Crises and Control

Want control?

Create a crisis.

In a crisis people are desperate for solutions and will often consent to the quickest fix to avoid further adverse effects from the emergency. Steeped in crisis-fueled emotions, reason can take an abrupt back seat (or fly out the window) because we want to be rescued.

Sociopaths instinctively know this. They sometimes create crises or allow them to happen so that they can sail in and look like the hero for offering some semblance of a speedy solution. The victims of such a crisis may readily accept help from such a “gallant” and “quick-thinking” individual, not realizing that they have just ceded control over their own lives to a predator. There will be a heavy price to pay, in time, for allowing a self-serving black hole to relieve them of some of their autonomy.

Savvy politicians, some of whom may well be sociopaths, know this too. As I witness the latest fed-fueled catchphrase being hammered into our heads by the news anchors parroting it– fiscal cliff– it seems that the same predatory psychology is at work. If the concept of a fiscal cliff is presented as unavoidable, inevitable, formidable, terrible, maybe even unsurvivable, then we are conditioned to accept it as a given and should clamor for help accordingly. In this case, watching the swinging pocket watch causes many Americans to look to the federal government for salvation.

What will the federal government do? When we had a crisis on September 11th, 2001, the federal government swooped in with the Patriot Act, a curtailing of our civil liberties that we were supposed to blindly accept to “protect” ourselves from more terrorism. What it actually did was trample on the Constitution, give the federal government more power, and give the TSA power to grope and harass innocent Americans. Its disadvantages far outweighed any benefits and its use as a profiling tool is laughable.

There are times throughout American history that the government has conveniently taken more power from the people during times of crisis. When there is a war, the government grows. When there is a recession or depression, the government expands. When there is a national tragedy, we look to the government to prevent another. When there are local tragedies, we want more laws made. Every time there is a threat, conflict, or trouble there are people who want to place further restrictions on our freedoms to bail us out and “save” us.

The net result of these programs and laws and regulations and taxes and executive orders and their ilk is that our federal government is more burly and controlling than ever. It’s also more fiscally irresponsible than ever. But– say “fiscal cliff”– and millions of eyes turn to the same exact entity for solutions. That is exactly what the current administration wants and it is a very dangerous idea. Government derives its power from us, not the other way around. The more we the people and our cities and counties and states surrender to the federal government to try to avoid pain and inconvenience, ironically, the more pain and inconvenience we will suffer in the long run. This compounds the crisis.

As a forensic psychology major who focused my studies on domestic violence, and as a lifelong observer of narcissists and sociopaths, I can say with certainty that no good comes from giving up control over your life to someone with power and control issues. Doing so means that you are trusting someone who has their own best interest in mind, not yours, to manage your life in a fair and balanced manner. It also means that you don’t have as much freedom, or are able to make your own decisions without interference, or are treated as an adult who should be able to make those decisions.

If our cities, counties, and especially our states had more control over their own affairs, we wouldn’t be bombarded with this fiscal cliff idea. There wouldn’t be a fiscal cliff. The government’s center of power would be closer to the people it comes from and those people would be more able to decide what is best for themselves. Although some of the Founding Fathers argued bitterly over this, originally the federal government was supposed to serve just a few basic functions and thus the people’s power stayed closer to home. But then there were crises, and with every crisis– some arguably allowed to happen– the federal government grew bigger and bigger, never to be rolled back when the crisis was over.

In 2012, this means that many Americans think that the president and Congress can do just about anything and that’s what they’re there for. It’s what they know. While we would be best off lowering our taxes so that people have more money to spend on both themselves and charitable causes, the airwaves are abuzz with panicky chatter that we must increase our taxes to avoid the fiscal cliff. And even Republicans who’ve stood staunchly against tax increases all these years are starting to give in. You don’t save a country by giving a federal government in severe debt more money. You make government smaller and you start giving the money– and power– back to the people.

We are witnessing the rise of socialism in our own country. We are a democratic republic that was created to get away from an all-powerful central leader who took our money– the king of England. Yet now that we are faced with the consequences of the federal government’s overspending and being flailed with the idea of the looming fiscal cliff, millions of us support giving the president what he wants– more of our money and more of our power– to try and “save” us from the problems his top-heavy brand of politics have created in the first place. Our government was never meant to be all things to all people or to possess the bulk of our wealth.

Let’s say a neighbor with a history of severe debt, overspending, and questionable involvements came to you and said, “I’m so sorry that you didn’t have car insurance when your vehicle was totaled, but I have an accounting degree and can help. Give me whatever money you have for a new car and I’ll make sure you get a better set of wheels.” Would you do it? Of course not. Why? First, it’s not his job to find you a new car. That’s something you can do for yourself. Second, he’s not someone who should be trusted with your money. He’s continually shown that his decisions only make his financial situation worse, not better. Third, you can bet that your money will be used to help him before it helps you, and it will probably benefit other people who have no business touching your car money.

Why, then, do we let the federal government do this?

I said it after 9/11 and I’ll say it now; Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he wrote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” In other words, if we are swayed by buzzwords and emotion enough to cause us to throw more taxes into the bottomless federal pit to avoid the fiscal cliff, should we expect to be spared from the consequences of doing so?

The more we surrender our power and money, the more burdens we heap upon our children and grandchildren– the more the federal government can control our daily lives– the more we offer ourselves as blood donors to the vampires in the international community who want to drag us down to their level. I’ve agreed with the economists who’ve thought that another recession would follow the one we’ve already been through. But to incite the masses with the “fiscal cliff” mentality and paint the politicians who stand against tax increases as “protecting the rich” after the president campaigned as if he had a foolproof plan to economic recovery– that’s manipulation pure and simple.

The solution to the fiscal cliff isn’t to freak out, run around, and cry out to Obama for help. The solution is to stand firmly against a dependency on government mentality and remember where we came from. We the people need to maintain as much control over OUR money as possible, and that can’t be accomplished by throwing more money at a broken system that is trying to fulfill too many responsibilities to too many people around the world.

Whenever there is a crisis, be it in your personal life or on a national level, question how it happened and who might have encouraged or allowed it to occur. Scrutinize the things being asked of you and determine whether any sacrifices you make will ultimately benefit you or someone or something else. Ponder what long-term effects giving into the request will have on you and your way of life. Once you allow a strategist who creates or allows a crisis to wrest control of your life or finances from your hands, you probably won’t be able to get that control back without an epic battle and even more painful sacrifice.


We must always remember that America is a great nation today not because of what government did for people but because of what people did for themselves and for one another. -Richard Nixon


©2012 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/

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