the irony is that the fear cuts both ways – part one
Dear valued readers,
We see our purpose here at larrysmusings not to be to entertain, but rather to inform and encourage critical and objective thinking on various topics. We are aware that some of our essays become quite long. (We do not wish to be like Fidel Castro at the United Nations and go on for hours at a time!) With that in mind, we purposely break this current essay into 3 parts. If there were only one essay you were to read on our blog site and carefully consider, this essay is the one. Even though we specifically address unfolding events in the United States (US), this essay can be of benefit to our readers in Europe, Canada, Asia and Australia as it will give them some needed perspective on the current situation in the US.
Yes, we are “controversial” – but we do not lose any sleep over that, and neither should you!
. . . . . now, to our essay . . . . .
We are living through very difficult, disturbing days.
As much as we strive to live (be fully) in the present moment (zen), we are a species that considers what things may or could be like tomorrow and the day after that. Of course, this concern for the future helps humans to survive in this unpredictable world. In a good year with “bumper’ harvests of crops, you fill the granaries to the roof. You know that next year could bring drought, or floods, or plagues of locusts (as in parts of Africa) and lead to famine.
Let us provide a not entirely unrelated anecdote from recent US history.
“They promised me 40,000 federal troops. Where are they?” Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in early September, 2005.
It seems that it would be difficult to conceal, misplace, or lose track of so many troops.
Another government promise – broken?
We are not anarchists. We recognize, as both social critics and students of human history, the need for – and the legitimate role of – civil authority (government). That said, we will address the continuing and growing (dangerous) abuse of government authority in the US. (The federal government seizing greater authority, or power, than is granted it by the US Constitution constitutes a very serious abuse of government authority.)
There are many lessons one can learn from 20th century history. With that history in mind, we ask: what is the one thing the peoples of the world had most to fear in the 20th century?
Some of you, no doubt, knew the answer. The thing people had most to fear was their own government. This was true in the industrial, free world, in the communist bloc nations, and in the so-called Third World. We do not need to recount any of the many outrages committed by governments across the globe against their own citizens.
We can, however, reverse the question in this way: what is the one thing that the governments of the nations of the world had most to fear throughout the 20th century?
The answer, of course, was their own people. Governments were toppled all over the world in the 20th century. Sometimes at the ballot box or by bloodless (and not so bloodless) coups. In many other instances, through bloody civil wars, or violent revolutions.
One wonders about the psychology of those who seek power, and then strive to cling to it. Once they get to a position of power, and all during the time they are grasping for even more power, they fear losing their grip on power. This applies to both elected office holders and to those unelected government bureaucrats in the various federal agencies who are issuing onerous, and mostly needless, regulations by the dozens each day. They desire ever more power, in part, so as to protect and keep themselves in power.
The framers of the US Constitution knew of this two-way fear in the late 1700s. Consider this insight from one of the framers, Thomas Jefferson (considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third president of the United States).
“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
This quote can be found here:
A very profound truth conveyed in a few words.
Here is a quote that we used in our Reflections for Independence Day essay back on July 1, 2012.
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
George Washington, first president of the United States and the leading general during the American Revolution, said this.
Now, let’s quickly review the past 20+ years of relevant US history. (The federal government’s size, power, and reach into Americans’ lives were significantly increased under these earlier presidents: Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson, and Nixon.) President George H. W. Bush, on a few occasions, used the term “New World Order”. What he meant by that, we do not know. Was it “codespeak” for a plot by elites in government and in business circles to rule and transform the world? Who can really say?
Next, President Clinton issued many executive orders in his time in Washington that give the federal (central) government vast powers not granted it by the US Constitution (the de jure governing document of the country). These executive orders were only to be used in times of national emergencies. (What constitutes a “national emergency” is not always made very clear, or defined with any real precision. Hence, too much discretion is allowed a president in invoking them to suspend the bill of rights and our constitutional liberties.)
More recently, President George W. Bush, in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, via the so-called Patriot Act, and other bills passed by Congress, and by executive orders of his own, continued this troubling trend of the federal government seizing powers it has no lawful (constitutional) claim to.
Is there really much difference between the 2 major (corrupt) political parties in the US?
Let me interject here with a relevant, personal experience. In the autumn of 2003, 2 years into the “war on terror”, I was on a contract assignment with the City of Reno in northern Nevada. Reno is a relatively small city of about 160,000 to 170,000 residents. During this time, I saw that the city’s police department was receiving money (known as “grants”) from the federal government in Washington for very high-tech military type equipment such as special operations commandos would use. (This is not classified information. It is widely known.) If this was happening in a small city, with only the usual type crimes that most every US city suffers (gang activity, drug dealing, armed robberies), then it was happening all over the nation. The equipment being purchased by the police department was ostensibly to be used for combating and/or preventing terrorist attacks. However, the possible uses of such equipment are many and diverse.
As we type these words, we hear of and read reports that local police departments are receiving “surplus” military armored vehicles. For what possible use?
. . . . end of part one . . . .