OPINION — I recently made the mistake of sitting down and watching the evening news while visiting my elderly mother. As luck would have it, it was the day a deranged high school student in Texas allegedly murdered 10 people.
As expected, the media narrative followed the predictable mantra that holding accountable the person who actually causes the harm isn’t enough. We’re supposed to believe that the authorities possess sufficient wisdom and power to ensure that such a problem never happens again.
This fanatical faith in the power of officialdom to save us from our fears has become disturbingly normalized.
So much so that it is presumed that no other solutions exist and anyone who deviates from the one-size-fits-all mentality, can expect to be ostracized by the true believers.
A cultish mindset of control can be seen in far more areas of our lives than simply private gun ownership. Its dogmatic believers fervently cling to the notion that the collective powers of the state are the answer to any expression of individual liberty.
That includes what we eat or drink, how we wish to educate our children, how we choose those with whom we wish to associate and how we may use our private property. There is no aspect of our personal lives that cannot be perverted into a political issue.
The ideology of pathological control has overtaken virtually every level of government, academia and even business. It’s proponents passionately believe there is no problem or catastrophe that cannot be preemptively avoided with enough coercive constraint of other humans.
What’s remarkable is how many people have become so thoroughly conditioned to the sociopathic idea that the threat of official violence is the only legitimate way to affect change in the world. The uncritical thinking that results from this obsessive attachment to control is now deeply rooted in the American psyche.
We’re conditioned from childhood to embrace the false reality that anything not under the control of the state is, by definition, out of control. The fact that much of that conditioning takes place in state-run facilities under the direction of those who work for the state should be a clue for anyone who’s paying attention.
A sociopathic need to control of others is what leads us to give unquestioning allegiance to the beguiling people who aspire to rule over others, no matter how many lies they tell us.
It never occurs to the supplicants begging politicians to “Do something!” that bad things will still happen because we live in an unpredictable world where some things will remain beyond our control. No matter how well we prepare, certain risks will always exist.
Butler Shaffer offers a refreshingly rational perspective on the risks we all face:
Most of your life is – and will continue to be – spent in peaceful relationships with others. But there will be the occasional thug with whom you may have to contend. Your ability to defend yourself will always depend upon the actions you take, with the resources you have available. You are more likely to prevail if you have disabused yourself of the notion that the state – or any other established system – will be there to prevent such threats to you.
Perhaps it’s time to start a different kind of cult – one that brainwashes its adherents into thinking for themselves.
Instead of seeking charismatic leaders to direct our thinking and our lives, this new cult could help us better understand that we don’t need gurus or specialists to tell us what to do. We can appreciate and respect those who have something to teach us, but we don’t need to worship them or put them on a pedestal.
The better measure of the truth of what they teach is whether we can assimilate those good ideas and then make the world a better place through our own actions.
It’s not about becoming more obedient followers; it’s about learning how to improve ourselves in ways that cannot happen when we’re swallowed up in a group identity.
Perhaps this new cult could teach its members that, although bad things can and do happen to any of us, the choice to adopt a victimhood mentality is the worst thing we can do. It is an attempt to absolve ourselves of personal responsibility and to think of ourselves as passive objects who are controlled by others.
This is an example of fashionable but illusory thinking that makes it easier to blame and seek to control others rather than raising the integrity of society by focusing upon our own individual integrity.
The one thing over which we have complete control is the choice of how we will respond to our circumstances. The most inspirational people you’ll ever meet have figured this out.
A cult built on such ideas would quickly cease to be a cult in the traditional sense. It could, however, set the stage for authentic tolerance and tranquility in a way our current cultish thinking doesn’t allow.
Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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