In the USA, at the time of this writing, our Government is pretty good at moderate but pervasive oppression. Oppression that isn’t really bad enough for people to complain too loudly. I mean, it’s a lot worse other places, but oppression isn’t something you want in moderation.
I think this pervasive oppression stems from a blindness we have developed over the past hundred and fifty years, and which I’d like to explore. This article is an inversion of my previous pondering on policy, where I made excuses for why I haven’t thought deeply on the ideal government. In the interim I’ve been thinking, in some areas deeper than others. I’d like to share these thoughts with you, and the first is about oppression.
I will be using words in a way that makes sense to me. Where I sense that my definitions differ from the common usage, I will offer an explanation of how I am using the word. If you disagree with my definitions, I hold you no ill will. But you are going to have a tremendously difficult time reading this if you are constantly differing with the definitions that I am offering. So I encourage you, right at the outset, to endeavor to afford me the use of my terminology, and when I am listening to you speak, I will afford you the same courtesy.
As with my ruminations on school shootings, we begin where we find ourselves, with:
The pervasiveness of the other
Other people are everywhere. We rely on them, and we wish them well. But if, inexplicably, we are not wished well in return we make allowance for violent self-defense. This is the role of the government, the extension of the individual’s right to self-defense. Just as we are all free to choose our friends, we should all be free to choose our government. But looking around ourselves, we see that we are not free in this way. Which leads us to:
The illusion of universal citizenship
A citizen is someone who is engaged in government. That is, more explicitly, someone who is willing and able to participate in the voluntary extension of the individual’s right to self-defense. Our current conceit is that all people should be citizens, and engaged in government. But this can not be true, since perhaps some people are not willing, and certainly not all people are able. But because the united force of the government so far overshadows the individual’s powers of violence, we arrive quickly at:
The imperative of slavery
Which dictates that those who are not willing or are not able to be citizens are slaves. That is, someone who must bend their will to the will of another under threat of violence. We in the United States see slavery as a pejorative, and I think this goes a long way toward explaining how our self-governance has grown so insane. It’s not as if we have no examples of healthy slavery. In fact, we have all been children and seen in this light:
Children are slaves to their parents
Because they are forced under threat of physical force to submit their will to their parents. Not only is this the case everywhere, but it is everywhere accepted as healthy and normal… except perhaps by the most affluent who can afford the luxury of less effective means of controlling their children, and those without children who can afford to entertain themselves with fantasies. Given this example, it becomes clear that on a larger scale:
Non-Citizens are slaves to the government
And have been from time immemorial. Our present difficulty is that we make no distinction between the slave and the free. Restrictions on slaves are evidently necessary, but failing to distinguish between slave and free we have placed restrictions on all. We thought to make all free, but instead made all slaves.
Now this may sound bad, but it is not really all that bad. The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, and their society survived. God was not displeased at their slavery, though he heard their cries when they were oppressed. And God also reprimanded them with both prophet and the edge of the sword when they became oppressors, not of their slaves, but of:
Orphans, aliens, and the poor
Because these lie outside even the normal hierarchy, a societal rung lower than slaves. For a child may be a slave, but their parents will look out for their interests. But who will speak for the interests of an orphan? A master will look out for the interests of his slaves, but who will speak for the poor? The government will look out for the interests of its citizens, but who will speak for the alien? That we should care for them out of altruism would be good. That we should leave them to their own devices is at least acceptable. That we should oppress them would be at least acceptable.
But what we have actually done is oppress the poor, the alien, and the orphan while all the time invoking the name of altruism and boasting of our deeds. We have said “it is good to live in the house of a rich man” and that much is true. But then we evicted the poor from their house because it is not the house of a rich man, and prevented him from building the house of a poor man, and then arrested him for not living in a house. And we say “We have raised the standard of living! We have done good for the poor!”
We have said “It is good to be a citizen” and that much is true. But then we have evicted the alien from his job because he is not a citizen, and prevented the alien from employment, and then arrested him for not having a job. And we say “We have upheld justice for the alien!”
We have said “It is good to have good parents” and that much is true. But then we have taken children from their parents when their parents are not as good as we would like, and prevented even the children of upstanding citizens from employment or even walking the streets, and then arrested them and institutionalized all children in schools. And we say “We are taking care of the orphan!”
God have mercy on the ignorant. But you who have read this are no longer ignorant. God destroy the evildoers.
What the United States of America needs
We, as a nation, must cease from oppression. We are eager to remove the plank from the eye of other nations, and admittedly oppression is much worse elsewhere. But only once we have been purified from this speck of wickedness will we see clearly to help other nations through aid, example, or military adventurism.
The above exploration looks mostly at one half of the problem. We also oppress the rich in the name of “helping the poor”. We oppress the citizen in the name of “helping the alien”. We oppress children as if they were all orphans. And we do it all in the name of necessary charity, daring to evoke the word “love” to mask our errors.
The hypocrisy must end, or God will end us. For His substance is Love, and He will not allow it to be defamed for long.