The Anderson-Obama interview this week wrapped by congressional hearings on government collusion with friends and relatives (otherwise known as the Bernie Madoff scandal) have brought forth only more government whining, moaning and self-justification. In them, we have also been given a pale notice of future full-fledged American fascism.
Our government is bloated past the point of repair, and those in government understand this perfectly. We still have an overstretched, poorly led, and unreliable military web, funded by various other confused governments and unborn American taxpayers. Before long, the state will not only demand we spend what paltry savings we have as a civic duty, but that we bear more children to ensure the kingdom has serfs.
The military empire abroad is a bubble. It looks big, even shiny; it hovers over lesser entities as if it is something. The old alchemist fantasy of creating gold from lead at least led to many productive inventions — only when the fantasy became opportunistic dogma and blind faith were people fooled. In terms of American empire — 700 military installations around the world fearing for their collective future as they watch their individual backs — is not gold, is not powerful, and is not fooling anybody.
The American financial empire exists as a thin, transparent, vulnerable shell of its former self. It too is a bubble — yet unlike the military fantasy, Americans readily conceive of financial bubbledom. Our money — that fiat paper which we have been using for our houses, our cars, our pay-later purchases — is vaporous in the sense that we do not really see it, feel it or understand it. We do not control it — that role is extra-constitutionally, extra-democratically ceded to the Federal Reserve, an entity cloaked in mystery until the 2008 presidential campaign of Ron Paul pulled the unraveling thread.
Like the US dollar, signing your name, making your promise, has become quaint and archaic. Our money is promises to pay by those who do not produce or save. The bundled promises of such payments, much like the social security lockbox, Medicare, and government pensions, we now call "toxic assets," bringing to mind poisonous vapors. Vaporous from the beginning, their metaphorical description falls not far from the tree. Vaporous, as this definition explains: "vaguely formed, fanciful, or unreliable." US fiat currency today, as it has been for some time, is exactly this.
As abrupt and painful as it is for bubbles to burst, we get over it. Individual creativity, hard work, and indeed love will get people through, as it generally does in all things. The military bubble will burst happily, and troops will flow homeward, bases will languish, orders will be given but not followed. Defection will be of the heart, even as economics keeps many on the payroll. The financial bubble will also be overcome — as people shift down and shift forward in their lives and dreams. We will read of Zimbabwe’s reality-based decision to abandon its currency and allow freedom of commerce — a classic case of Gandhi’s reported response of "There go my people; I must run to catch up with them for I am their leader" — with interest, and be inspired. We will share Representative Kucinich’s contempt of the state’s frantic spasms of the past several months as "an unprecedented fraud."
We can survive and thrive in the collapse of both the US military empire, and its financial house of cards. Patriots of all political persuasions should welcome these collapses, encourage them, cheer them, and revel in them. Like the great lion with a painful but removable thorn in its paw, we the people will be far better after the military empire and financial fakery is expelled. Not corrected, not improved, just gone.
The problem isn’t that these bubbles are collapsing. The problem is that unsupportable federal and state level liabilities don’t automatically lead to the linear collapse of the state itself. Logically, they should. We cannot, and will not pay to support the parasitic state. The people will naturally assume the property and any pertinent authority of the state at a far more personal and neighborly level. Less government is needed, less government is wanted, less government is more enlightened, more moral, and more economically and scientifically liberating. This the founders understood, and this many Americans still understand.
But while we cheer the necessary contractions of the state, we may find that we are a small country with a very large and well-equipped standing army. Before our very eyes, the grappling hook of constitutional debasement, government "jobs" programs, and a state propaganda machine par excellence is psychologically if not physically preparing us for fascism at home, both in terms of national socialism proper, and the less talked about but innately understood pressure to conform in speech and in deed to state edicts and state priorities. Key to tolerating fascism is fear — of our neighbors, for ourselves, and about the future — and the state has both the means and the motive to produce this domestic fear.
How else can it be explained that Dick Cheney, possibly the most despised and concretely wrong man in America gets a propaganda pulpit for his opinion (or is it hope?) that America will be attacked catastrophically in coming years?
Like our shady financial dealings and our military empire, fear is vaporous, yet temporarily influential. A decade or two from now, we will certainly discover that the fear was real — but we will understand that it was the state’s own fear gone viral. We will recall how the state projected its own existential disaster on us, attempted to force we the people to own the state’s festering self-destruction, and when we resisted that toxic deal, ramped up the state’s only remaining asset — force — on the non-conformer.
What to do? A great religious leader known for challenging the state advised that we must become as little children. In our current American predicament, this might mean proceeding as any four or 14-year-old would. When the state is looking, stay alert and listen carefully not only for words, but for intent. When the state turns its back, stick out your tongue and do what you damn well please.
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.