By Nathan Barton
We probably did it as children, and most of us know children or grandchildren who have done it. “Are we there yet?”
It starts, or so it seems, before we can get out to the highway – maybe even as soon as we pull out on the road (street for you city slickers). It won’t quite be every exit on the freeway, or every little town on the rural highways. But you might be forgiven for thinking it is that often.
It does seem to have a been a question the kulaks and proletariat of the late, unlamented Soviet Union, to say nothing of the denizens of their satellites in Eastern Europe, must have asked right up to 1991 and the Fall. After all, Lenin and Trotsky and the others had promised that once REAL Communism was established, the state would just wither away. (The actual phrase, I understand, was coined by Fredrich Engels, to summarize the concept advanced by Karl Marx. Lenin just swiped it.)
(So now you know why Russia and its former soviet republics still have such large and powerful governments – without Communism, they just can’t wither.)
But those dirty reds weren’t the only ones with this belief. Many Democrats once believed that, once we got all the “rights” that Wilson and FDR thought we should have, then things would get better and better. We wouldn’t need as much government, at least.
(Just like you supposedly don’t need as much pesticide if you keep the weeds down constantly, instead of having huge patches of the things.)
Of course, it is one of the key doctrinal differences between old-style Communists (international socialists or progressives) and National Socialists on the one hand, and Transnational Progressives (Tranzis) on the other. Tranzis don’t want or hope for the state to wither away. They openly admit that they want government to grow ever more powerful, ever bigger.
Two very recent examples of that. The Donald is both hated and feared by the Progressives, as a tyrant, destroyer of democracy, bigoted hater, and worse. Yet they want keeping and bearing arms limited to just the government. That’s right: the government led by the worst man since Satan (if not worse than him). The man whose betrayal of his nation is, according to them, a worse disaster than Pearl Harbor.
Listening to an NPR program, I learned about how Facebook is trying to get its customers to clean up their acts and stop saying hateful, bigoted, sexist, racist, ageist and anti-homosexual things on their pages. And how they are failing because, after all, computer geeks have no social skills or understanding. And this (and many other problems) can be solved simply by having the government step in and “help.” More power to the government, huzzah!
How like their “mortal enemies,” the conservatives (especially the neo-cons)! They too, have no hope or desire for government to fade away. Except in very carefully defined areas of endeavor.
Sadly, this idea of government withering away if the right things happened goes back to well before Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.
Although you must read between the lines, you can see this concept in the words of many classical liberals in the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries. In England, in Spain, in the Netherlands, and even in England’s colonies. To many of them, government was only a temporary necessary evil, and as people gained in knowledge, wisdom, morality, and spirituality, they would naturally set aside the tools of their childhood and of the race’s childhood. Like putting away the training wheels, the sippy-cups, and the nappies.
Sadly, like Stalin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev, our English forebearers and Founding Fathers were never able to ween themselves away from the “comfort” (power, authority, control) of government. Never able to reach out and grasp the concept of truly individual and personal liberty and responsibility. Of being self-governors.
The question before us today is a simple one. Can we of the 21st Century reach out and achieve this dream, this goal, this hope of truly being free? Arguably, we are less free than those of the 1870s, or even the 1970s, much less the 1770s. (As Jacob Hornberger has recently pointed out in his able manner.)
But today, perhaps more than ever before, at least back to Exodus, we DO have the tools, the means, of living freely. I believe that we can do it.
Are we there yet? Not hardly. But despite the detours, the heavy traffic, the distractions, and even the setbacks, we can at least see our destination.