Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Conformism, Government and Unofficial Power

When baby boomers were young, they were into sex, drugs and non-conformism. When my generation was young, they were into sex, drugs and conformism.

I have a friend named Drew Anderson who works as a teacher in the inner city. He noticed that all the kids were afraid to be different. One day he walked into a classroom wearing yellow pants. Someone said, “Mr. Anderson, you are wearing yellow pants.” He deadpanned, “Why are you so afraid to be different?”

Well I suppose the reason that they are afraid to be different is their belief that if you are different, you are a freak, a loser, a lunatic, arrogant or a sociopath. I have not seen this belief help them a great deal. Most of these kids become economically non-viable and wind up behind bars.

Their mentality is this: Idiotic. And when the mentality of people around you is idiotic, your only chance to not be an idiot is to reject the mentality.

This is of course in no way limited to the ghetto. Many supposedly freedom-loving populations in places like South and Midwest are viciously assimilative. And in many parts of the world this is even worse.

Really, what makes social tyranny different from government tyranny? A case can be made that it is worse. Democratic governments are elected, official, accountable, checked and balanced. Societies aren't. Which gives them a green light to violate people to a greater extent than is allowed to the government.

In one case we see official power; in the other case we see unofficial power. I would take official power over unofficial power any day.

Are Jehovah's Witnesses, Southern old-boy networks, Texas Oil, corrupt networks in law and medicine, child rapists and wife-batterers, and the inner city gangsters and Russian mafia better than the federal government? Absolutely not; they are far worse. Yet they claim that they are the people, and that those they hurt are not the people. They claim that they are practicing liberty and constitutional rights, while viciously denying real liberty and constitutional rights to those living under their grip. They want freedom from the government even as they want to impose de facto tyranny on their own populations. They pracitice what I call conman's totalitarianism: Claiming to embrace liberty while dictating to people how they can think, how they can look, and what life they can have.

There are checks on official power; there should also be checks on unofficial power. While there are laws to fight corruption in business, there are none to fight oppression in societies. Individuality should be affirmed and protected, and conformity pressures must be counteracted. Libertarians focus their scrutiny on the government. They should be extending the same scrutiny to social entities all around the world.


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