Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Heavy Cross Known As The State

By, Chris Rossini

NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman travelled to Yemen, Syria and Turkey to film a documentary. Here's his big takeaway from the trip (his emphasis):
It is why you can’t come away from a journey like this without wondering not just who will rule in these countries but how will anyone rule in these countries?
Keep in mind those questions.

Friedman then goes on (wearing his usual kaleidoscope-like glasses) to lament the conditions that he found:
In Egypt, Yemen or Syria, it is common to see primary-school classes of 60 to 70 kids with one undertrained teacher, no computers and no science instruction. How are the 36 kids whose three fathers I met going to have a chance in a world where not only are robots replacing manual blue-collar workers but software is increasingly replacing routine white-collar jobs — and where some of them can’t go back to the family farm because the water and topsoil have been depleted?
He obviously sees problems (again, interpreted his own way) and comes up with a solution:
The only way for these countries to catch up is by people uniting to mobilize all their strength. It is for Sunnis, Christians and Alawites in Syria to work together; for the tribes in Yemen and Libya to work together; for the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and liberals in Egypt to do so as well...
But alas, Friedman spoils it with his prescription (my emphasis):
But to pull together requires trust — that intangible thing that says you can rule over me even though you come from a different tribe, sect or political party — and that is what is missing here.
Ron Paul has said many times (and his campaigns were living examples) that freedom "unites" people.

Unfortunately, Friedman's line of thinking has been the dominant idea throughout man's history, and it has done nothing but make man look like a dog constantly chasing its tail.

In America, despite our massive problems, we have had a head start on tossing those ideas aside.

For example, I can walk outside of my house right now into a shopping center and peacefully deal with other people. I don't know their religious beliefs, their ethnic backgrounds, and I really don't care. Nor do they care about mine. The critical elements involved are respect for private property, and free and voluntary exchange.

On the religious front, thanks to the separation of Church & State (in general), America has every religious group imaginable co-existing without fighting one another violently. Each religious group must use persuasion, rather than the guns of The State, to gain and keep its members.

What the Middle East needs is not to find the right ruler, but to let people associate with one another freely. Friedman's prescription is one that will keep the area mired in wars without end. If the idea is either "they" control the State and force me to live like they do, or vice-versa, then of course you'll have nothing but violent battle.

Friedman, because he worships the idea of The State cannot possibly comprehend the cause and effect involved. In his eyes, some must rule, and others have to be OK with it.

While ahead of the game globally, America must also keep moving in the direction that was started over 200 years ago. Thomas Friedman, and the droves of opinion-molders like him, must have their ideas pushed back.

Americans also carry very heavy crosses. While they are different then those carried by the people in the Middle East, the one common theme is The State.

In America, the separation of Medicine & State, Education & State, and most importantly Money & State all need to be in its future.

And perhaps someday (even further out) Americans can evolve to the point of understanding that The State itself is not necessary at all.

If, or when that occurs, the embarrassing history of man, and the disastrous idea of "you can rule over me" can finally head into the dustbin of history.

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  1. The state definitely relies on legitimacy for its existence. One problem though is that SO MANY people love the state. If we could just go our separate ways somehow, it would be great.

  2. A wonderful title. Do we have to carry the cross to our own demise?

  3. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 14, 9, 4:

    "But when Herod stood before the Sanhedrim, with his body of men about him, he aftrighted them all, and no one of his former accusers durst after that bring any charge against him, but there was a deep silence, and nobody knew what was to be done. When affairs stood thus, one whose name was Sameas, a righteous man he was, and for that reason above all fear, rose up, and said, "O you that are assessors with me, and O thou that art our king, I neither have ever myself known such a case, nor do I suppose that any one of you can name its parallel, that one who is called to take his trial by us ever stood in such a manner before us; but every one, whosoever he be, that comes to be tried by this Sanhedrim, presents himself in a submissive manner, and like one that is in fear of himself, and that endeavors to move us to compassion, with his hair dishevelled, and in a black and mourning garment: but this admirable man Herod, who is accused of murder, and called to answer so heavy an accusation, stands here clothed in purple, and with the hair of his head finely trimmed, and with his armed men about him, that if we shall condemn him by our law, he may slay us, and by overbearing justice may himself escape death. Yet do not I make this complaint against Herod himself; he is to be sure more concerned for himself than for the laws; but my complaint is against yourselves, and your king, who gave him a license so to do. However, take you notice, that God is great, and that this very man, whom you are going to absolve and dismiss, for the sake of Hyrcanus, will one day punish both you and your king himself also." Nor did Sameas mistake in any part of this prediction; for when Herod had received the kingdom, he slew all the members of this Sanhedrim, and Hyrcanus himself also, excepting Sameas, for he had a great honor for him on account of his righteousness..."


  4. The state is always an alternative religion. Once you get past the use of force required by the non-aggression principle, everything the state does is based on certain moral principles. This makes a mockery of "freedom of religion" and the "separation of church and state" that many pretend exists. Freedom of religion is an acknowledgement that there is a healthy disagreement about morality, yet the morality of the state is imposed by the majority and cannot be called into question.