“The system cannot be fixed by the system.” ~Tom Morello
It is of the first order of importance to remember this: “the system cannot be fixed by the system.” It can only be fixed by the resistance of healthy, reasonable, imaginative, knowledgeable, compassionate and non-violent individuals. It can only be fixed by people who have re-conditioned their cultural conditioning, un-matrixed the Matrix, ninjaneered their statist indoctrination, and unwashed their political brainwash.
All of this despite uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, myopic tribal affiliation, and blind nationalism.
In short: the system can only be fixed by people who have dared to take a leap of courage outside the box of the system itself, and then double-dogged dared themselves to gain knowledge that undermines the unhealthy system while proactively building a healthier system.
1.) The expansion of imperial war undermines freedom:
“At the end of the cold war we could have diverted tax dollars to the quality of our lives, things like health care, education, infrastructure, eliminating poverty, and protecting against climate change. Alas, the peace dividend never happened. Why not? Because the military, and persons profiting from the military, like weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists in Congress didn’t want to. That’s why. Only 8 percent of Americans polled in 2014 wanted the United States to lead the world military. But that 8 percent won out. That’s plutocracy.” ~Ted Stanford, WWII Navy Veteran
If slavery is the opposite of freedom, then war is probably its inverse. It’s simple: human beings cannot be free when other human beings are threatening them with guns and bombs.
To the extent that guns and bombs are necessary is only in a defense-minded sense. Otherwise, the use of guns and bombs is just cold, calculated, murderous and offensive, war. It is only necessary if the Non-aggression principle has been violated and the loss of human life is at stake. Then, and only in a defensive sense, is the use of bombs and guns necessary.
The problem with war today is that it is not defense-minded but offense-minded. It is built upon an imperialist agenda and a money-making war machine that’s bolstered by a fight against phantom-terrorism that cannot be won. It seeks power and the control of natural resources, usually at the expense of innocent lives. In short: it is offensive and overreaching and not conducive to healthy and free human beings.
2.) The bloated military budget undermines freedom:
“Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons.” ~Arundhati Roy
The main reason the war machine is so offensive and overreaching is because of the bloated military budget. Exacerbated by war-profiteering companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the U.S. military is larger than the next seven militaries in the world, combined!
Let that sink in. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of that total. If that’s not a bloated military, I don’t know what is. It’s time to scale back. It’s time to see the military industrial complex for what it really is: a terrorist generating war machine propped up by profiting weapons manufacturers.
The propaganda machine that the military industrial complex uses to convince its citizens that it needs more money is based on myopic nationalistic pride that imagines the money is going to our brave military men and women. Nothing could be further from the truth. It goes toward $200 million B-52 bombers and faulty F-35 fighter jets costing $400 billion each. Each! That is the height of insanity. Just imagine what use that money could go towards.
And yet we all just go about our day imagining that the government knows best. Meanwhile, our education system falters, our health care is being eroded, and our infrastructure crumbles. We can no longer see the error of our ways. As Noam Chomsky said, “The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.”And here we are, not even caring that we don’t know.
3.) The continual bailing out of Big Banks undermines freedom:
“The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come.” ~Matt Taibbi
Bailing out Wall Street was the ultimate bait-and-switch. It turns out that we’ve all been bamboozled. This mafia-esc, multi-layered, lie-upon-lie shit-cake goes so deep that it fooled congress twice into eating it –hook, line, and sinker. This article goes into detail about it.
The biggest problem with the bail out, other than that it has further entrenched the Too Big to Fail banking system, is that it has made lying on behalf of the most corrupt banks the official policy of the United States government.
This undermines freedom because it not only allows power to become absolute, it allows power to corrupt absolutely. There must be checks and balances on power. Especially power over people’s lives. Unchecked power tends to become tyrannical power. Tyrannical power tends to become evil. Failed systems should be allowed to fail lest failure be confused with success in some Orwellian double-spoken way.
4.) Overreaching offense-minded policing undermines freedom:
“The law is an opinion with a gun.” ~Stefan Molyneux
Healthy policing is an extension of healthy self-defense. Self-defense turned violent and overreaching is no longer about self-preservation. Similarly, policing turned violent and overreaching is no longer about protecting and serving. Violence should only ever be used in self-defense and never as a means toward enforcing one’s values, rules, or laws onto others, no matter how popular they are.
Defense-minded policing must remain a core philosophy if a police force intends to be a moral institution. The solution is not more ill-trained offense-minded police with too much power, but more well-trained defense-minded police with just enough power (a power with built-in checks and balances in place to prevent power from corrupting). In short: a complete eradication of the Thin Blue Line is in order.
The bottom line is that no single person should have as much power as a cop has. Nobody should be allowed to be judge jury and executioner in the street. To the extent that a defense-minded cop has power, it should be checked and balanced by the people who pay for the policing, first, and by other defense-minded cops, second. And all cops should be held to a higher standard precisely because of the immense power that they wield.
Until we can achieve a level of civilization where we have all evolved to a point where voluntarism and the non-aggression principle are second nature, the best alternative is defense-minded policing that doesn’t offensively overreach its power by shoving its gun down everyone’s throat.
5.) The corrupt electoral system undermines freedom:
“If you vote, you have no right to complain.” ~George Carlin
The electoral process has cemented into place a system of legalized bribery. Elections have become auctions. They are ridiculously overrated and flawed to begin with. They attract power-hungry egomaniacs at best and warmongering sociopaths at worst. It’s time to usher in a new system of appointing leaders.
The problem is our choices are limited due to bi-partisan claptrap. Our decision seems to be “vote” or “not vote” which is influenced by state manipulation, cultural conditioning, and entrenched political propaganda with corrupt lobbying that creates divisiveness.
But there is a third option. We can “elect” to think outside the ballot box. We can “elect” to take money out of politics. We can “elect” to have a complete electoral system reboot. We can “elect” to implement a sortition system that lotteries-in leaders from an assembly of authentic leaders and prestigious elders and votes-out bad leaders. We can “elect” to devise a system that uses impeachment more often than it uses aggrandizement.
Indeed. We can “elect” to not elect a president at all, because we don’t need a scapegoat-puppet who is hamstrung by lobbyists, corporations, and bankers for a “leader.” We just need authentic leaders and prestigious elders –plural; chosen randomly from a competitive assembly of other authentic leaders and prestigious elders. That will get the job done just fine, while also preventing scapegoating and the rise of psychopaths.
6.) Despotic leadership undermines freedom:
“The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.” ~Tom Clancy
The chain of command. The chain of obedience. Allegiance to authoritative hierarchies. Top-down leadership. These forms of “leadership” have utterly failed us as a species. They have only ever led to unhealthy rigid order – creating robots, pawns, and sheep; which has only ever led to unnecessary wars waged between robots, pawns, and sheep who never had the courage to question authority. As Mark Passio surmised, “Order followers are the people who keep the system of slavery in place.”
The chain of command isn’t even leadership. It is despotic followership. It’s grossly outdated. They don’t train followers how to become leaders, they train followers how to remain followers through rank and file. A true leader must break rank at some point in order to become such, otherwise he/she is only a “leader” by authoritarian dictate, or according to some myopic and vacuous rank.
True leaders cannot be controlled; they learn, through self-mastery, through the teachings of other leaders, from Pain and Nature, how to discipline themselves. True leaders don’t follow power; they learn how to turn the tables on power, even their own, so that power does not corrupt.
True leaders don’t kowtow to tyranny or authoritarian rule; they attempt to dismantle it, despite the “rank and order” that props it up. Therefore, a true leader is a bottom-up leader who has the courage and the wherewithal to question the despotic top-down chain of obedience.
Strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom must be thwarted. This requires courageous bottom-up leaders to throw a wrench into the machinery of the so-called “chain of command.”
7.) Hoarding and shortsighted distribution undermines freedom:
“The problem with the Western world is surplus production. We’re in surplus production in almost every area. But there is a terrible distribution system where people around the globe suffer and die from starvation. This is a distribution problem, not a production problem.”~John Ralston Saul
Extreme poverty and starvation are avoidable in this age of extreme surplus. The utter failure of our distribution system undermines freedom. It prevents people from thriving because they are expending all their vital energy on merely surviving.
If, as Harry Frankfurt said, “From the point of view of morality, it is not important that everyone should have the same. What is morally important is that each should have enough,” then it behooves us, as both reasonable and moral human beings, to make sure that we each have enough by fixing the corrupt system of distribution.
The deeper psychological problem is that we believe that our sense of worth is wrapped up in how skilled we are at something, because we were raised and conditioned in a culture that values competition over cooperation. This creates ego-centric specialists concerned only with narrow-minded one-upmanship over open-minded compassion.
But we are social creatures, first and foremost. We need each other to survive. Competition has always been secondary to cooperation; otherwise we wouldn’t have survived as a species (Darwin).
So, our worth is actually wrapped up in how much we care for each other. The problem is that we’ve had the cart (competition) in front of the horse (compassion) for too long. It’s time we got the horse back in front of the cart. This will be an arduously Herculean task, considering our cultural conditioning. But it is very important, for the survival of our species, that we get it right.
8.) Statism itself undermines freedom:
“At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.”~Ludwig Wittgenstein
How do you know if you are a statist? You are a statist if you believe that you need a ruler to rule over you, if you believe that you require permission to be free, if you blindly worship a flag, and if you believe that violence is the answer to solving problems.
As it stands, the USA lives in an oligarchic state disguised as a democratic republic. Since a massive amount of wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, we’re unable to maintain a healthy horizontal democracy. Instead, we’re forced to deal with the snake of an unhealthy vertical democracy which has the diabolical snakehead of oligarchic plutocracy.
If we lived within a horizontal democracy, we would have a better chance at being free. No masters, no rulers, and no chance for power to become concentrated in the hands of a few. As Edward Abbey said, “Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” Easier said than done, sure, but as Spinoza said, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”
When it comes down to it, it’s impossible to live freely within a plutocratic state. The plutocrats will simply continue buying up power by creating oppressive laws and “legal”extortion rackets that keep the people without wealth and power in a permanent state of poverty and powerlessness. Add to that the use of lobbyists and a fiat currency based on debt, and you have a nation of hoodwinked debt slaves (soft slavery) under the delusion that they live in a free democratic republic.
It’s time to decide upon the only choice that really matters: Free human, or indoctrinated statist; uncomfortable freedom, or comfortable slavery. The choice is yours.
And if the overreaching state should continue to use violence against us, then we plant our heels deep into the ground, we lay our shields low, and we declare to the Powers That Be, as Henry David Thoreau did: “I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
Read more articles by Gary ‘Z’ McGee.
About the Author
Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
This article (8 Things You Need to Know (But Probably Don’t)) was originally created for The Mind Unleashed and is published here with permission. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.