Attorney Steve Grow
October 11, 2011
In essence the statist believes individuals have no inalienable property or other rights as individuals, but that all belongs to the state. Under that view no individual rights exist other than rights granted to individuals by the state, and all such rights are revocable by the state. Communism, whose essential core is the denial of private property rights—and whose actual implementation in the world so far has also been thoroughly statist and thus individual-rights-denying to the core in all other respects as well, is clearly a statist theory. Totalitarianism in all forms is 100% statist. So are all views that kings, tyrants, royal families, Popes, Imams, professors, prophets, parliaments or central committees or other groups or individuals in positions of power have rights but that ordinary individuals do not.
Now the institutions and trappings of a statist government (whether secular, religious in flavor and appearance), especially a totalitarian one, are created, sustained and structured mainly so that they can serve as a disguise, costume, mask, distraction and place of concealment behind which the human individual or individuals controlling the apparatus can operate with a high degree of invisibility, perhaps even anonymity, and with complete impunity. If a state agency takes action against an ordinary individual, every effort is exerted to make it appear that this apparent and largely illusory entity took the action rather than the individuals who ordered or carried out the action. Even laws including written constitutions can be part of the costume, disguise, mask or distraction. Unless ordinary individuals have the teeth to invoke them for their benefit and protection, and unless they are enforced correctly, even the best set of written laws are an illusion and a nullity. Often the written laws of a constitutional democracy and a tyranny will bear a high degree of resemblance. But there will always be one striking difference: the totalitarian regime will either not enforce the laws at all or will enforce them selectively and in bad faith, and ordinary people living under such rule have no effective power (and thus no right) to invoke them for their own protection against others or against the government. Any non-statist government can be transformed into a statist one without altering any provisions of its written constitution or laws.
Where statist views are implemented, one will ultimately find one or more human individual Wizard of Oz’s pulling the strings and levers of power either in front of or behind the scenes. Sometimes the apparent Wizard you can see is just window dressing and distraction so you won’t notice the real Wizard. The laws, trappings and institutions of such as state function as disguises, masks and distractions from the inescapable fact that behind the scenes, or even in front of the scenes in the case of an up-front tyrant, it is human individuals who are arrogating all rights to themselves and pulling all the strings. Where murder is committed, people are encouraged and required to believe that it was done by the state and not by human individuals acting as such. This convenient untruth helps diffuse and confuse opposition to the activities of the human individual or group of human individuals actually ordering or carrying out the killings. Doctrines of state immunity or sovereign immunity or official immunity are merely aspects of the disguising or diversionary function of most trappings of government in totalitarian or statist regimes. All such governments are nothing but arrogations of all rights and power by a few human individuals.
How, may I ask, if all human individuals have no inalienable rights, does any person, or group, of such individuals justify claiming all rights for themselves. The intellectual leap from no one having any rights at all as an individual to my having all rights myself as a government or religious official or ruler-- is the intellectual leap all extreme narcissists take each and every day. Such people have never been in short supply in any group of humans in the world. If narcissism weren’t such a widespread problem, the planet would have few bad governments and few bad government officials. Even the loftiest king, tyrant, bureaucrat, official or office holder is a simple human individual possessing, under his or her statist theory or view, no rights. How then can he or she justify assuming the right to push and pull the levers of power and deny that right to all others. In essence, therefore, any individual who presumes to deny rights to others, under whatever disguise, is taking the view that he or she has something that his philosophy asserts that no individuals have. Usually the person disguises the view from himself by narcissistically adopting the view that he or she IS the state—Louis XIV of France famously said l’etat cest moi--the state is me. As the pretended state, he or she is not just a human individual. This pretense and this inconsistency constitute the rotten, hollow intellectual core of all such regimes. No puppeteer can justify the exclusivity of his or her credentials consistently with the statist theory without pretending he or she is not just another human individual.
One example of such a view is that all property belongs to the state, none to human individuals as such. But, when viewed through the disguise, this is just an arrogation of exclusive private property rights by one or a few human individuals. If the alleged evil of capitalism is the concentration of too much property and power in the hands of too few individuals, then the extreme socialist, whether nazi or communist in flavor (at least of the sort that have formed powerful states so far) is just further concentrating the holdings--yielding an even greater evil of the same sort he was pretending to remedy according to his or her own asserted principle used in seizing power. This is the rot at the intellectual core of all forms of communism, nazism and other forms of socialism. All the ideology functions as a new words-words-words opium of the masses that Karl Marx accused religion of being. Real religion, of which there has been very little so far in the history of the world, and almost none in religious institutions holding political power or supporting those who do (a temptation which Christ eschewed) , is not an opium but a smelling salt.
Totalitarian Nazism is the same as totalitarian communism in all important respects (recognized no rights and took over everything), but the ideological wall paper had different flowers on it, and the rage that drives the regime was more open and obvious in the leader. Hitler raged openly, but Stalin and Mao seethed in smiling silence while presenting a benign and kindly face. The latter two together were responsible for many tens of millions more killings than even Mr. Hitler was. Some “kindly” smiles are no more than skin deep.
On the contrary, the view that individual human beings as such, in common with all other human beings, have inalienable property and other rights runs into no such inconsistency and requires no hypocrisy. These rights include the right to establish government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” with such a government possessing no inalienable rights, but only amendable powers reclaimable by the people. (Even a statist government can adopt such principles in words only, but little or no effect is given to such words in such a regime, no matter how many times the word “people’s” or “democratic” or “divine” appears in the name under which the state passes in the world.)
We should be ever mindful that a revolution from a nonstatist to a statist regime can be carried out without changing any written laws or constitutional provisions. Therefore rights and institutions that assure constant vigilance are essential and in the best interests of all human individuals. Such institutions and rights must protect and encourage those who are willing and able to be on constant lookout for indications that individuals within our government institutions or other private systems in any walk of life whatever, may be both attempting to and beginning to succeed, at effecting such a transformation to statism.
Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances, property rights that allow one to achieve some financial independence, and privacy rights such as but not limited to those grounded on restrictions on searches and seizures, criminal prosecutions without due process of properly implemented law, and the like, and the right of individuals to bear arms so would be tyrants can be dealt with by force if necessary—all these and more contribute to protecting the right and effective power to identify and root out the statist narcissists who would be king or tyrant, whether they are public officials or employees or private individuals such as corporate officers or business owners seeking to set up company towns (the USSR and China under Mao and his successors are just large company towns) —and to confront power with truths inconvenient to any unhealthy agenda that such individuals may be pursuing.
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Since only one powerful government that I know of on the entire planet is founded on the view that governments, and those working their levers of power, enjoy no inalienable rights but that all human individuals are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights including but not limited to the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is vitally important that that government (the good old USA), resist any “peer” pressure from any and all statist regimes in the world to abandon the view that personal freedom is the only basis on which any good government can be erected. Such peer pressure will be a constant drumbeat to which we must never start marching.
© 2011 Steve Grow - All Rights Reserved
Steve Grow holds degrees in physics, law and philosophy. He is a retired lawyer who practiced business law for many years. He studied philosophy and cognitive psychology at the graduate level, including working with one of the world’s leading scholars on the work of Aristotle. He was co-editor in chief of his college newspaper. He has observed and wondered about history, psychology, religion, politics, journalism and good (and bad) government since childhood.
He believes that, now and always, the central problem in politics is monitoring and governing those in political positions—so that ordinary people are the ultimate governors and can hold those in office fully accountable. Ordinary people deserve, and need, full legal protection of their privacy. In contrast, all activities of those in government should be open to full scrutiny at all times. In a certain sense, ordinary people should be “ungovernable” and accorded a broad measure of privacy – on the other hand, politicians and their actions should be open to monitoring, closely watched and constrained. Anyone with a contrary view, he believes, is an enemy of freedom—wittingly or unwittingly.