Sunday, November 11, 2018

Government should be a servant

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for October 10, 2018)

When most people use the word "government" they are talking about the collective more accurately called "the state". Not in the sense of the fifty familiar shapes making up maps of the United States of America, of which New Mexico is one, but in the sense of out-of-control institutional authoritarianism; statism.

I, too, use the word "government" in this way when speaking to people about the pitfalls of the state. It's not quite accurate, but most people understand.

However, there is a difference.

Government can be good, bad, or neutral. Government is simply people coming together, under unanimously consensual rules, to get things done. It is never mandatory. Government, if done right, might even help protect the life, liberty, and property of the individuals who voluntarily join together.

The state, on the other hand, is always anti-social; the more powerful it becomes, the weaker society gets. A state does not operate by unanimous consent, but is imposed against the wishes of at least a large minority of its victims. The state is established to steal, to control every human action with laws, and to give favors to the politically connected. States are designed to rule and enslave.

Once a state takes hold, and the people identify with it, the destruction of the society is underway.

I can almost understand why someone would accept a government as a helper; to assist with the things the person can't (or believes they can't) do on their own. Possibly to complete big projects like bridges and space programs. Perhaps to coordinate training for defense against the weapons of an enemy state. Maybe to provide a "safety net".

I think they are wrong, but I can understand their thinking.

What I can't even begin to understand is how anyone could allow a government to mutate into a state and become their master; to control them, tell them what they are allowed or forbidden to do, and to threaten them with punishment if they don't comply. This is a perversion of government. Government is to be the obedient servant and never the overbearing master; to never become a state.

America has cancer. America is burdened with a state where armed state employees give orders to the people who are their moral, ethical, and political superiors. This is backwards. Government, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, was replaced by a state established and empowered by the coup which resulted in the U.S. Constitution. This path doesn't end well.

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  1. To "govern" means to "rule", so in my view it can never be acceptable to anarchists, who are by definition believers in no-rule.

    The examples given here relate rather to mutual-help organizations and commercial enterprises. The first can be any grouping, like a neighborhood recreation club or a working-men's beneficent society; yes it's usual for members to elect a board or set of administrators, often unpaid, but those folk do not rule or govern it. If any member is dissatisfied (s)he can leave easily. And form a rival, if he wants.

    For building projects large and small, commercial enterprises do the job and again, these are voluntary associations that invite capital and sell shares and make profits for distribution. Any shareholder (part owner) dissatisfied can sell his stock and leave; nobody governs him, compelling him to submit. Employees, too, can quit if the boss becomes tiresome or if he hears a better offer.

    So I suggest the word "govern" applies to neither of these useful types of group, and that the terms "government" and "state" are virtually interchangeable; also that governors (rulers) never "serve". On the contrary, they are served. Alas.

  2. kent. thank you for the article. i sent to folks, hoping to get them to begin to question. thanks.

  3. Government is one form of social organization.

    Govern means to restrict. Government means to restrict society, as in anti-freedom. What separates government from any other form of social organization is that it uses systematic coercion/force/murder/destruction to impose edicts. Most have a monopoly on the initiation of force.

    A bunch of people get together to hire a person/persons to say magic special words at religious ceremonies and write spells on paper to dictate what everyone within a claimed territory will pay do and be, then hire an army of people in funny clothes with weapons to hunt everyone in the territory and make them do what the papers say or else be stolen from, abducted and caged, assaulted or even murdered and their property destroyed.

    It's a violent terrorist religious cult is what it is, ...dressed up as legitimate with a bunch of BS attached. But at it's core, it's just a big gang.

    If you remove the element of force, it must ask permission, association becomes voluntary and it therefore must operate as a social management service subject to supply/demand. It no longer qualifies as "government" because you can decline.

    1. I can see your point; I've made the same point myself. But people keep insisting that you can govern yourself or your group without theft, aggression, and coercion. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here-- and it really doesn't matter much to me. If your group is purely voluntary and doesn't violate anyone, call it whatever you want. I'm OK with it. And, almost everyone means "with coercion" when they use the word "government", which is why I usually use it that way, too. Few people understand what you mean when you refer to states, and just think of Texas or something.

    2. " If your group is purely voluntary and doesn't violate anyone, call it whatever you want. I'm OK with it. "

      That is a good summary of my position.

      It's so simple. It's either voluntary or it isn't. If it isn't, it's slavery. If it is voluntary, it has no rulers and is anarchy.

      Tolerate nothing but anarchy. Manage anarchy however you want, but Libertarianism is the best/correct answer. What is liberty? Freedom governed by respect for rights. Live - Let live. Add the golden rule and viola'; world peace.

      So why do you suppose that's so difficult to grasp for so many? ..or maybe humans are typically a rubbish species unwilling and thus incapable of peaceful coexistence?