Just Trust the Government

Guest Post by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Vladimir Putin has given an address to the Russian nation that urged his country to be patient with the current pain. He said he is working to restructure economic life to deal with the ongoing disaster in employment, goods access, productivity, technology, and inflation. It’s transitory, he explained, a result of the war sanctions, and all the fault of the West.

He has this totally under control, he says. Just trust the government.

Many people do. People in cities are skeptical but he remains widely popular in rural areas. Meanwhile the government works to silence dissent, punish those who protest, and control the media.

This story sounds strangely familiar, doesn’t it?

Biden’s White House daily urges this country to be patient with the current pain. They are working on ways to address the ongoing mess with inflation, declining financials, goods shortages, supply-chain woes, mail that barely functions, and a medical system that is throttled, distorted, and wildly expensive. It’s all the fault of Putin for invading Ukraine, thus necessitating severe economic sanctions and driving up the cost of everything.

It’s the price we pay for freedom! All we are supposed to do is trust the government. Biden has this totally under control. People are skeptical but he remains popular in some circles, mostly in large blue-state cities. People are suffering but it’s another country’s fault. Meanwhile, the government works to silence dissent, punish those who protest, and control the media. All this control is getting worse.

It’s getting creepy how government policies are increasingly copying each other. It’s not unlike the final global equilibrium in Orwell’s 1984: three large states that are indistinguishable in despotic ambitions, constantly trading places to demonize the other and urge their citizens to do the same. There’s always a scapegoat.

After the end of the Second World War, we had a sense that governments of the world were competing over economic and social systems. Which had the most freedom? Which nations were rich vs. poor? What kinds of policies do nations have and which policies are best at promoting economic growth, human rights, and peace?

There was of course the Cold War, which pitted the “free world” against captive nations and an evil empire. What an innocent time that was! It lasted 40 years, which in retrospect seemed like mostly pretty good years for the West. We had a sense of what we were and what we were not. We had a model of what we never wanted to become, and that was a tyrannical communist state.

The changes from 1989 and forward fundamentally altered that perception. Communism went away and even the remaining communist empire of China itself opened up its economy to trade, ownership, and enterprise. That binary world was blown apart. Our lizard brains that look for easy stories were challenged by new forms of what not to be. Terrorism fit the bill for some years but it couldn’t last.

As we now look at the large world alliances — dominated by Russia, China, and the US and their respective allies — it is increasingly difficult to distinguish their policies in principle. There is a push in the US/NATO for a China-style social credit system. Russia uses brutal tactics for suppressing dissent that it copied from China. China copies the US system of industrial subsidies and fiscal and monetary stimulus. The US copies China in its lockdown strategy for virus mitigation.

Each government aspires to the same: total political and social control, while allowing just enough freedom to keep the wealth machine running to provide the revenue. Each country has its political elites and its administrative apparatus.

What burned this copycat system in place were the lockdowns of 2020. They began in China, expanded to Italy, and were quickly copied by the US. That was a devastating moment because it told the world: this is good science! If the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in the US was not enough to stop this from happening, surely this virus could kill us all! Very quickly after that, most states adopted that very system.

They also copied the wild spending, the monetary expansion, the police state tactics, the vaccine mandates, the surveillance, the travel restrictions, and the demonization of dissent. All governments in the world blew up in size and scope. They have stayed that way. Now we are left with the results of massive and ubiquitous authoritarianism plus rampant inflation and debt, along with slow economic growth and goods shortages.

All these nations too have kept media empires that reflect the prevailing line plus a small dissident press that is barely tolerated and often fighting for attention and even existence.

What states in the world resisted? There were only a few. Sweden. Tanzania. Nicaragua. Belarus. South Dakota. Later, the most open states in the world were in the US: Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Wyoming. These are now the outliers in the world, actual places of freedom. Other quasi-rational places are Denmark, Norway, and The Netherlands.

So far as I know, ten years ago, there were zero predictions out there that these would be the new free lands in the whole planet Earth.

In Orwell’s book, there are three superstates that forever rule the world: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. Is this our future? Maybe. I actually doubt it. What we actually see happening is a global awakening for freedom. It’s happening. Slowly, but it’s out there. A major factor here is just how poorly the elites have performed. Their plans have failed and they have only generated poverty and chaos. The orthodoxy of control has generated too many anomalies to maintain public credibility.

Biden, Putin, and the CCP all face the same problem: they preside over systems that are underperforming and generating enormous unrest at all levels. The leaders blame each other while the people in all countries are left to suffer. We are just at the beginning, but this strategy of deflection could end very badly for the arrogant political class that imagines no limit to their power.

The great hope that freedom lovers have is in the replacement of one set of political leaders with a different group. That is essential and will likely happen, but it is only the beginning of a solution. We’ve learned in the last two years that the real problem is much deeper.

The political leadership in these countries has become a veneer of a problem over which citizens have very little if any control: the administrative state that is unelected and deeply entrenched in its management of the well-funded bureaucratic state. This state mostly ignores the comings and goings of political leaders; in fact, it has disdain for them. It is this machinery that has taken full control in most countries of the world. Any political change worthy of focus needs to deal with this quickly and completely.

What’s more, this administrative state has figured out a fabulous trick for getting around the legal limits on state action: it has developed a close relationship with the biggest players in the private sector, which can justify any level of surveillance or censorship based on the technical truth that they are merely private actors and therefore not subject to the rules that restrict governments.

This new system is a dramatic challenge to the liberal cause, which is now surrounded by enemies on all sides. The key battle of our times is not only about limiting the power of government, which has metastasized in every direction all over the world, but also its allies in industry and media. The liberal cause has very little experience in this area. The solution likely rests with a dramatic change in public philosophy: the replacement of the lust for power with the love of liberty itself.


This article has been republished from the Brownstone Institute. 


This entry was posted in Economic, Freedom, Government. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Just Trust the Government

  1. kaysee kaysee says:

    Biden, Putin, and the CCP all face the same problem: they preside over systems that are underperforming and generating enormous unrest at all levels. The leaders blame each other while the people in all countries are left to suffer.

    In the land Down Under, we can add Morrison to the list of arrogant leaders who keep finding someone else to blame for their incompetence and mismanagement.


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  2. What’s more, this administrative state has figured out a fabulous trick for getting around the legal limits on state action: it has developed a close relationship with the biggest players in the private sector, which can justify any level of surveillance or censorship based on the technical truth that they are merely private actors and therefore not subject to the rules that restrict governments.

    This is immediately evident when interacting with the lowest levels of government, imagine the euphoria present in those at the upper end.


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  3. Shane says:

    All becomes totally clear both here on Oz & elsewhere, as set out by Tucker Carlson & Robert Kennedy Jnr

    https://beforeitsnews.com/eu/2022/03/boom-tucker-carlson-interviews-robert-f-kennedy-jr-2684789.html

    P.S ”Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood dimmed tide is loosed; and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, …”


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  4. Fat Tony says:

    In the land Down Under, we can add Morrison to the list of arrogant leaders who keep finding someone else to blame for their incompetence and mismanagement.

    Why is what Scummo doing always described as “incompetence and mismanagement”??

    What Scummo and his minions are doing is calculated and deliberate.


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  5. JohnJJJ says:

    the administrative state that is unelected and deeply entrenched in its management of the well-funded bureaucratic state
    100% Post WW2 it was the rise of managerialism that was the issue. This has segued nicely into the rise of the bureaucracies. The nomenclatura have taken over without anyone noticing. The solution to every crisis is centralization with no responsibility.
    IT and the web are the perfect tools. Seemingly distributing power to the single person, they train every individual to see the solution, to any of their problem, solved by the database and algorithms.
    Centralising solutions, centralises control.
    Brilliant.
    The film Brazil is a more apt analogy.


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  6. Ragu Ragu says:

    Theme for the thread

    https://youtu.be/lBVFdSFV2lQ

    This has segued nicely into the rise of the bureaucracies.

    Didn’t Caeser Jnr imbiggum the bureaucracy to keep the administration of the people in the manner they wanted.

    ‘Bureaucracy is the cure for eccentricity. It may be dull but it creates systems that function even when executive power is operating with marginal efficacy’ – David Potter

    I think it’s time to move on from this idea or course of paperwork based fear. Because either our constitutions are out of date or the borg is right. And the borg doesn’t have the mandate.

    it has developed a close relationship with the biggest players in the private sector, which can justify any level of surveillance or censorship based on the technical truth that they are merely private actors and therefore not subject to the rules that restrict governments.

    Completely agree. It is happening with the clot shot in this country; private business now dictates the terms of administration, which is completely unacceptable.


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  7. Ragu Ragu says:

    Keeping on the Roman theme.

    I believe it is Hungry (maybe one of few) that is now legislating for morality by encouraging a fidelity state with tax breaks for raising large families. This is now a far-fringe idea in stupid places like here. [Excuse me, I’m not entirely across Hungarian politics to understand if it is just a Costello vote buy-back.]

    It is now at such an obvious point that we are being divided and conquered by being asked to choose between allegiance to family and what is your sense of right or, well, owning anything. Stark choice for some.


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  8. Vicki says:

    Great analysis by Tucker. The identification of the aggregation of effective power not just by bureaucracies but by their alliance with business “elites”& their media buddies, is the key to understanding the restructuring of the world.


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  9. egg_ says:

    the aggregation of effective power not just by bureaucracies but by their alliance with business “elites”& their media buddies, is the key to understanding the restructuring of the world

    I.e. we’re being ruled by the Sir Humphrey Applebys of bureaucracies – both private and public.

    RFK was the original enemy of the Washington swamp, hence the PUSA, then RFK himself, were executed.

    There were fears of the same outcome for Trump, it was almost expected.


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  10. Shane says:

    egg_ says:
    March 25, 2022 at 1:13 am
    ”…There were fears of the same outcome for Trump, it was almost expected…”
    DJT is right up there with Putin in having many more lives than just the average cat…..whether it is due to just a supernatural run of luck or more probably being willing to pay through the nose for an extremely efficient, private security apparatus, one apparently far superior & more loyal than both JFK & Reagan possessed.

    My all-time fav Trump elimination attempt failure, including that early morning attempt at Mar-a-Lago, the weekend right after the Biden swearing-in, is the one that still reads like something out of the Jason Bourne series,…it just goes to show how high the stakes really are.

    ”Deceased FBI Agent Found at Trump Tower With Silenced Pistol
    Thu, 08/04/2016 – 03:36 — legitgov
    Deceased FBI Agent Found at Trump Tower With Silenced Pistol |
    02 Aug 2016 |
    A source within the NYPD has reported that an armed 62-year-old man tried to sneak into the Trump Tower late Tuesday night. Interestingly, the suspect who was found with a semi-automatic handgun fitted with a silencer has been identified as Barry Lee Bush, a former Newark, New Jersey, FBI agent who has been dead since 2007. A Secret Service agent discovered Bush after he had circumvented a security partition on the bottom floor of the Trump Tower. Questioned by Secret Service at the scene, Bush who initially identified himself as Barry Franklyn, remained silent offering no explanation for why he broke security at the Trump Tower. According to the NYPD source, Bush was arrested for trespassing and for illegally carrying a pistol fitted with an illegal silencer. During his booking at the NYPD Jail, Bush’s fingerprints were submitted to the National Crime Information Center, which immediately reported Bush’s true identity…According to a spokesman at the Newark FBI field office, Bush was killed in the line of duty in April of 2007.”

    The points ignored subsequently by the MSM included that the preceding weekend, most of the MSM, incl here in Oz, was reporting that DJT was feeling despondent on falling poll numbers & that his family & friends were talking ”suicide watch”.
    Plus, almost a decade prior, someone with a subsequently well-known name of Mueller had managed to give a funeral eulogy for this dead FBI agent.
    So when this dead man was brought before a judge, it was decided that there was no case to answer for…no insurance fraud, or ID theft, etc not even that very awkward administrative offense that no legally valid concealed carry permit in NY city could ever have been issued for a dead man in possession of a serial number-less Glock with a silencer.


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  11. egg_ says:

    Salandria argued that Kennedy had been assassinated by “the national security state” because he was trying to bring an end to the Cold War. He also rejected the idea that the assassination was organized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mafia, the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro or Lyndon B. Johnson.

    In 1975 Salandria told Gaeton Fonzi: “I’m afraid we were misled. All the critics, myself included, were misled very early. I see that now. We spent too much time and effort microanalyzing the details of the assassination when all the time it was obvious, it was blatantly obvious that it was a conspiracy. Don’t you think that the men who killed Kennedy had the means to do it in the most sophisticated and subtle way? They chose not to. Instead, they picked the shooting gallery that was Dealey Plaza and did it in the most barbarous and openly arrogant manner. The cover story was transparent and designed not to hold, to fall apart at the slightest scrutiny. The forces that killed Kennedy wanted the message clear: ‘We are in control and no one – not the President, nor Congress, nor any elected official – no one can do anything about it.’ It was a message to the people that their Government was powerless.”



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