Libertarian Commentary on the News, 19 August 2015, #15-33c: Government: evil AND criminal

By Nathan Barton

People with more time and recent knowledge of statistics have demonstrated that the widely-published claim that more cops are killed “feloniously” in states with higher private gun ownership is bogus – poor science, as reported by Fox News and JPFO. Just looking at the articles and with review of some basic data had warned me that the study was almost certainly biased and wrong. But to refute propaganda like this is the mission of people like John Lott, and I am glad we have people like him.

A dog and pony show, or just plain lies: CNS News reports that an “EPA Watchdog” is investigating the Gold King Mine-Animas River spill here in Southwestern Colorado. The “watchdog” is the in-house Inspector General, generally (pun intended) as corrupt as the EPA he works for. This is NOT an internal affair: private organizations need to be doing the investigation – perhaps Heartland Institute or some other relatively neutral group. At a minimum, the State of Colorado’s attorney general should be backing up the County Attorneys and Emergency Management personnel. The investigation, apparently triggered by Congress, is concentrating on the poor response.  What REALLY needs to be investigated is the “accident” that might not have been as accidental as all that. But I note that even Senator Bennet of Colorado, a democratic lapdog of the White House, is now screaming. He fears loss of political influence and power, I am sure. Meanwhile, it seems that EPA is hiding results of sampling and testing that has been done downstream, while the results of testing on the Navajo Nation indicate JUST lead levels are FIVE times drinking water standards.

Why the federal government fails? Maybe… because they are GOVERNMENT? That is really what the Cato Institute, in essence, is saying in a recent study featured in Daily Policy Digest. I realize that they are being tactful in saying that the solution is “to greatly cut the federal government’s size and scope.” The truth is, elimination is the solution. But the five reasons CATO points out shows a lot of the problem, besides the baseline that people can’t rule each other – or even themselves – very well.

First, government policies use top-down planning and coercion, which creates winners and losers, unlike the mutually beneficial markets where we can all win. It also means federal policies are based on guesswork because there is no price system (or anything else that makes sense; politics?) to guide decision-making. Further, failed policies are not abandoned (but seem to live forever) because they are funded by theft: compulsory taxes not contingent on performance.

Second, government lacks knowledge about our complex society – it is literally stupid! Markets gather knowledge from the bottom up and are rooted in individual preferences. But the government’s actions work the other way; they destroy knowledge and suppress diversity.

Third, legislators either (most of the time) act counter to the general public interest OR they respond to panicked demands by the public and special interest groups. They constantly hide the full costs of programs in various ways. And of course, “compromise” aids pork-barrel spending and they use logrolling to pass harmful policies that do not have broad public support.

Fourth, civil servants are a bureaucratic system that rewards inertia. There is no incentive to create value, and value is NOT created. Efforts to fix the bureaucracy constantly fail, because the incentives that generate poor performance are deeply entrenched in the executive branch. (They echo the Barton Theory of Organizational Personality: the bureaucracy can NOT change.)

Mama’s Note: Oh, I’ve seen the bureaucracy change all right. Sixty years ago, when I first came in contact with various government clerks and occasional low level officials, they at least pretended to care, to be polite and to take some pride in their job – however wrong and stupid the job might have been. Even the police were more apt to help than harm, and those in our neighborhood wouldn’t have dreamed of screaming obscenities at anyone, let alone old ladies. It all changed slowly, the evil being exposed gradually. But in a way you are right, since the base purpose for all bureaucracy has NOT changed… the whole purpose being control of everyone and everything.

Fifth and last, if perhaps now the most important, the federal government has grown enormous in size and scope. Each increase in spending produces less value but drives up taxpayer costs. Failure gets worse, as stupid and self-serving legislators are overloaded with a vast array of programs. Today’s federal budget is 100 times larger than the average state budget, and it is far too large to adequately oversee. (Just like the regulatory system with its millions of words.)

Bottom line: government is bad, getting worse, and NOTHING that people are willing to accept will keep this from happening. Solution? Let us get RID of this system: not just reduce the size of government, but eliminate it as much as possible. (Which should be all of it, ultimately.)

Slavery continues to be a problem, right here in the Fifty States: no, NOT in the South, but in Iowa, where the Daily Mail reports that an Iowa couple were convicted and given 4’2 and 40 years respectively for capturing and enslaving a young woman, until they were spotted by a trucker who suspected something was wrong with the young woman and one of the couple’s children.

From Georgia we have this pleasant report. Yahoo News reports that a grand jury indicted two former Atlanta-area police officers on murder charges after, prosecutors said, they used stun guns on a man while his hands were cuffed behind his back, leading to his death. … Eberhart and Weems each face a 0single count of felony murder, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct as well as three counts apiece of violation of oath by a public officer.  I cannot help but wonder if the indictments are because they are “former” police officers and not currently employed as cops.  Or am I just being cynical?

The killing of a lion was again all over the news, as Yahoo News and many other mainstream news outlets babbles on about the changes filed against a landowner and extradition sought for an American dentist (as well as demands for “justice” in the case) while little or nothing is said in the mainstream media about, oh, Clinton’s felonious conduct regarding State Department e-mails, or Planned Parenthood’s disgustingly evil and criminal conduct nationally, or the EPA behavior regarding the spill and “clean-up” of the Animas River in Colorado.  Nice to know they have their priorities straight.

As regards Miz Hillary: Reason at least commented quite accurately that she may be “too important” to prosecute, and the talk shows had a field day yesterday with the bathroom humor.  Apparently her private e-mail server not only just has found (to date) 300+ classified e-mails (a federal felony), BUT the server, supposedly guarded by Secret Service agents 24-7, is located in the bathroom of a converted loft apartment in Denver, run by a mom-and-pop ISP which did some work for the Democratic Convention in Denver in 2008 that annointed the “Messiah.” (So reports the Daily Mail.)  You can’t make this kind of thing up: you’d be laughed into running away.  This is the high quality of “public servant” that the government has.

But the media DID fawn all over the White House and the squatter because there is now a “openly transgender” staff member, as the Los Angeles Times and other outlets cheered.  Supposedly this is to make sure the White House “resembles America – so where are the AmerInd, where are the conservatives, and of course, where are the libertarians?  They can’t even use the backdoor to get in.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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