When you think of an abusive relationship, what adjectives come to mind? Controlling? Violent? Humiliating? Jealous? Obsessive? Go figure, it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to apply these same adjectives to many of the world’s governments throughout history and certainly the absolute states that emerged in modernity with their absolute warfare, constant surveillance, and obsessive control of every aspect of their citizens’ lives from cradle to grave– the federal government of the fifty American states being no exception to this unfortunate state of affairs.
To explore this idea a little further, I took a look at a list of warning signs of abuse, to see if our relationship with our government truly is analogous to an abusive relationship with a romantic partner. Spoiler alert: it is. The list was prefaced thusly: “The following questions ask you about your relationship. If you are not currently in a relationship, these are signs or ‘red flags’ to assist people in identifying a potentially abusive person.” Here are just ten of these questions:
1. Do you feel nervous around your partner?
Be honest – even if you’re a perfectly law-abiding citizen, do you feel nervous around police officers? Even when you’re driving the speed limit and obeying traffic laws in a car for which you have a valid license, deed, and registration, do you feel nervous when a police car is driving behind you or pulls up next to you on a city road or freeway? Do you feel nervous when you’re going through TSA checkpoints at the airport even though you have no prohibited items in your baggage and have no intention of doing anything disruptive, violent, or illegal? Have you ever wondered whyyou should feel that way when you “have nothing to hide” as the police say?
2. Do you feel pressured by your partner when it comes to sex?
I don’t know, let’s ask a gay or lesbian couple: Do you feel pressured by your government when it comes to sex? Like you’re not really free to express your sexuality, romance, or intimacy in the way that you’d like if it falls outside the narrow expectations of your government? That the government uses laws to punish and discourage you from making your own sexual choices? Would consenting, adult sex workers – excepting Nevada – say they feel pressured by the government when it comes to their personal sexual choices? Do you feel pressured by your government when you travel through airports to let its agents touch your body even if it makes you uncomfortable or violates intimate areas of your body? Would most Americans say our government plays too little, or too much of a role in regulating and attempting to influence and pressure the personal sexual mores of consenting adults?
3. Are you scared of disagreeing with your partner?
I wonder if Tea Party protesters find it a little scary to disagree with their government when the government comes out and labels them as potential terrorists for expressing their political disagreements – both officially in DHS memos to state police departments like the ones leaked in 2009 by WikiLeaks, and unofficially like when several Democratic members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden himself called Tea Party protesters terrorists during a meeting on the debt ceiling negotiations last year. I wonder if Occupy Wall Street protesters find it a little scary to disagree with their government when it sends in armed riot police to hit them with chemical weapons, rubber bullets, and flash grenades for expressing their disagreement.
4. Is your partner always checking up on you or questioning you about what you do without your partner?
Is your government always checking up on you or questioning you about what you do? With the growing use of surveillance cameras and other technologies, the passage of laws like the Patriot Act that allow the government to do so arbitrarily with impunity, and the never-ending sea of forms from the IRS, to the U.S. Census Bureau, to a dozen other alphabet soup agencies based in Washington, not to mention those that come from state and local government agencies– I’d say the government is clearly always checking up on us and questioning us about what we do.
5. Does your partner tell you that if you changed, he or she wouldn’t treat you like this?
You don’t have to worry if you don’t have anything to hide, right? It couldn’t be that the law you might be hiding from might be flawed, could it? Couldn’t be that the government needs to stay out of your business, could it? No, it’s definitely your fault. If only you stopped smoking cannabis and used government-approved (and of course- taxed) drugs like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and any of a number of big pharmaceutical industry drugs… then the government would stop treating you like a criminal and locking you up in an overcrowded prison without access to proper health care or a nutritious diet, and where violent rape is an accepted part of the culture. It’s all your fault.
6. Does your partner’s jealousy stop you from seeing friends or family?
Does the government stop us from seeing friends or family? Might try asking that question to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, who are clearly weary of their multiple tours of duty there as evidenced by the tragically record levels of PTSD and suicide among our active duty military, not to mention the fact that FEC records show that active duty military members have contributed more to the one presidential candidate most vocal about bringing them home than they have to any of the other candidates in either of the two major parties combined. I bet a lot of them feel like their government’s keeping them from seeing their friends and family. I also wonder if the disproportionate number of black men who are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses feel like the government is keeping them from seeing their friends and family. I also wonder about the working class spouse and parent who labors through an ungodly number of hours of work each week just to have enough left over to subsist after paying all the government’s taxes, fines, fees, and compliance costs. I wonder if they really thought about it, if that person, who had to miss another soccer game, or come home late for a romantic dinner, feels like they don’t get to see friends and family as much as they’d like because they’re working too hard to pay off all the obligations their government imposes on them.
7. Does your partner make you feel like you are wrong, stupid, crazy, or inadequate?
At this point, I’m just repeating myself. Does the government make you feel wrong when you go through TSA checkpoints? Like you’re a criminal or something just because you want to fly on a plane? Does the government make you feel stupid with its presumed aura of decision-making superiority and its bloated technocracy that makes decisions for you about your own money like they can do a better job than you could? Does the government make you feel crazy when they call your anti-tax or anti-Wall Street protest group radical, fringe, extremist, or even terrorist – all because you think taxes are too high or that banks shouldn’t receive government bailouts? Does the government make you feel inadequate when it purports to take care of your needs from cradle to grave with a massive and ever-growing welfare state?
8. Has your partner ever scared you with violence or threatening behavior?
Let’s see. Has the government ever scared us with violence or threatening behavior? No! Couldn’t be! The government would never do anything violent or threatening. Except for those drones it’s now commissioning to fly over our civilian skies and patrol us. That’s pretty threatening. Or what about the violent police actions at Occupy protests throughout the nation, including the one in Oakland where an officer aimed a tear gas canister at a protester’s head, landing him in the emergency room with severe head trauma? Then there’s the continued militarization of our police who are now serving drug warrants at an alarming rate with full swat teams that bust down doors, shoot dogs, handcuff peaceful citizens, take away their children, and then lock them in a cage because they had a plant in their possession that the government doesn’t approve of. Then there’s the war gaming state police departments have been doing in major U.S. cities in conjunction with the Department of Defense. This is all just in the last year. We could go back to the very beginning of our federal government and talk about all the threatening, violent behavior with slaves, American Indian tribes, and even anti-tax protesters like the Whiskey Rebellion.
9. Does your partner say, “I will kill myself if you break up with me” or “I will hurt/kill you if you break up with me”?
I’m going to say seceding from a government is pretty analogous to breaking up with a romantic partner. So throughout the history of this government, if anyone attempts secession or argues that secession might be the best thing for everybody, has the Washington regime responded by saying: “I will hurt/kill you if you secede from me?” Ask Tom Woods.
10. Does your partner make excuses for the abusive behavior?
No way. There’s no way politicians make excuses. Oh wait – they do all the time. Your civil liberties are being violated and the law is being completely ignored and broken? Well that’s just temporary, and it’s only because we’re unsafe right now due to the threat of terrorism, and national security must take precedence for now, but when it’s all over we’ll go right back to the way things were before. We promise. *grin* Oh, it’s ten years later and things are just worse? Well it takes a lot of time to make positive changes, and my administration didn’t create all these problems, we inherited them, and you’re just trying to score partisan points, and – oh look! I killed Bin Laden! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! – what were we talking about again?
Yeah, we’re in an abusive relationship with our government. The problem with abusive relationships is that it’s hard for the person in them to see that they’re in one. They make excuses for their abuser. They believe that their abuser really loves them and has their best interests at heart. They think a real change is always just around the corner, and the abuser takes advantage of this by perpetually promising to make changes and get better, promises that are never kept – the abuse just keeps going on and getting worse. Of course the first step is acknowledging that there’s a problem, that we’re in an abusive relationship with our government, and while a lot of Americans are starting to reach that point, it seems we’re not yet at a critical mass. We need to keep spreading the message and helping the people in this country to see just how abusive, violent, controlling, and malicious their government is.
Thanks for helping us spread the message.
Originally posted at The Silver Underground.Published in