"What We Can Do?"
by Eric Peters
"Until enough people’s minds are changed about coercion and collectivism, resistance is futile. The debate will continue to be about how much should be stolen from whom and for what purpose – rather than about whether anything should be stolen by anyone for any purpose. As things are, many people believe it is ok to steal from others – provided the stealing is done on their behalf by other people (these are called “tax collectors”) and the stolen goods are called by pleasant but intellectually dishonest, morally evasive names (examples include Social Security, welfare, foreign aid, grants and so on).
Using this technique of doublethink, people are able to do things to other people – or urge they be done to other people, on their behalf – without feeling ashamed or guilty, as they would if they were to do these things themselves, personally. This “surgical excision” of the psychologically normal human revulsion for other-than-defensive violence and for the use of violence to take things from others is the keystone of the coercive collectivist system. Dislodge it and the whole edifice collapses.
It is that simple – and that hard. Simple, because the moral principle is already established. Excluding psychological defectives – the relatively small population in every society that does not feel ashamed or guilty about the use of violence (these people are called “criminals”) most people do feel ashamed and guilty when they steal or resort to violence. And hence, most people do not steal or resort to violence.
It is a broadly accepted moral principle that theft and violence are wrong things; that those who steal and threaten to harm others in order to get what they want are not good people. This is half the battle, already won.
The problem is the disconnect which occurs once you transcend from the individual to the group. For some reason, most people – who are good people, basically – are able to not feel shame or guilt when the very things they understand instinctively as well as intellectually to be wrong when they do them on their own are done by people acting in some “official” capacity.
Theft becomes not-theft by the same method that Orwell’s character O’Brien in the novel "1984" used to persuade Winston Smith that the four fingers he was holding up were really five – with the difference being cognitive dissonance on a mass rather than an individual scale, inculcated from youth by a kind of warping of the critical faculty rather than by crude torture, as in the book.
The same person who would never threaten or assault his neighbor in order to take his property or dictate to him how he will be allowed to us his property (even if he had the physical power to do so) refrains from doing so because of the internal “check” of the guilt/shame mechanism about doing violence to others and stealing; yet this same person will feel good about going to the ballot box on election day and pulling a lever that will empower a proxy to do precisely the same things.
He will proudly wear an “I voted” sticker – and gladly accept the stolen goods he receives via proxy theft. He will advocate and defend this, even to the extent of considering his receipt of stolen goods an entitlement (as for instance “my” Social Security). The ends are immaterial; the means are always the same.
So long as it is called anything but what it actually is. So long as the violence necessary to obtain it is obscured from sight – and thought – much in the same manner that one encounters a steak, neatly wrapped, without thinking about the cow that was killed to provide it.
The horror is camouflaged by verbiage. Social Security. Obamacare. Aid to whomever. All the numerous form of government “help.” All of it comes – obviously enough, if one thinks about it honestly – not from the government but from our neighbors, taken from them against their will in exactly the same way that an ordinary thief takes their property. Only it is called something else and so considered – somehow – to be a normal, acceptable thing. The “price we pay for civilization.”
Organized, codified, legalized thievery without even the self-aware honesty of the street mugger. Could anything be less “civilized”? It is exceptionally odd.
These same people also accept the idea that a man wearing a certain kind of costume (i.e., a “law enforcer”) may assault them, effectively at will. And worse, they approve such assaults upon others whose personal activities do not affect them in any way – yet somehow offend their sensibilities. And then object when the same sort of thing is done to them by others, whose sensibilities are also offended, but for different reasons. Liberals vs. conservatives. Democrats vs. Republicans. It is a battle over means – but the ends are always the same.
Deconditioning these essentially good but horribly misled people is the first – admittedly gigantic – step away from coercive collectivism. It will be the hardest part, in part because these people are to some degree unconscious. A conscious mind knows that theft is theft in the same way and for the same reason that a chicken is a chicken and not a Labrador Retriever or a pile of wood.
This is self-evident to the conscious mind. It is what Aristotle had in mind when he talked about “A is A” – a thing is what it is and cannot simultaneously be something else. Government schools very deliberately tamp down the critical faculty in favor of repetition exercises – each thing treated as a separate and unrelated thing. Linguistic falsehood being one of the fathers of moral relativism and the grandfather of the much worse things which always proceed from that.
But get people awake... get them to see... and the unconscious acceptance of generations can be dissipated in a moment. It is that easy to change the world – by changing the words. By demanding that words be used precisely; that language not be used to obfuscate but to clarify.
Thomas Paine understood this power – and used it to greater effect than the armies of the British Empire at its very peak. He changed people’s minds about a doctrine which had been accepted as not only normal but reasonable by most people – by good people – for generations: The “divine right” of kings. Paine’s clear, concise language rendered this not merely ridiculous but obnoxious. The idea that a man in an ermine robe with a tiara on his head was somehow special, set apart from other men and entitled to rule over them. Kings suddenly became what they always were in fact: Men who trampled upon the rights of other men. Only now – courtesy of Paine – people saw it.
It will be the same, some day, with coercive collectivism – whether practiced by Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives. One day, it will also be seen for what it is – and regarded as both ridiculous and obnoxious.
The world can change in an instant. It begins with a thought."