In this article, we continue exploring the insights of Dr. Carl Jung about the nature of the State, the dangers of government, and the role of nonviolent religion as the strongest bulwark against statist tyranny, all of which can found in his book The Undiscovered Self. Last week, we saw that the government seeks to supplant religion in the hearts of minds of people, replacing a faith in God or the Gods with subservience to and faith in the power of the government to create a secular Eden. In exchange for this impossibility, those in power demand total obedience to their wills. Here we look at Dr. Jung’s description of why people so willingly surrender to the State:
“All mass movements, as one might expect, slip with the greatest ease down an inclined plane represented by large numbers. Where the many are, there is security; what the many believe must of course be true; what the many want must be worth striving for, and necessary, and therefore good. In the clamor of the many, there lies the power to snatch wish-fulfillments by force; sweetest of all, however, is that gentle and painless slipping back into the kingdom of childhood, into the paradise of parental care, into happy-go-luckiness and irresponsibility. All the thinking and looking after are done from the top; to all questions there is an answer; and for all needs, the necessary provision is made. The infantile dream state of the mass man is so unrealistic that he never thinks to ask who is paying for this paradise. The balancing of accounts is left to a higher political or social authority, which welcomes the task, for its power is thereby increased; and the more power it has, the weaker and more helpless the individual becomes.” (Pgs. 41-42)
People surrender their liberty, their children, and their lives to the government because it feeds them the fiction that they will be able to give up all adult responsibility for themselves and slip back into the “kingdom of childhood” where Father State and Mother Country will provide for their every need if the people will only do what they’re told. This reminds me of French political/economics philosopher and politician Frédéric Bastiat’s definition of the State. In his 1848 essay titled The State, Bastiat wrote that, “The state is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.” You might be tempted to think that people believe these obvious fictions because no one cares that what they want is impossible for anything lesser than a god. But, as Jung suggests, it cannot be ignored that people believe these lies because they actually have deep faith in the god-like omnipotence of the State to do the impossible.
In either case, whether they consciously think of the State as God or merely treat is as such, the outcome is the same – they seek to avoid responsibility for their own lives in the arms of the State. The 2018 study, Religion as an Exchange System: The Interchangeability of God and Government in a Provider Role, evaluated the way that religion shrinks as the size of government grows and concluded that, “the power and order emanating from God can be outsourced to the government.” That study drew direct connections between the perceived effectiveness of government social and welfare programs and the decrease in religiosity in the public. Though it ignores the indoctrinating and secularizing effect of government schools on the public, its implication that faith in God gets replaced by faith in the State because of the perceived ability of those in power to work social miracles (such as “ending poverty”) is revealing.
As Dr. Jung notes, those in power not only welcome this outsourcing of faith to them, those in power positively encourage it. They do so because it means the surrender of the people to those who control the apparatus of the State – politicians. As a result, politicians are continually working to fill the minds of the masses with greater and greater promises of an eternal childhood. In order to even appear to try and accomplish the things the State promises, it, and thereby its managers, must ever increase in power in order to accept all the responsibilities of adulthood and provide all the pleasures of existence to the people. Their inability to produce their Secular Eden becomes a justification for the centralizing of more power and not proof of the failures of their doctrines.
The synthesis of these points made by Dr. Jung that we have studied thus far then is the essence of why the governments of men are the enemies of God. The State by its very nature is set in opposition to religion and therefore to God. Both God and the State demand to be treated as the Supreme Authority in the life of the individual. The State always seeks to control and dominate religion, to subject it to the authority of the laws of man because religion demands that the individual place God and His laws above all, meaning that when God and Government contradict then man should always obey God and not the State.
Thus, the State and its politicians cannot allow religion because it subverts the authority and power of the State – which is the authority and power of the politicians in control of the apparatus of the State. In order to combat religion then, the State tries to overwhelm the individual with the power of the masses, to make him feel as a meaningless cog in the machinery of the State whose job is to obey, and to undermine the religious feelings of men by promoting the State in a religious manner, by essentially rendering the State into a secular religion itself furnished with all the rites and rituals that accompany religion. The outcome of all this is a secular religion that promises a material Paradise for the faithful and a physical prison and death for those who challenge its commandments, called “laws.”