L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 206, January 13, 2003
"... PRAEPARET BELLUM"
Exclusive to TLE
At one time or another, you've stared at someone and wondered, "What in the heck are they THINKING?" More and more often, this happens when I see government functionaries: Presidents, Congressmen, Senators, their staffs and sycophants. "What are they thinking?" is not a frivolous question: in a very real way, no human being can ever truly see the perspective of another, simply because it is impossible to actually step into another person's shoes. We can IMAGINE what the other person's life is like, but we can never truly KNOW.
This is, of course, exactly why libertarianism and the Zero Aggression Principle works as spectacularly as it does. The ZAP as a personal philosophy recognizes that we cannot truly know what the other guy is thinking: all that matters is that he doesn't harm others in the process of pursuing his goals. Libertarianism as a political philosophy works because it is derived from the ZAP and applies it on a political level.
Nevertheless, the Statist mind refuses to accept the rather obvious fact that one person can never really get inside the mind of another. They believe that the complex problems, motivations, and goals of every individual are easy to understand, therefore it is the province of government to assist the individual in any way possible.
Statists simply cannot understand that individual lives are far too complex for anyone but the person living it to understand. For this reason, it is impossible for someone else's life to be as important as your own.
This is an important distinction between the Statist and the libertarian. Failure to understand this concept is indicative of a serious disconnection from reality.
Indeed, this marks Statists as INSANE.
To justify this idea, let's look at the leading Statist in the United States, King George III.
(By way of explanation, King George I reigned during the American Revolution. King George II ruled from 1988-1992. His son George III currently sits on the throne.)
The individual in the office is largely irrelevant. The chief executive has been insane since the ink was wet on the Constitution, though it's clear that in the last century they've become increasingly paranoid and psychotic. Nor is insanity specific to the United States: every President, Prime Minister, and King since the dawn of time has shared the delusion.
On the subject of the President, consider this: for the power afforded him by the office, George III is willing to become a prisoner for the duration of his term of office -- and for most of the rest of his LIFE.
This is no exaggeration. Do you think that the President can hop in the Ford and run down to the local Seven-Eleven to pick up a six-pack at 2:00 in the morning if the mood strikes? Never mind that there are servants to perform this kind of task -- the fact is that the President CANNOT do it. Case in point:
During George II's reign, I worked as an international courier. As was often the case, one evening found me at Pierson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was about midnight, and I was lounging around the deserted cargo docks of the airport, awaiting my deliveries to clear customs. Bush had been in Toronto that day and was leaving at about the same time I was lounging around the outer customs door.
There was a helicopter circling overhead, which I knew was part of the Presidential security.
Ordinarily, a major airport like Pierson International has a constant background hum of jet engines, either idling, taking off, or landing. Suddenly, every jet on the ground cut its engines and the airport went eerily silent. I glanced up and around, wondering what had happened. I reflexively looked off toward the horizon and up into the distance, scanning for the line of aircraft lights that would be planes on final approach. There were none -- traffic was orbiting well away from Pierson. Neither were any aircraft taking off.
I took several steps out into the parking lot. The helicopter circling over me instantly halted and trained a floodlight on me. I had the good sense to freeze and keep my hand by my sides.
The noise of a single aircraft engine powering up, taxiing, and then finally taking off became audible. I watched Air Force One leave the ground. Within seconds of takeoff, the floodlight winked out, the helicopter sped away, and every aircraft on the ground powered up its engines. I glanced into the distance and could see aircraft lining up for landing again.
All of this was deemed necessary by the President's guards simply so that he could fly from Toronto to Washington. Hundreds of thousands of dollars lost due to the procedure, and force was initiated against literally thousands of individuals.
Clearly, the President is a prisoner of his office.
Further, in order for the Secret Service to adequately guard the President, they must know his whereabouts and activities twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for four to eight YEARS.
Do you want to know why Bill Clinton was so keen to keep the Secret Service from testifying before the Grand Jury? Because they knew exactly what he was up to. They had to, in order to protect him.
Think of it: the President is watched and monitored -- for security reasons -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. No wonder King George III has absolutely no qualms about subjecting the rest of us to the kind of constant surveillance that he endures: he's so inured to it himself that he doesn't understand that it's totally immoral.
It goes far beyond that, however: if you're the President, your guards know when you and your wife went to bed, how long you had sex, and -- in all likelihood -- if you were both satisfied. This is not an exaggeration. In my relatively small household of myself, my wife, and two daughters, it's difficult to keep the generalities of my sex life from the children. They don't even WANT to know what we're up to, yet they have inadvertently interrupted our activities on occasion. By comparison, the White House is FILLED with Secret Service agents whose sole job is to know where the President is and what he's doing 24x7x365.
These represent restrictions on freedom and intrusions of privacy that any normal, sane individual would find impossible to live with.
Anyone who wants the power of the Presidency so badly that they don't care who knows the details of their sex life is either power-mad or a potential guest on the Jerry Springer Show.
Why would anyone put up with such intrusions of privacy? Certainly sheer, raw, naked power is an important factor. If you derive pleasure from making life-or-death decisions that impact hundreds of millions of individuals around the world, then the Presidency might look attractive. Unrestricted access to sex with anyone at any time also drives them, something that Clinton so aptly demonstrated. He was hardly the first: a sizable percentage of elected representatives keep mistresses and/or have sex with their subordinates.
However, it's clear that some individuals aren't power-mad or sex-crazed -- at least not when they first arrive in Washington. What motivates them?
Insanity. They believe that human beings function best when they are given a list of rules and regulations to be followed. They believe that humans need to be ruled, either by individuals in the local town hall, the state Capital, or Washington. Their minds are so twisted that they block out a thousand years' worth of evidence to the contrary.
Politicians -- with only a tiny handful of exceptions -- overlook the evidence of reality in favor of a clever fantasy that they've devised.
They are INSANE.
What other word is there for individuals who block out and ignore reality, engaging in activities that are actively harmful to themselves and others? The fact that their fantasy is widely-accepted is irrelevant. Imagine for a moment that a sizable portion of the population believed that the Earth was flat, in abject denial of several hundred years' evidence to the contrary. Such individuals are clearly insane, since they reject reality in favor of fantasy.
Politicians are no different. They reject reality in favor of a self-indulgent fantasy. They are insane.
Remember this the next time some Statist gives you a list of how they will make your life better by all the laws they'll pass if only they're elected:
Laws don't make your life better: they make it WORSE. Any politician who promises to make your life better by making more laws is insane.
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