A skeleton, dead with that rusty death of machinery

After this post I will move on to other topics (at least for a little while), but one final addendum to previous posts. The U.S. House passed a corrupt and horrific bill yesterday whose final passage seems only a matter of time. Note how even the most conservative Republicans don’t have a counter-plan that drastically (or even nominally) cuts spending from current levels. Instead they want to add debt-financed tax cuts and construction projects. This is better than what the House passed, but worse than doing nothing at all, and much worse than doing something responsible such as cutting spending drastically. The last thing the country needs is more debt.

There is simply no political will to “act like men.” The populace has no stomach for it either. There will be more insanity to come. This is why I now think the end game, barring a powerful act of God, is economic collapse.

Since I first read it 15 years ago, a few lines always stuck with me from Nock’s Our Enemy the State. Before I get to them, here’s a little background in Nock’s own words:

Instead of recognizing the State as “the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious, and decent men,” the run of mankind, with rare exceptions, regards it not only as a final and indispensable entity, but also as, in the main, beneficent. … Instead of looking upon the State’s progressive absorption of social power with the repugnance and resentment that he would naturally feel towards the activities of a professional-criminal organization, he tends rather to encourage and glorify it, in the belief that he is somehow identified with the State … When the mass suffers any ill fortune, or simply feels some strong appetite, its great temptation is that permanent sure possibility of obtaining everything, without effort, struggle, doubt or risk, merely by touching a button and setting the mighty machine in motion. … [This attitude is] the life and strength of the state … When once the predominance of this attitude in any given civilization has become inveterate, as so plainly it has become in the civilization of America, all that can be done is to leave it to work its way out to its appointed end. … [Quoting Ortega y Gasset] “Spontaneous social action will be broken up over and over again by State intervention; no new seed will be able to fructify. Society will have to live for the State, man for the governmental machine.” -p.113

And then we come to Nock quoting Ortega y Gasset’s words, the ones I’ve long remembered:

And as after all it is only a machine, whose existence and maintenance depend on the vital supports around it, the State, after sucking out the very marrow of society, will be left bloodless, a skeleton, dead with that rusty death of machinery, more gruesome than the death of a living organism. Such was the lamentable fate of ancient civilization. -p.114

One can quibble with things here and there in Nock, but I believe this is where we are headed. At the height of its power and breadth, the American State as we know it will become a dead, rotting hulk of a machine. Woe to those dependent on that rotting hulk and its goodies (Social Security, Medicare, welfare, and a thousand other things). It’s time to make other plans.

May God have mercy on America.

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