Does the US have an authority fixation?
Guest Blog by Charles Stanley
I kind of think it does.
I’ll lay my cards on the table from the get-go – I’m a Brit, now Stateside, making this acid observation. And I totally buy into government by laws, not men. Just for the record.
Like the US, the UK has an obsession with just how democratic, and therefore by extension, how free, it is. Let’s not dwell on the UK’s hereditary head of state and that its legislative upper chamber consists of unelected landed gentry, religious king-pins and hasn’t had a major over-haul since the eleventh century.
Therefore, I can’t get too heavy-handed about this for fear of ending up in the Tower of London upon my return to old England.
That aside, let’s step back to 1783 – the whiff of gun-powder lingers in the nostrils of the new Republic. The Mad King is gone and Americans can rejoice in their new-found freedoms.
Well, you could at least if you’re not a black slave, or a woman of any hue, or, like most, devoid of property.
Let’s face it, if you were a person of color in chains, when the ink was drying on the Treaty of Paris, it truly wouldn’t have mattered if your “master” was white British or white American. You were still in chains.
You see, the American Revolution was very much a boot up the royal rear of George III and all that rule from London jazz. So out of that, a fledgling nation was born with the concepts of freedom and rugged individualism burnt into its DNA. And then back to regular business (white) gentlemen.
With that in mind, I have to ask this question. How is it that your regular, dyed-in-the-wool American conservative, drawing inspiration from the revolutionary desire to reject the King’s authority, is so enamoured by the cops, the military, and, laughably, Trump’s whim-cum-wish for a military parade?
The American Revolution was, primarily, a conservative, non-emancipating upheaval. Its aim was not to usher in a new social scheme of things. Rather, it was to reinforce white, land-owning privilege. Just the men in powdered wigs now called themselves American, not British.
Fast forward nearly three-hundred years, and I, like many others, like the freedom of not having my (step) children shot while at school. But does the freedom to own an AR-15 out-trump the freedom not get slaughtered by one? Of course not.
For the life of me, I cannot marry up the two. The Republican cries that they want to be free from government “tyranny” but heaven help me if they have to drive home on their own private, non- socialist, roads.
Law and order, albeit late eighteenth-century style, is inter-woven into the fabric of individual freedom in the United States. At least by Republican standards of definition.
Cops, guns and justice are a full-on obsession for large swathes of the modern day Republican party – the very apparatus of oppression that old King George used to yield over the colonies.
So, the question is, more so than ever before for the US, what sort of free do you want? Freedom to? Or freedom from?