad practitioners from good competitors, and other governmental intrusions and dictates. Oh, don’t get me started on those “doctors” now.
And, speaking of ObamaCare, single payer and SovietCare, John Keller compares the State’s power grab in health care to a hypothetical power grab in food distribution. The free market handles food distribution very well and if we allowed the free market health care to actually be free, it would be just as efficient. You see, it isn’t out of love that the State grabs control over these endeavors in life, but out of a love for power and control. I wish “liberals” could see that.
And Jacob Hornberger refers to futile attempts at health care “reform” as a “syndrome.” Just as Lindsey Graham and John McCain do not seem to learn anything from the experiences in Iraq, those Republicans do not seem to learn anything from the destruction that past health care “reforms” have caused. Hornberger mentions Medicare and Medicaid specifically.
Interesting comments in this post by Robert Murphy, on an ObamaCare-related post by Paul Krugman. Some interesting arguments on what insurance is and what it is not, and the nature of government orders backed by threats of violence.
I don’t think that Obama is overwhelmed by feelings of love for his fellow Americans when he says that we must get health insurance or he’ll send IRS thugs after us. Or that we must report to him and his medical commissars our private personal information or else. Sorry.
But the State does love one thing, though: power.