“I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives…” That’s about what John Lennon said, 45 years ago I am told. (Thanks to David White.)
One does not have to be a raving lunatic or even have delusions to be “insane”, if we use this web definition: “in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.” If someone creates disorder constantly, as government leaders habitually do, might the root of this be that their perceptions, behavior and social interactions are disordered too? Or instead, to cut them some slack, might it be that the organization they are in is constructed in such a way that it must necessarily produce social disorder? Or a mixture of these two possibilities?
I do not mean to stake out a position that insanity of the powerful is fully responsible for their activities as rulers. Not at all. I do mean to suggest that the colloquial use of this one word to summarize the nature of their behavior is meaningful, and I think that’s what John Lennon was indicating in a brief few seconds. We could put it this way and sound less far out and more reasonable: The government is set up in such a way that irrational outcomes are its natural product from the viewpoint of many of its subjects (and even many of the rulers). I do not deny that many motivations stir the powerful government masters. They are, after all, only human beings. There is among them ignorance, stupidity, greed, hatred, jealousy, fear, desire for fame, desire to outdo others, desire for immortality, evil impulses, arrogance, desire for wealth, and so on. There may even be at times genuine compassion and a sense of justice.
But when all is said and done, isn’t John Lennon properly questioning their rationality or the rationality of government when he asks if they could sensibly explain their objectives and the means they are using to attain them? They cannot do this by the nature of how governments extract, pool, and then expend resources from their human subjects; and how they make laws and regulations that affect their human subjects. And yet these government masters join this organization (the government), use it to push their ideas, and defend it. They observe as we observe, if they have not blinded themselves, the harms they are doing, but this rarely deters them or causes them to raise questions about the nature of the government they so firmly support. Whatever their motives or states of mind, they cannot be reasoned with in a way to persuade them to abandon their statist religion or even to scale it back. They continue to rush headlong into its expansion and intrusion everywhere. Is this not truly a madness, no matter what their motivations be?9:35 am on November 5, 2013 Email Michael S. Rozeff