The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Well, we made it. 2009 is over.

We weathered the Obama inauguration, TARP 2.0, the co-opting of the Tea Parties by the statist right, Cash for Clunkers, the “it’s so hard to close Gitmo” whines, the “my versions of torture and indefinite detention are different because hey, it’s me” narcissism, the beer summit, the “death panels” kerfuffle, the Afghan surge …

2009 wrapped up with passage of the initial version of Cannibal Care and a $290 billion increase in the US government’s “debt ceiling.” … two more little time bombs set under the tree for Christmas and timed to detonate some time in the new year.

To steal an old Patrick Swayze line, “you ain’t see bad yet … but it’s comin’.”

The worse things get, the more government does; the more government does, the worse things get. That’s the history of the modern state in a nutshell, starting (probably) with late medieval “enclosures” debacle and proceeding down to this very day.

Every “problem” elicits calls — some self-interested, some just naive — for a government “solution.” Every government “solution” leaves the original “problem” largely unsolved and heaps two or three new “problems” on top of it. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s like trying to treat arsenic poison with a healthy dose of arsenic.

Problems caused by state intervention will never be solved by more state intervention. The aims of the state never change. The incentives driving state action remain constant. And that means that in 2010, we can expect government to “solve” the “problems” of 2009 in the same way that it spent 2009 “solving” the “problems” of 2008.

Stand by for the next “stimulus package.”

Prepare to answer the call of Westmorela … er, McChrystal … for just a few more troops. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia!

Please place your underwear in the basket next to your shoes and step to one side. You’ve been randomly selected for additional screening — wait next to the door marked “Proctology.” You may feel a slight pinch …

You’re a voter? You want to vote? Hey, knock yourself out! We don’t mind at all. If voting changed anything, we’d just make it illegal.

Pessimistic much? Yes, I am.

2010 is, like all even-numbered years (in America — the schedule varies internationally), a year in which our masters expect us to, at most, send the party in power on vacation and temporarily replace it with its body double.

Our masters certainly don’t expect us to reject them, or their system, entirely. And why would they? After all, their production is a good 500 years or so into its run. Cast changes and venue revamps are to be expected, but Cats and The Phantom of the Opera just can’t hold a longevity candle to Leviathan: The Musical! Unlimited budget! Captive audience! It’s an extravaganza, folks!

Bend over! Bend over! ‘Cuz here it comes again!

Unfortunately, cast changes and venue revamps won’t change the essential character of the production. The problems it causes can’t be solved with script re-writes or better choreography. The only way to solve those problems is to empty the theatre, drop the curtain and go find another, better play. I suggest a little off-Broadway startup — an experiment in participatory theatre: Year of the Anarchist.

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