Why is Government Overreach So Hard to Believe?

 

By Don Urbatsch

The new release of The Hunger Games is coming out soon and it got me thinking. I’ve read the series as I have children in the target demographic and I like to be up on the popular culture and personally verify the media that they consume. What I was thinking however is, how can the concept of a tyrannical, elitist, overreaching government be such an easy concept to accept in a work of young adult fiction, but be dismissed as having the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell of ever happening in our reality? . . .

There must be a name for this social phenomenon. I wouldn’t know what it is, but I believe it’s a function of the length of time a society is removed from certain historical events. The founders of our country were acutely aware of their own history and if you tried to suggest that a government would never overreach its constitutional authority, I suspect that they would have thought you a raving lunatic.

If you have grandparents or great grandparents that lived during The Great Depression you would find them to be fiscally responsible in a way that later generations (I’m in this group myself) that never knew true hunger or deprivation can even comprehend. Now, we’d say “Why should I save money, when I want things right now?” No matter how well (or not) history is taught today, the effects of time and complacency will outweigh the strength of the lessons our forefathers learned first-hand.

There will always be those who think that tyranny can never happen here. Those who govern us only have our best interests at heart. And there will be those who understand the human condition well enough to know that tyranny and oppression exist not in a government but in the hearts of men and must be continually fought and guarded against. Anyone who cares enough to pay attention has seen the opportunistic attacks on our Second Amendment rights during the last year and there’s no reason to believe those who would limit that civil right would be happy to stop there. How many assaults on our freedoms will it take for those who believe in the inherent beneficence of government to wake up and smell the coffee?

69 Responses to Why is Government Overreach So Hard to Believe?

  1. avatarCliff H says:

    Not just our 2A rights. Feinstein has also gone after the 1st Amendment (suggesting you need a government license to be a news reporter), and there are constant attacks against the Internet and radio/TV news in the form of “Fairness” doctrines. Tyranny exists and is waiting only for a chance to stick its nose under the tent flap.

    The answer to the main question: Truth is stranger than fiction.

  2. avatarRalph says:

    How many assaults on our freedoms will it take for those who believe in the inherent beneficence of government to wake up and smell the coffee?

    What I’m smelling in Washington isn’t coffee. As long as people get their free sh1t, they will kiss the G’s @ss and ask for more. Of course, free sh1t isn’t free, but then again, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    • avatarPaul says:

      Exactly right Ralph! With so many dependent on Govt “checks” they will accept anything in order to get their “free sh1t”. And now, throw health care into the mix and the G-men will have us by the gonads.

    • avatarropingdown says:

      The truth of free government stuff as perceived revenge on the prosperous can’t be denied. People will be in chains, but still yelling “wow, did I ever get over on the Man!”

      It doesn’t help that a large number of huge companies are looking for a government program to help them offload their employee health insurance commitments. It has already started, with IBM moving retirees into Obamacare. Several large retailers are pushing current employees into it. So the Free Stuff crowd is lined up with a large part of the corporate sector…which is why the Senate likes Obamacare. The program is going to be good for stocks over the long term. Welcome to the PRI (Mexico) and LDP (Japan) world, in which there is one party, because it buys votes with your money.

  3. avatarBLAMMO says:

    People universally think it can’t happen here. But the only reason it can’t happen here is because there will be people with guns to stop it.

    • avatarDave357 says:

      It may be a bit more complicated. Gun ownership was there in Saddam’s Iraq, without much freedom. Ultimately, the people must be liberty-minded, with or without guns. However, in the American context, anti-gun people tend not to be liberty-minded. I thus see guns as a symptom rather than a direct cause of liberty. That’s not to say there may not be times when what’s in your heart is all well and good, but one needs a gun too.

    • avatarOldBenTurninginGrave says:

      It is happening here, right in front of our eyes. The government has given itself permission to detain US citizens without due process. The government has given itself permission to force us to buy something we don’t want or need. DHS has declared most of the country (population wise) a constitution free zone. The US attorney general spies on the press, and thumbs his nose at anyone who would question them. The NSA spies on US citizens with impunity. The IRS and other agencies are used as private goons for those in power. The government has given the secret service the power to arbitrarily declare places “no free speech zones.” These are just some highlights. There is nothing to wonder or speculate about. It’s happening in real time.

    • avatarkarlb says:

      No offense, but BS. Who went to the streets to stop the Patriot Act? Where were the armed insurrections when the NSA domestic spying was made public. Where were the armed patriots who demanded that the administration end the unconstitutional killing of US citizens or the “collateral damage” (dead children) of drone strikes?

      Also, why is it that everyone posting about free stuff points to individuals? Who gets the majority of government largess–the wealthy and powerful, not the impoverished. Look at the money used to prop up the very banking system that caused the 2008 great recession and then compare that to “Obama phones.” It ain’t even close.

  4. avatarJLR84 says:

    To be fair, zombie fiction is pretty popular too. Doesn’t mean it stands much chance of happening.

    I don’t write off the possibility of tyrannical government or societal collapse, but I do think some folks overestimate the possibility.

  5. avatarSilver says:

    Two possible reasons.

    1. The very fact that tyranny has been so sensationalized in media makes people unable to comprehend it being a reality. In all forms of media – or at least all forms of media a low-information voter would absorb – evil and tyranny are loud, bombastic, unsubtle entities. Cobra from GI Joe, dark-armor wearing demons from fantasy, people who were proud to be evil and flaunted it. So, naturally, that is what a common mind may be on the lookout for. “Obama can’t be a treacherous liar, he looks so normal and says he’s a nice guy.”

    2. Normalcy bias. The more apathetic, weak, and unprepared a mind, the harder it is for them to comprehend breaking their mold. People will cling to a perceived state of normalcy even as the world crashes around them, because they are too weak to face the reality of fighting back. “Government will protect me, police are my guardian angels, my overlords know best.”

    • avatarThomasR says:

      Good points Silver; but I think it’s more basic than this. I think it’more of the Stockholm Syndrome, people controlled by a violent group with guns tend to come identify with those psychopaths; and who are the most blind to governments potential for tyranny? Liberal progressives, the group most dependant on government.

      • avatarRambeast says:

        This is exactly what went through my head when I read, “There must be a name for this social phenomenon.”.

    • avatar(Formerly) MN Matt says:

      I’ve found it sickly humorous how many movies Hollywood is putting out about an overreaching, all-knowing Big Brother. I’m left wondering if the writers thought it up, or if they’re just reading the news. The fact that Hollywood is generally Liberal really leaves me scratching my head.

  6. avatarCoe says:

    “How many assaults on our freedoms will it take for those who believe in the inherent beneficence of government to wake up and smell the coffee?”

    You have to consider that there are people in this country who have no idea what freedom is. And that’s assuming they care in the first place…

  7. avatarDisThunder says:

    I think it’s a lot simpler than that. It’s the same reason there is that sect of the average person that we can’t convince how important self defense is: when you propose to them the dangers of a home invasion or a car-jacking, or even just a regular old mugging in the parking lot, all they can do is shake their heads and wave their hands and mumble “Oh, I just can’t think about that kind of stuff. If I worried about things like that, I could never leave my house!” and blah blah blah. They’re also the ones who can’t fathom owning a gun because they’re afraid they’d “accidentally” shoot themselves.
    There are a surprising amount of people in this country who refuse to entertain the notion that there is bad stuff out there waiting to happen. And those people will fall in line behind anyone, ANYONE who offers to take care of that entertaining for them. God forbid when something bad actually does happen, because then they fall even MORE in line behind those that profess to protect them.

  8. avatarjwm says:

    I believe in government overreach. Individuals are always going to push the envelope and see just what they can get away with. But that’s individuals and small groups trying to feather their own nest or push theur own agenda. It’s not every cop, every soldier and every government employee.

    I simply don’t believe it’s that easy to push tyranny in this country. It’s not Russia or China or pre ww2 germany. These places had no history of freedom or tradition of freedom to start with. We do.

    We also have elections and courts that are still working. Look at the recent and ongoing recalls in Colorado. How many tyrants have to worry about being recalled in a peaceful civil process?

    Government overreach is a long way from tyranny. I live in what I refer to as a constitution free zone. But even here I have a safe full of guns and a stockpile of ammo. I do not fear the police here either.

    Is our system in need of work. Yes. But we’re still a long way from tyranny. Remember, because the SCOTUS doesn’t interpret the constitution the way you the individual does doesn’t mean the justices are traitors or aiding tyranny. There are 300+ million Americans and every one of them has an opinion. And as the saying goes, we’re entitled to our own opinions, just not our own facts.

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      “These places had no history of freedom or tradition of freedom to start with. We do.”

      At the rate we’re going, in 50 years freedom will simply be something that American children read about in history books – along with the author telling them why freedom was a horrible thing and had to be eradicated for the public good.

      • avatarRoscoe says:

        Exposure is the bane of the progressives.

        As long as our traditions, morals and customs remain intact, their efforts to dumb down our society into socialism should be held in check.

        My concern is that over time, the media and educational systems will be so saturated with socialist progressive statists that future generations, who have not had the experiences of older generations, will come to see the statist attitudes and progressive way of thinking as normal.

        THAT’s the brainwashing effect of the monotone media and educational system that I’m afraid of. We’re seeing it happen already. And the narcissistic me first outlook of the beholden and to often misguided and/or often undeserving takers in our society is helping enable the progressives to achieve their ends.

      • avatarSteveInCO says:

        They won’t be told that it’s a horrible thing, they will be told they are free even though they really aren’t.

    • avatarRoscoe says:

      @ JWM
      I concur with what you say, though I would at this point call CA a Constitutionally suppressed zone. Otherwise, my thoughts are very similar.

    • avatarRambeast says:

      ” It’s not Russia or China or pre ww2 Germany.”

      Ah, if they were to try to take over in similar fashion to these groups, it would be spotted and the people would recognize the pattern. The growing mess we are sliding into is a slow and deliberate process. This is the fruition of roughly 100 years of slow, steady corruption. Established by the incremental control of the media, education, and once a generation or 2 is indoctrinated…the government.

      The key to their success is the destruction of the nuclear family structure, the heart and soul of our culture when this nation was founded.

    • avatarneiowa says:

      You are correct, Not Easy. Unfortunately you have not bothered to pay attention to the last century of American History (the “progressive” movement). Perhaps you have heard the story of how to boil a live frog.

      • avatarjwm says:

        Guys, I have been paying attention to the last hundred years and more. 1 thing that stands out is that governments, ours included are mostly corrupt. The men that wrote the constitution were very flawed. Gamblers, drunks, perverts and slave owners. But they wrote a document that works in spite of them and those that followed.

        But the citizens are corrupt also. I keep seeing references to traditional values and families. But how many of you live a traditional lifestyle? How many of you live a life that is based on being debt free, that’s pay as you go and only based on what you earn? How many of you have carry over on your monthly credit card bills? How many of you are pushing 40 or are there and haven’t bought a house or started a family?

        Those of you that have chosen to live alone will need government assistance at some time in the future. The same government that you condemn today.

        Unless you’re self sustaining and debt free and have a network of friends and family, the traditional way of life in America, then you’re part of the problem. 1 of the “sheeple” that are constantly being belittled here.

        1 last thing about history. Every generation, since history started being recorded, has had it’s set of doomsday prophets. The end is nigh. Guess what? It isn’t.

        • avatarMichael B. says:

          America is not run by the same kind of thieves Putin’s Russia is.

          It’s increasingly being run by leftist fanatics who conflate society with government and if you disagree with them, you’re antisocial and the enemy.

          Comparisons between America and the old school totalitarian states are stupid because what’s occurring is a slow revolution happening right under our noses, not a sudden violent one. They don’t need to use overt mass violence. They just get people hooked on handouts and attack anyone who wants reform as if their servants of Satan. They convince their followers that any slowdown or step back will be disastrous.

          With every passing year there are more and more “new normals” to accept and very few, if any, involve an increase in liberty.

          These people vote terrible leaders into office with the help of the ignorant and the apathetic.

          They are do-gooding secular puritans who don’t believe in heaven but want to try to create their version of it here on Earth.

          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

  9. avatarJim R says:

    Most won’t realize it’s happening until it’s far too late to stop it. For their sakes we need to fight them off as long as we can and keep trying to sound the alarm in the hope, however vain it might be, that some of them will wake up and answer the call.

  10. avatarJim R says:

    Most won’t realize it’s happening until it’s far too late to stop it. For their sakes we need to fight them off as long as we can and keep trying to sound the alarm in the hope, however vain it might be, that some of them will wake up and answer the call.

  11. avatarJim R says:

    Most won’t realize it’s happening until it’s far too late to stop it. For their sakes we need to fight them off as long as we can and keep trying to sound the alarm in the hope, however vain it might be, that some of them will wake up and answer the call.

  12. avatarAvid Reader says:

    Anyone who has owned and operated a small business knows precisely what government overreach means and does.

  13. avatar0351 says:

    I do believe that we are a very long way from tyranny, at least in the traditional sense. As JWM said, despite everything I still have access to things that are illegal almost everywhere else in the world. To be honest, while I don’t doubt that an outright oppressive tyrannical system will probably eventually come, as no system is perfect, that kind of tyranny doesn’t seem like the most pressing risk at the moment. I’m more concerned about debt slavery and systemic reliance on the government for survival. Not due to the government being inherently bad, but rather that complete dependence on outside forces is simply an unhealthy mindset, in my opinion. Regardless though, it’s certainly a risk we must all look to avoid. The 2nd ammendment is only part of our responsibilities ; we also have to look after our other rights and do what we must to avoid complacency. Educate ourselves on current events, law, social issues, and actually participate in the electoral process. Yes, the political system usually appears broken, but not participating will do less than nothing to the good.

    • avatarIng says:

      That is pretty much what The Hunger Games is all about. It’s an imaginative exploration of what the end product of “debt slavery and systemic reliance on the government for survival” might look like.

  14. avatarMediocrates says:

    Because claiming the government can overreach makes you an extremist. Now excuse me while I go shove my head back up my a**.

  15. avatarBiofire says:

    One man’s tyranny is another man’s common sense government. That’s the problem.

    • avatarVBS says:

      ^ This. People my age(young adults with those skinny jeans) honestly think the Gov. is SUPPOSED to be in everything. I did for the longest time, then I started reading the Constitution. I think for kids my age it just seems so normal to think, “Oh well that’s the Gov.’s job.”.

    • avatarSilver says:

      Seems more often these days, I’m reminded of the quote, “A fool’s paradise is a wise man’s hell.”

      As you said, it’s a matter of perspective. It may not be that government overreach is hard to believe for some, merely that that they don’t perceive government overreach as a bad thing. And that’s the most dangerous type of development because you can’t pick up a gun and fight social conditioning.

  16. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    These days we could call it the “Being There” effect. People are so used to watching stuff on TV’s & computers & tablets, etc.) or experiencing it via video games, they don’t recognize it in reality. “I like to watch.” or shoot the video themselves for later post on Youtube….

  17. avatarakira says:

    It seems to be mostly “progressives” who balk at the notion of a tyrannical government.

    But wait until a republican sits down in the oval office, and the progressives will be screaming to the high heavens about the government overstepping it’s power.

  18. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Here’s the simple, irrefutable reason:

    Most people are stupid.

    There, someone finally said it.

    The hard truth is that it takes a minimum level of intellect to understand the larger picture. There were no average-IQ people among the Founding Fathers. The simple majority of people today are just too lacking in intelligence to think long and hard about consequences of policy decisions. People come out of Ivy League schools less informed about civics than when they graduated from high school. Most people want quick, simple, easy answers and then they want to go back to watching the latest inane program on TV and worrying about getting their tingly bits inflamed.

    That’s it.

    This culture has been brought about by the political activists among the Baby Boomers. The people who coined such vapid and silly slogans as “the personal is political,” and “never trust anyone over 30″ also have created a political environment where the press and commentators laud those who make silly and vapid statements – eg, “…my right to feel safe…”

    • avatarIng says:

      Pretty much sums it up. Unfortunately, we’re living in a culture of aggressive stupidity.

      I’d like to think that most of us here are thinking more clearly than the average, but it’s not easy to keep your head above the the mile-a-minute stream of superficial stimulation we’re all swimming in.

  19. avatarjimmy958 says:

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana (1863-1952), The Life of Reason (1905-1906), vol. 1, Reason in Common Sense

    “Whoso neglects learning in his youth, Loses the past and is dead for the future.” Euripides (c. 490 – c. 430 B.C.), Phrixus, fragment 830

  20. avatarArdent says:

    That the collectivist statists in the guise of ‘progressives’ move us inexorably towards totalitarianism and tyranny is in escapable. Their quasi-socialist front infiltrates the minds of a great many, who will in turn award them greater power and prestige. The trend is likely irreversible but also has a finite end intrinsic to its very nature: There comes a point at which the average person is no longer willing to suffer it. At such a revolution forms, combat is joined and being largely disarmed the forces of statist collectivism will be wiped out.

    These latter day tyrants are much different than those of old. While divine right monarchs and would be messiahs have always couched comfortably behind a would-be middle class replete with arms and ready to their defense, this latest threat actually eschews arms and flaunts its vulnerability alongside its illegitimacy.

    When push comes to shove such will find that they are beset on all sides by armed people both opposed to their cause and indifferent to their well being. It will be quite a shock to them when their ‘bloodless revolution’ turns into a bloody rout and their numbers begin to thin as much from semi-formal execution under the governance of the militia as from direct combat action.

    I suppose the paternalistic, elitist dogma of the left insulates them intellectually from the determination and vast potential violence of the people, but it cannot so insulate them from the actual violence of the people, which they will surely invite if only given the chance.

    By Thomas Jefferson’s reckoning we’ve made it at the very least 7 times and as much as 10 times longer without a bloody revolution that we could or ought to. The backlash against the left when they (and those who support them) have brought about bankruptcy of the federal government (arguably now unavoidable but not yet pending) by leeching from it entitlements if not designed then at least having the effect of encouraging a majority not to work, will be sufficient for violent protests.

    I’m not aware of a single armed protester during the ill conceived Occupy Movement.

    I cannot imagine a large scale, emergency and contentious conservative protest that did not include open carry, concealed carry, and perhaps a good many rifles.

    Perhaps what it takes is the inevitable martyrs from the first govt crack down on such a protest.

    • avatarJus Bill says:

      “There comes a point at which the average person is no longer willing to suffer it. At such a revolution forms, combat is joined and being largely disarmed the forces of statist collectivism will be wiped out.”

      My concern is that there is always another statist group ready to move into the vacuum formed by the demise of the former statist group. See Syria, Libya, Egypt, etc. Which is why we must remain armed and vigilant.

  21. avatarropingdown says:

    We already have “The Hunger Games.” I played in it once, representing my county. It goes on everyday. People in Prada and Versace clothes gather in large marble-clad buildings to sip wine and marvel at the wondrous coping skills of those struggling young people whom they see on the Big Screens. The elite few actually get to actually watch the game live.

    TV shows and Web-Edition Newspapers detail the players’ travails, highlight the best players, while in the Capitol they hand out medals to the glorious and medical pensions to the wounded. It didn’t work very well to set brother against brother, so the game is played national team against national team. In the middle east they play the game with the Dead Enders playing against the Big Man team. Dead Enders get to move to another instance of the game if they start to fall behind. Women and the chronically ill usually don’t have to play the fatal version of the game. Call me cynical. I honor the players but despise the game. We have met the Zombies, and they are us. We want to stop the game but we can’t. Too many people have been bought off, given moats around their castles or free coal to heat their hearth. And they all have TVs.

  22. avatarPat says:

    Libtards (democrats) are evil. Inhale deeply the Zyklon-B, for the children. They (Big Gov) will steal your money while making you think they are doing you a favor. We the Sheeple do like our free stuff, however, which seems to be the big opening for their claws to reach.

  23. avatarOut_Fang_Thief says:

    The name of this social phenomenon is called the normalcy bias.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias

    The story of the Jews in 1930′s Germany is the most referenced example of normalcy bias. A great portion of this normalcy bias might be the social unwillingness to imagine the worst in people. How could you possibly believe that your neighbor would turn against
    you because of your faith; so fervently in fact, that they’ll willingly participate in your extermination? You could just as well call it the complacency bias. For most of American history, those bad things happen only in foreign lands, and halfway around the world. We’ve had 236 years of the rule of law to keep our society civilized and free from a malign, murderous tyranny. The horrific and irreducible truth is, the ideologies of the Left will exploit this normalcy bias to their own evil purposes, just as Hitler did with the Jews.
    The next time, they’ll be coming for the Christians. A tyranny always needs a scapegoat.

  24. avatarPete says:

    Yeah totally agree with this post. The concept is in so many books and movies. Like the idea of protecting people by controlling them in I, Robot is deplorable in the movie, but hey gun control sounds awesome!

  25. avatarTheSleeperHasAwakened says:

    The social phenomenon is called Stockholm Syndrome.

    We don’t believe we have a “tyrannical, elitist, overreaching government” because that would mean we are slaves and that our master are mean/bad people. We love them because they gave us so much freedom.

    ‘Murica!

  26. avatarPat says:

    Never vote libtard (democrat) again.

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