In the following video, Prince Georges County, Maryland cops, dressed in full battle gear and on horseback, beat an unarmed University of Maryland student with their clubs after a basketball game last month.
Watch the video yourself!
This is not an isolated incident. These things happen all the time.
The government - the State - is an institution defined by its monopoly on the use of violence. I mention this, because it says a lot about what our society has become, while giving us insight into our collective shadow. Let me explain ...
Today, too many folks are afraid to be labelled anti-government. Why is that? After all, the above video is an example of government in its most natural form.
Don't believe me? Ask George Washington!
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. -- George Washington
You'd think that, after a couple of centuries of major American figures describing government as, at most, something to be tolerated, political pundits would have made their peace with the idea that skepticism toward state power has a core place in American political life. If your toes tingle at the thought of more coercive programs, laws, politicians and bureaucrats, you're the (very) odd duck, not the folks with anti-government views.
The United States of America was founded on anti-government sentiment. The shapers of its institutions and many of its major thinkers have always clearly viewed the state as something like the equivalent of a portable kerosene heater in a Wisconsin winter -- you might need the damned thing, but be very careful.
True, the fact that the heart and soul of American political history is thoroughly skeptical of government power doesn't mean that Madison and Jefferson were right and that Rich is wrong. Maybe he and his buddies are correct and we should stop worrying and learn to love big, well-armed institutions that claim a monopoly on the use of force and slaughtered 262,000,000 people over the course of the 20th century alone. (It's for the children, don't you know?)
But history shows that anti-government sentiment is in the mainstream of American political life, and Rich and his buddies are the out-liers. No shrieking effort to paint skeptics of state power as kamikaze terrorists -- shoe-horning Joe Stack in with Thomas Paine and Henry David Thoreau -- can change that fact.
Stop and think about the video you just watched for a moment. Now if we're to believe it's the police's job to "serve and protect" the public, shouldn't some of the other officers at the scene have jumped in to protect the student from his assailants?
Too many people today identify themselves in one way or another with the State. "Republicans" don't question our Washington Masters use of the military and "support" policing authority, while "Democrats" want to use the power of the State to confiscate the material goods of others. You may say this is a generalization, but the examples are legion. Both sides of the aisle are guilty.
It wasn't that long ago in America, that good people of all political stripes condemned both the police, and military when they engaged in acts brute force (such as seen in the video above). But it appears that society's threshold for such acts is rapidly declining. Sadly, I've already seen a defense of these cops actions on FOX News.
Regular readers of this blog know I'm a fan of Barry Goldwater. The campaign that hurt his election chances in 1964 the most, was the Democrat and Republican Establishment's lie that he would use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Fast-forward to today ... and John "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" McCain almost won!
In fact, if it was a campaign issue at all, nuking Iran was to his benefit!
Back to what I said earlier ... the State is an institution defined by its monopoly on the use of violence. It's this monopoly on violence that is particularly attractive to those of us who haven't confronted our own shadow. Being human, each of us has within us the ability to commit the most heinous acts of violence. It's true. So preferring to "think positive," and refusing to accept our "dark side," we project our shadows unto the State.
Think about it ... During wartime, we want to "kill 'em all!" Or when incidents of police brutality become public, we prefer to brush them off as "isolated" events, or "[victim] shouldn't have put himself in that position in the first place," or "he's a druggie" ...
As long as men and women in uniform (State-issued costumes) carry out these violent acts, we think it's okay, because they're "protecting us." But the State gives a false sense of legitimacy to acts that if carried out under other circumstances, would be serial criminal activity.
The government doesn't do this to us, however, because the truth of the matter, is that it's merely a reflection of our collective shadow ... when otherwise good men and women become agents of savage brutality ... turning us all into sociopaths.
This is the price of identifying ourselves with the State.
For 235 years in America, we have walked the fine line between our need for social organization, and becoming so entranced with the systems that serve our interests that we've moved from institutions that we controlled in pursuit of our own ends, to institutions that have become ends in themselves ... that control us.
Our government is no longer a tool for our mutual benefit, but has a life of its own, one that differs from, and hijacks our own interests. So by identifying with the State, we attach ourselves to an external entity with it's own values and interests, and separate ourselves from our focused inner sense of being.
In other words, we've lost touch with what it means to be human. We have lost our souls.
And no amount or type of government action can restore it.