The Slave Psychosis

January 28th, 2002

Face scanning technology has already been installed at domestic airports and major sporting events and the state driver's license systems are well on their way to creating a de facto national identification card. We have slid all the way down the slippery slope and gone over the greased cliff.

But, many people welcome, indeed applaud, each new intrusion against their privacy because "such increased safety procedures are necessary in the New World created on September 11th". The most popular tactic employed by liberty minded individuals in the face of each such intrusion is and has been to inform the populous that this or that new measure could and probably will lead to abuses and a less free society. Unfortunately, this most popular tactic serves to enrage many into spasms of name calling.

Why?

The Slave Psychosis.

The Slave Psychosis is a mental disorder characterized by the delusional belief that the more autonomy you surrender to a group of people with guns and badges the safer you are, because there are people out there with guns without badges that may want to hurt you.

The Slave Psychosis appears in those who repeatedly employ the defense mechanism of rationalization to deal with the anger accompanying the infringement of their autonomy.

The process starts the first time an individual's rights are infringed by a governmental agent. It could have been the first time a governmental agent took their money, violated their privacy, made idiotic demands of them, etc. It is a natural human reaction to be upset, even enraged, at such procedures. However, those who developed the Slave Psychosis temporarily suppressed their anger, because it would do no good to express it. Indeed, expressing it could cause problems. For instance, a security supervisor with a grade school education could threaten to arrest you and search your bags for calling her and her cohorts Nazis.

After that first encounter, the individual allowed himself to relive his anger; his anger about the way he was treated and the way he responded. "I should have refused. I should have stopped them. I should have done something." Those who developed the disorder chose to justify their inaction by justifying the actions of those who aggressed against them.

"It was O.K. that I had to sell the family farm that my great-grandfather started, because the government needs tax money. It was O.K. that my wife and daughter were felt up by governmental flunkies, because I don't want the terrorists to win."

After repeatedly making such justifications, the afflicted began to feel guilty, or worse yet selfish, for being upset in the first place. They repress their anger from ever surfacing, eventually viewing governmental transgressions against them as the necessary inconveniences which accompany life in a free society. Militarized security checkpoints, confiscatory tax policies, burdensome regulations are inconvenient, but good.

Thus, if a self-respecting freedom loving person complains that his rights were violated at a security checkpoint, that he is paying too much in taxes, that he has to fill out a mountain of senseless paperwork; he is whining.

"Hey, we all have to go through this inconvenience. Deal with it. Do you think you are special? We need to give the good people invading our privacy, taking our money, and regulating nearly every aspect of our lives whatever tools they need to protect us from the bad guys. After all, if it means more security, what is one more inconvenience?"

This is why those afflicted with the Slave Psychosis do not respond to the typical method of persuasion employed by liberty minded individuals. "After all, the good guys will not misuse this power. They are not the Nazis, don't be absurd." By the way this disorder exists almost solely in the minds of those who drastically misunderstand or who are completely ignorant of historical lessons. So, informing them that the Nazis were quite popular in Germany will also be ineffective.

This particular mental disorder has at its genesis a deep self-hatred. These victims are subconsciously upset about the way they handled their first and subsequent meetings with tyrannical authority. Those who still resist, those who are still offended each time their rights are infringed, those who have not been conditioned into the slave psychosis remind the afflicted that some were and are stronger than they.

The afflicted consciously categorize these independent souls as unreasonable, selfish, and uncivilized. However, at a subconscious level, the afflicted are envious of those who still resist. Aren't all the movie heroes independent souls who, rather than succumbing to external forces, abide their consciences?

Conforming the afflicted into self respecting individuals who demand their freedom is something of a task. However, it is an achievable one. To some extent it depends upon this bifurcated love/hate relationship they have with heroes.

This conformation process will be the subject of next Monday's article.

The above article was also printed in
The Libertarian Enterprise.
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