The idea that the government can protect us from certain realities of life - poverty, disease, risk - is pretty popular in the world today. In my understanding the USA was formed on the belief that government is only there to protect us from other men, from force and fraud, not from natural events.
Early 20th century progressives dreamed of a "new man" and a new society, with the State being the apparatus to bring about social change. Mussolini was the champion of early progressives. Many American politicians and journalists applauded his blend of State and capitalism, saying that it was a more efficient means to bring the type of social change they desired. This sentiment still exists today, and it is quite open(see video @2:35).
Mussolini coined the term "totalitarianism". "Everything in the state, nothing outside the state." It is a seductive mirage, the idea that by using the guns of government man can mold himself into a new, more perfect being. The theme being that if only the people would submit their will to the government, we would all be better off. Everything - your life, your property, your ideas - in the state, nothing outside the state. That is the creed of totalitarianism.
But it is nonsense. Humans are individual moral actors, and any perfection of mankind has to emerge from the heart of each individual. No amount of external power can force perfection into the heart of any man. Reality flies in the face of the totalitarian philosophy. We cannot rely on the State to remove us from forces of nature. Yet this philosophy is part of American culture, and actually has been adopted by man for ages. Before it was kings, now it is the president.
What does this image, pregnant with emotion, mean?
Worship: 1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred. 2. O.E. worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), weorðscipe (W.Saxon) "condition of being worthy, honor, renown," from weorð "worthy" (see worth) + -scipe (see -ship). Sense of "reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being" is first recorded c.1300. The original sense is preserved in the title worshipful (c.1300). The verb is recorded from c.1200.
Totalitarianism is marked by a reverence paid to its supposed supernatural ability to legislate man's perfection. The face of the American state is the president.
The following are a collection of videos that illustrate various forms of president worship.
I think North Korea really has this whole totalitarian thing down. I mean, they really nail it here:
I'll conclude with an observation and a question. No doubt there are varying degrees of government control. There is limited government, big government, and full blown North Korea "the General is our fatherly god" government. I am not saying that Obama is Kim Jong Il. What I am saying is that the same underlying belief exists in North Korea as it does in the United States: that we should be dependent on the government to protect us from nature, not merely force or fraud. I ask the question: if you don't think that our history and these videos constitute a form of government worship, at what point would you?