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Moral Negligence

(originally launched into cyberspace on 05/15/2007)

Dear Subscriber,

"Good citizens" don't like to hear this, but its truth should be
obvious: The biggest threat to humanity, to peace, and to justice
is NOT personal malice. It is the belief in "authority." (Oddly,
most people have the delusional belief that "authority" is what
PROTECTS us from injustice and violence, when the exact opposite is
true.)

As one example, in this country about 400,000 people per year are
robbed by "private" thieves, while well over 200 million are robbed
by thieves acting on behalf of a supposed "authority." (The federal
income tax alone hits over 100 million people, while sales taxes,
property taxes, etc., hit just about everyone else as well.) In
other words, "government" robs 500 times as many people a year as
"private" crooks.

The FBI crime reporting system defines "robbery" as "the taking or
attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or
control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or
violence and/or by putting the victim in fear." Tell me that isn't
a perfect description of what the IRS does every day. The fact that
most people don't view authoritarian robbery as "theft" is a big
reason WHY it happens so often. If some group of people is believed
to have the moral RIGHT to forcibly take other people's stuff, of
COURSE they will do it more often than regular people.
The fact is, most EVIL is committed by basically GOOD people, for
one reason and one reason only: because those people believe in
"authority." It would be very convenient to imagine that the many
thousands of individuals who carried out the mass exterminations
under the regimes of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and so on, were all
fundamentally evil and malicious. The truth is, they were very much
like most Americans are today: most of the time, they do as they
are told. Their primary sin is believing in "authority."

How many hundreds of thousands of pawns of a supposed "authority"
do things every day that they would never do acting on their own?
Why is it that someone who would never dream of personally
demanding money from a neighbor under threat of force will do the
exact same thing, day after day, for the IRS (or any other level of
"tax" collection)? It's not from malice or personal evil (or they
would do it on their own); it's all a result of "moral negligence."

The difference between malice and negligence is clear. Generally
speaking, it's really nasty to run someone over with a car on
purpose. It's considered significantly less nasty--though equally
destructive--to accidentally run someone over by not looking where
you're going, or by driving while drunk. Of course, whether it's
malice or negligence makes no difference to how squished the
pedestrian is. And while negligence is seen as a lot less serious a
"sin" than malice, it's still pretty dang bad (especially if it
results in someone dying).

Negligence can be summed up as "I wasn't TRYING to do harm; it just
happened because I wasn't really paying attention." And that is a
nice description of the harm inflicted by EVERYONE who works for
the IRS, ATF, DEA, BOP, and just about every other bureaucracy and
"law" enforcement department at every level of "government." They
commit acts of evil, which do real damage to innocent people, but
they completely deny individual responsibility for it. "I was just
doing my job" or "I'm just enforcing the law" is the universal
excuse. They completely dodge their personal responsibility. Just
the way a drunk driver negligently fails to control what his
vehicle is doing, the mind of the bureaucrat fails to control what
his body is doing. He serves as an unthinking puppet, with his own
moral judgment completely disabled by his belief in "authority."

The are two reasons why such "moral negligence" is far more
difficult to combat than outright malice and bad intent:

1) When the VICTIMS of the harm do not see the harm as evil because
of their own belief in "authority," they don't resist at all, and
frown upon those who do. Most people have the utmost contempt for
the mugger who swipes the old lady's purse containing $100, while
accepting it as legitimate and good when an IRS "revenue officer"
swipes $1,000 from that same old lady's bank account and calls it
"tax collection." If the forcible confiscation of wealth is seen as
LEGITIMATE, and resistance is seen as evil ("law-breaking"), of
course the harm will continue.

2) When the PERPETRATORS of the harm are just "doing what they are
told," even the few people who don't accept the "authority" excuse
hesitate to react violently against people whose main sin is being
unthinking drones. Imagine that you are one of those unfortunate
"undesirables" who were carted off to death camps. It is quite
likely that EVERY ONE of the "law enforcers" you would see along
the way--at your house, at the train station, even at the camps
with the gas chambers--is merely acting on behalf of "authority"
and not out of personal malice. Of course that won't make you any
less dead at the end of the day, but WHICH of those well-meaning
(but unthinking) pawns would you be willing to KILL in order to
resist? Because your choice is to do that, or die.

It's really convenient to have a bad guy to hate, and very
uncomfortable when the guy you have to shoot is merely idiotic
rather than truly evil. That is why there was such an uproar when
Hannah Arendt (a Jew) wrote a book explaining that Adolf Eichmann,
the famous facilitator of Nazi atrocities, was not acting out of
personal malice or evil, or even anti-Semitism. He was merely the
classic bureaucrat, an ordinary guy doing what he was told.

Dr. Stanley Milgram, author of "Obedience to Authority," said that
Arendt's assessment of the supposed arch villain "comes closer to
the truth than one might dare imagine." As I've said before, if you
haven't read Milgram's book documenting the results of his own
studies of blind obedience to a perceived "authority," DO. If it
doesn't scare the heck out of you, there's something wrong with
you.

Back to the point, good people don't like the idea of having to
hurt (or kill) people who are merely negligent. If you have to blow
someone's head off, you WANT it to be someone who epitomizes pure
evil, not some stupid bureaucrat. That's why so many Hollywood
movies spend so much time showing what a horrible guy the villain
is: so you can feel comfortable when he meets his gruesome end.

But reality isn't nearly so nice. In the real world, there are only
two choices: 1) good people will use force against basically good
people whose sin is to believe in (and obey) "authority," or 2)
those basically good (but authoritarian) people will commit
dramatic injustice due to their "moral negligence." Neither option
is pleasant, which is why injustice and oppression so often win:
because the GOOD victims of it hesitate to use violence against the
merely idiotic, while the unthinking people who IMPLEMENT the
injustice don't bat an eye before committing evil in the name of
"authority."

Time for the punch line which, if you're a "good citizen," you
aren't going to like: If you want to foster violence, destruction,
suffering, torture, murder, robbery, injustice and oppression,
teach your children to respect "authority." If not, don't. (Teach
them to respect individual rights instead.)

Sincerely,

Larken Rose
www.larkenrose.com