Monday, January 01, 2007

Governmentology and the Dirty Earth

Category: Issue 9

“I’ve never known humans to be very inherently political, unless he meant all the dirty politics.”
——Van der Reise

“Is there some other kind?”

There is a widespread (let me call it rampant) sense that the government can and should “do things” and I have a problem with this.  Government could be a great insititution among humans, but it is not, and there’s a single simple reason that it is not.  Government does not provide goods and services to people who are willing to pay for them.  Instead, it provides goods and services and forces people to pay for them.  This violates a fundamental principle of freedom, not to mention love and even goodness itself, which is that the value of a thing to any given person can never be less than the value that person is willing to GIVE UP to get it.  Forcing people to pay for government obviates the crucial willingness that establishes the value.  By this simple logic, nothing government does (with forcibly-collected tax revenue) can have any established value.  It can, of course, have hidden value, but it’s hidden.

“...if we are truly healing today, as long as there are people affected by the father, the son or daughter has a responsibility to correct. Individually, if possible. I don’t see the Jefferson family or the Adams Family disbursing their wealth among the descendants of their slaves. The government, which is a living body, as present in the past as it is today, has no excuse not to repair.”
——Van der Reise

I agree that sometimes children have a responsibility to correct the damage their dead parents did.  However, this has nothing to do with the biological relationship.  It is the passing of wealth or any other kind of benefit from the parent to the child that bears the responsiblity down through the generations.  I love the “individually, if possible.”  If no individuals are involved, then nothing gets done.  Everything that gets done, even by the government, happens because individuals make it happen.

Van calls the government a living body.  I understand the claim, and the perception, and the sentiment.  In a sense, I agree, but there’s a corollary that I am dead against, and that is the value of this so-called living body.  To me, it is not positive.  Government is a living body just as a cancerous tumor is a living body.  The cells in a cancer are like the individuals working for the government.  They are not evil or bad on their own - they simply operate with a broken set of instructions.

Government will not bear responsiblity.
Government will not repay debts.
Government will not correct errors.
Government does not repair, or think, plan, or strategize.
Government, as we have it today, is cancer.
If it ever appears that government is doing any of these things, look again, and you will nearly always find a single individual who is making it happen, and if not just one, then a few.

Mechanically, government is the laws of physics put to use by the human mind to prevent machinery from “misbehaving”.  But in mechanics, humans have the advantage of a set of laws over which they have no influence.  So in mechanics, government is wonderful.  But can you imagine the mess the universe would be in if we had a body of legislators screwing around with the laws of physics all the time?

So let’s pretend that political governments did things the right way - they fix their instructions so that instead of forcing people to pay, government offers to provide goods and services to those who are willing to pay.  In this scenario, Van’s point about the government having no excuse would have to be replaced with one I like plenty more:  The Jefferson family, and the Adams family are living bodies.  They have no excuse not to repair.

Will there ever be a time when I have the chance to learn what my forefathers did to benefit themselves at the expense of others?  Would I welcome such knowlege?  I like to think so.  My father came from IL, and his parents came from Italy.  My mother is still a legal alien with Canadian citizenship.  However, I don’t think I got much material benefit from either of them.

Let’s suppose that your ancestors had a healthy business, say, making and selling books, and you can even understand why they did so well because you feel a preternatural connection to words and printing.  But some group of thugs took over that business, squeezed all of its patrons and supporters until they bled, and then let the remains decay.  So today, instead of being an upper-level manager of a healthy publishing company, you’re starting your own website called Litmocracy.  The thugs, being of the dumb-brute type, had meagre little families that broke up and died out long ago.  So there’s no one left to pay you back for what was taken so many years ago.

But the important thing now is that the institution of thuggery lives on, and there are still thugs who will take over healthy businesses, drive them into the ground, and let their remains decay, and you are afraid that they are eying Litmocracy.  Do you demand that they stop being thugs?  Do you back up your demands with violence?  I propose that adding violence to the strategy will only prolong our struggle for peace and freedom.  I think the demands are great, but violence is its own self-reinforcing bag of crap.  And yes, if by “thuggery” you think I’m talking about government and taxation, you are correct.  In that way, we are all slaves to the ruling class, but I think the way out is through the pen, not the sword.

Posted by Dave Scotese on 01/01 at 02:12 AM | Permalink
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