America's Hierarchy of Needs

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Over
the years, the American government has employed an army of psychologists
in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the human mind. They have
been trying to find the answer to an important question:

How
can we get more money?

Many
psychologists have served the State in this project, but perhaps
none better than the famous leftist Abraham Maslow. Hailed as a
visionary during the height of his popularity during the 1960's,
he created a set of priorities called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs,
which defines the motivation of individuals. Let's take a look at
the hierarchy:

Physiological:

Food,
Clothing, and Shelter.

Safety:

The
need to be free from danger and to have confidence about future
security.

Social:

The
need to identify with a group.

Esteem:

The
need to have a high opinion of oneself.

Self-Actualization:

The
desire to be fulfilled.

Now let's look
at the list again, from the viewpoint of the State:

Physiological:

Food
Stamps, Welfare, Section 8 Housing.

Safety:

Dept.
of National Security, Dept. of Economic Security, Dept.
of Homeland Security.

Social:

Faith
Based and Community Initiatives.

Esteem:

Grade
Norming, Affirmative Action, And Political Correctness.

Self-Actualization:

Patriotism,
U.S.A. Freedom Corps.

In the State's
view, Maslow's great accomplishment was that he identified a set
of control points for human behavior, and made it possible for the
State to use these points to pursue national objectives. One of
these objectives was winning the Cold War.

Young
readers may not be familiar with the Cold War, so here is a brief
history:

The
Cold War was a political battle between Russia and America after
World War 2. Both countries wanted to rule the world. Russia
had tanks, Communism, and oil. America had Democracy and Capitalism.
America, in a bold gamble to outwit Russia, began to transfer her
industrial capacity to undeveloped Asian and European countries
in an attempt to win their friendship, and also to make them economically
dependent on American consumers. As a result, American factories
and the jobs that went with them were sent away.

Remembering
this is important because free trade economists like Mises are often
blamed for America's deindustrialization. In truth, America's industrial
decline was a deliberate State action; American jobs were exported
as foreign policy.

While
this transfer of industry was taking place, the government ran into
a couple of new problems:

  1. How can
    we maintain Federal tax revenues?

  2. How can
    we explain the closure of so many factories to the American
    people?

The
first problem was easy. Washington set up a system that forced importers
to pay a series of bribes to the Federal Government. The first was
an army of expensive Washington Lawyers to lobby congress, the second
was Trade Tariffs, and the third was Transfer Taxes.

Explaining
deindustrialization to the American people was also easy. As long
as economic growth remained strong, pesky details like declining
production of goods didn't matter. During the Cold War years of
1948 to 1973, the economy grew at an annual rate of 3.7%. Everyone
was happy. What wasn't discussed was the share of non-productive
government spending that made up this growth, and the debt behind
it.

It
was also during this period that the government found that it could
match its social programs to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and use
these programs to underwrite its own growth. At about the same time,
the work of two other psychologists became important in the management
of national affairs. The first was a man named Stanley Milgram,
who ran a series of behavioral tests in 1964. He found that 60%
of all humans will commit torture (and murder) when the order comes
from a strong authority figure.

The
second psychologist was a man named Philip Zimbardo. He discovered,
through a cultural anthropology experiment at Stanford University
in 1971, that people derive almost all of their identity from group
affiliation. During filming of The
Planet of the Apes
, the Gorilla actors wouldn't chat with
the Orangutan actors.

The
reader might ask: Fine, but what does the Cold War have to do with
these men?

The
answer lies in the fact that Russia has recently regained control
of almost all the countries that it held by military force twenty
years ago. Now it controls them by restricting the supply of oil
and gas. Add to this the fact that Marxists have overrun American
schools and universities, and that America's industrial base has
moved to China, a Communist country. One is led to an unpleasant
possibility:

The
American government may have fatally overextended itself in an attempt
to win the Cold
War.

Almost
anyone would say this is impossible, because the Soviet Union has
collapsed. But when viewed in terms of geopolitical control of Europe,
leadership in manufacturing in Asia, and resurgent Cultural Marxism
at home, the idea makes sense. So let's assume that Bush and his
partners from the bureaucracy have looked at the problem, and decided
that a new plan of action was needed.

When
it comes to State action, there are only four choices:

  1. Economic
    Pressure
  2. Diplomatic
    Posturing
  3. Covert
    Activity
  4. Explicit
    Armed Conflict.

Economic
Pressure in the form of tariffs and quotas are no longer very effective,
as a result of the decreased purchasing power of the American consumer.
Diplomatic Posturing is all well and good, but limited in its persuasive
value. Covert Activity just got the Peace Corps kicked out of Russia.
This leaves only one option: Explicit Armed Conflict.

So
to put it another way, America was beaten industrially by Asia,
and geopolitically by Russia.
Economic disaster has been forestalled temporarily by expanding
the money supply, but that too must come to an end some day. When
that day arrives, it will become impossible to maintain the single
most politically important government activity: Transfer Payments.
The Transfer Payment System is a giant vote-buying scheme that functions
by taking money from young poor people and giving it to old rich
people. As far as Bush and his men are concerned, a hot war is the
only way to counter Soviet geopolitical control of Europe, and to
the preserve the Transfer Payment system. They don't care about
the cost of the war: The alternative is political revolution.

Now,
let's get back to Maslow, Milgram, and Zimbardo. When a government
decides to start a war, it needs:

  1. Patriotic
    symbols to enlist the support of the people, this is Maslow;

  2. A strong
    authority figure to command the troops, this is Milgram;

  3. A dehumanized
    enemy who can be justifiably killed, this is Zimbardo.

A citizen subject
to this combination of operant conditioning will rejoice in military
victory, Pray for the President, and hate the enemy. His identity
will transcend all former boundaries; he will become a member of
a group that Lenin called the Super-Class. Members of the
Super-Class base their self-esteem not on family, religion, or accomplishment;
but rather on patriotism and brotherhood.

The
plan, however, has a flaw: It represents an abandonment of the financial
principles upon which the nation found success: The market economy.
Let's look for a moment at the definition of the market economy
as provided by Mises: The market economy is the social system of
the division of labor under private ownership of the means of production.
Everybody acts on his own behalf; but everybody’s actions aim at
the satisfaction of other people’s needs as well as at the satisfaction
of his own.

Now
let's look at the definition of Volkswirtschaft, (or Nationalism)
also by Mises:

The
Volkswirtschaft is a sovereign nation’s total complex of
economic activities directed and controlled by the government. It
is socialism realized within the political frontiers of each nation….
The righteous citizen should always place the volkswirtscaftliche
interests above his own selfish interests. Volkswirtschaft
may be thought of as Economic Nationalism.

The
term Economic Nationalism is used in Washington these days to describe
Asian economies, because the U.S. government can't admit that it
deindustrialized America on purpose. So Washington now claims that
Asian Economic Nationalism must be countered by an American equivalent.
And to do this, they need to get the people on board. Since volkswirtscaftliche
is so similar to Communism, the American people would never agree
to it if it were explained openly. It must therefore be implemented
secretly, by coercion. This explains why psychology has become the
core discipline of modern public relations, and in fact, of the
modern State itself. Flags in Kuwait, Flags in New York, Flags in
Baghdad.

The
use of psychological warfare against the American people represents
an attempt on the part of the State to erase the past, in order
that it might more easily shape the future. It is certain that somewhere
in the bowels of the Pentagon, a supercomputer is working overtime
to measure and report on the effectiveness of every theory, every
campaign, and every new slogan. The American consciousness has become
a computer model, and the government, it's programmer. (There is
a legend that Ben Goertzel is the father of this effort.)

Little
wonder then that the average American feels helpless and nihilistic
when faced with such a stunning display of intellectual force. It
seems impossible for any one man to counter the accumulated years
of research that the government can bring to bear against its citizens.
In the view of many, the best that one can hope for is to hold the
line against further encroachments, and hope that things will somehow
get better. Holding the line, however, is not the answer because
the government can redraw the line again and again. And each time
the box gets smaller.

What
then is to be done? If our movement is to succeed in halting the
growth of the State, it will need fighters who see the war of ideas
clearly, and who are willing to speak out fearlessly, intelligently,
and publicly. It is these people on whom the nation now depends:
citizens who can match the intelligence and drive of the left, and
who can combine those qualities with a Christian zeal for truth
and reason in a time when both are brutally suppressed.

April
26, 2003

Ron
Liebermann [send him mail] is
a contractor and manufacturer of Mylar balloons in Louisville, Ky.


     

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