Monday, August 24, 2015

The Rise of the Sour Cream, Part 7

[This continues the series of excerpts from Chapter 22 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom.]

Powerful Problems
Not only psychopaths but other power-seekers often reach high office. Why are the powerful so perverse? What keeps the nice guy, the person of integrity, from reaching the top in a statist system? In one word: conscience. Statism is founded on the idea of a powerful state, superior in every way to the individual. One question and one only determines if an action is good or bad: does it advance the state? Lie to the people? Fine, if it helps the cause. Murder opponents? Do it, they cannot be allowed to spread their nefarious ideas. Lock up citizens in the gulag and treat them like slaves? Certainly, if that helps the collective. Have children spy on their parents? Of course, the state must know if those parents are considering anything rebellious.

The Power of the Unethical
This leads directly to the reasons why the unethical rule in statist societies. Suppose that, in a free country, your boss orders you to do something highly unethical. Your conscience objects and you can refuse; but what if you live in a collectivist country? There, your individual integrity is worse than useless; it only gets in the way of doing what the state demands. If you want to advance, or even keep your current job, you must ignore that integrity; bury it so deeply that nobody will even suspect it exists. You must never oppose the state, no matter what it demands of you. The state and only the state will decide what is good and what is bad; and the only question will be if it helps advance the state. If it does, anything goes, and you may not question your orders. Everything from small lies to murder of opponents is fair game. Indeed one prominent “manual of tactics” for collectivists explicitly states that action for the masses must supersede conscience; ethical standards must stretch with the times.[1]

This is a conflict of interest – big time. Monopolistic government decides what is right and what is wrong, and that same government benefits from what it decides. Historically in this country, churches and philosophers have taught right from wrong, then government made laws on that basis. When government declares that it has a monopoly on deciding right and wrong, the potential damage is again unlimited. Government, unrestrained by independent thinkers, will decree a ”morality” to its own benefit.

Up the Statist Ladder
Who can move up in such a system? Not the man who insists on mercy, kindness, and treating everybody with respect. No, promotions go to the ruthlessly obedient, to the person who obeys without question. If he has a conscience at all, he has learned to ignore it. This is tailor made for the psychopath. Murder, deception, anything to carry out the wishes of the state, it won’t bother him at all. Non-psychopaths can advance only if they have, as the Bible says, “their conscience seared with a hot iron.”[2] The psychopath has no conscience to sear.

It is no accident that the Stalins, the Castros, the Hugo Chavez types rule the statist countries of this world. They and only they are willing to do what is necessary to advance in such systems. Their only ethic is power and serving themselves. Our collectivist friends are fooling themselves when they think that tyrants rule only by accident in statist countries.

An Attack of Conscience?
And what if someone in the ruling circle of a statist country should have an attack of conscience? Will he dare voice his doubts? Not if he is wise. Even if the others in that ruling circle agree with him, they will not dare say so out loud. Instead they will ostracize him, probably purge him and send him to the gulag.

Leon Trotsky learned that lesson the hard way. Though still a committed communist, he opposed Stalin's version of communism. Stalin first removed him from office, then exiled him, and finally murdered him and his family. Nor did that sort of enforced groupthink end with Stalin's death; statists continue to murder dissidents abroad. For example, in 2006 Alexander Litvinenko died a painful death in London, poisoned by polonium-210 after he had the temerity to defect from Russia and to speak out against his former bosses.[3]
Groupthink is mandatory in a statist country. Nobody dares express any thought contrary to the accepted doctrine. The entire group may want change, but nobody will dare mention it aloud. The status quo stays stuck on quo, no real progress allowed. And that status quo includes repression of the people.

Collectivist Rulers
Put all the above together and what have we got? Statist or collectivist rulers self-selected from the dregs of humanity. They obtain power by unethical actions, and they punish their fellow-man for any desire for freedom. Even should they have a change of heart, they find themselves trapped, forced to continue those unethical actions. The survivors, the people who reach the top, are the people willing to lie, steal, spy, deceive, and otherwise cheat to acquire and retain their power. Some are psychopaths; some have just learned to ignore their conscience. All place their own desires above the good of the country.

Castro in Cuba, Allende in Chile, Stalin in the USSR, the Kim family in North Korea, Chavez in Venezuela, all those and more got their power by actions that would violate the conscience of most free people. It is no surprise that their selfish desires continue to govern their lives. As it must in any collectivist country, the sour cream rises to the top, and there it stays.

Next, we shall consider specifically the sour cream in the United States. Mercifully, that will probably be my last blog on this topic.

[1]      Alinsky, op cit. P25, 30-31. The entire second chapter of that book tries to show that normal ethics can be ignored to reach the goals of the collectivist organizers
[2]     Holy Bible, 1 Tim 4:2

No comments: