If You Love Life, You Want to Be Free

What’s the relationship between psychology and politics?

I’ll tell you.

High regard for your own sense of personal space, your own sense of boundaries between yourself and the rest of the world, leads to a commitment to individual rights. You care about your own property rights. But you also care about the value of property rights, in general. Just as you’d never hire a Mafia man to extort money from your neighbor, you’d never hire (or vote for) a politician to do the same thing. Just as you would not rationalize hiring the Mafia man in the name of “compassion” and “justice,” you don’t see it as any different when the task is carried out by some politician.

A desire to live translates into a yearning for freedom. You love your life, so you want to be free. You love life in general, and as a result you yearn for freedom for all. You don’t see life as a burden. You’re not depressed or in despair. You don’t have an attitude of, “It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.” If you had this attitude, you’d be indifferent to freedom. You’d even be hostile to it, because freedom (to a depressed person) is a burden, or void, which must be filled by activities of effort and purpose. Effort and purpose are too much for the depressed. A mentally healthy person is defined, in part, as someone who embraces life. A nation of depressed people would not demand or expect freedom. They would not even be capable of it. At most, a depressed person can wish a non-depressed person well in pursuing his or her life quests, in freedom. But if everyone were depressed, or most were depressed, you’d see no freedom.

Dictators and authoritarian types — the precious Obama included — understand this. They realize that the more they keep people down, the more they will not yearn for or demand freedom. Authoritarians preen before the camera and say, “Look at me. I’m selfless. I’m a humanitarian. I’m feeding the world. I’m making sure everyone has health care.” They know full well what they’re doing. They’re too smart not to know what they’re doing, and even if they’re stupid it’s obvious on the sensory level. They’re making masses of people dependent on them, on the government. Depression is a state of “learned helplessness.” The more you take over for people, the more they will start to believe they cannot do for themselves. The more government inflates, or simply pays for, the benefit of health insurance and medical care, the less people will come to believe that they can, or should, handle this themselves. They rationalize it as, “coverage for all.” In reality, it’s learned helplessness for all. Ditto for any other commodity or service government takes over.

The people who command and expand our Big Government know this. They tend to be the educated elites. They tend to be the Ph.D.s and the intellectuals. They want control of education, because they understand that the route to the mind — to the “soul,” to the psyche — is through formal education. That’s why public education is as much, or more, about psychological training as it is about math, reading or academic skills. It’s not that they’re pro-psychology, in a rational sense. They’re in favor of their own brand of psychology. Their own brand of psychology is the type which teaches subjective reality, the “truth” of one’s inner emotions and nothing else. This leads not to self-esteem, as they claim. Self-esteem comes from a mastery over one’s own thinking mind and the external world with which one must interact. Self-esteem comes from objectivity. But if other entities, such as Big Government, are to take care of you, then there’s no need for this mastery. In fact, mastery over your mind gets in the way of your need to depend upon food stamps, or Medicaid, or Medicare, or Social Security, or public education, or all the other things government is furiously trying to provide for us at the expense of the despised “1 percent.”

Big Government, and the people who support it, need people to need. In psychology, this is considered a sickness. Therapists and psychologists tell their clients who fixate on taking care of others, interfering in others’ lives instead of letting them alone, that they’re engaging in a form of “sickness.” It might be called neurosis, or codependence, or personality disorder. Pick your label, but they all agree it’s dysfunctional.

Yet psychological dysfunction is precisely what government officials are fostering. Democrats generate it and Republicans enable it. I’m not speaking here of people engaged in the proper functions of government, such as police, military, and courts of law. I’m talking here about most of Big Government as we know it, the multi-trillion dollar (bankrupt) entitlement and regulatory State. The entitlement state exists to reinforce a sense among people that they are helpless. The regulatory state does the same thing. “Here. You can’t figure this out. You can’t be an educated and self-responsible consumer. Let me regulate this for you.”

If you truly have self-respect and self-esteem, you cannot imagine a life without freedom. Big Government just gets in the way.