The Union’s New Identity Crisis: The Changing Relationship Between the State and the People
By Brandon Phinney for The Liberty Block
In this technologically advanced society, we now find ourselves living in, the inevitable question of the relationship between the government and the governed must be asked and discussed. What is this relationship now?
Currently, mainly in the universities and colleges, students are being taught that social democracy and greater State control over both the personal lives of others and every aspect of the economy is the only way to make the united states more egalitarian in nature. The issue with that is the lack of comprehension of historical precedence. It’s almost like collective amnesia of past events, where they were taught in schools the failings of the very policies they want to see implemented, but choose to ignore the ugly truth.
Socialism and communism do not work. We know they do not work because we have the history to study. We can see that strong central governments only maintain their own power through coercive tactics, installing puppets in the legislature to push totalitarian policies and warmongering. Even the last main stronghold of communism in China has had to make capitalistic concessions to their people to make their country a world superpower.
How else do governments perpetuate control over their people to gain compliance and support?
The institution of social media has irrevocably changed the nature of society and culture. This topic has been beaten to death, but let’s examine the changing relationship between the government and the people through the use of social media.
Posting online is, for the most part, still an outlet for free speech; the exchange of ideas in a virtual community. Political discourse is usually the hot ticket and people have a lot of opinions. What informs those opinions? We have other users, legacy media, independent articles, celebrities, etc. What filters do people use to process politically based information? Through the education they received in school? Their parents’ worldview that was ingrained as a child? Certain philosophical or religious lenses, perhaps? All of these are true.
These influences coalesce into the examination of government policy. The federal government has been successful at gaslighting people into accepting terrible policy by making its opponents the focus instead of the actions of the State. Look at how conservatives, libertarians, and independents were treated when opposing Obamacare or the corporate bailouts. It’s just a classic deflection. When people buy into the propaganda, they feel a sense of superiority and self-righteousness and accuse others of being stupid or immoral for not holding the same opinion. This also goes both ways and we know that.
Now that everyone has a platform, they believe that their opinion is driven by facts they were taught by incredulous sources. We know that mainstream media outlets are not objective and unbiased in their reporting on political issues, as evidenced by the talking heads they employ. Those programs only criticize caricatures of the people they oppose. Keep in mind that they oppose people, not ideas, and we see that by the difference in reporting based on the party affiliation of the subject. This seems so obvious to people who do not buy into the left/right paradigm of the American electorate.(For full disclosure, and context, I was an elected State Representative in the New Hampshire House and I changed my official party from Republican to Libertarian in the middle of my term)
With this still new platform of the free exchange of ideas, the theories and philosophies reserved for academia are now out in the open for the public to discuss. Politicians, like Bernie Sanders, use fringe political theories antithetical to the principles applied to the US Constitution, to gain popularity and change public perception of the role of government. Growing segments of Americans want to implement European-style social programs with absolutely no regard for the economic implications. The federal government is already $30 trillion in debt because of government mismanagement and ineptitude and they want WORSE healthcare and education? This centralization of societal functions by the government is going backward.
This was a union founded on principles of meritocracy and stratification. Individuals are free to create their own destiny, but again, the centralization of most societal functions by the government makes success difficult to achieve. Endless regulations, roadblocks, and red tape all disincentivize individuals to break the degrading cycle of debt and dead-end work. Surely life is worth more than the illusion we have built for ourselves over the decades. We were meant to be bigger than the trappings of the human experience by allowing our dreams to flourish, our goals and wants met with our own two hands without interference or oppression by a nanny State. We see this through occupational licensing, compulsory schooling, and other inhibitive measures.
We are indeed going through an identity crisis. We are having difficult conversations as a society, but the outcomes are causing us to regress, not progress, and we can trace those outcomes to the expansion of government power and control. Science is no longer a tool, it’s an institution, and questioning a thesis or critiquing a process is akin to sedition or blasphemy. Comedy is no longer about mocking caricatures of society at large, but hyper-focusing on certain elements perceived to be the cause of certain cultural maladies. Policy is no longer objectively examined unless it appeals to feel good “public good” sentiments. Individual freedom is looked down upon as “white supremacy” or “domestic terrorism”. Just ask CNN or any leftist user of social media. They’ll bleat the same talking points promoted by corporatist shills.
Until Americans return to the societal principles of voluntary exchange, true free market capitalist entrepreneurship, and liberty for all individuals, not self-appointed minority groups looking for collective rights granted by the State, we will continue to get sicker. The relationship between the People and the Power is getting more contentious every month, every election and every major event debated on social media platforms. The only way for it to end is for the masses to realize their true power and make tyranny unpopular again. It is clear that voting doesn’t solve our problems. Supporting empty campaign promises by career politicians is a colossal failure and relinquishing our natural rights to the Corporate State only begets the same problems we refuse to address properly now. A Republic, if you can keep it.