In my previous post Labor losing its religion I argued that government legitimacy, especially in the democratic form, requires a messianic vision, a mythological narrative. The government then precedes to play the hero in its own story, this is the actual illusion carried out today – The Matrix as younger Readers would relate to. It’s also the true heart of darkness of the last 100 years of history. Government vision simply transcends the concerns of all individuals, what rights do individuals have.
Government vision then becomes of monstrous importance, for it is its raison d’être. Vision in plain speak, is government propaganda that justifies its own existence and furthermore provides vindication for greater interference into our own unregulated private spheres.The vision or story is what provides government bureaucrats and politicians cover to spend tax money.
Maintaining the narrative is of the up most importance for government, its called public opinion. In ALP speak its called getting the message out. “The government must sell its message”. If the citizen were to stop listening to the government, then the governments utility comes into question, followed by its legitimacy, finally its existence.
I wished to dredge this topic up again because of the great few paragraphs by Murry Rothbard, that frankly explain history from this particular perspective far better than I. From Mises Daily: Hegel The State as God’s Will.
Hegel made quite evident that what the new, developing strong state really needed was a comprehensive philosophy, contributed by a Great Philosopher to give its mighty rule coherence and legitimacy. Otherwise, as Professor Plant explains, “such a state, devoid of philosophical comprehension, would appear as a merely arbitrary and oppressive imposition of the freedom of individuals to pursue their own interest.”
We need make only one guess as to what that philosophy, or who that Great Philosopher, was supposed to be. And then, armed with Hegelian philosophy and Hegel himself as its fountainhead and great leader, “this alien aspect of the progressive modern state would disappear and would be seen not as an imposition but a development of self-consciousness. By regulating and codifying many aspects of social practice, it gives to the modern world a rationality and a predictability which it would not otherwise possess.”
Armed with such a philosophy and with such a philosopher, the modern state would take its divinely appointed stand at the height of history and civilization, as God on earth. Thus, “The modern State, proving the reality of political community, when comprehended philosophically, could therefore be seen as the highest articulation of Spirit, or God in the contemporary world.” The state, then, is “a supreme manifestation of the activity of God in the world,” and, “the State stands above all; it is Spirit which knows itself as the universal essence and reality”; and, “The State is the reality of the kingdom of heaven.” And finally, “The State is God’s Will.”
As Karl Popper puts it,
Hegel was appointed to meet this demand, and he did so by reviving the ideas of the first great enemies of the open society [especially Heraclitus and Plato] … Hegel rediscovered the Platonic Ideas which lie behind the perennial revolt against freedom and reason. Hegelianism is the renaissance of tribalism … [Hegel] is the “missing link,” as it were, between Plato and the modern forms of totalitarianism. Most of the modern totalitarians, … know of their indebtedness to Hegel, and all of them have been brought up in the close atmosphere of Hegelianism. They have been taught to worship the state, history, and the nation.
On Hegel’s worship of the state, Popper cites chilling and revealing passages:
The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth … We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on earth … The State is the march of God through the world … The State must be comprehended as an organism … To the complete State belongs, essentially, consciousness and thought. The State knows what it wills … The State … exists for its own sake … The State is the actually existing, realized moral life.