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We are not responsible for the crimes of "our" government
Despite the popular progressive slogan that "Government is simply the word for those things we choose to do together," even our vaunted representative democracy is hardly representative. The U.S. has a population of roughly 326 million people with a government consisting of 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, which means that there's a single federal legislator for roughly every 609,346 American citizens. How can you plausibly argue that one person can adequately represent the interests of over 600,000 people? It's absurd on the face of it.
It's even more implausible to argue that the President of the United States represents the will of the people, as that is simply one person for 326 million people. Which is not to mention the fact that a majority of those 326 million people did not even vote for the current occupant of that office, whether they didn't vote at all, like myself, or whether they voted for another candidate.
That said, the notion that we are the government, or are somehow responsible for the actions of United States government persists. Writing about the recent Israeli massacre of Palestinian protesters during the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Glenn Greenwald tweeted:
Greenwald couldn't be more wrong. I do happen to be a citizen of the United States, but I've never so much as implicitly, and certainly never explicitly, given my consent to the United States government to give money, weapons, diplomatic cover, or any other form of assistance to the Israeli government in their oppression of innocent Palestinians. I've never even voted for any of the American politicians who are guilty of establishing these policies. In fact, I am a victim in this affair myself, as any of my money that the U.S. government has used to support Israel has been extracted from me without my consent and with the threat of violence against me if I should resist be expropriated.
So what is the possible justification for stating that I or any other American citizen automatically bear moral responsibility for the actions of the U.S. government? If I explicitly reject the actions of the U.S. government, have never supported any of the politicians in power, and am expropriated by them against my will, why is it automatically assumed that the government is a legitimate representative for me?
We are members of our society, in as much as we voluntarily choose to be, but we are not the government, despite its assertions to the contrary. Society is made up of individuals peacefully cooperating with one another for the betterment of all, whereas the government, whatever form it takes, is that group of people who use violence against the whole of society for the betterment of themselves. In as much as you support the policies or the politicians themselves you can be said to be morally responsible for the results of enacting those policies or electing those politicians, but to declare that someone explicitly rejecting all of these things in word and deed is still morally responsible for them requires a leap into delusion.
I don't know what kind of mindset it takes for someone like Greenwald to do as much as he can to publicly and explicitly oppose U.S.-funded Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians only to view himself as morally responsible for that aggression simply because the U.S. government declares that they're acting on his behalf, but I fundamentally reject the idea that anyone acts on my behalf without my explicit consent. I will only be held morally responsible for my own actions and those of my voluntarily contracted agents. Anyone who claims to speak or act on my behalf without my consent, and anyone who accepts that person as my legitimate representative, will be treated with the respect that they deserve: none.