Sunday, February 21, 2021

Government needs your compliance

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 20, 2021)

No matter how you feel about them, U.S. presidents are both too powerful and figureheads without any real power. It seems contradictory, but it's true.

A president has the power to sign unconstitutional legislation and impose unconstitutional executive orders-- such as Trump's ban on bump stocks-- but unless he does what those with the real power want him to do, he loses the power to do anything.

This defeats the point of gaining the office. So presidents usually play the game.

A president who can do anything to us has too much power over our lives, but everything he does is dictated by others. By who? In spite of what you might believe, it's not the voters. Voters have little power to control the president. That power lies with other people and institutions.

First, there are entrenched federal operatives-- what some refer to as "The Deep State". Yes, it's real. These are the people embedded in government throughout decades of changing administrations. They know how to play the system to get what they want. What they want is more power for themselves and their agencies. They are behind the Pentagon and the security and "intelligence" agencies, but some are ordinary government functionaries with connections.

The legacy political parties-- Democratic and Republican-- are part of this, too. The party bosses are able to help or harm a president of their own party, depending on how well he serves their agenda.

Then, the national mainstream media also has power to influence most presidents. This was never more obvious than when it didn't work quite the way they were used to during the Trump presidency. It's why they had to pull out all the stops to take him down.

It's probably too late to scale back the power of the presidency, or the power various unaccountable agents hold over the presidency. I'd like to see someone try, though.

You can still choose how much power over your life presidents and those who pull the presidents' strings have. They need your compliance. Without it, they are mostly powerless. Sure, they can throw dangerous political tantrums, but that's more a sign of their weakness-- physical and ethical-- than anything. Do your best to stay out of their way as they thrash around in frustration and you'll still be standing after they've self-destructed.

The real power can be yours if you choose to use it.


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Statists (unconsciously) admit statism is a failure

Statism "works" for a lot of people. They do well under it and may even like it. They don't care about their liberty or the liberty of others. Just as long as nothing changes too much and they have someone else to abdicate their responsibility to and blame when that doesn't work.

They are scared to try anything better because they fear they might lose what they already have. Humans generally fear loss more than they fear missing out on something better... sad, but true.

Statism doesn't work well for me. I don't thrive under it. I don't like it. I'm perfectly willing to try something that I think could be better-- even at the risk of it not being better, or ending up back at square-one. I understand the risks and I'm willing to take them.

Maybe I'm being selfish, and that's why I dislike statism so much. Maybe it has nothing to do with the ethics of it. like I imagine it does.

The thing is, I've always been willing to let the statists keep their statism, but just keep it off my life, liberty, and property. Live and let live. You do your thing and stop trying to force your thing on me (sounds rapish, doesn't it).

But statism can't permit that. The very idea scares statists too much. I say I would respect their right to defend themselves from any violations, even with police they hire, but that's not good enough. To them, if everyone isn't equally enslaved by their "system", they seem to know their "system" wouldn't work. If that's not an admission that they already know it's a failure, I don't know what it is.


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