In the course of aggregating various forms of content for this site and others, I've been struck by just how badly the State fails individuals. We're all proud on some level of our affiliation with some form of organization higher than the individual level, be it a race or a nation or some form of both. My own background is a source of immense pride to me: being Irish is something I've always held close, and something I've always been proud to say. On the same level, I'm a proud American, but I don't think many other Americans get what I mean when I say that: I'm proud of the ideals that America represents, be it achievement based on merit, equality before the law, or a republic founded on individual liberties that trump majoritarian rule. I love it here, be it the land or the people, but I despise our government.
Our government is an insult to the ideals that make our nation great and unique. It flouts the limits placed upon by the Constitution, generally tramples and disregards our individual liberties as a matter of convenience and simple preference, and is comprised of some of the worst people we have to offer the world. There are moments when I listen to individual representatives talk and I am absolutely flummoxed at how unintelligent they obviously are. Moreover, the ones advertised as intelligent by the media are simply asinine. Their gift, if you can call it that, is speaking the language of the intelligentsia and parroting certain key phrases and jargon. The media is of the firm conviction that if a person talks a certain way, the way the majority of the media talks, then that person is of a keen mind. My own conviction on the matter is that very few individuals in the United States government, even those who were advertised as the best and the brightest, actually were bright and good.
Recent revelations would seem to bear this out, especially the recent release of John F. Kennedy's Harvard application. The marks therein are abysmal, and the application letter itself is underwhelming:
The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a "Harvard man" is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.
April 23, 1935
John F. Kennedy
Five sentences. That's what it took for John F. Kennedy to get into Harvard. Through his career at The Choate School, John F. Kennedy managed a 68 average. The reality is that historians and journalists alike have never treated John F. Kennedy like a 68 student, nor have they questioned the myth of JFK versus the reality. People from certain families get by with less achievement, less aptitude, and less competence simply by virtue of the fact that their family name carries with it a certain cachet.
Where George W. Bush was concerned, he got a bad rap because he didn't understand that speaking the language of the intelligentsia mattered where coverage was concerned. In truth, his grades and those of his opponent in the 2000 Presidential elections, Al Gore, were quite similar. In point of fact, Gore's sophomore year saw him making worse grades than George W. Bush made throughout his career at Yale.
These are not the best and the brightest. Moreover, their advisors, if the track record of the past 40 years is any indicator, are not the best and the brightest either. We've had forty consecutive years of deficits, and our entire economy is built on inflation. There hasn't been one quarter of economic growth since the mid-Nineties that wasn't accompanied by Federal Reserve stimulus in the form of monetary expansion. Quite simply, our economy has little to do with any policy emanating out of Washington. It runs on the fiat monetary policy of the Federal Reserve and its Board of Governors, and they tighten and relax the monetary supply on the whim of the private financial sector which owns the Federal Reserve. If the regulatory policies coming out of Washington are judged to be too strident, the monetary supply is manipulated in such a way as to drive the economy downwards. If the regulatory policies are adjudged as favorable, then the monetary supply makes the compliant politicos in Washington appear competent, even brilliant.
It is little more than an illusion. If there are things that our government, our State, is good at, they are as follows: intellectual obfuscation and sleight of hand. The State is responsible for nearly every major economic event of the past forty years. Enron? Who do you think approved mark-to-market accounting which enabled Enron to book projected future profits as current revenue? That would be the SEC. Enron's stock price went through the roof on the basis of State-sanctioned fraudulent accounting. The more recent economic crisis was the direct result of State-sanctioned deregulation which allowed banks to securitize anything and everything, thereby multiplying our mortgage market from $21 trillion to $165 trillion in securities. Additionally, that $165 trillion in securities represents a booked asset that owners of the securities can then borrow against. The end result is more debt based on paper assets rather than anything physical or concrete.
The recent news that banks are making a recovery is little more than an absolute lie. Banks are booking profits because they have been allowed to suspend regular accounting rules, thereby enabling them to book liabilities as assets, or shuffle liabilities off of their balance sheets altogether. In the name of preserving the mirage, the State has given banks permission to cook their books. Banks are being allowed to book expected earnings as though those earnings are already in hand, but the truth is that even those banks advertised as healthy have lost hundreds of billions of dollars at the same time they were reporting record profits.
And that's just the financial end of the State's malfeasance. The reality of the matter is that the State exists solely to serve the interests of a select few who own most of the capital. State expenditures are little more than welfare for the wealthy, which is why the State continues to metastasize. The State is not comprised of bleeding-heart altruists who genuinely care about the poor or the working class. Have you ever noticed that welfare never delivers a single recipient to middle class status? Not once is a welfare recipient emancipated from dependence on government aid into a self-sustaining lifestyle. The point of welfare is not to get people back on their feet; instead, the point of welfare is to ensure that recipients wear a yoke around their neck for as long as possible.
Whatever the recipient receives goes right back into an economy where the owners of the corporations who receive that money are shareholders generally made up of the wealthiest 10% of the population. Those same individuals receive government tax credits for hiring welfare recipients. They provide the goods and services that the government relies upon. There's Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor, administering welfare reform programs and offering up instruction to recipients on how to improve their self-esteem, and you and I are paying for it! There's a shell corporation, built by ex-Senator Ted Stevens, whereby the Eskimos of Tatitlik run the Chugach Alaska Corporation, or at least sit back and collect dividends while Bechtel and others actually run the $700 million of annual federal contracts to run military bases around the world!
And then there are the scandals, ranging from torture to pedophilia and child pornography, all of which goes largely unpunished because the violations in question are committed by State employees and officials. There's the Defense Department child pornography scandal, which shows hundreds of purchases of child pornography by dozens of Pentagon employees, many of whom had sensitive security clearances. That follows on the heels of revelations that SEC employees were too busy watching porn on work computers to actually pay attention to the rampant mortgage fraud that dominated half a decade of 21st century. Also, a NASA executive was also busted for the same sort of malfeasance. We can also count in the Minerals Management Service and their employees, who received Peach Bowl tickets, private jet travel, and watched porn at work to boot. The end result was the Deepwater Horizon disaster, whereby the negligence of a State bureaucracy enabled the negligence of British Petroleum. And you can also look at the State as the largest drug distributor, given the history of CIA involvement in heroin trafficking and cocaine smuggling.
Then there's the genocide, from Darfur to Bosnia to Rwanda to Iraq and elsewhere, all at the behest of State's bureaucrats and the elites who drive State policy by fomenting racial and religious hatred in order to create constituencies out of resentments. The great question I have after considering all of these various abuses is this: why do we think the State is a viable or beneficial mode of organization for us? Why, after all of the war, the corruption, the rampant abuses...why do we think States work? States underwrite the genocidal demagogues and tyrants and the regimes thereof, and they do so with impunity. The State has little if any problem with a demagogue who enables their policy ends, but the minute he turns against the State which created him, then he is reclassified as a tyrant and a genocidal maniac, albeit a maniac armed and supplied by external States who created his power base.
Nations work, because people bound by common interests and mutually shared values possess great empathy for each other. That's why private donationsreached the victims of Katrina with far more efficiency on a far quicker scale than State aid. States lack empathy, run as they are by individuals who mistake bankrupt moral outlooks with intellectual sophistication.
States work very well for the worst within a society and culture, people who mistake capital for merit. The fact that one gains capital in any State regulated economy says more about that individual's ability to network and trade on nepotism and connections than it does about the merit of the individual's ideas or the execution of those ideas. These individuals love the State even as they denigrate the nation, because they bear no identity along national lines. Merchants, Thomas Jefferson noted, have no country. The State enables merchants at the expense of everyone else, and if you don't believe this, you have to look no further than the size of bailouts relative to welfare programs. Moreover, you can also consider that every dime spent on national defense, infrastructure, and welfare goes into the coffers of companies owned by Statists.
At the end of the day, the State as it currently exists and the interests it represents, are fundamentally incompatible with the values and norms of ordinary people, because ordinary people have extraordinary compassion and decency. We've become jaded over time, and many of us have been susceptible to appeals to our fears and bigotries, but the reality of the matter is that in times of crisis, our true character is revealed and that character is good. It's time for us to finally come to a realization that has been long overdue: the State is not the answer to the problem, the State is the problem. It has never delivered on its promises, and its existence is the chief problem confronting freedom-loving individuals who believe in human rights and human dignity. We've arrived at a place in human history where we must reject the State and move towards a gradual Stateless existence.