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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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A Violently Dysfunctional Society

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After killing two people and injuring at least 5 others, a 24-year-old suspected serial bomb murderer in Texas is now dead, having killed himself yesterday while being pursued by police. Also yesterday, police shot and killed a 17-year-old Maryland student who had apparently shot and injured two students.

The motives are still unknown. But one thing is for certain: These dysfunctional acts of violence are occurring with increasing regularity here in the United States.

Of course, that’s not all.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, “The suicide rates for adolescent boys and girls have been steadily rising since 2007, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The suicide rate for girls 15 to 19 doubled from 2007 to 2015, when it reached its highest point in 40 years, according to the CDC. The suicide rate for boys ages 15 to 19 increased by 30 percent over the same time period.”

A website titled The Recovery Village states that “68 percent of 12th graders have tried alcohol; 37.4% of 12th graders drank in the last month; 23.5% of 10th graders drank in the last month; 35.1% of 12th graders have smoked pot in the past year; 16.6% of 10th graders have smoked pot in the last 30 days; and that nearly a quarter of American high schoolers use at least one type of illicit drug.”

What gives? Why is there so much ingestion of mind-altering substances and so much violent dysfunctionality occurring in what purports to be a free society? Wouldn’t you think that people would relish living in a free society, given the multitude of alternative ways to pursue happiness?

Here’s my diagnosis for the sickness that pervades the American body politic: America isn’t free at all, and the reason that there is so much violent dysfunctionality and mind-altering drug abuse going on is because people are living a false reality, a reality that has been inculcated into their minds that all this really is “freedom.”

I’m no psychologist but I know enough about psychology to know that living a false reality or a life of the lie is not going to lead to positive results. Instead, it is likely to lead to deep psychoses.

I can easily imagine a young person saying to himself, “So, this is freedom? This is the best there can be? No, thank you. I’m checking out.” Now, imagine instead that a young person understands the truth and has a grip on reality — that he is not living in a free society. Then, his mindset can change. He can say, “Okay, I understand why there is so much drug abuse and violence in America. It’s because our country isn’t free and because people have been indoctrinated since the first grade into falsely believing they are free. Now that I have a grip on truth and reality, I think I’ll work to bring freedom to our society, which then might cause drug abuse and violence to diminish.”

That’s why libertarians are much healthier, psychologically speaking, than statists. We have a grip on reality. We know the truth. We understand that the welfare-warfare state way of life under which we live is the opposite of freedom. Thus, all the weird, perverse results of this way of life don’t surprise us. For us, they simply manifest cause and effect. Since a welfare-warfare state is the opposite of freedom, we libertarians strive to bring freedom to our society by advocating a dismantling of the welfare-warfare state way of life.

Libertarians shock and scare people. That’s because when people are convinced that they are free, they can’t understand how libertarians can be devoting their lives to bringing freedom to America. For a person who has been indoctrinated into believing he is free, the idea of bringing freedom to our society is bizarre and frightening. Libertarianism, with its aim of establishing freedom in America, is a direct challenge to the false mindset of “freedom” that is inculcated into every person from the time he hits the first grade in the government-approved schools to which his parents were  forced to send him.

Consider, for example, America’s forever wars. They are a great example of the life of the lie and the life of false reality. Think about all the people who profusely thank the troops for their service. When you ask them what “service” they are expressing gratitude for, they don’t skip a beat: “The troops are defending our rights and freedoms.”

That’s the mindset that is inculcated into every person from the first grade on up. It’s a mindset that obviously stays with many people when they reach adulthood. It’s a mantra that is even pronounced in church pulpits during Sunday services. It’s a real testament to the power of official indoctrination.

The problem is that it’s a lie. It’s a false reality. The troops are not defending our freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Africa, or anywhere else. That’s because no one over there is trying to take away our rights and freedom. How can the troops be protecting our rights and freedoms if no one they are killing is trying to take away our rights and freedom?

But people with indoctrinated minds don’t want to hear that. It is frightening to them because it threatens their mindset, their false view of the world. They don’t want to listen to us libertarians. They would rather keep living the life of the lie, the life of a false reality, no matter the adverse psychological consequences of doing so.

Consider the terrorist blowback from U.S. interventionism abroad. What is the first thing that people with indoctrinated minds say in response to terrorist blowback? They say, “The terrorists (or Muslims) just hate us for our freedom and values.”

When you point out to them that the terrorists (or Muslims) are simply retaliating against Americans for U.S. interventionism abroad, they get angry, sometimes even terribly angry. They rail against us libertarians for being unpatriotic, even treasonous. They accuse us of “blaming America” for anti-American terrorism. The last thing the indoctrinated minds want to hear is that it’s not America that is the driving force of anti-American terrorism but rather foreign interventionism at the hands of the federal government.

In fact, that’s the core of the problem. Even though they will never admit to themselves, people with indoctrinated minds have come to view the federal government as their god, one that can do no wrong. For them, their god is a triune god, one composed of three co-equal entities — the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

Thus, when their god does things abroad that generate the anger and rage that manifests itself in terrorist blowback, they immediately come to the defense of their god by saying that it’s not his fault. It’s all because those foreigners hate us for our freedom and values.

Consider CIA official Gina Haspel. She supervised a torture program and participated in the intentional destruction of videotaped evidence of such torture. She’s now been nominated to be the director of the CIA. Doesn’t that pretty much say it all? Here is a person who should be in jail for violating the law. Instead, she is being honored and glorified. No doubt that during her confirmation hearings, she will be thanked for defending our rights and freedoms.

And even among many of those who are opposing her nomination, the last thing you hear from them is any suggestion that the CIA itself should be abolished. Instead, they limit them to simply calling for a new director. Never mind that the CIA has engaged in terribly evil actions ever since it was called into existence in 1947, including assassination, kidnapping, murder, MKULTRA, obstruction of justice, secret hiring of Nazis, perjury, bribery, invasions, coups, illegal surveillance, deception, and torture. The idea is that the CIA is essential to our free society because it protects our rights and freedoms when it engages in its evil actions. We just need “better people” in public office.

But God hasn’t created an inconsistent universe. Good is never advanced with evil. When a government agency is engaging in evil, the government itself is engaging in evil. And a government that is engaged in evil is not advancing goodness. It is advancing evil.

Consider all the anti-gun hoopla after every mass shooting in America. Notice something revealing: Not one single person participating in the hoopla issues even a peep of protest over the U.S. government’s being the biggest weapons dealer in the world. Every year, the U.S. government and its army of military-industrial-complex weapons suppliers floods pro-U.S. tyrannical regimes with weapons that the tyrants then use against their citizens in order to maintain their grip on power. Egypt comes to mind. Yet, not a peep of protest from the anti-gun crowd. That’s because the federal government, including the Pentagon, is their god.

Moreover, hardly anyone gives any thought to the possibility that the U.S. government’s 15-year, ongoing program of killing people abroad might just be producing mindsets of violence among Americans, both young and old, here at home. That would obviously be pointing a finger of responsibility at their god, which means that many people are not about to entertain that possibility.

Consider all the secret surveillance of Americans in the name of “keeping us safe” (from the enemies that the federal government produces with its foreign interventionism). We are all familiar with the NSA. But it goes much further than that. Bankers have been turned into snitches, required to report any “unusual” transaction of their customers. The reaction among statists? They are grateful that the government is keeping them safe and “free.” The life of the lie. The life of a false reality.

Consider public schooling, the state institution where the indoctrination begins. Attendance is mandated by law. If parents don’t submit their children to state-approved indoctrination when they reach the age of 6, parents are sent to jail. When a student rebels against the coercion, indoctrination, regimentation, and conformity, he is diagnosed with a mental disorder and given drugs so that he can get his mind “straight.” It’s all “freedom.” The kids just need the drugs to understand and appreciate that. I can’t help but wonder how many of those mass killers were given those state-approved drugs when they were young.

Every time I read about a young person committing suicide, I say to myself: “I wonder if he would have committed suicide if he had known the truth: that this isn’t a free society but instead a dysfunctional socialist, interventionist, imperialist welfare-warfare state society that people have been falsely taught is ‘freedom.’”

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.