A minimal form of government is a necessary evil. However, all government spreads from its benign roots, transforming itself into an all-encompassing cancer, devouring the wealth of its citizens and enslaving them. Only by understanding the nature of government can we achieve freedom and prosperity.
Excerpt from Book: "How Life Really Works"
Book II: Man and Society
Chapter 14.00: Government
Due to space limitations, sections in Red are accessible only in the Book or CD "How Life Really Works".
A caveat: This Chapter concerns itself solely with the philosophical ramifications of governmental institutions, as they pertain to human nature and human happiness. It does not examine the relevance of such insights to actual political situations in any specific country...
1. A Brief History of Government
2. Principles of Government
Chapter 14.03 GOVERNMENT AND SOCIETY: RIGHTS AND LAWS
1. Rights and Laws
2. Animal Rights
3. Curtailment of Rights
4. Justice and Fairness
Chapter 14.04 FREEDOM, EQUALITY AND DISCRIMINATION
3. Equality in Employment
4. Racial Equality
Chapter 14.05 GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMICS
1. General Observations
2. Sources of Government Income
a. Government Income: Taxation
b. Government Income: Inflation
c. Government Income: Economic Manipulation
d. Government Income: Plunder
3. Government Expenditures
a. Government Expenditures: Adam Smith
b. Government Expenditures: Education
c. Government Expenditures: Health
d. Government Expenditures: Infrastructure
e. Government Expenditures and our Happiness
01. You and the Government
02. Involvement with Government
04. Gratuitous Benefits
06. Opposition to Government
07. Demands of the Government
08. Elections and Voting
09. Government and Security
10. Government and the Law
11. Dealing with the Government
All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms, it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man.
Henry Louis Mencken
It cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals - that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government, that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government.
Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned
The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty.
Ludwig von Mises
The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.
Ludwig von Mises
Government is not reason, it is eloquence and it is force
Government cannot make us equal, it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always depend on the support of Paul.
George Bernard Shaw
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
Henry Louis Mencken
The less government we have the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (and many others)
The convoluted machinations of governments and politics occupy a major place in human affairs. If we are not satisfied with current political arrangements, we will gain absolutely nothing by offering suggestions how the institution of government should be, but is not.
Don Quixote whimsically fought windmills in his quest for a better and fairer world. If we were to explore the many opportunities for improving governmental institutions, we would engage in quixotic behavior, counterproductive to our achievement of happiness. The world will go its own way. We cannot change the broad aspects of the world to any substantive extent.
We must merely concern ourselves with the question: How does the institution of government work and how can we interact optimally with this behemoth. We need to abstain from the futile attempt to change governmental institutions so that they might comply with our view of reality.
In order to enhance our enjoyment of life, we merely need to understand the principles underlying governmental activities. This insight will allow us to cope with government in a rational and non-confrontational manner. This task is not easy because the halls of government are brimming with propaganda, misinformation and obfuscation.
During the past 3000 years, humanity has experimented extensively with political systems. It has found democracy preferable to feudalism, theocracies and dictatorship. Democracy may be more benign than many other forms of government. However, democracy suffers from some inherent faults that will require the further evolution of the concept of democracy.
One of the major flaws in the institution of democracy is the idea that all people are equal. People are not equal: Some people are dumb, some are smart, the majority of people are poor and only a small minority is prosperous.
Democracies pursue the "One man, one Vote" system, combined with a simple majority vote. This scheme automatically creates situations where the majority of have-nots will utilize the voting process to strip the minority of more prosperous citizens of their wealth, for the benefit of the more numerous majority.
It is an innate human tendency to try to get something for nothing. Therefore, the larger and poorer segment of the population will always try to obtain valuable resources from the affluent sector of society, without having to pay for them. The poor masses use their voting power to get their elected representatives, their government, to confiscate the resources of the affluent sector off society.
This bonanza for the unproductive majority, made possible by governmental confiscation of wealth from prosperous persons or institutions, eventually embeds itself in the laws of a society as a right. These benefits become codified rights because the majority of the people, through their representative, voted laws into existence that create the rights.
Such confiscatory laws lack mutual consent and reciprocity. Confiscatory laws inevitably cause a breakdown of productivity and doom the society as a whole. It is counterproductive if politicians place a disproportionate tax burden on productive persons, merely because they have the money that the politicians can confiscate.
As a result, the current version of democracy has the propensity for wars, for the confiscation of wealth by the masses, for demagoguery by its politicians and for legislation by the poor majority of people.
This fatal flaw in democracies could be readily resolved by providing that a two-third majority of voters, instead of a simple majority, must approve all legislative decisions. Experiments with this model of democracy have proved highly successful in raising the prosperity of the total population.
Undoubtedly, democracy will evolve further in the millennia to come. However, we are not concerned with reforming or improving the government, any government. Until new forms of government evolve, it is incumbent upon us, the seekers of happiness, to deal with our government in the most efficacious manner.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always depend on the support of Paul.
George Bernard Shaw
This statement by George Bernard Shaw goes to the heart of the problem with democracy. Democracy is a political/economic system that uses the demagogic concept of equality to enrich the voting majority at the expense of the smaller, productive sector of society.
We cannot change this situation. We merely need to understand the situation clearly. We must then determine how we can reduce our exposure to the all-devouring octopus of government.
If, after making every effort to reduce our involvement with our government, we are still not satisfied with the deleterious effect our government exerts on our life, it is much easier and less dangerous to move to a different location and government, than to try to change a virulent form of government, such as a dictatorship.
By refusing to vote or to participate in illusory political processes, we are divorcing ourselves from fruitless and time-wasting discussions of how the world should be, but is not. We merely need to understand how the world really works and how governmental actions will affect us, as individuals.
1. A brief history of government
At the dawn of human development, there were only separate human individuals who, like other animals solely driven by their genes, came together briefly for purposes of copulation. Eventually, individuals realized the advantages they could derive from forming permanent attachments between males and females.
However, soon conflicts developed due to the close proximity of family members and the conflicting desires of individuals in their effort to enhance their individual well-being. In spite of these conflicts, human beings coalesced into groups because doing so enhanced their survival. However, the more people congregated and the more groups coalesced into communities, the more conflicts arose.
In their effort to prevent or resolve conflicts, humans utilized their rational mind to establish basic ground rules for their peaceful cohabitation and coexistence. This spirit of cooperation resulted in a system of rules, of laws, that governed their mutual conduct. These laws represented mutually beneficial arrangements based on mutually formulated rights.
The persons who framed the laws and rights made sure, in keeping with innate, human nature, that these laws provided not only for a smooth functioning of society, but also allowed for benefits accruing specifically to the framers of such codified rights.
The persons, who drew up the laws, called themselves politicians and formed a government. Some of the rules they established were mutually beneficial to all members of society. Some of the rules were strictly for their own benefit without regard to the public welfare. This is the way it has been ever since. Governments exist for two purposes: To enhance the well-being of citizens by coordinating their behavior, and to benefit the politicians who make the laws and tax their populace.
2. Principles of Government
A government exists to exercise political authority, direction and restraint over the actions of inhabitants of communities, societies or states. (Websterís Dictionary)
All governments are comprised of two layers: A large number of bureaucrats at the bottom, and a small number of politicians at the top. Politicians are persons who have a high AIQ (Aggressiveness Intelligence Quotient). (See Chapter 09.04: War; Chapter 06.07: Intelligence). The combination of their aggressiveness with their relatively high intelligence enables them to prod the general population into compliance with their wishes and desires.
Some governments may be more aggressive than others are, but all governments have in common the ability and the willingness to use force, or the threat of force, to perpetuate their existence and to bring about compliance with the wishes of its leadership. The secondary and progressively lower layers of government consist of large numbers of so-called public servants who act as the bureaucratic executives of the dominant layer of government.
The establishment of a government purportedly intends to facilitate the cooperative efforts of its constituents. Governments are thus initially beneficial to man and his societies. However, as time passes, professional politicians have a tendency to take over control of governmental institutions for their own purposes. They then proceed to arrange the political agenda to suit their own purposes and needs, frequently under the pretext of altruistic motivations.
This development in governmental structures is part of innate human nature and does not necessarily reflect negatively on government officials. The arena of politics is a power-game. This arrangement is simply the way human beings are and is simply the way the world really works.
Smart persons can adjust to living happily within the framework of their government, of any government. Only fools try to attack or change their governments, or their politicians and their political agendas. Mischievous politicians are the price we have to pay for civic order.
Governments may assert their authority with or without the consent of the governed population. A unique feature of a governmental institution, as opposed to a commercial institution, is its ability to manipulate people under their control into doing what may not actually be in their best self-interest.
The superior intellectual ability of politicians to apply manipulation and authority can also serve as a deterrent to potential political unrest within the population. Politicians maintain and justify governmental force for the alleged purpose of preserving law and order within the political unit. The manipulation of the population by propaganda often invokes the purported need to protect the population from real or imagined adversaries beyond its boundaries.
The institution of government represents a further ramification in the already complex correlation of money and human happiness. The primary obstacle to financial success rests in the provisions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This Law of Nature stipulates that it is inherently more difficult to accumulate and maintain wealth, than to lose it. (See Chapter 03.04: Energy and Entropy; Appendix A: Entropy).
Governments introduce a significant element of entropy into the process of wealth creation and preservation, because governments have a tendency to transfer substantial amounts of wealth and energy from the productive sector to the unproductive sector of society.
In their efforts to achieve a productive and happy life, most members of a particular society welcome the productive efforts of their government, while compensating for the un-productive and destructive forces of their government. Governments can have many beneficial aspects if their institutions operate within a democratic framework.
Governments can also reflect the innate human desire to obtain something of value by confiscating it from others by taxation and inflation under the guise of a mutual benefit. Government can also enhance wealth because it often provides a platform of law and order, which is essential to the creation of wealth. Another beneficial aspect of Government rests in its ability to provide a social safety net for persons who are unable to provide for themselves. People simply do not like to stumble over derelicts in the gutter.
However, government can also be inherently destructive to personal wealth because it transfers valuable resources from the productive to the unproductive sectors of society. Such transfers are destructive to individual incentives and, in their extremity, are an integral part of communistic economic systems.
The government of the United States can serve as an example in this regard, due to its profound influence on global commerce as well as on US citizens: At the beginning of the 21st century, various layers of government in the US absorbed 46% of the productivity of its citizens.
The U.S. Government imposes taxes on a vast variety of services and products, ranging from tax on telephone services to import tariffs, to property taxes, to income taxes - the list is endless. Inflation, the consequence of the unrestrained expansion of the money supply of a nation, eventually affects other nations, causing distortions in global economics.
The essentially unproductive armed services of a country absorb a major portion of the wealth confiscated from citizens. Bombs and bullets do not contribute to the wealth of ordinary people. The U.S. Government is rather benign in the taxation of its citizens, if compared with many other nations.
The concept of freedom is very broad. It has many faces and nuances. It is very important to appreciate the fact that a reference to freedom does not imply that we must feel free to stand on a soapbox. When we talk about freedom, we are referring primarily to our economic freedom: The ability to engage in economic transactions without coercive interference by our government.
If we live in a society that oppresses our freedom of speech, this fact alone is immaterial if the government does not interfere with our ability to take our marbles and play somewhere else. In other words, as long as there is no economic oppression, few people are concerned about freedom of speech.
As long as the government does not randomly confiscate our property, nothing else really matters because the very concept of freedom actually revolves around monetary concerns and our freedom of movement. We need the freedom to prosper financially; we do not need freedom of speech, to be happy. We do get very unhappy when the government confiscates our money and arbitrarily throws us into jail.
Freedom of speech is worth little in itself but it is the guardian of all other freedoms. The primary reason we need freedom of speech is due to the tendency of oppressive governments to curtail the right to speech. The first step for a new dictator is to silence the printing presses. The next step in the subjugation of citizens is to abrogate the right to own firearms, then he confiscates the wealth of the disarmed population and finally he throws any dissenters into concentration camps. Therefore, it is extremely important to live in a society that safeguards the right to free speech.
Two hundred years ago, the French philosopher Rousseau formulated the basic principle of interaction between man and his governments: "The less government, the better off its citizenry". This simple but axiomatic statement remains the ultimate foundation of individual freedom. Human beings are only free to the extent that governments are inefficient.
The advantages and disadvantages of a particular government revolve around many shades of gray. In his seminal work, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith set forth three, and only three, legitimate functions of any government: 1. The judiciary, 2. The protection of the country against foreign enemies, and 3. The infrastructure, such as highways and bridges. To these factors, we could add the social safety net as a modern, enlightened function of government.
A minimal layer of government, in the form of a coordinating effort, is clearly beneficial to society because it is essential to the smooth interaction of members of society. This minimal governmental layer is similar to a lubricant: Grease is a medium that facilitates the movement of interacting parts.
However, grease can become an impediment to movement if we apply it excessively. If this happens, the grease clogs the gears and slows them down, instead of lubricating them. One of the problems attributable to all forms of government is its inherent tendency to expand until it controls an overwhelming portion of the productive sector of the economy.
Therefore, when dealing with any form of government, it is very important to recognize that politicians, the dominant elements of governments, will always follow the dictates of basic human nature: All human beings always act in what they consider to be in their best self-interest.
Politicians may proclaim that they serve the public and that they act only with altruistic motives. However, if we carefully examine the motivations of politicians, we will always find that, in keeping with human nature, their own self-serving motivations may or may not coincide with the actual well-being of ordinary citizens.
This principle applies to kings and dictators as well as to politicians in more democratic forms of government. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States of America represent the most profound evolution of the political process during the last 7000 years. Contrary to common belief, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is not to protect citizens from foreign enemies or from enemies of the government. The sole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect American citizens from their own, elected politicians.
The Bill of Rights places powerful restraints on the often aggressive or rapacious conduct of politicians and governmental institutions. The framers of the constitution made provision for the availability of arms to the populace. They had learned that freedom will whither unless it citizens can enforce it with arms, if necessary. In reviewing the history of human political system, they realized that all governments have the inevitable tendency to deprive their citizens of their freedom and their property.
Our founding fathers were greatly concerned about the ability of the State to enslave and impoverish people with its armed forces, paid for by money confiscated from citizens. They believed that the tendency of politicians to enslave their citizenry needed to be balanced by the ability of the population to resist and defend itself by the force of arms. Ever since the Second Amendment to the Constitution embedded these principles in the Bill of Rights, politicians have tried hard to negate this law and to deprive citizens of their arms.
Many books are available regarding the merits and shortcomings of governments. However, we are not interested in improving the nature of governments. Therefore, we need to confine our efforts to a thorough understanding of the benefits and pitfalls that accrue to us from governments. We need to understand how government really works in order to take advantage of the beneficial aspects of governments while avoiding the traps inherent in all governments.
01. We and the Government
We are not concerned with the political machinations of governments. We are merely concerned with the interaction between governments and our individual needs. Our main concern in maintaining our own health, wealth and happiness is the need to protect ourselves from impositions created by governments. We must be careful to achieve this objective without conflicting with the government and its laws, without rocking the boat of government and without even giving the appearance of interfering with the demands of the government.
Here are some Rules of Conduct that merit consideration when we are dealing with political affairs and governmental agencies:
First, a proviso:
It is not the purpose of this book, and it should not be the purpose of any rational person, to try to change the nature, the objectives or the composition of a government. Any such attempt to change the nature of a government, or for that matter, the world around us, would be extremely counter-productive to our efforts to find happiness.
Nothing good is going to happen if we attack any government in any way, form or shape. It is best if we leave confrontation to self-destructive hotheads. Rational persons have only one objective in life, and that is to be as happy as humanly possible. People who fight the government are not happy people and they usually lose.
We cannot change the world, or the people in it, to any substantial degree. What we can do and what we must do in order to achieve happiness is to be fully aware of the way the world works, to align ourselves with the reality of the situation and to cope with obstacles in a non-confrontational, rational and efficacious manner.
02. Involvement with the Government
Whenever possible, we should avoid all involvement with politicians and political affairs. At best, it is the nature of governments to deprive their constituents of their hard-earned wealth by taxation and inflation; at worst, governments may subjugate us or kill us. Governments may not hesitate to force their constituents to become the willing or unwilling canon fodder of military involvements. If we should try to shirk this duty, we may be shot as deserters, just to set an example.
Our government will demand all such sacrifices in the interest of the Common Good of the Nation, as defined by the government. If it is in the interest of the political leadership, appropriate propaganda will persuade citizens to believe in and act upon false or spurious objectives.
Those who suffer from the tumultuous emotion of patriotism, commonly encourage the love of one's own country and its frequent offspring, war. Politicians invoke patriotism to stimulate sacrifices from those who will suffer the most from war. As George Bernard Shaw asserted so humorously but succinctly, "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others, merely because you were born in it".
Patriotism is to politics what faith is to religion: The unquestioned acceptance of information that is either unverified or that may actually be in conflict with factual evidence. Patriotism is the incubator of wars.
Similar to religion, patriotism is an emotion, as opposed to a rational thought process. Studies and surveys have consistently indicated that approximately 90% of persons in any given country have strong patriotic sentiments. This percentage is similar to the percentage of people involved in other faith-based activities, such as religion. This same percentage also reflects the bell-curve of the general intelligence level of a population: 90% of all persons in a Caucasian population group register an IQ below 120.
04. Gratuitous Benefits
It is counter-productive to look to the government for gratuitous benefits. So-called free goods or services offered by the government are not free but always carry a hidden price tag: The price we pay could be a restriction of our freedom to act independently, or we may receive goods and services that are of inferior quality.
Governments only provide such services or goods that the Free-Market has declined to provide, usually due to a lack of demand for a product at a specific price level. Private investors do not hesitate to launch commercial satellites but they do consider it unprofitable, unproductive and a waste of resources to send space vehicles into the distant universe. Only governments engage in such wasteful endeavors in order to enhance their appeal to the patriotic masses.
We always need to be cognizant of the fact that the government, any government, has no money and no wealth of its own. Governments, as represented by professional politicians, have only four methods of acquiring financial resources that they can then dole out to further their own objectives. 1. Direct taxation of its citizenry; 2. Indirect taxation involving the counterfeiting of its own currency, also known as inflation; 3. Wars provide for the looting of other countries. 4. Political manipulation of the economy
Do not rock the boat of the bureaucracy: Bureaucrats, the true executive branch of any government, pursue only two objectives: To preserve their own jobs with a minimum of work and to create or enlarge their own private empires, their circle of influence. Ordinary citizens have no contact with the political power structure. Even in a democracy, members of the electorate are always restricted to dealing with bureaucrats, rather than having direct access to their elected representative.
The primary objective of bureaucrats is to lead simple and hassle-free lives. If we are dependent on their favorable response, we will find it to our advantage to flatter their sense of self-esteem. Bureaucrats will not condone any attempt to question their sense of importance: Keep it simple, flatter them, make life simple for them, do not contradict them, and all will be well. Do not rock the boat of government: It is far easier to simply slide through the quagmire of bureaucratic impositions.
06. Opposition to the Government
Do not irritate or attack the government. The government has practically unlimited resources. Our own resources are limited and puny in comparison. If a government needs additional resources, it merely has to tap the wealth of its citizens by taxation. This approach to wealth is clearly an option not available to ordinary citizens.
At all costs, we should avoid a situation where the government may just want to set an example of its power to deal with any perceived or imagined obstructionism: If we expose ourselves to such a situation, we may lose all we have, including our freedom, on the altar of a god called Idealism.
Idealists, like Pastor Niemoeller and Company, pay dearly and accomplish nothing. Only other idealists, who are smart enough to avoid confrontations with the government, will glorify such misguided approach to happiness. Idealistic fools usually become unsung martyrs.
It is much more difficult, but also much more rewarding, to pursue happiness rather than fight the government. We must avoid entanglements with the government. We should only speak the truth, but we should not speak of everything that is true.
Aside from the practical consideration of not irritating the government, we need to remember that governments have always been an integral and necessary part of human society. Indeed, without governments, human society and civilization could not prevail. Governments are a curse and a blessing. They will continue to help and to plague us, until the very nature of man changes.
Governments exist because, similar to religions, they meet certain innate, irrational needs of man: People mistakenly believe that governments, or religions, can provide them with benefits that would not otherwise be available. People tend to overlook the fact that the government has no money and no resources, except those that it can claim from its citizens.
However, only fools try to oppose or change governments. If we do not like some aspects of our government, it is far more effective to circumvent any obstacles set up by the government than to fight the government. A smart person can run circles around any governmental behemoth, anytime, anywhere. The essence of this argument: Never confront or oppose your government in any form or shape.
07. Demands of the Government
Meet the demands of the government in a minimal fashion. You can lawfully minimize your taxes and other demands on your resources, such as voting or jury duty, without subjecting yourself to imprisonment or harsh penalties. Some people refuse to pay any income taxes on pseudo-philosophical grounds. However, it is immature or just plain stupid, to contest the power of a government to collect taxes.
Taxes are the lifeblood of any government. Governments cannot exist without taxation. Any government can and will obtain compliance with its demands by the use of force or the threat of force.
The government can bankrupt us just by hauling us into its courts on spurious charges. We may win our case, eventually, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory because we will be much poorer. This process is also known as Winning the Battle but Losing the War. This outcome is inevitable if we play philosophical games with the government.
We must also remember that the Judicial System, from the lone Justice Court to the Olympian Supreme Court, is an integral part of the government. Politicians set the salaries of all judges, even Supreme Court Justices, and pay for them out of tax revenues. There are the limits to the impartiality of judges. They know precisely who pays their salaries. Every human being always does what he considers to be in his best self-interest.
08. Elections and Voting
Do not believe a single word a politician utters and pay no attention to statistics or news releases by the government. In order to keep their constituents ignorant of the realities of life, and in order to renege on previous promises or contracts such as social security schemes, all releases of information by the government are highly suspect. From crime statistics to economic statistics, all such information is essentially self-serving and useless; it may even be dangerous.
For example, if we wish to inform ourselves of the actual level of inflation, we merely need to observe the price level of common goods over a period of several decades: From books, to cars, to stocks, to houses. We will then know, factually, that most governments routinely inflate their currency at the inconspicuous rate of 6-7%. This inflation goes on year after year, doubling all prices approximately every 10-12 years, decade after decade after decade.
However, government statistics consistently show that, due to the vigilance of our government, inflation runs only 2 or 3 % per year. In 2002, inflation in the housing sector was 25%, but government statistics showed an inflation rate of 1.4%. Such misrepresentations severely distort the economic projections and financial decisions of ordinary persons.
Reliance on such governmentally induced distortions can be extremely destructive to our financial health. Only governments can create inflation by counterfeiting their own money. However, governments assert simultaneously that they are struggling heroically against inflation. Unless we perceive inflation correctly, we may become the tragic victims of the economic policies of a government. (See Chapter 16: Inflation:)
It would be ludicrous to pay any attention to the campaign promises of politicians. It is foolish to believe what any politician says: His sole objective in life is to be elected or re-elected. He is an expert in the elusive manipulation of data and he will camouflage in ambiguity any false statement or promise that will help him accomplish this objective.
If we really feel the wasteful need to participate in electing a particular politician, we need to look to his previous actions, not to his gilded promises. Do not pay attention to what a person says; pay only attention to what a person does.
Thus, do not waste your time participating in elections. It requires time, effort and thoughtful analysis to vote in political elections. Unless you are casting your vote on a small Board of Directors, or a similar small institution, your vote represents a meaningless illusion of power.
Voting in the political arena is like voting for tomorrow's weather. Your single vote will never make the slightest difference to the outcome of any election, no more than it would affect tomorrow's weather. In national elections, your vote is completely irrelevant because it is one of 100,000,000 votes. A person would have to be a raving megalomaniac to believe that his lone vote matters to the outcome of political elections
Of course, some self-anointed patriots may admonish you by saying: "If everyone would take this attitude, our democratic form of government would collapse". However, the fact remains that most people are not motivated by rational thought processes. Most people are governed by the emotion-driven psychology of crowds. Therefore, most people will continue to vote, regardless of whether you vote, or not.
The concept of voting is a lure to the mind because it provides an illusion of power. Regretfully, it also results in a waste of our limited resources, such as our time and effort. Politicians will always exhort people to vote because "it is the patriotic thing to do". Their power and their income is dependant on the voting process: The more people vote, the more power accrues to the politician. Alas, the same benefits do not accrue to the voter.
09. Government and Security
While we navigate our puny vessel through the shoals of life, we realize that human existence is full of rocks, shallows and other disasters, waiting to destroy or damage us. Since our government appears to be all powerful because it commands police forces, armies, nuclear weapons and unlimited resources, we feel justified in assuming that our government can protect us from adverse events such as burglaries, thefts, injuries, terrorism, job loss, etc., etc.
Unfortunately, this naÔve assumption is a complete fallacy and illusion, carefully nurtured by our politicians. Instead of protecting us, our government is frequently a major contributing factor to the calamities of our life.
Homes in this country are burglarized around the clock. Can our government protect us? Of course, it cannot. If we want to protect ourselves against burglars, we need to install a burglar alarm, hire a guard or take other protective measures. The police can do nothing except try to catch the perpetrators and punish them.
This governmental approach to security may be interesting to the victim and enhance the prestige of the police, but it does not restore our property. We do not benefit at all from the fact that the burglar has been put behind bars for a limited period so that he cannot burglarize the homes of other persons.
The recovery of goods taken in burglaries is so miniscule as to be practically non-existent. To add insult to injury, we may be required to waste our time by having to attend the court proceedings as a witness, or to identify the culprit. This system is hardly worth having but probably better than no system at all. If we really want to be secure from burglars, we need to install and pay for a good security system in our house.
The same situation prevails in all other instances where the government, or its agents, is supposedly protecting us.
Why was the Government incapable of preventing the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941? Pearl Harbor happened because governments cannot protect us. Our government more than likely provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor by putting a stranglehold on the Japanese. Embargoes on steel and petroleum and the freezing of the assets of another country, as the U.S. did, are de facto acts of war.
Why do terrorists commit suicide in order to harm people in the U.S.? Is it because they love us? No, they self-destruct because they hate us with such intensity that they will get even with us even at the cost of their own lives. These are the acts of desperate people. Why are they so desperate and intent on damaging us?
People do not engage in suicide bombings because their adversaries were considerate of them, or nice to them. These people are desperate because we have aroused them by beating them up or by beating up their country or by beating up their religion, or we have destroyed whatever was extremely important to their existence.
As long as our armed forces carry on attacks around the world and keep beating up people around the world, there will be so-called terrorist attacks on the United States. In other words, if our government were more accommodating or conciliatory, instead of hunting these so-called terrorists like animals, they would lose all incentive in blowing themselves up merely to spite us.
However, since political megalomaniacs will not allow this accommodation to take place, and since we will continue to run our aircraft carriers around the world, beating up other people and nations, we will continue to be in extreme danger. To rely on the government to protect us is the ultimate act of self-deception. If you wish to be protected from calamity, do not rely on your government, take the steps that are necessary to protect yourself.
10. Government and the Law
Let us be fully aware of the risk/benefit relationship before we even consider breaking any law, no matter how minor, such as exceeding the speed limit. If we decide to violate a law, for whatever reason we consider valid, we must be extremely cautious and must not trust anyone, including members of our immediate family. Many persons have been exposed or blackmailed by members, or ex-members, of their own family.
All persons, with the exceptions of a person we call a sociopath; develop moral codes of one kind or another. A moral code is a code of conduct, a shortcut, to pre-determine the consequences of potential actions or inactions. When we deal with other persons in an environment of free markets, it is in our best self-interest to conduct our exchanges with other persons above board and without coercion, fraud or threats.
However, our dealings with governments are not based on a mutuality of benefits; they are based on coercion by force or the threat of force: If there were no punishment for the non-payment of income taxes, would anyone pay income taxes? Therefore, it may be advisable to use a modified moral standard when dealing with the government, then when dealing with people in consensual transactions.
11. Dealing with the Government
Be invisible in all of your dealings with the government. If the government cannot see you, it will not intrude on you. If you do not bother the government, if you do not even give the appearance of obstructing it, your government will not bother you. Why should it?
It might appear that this Chapter is a violation of the above Principle of Invisibility. Actually, this book is in support of the many beneficial aspects of governments, interspersed with a few words of caution. This book strongly advocates compliance with all laws and regulations decreed by the government. Politicians will uniformly applaud such attitude, regardless of the underlying motivation. They fear firebrands even more than rationality.
We need to remember that every living organism, including every human being, always does what it considers to be in its best self-interest. This axiom of human behavior applies to everyone, including the politicians who constitute our government. A constant reference to this principle furthers our understanding of the actions and true motivations of other people.
Politicians are the leaders of men because they are equipped with a high AIQ (Aggressiveness/Intelligence Quotient). Their actions do not violate the above axiomatic law of human behavior. Despite their public pronouncements of serving the public, politicians do no go to the trouble of leading other men for the sole benefit of the people they lead.
Politicians lead their followers because they consider such action to be in their own best self-interest. Politicians find it rewarding to be leaders, because their status as a leader enhances their power, as well as their financial and emotional rewards.
When some persons refer to politicians as arrogant, demagogic or power-hungry, such denigration should not be considered a moral judgment. We are not the moral guardians of other persons in this society.
Therefore, we neither approve of the conduct of politicians nor condemn their conduct. We merely recognize that their conduct represents the way the world really is. If we were intellectually and temperamentally as cunning as politicians are, we might act in precisely the same manner.
Any effort we might expend to modify an undesirable situation in the political arena is a waste of time and imperils our happiness. We must not attack any obstacles that we encounter merely because they were set up by our politicians and our governments in the promotion of their own objectives. It is far simpler, and far more effective, to circumvent such impediments to our happiness while adhering to our lawful and peaceful conduct.
We must optimize our happiness by dealing effectively and realistically with our environment. It is essential to our happiness to clearly understand the nature of reality, including the innate nature of man, of politicians and of governments.
Due to space limitations, sections in Red are accessible only in the Book or CD "How Life Really Works".
Copyright © Walter E. Requadt All Rights