CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Gootopia
Governments and political philosophies come and go, but the Control Impulse that drives men to seek to determine events and direct the actions of others is an ever-present condition of humanity that reaches its apogee in the Statist regimes that periodically seize power, torment their citizenry, and ultimately crash to the ground under the weight of their inherent contradictions.
Thus, while the Nazis were defeated in World War II and the Soviets in the Cold War, that doesn’t mean that Statism itself has been defeated. In fact, it never will be, because the Control Impulse will always exist in the heart of man. The philosophical flags they fly may change, but that same dark desire of Controllers to employ Mandamus in service of their utopian vision of how things Should Be ultimately reemerges in new forms of Statism that are always identifiable by the five essential factors of tyranny that all such regimes share:
First, an identifiable class of victims.
Second, an identifiable class of oppressors.
Third, the absence of limitations to the exertion of state power.
Fourth, the subordination of individual liberty to the needs, desires, and authority of the state.
Fifth, the promise of a utopian vision of the future where the oppressor class is vanquished, and the victim class redeemed by the exertion of centralized state power.
The Soviet utopia was to be a “workers’ paradise” where the state would own the means of production and capitalists would be banished to the dustbin of history. The Nazi utopia was a world cleansed of Jews where Aryans were liberated to fulfill their rightful destiny of universal hegemony.
Imbedded in both (and all other Statist utopian visions since in recorded history) was the promise of permanent happiness, where everything that every person could ever need would be provided to him and everything that threatened him would be eradicated. In both cases, the provision, and the eradication, it would be the state alone that determined what is needful and threatening. Within that rubric, there can never be any room for Happiness’ Pursuit nor the recognition of individual liberty.
Throughout history, Statist regimes have periodically taken hold in most countries throughout the world, but never (at least not yet) in America. That is because the United States is founded upon robust Governing Principles that it inherited from England, which were made manifest in our originating documents: the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Under those principles, the United States is a democratic republic governed by the will of the majority with staunch protections of the fundamental rights of its individual citizens, all of whom are deemed to have been created equal under the eyes of the Creator and thus are entitled to full protection under the law.
As such, America is a decidedly Liberal nation where the concept of a victim or oppressor class (or any class at all) is anathema and the individual and God-given right of Happiness’ Pursuit is steadfastly secured.
Yet, while America has never been overwhelmed by Statism, the continued liberty of its citizens is by no means guaranteed. In fact, it is currently threatened by a new form of nascent Statism called Goo, which is the cultural philosophy of universal happiness. On its surface, Goo may not appear to be Statist, but there is no doubt that it shares the five factors of tyranny of every Statist regime that has preceded it.
FACTOR ONE (victim class): The Chronically Miserable
To be miserable is to be wretchedly unhappy or uncomfortable. Everyone endures brief periods of misery in their lives brought on by the loss of a loved one, the end of a romance or some other external circumstance that causes transitory grief. While in misery, a person’s emotional pain is palpable and all encompassing. But when that misery fades (as all things do), the pain dissipates until it leaves only a trace, a memory made more distant as time goes by. A healthy person is adverse to misery because that memory is something they seek to avoid reliving.
But that is not so for the Chronically Miserable. For them, the attention and sympathy they receive while they are in a state of wretched unhappiness is something they would prefer not to live without. Unlike healthy people, the Chronically Miserable are not adverse to misery, they are addicted to it. They suffer from a form of emotional Münchausen Syndrome under which they will make themselves miserable if there is nothing external in their lives to do it for them.
Ultimately, this will lead the Chronically Miserable to borrow the misery of other people who are actually suffering and declare themselves incapable of being happy as long as there is someone (anyone) out there who is unhappy. They call that “empathy”, but it’s really just the idolization of misery. It makes them special because, in their minds, all victims are special and thus entitled to demand that action be taken to make things the way they Should Be through the permanent eradication of unhappiness anywhere it exists in the world.
The Chronically Miserable provide the perfect victim class for the modern Statist regime of Goo because anybody can join it simply by declaring himself to be unhappy for any reason at all. It is Subjectivity run amuck.
FACTOR TWO (oppressor class): Liberals
Unlike the Chronically Miserable, Liberals do not view happiness as something permanent that can be provided by the state. For them, Happiness is a fluctuating and transitory state brought upon by the Chaos of uncontrollable circumstance. When confronted with Adversity, Liberals recognize that while it is what it Is, it is not what it Could Be and act on their own behalf to pursue Happiness rather than demanding that action be taken by the state for them to provide it.
Goo demonizes Liberals as the oppressor class for four reasons:
First, they adamantly refuse to join the ranks of the Chronically Miserable. Focused upon Happiness’ pursuit as they are, Liberals are immune to the constant drumbeat of wretchedness emanating from the various organs of Gooist orthodoxy. As such, they have no interest in false promises of Gootopia and are resistant to Gooist efforts to provide it to them.
Second, the existence of Liberals is a constant threat to the Gooist’s power because their mere exposure to the Chronically Miserable risks a thinning of the ranks of the victim class. While there is nothing attractive in the state of Chronic Misery to a Liberal, the inverse is not true at all. The Gooist is well aware that a member of the Chronically Miserable may seek to join the Liberals unless he is sequestered from them and constantly reminded that they are the source of their unhappiness.
Third, Liberals are staunch defenders of the fundamental Governing Principles that stand athwart the Gooist’s endless quest for Control. Thus, the Gooist recognizes that he cannot fully implement his Gootopian state of Chronic Misery until the Liberals are eradicated.
Fourth, as with every Statist regime, Goo must have an oppressor to demonize. Just as the Nazis had the Jews and the Soviets had the capitalists, Goo has the Liberals. They are convenient scapegoats for the perceived pain of the Chronically Miserable because (if for no other reason) they are usually smiling rather than crying.
FACTOR THREE (unlimited power): Denial of Happiness’ Pursuit
America is a democracy that is governed by the will of the majority. But that majoritarian power is not unlimited. There are certain inalienable rights of the individual that cannot be impinged upon through the majority’s will. The existence of these rights was pronounced generally in the Declaration of Independence and then set forth explicitly and specifically in the Constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights that form the first ten amendments.
It is from these inalienable rights of individual liberty that the Governing Principles of our democracy are derived. Although they (in one sense) are merely words written on parchment by men two-hundred years ago, they conform so closely to what is already written upon each man’s heart by the Creator that they are much more than that. They are living bonds that form the ligaments of liberty that bind us together as one people regardless of our superficial characteristics. When Statism threatens Happiness’ pursuit, it is around and upon these Governing Principles that Liberals unite to protect what the Creator has granted us from the grasping claws of the tyranny of the Control Impulse.
In contrast, Goo sets no limiting boundaries upon its chimeric quest for universal happiness. Like all Statist regimes, it denies the existence of any inalienable rights invested in the individual because it is the interest of the state that is paramount, and there can be no higher authority than itself.
Preeminent among the inalienable rights denied by Goo is that of Happiness’ Pursuit. For Goo to reign supreme, no man can be free to determine for himself what will make him Happy and pursue it as he sees fit. To exert Control, it must be the state of Goo that makes those decisions.
FACTOR FOUR (subordination of individual liberty): Triumph of Envy
Underlying the Gooist philosophy of universal happiness is the notion that every person Should Be happy, which means that no single person’s existing happiness is justifiable so long as any other person is not happy. In other words, the Gooist would say, how dare you be happy if your neighbor isn’t. This incoherent notion explains Goo’s promotion of envy in response to any form of perceived inequality of outcome.
Envy is one of the seven capital vices that Christians call the deadly sins. It arises when someone lacks another’s superior qualities or possessions and wishes that either he had them, or at that the other person didn’t. Aristotle defined envy as pain caused by seeing the good fortune of another. Bertrand Russel identified it as one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. And so, it is. And so, it ever has been. Perceived inequality has been the grist for the mill of every Statist regime since the dawn of time.
But, until Goo, it has usually been focused upon material inequality. It was a simple matter for Mao Tse Tung to point to a peasant’s empty rice bowl and ask, “why should you be hungry while these mandarins grow fat from your labors?” But now, in an era in America where food is so abundant that it is obesity rather than hunger that bedevils the poor, that age-old formula doesn’t work.
While there are no empty rice bowls in 21st Century America, there are the empty vessels of spirit within the hearts of the Chronically Miserable, so that is where Goo focuses itself by injecting a hot dose of envy of the Joyful into their veins.
“Why should you be so unhappy while the Joyful get to bask in their own happiness at your expense?” Goo asks the Chronically Miserable.
And, just as Mao sought to empty the rice bowls of the mandarins to fill those of the peasants, Goo seeks to sap the happiness of the Joyful for the benefit of the Chronically Miserable by violating the foundational Governing Principle of Happiness’ Pursuit. A man denied his inalienable right to pursue Happiness as he sees fit will be robbed of Joy.
That is why Goo demands the subordination of individual liberty to its own Statist desires.
FACTOR FIVE (utopian vision): The Tyranny of Liveralism
Gootopia is to a great degree premised upon Liveralism, which is the belief that each person’s self-proclaimed lived experience has subjective moral superiority over traditional beliefs about human nature that have been developing over thousands of years of history. “Morally inferior” as they are, these traditional beliefs must be subordinated in every respect to the subjective feelings of the Liveral to insure that the universal happiness of Gootopia is realized.
Because there are no limiting principles to any form of Statism, Goo’s quest to subordinate traditional beliefs includes not only the silencing of anyone who would proclaim them, but also the demand that they be actively denied—by compulsion if necessary. In other words, for the Gooist mere silence is insufficient. To make the Liverals happy, all must also chant along with their Liveralistic dirge, regardless of how fundamentally we disagree with it.
The most obvious example of this form of Gootopian tyranny arises from the Liveralistic notion that gender is fluid across a continuum rather than binary as between a man and a woman. The Gooist not only seeks to muzzle criticism of the concept of gender fluidity, but also to force everyone to actively promote it themselves by using the Liverals’ preferred pronouns and even disclosing their own in a show of Gooist solidarity. Anything short of that risks making a Liveral unhappy—a result anathema to the Gootopian vision. As a result, there is no extent of Mandamus to which the Gooist will not resort because Statism has no limiting principles.
Standing athwart the Statist designs of the Gooist is the “oppressive” Liberal, who is capable of accepting both the premise that some people may honestly believe in gender fluidity and that others just as honestly hold to the traditional belief that a human being can only be a man or a woman.
Because he adheres to Liberalism—the belief that the best form of governance is that which diffuses power and recognizes the right of individuals to freely pursue their own Happiness within the bounds of specified Governing Principles—the Liberal will defend the inalienable rights of both the Liveral and the traditionalist to pursue Happiness as they see fit, even if (especially if) in so doing they each make the other unhappy.
This is something the Gooist cannot abide. To achieve his Gootopian vision, he promises to vanquish Liberals such that there is no longer a defense of the right of Happiness’ Pursuit. This, of course, requires the application of centralized state power—as it always does in every Statist regime that has risen and fallen throughout history.
As such, there is no difference between Goo and every form of Statism that has preceded it. This may be harder to recognize because, as George Carlin predicted, “when fascism comes to America, it won’t be in brown & black shirts, it won’t be with jackboots, it’ll be Nike sneakers & smiley shirts."
But the Liberal shouldn’t be fooled. Because he is a Zebra Jockey, he will Adapt to the threat to freedom that Goo represents—and push back.