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L. Neil Smith's
Number 530, August 2, 2009

"They don't read it,
they can't vote on it."

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Corrupted Thinking
by Rob Sandwell

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

A coworker of mine said, "I don't think there should be a minimum wage, I just think that there should be a base level of compensation that employers have to pay in order to provide for basic subsistence."

Sean Hannity yelled at caller, "the government does everything badly, except national defense."

On the Wikipedia page for "space station" under "canceled space stations" it reads, "The Industrial Space Facility was a station proposed in the 1980s that was to be privately funded. The project was canceled when the company created to build it, Space Industries Incorporated, was unable to secure funding from the United States government.

These three seemingly disparate events have one thing in common. In each instance, someone has accepted a contradiction. Contradictions can not exist in reality, not in whole or in part. Ayn Rand said, "Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." But in each of these instances, instead of recognizing the contradiction for what it is, proof of a logical error, these people have chosen instead to warp their perception of reality in order to allow for the contradiction. This is a natural outgrowth of statism.

This is firstly because statism is a binary belief system. The statist always presents a false dichotomy. Either you are a conservative, or you are a liberal. Either you are a democrat, or you are a republican. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. Either we build a wall on the border, or we give illegal immigrants amnesty. Either we have "nationalized" health care, or people will die in the emergency rooms. Either we bail out the finance and mortgage industries, or our entire economy will collapse.

Of course these are all false premises. But statism reduces all options to either/or decisions, and treats any effort to present an alternative to the two accepted positions with ridicule and scorn. One popular "conservative" radio host tells his listeners that "independent" voters are cowards who won't pick sides. At the same time, Al Gore famously claims that with regards to global warming, "the debate is over."

There is no room in statism for alternative views, or alternative beliefs, or alternative approaches. There may literally be a million ways to provide for the needy, or build roads, or educate children, but the statist allows only two. Success via the statist method, or failure. By doing so, he eliminates all competition for his position.

Secondly, statism is completely reliant on contradictions. Some people use violence to achieve their aims, so we need to give the government a monopoly on using violence to achieve their aims. Some people do things that are inherently self destructive, so we need to give the government the right to shoot at those people in order to keep them from harming themselves. Some people might not get a good education, so we need government to provide schools which have lowered the rate of functional literacy from 93% to below 50%. All people desire and deserve to live free from aggression, so we need to empower the government to use force to restrain behavior and seize assets in order to protect those people.

Humanity needs to be free, and so it needs to be subjugated.

Of course this is all completely illogical. And yet, when you present these contradictions to someone who is emotionally enslaved to the concept, they do not respond with objective clarity, they respond with scorn, distrust, and eventually open anger. Why?

Why is it that these people are so willing to accept these contradictions? Why do they get so upset when confronted with them? It is because of the statist system under which we all toil. Because the system is completely dependent on binary contradictions, the state must first convince people to accept contradictions. And once this has been accomplished, it completely corrupts their logical processes.

A person who is willing to accept that up is down or black is white, which are no different in principle from the contradictions I listed at the beginning, is willing to accept anything. He is no longer using his innate gift of reason to make objective observations about reality, he is simply receiving and regurgitating whatever he is being fed by the authority figures he adheres to. Whether they are political leaders, or religious scholars, or celebrities.

As long as a person accepts a contradiction he is unable to find truth. Even should he stumble upon it in his desperate search for meaning, he will dismiss it, because he is not using ration to separate wheat from chaff. Until that person casts away contradictions, and accepts the responsibility of living in this world as a rational observer and actor, he will forever be at the mercy of the propagandists.

Which is of course, the desired outcome. When we no longer rely on our own minds to make decisions, when we can not even trust our minds to make them, we will turn over that responsibility to others. When we are unable to clearly and affirmatively discern good from evil, we can be convinced to accept anything.

Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." And we can see quite clearly the truth of those words. Many of the people we live in close proximity to are willing to believe absurdities. Many of them are willing to commit atrocities. And they no longer see them as such.

Good people. Educated men and women, do not see the bombing of weddings and funerals in Iraq as an atrocity. They do not see the mass starvation of millions of innocent people around the world because of our "trade sanctions" as an atrocity. They do not see the pollution, and exploitation, and predation of impoverished third world countries as an atrocity. And they do not see that voluntarily funding it all through their financial contributions makes them complicit in the atrocity.

They do not see that a government which has overseen the systematic theft of 94% of 16 trillion dollars and has exported violence and death to millions of peasants around the world for well over a hundred years is one of the greatest atrocities in human history.

Because they have been taught to accept contradictions. Because they are willing to.

And until they are no longer willing to, they will never be free.


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