For libertarian-minded people, that is.
This assertion may seem counterintuitive and even dead wrong in an age of metastasizing American empire, state corporatism-lite at home, a shredded Bill of Rights, and a crazy unitary executive.
But there is good news. It is consumed daily not just by the remnants, or the vanguards of American libertarianism, or free thinkers — but by hundreds of millions of average people across the country.
Heartland and city dwellers, those in small towns and suburbs, are all seeing what we libertarians see, and drawing many of the same conclusions.
And I’m not just talking about the Ron Paul campaign! Dr. Paul is a guiding star for people across a contrived political spectrum and across educational, economic and cultural divides in this country. The very possibility of his presidency is simultaneously exciting and comforting, and the founders would be very proud.
Today, we still accept as normal a massive federal government, fifty growing state governments, and a 20th-century money-printing Federal Reserve that works for whom, we aren’t sure. We live in an era of state/corporate-led mercantilism that we are told is free trade and globalism. While most Americans do not admit to empire, and certainly none of our schoolbooks suggest it, Americans accept the garrisoning of the planet with our military forces and our corporate talons as part of the modern condition. And, like people in countries everywhere, whether emphasizing a glorious past, present or future, we publicly believe our country is strong and glorious.
But you wanted good news. Here’s a start.
NASA — that icon of American greatness, combining horrendously expensive centralized government programs with American ingenuity and individual courage — has been in the news recently. Why? Not for its waste, idiotic ideas, and a shuttle mission success rate of about 90% (19 successful missions of 21 launches, incidentally about twenty times more effective than our missile defense programs). No, NASA is in the news because of a nutty lovelorn murder-on-the-mind female astronaut who wore a diaper from Houston to Orlando to hunt down another female astronaut who was dating the same male astronaut Astronaut #1 thought she was dating. It isn’t clear if Astronaut #1’s husband and children knew of the arrangement, and in any case, the whole thing came as a big surprise to everyone. More news from NASA concerns astronauts too drunk to drive cars, but just fine to drive billions of dollars worth of federally funded science projects.
A stand-in for Sean Hannity’s State Radio show a few days ago tried to diminish the drunk astronaut situation with "They didn’t wreck did they?" and "What is there to hit in space anyway?" Notwithstanding that this radio host was a Sean-caliber idiot, perhaps NASA could divert attention by launching a TV reality show/comedy called "Astronauty." Or maybe they already did and just forgot to tell the rest of the country.
The strangely hilarious news from NASA is indeed good news. It illustrates the disastrous native qualities of all government operations, conceived in ivory towers by second-rate scientific minds, made flabby by the lack of competition and a need to earn their keep. It does so in a way that is interesting (who doesn’t love a NASA love triangle and a few extra drinks before work!), uniquely human and wholly captures the national imagination.
Do we have similar examples elsewhere? So many I can’t share them all here! Just take the DOJ… please! Seriously, the day-to-day revelations of lies, mistruths, fibbing and just plain stupidity coming from top members of the DOJ, specifically but not limited to Attorney General Gonzo, is simply breathtaking! And do watch this funny bit regarding oaths and oafs, courtesy of the executive branch.
In terms of justice, the Supreme Court is increasingly becoming a national joke. Americans all over the country were angry when the Supreme Court upheld Connecticut’s right to condemn and steal private land for state corporate benefit. Tortured and illogical Supreme Court debate aside, it apparently (or by accident) remembered the tenth amendment, and in that one small case, decided to keep it holy. Onward and forward to the first nine, I say!
As a result of Kelo, many people and communities succeeded in forcing their local and state governments to legally bind themselves in pursuing eminent domain to enrich its own pockets and those of its favored corporate interests. It seems the Supreme Court is not trusted or respected by average Americans, and that people will take action locally to protect themselves and their property from idiotic government leeches. This is good news!
But there’s more, much more. Disrespect for the Department of Homeland Security has expanded far beyond the freedom-loving remnant that feared it from the beginning. Today’s airport visitors and travelers have transformed automated respect and gratefulness into a bitter gall they swallow each time they are glared at by a low-life government employee (or government contractor) who holds sole and unitary power to allow the person to board his or her flight on time. You paid for a ticket, and the added security charge, willingly. Yet your industry and your freedom to move mean nothing if you give the wrong impression to a jealous cat in a government uniform. We all know it — and increasingly we resent it. We are chartering more private flights, and driving more. We are increasingly cautious not of terrorists, but of government agents. As we choose alternative travel means, the bile against government builds.
This bile, one might say, comes from the same gut that informs SS Director Michael Chertoff — and our burning derision overflows.
I haven’t mentioned American contemptus horribilis for Legislative and Executive office holders, the money men at the Federal Reserve, the elites and their war in Iraq, still being paid for by the blood and treasure of common Americans and common Iraqis. I haven’t mentioned our increased contempt for law enforcement officials and judges. I haven’t mentioned the utter contempt earned by State and Federal agencies who lie, cheat and steal to bring criminal cases against innocent people — be they young wealthy lacrosse players or poor Italian working class men. I haven’t mentioned the profound contempt for the IRS that seethes within most Americans — by even those who are the beneficiaries of the massive Ponzi scheme that is our national financing. I haven’t mentioned the disgusted national consensus on the federal and state government performance after Katrina and Rita.
This disappointment in, fear of and disgust for our bloated government, its impositions, its arrogance, and its outrageous incompetence and criminality were once shared by only a few. Today it is shared by the majority of Americans who intuitively understand that government words are lies, government performance is a sham, and government agencies and bureaucrats are incompetent, lazy, and often criminal. We complain privately, we subterraneously share cartoons, we think back to how it once was, and forward, to how it might someday be.
Welcome to the Soviet Union, a dozen years before it fell completely apart. And this is good news for freedom!
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.