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River Cities Reader Issue #755 - June 24 2010

River Cities Reader Issue #755 - June 24 2010

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Jun 23, 2010
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     R     i    v    e    r     C     i     t     i    e    s     ’     R    e    a     d    e    r
   •     V    o     l .     1     7     N    o .     7     5     5   •     J    u    n    e     2     4  -     J    u     l    y     7 ,     2     0     1     0     B    u    s     i    n    e    s    s   •     P    o     l     i    t     i    c    s   •     A    r    t    s   •     C    u     l    t    u    r    e   •     N    o    w      Y    o    u     K    n    o    w    •     R     i    v    e    r     C     i    t     i    e    s     R    e    a     d    e    r .    c    o    m
Choose chips, a cookie, waffle fries, cheddar fries, soup, or chiliand a medium Pepsi product from the fountain and save up to 30%!Make it a King Combo Pack and get a large drink in a slick cruiser cup.
to them? Te mystery is not that politicians lie, butthat citizens believe. It is not a question o givingrulers one benet o the doubt, but o giving suchbenets day aer day, year aer year, ruler aer ruler.America is perhaps the rst nation ounded ondistrust o government. Checks and balances wereincluded in the Constitution because o the dangero vesting too much power in any one man or onebranch o government. Te Bill o Rights was erectedas a permanent leash on the political class.Te Founding Fathers issued warning aerwarning o the inherent danger o government power.John Adams wrote in 1772, “Tere is danger rom allmen. Te only maxim o a ree government ought tobe to trust no man living with power to endanger thepublic liberty.” Tomas Jeerson wrote in 1799, “Freegovernment is ounded in jealousy, not condence.... In questions o power, let no more be heard o condence in men, but bind him down rom mischie by the chains o the Constitution.”Many o the initial curbs on ederal power weremaintained or most o the rst century o this nation’shistory in part because Americans oen had a derisiveattitude toward government – especially the ederalgovernment.Wariness toward government was one o themost important bulwarks o American reedom.Representative government worked airly well at timespartly because people were skeptical o congressmen,presidents, and government ocials across theboard. However, beginning in the early 1900s andaccelerating in the New Deal, government was placedon a pedestal.Te notion that rulers are entitled to trust is
Te Foll of Blndl Tustng te Govenment
by James Bovard
emocracy breeds gullibility. Lord Bryceobserved in 1921, “State action became lessdistrusted the more the State itsel was seento be passing under popular control.” Te rise o democracy made it much easier or politicians toconvince people that government posed no threat,because they automatically controlled its actions. Teresult is that the brakes on government power becomeweakest at the exact time that politicians are mostdangerous.Blind trust becomes a substitute or inormedconsent. But mass trust in government compoundsthe political damage brought about by pervasiveignorance.
Te bias in avor o trusting government brings outdemocracy’s worst tendencies. Te normal deensesthat people would have against alien authority areundermined by a chorus o politicians and governmentofcials continually reminding people that governmentis themselves, and they cannot distrust the governmentwithout distrusting themselves.
Since it has not been possible to neuter politicalpower, citizens’ thinking on government has beenneutered instead. Fear o government is portrayedas a relic o less-civilized, unrened times. Tere is aconcerted eort to make distrusting the governmentintellectually unacceptable, a sign o bad taste orperhaps ill-breeding, i not downright ignoble.Te central mystery o modern political lie is:Why are people obliged to presume that politiciansand government are more trustworthy than they seem? Te question is not: Why do people distrustgovernment? Te question is: Why do people ollowand applaud politicians who they recognize are lyingthe most expensive entitlement program o themall. “Follow the leader” has oen been a recipe ornational suicide. Troughout history, people havetended to trust most governments more than rulersdeserved.Blind trust in government has resulted in ar morecarnage than distrust o government. Te more trust,the less resistance. It was people who believed and whoollowed orders who carried out the Nazi Holocaust,the Ukrainian terror-amine, the Khmer Rougeblood bath, and the war crimes that characterizeconicts around the globe. It is not just a question o acquiescence but o breeding a docile attitude towardpolitical events and government actions.
In the same way that power corrupts, blind trustcorrupts. o say that people should not blindly trust thegovernment is not to call or anarchy or or violence inthe streets or the torching o city halls across the land.It is not a choice between trusting the government andreusing to drive on the right side o the road. Instead,it is a call or people to cease deluding themselves aboutthose who seek to control them.
rust in a dishonest government is true escapism– an evasion o responsibility or one’s own lie andliberties. Deerence to lying rulers is sel-betrayal.
For an expanded version o this commentary, visit RCReader.com. James Bovard is the author o 
Attention DecitDemocracy 
(2006) and other books. His Web site is JimBovard.com.Tis commentary was originally published by theFuture o Freedom Foundation (FFF.org).
 B   u  s  i     e  s   s  • P   o l    i     t   i     c   s  • A  r   t    s  •  C   u l     t    u r   e • N   o w Y   o  u K   o w • R  i     e r   C  i     t   i     e  s  R   e  a  d   e r   . c   o m
R  i     e  r   C   i     t   i     e   s  ’    R   e   a  d    e  r  
• V   o l     .1  7  N   o  .7   5   5  •  J    u  e 2  4   J    u l      y 7   ,2   0  1   0  
I like knowing that I’m doing my partfor the environment by riding
. Their fleet of CNG buses make the skiesa little bluer now for everybody.

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