The Tempter Cometh
When the tempter comes, he doesn’t bare his fangs; drool dripping off his chin. No he appeals to that part of you not regulated by rational thought. The feeling, the promise, the exultation is the thing – not the cost of actually experiencing the thing.
By focusing on the feeling, the promise; we are rendered incapable of thinking rationally about the thing itself. Seduction of every kind consists of redirecting our thoughts from analyzing the cost-benefit ratio of a given action to the benefit only. The mind dwells on that unexperienced, ordinarily forbidden, elusive, utopian, unattainable, unsustainable state of being. The tempter never encourages you to think about venereal diseases when tempting you with illicit sex; he encourages you to block out images of the loss of innocence; the betrayal of the wife, husband and children; the opprobrium of the community which holds you in high esteem.
Temptation in commercial life
I will not suggest that people who want to tempt us are the devil in disguise, but I do want to point out that the process of political and economic seduction is the same. It understands human nature, and exploits it. This same process is applied in every aspect of human life. Retail stores are designed to display, and arrange in such a way to overcome your reticence to purchase something you want. In grocery stores, the items most frequently purchased are placed in the back of the store so you have to walk by other items in order to be tempted to purchase them; their labels screaming about their benefits. In automobile showrooms the lighting is critical in order to highlight the colors and curves of the cars; their very design is calculated to make you want to purchase them even if you don’t need a new car. You desire something, and that desire overcomes your reticence. It’s all by design.
When autocrats, military generals, monarchs, and warlords controlled every aspect of the lives of their subjects, they didn’t have to concern themselves with deceit – they just used raw power. Individuals weren’t important enough to consider at all. Following the rise and spread of Christianity with its central doctrine of the infinite value of the individual requiring the death of God’s Only Begotten Son to effect redemption, democracy had the chance to rise. Prior to the invention of the individual of the individual, rule by the people – democracy – could not be conceived. In democracies, leaders can no longer rely on brute force. Subtlety, deceit, propaganda, and proficiency in the art of lying have become the tools for leaders who envision a culture different than the one envisioned by their citizens.
Political and economic temptations
In democratic countries over the last 200 years those who wish to “organize” humanity; to create efficiencies in how citizens live their lives; to coercively force the implementation of their vision of “the good life” denying the citizens the opportunity to determine for themselves what constitutes the good life must engage in seduction, deceit, and temptation; not raw power. The power is still the goal of such people, but they just cannot be seen as seeking to take it away from the citizens, so a different narrative must be created. This is the means by which freedoms are lost; and we are losing them at an incredibly accelerated rate.
Benefits vs. costs
The power can be transferred from the people to the elite so long as the focus is on the benefit – the promise, the utopian end, the previously unattainable, the seductive; not the actual cost of attaining it. This sleight of hand becomes the narrative. Coercive utopians have a seemingly endless supply of diversionary seductions, lies, and temptations to fool the citizens into approving the unattainable promise without consideration of the cost. “Universal health care,” “more equitable distribution of wealth,” “saving the planet,” and other nostrums come immediately to mind.
“Universal health care”
Throughout history citizens survived without universal health care. People used to know that eating correctly and in moderation was more healthful, but when they needed the services of the medical community, they saw a physician and paid for the service of the prescription or herb. The idea that every citizen (and non-citizen) must have access to professional medical oversight whether they can afford to pay for it or not, is nothing more than a utopian dream. It is the seduction. Scant attention is paid to the cost.
The price is that healthy people who deny themselves the pleasures of smoking, drugs, alcohol, risky sex, and irresponsible behaviors of all sorts must pay for the excesses of people who do not deny themselves these things. If the desire is to create a situation where a few of the powerful in the culture control the behaviors of all the citizens, the focus cannot be on the actual cost of universal health care – it must be focused instead on the benefit. So we hear arguments that we are already paying for it because people go to the emergency room where treatments are government mandated; arguments accusing us of a lack of morality if we would keep the money we earned rather than seeking to have faceless bureaucrats give it away to others; arguments that this program will save us all money, and the like.
There is never any assessment of the arguments that are made in favor of such a scheme; there is no accountability for the utopians who make these arguments. It would be an easy thing, and would save $billions if the government simply rescinded the requirement that hospital emergency rooms treat anyone regardless of their ability to pay. Hospitals may choose to continue some aspect of such a program voluntarily because they think it is in their best public interest not to be seen rejecting injured and very ill patients. It could also be in the public interest if physicians who performed such services for free could deduct 200% of the actual cost helping them save high taxes on other, paid services. This could help the physician to end up with lowered gross income, but increased net income without laundering his money through the federal government. But such analysis is never considered by those who want to organize humanity to complete their personal vision of how we ought to live; control is the goal - not universal health care.
“Saving the earth”
The same arguments can be made about “saving the earth.” Remember that in previous incarnations, this argument was built around the idea of a “coming ice age.” When that proved not to be seductive enough, the argument was changed to “global warming” and the calamities that could be avoided if only we would give the utopians the power they seek. Lately – since we have been in a cooling period for 10 years – the argument has been “climate change,” or the presumptuous “saving the earth.”
Again, no analysis will be made of the truth of the claims or the possibility of achieving the promise; nor will there be any analysis of the cost to produce the utopian end. To the degree “analysis” of the cost is announced, it will – as usual – be a lie. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and the past performance of those who want to organize humanity making it fit their vision of what constitutes the good indicates that lying about the cost and the benefit will be widespread.
Since there is always “global cooling” and “global warming” occurring (the earth is never static) they have found a way to create a constant panic and are now referring to the problem as “climate change” and the answer is “saving the earth.” The use of this phrase permits them to cry wolf at all times rather than only periodically.
Distribution of economic goods is a perennial issue. Thomas Sowell has written extensively on the subject for many years, and points out that we are all troubled by the differences between the extremely rich and the truly poor. The difficulty with solving the problem, however, can create other problems.
There is the socialist/communist method of dealing with economic disparity. Three central arguments of Karl Marx were that to equalize the economic benefits of a culture nationalization of the means of production so no one could benefit more than anyone else must be done; abolishment of private property must occur so no one could accumulate more than anyone else; and a graduated income tax must be implemented to punish those who managed to accumulate more than others, with the money to be redistributed to those who have less. All socialist/communist schemes are based on envy; divide the citizens, and deny the opportunity for true charity and generosity.
A quick glance at the results of this scheme for redistribution, leveling, and organizing people into a utopian mold should chill anyone’s ardor for it. The seduction is in the promise of a state of being that is unattainable: equal distribution encourages sloth and requires theft. It requires knowledge about the conditions of individuals that no one can possibly know. It treats all as equally deserving because as members of the race they merit the reward. It ignores manners, diligence, determination, sloth, laziness, bigotry, and criminality. All deserve because they are humans. The extreme result is seen in the administrations of Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Mao Zedong, and others resulting in 100 million deaths of citizens not in times of war in order to “spread the money around.” Some think that’s a good thing. Walter Duranty, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times excused Stalin’s murder of 13 million Kulaks after covering it up for years by saying, “If you’re going to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs.”
The more moderate result is seen in the high unemployment, lack of creativity, declining vigor, lowered birth rates, and inflation of the European socialist states like England, France, and others with the result that radical Islam is rising to conquer these states without ever firing a shot. So we are left with the option of rewarding people for their productivity resulting in unequal distribution of wealth.
By focusing on the utopian promise we fail to consider the cost of attaining it. Calculating the cost is considered negative, defeatist; the “party of ‘no.’” Tumult, death, and squalor are created by promises of improvement unaccompanied by rational consideration of the cost. Billions of dollars are spent attempting to create the perfect argument that will seduce a sufficient number of citizens to engage in the forbidden activity before they realize what diseases it spawns. Worldwide disasters, calamities of all sort, economic collapse, immediacy, moral sentiment guilt trips; all accompanied by generous lying are being used to convince people to support things that are not in their own or anyone else’s interest.
We constantly hear the phrase “social justice;” “I’ve given my life to social justice for everyone!” People applaud, and have no idea what the speaker is talking about. “Social justice” means absolutely nothing to the hearer, but it sounds great. “Social justice” to the speaker may mean they plan to suspend free speech and collectivize farming in the U.S. – it is an empty term into which the speaker stuffs whatever meaning he chooses.
This is the means by which deceit is used to bring about change the utopian would never announce publically. They have to keep their designs completely hidden because the people would never elect them, or approve of their administration if they knew the truth about what the utopian’s plans really are.
When you take a moment and think clearly about various proposals and realistically consider the cost; whether the benefit is possible or even desirable; and other ways to achieve a better life for most people, you will see the tempter’s fangs and drool behind the mask of seduction.
Taking the time to consider what is being proposed is crucial if we are to avoid outcomes that destroy the life we really want. Rushing to make changes is universally a terrible choice. It is a technique used by utopians to keep people from having sufficient time to consider what is being proposed. We hear that the world will end if we don’t do this now; like taking over 17% of the U.S. economy by means of controlling every aspect of healthcare – it has to be done immediately; but it won’t take any effect until 2013! Why the rush? You know the answer.
The so-called “Cap and Trade” scheme to end CO2 emissions for example, has to be done right now. We are told variously that we have only a few years left to save the earth, or more recently, only months! First we must consider that there is no correlation between the amount CO2 in the atmosphere and climate change; second we must consider that human activity amounts to only a fraction of the total CO2 in the atmosphere.
The science is too difficult for us to understand, takes too much time; so we are in the process of being brainwashed into believing a lie. And if we do, we shall all be damned. The CO2 levels are only a propaganda tool; global climate change is only a propaganda tool. The desire is to control everything that is produced and shipped. This would give the government control over how warm you keep your home, how far you can drive, whether or not you can own a car, the kinds of work available in the U.S. – everything. Every light bulb, every delivery truck, every TV, every computer – all of it will be regulated and controlled by bureaucrats in the government. The latest estimates are that this scheme will cost the average household an addition $1800 per year, and the government can raise that amount easily by tightening the regulation on the use of energy. Between healthcare and energy, the government is poised to nationalize about 25% of the U.S. economy besides what they already control, and through control of the use of energy they will control all commercial enterprise and private enterprise will cease to exist in the U.S.
The tempter comes and suggests that we can stop global annihilation, or misery, or destitution, or inequality if you will only eat of the tree. The message is seductive, but the fruit is poison. If you eat it you will surely die. When thinking about a benefit, first consider it’s cost.
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