Politics Are Evil
William Douglas tells us about his story: All told, in the last few years, I’ve lost no few than three friends that I’ve known since high school, four if you count a friendly acquaintance. Every single one of them over opinions I’ve held and beliefs I’ve had since before they ever met me. My views on homosexuality, gender identity, alcohol, government regulation, or the power of free markets haven’t changed in the near two decades any of them have known me. Never before have any of these stances ever made me a “bigot,” “enemy,” or “hateful troll” before, yet now that is apparently the case. Ironically, I’ve been dismissed as both a “Trump supporter” and a “libtard Socialist moron,” often in the same day.
People I’ve known for a long time, for decades, people who should know me better mock and dismiss me, not because I’m uneducated on a topic -something some of them have even readily admitted. Rather it is because I disagree with them. I remember two friends simply dropped all communication with me over a discussion about “Net Neutrality” where we disagreed about the role and effects of government intervention on the Internet. Other have dropped me because I oppose giving hormone treatments and surgeries to children. Still others have dropped me because of my religion and the way that I talk about faith.
What causes this divisiveness? Why would people who have always disagreed with me on a variety of subjects but found within one another something of value and joy suddenly cut off all contact with that person? Because in recent years, political rhetoric has become more and more hardened. Polarization has increased dramatically with more and more people looking at those who disagree with them as opponents that need to be broken in order for them to obtain their goals. This is because our political beliefs have in recent years become more and more part of our core identities, defining who we are and therefore rendering those who disagree with us as an Other that threatens who we are and society as we know it. As a result, we don’t see people anymore with whom we are disagreeing, we see objective enemies in the way that need to be removed. As Dr. Marc Hetherington, Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina explained it:
“We develop these caricatures of the other side. They’re just not like us and, not only are they not like us in politics, they don’t drive the right car, they don’t drink the right coffee, they don’t drink the right beer, they don’t eat the right food. It’s like a bad relationship. We just don’t have anything in common with each other anymore.”
At the same time, the way that we seek out people who think like us- and the Internet makes it increasingly easier to surround ourselves only with people who agree with us- the more extreme we become in our convictions and the more we are disposed to see those who disagree with us as evil/insane/etc. Harvard professor Cass R. Sunstein calls this “group polarization” and describes it this way:
“My principal purpose in this Article is to investigate a striking but thus far almost entirely neglected empirical regularity – that of group polarization – and to relate this phenomenon to a number of issues in law and political theory. In brief, group polarization arises when members of a deliberating group move toward a more extreme point in whatever direction is indicated by the members’ predeliberation tendency. ‘Like polarized molecules, group members become even more aligned in the direction they were already tending.’ Group polarization is the conventional consequence of group deliberation.”
This is what I have been experiencing with my lost friends. In the past few decades, they have all been migrating towards political enclaves -such as California or Texas- where their political identity is dominant. They have come more and more to see those who disagree with them as threats and treated them as such, including people such as myself whom they’ve known for years. They’ve stopped seeing the individual in front of them and instead treat all people who have any seeming similarity of opinion as part of the great amorphous monstrous enemy out to destroy everything they think is right or just.
I cannot tell you how many discussions I’ve had on a wide variety of topics and people which went nowhere because the person I was talking with was more invested in arguing with the Mythical Conservative or Imaginary Progressive that lived only in the speaker’s head. The result of politics has been to create a society rife with contention where those who are the most engaged in the process are the most distrustful and most hateful. The result of the politicization of life on society has been to destroy society on both a local and national level.
Politics at the local level has not brought us closer together as communities. Politics at the local level has not brought more wealth, education, or peace to the people under its boot. Instead, all political action has caused is unending hatred, violence, suffering, anger, and death. There is a reason that 70% of robberies, 66% of rapes, 47% of aggravated assaults, and 38% of murders go unsolved each year. And it isn’t because the job of the police is to protect and serve you. It is because that isn’t their job. They’re there to control you so you don’t threaten those in positions of political power.
Don’t believe me? Try and tell Eric Garner, George Floyd, Ryan Whitaker, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, or Kelly Thomas, the thousands like them, and the tens of thousands family and friends of theirs who have impotently suffered injustice and loss, that local politics isn’t deadly, isn’t violent, and doesn’t cause unmitigated pain. I wish you could. But you can’t. Because those six, and many more like them, were all brutally and maliciously murdered by the militarized arm of the local government- the police. There is no doubt this, and the system that doesn’t just allow it to happen but incentives, makes it possible, is evil.
Jesus Christ taught that, “the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil,” (3 Nephi 11:29) and “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) Whether you’re a believer or not we all agree that widespread contention is bad for society and the repeated outcomes of our actions demonstrate what motivates us. So, let’s look at their fruits, look at the outcome of their political system:
National and global politics thrive on hatred, division, anger, contention, and violence and encourage all those in the general public in order to control them. Simply look at human history. When people are left alone to solve their problems, they develop complex networks of trade that establish peaceful relationships between them and everyone around them, even between them and people living thousands of miles away. This is because everyone realizes that peaceful relationships are superior and more beneficial than violent relationships. But the moment governments get involved and start controlling the interactions of people across political boundaries, as soon as formal political organizations are established, everyone everywhere suddenly becomes a threat.
Wars erupt over the most meaningless events and bloodshed, slaughter, and death run rampant. Why? Does the destruction of your “enemy” bring you prosperity or safety? Of course not. It destroys everything they had and all they might have traded with you, costs you uncountable treasure in your own resources, and worst of all, leads to the extermination of human lives. Who knows how many Newtons, Einsteins, or da Vincis have been ground into a bloody pulp beneath the tread of a soldier’s jackboot (or sandal.) If the outcome of your system is this, then your system is evil; there has been many people, often women and children, murdered in America’s drone bombing campaigns since 2002.
Immigration is the same. The idea that you could beat, cage, or kill another person for merely crossing an imaginary line should be repulsive to everyone who hears it. It certainly was to the American Founding Fathers. That is why the US Constitution does not authorize the Federal government to regulate immigration in any manner. It has no power to restrict who can and cannot immigrate to the country nor when or how. Nor is it authorized to violate the rights of people based on their national origin. Therefore, any attempt by the federal government to do either is illegal. And anyone encouraging the government to do so is promoting it to act in an illegal manner proving themselves criminals masquerading as being concerned with the law. Thomas Jefferson clearly explained this as early as 1799 in the Kentucky Resolutions in which he declared one of the first attempts at the Federal government to try and regulate immigration, was illegal and should be nullified.
Yet the American government persists using military violence to imprison immigrants crossing the border in giant prison complexes that are essentially concentration camps for political prisoners. The system that encourages us to see another human being as our enemy simply because they’re born on the other side of a national boundary such that we feel justified in beating them, caging them, killing them, hunting them like animals and seizing all their wealth, destroying their families through deportation, and asserting control through terror and violence is undoubtedly founded upon contention, anger, and hatred- in other words, is undoubtedly built on the foundation of Hell.
This is to say nothing of the way that the US has unleashed military force against civilians recently, the ways in which the system of taxation forces us to fund that to which we are opposed, which in turn generates hatred for those we feel are compelling us and those who we perceive to benefit from this theft, or the myriad other ways partisan politics invents and exacerbates problems in society in order to profit politically from the anger and hatred created.
Can anyone look at the long, failed history of the State, of political action and government power -from the unending wars and uncountable numbers brutally slain to the way that it incites hatred and division among people and nations for political gain- and not see the work of Satan? This program of ruling through blood and horror upon the Earth -of taking and maintaining power through violence and terror- is deeply Satanic in nature and has been from the days of Adam and Eve.
The utopian project of the State – a fantasy built on the delusion that if you give a small group of people the power to terrorize, robe, beat, cage, and kill any who challenge them that the result of this will be social harmony, liberty, and prosperity – is a proven lie. More than that, it is rotten and evil to its core. It is time to discard this stupidity and embrace peaceful forms of social organization that do not rely on violence, such as libertarianism, voluntaryism, and anarchy before it is too late.
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“The following points have been established: 1. All human governments have been invested with the war-making power. 2. All human governments have considered war power essential to their existence. The proof of this is found in the theory and practice of every government that is or has been. If there be an exception, it is thine to present it for I never heard or read of one. The universal sentiment and experience of mankind, from the day when Cain claimed and exercised this power over the life of his brother, to this hour, declare that no human government can exist without it.” – Henry Clarke Wright, 19th Century Abolitionist