My second major work of fiction has been published! A fast paced dystopian thriller, Flight Grounded follows a Vermont man named Jake Evans as he flees from agents of the state in an attempt to escape to Canada after being accused of carrying out a terrorist attack. Continue reading
Everyone, especially parents, should read this article by Carol Black called On the Wilderness of Children. In it she most eloquently lays out several ideas that I have been, perhaps less articulately, trying to point out. We are ruining children by forcing them through public education, we are ruining ourselves with a coercive society, and we are perpetuating this destruction every generation.
She’s not glorifying tribalism, and she’s not pretending there is a simple equation that will make kids perfect angels; Carol is pointing out how many social problems are created by treating children like caged zoo animals. In fact, when public education was created, the authorities were very upfront about removing children from their natural habitat, and raising them in a way to get them used to working in industrial factories.
And we never left that model behind. Practically everything sick about our society can be traced back to the systematized abuse children suffer that many consider integral to raising children. I recently summarized a different article with the same general theme, that our society is sick with coercion, and it is literally driving us crazy!
And Carol points out that this coercion is normalized in a public school environment, so that a master/ slave paradigm seems like the only way to solve problems.
But as Odawa elder and educator Wilfred Peltier tells us, learning -– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of non-interference, in the right of all human beings to make their own choices, as long as they’re not interfering with anybody else. As Nishnaabeg scholar and author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson tells us, learning –– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of consent, in the right of all human beings to be free of violence and the use of force. Simpson explains:
If children learn to normalize dominance and non-consent within the context of education, then non-consent becomes a normalized part of the ‘tool kit’ of those who have and wield power… This is unthinkable within Nishnaabeg intelligence.
Interestingly, the most brilliant artists and scientists in Euro-western societies tell us exactly the same thing: that it is precisely this state of open attention, curiosity, freedom, collaboration, consent, that is necessary for all true learning, discovery, creation.
Once you think about the causes of social problems, it all becomes so clear! Why do we think there are huge drug problems–both prescription and illicit–in our society? People do drugs for much the same reason that they starve themselves, behave violently, become depressed, or “act out”: they can’t stand the environment they are in and have no idea how to remedy what has been done to them.
For decades our model of drug addiction has been based on research done on laboratory rats provided with a lever they could press to deliver water laced with heroin or cocaine. Researchers found the rats would press the lever and consume the drug until it killed them, and they concluded that the drug itself was the cause of the addictive behavior. But then a psychologist named Bruce Alexander noticed something. The rats who killed themselves in this way were isolated in an unnatural environment, a barren Skinner box where there was nothing rewarding to do but self-stimulate with drugs. When they were placed in a more varied, more natural setting, able to interact freely with the environment and with other rats, their drug use was reduced by more than three quarters. In other words, if you gave them a life they wanted to live, and a world they wanted to live in, they did not destroy themselves. Or, as author Johann Hari has put it:
“It’s not you. It’s your cage.”
And as a byproduct of our cages, most people end up being terrified by the prospect of free humans. Many people do not understand the world outside the cage, and simply assume it would be chaos. Maybe the cage is a bleak, depressing, violent place to live, but its all I know! The outside must be worse.
But by studying un-caged societies, and the progress being made on un-schooling the “civilized” humans, it is a pretty safe bet that free animals are happy, productive, well adjusted animals.
Political theorist Toby Rollo has pointed out how the forcible subjugation of children by adults forms the psychological underpinning of every other model of political and economic subjugation. This is not a metaphor; it’s a structuring principle of political reality. During the days of overt empire and colonialism –– the same days in which our modern school system was created –– Indigenous people, people of color, women of all colors, and lower-class whites were all viewed as childlike, in need of fatherly tutelage and discipline. And because it was understood that children often required violent “chastisement” –– for their own good! –– it was natural that childlike adults would require the same.
Those who realize how harmful “traditional” education is to children have the opportunity to create a better society in one generation. We can break the cycle, we can cure the human race, and we can set in motion a cycle of freedom, love, and happiness, instead of a cycle of oppression.
Cannabis is legal in a handful of states, and gays can now be equally unequal to everyone else! But the public didn’t want to throw anyone in jail for weed 20 years ago, and where I reside in the northeast hasn’t given a crap about stopping gays from being together for at least as long. So why are these things hailed as political victories?
It takes the government way longer to catch up than the public. And in the mean time gays are marginalized, kids are thrown in jail for possessing a plant, and countless other atrocities occur just waiting for the government to stop being so stupid and repressive.
The government has all the advantages in the public discourse. They can repeal some ridiculous law that THEY put in place, and everyone hails the government as having solved the problem! Are you freaking kidding me? Don’t give the government credit for removing a ridiculous law that they put in place in the first place, causing countless innocent people to be locked in cages!
The government stalls progress, and should never be given credit when they finally catch up to the wishes of the public. The public actually gets along pretty well. And if the government didn’t stand in our way, we would solve these issues way before the idiots on Capital Hill ever get around to it.
Another way of saying WE would solve these problems without government obstruction is to say the market would solve these problems. Who would arrest pot-smokers if not the government? Murderers would still be arrested, because there would be a market for it: we would all want to solve the problem of crime. So we would spend our money, and figure out a fair trial system to make sure we take criminals off the street. Not many people will pay to police “crimes” where these is no victim. There would be no special treatment for government cronies, and enough competing agencies to hold the other ones accountable!
Having government educate children is like a death sentence for humanity. We can be sure they will never make kids smart enough to know they don’t need government! In this modern era, we can easily figure out how to educate kids for very cheap, and in a way that doesn’t make them hate their lives in a classroom for six hours a day. Humanity is ready for the next generation of education where the possibilities are endless, government is holding us back.
And another thing, the people of America aren’t at war with the people of where-ever. We might not like their government, just like most of us don’t like our own government. But don’t let our scumbags in charge convince us that the people of those countries mirror their scumbags in charge. If anything, we are worse in America, because at least we ELECTED our scum to office. Most of the people we condemn got their leaders by outright force (or by the U.S. installing them)!
So again, without the bumbling government machine, we would already be hanging out with Iraqi’s and North Koreans.
And without the government ruining lives over victimless crimes, and arbitrary laws, we would all be sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya.
Government is why we can’t have nice things. End rant.
It has been a while since I have posted about the police, but yes, they are still murdering innocent people of all races, ages, and genders. Recently however, police incompetence has taught a few of the officers some lessons of their own. Some cops are getting a nice taste of what they routinely dish out to us peasants.
A police supervisor shot one of his minions who was undercover, supposedly because the supervisor missed a meeting and didn’t know the procedure for the drug bust.
The undercover cop bought $60 worth of drugs. Then he got shot 9 times by his colleague who hadn’t attended the briefing. If this was a citizen who bought $60 worth of drugs, and was shot to death, you would never have heard about it, because he would have “deserved it” according to the media, the police, and most sheeple. Also, the cop who shot him would never have been taken to court.
I’m glad it was a cop that got shot by this other cop and not an innocent person. The cop that got shot had conspired to rob and cage non-violent people. The cop who shot him had conspired to do the same, plus murder a non-violent “criminal”. They are feeling the consequences of their unjust violent actions, (funded by theft in the first place).
This should teach us two things: 1) cops have no value for human life when they can demonize their non-violent target as a druggy, 2) even if cops did care about people, and even if they only policed crimes with victims, they are often too incompetent to properly deliver the service.
To prove this point, I direct your attention to exhibit A- a case where the police were actually attempting to do their job; investigating a report of a suspicious person and possible break-in.
A man shot by police officers who went to the wrong Atlanta house ran bleeding outside where a neighbor heard him asking, “Why did they come in my house? Why did they shoot me? Why did they shoot my dog?”
It happened Monday night when officers arrived at the wrong Atlanta address after a report of suspicious activity, shot homeowner Christopher McKinley, killed his dog and “likely” shot a fellow officer, leaving him seriously wounded, authorities said Tuesday.
The most tragic part of this story is that they killed a nice, happy, family pet for no reason. Even if they had responded to the right house, did they think the dog had broken in? What is up with police shooting dogs for no reason? This should really scare people if the nature of those who go into police work enjoy killing innocent animals, just like serial killers.
The innocent man police shot is lucky to be alive, and the only consolation is that at least one of the officers knows how his victims feel after being shot by a fellow officer.
We have trigger happy sociopaths running around and telling us they are keeping us safe, but when they are called to actually do their job, they can’t even get the right house, resulting in the death of a pet, and attempted murder of the innocent homeowner. And even if it was the right house, they still would have killed the victims’ pet, and still gone in trigger-happy guns blazing for no reason.
Yet, if we suggest reform to the police system, we are labelled cop-haters by these thugs and their brainwashed supporters. I believe in the free market, so there will be protection and crime investigation if the market (the consumer) demands it. I do not need my money stolen to provide me this service–especially when the “service” endangers me more than the criminals they “protect” me from.
We need to open policing up to competition by abolishing all state monopolies on crime prevention and investigation, which includes government contracting to a private company. We need to be able to remove our money from bad agencies, and give it to good ones. Right now, the police who commit these atrocities are not properly punished, nor are the agencies defunded which hired the incompetent at best, possibly sociopathic officers.
At least when cops get shot by other cops, they are feeling the consequences of their unjust actions for once.
Resources are limited, this is true. Even when creating wealth, such as growing a garden, it requires the resources of land, water, and sun. It does not follow, however, that the state is necessary to divvy up these resources appropriately. To put it another way, there is no evidence to suggest force is the best way to decide where resources will go.
I bring this up because I’ve heard people say we need a government because land, water, oil, etc. are all to some degree scarce resources, meaning they are limited. But why on earth would anyone think the government will be a proper arbiter or these resources?
Just look at oil. This is a scarce resource, that many people want and need for industry. Are the governments of the world doing a good job splitting that resource? No, they spend more money fighting wars over oil than the actual oil is worth, and that is before we even place a value on human life lost! The only reason governments can spend more wealth obtaining a resource than it is worth, is because the wealth they spend is forcefully taken by them in the form of taxes!
[Fun Fact: there is enough habitable land on Earth for every person alive to own over two acres.]
A company that needs to turn a profit on the other hand, could not spend more obtaining the resource than it is worth. They cannot spend $1 billion mining gold if the amount of gold they mine can only be sold for half a billion dollars. But governments spend far more on wars to obtain land and oil than the total amount of production that said land or oil could sustain.
So if no one was allowed to rob us, including government, then these issues would have to be solved in a mutually beneficial way. In order to obtain oil, we would have to pay the price asked, or go elsewhere. Elsewhere would include solar, wind, hydro, and other forms of creating electricity. The government has helped keep us in the stone age of fossil fuel because they rob us to obtain the oil, then rob us to subsidize the oil, and keep the shelf price of it low enough so that we don’t bother seriously looking into alternative fuels.
But if we were not robbed by the government, that wealth would stay in our hands, and we would be able to spend that wealth in peaceful ways that create more wealth. Instead, government spends it on murder and destruction.
And somehow people still think government is the best arbiter of limited resources? They just don’t know any better alternatives. That is why they should read my fiction novel Anarchy in New England, in order to explore a world where coercion is never okay, and mutual benefit has monumentally raised the standard of living.
Last week I was in Reykjavic, the capital of Iceland. The scenery and the people are just great, and so is a lot of their culture. People talk about the socialist aspects of Iceland and other Scandinavian countries, but whatever the detriments caused by their relatively big government for their population size, police brutality is not one of them.
Only one person has ever been killed by the police in Iceland, and he was shooting randomly from his apartment. I realize less densely populated areas generally have less crime as well, but even adjusting for population size and crime rates, American police would have been expected to have killed 1,000-3,000 people since the 1960’s; not over 1,000 each year as it currently stands.
The other night I witnessed the Icelandic police officers’ restraint in dealing with drunken idiots. In America, they would have filled up the paddy wagon, or worse. In Reykjavic, they appear to be more interested in diffusing situations, not escalating them.
First, there were multiple officers standing around dealing with some situation, and a very drunk viking was screaming at them in Icelandic. I assume he was saying something negative towards the police. The drunkard’s friends ushered him away, and calmed him down. The police did not even acknowledge him. This is called restraint, and American police should take note. Instead of acting like a rival street-gang and throwing the rude drunkard to the ground or murdering him for being intoxicated in public, they let his friends deal with him. I guess they don’t have as much to prove.
Then, I just so happened to be in the vicinity of a couple guys who started yelling at each other. I didn’t know what they were saying, and at first honestly thought they may have been joking around with each other. But they were not, and one ran over and tackled the other to the ground. Friends stepped in to make sure it didn’t get too bad. There were some punches and kicks, but I don’t think those involved even wanted to really inflict much damage. The fight had mostly been broken up by the time the police van (which had only been a block away) stopped and about eight Icelandic police calmly stepped out.
I think one of those involved in the fight had already departed the area quite quickly, but a few others involved were gently beckoned to the police so they could figure out what happened. After a couple minutes of talking, everyone was sent on their way. No arrests, no brutality, and no one, not even those who had been fighting, were really hurt.
In America, someone would have been arrested, and put through the ringer. In all likelihood they would have been tackled to the ground, leading to worse injuries than were sustained in the actual fight. Then the police would have lectured them about how violence isn’t the answer–unless you are the police. Then it is always the answer.
This is a simple anecdote that doesn’t prove much, it is just what I saw from the police in the safest country on earth, with practically non-existent police brutality. But maybe it shows that America needs to rethink how situations are handled. Are police here to actually keep peace, and diffuse situations as the Icelandic police did? I don’t think so. I think the majority of people who become police in the USA do so for dubious purposes. Instead of setting an example of how to act, they use their position to act however they want. And I think the majority of police departments are more interested in writing traffic tickets in order to increase their budgets.
That being said, the system of public police does not properly place the incentives to behave well, neither in Iceland nor in America. If police were private, then the company they work for would be able to be defunded if the customers went elsewhere. In order to maintain a good image, and protect their profits, companies would fire and even prosecute bad officers. Currently we cannot defund the police no matter how few crimes they solve, or how many innocent people they maim.
The smaller a government gets, the more control the market has, though still indirectly. And that is probably the real reason why the Icelandic police are pretty good, because they still somewhat feel market pressures that a private company would feel. In a country with 300,000 residents, you have more access to the President than Americans have to their representative, where districts include over 700,000 people for the smallest federal office.
And we see the same thing in America. Generally speaking, the worst atrocities committed by police happen in big cities where the people and the voters have essentially no control over their politicians, nor the people they hire, including the police. In small towns, people know the police chief, and can knock on their selectman’s door. The politicians are much more likely to feel the brunt of their bad hiring, or failure to address cases of police brutality.
Even things that are technically illegal victimless crimes in Iceland were not enforced. Apparently it is illegal to carry around a beer, but everyone was doing it, and the police did not hassle people over it; probably because they are their neighbors, friends, and relatives.
This is not a complicated issue. If we want police to behave appropriately, we must place the incentives properly. Private businesses have the incentive to make sure their officers respond with appropriate force, instead of looking for an excuse to escalate situations. Governments–especially big ones–have essentially no reason to enforce high standards among police.
I went into Boston on Sunday to see my friend perform in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Central Square Theater. The entire cast did a phenomenal job, which is probably what helped me pick out all the parallels between McMurphy being stuck in an insane asylum, and society becoming an insane asylum, run by our very own evil Nurse Ratched.
I am basing this mostly off my memory of the play, which may vary from the movie with Jack Nicholson which I haven’t seen in years, or the book which I have not yet read. There are spoilers.
In case you don’t know what One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is about, Randle McMurphy had a 5 month prison sentence, but decided to feign insanity in order to spend his time in an asylum instead of prison.
1. The Administration. Although Nurse Ratched runs the insane asylum, she is not really in charge. Technically, the doctor must sign off on requests, and have the final word in therapy, including shock therapy, and lobotomy. The Doc in charge is actually a pretty nice guy; he connects with McMurphy, signs off on his slutty visitor, and even endorses his idea for a “carnival” in the ward.
But the doctor has an ulcer, 200 patients, and is getting old. He is probably making good money, and only a few years away from comfy retirement. Sure, he might support McMurphy in rhetoric, or at the weekly meetings, but he really can’t be bothered to stick his head on the chopping block for anyone. In the end, he agrees a lobotomy could be allowed on McMurphy if he exhibits violence for a second time, even though the doctor knows full well the first episode of violence was instigated by Ratched and the orderlies.
The orderlies are the enforcers. Ratched may suggest the lobotomy, and the Doctor must approve it, but the people who will grab either arm and tie McMurphy down on the operating table are the orderlies. And they hate Nurse Ratched too! But they are also sadistic themselves, and draw joy from their power to abuse the patients without retaliation. They are able to be bribed at one point to help McMurphy throw a party, but quickly revert to supporting Nurse Ratched as soon as they are caught. These are the guys who are just following orders, and have their job security to think about.
The one who seeks the most power gets it. Nurse Ratched is a middle management bureaucrat. She has power over the enforcers, but still has to appeal to her superiors. Her minions will follow every order, no matter how much they hate it, and her superiors can’t be bothered by the hassle. So really, the shots are not called by the doctor (our elected officials), nor the orderlies (enforcers like police and tax agents), but by the Nurse Ratcheds–think Janet Napolitano, Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, Janet Reno, or a vindictive Child Protective Services director.
2. The Inmates. After the first therapy session, McMurphy can’t believe how Nurse Ratched treats the patients. Of course she claims everything she does is strictly for therapeutic purposes, but McMurphy can see through her thinly veiled sadism. Ratched brings up the educated inmate Dale’s young wife with big boobs, and asks why he was never able to satisfy her. Another inmate chimes in to ask why Dale doesn’t just admit he’s gay. McMurphy intervenes and the meeting is disrupted enough to disperse.
McMurphy then asks Dale why he would take that from her and the others. Dale begins by launching into an energetic defense of Nurse Ratched claiming that everything she does is to help, that she is like a mother, cares deeply for all her patients, and only seeks to transition them into the outside world as fully functioning, normal members of society… “That bitch”. Dale can’t help but realize at the end of his defensive speech that Nurse Ratched really is horrible. What therapeutic quality could be derived from making a man feel worthless and impotent while talking sexually about his young wife?
And we should never assume that what the government does is for our, or anyone else’s benefit. They don’t care about the poor who they exploit by keeping them in poverty to get votes when they toss them scraps in the form of welfare. The bureaucrats get to control the money, some of which will make it to their friends. Politicians also do favors for political donors, which sometimes amounts to them being put in a Nurse Ratched type position of power. These people are out for themselves, and will use any excuse to get more power, and more control. For example the drug war: we aren’t locking non-violent offenders up for their own benefit, it keeps the prison-industrial-complex rich, and the Nurse Ratcheds will make sure of that.
Nurse Ratched goes to work everyday and gets sick pleasure from psychologically torturing the inmates, yet everyone on the outside, and even most on the inside believe that what she is doing is for the inmates’ benefit! McMurphy is the only one who feels powerful enough to call her out on this, knowing that his jail sentence was only 5 months long.
3. Voluntary Inmates. But when this subject comes up, Dale informs McMurphy that most of the patients, including Dale and Billy, are not even committed, meaning they could leave at any time if they chose. McMurphy can’t believe it. “You should be driving around in a convertible picking up girls at your age!” he tells Billy Bibbit. But Billy has been convinced by his mother and Nurse Ratched that he is unfit for normal society, even though the only thing that appears to be wrong with him is his stutter–which happens to get worse when he is being degraded by Nurse Ratched.
Completely sane people have been convinced by Nurse Ratched that they are crazy, because they don’t fit into society. Instead of just going out into the world and doing whatever they want to do, they have been brainwashed into thinking they are sick and need to be cured, when they simply don’t fit into the extremely narrow scope of what Nurse Ratched, and all those who allowed a person like her to attain her position, think they should be. Then Nurse Ratched is able to use these people she has damaged to maintain her position.
That is the only way people are governed, if they allow themselves to be governed. You could compare Dale and Billy to people who gladly do their taxes on January 1st, and send off a check to the government with a smile on their face, glad to have done their part for society. And McMurphy would be the person who pays his taxes on April 15th in order to avoid being arrested and caged.
You mean you guys WANT to pay your taxes? I can imagine him saying. But since so many volunteer their money and are gladly robbed, the rest of us are stuck in the asylum with inmates who choose to be there. Since it is easier just to comply with unlawful commands of officers, everyone is stuck in a position where if you exercise your rights, you are more likely to get a bullet than your day in court.
4. But it is a democracy! The ward is said to be a democracy, and the inmates can vote to change things. So when McMurphy wants to watch the World Series, he calls a vote. Everyone in the ward except the silent Chief votes to watch the World Series. But Nurse Ratched informs them the vote must be unanimous, a rule she might have just made up when she realized the inmates’ will would overpower her own. So McMurphy goes over to the silent Chief and miraculously convinces him to raise his hand. They celebrate, the TV is turned on, and they all begin cheering. But for some reason, Nurse Ratched still insists they turn the TV off. McMurphy has a solution: ignore her and cheer louder, which they do, and continue watching the game.
But it is not over for Nurse Ratched. Her authority has been compromised, and now she has to take it out on someone, and prove she has not lost control. She turns her sights on the Chief, who she claims mislead them by not talking for so long. Nurse Ratched calls him a liar and insists his silence all these years has been a clever ruse to get out of therapy. McMurphy can’t watch the abuse, the scene escalates, and McMurphy ends up punching an orderly in the face: the first bout of violence. Both he and the Chief are taken away for electro-shock therapy.
Sure, you can vote any way you want, but if it is not the way the government wants, they will ignore you, or even retaliate against you. That is why the Tea Party gets audited by the IRS, that is why people are beaten by police for exercising their rights. It is why Chris Christie shuts down lanes on a bridge to cause traffic in an area that did not vote for him. It is why the federal government withholds funds from states that do not do the bidding of DC, and imposes draconian rules on self sufficient farmers who produce raw milk, or non-GMO food.
When the inmates all gang up, they get their way, and Nurse Ratched cannot do a thing about it. But when she gets them alone as individuals, they no longer have the safety of the group, and can no longer overpower the authorities.
5. Ratched claims to want to protect the other inmates from McMurphy, because he is “taking advantage of them”. McMurphy is a gambler, and challenges the other inmates to cards, and other bets. In an attempt to turn the other inmates against McMurphy, Ratched asks if they know how much McMurphy has profited off of them. I am sure you know what you have lost individually, she says, but what are his totals? McMurphy has stolen $300 from the other inmates she claims. Profit, stolen, tricked, swindled.
McMurphy told us from the beginning he was out to take us for all we had, chimes in an inmate. They knew all along what he was doing, and chose anyway to participate! McMurphy didn’t steal their money, he won bets fair and square.
Nurse Ratched’s reaction is the same reaction the government has to business. Even though the government is clearly corrupt and untrustworthy, they step in and claim they want to regulate the market in order to protect us from the greedy businessmen. But the government takes our money by force, while businesses must offer us something in exchange for the money (unless of course they buy off the government, and force our business in the form of subsidies, bailouts, grants, and taxpayer backed loans).
Ratched doesn’t care about the inmates “being taken” by McMurphy, she attempts to exploit “their losses” in order to gain the upper hand on McMurphy. The same thing happens when McMurphy throws his party and invites two prostitutes, one of whom has sex with Billy Bibbit–his first time. Billy was perfectly happy with this situation, excitedly agreeing weeks earlier in anticipation of the night. But when Nurse Ratched finds out, she says she will have to tell Billy’s mom, and guilts Billy for doing this to himself (since she was a prostitute), and those who love him.
When Billy kills himself minutes later, it is not Nurse Ratched who takes the blame, even though it was clearly her actions that led to Billy’s suicide. Instead she turns the tables on McMurphy, claiming Billy’s death is on his hands because he “coerced” Billy into losing his virginity to a prostitute, the guilt of which Billy couldn’t take. But Billy didn’t feel guilty about having sex, he just could not handle the thought of his mother finding out, which she never would have, if not for Nurse Ratched.
The government tells you drugs will ruin your life. Then they catch an 18 year old smoking a joint, lock him away in prison, ruin his future, and say, “See! Look what weed did to his life!” Clearly it was not the weed that ruined his life, it was the prison sentence for a non-violent crime.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the story of a rebel, who rallies against the state, and attempts to regain control of his own life, and help those around him do the same. He seeks to rally the masses to overthrow the minority who rule them sadistically. But the masses are not firmly on his side, or even interested–they sway back and forth depending on how each situation unfolds and benefits or hurts them. But McMurphy is trying to address a deeper problem, not of individual cases of abuse, but a systemic issue that can not be solved by simply choosing a new leader, or shuffling the rules a bit.
McMurphy is the only inmate who tries to fight back against unjust and cruel authority. When he can no longer take the lies and torment from Nurse Ratched, he attempts to choke her, immediately following the suicide of Billy. For this, the state, Nurse Ratched, finally has their excuse to do away with him. Nurse Ratched wanted to be attacked, she was thrilled Billy’s suicide gave her the chance to instigate McMurphy to choke her. In the end, McMurphy, supposed to only have a 5 month sentence, is given a lobotomy.
The Doctor who gives him the lobotomy knows that under normal circumstances, McMurphy is not violent. The orderlies who tie him down know that he is a normal person, probably less violent than them. But Nurse Ratched gets to remove him, in order to form society to her liking. She is not trying to prepare the inmates for the outside world, she is trying to form her own world. It is the public school that pumps children full of Riddilin because for some reason a 12 year old can’t sit still for 6 hours a day. It is a government that puts a man in jail for life for creating a successful online marketplace.
Today, the rightful rebels often end up like McMurphy, lobotomized by the Nurse Ratcheds of our system. The government doesn’t care about you, those around you, or even society. It is a cruel machine that goes round and round, exploited by those who understand which cogs will give them the most control. And they will crush anything, or anyone, who stands in their way.
The state of Massachusetts requires that you have your car inspected once a year. It costs about $30 and the state tells you if that protection money is enough to drive around, or if you must pay more for the privilege of using roads you already paid for.
Last year my dad spent $1,200 and dozens of hours to get his car a valid inspection sticker. The problem? A sensor was malfunctioning that made the check engine light continue to come on. He could have driven safely for the rest of the car’s life, but the state of Mass stole his time and his money in the name of safety.
But if the state is so interested in keeping us safe, you might think they would be accountable when they fail to keep us safe. In February I travelled with my sisters down to Florida in a mini-van that had literally been inspected and passed in the 48 hours prior to leaving.
Belts: check. They are safe. Fewer than 200 miles into the trip, the main belt ripped, and we cautiously drove for a couple more hours until repair shops were open. A few hours later we were on the road again.
Tires: check. They are safe. About 45 minutes after continuing our trip, the front left tire blew, for apparently no other reason than it was worn out. The snow banks were so immense that we were only a foot off the highway in the breakdown lane, and so we called AAA rather than risk our lives trying to fix it. We waited for over an hour as tractor trailers blew by just feet from our vehicle, where one twitch of the trucker’s arm would have killed us all.
Even worse than “keeping us safe” by force, is stealing our money under the pretense of keeping us safe. The state lulls us into a false sense of security by pretending they are taking care of things which they are absolutely not. It happens with security, education, and help to the poor; but it also happens with safety inspections, whether in a restaurant, or on our vehicles.
If the state has taken on the responsibility to keep us safe, why are they not accountable when they fail to do so? In essence, we paid the state $30 to make sure our car was safe to drive. So when they said it was safe, yet it was not safe, don’t they owe us something for their failure? This reveals that like so much else, state vehicle inspections are simply a racket to steal more money.
Now suppose there was a business where we could voluntarily have our vehicles inspected for $30 dollars, and if they pass it is like insurance against something going wrong. Then we would be paid based on the failure of the mechanics to find the problems with the belt and the tires. The state is not accountable however. If I made a big deal out of this, the state might end up shutting down the shop that inspected the vehicle, even though the shop probably thought they were being nice and saving us more money in tires, or on addressing a rejection sticker.
In reality, there wasn’t much indication that the belt would go, though we should have looked at the tires and realized they needed to be replaced. It is our personal responsibility to make sure we are safe. We purchase things like AAA as insurance for emergencies; we don’t need the state to get involved.
All the state does is two things: one, take our money, which makes it harder for us to afford to look after ourselves. Two, convince us not to worry about certain things “because the state is taking care of it”, when in reality, we should be looking after those things ourselves.
Last night I happened to catch a bit of Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. He was making fun of a congressman who claimed he didn’t want laws requiring employees of restaurants to wash their hands. Stewart criticized the free market, acting like people would be getting sick all the time if the government didn’t mandate that food workers must wash their hands.
This is already faulty reasoning: individual businesses are much more interested in displaying those “employees must wash hands signs,” not to remind their employees so much as to tell their customers they run a clean establishment. I bet essentially every restaurant would post those signs even if they were not required to.
But Jon missed an even bigger point: that law does nothing to insure food preparers wash their hands. Stewart acted like people would be getting cholera every time they went to Starbucks if it weren’t for that piece of paper that says employees must wash their hands. Does he realize that there is not a government regulator posted in every restaurant? There is a dangerous myth that once something is made law, it becomes reality.
He thinks a law requiring the washing of hands will mean all food workers hands are washed? Obviously, this is not true. Kind of like how there is heroin in every town in the USA, despite the harsh laws against it.
Permits and licensing are just what the above meme describes. “Oh you want to open a restaurant? I’m going to pretend that this permit will make your food safe for people to eat.” The point is to raise revenue; it is another tax. But it also creates a smoke screen between the public and the establishments they patronize. It is harder for us to know which restaurants are actually clean, and which aren’t, because they all have their little health permit… even though no one ever really checks up on them.
And I’m not saying anyone should forcibly check up on them. But the government is not looking over the chef’s shoulder to see if he washed the knife, or looking into the vendor’s cooler to see if his hotdogs are expired. I would even bet there are rules about who can enter a kitchen, meaning the public is not allowed to check up on the conditions of the kitchen, even if the establishment would let them.
Same goes with driver’s licenses for the most part. I just renewed my license online. I did not get an eye check, I did not get a new picture taken, I even filled out the information about how tall I am and my eye color myself! They just needed to steal more money from me. For all they know I could have lost both my arms in an unfortunate disco accident; but I am approved to drive on the roads according to the great state of Massachusetts.
How about a hair dressing license? What would we do without the government taking money from would-be hair dressers! Think of the rampant bad haircuts that would destabilize the nation. Because the government definitely cares more about your hair than you do…
This suggests that along with revenue generation through theft, licensing also serves as protection for already established trades-people against those who have not yet been approved by government. The idea is to create barriers for people who might not need or want the training.
I know lots of people who know how to do electrical work and plumbing. But without the “proper training” which costs crap loads of money, they cannot monetize these skills without risk of retaliation by government, working on behalf of this union or that union.
“We gotta protect our phony bologna jobs!” as Mel Brooks would say.
A few months ago when I was driving down to Florida, I was listening to the radio around Charlotte North Carolina. The hosts were asking for callers to relay their worst boyfriend/ girlfriend experience. One woman called in and said that she had caught her ex-bofriend cheating on her, and broke up with him—a pretty normal response. But apparently this man felt the need to exact revenge on his innocent ex who he had already wronged.
The caller said her ex-boyfriend was a TSA agent, and told her to “have fun next time you try to fly”. She assumed this was a hollow threat, that her ex had said in a moment of anger at being dumped. But a few months later when she went to the airport, she was pulled aside for additional screening. Well that could have just been a coincidence she thought.
A few years later and a handful of flights later, the caller said that every single experience flying is now horrible, because without fail, she is pulled aside for additional screening and interrogation. And this happens at airports that her ex-boyfriend doesn’t even work at. All the hosts of the radio show were laughing and said something like, “Oh man, that is a bad one, what a jerk”.
But I was sitting there horrified. How could we have gotten to the place in our country where we laugh about a psychotic government agent making his ex-girlfriend’s life harder. TSA agents who go through essentially no training nor a selective hiring process, and have ridiculously high numbers of creeps among their ranks, can apparently wield their power to harass and seek revenge on people they know.
I heard it on the radio, so who knows how true it is, but the worst part was the reaction of everyone in the conversation. Even the lady relaying the story was kind of giggling like, “oh that crazy ex of mine”. But this is disgusting! How can we put up with this type of abuse of power.
And that’s not even the worst of it. What could high level federal agents do to someone they don’t like? I’ve read about a police officer who harassed a girl for months with tickets and towing after she denied his request for a date. What happened in the case of General Petraeus? Was that some agent getting extrajudicial revenge?
“I’m a cop,” is now something a criminal can yell in public while attacking someone, to make sure no one intervenes. Or, as in the video linked to, a real cop can yell this while attacking a girl, and get the support of the cameraman.
And then we see it in our everyday lives. From Facebook:
Told this guy to turn around because it was a one way gas station at work, and he comes inside to tell me he’s a “fucking cop and I’m a fucking douchebag” and its not a law. Sorry bro just doing my job. And thanks for helping my opinion of cops.
Trivial? In some ways. But it points to this attitude of law enforcement and those with “authority” that they think rules don’t apply to them. If you are a cop, then follow the rules, set the example. Don’t act like a thug, swearing at the teenager behind the counter because he did his job. I feel like we have all run into police who have acted like this.
The problem isn’t finding good cops—I will admit there are plenty of well intentioned police officers. The problem is keeping bad cops from damaging innocent people they come into contact with. That is the major problem right now. And as I have said before all that needs to be done is apply the proper incentives to keep people in check. Employees of private companies get fired when they sully the name of their employer by acting inappropriately.
Law and order should be a product, sold by private companies, without influence of the government. This would mean we truly choose the laws in our society, and the people who will enforce them.