Monday, May 4, 2009

Coercive Government Conforms To Paradigm of Parent-Child Relationship

Is this a healthy way of thinking for our society?

"Coercive government seems "normal" because it so closely follows the pattern we learned to expect of our elders when we were small, and because so many of us are still struggling to find parents to fill our childhood needs. This simple truth is an incredibly powerful factor in blinding people to damage done by the State." - Glen Allport

We seek unconsciously for the good parent to finally take care of us, and as we look around, nothing seems a stronger candidate than government. If we can't have Mommy and Daddy, perhaps Big Brother or Uncle Sam (or Papa Doc or Uncle Joe) will take care of things instead. After all, we live in the Motherland, or the Fatherland, or the Homeland. Doesn’t that hint pretty strongly at what we want our political “leaders” to be?

This blatant yet seemingly invisible emotional equation lends a desperate power to belief in the State. The child's need, camouflaged but eternally striving for fulfillment, becomes the adult "need" for a State that steps into vacant parental shoes that were never quite filled to begin with.

In short, government persists partly as an unresolved after-image from our childhoods.

Similarities between the typical parent-child relationship and the typical State-subject relationship run deep, and are no accident. The average parent treats his or her children much as the average government treats its subjects – in an authoritarian manner, with a mixture of concern, neglect, and coercion, and with psychological or even physical violence "balancing" the affection. Schools and other institutions treat children in much the same fashion.

This is seldom done intentionally or even knowingly, but it is done nonetheless. It has, down through the ages, created generations of damaged, unfree children who have grown into damaged, unfree adults – who have in turn created damaging, unfree societies.

Helping to break this ancient cycle is the true role of those who work for human rights.

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