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Greenfield: Nobody Trusts the Government
Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog ^ | Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 02/12/2014 6:31:04 PM PST by Louis Foxwell

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nobody Trusts the Government

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

The usual formulation that you will see masticated these days by the flimsy jaws of men and women who have broken free of the editorial column to become freelance ponderers and thinkers is that the Republicans are the neo-confederate secessionists who distrust the government while the liberals, and their captive class of government employees, union members and official minority groups trust in it.

That formulation, like so much else in the spilled ink of the dying newspaper, is wrong.

Both sides distrust the government. They just react to that distrust differently. The right reacts to that distrust by trying to limit or pull down the government. The left reacts to it by trying to take it over.

The contradiction comes out most strongly among liberalism's minority base. For example, blacks are more likely to trust the Federal government than whites but less likely to trust local government. This doesn't reflect trust in government so much as it reflects a perception of which level of government is less trustworthy. From a minority perspective, national representation is safer than local governance.

Distrusting the neutrality of government and attempting to hijack it for corrupt sectarian and tribal interests reveals just as much distrust of the government and secessionist impulses as anything on the right.

Large numbers of Asian and Latino immigrants poll in favor of big government despite coming from countries whose governments are brutal and oppressive. But it's often the people who come from tyrannies who are also most likely to support them.

The neutral spaces of the Bill of Rights are not real ideas to them the way that they are to many Americans. The idea that government can simply be forced out of a space without that space being filled with either a more repressive government or gangs collecting protection money is often not a part of their experience and so not a realistic calculation for them.

Government to them is a power struggle. It's not a question of how powerful government should be, they assume that it's always powerful, but who steers the beast. And so they vote Democrat, because the Dems promise to steer it to their advantage.

It's a mistake to try and break down minority alliances with government to specific issues such as immigration or health care. Issues are only the subset of a larger cultural arrangement based on a distrust of government. In a worldview in which government is always abusive and corrupt, the only question is who gets it worst and who benefits from that corruption.

That kind of trust in government isn't trust, it's a calculated amoral strategy based on mistrust, like a shoplifter who steals because all of society is based on theft. Small government is a traditionalist strategy based on a historical memory, part real part not, of a system where more freedom and wealth were available by minimizing government power.

The other side rejects that historical memory as naive and irrelevant in favor of grappling for power now.

It's not just an issue with minorities. The Tea Party runs into that same issue when polls show that the commitment of Americans to small government stops when it's to their disadvantage. That is the gap that the left knows about and exploits in its traditional style of creating a patchwork system of fines, taxes and subsidies that create massive inequalities but force everyone to cling to their privileges.

Once you accept that government isn't going to be reformed, then clinging to whatever advantages it gives you becomes a plausible survival strategy until the whole thing collapses under its own weight or the weight of public outrage. The Soviet Union outlived Russian Communism until enough people inside and outside the government decided that they could live better if they gave Marx and Lenin the boot. But if there hadn't been Western counter-examples that became increasingly hard to shut out, it might have taken much longer to fall because there would have been no visible alternative.

The right in the United States has its alternatives to the current setup and the left has its usual totalitarian fantasies, but the clients of the left don't see an alternative. They are too insecure and unwilling to gamble with their lifelines to failing setups such as generous social welfare or municipal unions to gamble with an open system. And those in the private sector are equally unwilling to support any destabilizing change that doesn't come with pre-approved promises of benefits.

Conservatives dream of defaulting to society, but for many of the clients of the left there is no larger society. They place no trust in a larger society that is bound by few formal laws because it appears to them to operate by a kinship that places them outside it. They understand how government works for all its abuses, but they are far less trusting of a society that they are not truly part of.

And it may be wishful thinking to assume that the society still even exists. Libertarian deregulation alone would not default to a working society. No more than the absence of law does in Mexico or Somalia. It's not some arcane crowdsourced magic, some wisdom of the mob that makes a society work, but the values of civilization. The United States isn't Somalia or Mexico, yet, but its social breakdown can be seen in the broken families and gangs. And there are few opposing factors.

The militarization of the police has come hand in hand with the collapse of values and mores. Take enough broken families, pile what's left over into gangs and the drug trade and before long you need a lot more police to deal with everything from domestic violence complaints to everyday rapes and murders to the bigger stuff that moves up the organized crime ladder all the way to gang warfare.

In a broken society, there are a limited range of options between the fascist government and the feudal cartel, between the gangs and the cops with their repurposed military gear, between the state and a state of lawlessness. And it's the immigrants from failed states who are the eagerest to embrace government as a hedge against the night. It doesn't mean that they trust it. It means that they distrust everything and everyone else.

While the left is obsessed with pushing society until it breaks and can be put back together their way, their clients have mostly accepted that society is broken, that families don't stay together, that men and women can't count on each other, neighbors can't be trusted and that freedom leads to anarchy.

It's not just that they need to be convinced to trust us, they also have to be convinced to trust themselves. It's easier to trust the government because it is an abstract, a set of ideas and symbols lacking in human frailties. The collective always seems stronger than the individual, even if isn't. An older breed of American distrusted the group, but elections are increasingly being won by cities and their satellite suburbs where people have despaired of the individual and believe in authority.

People only believe in governments when they lose faith in themselves and their society. The great work of the counterculture was destroying the faith of Americans in their own society, trampling their beliefs through the mud in a dozen different ways, demoralizing them, tearing down their culture and making a self-reliant individualism as difficult to sustain and as socially unacceptable as possible.

When the counterculture couldn't attack directly through regulation, it attacked indirectly by wrecking the family. When it couldn't get the numbers it needed quickly enough, it turned to immigration from failed states. That is the end result before us now.

An authoritarian state is a failed state. It represents a failure deeper than that of mere government, but of society. Before a state fails, its society fails. A culture can survive a failed state, but a failed culture cannot help produce anything except a failed state.

America is drifting into totalitarianism because of the left's exploitation of social failures. The critical mass of social breakdowns, from gang violence to terrorism to poverty, justify the nanny state, the police state and all the other totalitarian states of authority. When there is nothing and no one else to trust, a failed society turns to a tyrant who can cut through all the red tape and govern with pen and phone.


TOPICS: Government; History; Politics; Religion
KEYWORDS: greenfield; sultanknish

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Lou

1 posted on 02/12/2014 6:31:05 PM PST by Louis Foxwell
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To: Louis Foxwell

posted march 21 1972


2 posted on 02/12/2014 6:32:32 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: daisy mae for the usa; AdvisorB; wizardoz; free-in-nyc; Vendome; Georgia Girl 2; blaveda; ...

Nothing is more frightening than the scenario Daniel has described in this article. There is, however, one single source of help for a broken society, Christ.

Sorry, folks. That is the long and short of the matter. Either Christ reigns in the hearts and minds of the citizens of this nation or we are utterly lost.

Go back to the Founders. Christ was the key to their belief in a government that could express the good will of the people. It must be good will. If there is only malice, greed, selfish motivation, and evil in the hearts of the people, our sacred Constitution and the nation we received at the hands of countless patriots, dies.

We are in the death throes of the greatest nation in the history of mankind. Enjoy what you can while you can. And, one more thing. Preach Christ with every word out of your mouth.

3 posted on 02/12/2014 6:39:21 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: bigheadfred

?


4 posted on 02/12/2014 6:40:53 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell

what you were born yesterday


5 posted on 02/12/2014 6:43:18 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: Louis Foxwell

Another great piece, indeed. Anyone who thinks we are going to vote our way out of this mess is a fool.


6 posted on 02/12/2014 6:45:12 PM PST by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

BTTT


7 posted on 02/12/2014 6:47:47 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: bigheadfred

I am reborn every day thanks to my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
SCOTUS decisions about residency requirements for voting is high and outside, not even worth a swing.


8 posted on 02/12/2014 6:51:50 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell
SCOTUS decisions

about anything need a rinse

9 posted on 02/12/2014 6:58:48 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: Louis Foxwell

bump


10 posted on 02/12/2014 7:52:02 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Faith in Christ brings the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life for those who are entering the life of the world to come. For those who occupy the life of this present age it is enough that they fear God and thus refrain from murder, theft, adultery, slander, and covetousness. The laws of the land ought to reflect and enforce these very things.

Obviously we are up against forces contrary, so commend ourselves in prayer to the Almighty Who can, and will spare us from all evil.


11 posted on 02/12/2014 8:10:43 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Louis Foxwell

Happy Bill Clinton Impeachment Day!


12 posted on 02/12/2014 8:12:18 PM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Fester Chugabrew
The commenters on this insightful piece by Mr. Greenfield have it right. The Grand Sultan seems to allude to it, but he doesn't come right out and say that the root cause of society's breakdown is hedonism. Yahweh has been pushed out of schools, government, military, indeed all institutions of society, and out of people's lives. Without Him and His teachings, there is no rudder, no sail, and no motor for society to stay on course. Somehow, we must come to recognize this basic truism and return Him to the center of our daily lives or we are doomed as a society.
13 posted on 02/13/2014 3:03:26 AM PST by iontheball
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To: SandRat
The neutral spaces of the Bill of Rights are not real ideas to them the way that they are to many Americans. The idea that government can simply be forced out of a space without that space being filled with either a more repressive government or gangs collecting protection money is often not a part of their experience and so not a realistic calculation for them.

Government to them is a power struggle. It's not a question of how powerful government should be, they assume that it's always powerful, but who steers the beast. And so they vote Democrat, because the Dems promise to steer it to their advantage.

One more reason to stop the flow of illegals...

14 posted on 02/13/2014 4:13:26 AM PST by GOPJ ("Washington Redskins" - Keep the Name. Change the mascot to a potato. - FR hoosiermama)
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To: bigheadfred

What?


15 posted on 02/13/2014 4:19:57 AM PST by GOPJ ( America's drifting into totalitarianism because of left's exploitation of social failures.Greenfie)
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To: Louis Foxwell
Nobody Trusts the Government

To love one's country is patriotic, to trust one's government is folly.

16 posted on 02/13/2014 7:47:11 AM PST by MosesKnows (Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.)
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To: bigheadfred; Louis Foxwell
march 21 1972

"The United States Supreme Court struck down, as unconstitutional, a Tennessee law requiring one year's residency in the state before a person could register to vote. For the 6–1 majority ruling, Thurgood Marshall wrote '30 days appears to be an ample period of time for the State to complete whatever administrative tasks are necessary to prevent fraud – and a year, or three months, too much'. At the time, all but a few states required at least six months' residency. The ruling, made in Dunn v. Blumstein (405 U.S. 330) effectively opened the way for as many as 5.5 million people to become eligible to register."

—Wikipedia


17 posted on 02/13/2014 9:14:51 AM PST by Albion Wilde (The less a man knows, the more certain he is that he knows it all.)
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To: Albion Wilde

They become eligible to vote in the state to which they recently moved. That neither makes them legally eligible to vote in another state nor does it necessarily increase voting rolls. I fail to grasp any significance to this issue.


18 posted on 02/13/2014 9:23:08 AM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell

That was the only factoid I could find about that date I was willing to spend time to find. :-)


19 posted on 02/13/2014 9:27:59 AM PST by Albion Wilde (The less a man knows, the more certain he is that he knows it all.)
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To: GOPJ; Albion Wilde; Louis Foxwell

march whatever (made you look)

my missed sake i meant june something 1972 when the American people got up front and personal with federal government corruption

just sit back in that e z chair

you made it happen again and again and again but you HAVE that easy chair

we should be glad iraq and f ghanistan dint waste as many lives as viet nam

POINT BEING

NOTHINGS CHANGED

AND YOU LF SOLICIT FOR MONEY

whatever

spit


20 posted on 02/13/2014 8:23:56 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: bigheadfred

Apparently you require substantial portions of sake (hot Japanese wine). Dob’t miss it again.
I am guessing some thoughts are at work behind these missives. They are hard to detect.
Between your goofy spelling, caustic attitude, false accusations, snippy irrevencies, and generally dismissive demeanor you leave nothing to engage. Either you are semi literate and can not understand or you are deliberately obtuse.
Out of the closet with you bighead. What is your game?


21 posted on 02/14/2014 4:20:43 AM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell
hahahaha

my ir·rel·e·van·cies cannot compare to your

irrevencies

dob't you know how to proofread

fat stupid and lazy is the way to go through life

the sky is blue

send all of your money to me here

22 posted on 02/14/2014 5:46:19 AM PST by bigheadfred
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