Zero Hedge As the recent Pentagon scandal makes all too clear, truth is treason in the empire of lies. Which is why attempting to shoot the messenger – by imprisoning the whistleblower and/or slandering the publisher – makes perfect sense for an arm – indeed, the very arms – of the United States government. So if we are to understand its logic (as all of its actions, however insane, are perfectly logical to it), we must understand the pathology that lies at its core. For unless and until we do, we cannot understand why government per se – i.e., the state, defined as “a monopoly on the use of force within its borders” – does what it does; why its functionaries lie so shamelessly on its behalf; and, most importantly, why its presumed masters – We the People – put up with it.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to high office. Aesop
We begin by amending Friedrich Nietzsche’s blunt statement – “Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen” – with a simple substitution of one word with another – i.e., “Everything the State says is a lie because everything it has it has stolen.” Being no less blunt, let us examine this statement to determine its verity.
First of all, every thief is by definition a liar, since thievery – the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person – is itself a lie. It follows, then, that if one steals for a living, one also lies for a living, the question being why the state is not condemned by the general public for this reason, given that it has nothing beyond that which extracts from society under threat of fines and/or imprisonment. The answer is that a particular lie has been told, so well and for so long, that for all practical purposes the question is not even asked. Yes, the application of the lie is questioned – is such-and-such amount in such-and-such form appropriate – but the fact, the existence, of the lie is not questioned, no further proof needed than that it stands side-by-side with death as one of the two certainties of life.
We are talking, in other words, about a lie so big that it constitutes the biggest lie ever told, finding perhaps its clearest expression in the following statement by former Chief Justice of the United States, Oliver Wendell Holmes:
Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.
That is to say, without the taking of property by a territorial monopoly, civil society is not possible. No matter that humanity long ago established the immorality of it, theft – as long as it is committed by said monopolist – is necessary if human society is to rise out of, and remain out of, barbarism.
But how can this be? How can that which is universally recognized as immoral be necessary? And what does the entrenched belief that it is necessary do to us?
To answer these questions, we begin by confronting the fact that the general public interacts with the state in two contradictory ways. On the one hand, it fully accepts the concept of public service, which is to say, of functionaries charged, in one capacity or another, with the delivery of “public goods” that are by definition presumed to be inappropriate, insufficient, or impossible for the “private sector” – i.e., for the people themselves, via their mutual cooperation – to deliver. Portraying themselves as servants of the public trust, these functionaries ask only to be treated with the same respect with which any servant should be treated, while doing as they are instructed and in turn treating their masters, the general public, with the respect that they deserve.
On the other hand, even as the lower ranks of these functionaries treat the general public with a combination of indifference, disdain, and outright abuse – openly admitting that it’s not about service but about getting this or that title – this same public heaps adoration upon these titleholders to the point of divine worship, building monuments to their supposedly heroic acts; carving their images in mountainsides; engraving their likenesses on our money; naming all manner of roads, bridges, buildings, and towns after them; ensconcing them in magnificent mansions; draping them in regalia; waiting on them hat and glove; and sending them hither and yon in magnificent flying machines accompanied by entourages that would rival the combined excesses of every king, queen, emperor, empress, pharaoh, caesar, czar, kaiser, and sultan in human history.