Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Politics is Stockholm Syndrome

Politics is Stockholm Syndrome

(My Clovis News Journal column for March 14, 2014)

I confess: I'm not very interested in politics. Who is campaigning; who holds which office; "laws" being proposed or passed. It all feels like chasing my tail.

So I'm not going to waste much time or effort petitioning government's representatives and enforcers to respect my life, liberty, and property.

Perhaps it's necessary, as self preservation, to know what politicians are up to. It would also be necessary to know what a wild boar was up to after you let him in your living room. But why would you ever tolerate either situation? Why believe replacing one wild boar with an interchangeable wild boar could solve anything?

If I moved into your neighborhood, dictating how you were permitted to live, earn money, and use your property- enforcing my will at the point of a gun- would you put up with it? I sincerely hope not!

To pacify you I might schedule an election- give my permission to poll a sample of your neighbors in an attempt to change the way I use your life and property as you might prefer. What if I ignored your requests? You could elect others, who promise to use your life and property in a way which makes you less uncomfortable, to replace me. How is that different?

Would you instead laugh at my attempts at control and invite me to do a nosedive off a windmill? Rather than trying to decide how much of your property I am entitled to take, would you fight to keep it? When I send my hired guns- hired from among your family and neighbors for a percentage of the take- to collect on my behalf, how would you respond?

Imagine I survived my insolence, and three hundred years from now the system through which the torch of control had been passed was still operating. I never had any business running your life, nor do those who came after me have any legitimate authority over the lives of your descendants, no matter how long it has been going on. Nothing changes that.

Would your descendants defend the legitimacy of "their system", saying it is the best one possible? Would they believe "we" are the government; embracing rulers and bureaucrats and relinquishing essential liberty by holding elections to choose who gets to violate them for the next few years.

"We are the government"? Try to do things government employees do with people's lives, liberties, and property and see how long you get away with it. Those who are permitted, under their own rules, to do those things don't tolerate competition, and Stockholm Syndrome keeps their captives complacent.

That, in a nutshell, is politics.

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