Guess what, Americans? Your Government Hates You.

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My fellow Americans,

Maybe “hate” is too strong a word for what your average government official feels for the average American citizen: “despises” or “holds in utter contempt” is probably closer.

Petty corruption, abuse of funds, abuse of power, juvenile ideological biases, and simple incompetence have stained every federal agency during the Obama administration, and they know they can get away with it.

If the Bush presidency was marred by the one big lie, that toppling Saddam was an urgent national security interest, the Obama presidency is characterized by constant, daily mendacity. The administration has lied about everything: from the big things like the effects of the Affordable Care Act or the causes of its now weekly foreign policy disasters, to little things like monthly unemployment rates.

If it were just White House officials, it would not be such a problem: we could just wait for the next president. Instead the lies, condescension and incompetence are also coming from career bureaucrats in the Justice Department, the IRS, the CDC, the Secret Service, the FBI, the NIH, the ATF, the Inspector General’s Office, the NSA, the EPA, the State Department, the Department of Agriculture, the TSA, the Department of Homeland Security, even the Park’s Service.

It is not just that these career bureaucrats are dishonest and incompetent: they also believe that they are your moral and intellectual superiors. They know better than you how you should be raising your children, spending your money, driving your car, eating your food, buying your clothes, running your business, working at your job. The desire to lie to you and the desire to run your life both stem from the fact they despise you.

How can you fix a government when dishonesty and idiocy reign in every federal acronym agency in a country drowning in acronyms? You can’t. These trends cannot be changed, no matter what party you vote for. No political party, once in power, will ever vote itself less power, no matter what sort of rhetoric it uses.

But a nation only runs on trust. Once people stop trusting that they laws are just, or that they will be evenly applied, or that an unjust law can some day be changed, they simply stop obeying. If no one obeys a law, no government can enforce it.

Within the generation, everyone will be cheating on their tax returns, everyone will be participating in the black market, everyone will be paying bribes, everyone will be looking over one shoulder, then over the other, and flaunting the law. It will be a shock for us Americans, who were raised on concepts like government transparency and civic duty, but we can survive; Mexicans and Italians have been living like this for as long as there have been a Mexico and an Italy. Know who your friends are, keep your head down, always have a plan B, be ready to grease a palm or two, and you’ll get by.

 

 

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4 comments

  1. This is excellent. It’s an issue that’s been intriguing me a lot over the last few weeks – fear of the state orchestrated by vast swathes of the US population, who would shout from the rooftops they live in the land of the free, best country and all that. It’s just too bizarre. You’re brainwashed into loving your country from birth and thinking it’s the centre of the universe, most US citizens knowing little and caring less about the rest of the world. But then there’s this complete distrust of your government, paranoid verging on insane. The richest country in the world that has no interest in providing for the poorest in its midst and no interest in having in everyone’s health cared for. The weirdness boggles my mind. And I’m so happy I don’t live there! 🙂

    1. I know plenty about life outside the US: I lived in Italy for four years, and during my twenties lived almost exclusively in Hispanic ghettos within the US. Italians and Hispanics have no reason to trust their own governments, because they know a self-serving racket when they see one.
      One thing that always stupefies Mexicans about Americans is the fact that most Americans will obey a law just because it is a law. To Mexicans this makes no sense: of course you break the law, cheat on taxes, bribe public officials: how else can you survive?
      Trust is not a given. Trust in government is a reflection of the integrity of government. Traditionally in the United States you can expect the governments of large cities to be corrupt, rural and state governments less corrupt depending on the local culture, and the federal government less still. There is, traditionally,a high degree of trust in federal institutions.
      But the federal government is looking more petty, imbecilic and mendacious all the time, so pretty soon, everybody is going to be acting like Italians.

      1. Really? Is it that bad? The sorts of things Americans seem to get in a tizzy about are suggestions of gun control (guaranteed to cut down on your atrocious homicide rate), taxes which are generally low and a given if you want a stable, organised society to live in, fear about (shock!) universal healthcare being imposed on them, and bizarre things like wearing seatbelts or marriage licences. None of it seems rational. I think a degree of corruption unfortunately has to be expected in any institution where people have power. I just can’t see how the US government is so bad that anarchy, or something close to it, would make sense.

      2. I’m not proposing anarchy as better than government, I’m just predicting where the trend is heading. I’d love it if public servants were to start acting responsibly, but that just is not going to happen.
        Politicians on both sides like to get their base riled up and upset about every little thing, and I hope I’m not falling into their trap, but the level of incompetence and arrogance you see in govt. right now is just silly.
        Try reading up on the VA scandal and the meltdowns at the Secret Service. The CDC is not covering itself with glory… I could go on and on.

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