Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Its the POWER, Stupid!

Last week, Colin Powell came out as a critic of the Bush Regime’s conduct in the War on Terror. This morning, I flipped open my browser to see the following headline:

WP: Powell explains terror law viewFormer secretary of state Colin L. Powell said Monday that he opposes the Bush administration's proposed rules for the treatment of terrorism suspects in part because the plan would add to growing doubts about whether the U.S. adheres to its own moral code. [!]

Now, the first thing that comes to my mind is the blatant contradiction in anything moral coming from political action. To expect the State to behave in any kind of moral fashion is a complete and utter delusion, as the State’s only method of action is the initiation and propagation of violence. The fact that the Bush Regime is now openly advocating various barbaric practices in the "interrogation" of people it views as "terrorists", is only surprising by the lack of humility.

I was discussing this article with a friend of mine this morning who is a big fan of Colin Powell. He insists that all of our current problems would be solved (or at least seriously mitigated) if Colin Powell were in charge as the President of the U.S. This is a manifestation of the whole "its not the system, but the person in charge" myth about the efficacy of politics. Apparently, Powell is some kind of Messianic figure who would right all the wrongs in American public policy. The suggestion that the very process of acquiring power requires certain demands, sacrifices, and compromises – virtually selling one’s soul to various political powerbrokers – falls on deaf, liberal ears. In true liberal fashion, government is humanity’s salvation, preventing man’s baser instincts from taking over and creating a free-for-all, survival of the fittest, jungle like existence.

Of course, this begs the question, that if humanity is so fundamentally corrupt, how does giving POWER to certain people alleviate that condition? Are politicians not mortal? Are voters not mortal? Do people somehow change their natures during the 5 minutes or so that they spend inside the ballot box, only to resume their sinful ways after punching the card? Does putting on badge or swearing an oath of office somehow mystically cleanse the soul of a person, enabling them to only do good works? To your average State Worshipper, the answer to these questions is a resounding YES.

And don’t get me wrong, Conservatives are just as guilty – perhaps even more so – of glorifying "the man in charge". I’ve commented countless times about the view that GW Bush is a kind of secular deity, wielding power with astute moral clarity, and battling back the forces of evil. The Conservative response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster was to point out that it was the fault of various Democrats who were in charge in New Orleans and Louisiana. Apparently, if only the "right" people had been in charge, Big Government would have worked properly, efficiently, and humanely. Conservatives, once rhetorical supporters of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, are now convinced that Big Government can work miracles.

What both my liberal friend and Conservatives share in common is a complete disregard for the realities of practical politics, the effects of State intervention, and the moral backdrop of using the mechanism of the State to remold the world unto a more noble image. They both willfully ignore the disasterous effects of government policies - often erroneously blaming them on the excessive liberties of average people - and even go to the point to say that without MORE government, we would surely suffer. As Harry Browne used to say, government breaks your leg and then hands you a crutch saying, "See! If it weren’t for us, you wouldn’t be able to walk!"

But, anyway…back to the article. I noted a certain kind of irony when it stated:

Powell has said he regrets that the Iraq invasion was launched on the basis of false intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs and Hussein's relationship with al-Qaeda, information that he vouched for in an address before a hostile United Nations.
I laugh out loud because Powell was the chief peddler of that "false intelligence" before the world. One wonders whether Powell is truly at odds with the Bush administration, and is seeking to atone for past misdeeds. I have a co-worker friend of mine – also a liberal – who has always thought highly of Powell. When Powell gave his speech before the U.N., that practically cemented his support for the Iraqi invasion. Apparently, if Powell says it, it must be true. So, needless to say, I only laugh at Powell, and people who place a lot of value in his words, because they are empty and meaningless.

So the Cult of the Leader goes on. Liberals will surely rally around Powell and other dissenters from the Regime, and continue their delusions that "their guy" would be so much better, if only he had POWER. Conservatives will rally around "their guy", insisting that Bush is doing a heroic job defending civilization itself, and should be given more POWER.

And neither side will recognize that the fundamental cause of our problems today stem from the corrupting POWER of the Imperial State.

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