I’m in a particularly dark mood this morning. It derives from several causes, most of which my Gentle Readers would deem irrelevant to them. However, there is one that’s worth a mention.
Though I disapprove of the linguistic hijacking that has conflated anarchy with chaos, I can do little about it. Worse yet, the late Samuel Francis’s term anarcho-tyranny is so powerfully evocative that I cannot do without it. This essay from 1994, while it wasn’t the one in which the term first appeared, provides an excellent argument that the condition to which it refers is the current sociopolitical status of these United States. If you haven’t read it before, please do so. If you have, please refresh your memory of its contents and overall import, so I can refrain from importing huge segments of it into this piece.
With that, it’s time for a little – a very little – of the odious Jen Psaki:
So it becomes clear that the Usurper Administration has no intention of backing off on its attempt to use economic coercion to enforce its everybody-must-get-vaxed decree upon Americans. Virtually all of America’s largest companies do a significant amount of business with the federal government. Some even receive subsidies. Those that don’t kneel to the Usurpers will see that business, those subsidies negatively affected. In many – perhaps most – cases, the aggregate impact would leave red ink on their bottom lines. As most such companies are secretly in thrall to their accounting departments, they will refrain from “pointless, profitless resistance.”
How’s the southern border looking these days, Joe?
I feel no need to detail the total failure of the “vaccines” to immunize those who accept them against the COVID-19 virus. Nor need I discourse on the dangers the “vaccines” pose to the human immune system or any other aspect of bodily integrity. The rash of infections and deaths among the “vaccinated,” and the tsunami of young people dying suddenly, or being diagnosed with bizarre ailments virtually unknown among the young after being “vaccinated,” should already be known to the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch. There’s no need to recap what we already know.
No, I have something else in mind this fine January morning. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the pandemic or the “vaccines,” except as they illustrate the central theme of this piece. It’s about the nature of Americans’ relationship to government.
Allow me a useful analogy that I’ve used before:
[I]n the American Constitutional system, a government is an agent: a hireling charged with specified responsibilities and allowed to engage in certain delimited activities in discharging them. The relationship is exactly parallel to a homeowner who engages a landscaper to trim his hedge. The job is defined by the homeowner, and the landscaper is to do that and nothing else.
Imagine that the landscaper sees himself as having “interests” that include turning the homeowner’s hedge into a topiary. Would the homeowner be justified in becoming upset? Would he have a good case for refusing the landscaper his fee for that “service?” If the answers strike you as obvious, ask yourself why claims of “compelling government interests” should be treated any differently.
Our “landscaper” is just such a despicable creature. It mulcts us for oceans of tax money and uses it as it pleases. It then imposes all sorts of anti-Constitutional compulsions and constraints on us – things the Founding Fathers never even contemplated handing over to a government – and enforces its will with humorless ferocity. But as for “trimming the hedge” to our specifications – the job we hired it to do, keeping the peace and a reasonable degree of public order? Forget that; it’s too busy making sure all of us think, speak, and act in its prescribed fashion.
Anarchy and tyranny combined, in ever-increasing doses.
That arrogant landscaper: what would you do about him? Would you merely reprove him and express your hope that in the future he’d do what you’d hired him to do? Would you excoriate him mercilessly for his presumptions but pay him anyway? Or would you fire him summarily and send him packing without his fee?
Anyone with three functioning brain cells can see where I’m headed with this, and my Gentle Readers have a lot more functioning brain matter than that. So why sit we here idle?
Henry Louis Mencken saw the writing on the wall nearly a century ago:
The typical lawmaker of today is a man devoid of principle – a mere counter in a grotesque and knavish game. If the right pressure could be applied to him, he would cheerfully be in favor of polygamy, astrology or cannibalism….
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary….
Politics, as hopeful men practice it in the world, consists mainly of the delusion that a change in form is a change in substance. The American colonists, when they got rid of the Potsdam tyrant, believed fondly that they were getting rid of oppressive taxes forever and setting up complete liberty. They found almost instantly that taxes were higher than ever, and before many years they were writhing under the Alien and Sedition Acts….
At each election we vote in a new set of politicians, insanely assuming that they are better than the set turned out. And at each election we are, as they say in Motherland, done in.
To summarize: There is no voting our way out of this. The elections of November 2020 should have established that beyond all possibility of doubt. Yet the “hopeful men” persist in their delusion.
Very few persons today read the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Yet they are among the most important fictions of their era. Their importance extends deeply into our understanding of right, wrong, and justice. The one best known, at least by its title, is Crime and Punishment:
“….Listen, I want to ask you a serious question,” the student said hotly. “I was joking of course, but look here; on one side we have a stupid, senseless, worthless, spiteful, ailing, horrid, old woman, not simply useless but doing actual mischief, who has not an idea what she is living for herself, and who will die in a day or two in any case. You understand? You understand?”
“Yes, yes, I understand,” answered the officer, watching his excited companion attentively.
“Well, listen then. On the other side, fresh young lives thrown away for want of help and by thousands, on every side! A hundred thousand good deeds could be done and helped, on that old woman’s money which will be buried in a monastery! Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens of families saved from destitution, from ruin, from vice, from the Lock hospitals – and all with her money. Kill her, take her money and with the help of it devote oneself to the services of humanity and the good of all. What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds? For one life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death, and hundred lives in exchange – it’s simple arithmetic! Besides, what value has the life of that sickly, stupid, ill-natured old woman in the balance of existence? No more than the life of a louse, of a black-beetle, less in fact because the old woman is doing harm. She is wearing out the lives of others; the other day she bit Lizaveta’s finger out of spite; it almost had to be amputated.”
“Of course she does not deserve to live,” remarked the officer, “but there it is, it’s nature.”
“Oh well, brother, but we have to correct and direct nature, and, but for that, we should drown in an ocean of prejudice. But for that, there would never have been a single great man. They talk of duty, conscience – I don’t want to say anything against duty and conscience;- but the point is, what do we mean by them? Stay, I have another question to ask you. Listen!”
“No, you stay, I’ll ask you a question. Listen!”
“You are talking and speechifying away, but tell me, would you kill the old woman yourself?”
“Of course not! I was only arguing the justice of it… It’s nothing to do with me…”
“But I think, if you would not do it yourself, there’s no justice about it…let us have another game.”
The insight here is overwhelming, practically transcendental:
Groups have no more moral authority than individuals.
Neither do governments.
Many have said it in other contexts. In the main, their audiences have nodded agreeably. Yet we concede not only moral but trans-moral authority to governments. On what basis? The vote? Superior firepower? Or merely our personal preference to see it as “someone else’s problem?”
But authority and responsibility must be equal. He who holds the one must hold the other. And so, though I intended to resist, I find that I must insert a snippet of Sam Francis’s essay here:
Yet there are signs that some Americans are not buying into the lie of anarcho-tyranny. At least as far as crime and personal safety are concerned, some are awakening to the ancient lesson of republican government, that in order to govern yourself politically you must first be able to govern yourself personally and morally. And, that lesson means assuming responsibility for your own protection. For months in 1987 in Detroit, citizens complained to the police about teenage prostitutes from a crack house in the neighborhood who solicited old men and adolescents on the street, about drug dealers firing guns in the air for fun, and about a shoot-out between drug gangs while neighborhood children played in the street. Not once did the police respond to any of the repeated calls. Then one day after the shoot-out, two local men named Angelo Parisi and Perry Kent walked up the street, set fire to the crack house, and burned it to the ground, and within minutes police arrived to charge them with two counts of arson and assault with a deadly weapon. With community support, both men were acquitted by a jury of all charges, and there are stories similar to theirs in other American cities.
Soon after the Los Angeles riots, the New York Times recounted the story of a 20-year-old janitor, David Penso, who enjoyed the less-than-bracing experience of watching a local discount store being looted and burned by rioters as Los Angeles police cars drove past and did absolutely nothing. Mr. Penso—unlike George Bush, Jack Kemp, Bill Clinton, and George Will—learned something. “The cops were there,” he told the Times, “but they didn’t do anything. The only way people can be protected in Los Angeles is if they protect themselves with guns.” Some months before the Los Angeles riots, the Washington Post carried a story about women and guns, reporting that there are now about 12 million of them across the country, and one of them, a woman named Paxton Quigley in Beverly Hills, a former activist for gun control and now owner of a gun store that offers firearms training to women, told the Post, “We cannot depend on anyone to protect us. We must do it ourselves. And, the only way is to acquire the firepower it takes to dissuade violent criminals.”
Mr. Parisi and Mr. Kent, Miss Quigley and Mr. Penso, have discovered the dirty little secret that can sweep anarcho-tyranny out of office, that anarcho-tyranny flourishes only when citizens surrender their rights and their duties of protecting themselves, assuming responsibility for themselves, and governing themselves, and that when the anarcho-tyrants promise to take over and perform these duties themselves, they are uttering a lie that leads to slavery and the jungle at the same time. When anarcho-tyranny flourishes, it protects no one except the elites who fatten on it, and it encourages only the withering of self-government and responsibility.
To what extent are We the Formerly Free, having abdicated all responsibility for our personal safety and the safety of our communities, responsible for our own anarcho-tyrannization?
I told you I was in a dark mood. It’s been growing, weighing ever more heavily upon me, for a whole year. I am no longer one of Mencken’s “hopeful men.” I am no longer able to see a better, freer future for my country. That inability is nudging me toward a fatal conclusion.
Herbert Stein has told us that “If something cannot continue indefinitely, it will stop.” Can the anarcho-tyrannization of the United States of America continue indefinitely? If not, what will put a stop to it? And how long will that be in arriving?
Have a nice day.