The other night
I was watching a debate on TV about the federal budget debt. Each
one of the panelists spoke in terms of we. We need to
do this or that and so on. This has become normal speech
even though it betrays something very abnormal about our society.
What I mean is, the causal acceptance of collectivism.
my mid-40s. I can remember a time when commentators spoke of the
debt, the military and so on.
Today, it is
all our debt, our troops and so
no longer matters. Its all we all the time even though
its (as always) a certain few such as Mitt Romney (or Newtie
or Barack or your local would-be Barack or Newtie)
who so naturally and casually presume to represent we. And for the
most part, we let them get away with it. We do not challenge the
premise. It is taken as a given that we need better schools. More
police. Or fiscal discipline . . . to be provided for,
of course, with your money and mine.
It is just
a question of how we will achieve this.
to leaving you and me free to decide for ourselves
(or in voluntary cooperation with one another)?
of course, is that the political-economic-social system you and
I are living in forces us to war with him and her
and they and them with us. Because were all
bound up into various groups vying against other groups for a slice
of government power or boodle, or to forcibly control members of
other groups. It is like a wolf pack dominance hierarchy
with each wolf snapping his jaws at the carcass as a claim
and a threat to the other wolves. And it is all made possible because
the government has become an omnipresence, intruding into every
corner of our lives such that we are never free from its grasping
coercion, even in the privacy of our own homes.
Like the wolves,
we have become part of a collective whose operating principle is
violence, with the goal being to inflict it onto others and avoid
having it inflicted upon us.
presumptive Republican pack leader, speaks in we.
We needed health
care reform in Massachusetts. It was the right thing for us to do,
he says. Newtie and Barack and the rest of them say similarly plural
things. Always we. With you and I ultimately facing the snapping
jaws and the barrel of a gun if we happen to disagree
The lone wolf
the individual who might prefer simply to be left
in peace confronts the Hobsons choice of being eaten
by his fellow pack members
or joining them and using their
collective power to feast upon others.
And so, we
need health care reform. We need a strong defense.
We need better schools for our kids. If you dont
have any kids, or any interest in sending armed men to kill people
youve never even met who never bothered you in countries on
the other side of the planet, or arent interested in anyones
health care except your own
well, too bad.
What was it
VI Lenin said about government? You may not be interested in it,
but it is keenly interested in you.
for office easily accept the role as head wolf, doling out the slabs
of meat to whichever of the pack makes its needs most urgently known,
or which the head wolf favors. It is, quite literally, a feeding
frenzy. There is no longer even a debate about whether and how far
the government ought to transgress against the sovereignty of the
individual. It is only a question of which individuals, as
members of a collective, shall impose their will on members of some
other collective. The rule of the stronger. This is
what campaigns and elections are all about in a democracy. There
is no fundamental disagreement about the essential nature of the
thing. The wolf pack leader (that is, the office-seeker or lawmaker)
stands at the podium describing how he will reward his pack and
implicitly, how he will punish his enemies, or the enemies of his
pack. He rails against his opponent pack leader, who meanwhile just
as vehemently urges his pack to steer clear of your pack
because he will do a better job of providing for their needs. And
a better job of punishing the opposing pack.
The story goes
that Ben Franklin objected to the adoption of the eagle an
opportunistic predator as the symbol of the new republic.
He preferred the turkey a peaceable, industrious bird. He
considered it the proper symbol of a government limited to protecting
individuals against the violence of other individuals, including
violence administered via The Vote.
course, was overruled.
And of course,
so were we.
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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