In an interview with Fox News curmudgeon Bill O’Reilly, US president Barack Obama insists that the Internal Revenue Service’s “flagging” and harassment of Tea Party and other dissident political groups was the result of “boneheaded decisions” but “not even a smidgen of corruption.”
While the American political right is having a good guffaw about that, there’s every reason to believe Obama.
“Corruption” implies an otherwise honest and diligent institution straying from its core mission. That’s clearly not what happened here.
Oh, I suppose the case could be made that the American government has strayed from the mission described in the Declaration of Independence — “to secure these rights [life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness]” — but Obama’s hardly to blame for that. It was probably a done deal by the time George Washington led an army through Pennsylvania to cow unwilling “taxpayers,” and certainly by the time Thomas Cooper and Harry Croswell were prosecuted for “libel” of, respectively, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
But let’s be honest with ourselves: The difference between a government and a street gang is that when the street gang mugs, extorts, rapes or assaults you, its enforcers usually don’t pretend that they’re doing it to you for your own good. And when they do, the pretense isn’t very convincing.
The dual purposes of the IRS, as of every other executive branch institution, are to milk the cattle (that’s you and me) on behalf of the political class and to suppress opponents of, or threats to, the current establishment (the purpose of the legislative branch is to pre-plan the milking and suppression; the purpose of the judicial branch is to justify the milking and suppression after the fact as required).
That’s what the state does. That’s all the state does. That’s what it was designed to do. Any appearances to the contrary are window dressing.
All the kvetching, whether it’s Republicans groaning about IRS harassment of their astroturf operations or Democrats whining that Chris Christie closed some traffic lanes on a bridge, is just internal bickering of the sort two schoolyard bullies might engage in while jointly beating down the other kids for their lunch money.
The problem with political government is not that it’s “corrupt.” It’s that way by design. The problem with political government is that we put up with it.
Why do we put up with it? For the same reason all kinds of victims put up with all kinds of predators: We’re convinced we have to.
Some of us, like victims of long-term domestic abuse, have allowed ourselves to be convinced that it’s “for our own good” and that we “can’t do without” our tormentors. That’s sad, but understandable.
Others understand the nature of our victimization, but just haven’t found a convincing pathway out of the situation. That’s understandable, too, since of the “reforms,” “solutions” and “changes” put in front of us for consideration, all but one are shams designed to perpetuate the status quo.
The only workable solution — and for that very reason the most suppressed, harassed and reviled of all suggested remedies — is dissolution of the gang in its entirety; that is, abolition of the state.
We don’t need the politicians or their cronies. We don’t have to put up with them. And we should stop doing so.