Have you ever wondered why the State of the Union speech involves so much pomp and posing?
You don't have to be an astute political analyst to realize the whole charade is propaganda designed to make people feel good about the government. But why bother?
Why risk embarrassing yourself on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" program by saying something stupid... or something that's exactly the opposite of what you promised last year?
For example, in 2009, President Obama said, "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination."
But this week, the same president, standing in the very same room, talking to essentially the same audience, said exactly the opposite. He was grandstanding to the new political mood and scolded the assembled lawmakers. He issued a "warning" that he would veto any bill that contained so much as a single earmark.
What a phony. What a liar. Why go on national TV and prove it?
If Obama doesn't want to, who's going to force him? His government is the world's only superpower, with troops in more than 100 countries. It listens to every phone call that's dialed. It reads every e-mail that's sent. It watches every road. It looks at every financial transaction.
Our government is so powerful, it can borrow $0.40 of every dollar it spends while demanding the rest of the world use its paper money. Its own courts are afraid of ruling against it, to the point of ignoring the plain language of its own Constitution.
So... why bother with this charade?
The most important element to a stable society is the idea (the lie, mostly) that the government is legitimate. Government is violence and coercion. Government is force. And for that force to be tolerated by millions, it must appear to be legitimate.
Any information or argument that the government is corrupt or inept is dangerous because it threatens its legitimacy. That's why there's such a tremendous fight over the obvious corruption between state employee unions and elected officials. That's why no one wants to explain to the American people that our federal government is bankrupt. We're printing money because it's better to steal from our creditors than admit our government is inept.
And that's why the State of the Union is such a spectacle. See The State in all its glory...
But remember this: Our State, as powerful as it is, relies on an assumption that's made collectively by millions of Americans.
We must believe the people we saw on TV listening to the president are fundamentally good and honest people. We must never come to doubt the character of those people or the process they used to gain power.
If that happens, our State, even though it's the most powerful in the world, could quickly collapse. It is nothing without the consent of the governed. And our consent depends entirely on its legitimacy.
I believe our government is in imminent danger of losing its legitimacy. Why?
Our federal government is bankrupt and threatening to bankrupt several generations of Americans. At some point – one that is rapidly approaching – Americans will repudiate these debts and the legitimacy of the government that incurred them.
Unaffordable foreign debts and the obvious perfidy of "quantitative easing" will soon render our currency worthless. It is a shame upon the honor of our country that we would even consider using the printing press to finance our debts... It is a high crime that we have done so. The world will long remember the way we have treated our creditors.
Over the last 50 years, the government became a socialist tool. It steals assets from responsible, hard-working citizens and distributes them to others, mainly on the basis of political patronage. At some point, these policies become self-destructive. So many people end up on the dole, the government has no way to finance their needs. We have reached that point. Today, more than half of all voters pay zero federal income taxes.
Our aggressive foreign policy has created billions of enemies overseas while propping up regimes that would disgust most Americans – like the Saudis.
Most critically... our government is for sale. As the price of influence in Washington continues to escalate, it will become impossible to deny the patently obvious truth: Government policy is awarded to the highest bidder and our "free" elections are essentially rigged by the massive sums spent on advertising for candidates.
While I look forward to the day my fellow citizens begin to see their government as it really is, I also fear that day... for it will surely mark the beginning of an "interesting" moment in history.