But Now We're Stressed Out

"We will know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." William Casey

Aren't we all so stressed these days?

Today a friend of mine told me that every other item on NPR is about dealing with stress, how to reduce stress, how to manage stress, how to sleep better by de-stressing. It looks like people are experiencing a lot of stress. These days I don't experience much stress. Really. I don't. I have had very stressful periods in my life, but these days, not so much. 

I had a lot of stress when I was in law school. When I started, I had no idea what was involved or how I would do, but it turned out I had a knack for learning the law. I learned to manage my stress. I did well and even became an editor on the law review. I had stress was I was an undergraduate taking a full load of courses and working at Waffle House and Pizza Hut.  

If I may digress for a moment, people often find it funny that I worked at Pizza Hut and Waffle House. They will remark. "Wow. That must have been fun."  Let me get this straight, your idea of "fun" is standing up for 8-10 hours in a smoky, noisy restaurant, rapidly serving food to people who are often drunk. What exactly would be fun about that? I did have a fun restaurant job one summer in Gatlinburg where I worked in one of the three bars in town. I drank all the bartender's mistakes. They didn't have anywhere to practice in a dry county so they made a fair number of mistakes. I was sloshed by 10 pm most evenings, slept in every morning, laid by the pool before work and still made money. That was my idea of fun as a twenty-one-year-old.

But back to the topic of stress and my first legal job, which turned out to be the most stressful job of my life--much, much worse than any job I have had before or since. 

My first legal job

My first legal job. What can I say? I worked for a woman who was a humorless, unkind, harridan. I made mistakes. All first-year associates make mistakes. She would ask me "why" I would do such and so. I would respond, "I thought thusly." She would respond "well, that's wrong. So why would you do that?" So it would go. It got to the point that I would break out in huge, red welts every day. They would start on upper thighs, move to my midriff and work their way up my body to my neck and face. I just hoped the work day would end before my face was covered in huge, painful, red welts. My co-workers would stop by my office at the day's end just to see how badly the day had gone. 

I was utterly miserable. Still, I stuck it out for two years. There were a lot of reasons why I stayed. I had grown up in a household which observed the principle that one worked without regard to the working conditions. I did not expect pleasant working conditions. Then, my dad died the first year I started practicing. Also, I ended a ten-year relationship during that period. I had a lot going on. Still, the real secret reason I stayed was that I was afraid I wouldn't get another job if I left. Trouble was the longer I stayed, the more demoralized I became and the more impossible it seemed that I could actually work some place else. I was like an abused spouse. If I was treated so badly, it must be because I deserved it. 

What happened when I left? When I finally left, I ended up with a much better paying job at a prestigious, international law firm where I stayed happily for seventeen years. 

What does staying in a bad situation have to do with government?

By this point, you have to be asking yourself, where is she going with this? What is the point of telling me this? What does this have to do with big government and being a Classical Liberal?

Here's what this story has to do with being a Classical Liberal. Every day in every way, people decide to stay in the hellacious place they are and put up with lies, brutality and incompetence by their "own" government because they are afraid that their lives will be worse if the government doesn't do what it does.

People pay for the incompetence of the Post Office and the DMV, they pay for a business license to run an internet-based business out of their own home, they allow themselves to be monitored by surveillance cameras and tag readers on every corner, they endure uncomplainingly the idiocy of a police officer interfering with their pick-up at the airport (because it might be a ride share driver and not their brother-in-law for Pete's sake), they allow themselves to be sprayed with pesticides to kill mosquitos carrying the Zika virus they hadn't even heard of last year, they pay to have people killed in faraway lands they could not find on a map, they explain their health needs to non-English speaking, GED possessing managed care drones, they get scanned and probed every time they get on an airplane and they allow all of this because they are afraid that their lives will get worse!

Know what?  They are right. Every day, I went into that awful job, my life did get worse. I broke out in hives earlier in the day. I cried more often. I lost more weight. I slept worse. Every day my life got worse until the day I left. Then it got incredibly richer, better, happier and less stressed and it stayed on that trajectory for years.

So I am here to tell you, just as soon as you stop believing the lies and accepting the incompetence and brutality of the government, your life will become immeasurably better, your anxiety will dissipate, your sleeplessness with abate and your life will improve in ways you cannot imagine. Trying to be OK with matters that are absolutely wrong is what is causing your stress. As soon as you realize that the government's actions are intolerable, that everything they say is a lie, you won't be stressed anymore. You might be angry, but you won't be stressed and you will sleep soundly knowing that you have faced the reality that was the harridan in your own life and it no longer has power over you. 

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