I had an epiphany this weekend, and have seen the error of my anti-state ways. The United States of America, this bastion of freedom, truly is the indispensable nation. We are the world's sole superpower, policing the globe with warships and bases that liberate oppressed peoples and bring stability to a chaotic world. We are the new Rome; except Pax Romana was just an ancient and hollow shell compared to the near-holy blessings of Pax Americana.
After watching the Super Bowl yesterday, how can you blame me? Before the game, an over-serious spot ran where Colin Powell reminded Americans of our precious heritage and values. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, sealed in glass (like a dinosaur in tar or a mosquito in amber), sparked revolts against "a foreign tyranny" and laid the foundations of our Republic. Powell should know; he burned villages to the ground in Indochina in the name of these documents.
But they were just getting warmed up. Before kickoff, not one, but TWO state-and-war worshiping nationalist anthems were sung, while occasionally panning to the fatigued cannon fodder stationed in God knows where, soon to lose limbs for Lockheed Martin and their minds for Madam Hillary.
And then the jets. Ah, those theftillion dollar killer machines, wowing the crowd as they fly inches away from each other, spewing out tax dollars while some Americans are losing their homes and starving on the streets. Flags wave, medal-covered generals hold their hearts, and the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Can you blame me for being sucked into this madness? Instilling the citizenry with chest-swelling patriotism is, of course, the intention of this huff-and-puff racket. America is strong and mighty. Nothing to worry about, folks, it's all being taken care of by the experts. Freedom. Democracy. Pound it it in there, pound it in good to keep us coming back to those voting booths and consenting to our serfdom, begging for a longer leash or some free goodies.
Don't get me wrong. I love football, and I have ever since I can remember. I grew up watching old clips of Johnny Unitas inventing the audible, Gale Sayers making every one miss, Montana to Taylor, and then witnessed Young to Rice, Kurt Warner put on a show, and Brett Favre break every record there is.
But it has turned into the bread-and-circus of the Romans, the gladiator games on steroids (literally). An excuse for the state to show-off, to remind every one of the immense power at its disposal, and condition subservience. The Roman Empire passed out bread, the American Empire subsidizes it. The Romans sacrificed Christians and other slaves, we sacrifice our liberty and soverignty in tax-slave funded stadiums.
This year's state circus really seared into me as I came to the conclusion that every little aspect of American life is now soaked with military themes.The quarterbacks are field generals, leading his soldiers into battle. And like the actual soldiers we "support" with cute bumper stickers, their post-retirement trauma and injuries are swept under the rug. Man up, soldier, this is WAR.
You can't escape it. Military recruiters invade schools and lie to kids, promising them money and showing them war-soaked video games. Stores have "military discounts." Nearly every month has a holiday directly related to war, and even on religious holidays, we are reminded to "think of the troops who have died for our freedoms." Highways and streets are dedicated to killer generals. And nearly all of the money confiscated from us at gunpoint, or the threat of gunpoint, gets swallowed in the Pentagon's bloody vacuum.
Especially after 9/11, the event that "changed everything." You can see it in the language. The President is the "Commander-in-Chief." We now live in "the homeland," fighting "crusades," "long wars," and "existential threats." Torturing people to death becomes "enhanced interrogation," or what the Nazis called "Verschärfte Vernehmung." A million Iraqis liberated of their lives become "collateral damage." Raining death and destruction like cowards from the sky is "shock and awe." Slavery is Freedom. Ignorance is Strength.
And as George Orwell reminded us, the state's manipulation of language not only frames the debate in the state's terms, but are tools for power expansion. Since the Department of Bombing People Into Submission, or as some call it, "the Department of Defense," is busy liberating the world, there emerges the Department of Terrorizing Us Into Submission. I think Janet Napolitano refers to it as the Department of Homeland Security, but it really is little more than a large government program designed to wear down Americans' spirits by imposing draconian restrictions on liberty. Resist, and we'll only clamp down harder. Passive acceptance is the goal.
Scratch that. Passive acceptance is an unworthy emotion to the state, an institution that from it's Pharaonic inception has wanted to be God. Not even submission will do, for it is a jealous God. We are supposed to love our illusions of freedom and representative government, to embrace our chains, to risk our lives in foreign countries for its glory. This is why words like "courage," "honor," and "bravery" are attached to being ripped in half then flown home in a box covered in the red, white, and blue. It is the ultimate honor.
Just don't tell to that the dinner tables with an empty chair or the toddler without a dad or the parents who have to bury their son instead of the other way around. Or what about the ones that come back (barely) alive? So what if they can't sleep, go insane, can't get medical treatment, or are permanently scarred by what their medal-seeking officers told them to do? This is WAR, kill or be killed.
Whenever I ask myself: where has our liberty, the liberty that is at least theoretically recognized in the US Constitution, gone? I always find myself coming to one conclusion, the same answer I stumbled upon yesterday afternoon during the pre-game nationalistic nonsense: our liberties are buried under the weight of all this god damn state weaponry.
Buried under, both figuratively and literally. Entire cities are completely dependent on military bases for their livelihood. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Half of our incomes (the fruits of our labor, and therefore, our liberty) are stolen to build a hegemonic global empire of bases in other people's countries, a standing army, hydrogen bombs, F-22s, cruise missiles, those wonderful tools of domination.
And we are hardly safer because of it. In fact, our military-industrial-congressional-complex not only puts innocent Americans at risk through blowback, but puts the entire human race at risk. A true and prudent defense of this country would require a fraction of 1% of what the US government spends. Political neutrality, trade, and privately-owned firearms are the real defense of a free people.
But war and empire, like all government programs, must be funded by the threat of imprisonment if one does not contribute (textbooks call this phenomenon "taxation"). The state has the unique ability to offset the costs of its actions onto 300 million permanent "customers," so something so destructive of wealth and property like war comes naturally to government. People have to be compelled to pay for war; they have far better things to do with their money and would bring pitchforks if showed the actual bill of what the Pentagon actually does.
Economic liberty (and liberty in general) is antithetical to war, which is why we have so little of the former and so much of the latter.
But the circus goes on, at every professional sports event or campaign stop, uttering out the polished and euphemistic phrases that distract people from what really goes on in their name and with their money.
Buzzing jets, flag-soaked choruses, half-assed odes to "our men in uniform;" this is all window dressing and PR for the institutionalized looting, theft, fraud, coercion, and mass murder that is the modern nation-state. Smoke and mirrors, the velvet glove that is placed over the iron fist. The Empire is a lie, an empty suit, eating out the soul of the American Republic. A racket.