Friday, March 19, 2010

Facsism is freedom for many Americans

Is there anything of any consequence that is today outside the reach of the American state? No, says Robert Higgs.

What about religion? Aren't those who wish to practice a religion allowed to do so freely?

Only with state approval. During the Vietnam War, as Higgs points out, certain religions were regarded as legitimate and therefore its practitioners could be granted conscientious objector status. Other belief systems failed to make the grade as religions, in the state's view.

But even those practicing approved systems of mysticism subordinate their religious beliefs to the higher authority of the state. If the state orders them to murder, rob, or lie, most of them will obey.

Estimates of the number of people killed in the "Good War" (WW II) range from 50-70 million, depending on whose numbers you accept. As Nicholson Baker points out in Human Smoke, on December 31, 1941, most of those people were still alive. Within four years they were dead, and most were not soldiers. States ordered their killing.

But it's not only war that invigorates the state. As Higgs tells us,
When the state produces unworkable or unsatisfactory conditions in any area of life, and therefore elicits complaints and protests, as it has for example in every area related to health care, it responds to these complaints and protests by making “reforms” that heap new laws, regulations, and government bureaus atop the existing mountain of counterproductive interventions. Thus, each new “reform” makes the government more monstrous and destructive than it was before.
He concludes:
We verge ever closer upon the condition in which everything that is not prohibited is required. Yet, the average American will declare loudly that he is a free man and that his country is the freest in the world. Thus, in a country where more and more is for the state, where virtually nothing is outside the State, and where, aside from pointless complaints, nothing against the State is permitted, Americans have become ideal fascist citizens.

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