It’s okay to be afraid of your government. God gave us instincts for a reason: to sense danger for self-preservation. When we experience fear, it’s not because we lack courage. It is because we’re close to something dangerous – something that can harm us. Government is close to us, and it can harm you. It has proven both its ability and its willingness to do so. In light of that, fear of government is not irrational.
I don’t want to write things like that. I don’t want it to be true. What person wants to tell his brother that their parent intends to do them harm? When you come to see government as a benevolent, mindful authority that replaces your parents after you’re grown up, you can’t begin to process the idea that your government means you harm. It is the source of good things, especially security – not harm. The idea that government might harm or even kill citizens without due process contradicts every civil belief, every principle of trust we hold fast.
More and more, government holds people in solitary confinement without trial. It does things that would have been inconceivable just ten years ago. It has waterboarded prisoners, spread feces on people it held at Abu Ghraib, put people in little boxes where they cannot move, and beaten people until they die. It force feeds hunger strikers at Guantanamo as a matter of policy. It gases and beats non-violent demonstrators.
The Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all operate withouth congressional oversight. They conduct their operations in secret. When they are caught, as in operation Fast and Furious, they lie, deny, conceal, cover up, and become still more secret.
To add a new filip of power to this new constitution, the commander-in-chief oversees a secret kill list. Secret intelligence agencies execute the people on it, along with civilians unlucky enough to be nearby. The same secret intelligence agencies conduct illegal surveillance and illegal military operations. They operate illegal prisons and illegal transportation networks. They imprison people as enemies of the state, indefinitely.
Moreover, government maintains constant propaganda campaigns to justify its actions. Campaign propaganda from political parties and daily communications from government agencies have become indistinguishable. We are asked to believe the most obvious lies, to a point where, when we hear our president speak on the radio, we reach for the station presets to change the frequency. We cannot stand to hear him anymore, because we cannot stomach more doublespeak. It does not matter whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat.
Incapable of accomplishing the people’s business, government proves most energetic as it attends to its own. Government’s business is to increase its power, to increase its freedom of action, to enhance its ability to do anything it wants, without obstacles. To accomplish that, it needs money, secrecy, and the means of force. Observe your government’s behavior and ask whether it more closely fits your conception of a democratic republic, or a tyranny. What direction is it headed?
Tyranny’s primary concern through centuries of criminal oppression has been twofold. It uses its monopoly on use of force, which includes the power to intimidate, and its power to tax to subjugate people who have no power. Our founding documents declared that this republic’s government would never be able to do that. It would not have a monopoly on lethal force, and the power to tax would always be under the people’s control. Our current government has proven it does not care what our constitution says. That is why we should be afraid.
Whatever you do, do not forget this axiom: a powerful government is a dangerous entity. It will do you harm. Fear a powerful government. A powerful government elicits a fight or flight response because it does not wish you well. We created goverment to protect us, but in fact it attacks us from every direction to protect itself. Once government becomes powerful, it cannot act for citizens. It acts only for itself, and we have seen what that means. Therefore find shelter. Find other citizens who understand the need for self-help to resist this power. Offer to help them; ask them for their help. Make plans. Protect yourself.