Big Head Press


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 568, May 2, 2010

"Conservatives—Republicans—are socialists."

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Everyone is talking about the news out of Arizona. The state legislature has passed a law which allows police to question people they "suspect" of being illegally in this country, and arrest anyone who is not carrying documentation proving their legal right to be here.

Clearly this is all very sick. This is just guilty until proven innocent. Certainly, there are people flooding into our country both to work hard and change their lives for the better, and to prey upon our neighbors and take advantage of social services. But immigration law is not the issue. Immigration law is simply giving one group of armed sociopaths the right to shoot any of their neighbor's livestock which happen to cross into their field. The issue at hand is far deeper, and is the result of the corruption of governments, ours and others, not immigrants.

Last week I made my opinion of "the law" clear, and I feel the same way about this. Immigration is just a ten dollar word for moving. If I moved from Lexington to Tallahassee it would be perfectly fine, but if I move from Tijuana to Dallas I can be shot. The assertion and violent enforcement of imaginary lines is only a way to keep men caged. It has nothing to do with right or wrong.

In response to the Arizona law, I saw someone write, "this just in—Arizona Republicans aren't just racist, they're also mentally challenged." Now, clearly this person is filled with hate and vitriol, but he's also right.

Arizona Republicans are mentally challenged, but not uniquely so, and not the way that that person meant it.

Everyone in our society, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, you, me, Osama and Obama, is mentally challenged. Not chemically, or physically, but rather procedurally. It is our processes which are damaged. Our ability to think rationally and logically, to compare costs and benefits and assess short and long term risk. It is our ability to weigh objective evidence and discern truth from falsehood which is damaged, and it creates very real "mental challenges" which we must face and struggle to overcome.

The person who wrote that statement is a staunchly "progressive" Democrat. He believes that violence is the best and most righteous way to resolve the problems of medical care, and the poor, and social injustice, and racial inequality, and that that violence should be directed against everyone, because he believes it is just. That is exactly what I mean when I say we are "mentally challenged."

All of us, even our brightest philosophers are affected by the blood soaked history of statism. We can't divorce ourselves from its influence. Our best ideas are flawed and stained, and our greatest minds would be little more than highly intelligent children in a society not awash with violence. When we have discussions about "what society would be like absent the state," we are still comparing our ideas to a society with a state. In the future, they won't sit around and think, "gee, what would our wonderful utopian society be like if we solved every problem with overwhelming indiscriminate violence." That will be the difference between us and them. We can only glimpse freedom dimly and at angles. The people who live in that future world will be truly and absolutely free, and will hold a perspective that we can never emulate.

And so you and I truly are "mentally challenged." And so are Republicans, and Democrats, and everyone else. But that realization shouldn't be a moment for derision, like the person who wrote it online intended. It should be a moment of clarity, and empathy. It should be the beginning of a life long process of healing, one which most likely will never be finished.

We should recognize that we are all destroyed by the influence of statism, and the societies we live in which glorify it, and then seek to face that disability bravely and directly. Because it is a very real problem. It is one of the reasons we struggle so much to get across the most basic and self evident truths about the nature of statism. It is one of the reasons people refuse to accept that coercive taxation is violence, but will stalwartly triumph the idea that not paying your taxes is theft.

When people argue that capitalism is usury, they are clearly mentally challenged.

When people argue that freedom is slavery, they are clearly mentally challenged.

When people argue that humanity is not "ready" to be free from subjugation, they are clearly mentally challenged.

But we should not feel disgust, or anger, or contempt for these people, anymore than we should feel disgust or anger or contempt towards ourselves. They are victims. We all our. And we all struggle every day with the mental handicaps which make it so difficult to live our lives absent the lies and predations of the state.

Yes. Mentally challenged is the correct diagnosis. And unfortunately, this is a hereditary disease. One which we pass on to our children, and they in turn to theirs. Now we must be focused on finding the cure.

We must pass on freedom. It is the only immunization against the disease of statism.


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