The more I research statism and the people who subscribe to it the more I’m firmly convinced those people suffer from Stockholme Syndrome. For those who are unaware Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where hostages begin sympathizing, and at times ally with, their captors.
When you think about it we’re all captives of a state. If at any time we disobey the desires of whatever state we’re in we will find ourselves subjected to physical violence. For example in the United States those who go against the decree of the state and grow a verboten plant will find themselves the victims of kidnapping and will be held in a cage for however long the state deems appropriate. In other states, like Saudia Arabia, a woman can be stoned to death for cheating on her husband.
Stockholm Syndrome isn’t entirely understood but most researchers believe it is a kind of coping mechanism. According to some kidnapping was very common in pre-history and those who were kidnapped ended up allying themselves with their captors in order to adopt to the new tribe and survive. Taking this view into consideration it’s easy to see how somebody having their actions controlled by a state would develop sympathetic feelings towards his or her controller.
The phenomenon can best be witnesses in those who are extremely nationalistic. Those who feel the country they live in is somehow the best one in the world and are unwilling to recognize any of that country’s faults. Considering the fact that most people are citizens of their current country through the happenstance of birth it is impossible to believe these people were randomly born into the society that best matches their beliefs and needs. While most people will point to Americans as the most common example of this the truth is each country has a large number of nationalistic people (hell a great number of British people thinking being the subject of a queen is a sign of a great civilization).
Being a resident of the United States I feel best qualified to speak in regards to this country and thus will keep my examples American focused. When reading this please note that the general idea applies to all countries and that only the examples are American specific.
The United States people have a great deal of patriotism. Sadly this patriotism is often so rampent that many living here are unable to see the flaws in the country. Americans take pride in calling this country the land of the free. The sad truth is our country is no longer the land of the free as every year brings in new tidal waves of laws, regulations, and other rules that turn previously law abiding citizens into mere criminals. We have police officers stroming into the homes of innocent people in a crusade against drug use. You can’t even get on an airplane without being treated like a possible terrorist. So what has the response been? Very little for the most part.
Most American citizens justify many of these new “security” measures to themselves. When the PATRIOT Act was being rammed through Congress I remember brining up my opposition to the bill only to have fellow citizens state that we need it to protect ourselves from another 9/11. Even before the bill was passed people of this country were justifying the bill’s existence and convincing themselves that it was for the greater good. How many people do you know speak about the evils of illegal drugs? I can’t be the only person who has had a conversation with somebody who believed the war on drugs was a great thing and thought the idea of decriminalizing currently illegal drugs was insane. Once again these people have taken the government’s bullshit and convinced themselves that it was righteous. Every time we enter a new war there are hordes of people who will parrot the government’s excuse.
It gets worse, much worse. Not only do these people convince themselves that the government is telling the truth they viciously attack anybody who raises an opposing voice. If you speak out against warring with Iran you’re called crazy, insane, or even unAmerican. Saying you believe a person has the right to decide what they put into their body is often met with accusations of drug use. Talking about the ever more prevalent police state gets you labeled as paranoid or delusional. These people have convinced themselves so thoroughly that the government is good that they lash out viciously at any opinion that calls their beliefs into question.
One of my favorite examples involved the Department of Education. If you say you want to abolish the Department of Education people will instantly accuse you of hating making education available to children. The facts that the Department of Education was only established in 1979 and since 1979 education has only gone downhill is entirely irrelevant to these people. As far as they’re concerned the state must provide education because no alternative exists. They have allowed themselves to become obedient dogs of the state and have even begun developing such positive feelings towards the state that they begin defending every decision it makes.
These people have begun sympathizing with their captors to such an extent that they refuse to consider opposing viewpoints. The more I look into statism the more I’m convinced that it’s simply a sever form of Stockholm Syndrome. We’re all hostages of the state and it’s violence and the only way some are able to cope is to convince themselves that the state is good.