Bullies, Betas, and Unquestioning Compliance


The government wants the job of dealing with bullies; it doesn’t want our kids to learn to stand up for themselves or others because it wants a monopoly on lawful force. But society needs people who stand up for others, even—no, especially—when the government is the bully.

Government wants people to depend on the state for their safety. Even if it succeeds and trains the rest of us to be unquestioningly compliant, there will always be sociopaths who don’t acknowledge the rules by which the rest of us agree to abide. Such people are able to identify potential victims who are more socially submissive. Of course they’re looking for that sort of victim—when seconds count, the police are just minutes away. Fortunately for the sociopaths, in the government’s ideal beta-populated world, there will be many more victims because social submissiveness will be the norm.

When only sociopaths aren’t unquestioningly compliant, everyone who isn’t unquestioningly compliant will be a sociopath.

Fortunately for the government, procedures are being put into place for dealing “civilly” with those deemed antisocial: once a conviction for which the sentence is allowed to trigger civil commitment, a principle is in place allowing other government-condemned behavior to do so as well.


2 responses to “Bullies, Betas, and Unquestioning Compliance”

  1. I think you’ve taken the anthropomorphism a bit too far. –Make that way too far. The government is a non-human entity. It does not have “wants.” It does not cry when the AUSAs or ADAs lose a case. It does not celebrate when they win. INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES of the government probably do, but if that’s what you are referring to, say so. To say otherwise is no different than when people generalize about “criminals” and what they “want” and “do” as if they were a monolithic group and not individuals, most of whom have simply made mistakes, but a few of whom actually have evil intent.

    The government doesn’t “want” the job of dealing with bullies. It is a job that we, the people, have assigned to it. WE want the government to take care of this problem because it is simpler than setting up private prisons in our basements for those we deem bullies, and we do not trust our neighbors to competently perform this task, either. The government doesn’t “want” us to depend on it for our safety, though I will readily admit that, especially in some countries typically identified as “Nanny States,” this paternalistic philosophy is shared by so many employees and leaders of their governments that the generalization almost applies. Again, to a degree, most of us agree with this since, while I don’t mind maintiaining a modest arsenal, I cannot afford my own airforce and I would prefer my neighbors not have access to nuclear weapons. So I am fine with delegating these tasks to the government. It didn’t “ask” for this job. I, and 200 years worth of Americans before me, gave it that job.

    How well the government is fulfilling its assigned tasks is certainly up for debate. How well EMPLOYEES of the government are individually fulfilling their assigned tasks is also a matter of debate.

    But when we anthropomorphize or just generalize too much, it makes us sound a bit, uh, paranoid. And even if they really ARE after you, you don’t want that. Then people might stop listening.

    • If “want” necessarily meant a conscious desire you would have something approaching a good point—there is nothing like a sentient intelligence driving government to do what it does; to say otherwise puts one in the camp of the conspiracy theorists.

      But we use “want” all the time in a less-conscious sense: even the simplest animals “want” to survive; within them, their genes “want” to reproduce; electrons within atoms within those genes “want” to be stable. Rational people understand that this does not mean that electrons have a conscious desire to do a thing, but rather that this is a convenient way of explaining and predicting electrons’ behaviors

      Government wants power like animals want to reproduce, like trees want sunlight, like water wants to flow downhill, like corporations want money. That is its nature.

      Just as it matters very little what each cell in your body “wants,” it matters very little what the people serving the government want. They are “just doing their job,” which, if they don’t want to be attacked by the government’s immune system, means helping (or, appendix-like, not hindering) the government’s pursuit of more power.

      That government’s nature is to expand its power, and that government power comes only at a cost to personal freedom, are not new ideas. The founders, knowing that government was inevitable but recognizing its power-seeking nature, put a leash, in the form of a written Constitution, on our government.

      That worked pretty well for a while. But our government has been chewing its way through that leash for a long time now, and ignoring that fact or pretending otherwise will do nothing but make us less free. Someone needs to sound the alarm; it might as well be me.

      (An old but related post.)

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