By Nathan Barton
A quick follow-up note on my column a while back on stupidity in and out of government. “Tyler Durdan” over at ZeroHedge has “nine weird things” about the NYC-NJ bombing guy and situation that are very much on the weird side. His last point about distractions is important. (And ties in with this article:)
What does government really provide to its “people” – the citizens of the state which the government rules – as services in exchange for the prices we pay in money (and everything else)?
Yes, I know the usual arguments. “Government provides us protection.” From what?
Well, from other governments, which are assumed to be worse than our own, and in times past certainly seam to have been: Imperial Britain, Imperial Spain, Imperial Germany, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and Communist Russia all can be seen in that way.
And “government provides us protection from criminals” – those who would break in and mug and rob and steal and swindle.
Except, we have to ask, do they? Talk to the citizens of Belgium in 1914 (and again in 1940) about how much protection they were availed from Germany. To the people of Mexico of 1863 or South Vietnam of 1963. And talk to anyone who lives in an inner-city high-crime neighborhood, whether it is Molenbeek in Belgium or Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland. Or the account holders at Wells Fargo.
Indeed, government often seems to be not just the confederates of the criminals. It often is the criminal: talk to the bank account holders of Cyprus a few years back, or the bank account holders in Italy worried that they are the next victims of a “bale-in.” And talk to the victims – not just of the Third Reich and other national socialist and communist regimes, but many so-called Western democracies about how they commit criminal acts against their own citizens.
We can all list the other “services” that government provides: at least according to the teachers and the civics classes: highways, land records, justice, records of life and death, protection of our rights (from speech and religion to ownership of property and freedom from slavery) and the whole list. Services that supposedly not only our “free, democratic” governments in South Dakota and Wyoming and Kent and New South Wales and Alberta provide, but also the imperial powers and the Communist nations – or so they claimed. These are services that cannot be provided (we are told) without some element of mandatory control and direction – they cannot be provided voluntarily through mutual, private agreement.
That list, of course, has grown over the years. Welfare and health care, to name two (perhaps THE two major functions of modern western state government, after “protection”) includes many things that were once provided by the individual, the family, the church, or some other form of relatively voluntary cooperation. Why was something that could be provided privately a century ago now, in our era and society of high technology and bounty, something that can only be provided by mandated actions: taxes and enrollment and all the rest of the mechanism of government? Because they are “naturally” the role of government? Yet, that is argued.
We all understand the fallacy of these arguments, although seemingly very few people really do – based on the results in the world and on what is taught in the schools. We know that all of these services CAN and HAVE been provided in the past through mutual, voluntary, and private agreement and cooperation. Both formally and informally. So what else does government provide?
Consider these two things.
First, government provides a distraction.
And second, government provides entertainment.
In other words, government is no longer in the business of providing bread and circuses: government IS bread and circuses.
The hoopla of the current, 2016 election campaign here in the Fifty States is a great example of both these things.
And makes us realize: enough is enough.
Mama’s Note: More and more, people are coming to realize that the non-voluntary government has no real interest in their health, safety or prosperity. The only thing government, at every level, ultimately cares about is control.
As my mentor once said “You can reduce government by 80% and 90% would not miss it.”
Except for the 50% of the population that cashes a government check each month… They might miss it. A few more small pushes and they just might find out.