The State Is a Cold Monster, the Coldest One.
The State Is a Cold Monster, the Coldest One.
“State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Misinformation, intentional or reckless, is dominating our cognizance. While it will remain difficult to sift through information that is presented through filters of bias, we can still educate ourselves enough to independently analyze what is presented to us. This is the only way we can get to a place where information givers will be forced to speak truthfully. It is our responsibility to assert this pressure.
We’ve heard incessantly for the past several months how Trump is Hitler or at least a fascist. But if we are really concerned about fascism, the person in the presidency is of less importance than is the structure that supports the Executive. Look at how much power our government has gobbled up. See how lopsided the bureaucracy is – in comparison to the shrinking freedom of the people, and with regard to the Executive Branch, in comparison to the other branches of government. These imbalances must be corrected.
“Political correctness,” said George Carlin, “is fascism pretending to have manners.” Beware the words that people use to describe these things:
“Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.”
― Simone Weil
The article I’m basing this essay on, The Eight Marks of Fascist Policy, from the Mises Institute, was published in August 2016. It was excerpted from a larger article about fascism published in 2011. Trump was not yet president is my point. And the larger point is that people who are screaming that Trump is fascist have no idea what they are talking about. Widen the lens and gain some perspective. Look more to the state of our government, rather than any one person. The co-equal branches of government have become quite lopsided with the Executive Branch being the fat kid on the teeter-totter who is ruining it for everyone else (but everybody else has also been too eager to go along). Trump has only inherited this outsized power, and if you think that’s a problem then you should have been paying attention. Better late than never I suppose.
While barely talking about Obama, this article explains exactly why he was not the Bestest President Ever, and why his cool guy anointment of Hillary was thankfully not enough to propel us faster down Fascist Road. Hillary would have only continued and built upon those policies, which suck the life out of liberty. And make no mistake, this propulsion did not start with Obama, and does not halt during Republican rule – it only moves more slowly.
Trump, so far, is a mixed bag. He appears to be a pragmatist at heart, not an ideologue, and has made a cornerstone of his presidency the reduction of the State. He has followed through with eradication of regulations and reduction in personnel. But he has also incentivized some businesses through government coffers via tax breaks. He has not displayed a zealousness for war, but does favor a strong military. Both Obama and Hillary start off with a higher score on the fascist scale than he does. Trump must be kept in line, but slathering over every tweet is really missing the boat.
It is these types of policies and actions taken by our leaders that should most concern us. We, for the most part, are barely qualified to make judgments on these actions because we have lives and little time to fully educate ourselves on all relevant aspects of these decisions. But we can absolutely commit to consciousness the principles of how various forms of governments work. That way, we can know a fascist when we see him.
To the people who call themselves AntiFa today, I wish you didn’t live in Opposite World. We do need a true antifascist movement, but thankfully there is one afoot and it is not limited to America. Ever heard of Brexit? Supporters of Marine LePen? Those Deplorables who elected Trump? That’s who they are. And there is more where they came from.
The article discusses this movement, already happening over the last decade:
I can think of no greater priority today than a serious and effective antifascist alliance. In many ways, one is already forming. It is not a formal alliance. It is made up of those who protest the Fed, those who refuse to go along with mainstream fascist politics, those who seek decentralization, those who demand lower taxes and free trade, those who seek the right to associate with anyone they want and buy and sell on terms of their own choosing, those who insist they can educate their children on their own, the investors and savers who make economic growth possible, those who do not want to be felt up at airports, and those who have become expatriates.
It is also made of the millions of independent entrepreneurs who are discovering that the number one threat to their ability to serve others through the commercial marketplace is the institution that claims to be our biggest benefactor: the government.
How many people fall into this category? It is more than we know. The movement is intellectual. It is political. It is cultural. It is technological. They come from all classes, races, countries, and professions. This is no longer a national movement. It is truly global.
I recommend clicking over to the article, but here are the marks in reduced form with my own thoughts. Commit to understanding the signs seen here and the information givers – media, elected leaders, and self-appointed spokesmen – will by necessity be forced to become more honest purveyors of the truth.In turn our decisions can be more properly informed as well.
The eight marks of fascist policy are:
1. A government that acknowledges no restraint on its powers is totalitarian. NSA listening, IRS targeting, TSA touching, BLM harassing, EPA strangling, DOJ investigating, endless regulating, Healthcare ordering, marriage proselytizing, etc. The government does it all!
“Every step which leads from capitalism toward planning is necessarily a step nearer to absolutism and dictatorship.”
― Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government
2. Government is a de facto dictatorship based on the leadership principle. We do not have a dictatorship by one man (as the Left and Never-Trumpers would try to frighten us about Trump) but we do have a domination of the Executive branch over the entire country. Now that Trump is president, the difference from Obama is that he is nearly a one man show fighting with everyone. Obama was the figurehead of the movement and got no pushback from those in his government. This does not mean he had the best ideas, it only means that those who hold the power liked his ideas the best, and were more invested in keeping their power than anything else. Fascist ideas enable elites to keep their power. Free market does not.
“It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville
3. Government administers a capitalist system with an immense bureaucracy. In 1974, Gerald Ford said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” The cost of this immense bureaucracy is invisible. It is the prosperity we do not see, the jobs that do not exist, the businesses that do not come into existence. This has been stolen by a government that is too big, but we don’t even miss it because it was strangled before it could be brought to life. This leads to dependence. Freedom and dependence cannot exist in co-equal amounts. Therefore I choose freedom. There has never been a time when I have felt otherwise.
“I really am a pessimist. I’ve always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It’s something essentially splendid because it’s not at all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory.”
― Norman Mailer
4. Producers are organized into cartels in the way of syndicalism. Syndicalism means that the producers have the economic control. Capitalism means that consumers have the economic control. In syndicalism the producers enjoy the political privilege. Who is it that gets tax breaks, subsidies, bailouts? I would venture that the producers are the biggest recipients of all this economic aid. Obamacare was only passed with the support of the insurance companies because their losses would be subsidized with your tax dollars. How many people even realize this? I naively thought we would be saved from Obamacare by big business – that forcing companies to go along with this fascist scheme would make the lobbyists scream bloody murder. To my shock and awe they went along. What a light bulb moment to see them in cahoots with government. Not partnership. Cahoots – it’s like collusion, you’ve heard of that?
“What makes anyone think that government officials are even trying to protect us? A government is not analogous to a hired security guard. Governments do not come into existence as social service organizations or as private firms seeking to please consumers in a competitive market. Instead, they are born in conquest and nourished by plunder. They are, in short, well-armed gangs intent on organized crime. Yes, rulers have sometimes come to recognize the prudence of protecting the herd they are milking and even of improving its ‘infrastructure’ until the day they decide to slaughter the young bulls, but the idea that government officials seek to promote my interests or yours is little more than propaganda—unless, of course, you happen to belong to the class of privileged tax eaters who give significant support to the government and therefore receive in return a share of the loot.”
― Robert Higgs
5. Economic planning is based on the principle of autarky. Autarky was a new word for me I must admit. It is the ability of a government to sustain itself without outside help. Self-sufficiency. Sounds good in the abstract, but what it basically means for us is that the bigger the government, the more it must do to keep itself alive. Wait, how big is Obamacare again? Anything short of getting the government out of our health care decisions contributes to the growth of government.
6. Government sustains economic life through spending and borrowing. Did you ever wonder why we can’t get this national debt under control? They don’t want to. Very simple.
7. Militarism is a mainstay of government spending. Obama did not cut military spending, and in fact started some wars of his own. The Left conveniently forgot this might be a problem and is why so much of their criticism cannot be taken seriously now – it is simply unprincipled and partisan. A common tenet of libertarian thought runs toward an isolationist mentality. Don’t get involved. I don’t buy into that 100%. When legitimate American interests are threatened, and when innocent people are in danger, it is a justified moral position to interfere. This is a dangerous position though too because this legitimacy often produces immoral partners turning the whole thing to shit.
8. Military spending has imperialist aims. I don’t believe America strives to be a colonial power, but she isn’t opposed to maintaining significant influence around the world, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But the fact is, the US has been steadily at traditional war now for 16 years, and has masterminded many other questionable actions throughout history. I am not a complete isolationist, but what we are doing at present is not sustainable for our economy, prosperity, and, significantly, our mental health (we have a whole generation for whom 9/11 and its repercussions have loomed over their existence, not to mention general fatigue for the rest of us, ranging from acute to peripheral). We shouldn’t be in the business of nation building, but making the call as to when aid and support crosses the line is not always an easy one under even the best of intentions.
Let me make one final thing clear – I do not consider The State to be America. America herself was conceived in liberty, and America despises anything that infringes upon her freedom. America remains pure and would only ever act in a moral way, though we as humans frequently bring stain upon her, claiming her virtue as our own. But we should separate these two concepts of State and America so that we might actually find our way again. The State strangles us and America lets us breathe. Down with The State, up with America.