Thanks Goodness I’m Not a Cow

The longer I live, the more fascinated I am by two things. One is how much control I have over so many issues and events. The other is how little control I have over so many issues and events.

The reason I can control so many things is because they are, for the most part, a matter of choice. For example, I can choose to be happy. I can choose to be relentless and move forward in the face of adversity. I can choose to increase the odds of living a longer and healthier life by eating well and exercising. I can choose to read and fuel my brain with knowledge.

On the other hand, I have no power to stop a mentally disturbed pilot from killing hundreds of passengers by nose-diving into the ocean — or flying into the side of a mountain. I have no power to stop murderers from escaping from prison. I have no power to stop natural disasters — such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods — from occurring. Against the State: An ... Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Best Price: $9.94 Buy New $9.95 (as of 01:45 EST - Details)

However, there is a bit of overlap in some of these areas. For example, when it comes to natural disasters, I can increase the odds in my favor by doing everything possible to prepare for them in advance. So even though many events are beyond my control, to one extent or another I can lessen their impact.

But on most macro issues, there’s no overlap. I can’t make a dent in ending worldwide poverty, no matter how hard I try. Neither can I choose to put an end to war. And as I watch another circus unfold in the race for the White Man, Economy, and Stat... Murray N. Rothbard Best Price: $11.20 Buy New $18.38 (as of 07:55 EST - Details) House throne — and listen to the candidates promise to continue to increase their control over our lives — I am again reminded that I cannot stop government aggression against its own citizens.

The reason poverty, war, and political tyranny are beyond my control is because powerful people have too much at stake to allow anyone or anything to get in their way. Let’s get real here: Poverty, war, and political power are extremely profitable businesses, and if the ruling class believes you’re a serious threat to its agenda, you might just end up looking like an anti-Putin journalist who overdosed on radioactive poisoning.

In the United States, the instrument that controls all things macro is an oligarchy motivated by unfathomable amounts of money and power. This oligarchy has two factions. One is the so-called Democratic Party, which consists Human Action: The Scho... Ludwig von Mises Best Price: $2.22 Buy New $5.00 (as of 06:35 EST - Details) primarily of Marxists and socialists. The other is the so-called Republican Party, which consists primarily of liberals.

Notwithstanding their efforts to make the gullible public believe they are radically opposed to each other’s policies, in truth they agree on virtually all of the fundamentals of totalitarianism — especially the fundamental belief in the supremacy of politicians and bureaucrats over the rest of the populace.

This belief serves as the foundation of their common religion: statism. Make no mistake about it, virtually all politicians and bureaucrats in the Washington oligarchy are orthodox in their statist beliefs. To them, the state is everything and the individual’s chief purpose in life is to help perpetuate the power of the state. Economics in One Lesso... Henry Hazlitt Best Price: $3.99 Buy New $8.68 (as of 04:40 EST - Details)

Only a handful of the most powerful private citizens have any real say-so in macro issues. Ordinary citizens who naively believe they can fight the status quo usually become involved in group action, crusades, and protests of one kind or another, which absolutely delights the oligarchy. In fact, its members affectionately refer to such people as useful idiots.

The reason the oligarchy is so fond of useful idiots is because they do more to further entrench serfdom in America than just about other group of people. Even more than those hopelessly lost souls who prefer to ignore politics and anesthetize their brains with smart phones, iPads, sports, and junk TV, among other useless activities. The Road to Serfdom: T... F. A. Hayek Best Price: $2.64 Buy New $7.50 (as of 07:00 EST - Details)

So how do the useful idiots further the cause of serfdom? By giving the appearance of serious dissent and thereby giving people hope that progress toward “a more just society” is possible. You know what I mean — the old “hope and change” routine. In effect, what they unwittingly do is provide free labor to the oligarchy, because their meaningless activities delude low- and no-information voters into believing that serious change is just around the corner.

To borrow a famous line from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “Dumb f_____s.” And, as a side note, Zuckerberg and his fellow baby billionaires in Silicon Valley all enthusiastically support the oligarchy, because the How an Economy Grows a... Peter D. Schiff, Andre... Best Price: $3.63 Buy New $7.85 (as of 04:15 EST - Details) oligarchy has a perpetual coalition with the super wealthy.

But don’t despair. As I said at the outset of this article, you have the power of choice when it comes to most issues and events in your day-to-day life. And it’s all made possible through a remarkable gift you received at birth: free will. Never take your free will for granted. Cherish it and use it to guide those things in your life over which you still have control.

And remember, everything is relative. How would you like to be a cow … or a chicken … or a sheep? Those poor guys have zero control over their lives — including and especially when and how they’re going to die. They have no idea that it’s just a matter of time before they face the guillotine. Their fate has already been decided by humans.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll play the hand I was dealt. With the help of free will and resourcefulness, I find I can still do quite well.

Reprinted with permission from Robert Ringer.