The Problem of Liberty
Wouldn’t it be funny if the rulers of the earth actually wanted pretty much the same sort of government as most of the world’s people?
I think it’s actually true.
If you have a very long perspective the twentieth century was, as President Obama might well put it, a teachable moment. By its end everyone pretty well understood Lord Acton’s point that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that in the long run dictatorship is impractical even for the dictator. World domination proved a chimera even to the totally committed dictator willing to spill any amount of blood in the attempt.
So the powers that be — billionaire bankers, heads of state, generalissimos — rethought and retooled.
People everywhere have a reasonable fear and loathing of government gone wild with their wars and planned famines, concentration camps and exterminations, lost families and broken lives. But libertarians sometimes conclude from this that in escaping from Big Brother people are also seeking freedom.
Occasionally that’s true. A bad experience with government can leave one quite cynical about it.
But as soon as most people get away from the jackboots as often as not they miss the softer side of tyranny: the guaranteed jobs, room and board, the socialized medicine, the lowered expectations.
So if one belongs to a power elite seeking global government, the first lesson learned from the twentieth century was different strokes for different folks.
In the parts of the world still run by dictators, a globalist seeking a worldwide democracy might come across as a liberator.
In a third world overrun by warlords who commandeer any relief brought in for their own uses, a globalist might well be seen as a bringer of food, medicine, and order.
In Europe a globalist might advocate lifestyle changes so small as to be seen as an advocate of business as usual.
But in the United States of America, whose people have not completely forgotten the uncompromising libertarian challenges of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, a globalist needs to be a chameleon advocating whatever policy is necessary to move institutions away from true liberty.
A globalist in the U.S. might be seen as a secular liberal, a compassionate conservative, a post-9/11 patriot, an environmentalist, even an Ayn-Rand-spouting capitalist.
Globalism is populist government. Most of the world’s people are even more afraid of living without the safety net of a nanny state than they are of a Hitler, Stalin or Osama bin Laden.
What the power elite want — a “kinder, gentler” world nanny state with themselves as the nannies — is what the vast majority of the world’s people also want.
There is one, and only one, fly in this prescribed ointment. Americans with long memories.
Americans who read Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin, Spooner and Mencken, Rand, Rothbard, and Konkin.
Americans who know that while the United States was never free all the way, we got close enough that the flavor of liberty is still on our tongues, and the aroma of freedom is burnt into our nostrils.
America is and always has been the square peg in a round world. What we want is not what they want. What we dream about is not what they dream about.
But they have a problem. They need us.
Individualists are the geese laying golden eggs.
They don’t want us dead. They want us compliant.
But the globalists are smart enough to know that they need to maintain the illusion of liberty in order to keep the golden eggs coming.
For Americans, unlike the rest of the world, the globalist strategy is akin to stage magic: distraction with one hand while they trick us with the other.
The most important component of this strategy is their domination of entertainment.
They’ve had only limited success with controlling public education and universities, defining public agendas for people whose ideology overcomes common sense.
In America, it’s even more important to control the late-night comic’s monologue than it is to control the cable news network. You only need one or two well-launched jokes to effect more of a political impact than a dozen books, editorials, or blogged rants.
I don’t know whether planet earth will ever be free. But I do think America is still the best hope for freedom on this planet.
The anthem of the American nation might not be found so much at the beginning of baseball games as in the song lyrics of an old British rock band: we won’t get fooled again.
So keep paying attention. Look where they don’t want you to look. There’s where those of us who want freedom stand a chance of finding it.
But keep in mind: the world might not thank you if you find it.
Freedom is an acquired taste.