Society’s Biggest Problem

When I look at the world, and I consider all of the problems facing the people that populate it the biggest problem I see is government. Of course there are many problems facing the world today but none so widespread as that of politicians wielding power and influencing the lives of those they rule over.

It is cliché to blame government for all of our problems. In fact, in the extreme it can make a person seem downright kooky to take such positions. I don’t consider myself a kook. Actually, I’m one of the squarest people that you have ever met. I’m not insensitive to other difficulties that humanity must overcome. It’s just that none seem so great to me as the problems caused and perpetuated by unenlightened government.

I’m not only talking about the United States government. The problem is the institution of government itself. It is a universal problem; a challenge to overcome wherever government has established its dominion.

War, torture, spying on citizens, economic recessions and depressions, currency manipulation, environmental damage, poor education, bad healthcare, and a host of other societal ills can be traced back to government intervention in our lives.

Lest you think I am some insensate anti-government reactionary, I assure you that I am a small businessman, a loving husband, and dutiful son, an empathetic member of the community, and a genuinely mellow and sensitive human being. However, one thing that I refuse to do is turn my back on what I see as the truth.

War and Peace

Throughout human history no other societal agent has caused as much violence and destruction as governments.

We can go back and look at the Pharaoh who enslaved his people and condemned them to a life of backbreaking servitude.

The ancient Persians were led by warlike kings whose sole purpose in life was the conquering and slaying of their neighbors.

Greeks and Roman governments, likewise, were extremely martial people who left death and destruction in their wake.

Feudal kings and princes forced those who inhabited their lands to undertake various raids and skirmishes in order to enlarge their scope of power.

The Mongols, led by their ferocious Emperor Genghis Khan, killed and devastated everything in their path.

The Ottoman Empire subdued and subjected the entire Muslim world under a tyrannical reign.

The sun never set on the British Empire, who perfected the art of power politics and dominating local populations.

French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte set out to establish his rule over all of Europe. Like other aggressive government leaders he left death and repine as his legacy.

Russian governments throughout most of their history, but especially in the 20th century under communism, have been ruthless mass killers.

The Germans under their national socialist government exterminated millions upon millions of innocent victims.

Finally, let us not forget the Americans. The American government wrote slavery into their Constitution, sanctioned the genocide of American Indians, dragged its country into an awful and bloody Civil War, invaded and occupied the Philippine Islands, supported one of history’s most notorious dictators, Stalin, fought a brutal land war in Southeast Asia against Third World farmers, and has propped up despotic regimes throughout the Middle East.

None of this is to say that nongovernmental actors do not also commit crimes. However, without the moral sanction to tax and conscript soldiers, no private actor can commit atrocities on the scale of governments.

Economic Recessions and Depressions

The United States of America is made up of 300 million individual citizens. Be they elderly, newborn babies, productive members of the workforce, stay at home moms or dads, or poor people receiving welfare benefits, each and every one of them has free will and makes thousands of decisions every single day.

In a free market economy the decisions of millions of individual participants, acting voluntarily, shape the structure and productive output of society’s scarce resources. If left free, entrepreneurs and consumers will interact and cooperate to provide the best possible use of time, energy, and capital. Economies will endlessly grow and improve technologically if they are not interfered with.

When any government, be it local or federal, steps in and intercedes in the voluntary relationships formed in the market, it necessarily influences economic outcomes. This will always lead to economic stagnation and a lowering of everybody’s standard of living.

After all, government actors who interfere are not experts in the field that they are interfering in. They don’t have the knowledge of local market conditions that the entrepreneur has. They also don’t have the proper motivation to make the best use of scarce resources. When a government representative or representatives interfere excessively with the vibrant free market, which provides an abundance of goods and services, economic activity grinds to a halt and recessions and depressions ensue.

The government can also create bubbles. Through government policy and an increase in the supply of money, certain segments of the economy can be made to appear as if they were flourishing. However, it is all a façade and resources are being squandered on activities that voluntary actors, without political intervention, would have chosen not to undertake. Once it becomes clear that the euphoria was caused by legislation and money printing, the bubble will burst, unemployment will rise, and the recession or depression will take hold.

If, at any level, the government steps in to bail out the misguided business undertakings started under the bubble, the recession will go on and on. This is what happened during America’s Great Depression, the two decade recession that continues to this day in Japan, and continues to happen in our current recession/depression in the United States.

Torture and Spying

Only governments have assumed the power to legally spy on and torture citizens.

If a private citizen reads their neighbors mail, looks through a window at a naked lady, or taps phones to listen in on private conversations, that person would be looked upon as a malcontent and the criminal. When government does these things, it considers itself to be our guardian and our savior. Further, citizens seem to support these activities as long as they are directed at other people.

Again, if a private actor were to abduct an individual and without trial incarcerate them, that person would be considered a kidnapper. If such a person were to then tie the abductee to a table and pour water down their nose, he or she would be considered a sadist. The same assessment would apply if the torturer were to strip a person naked and make them stand for hours and a walk-in freezer.

Spying and torture should never be tolerated and for the most part they are not. When private citizens do it they are rightly considered scumbags and felons. When government does it, it should not get a free pass.

Regular People Must Speak The Truth

As I stated before, I am not a revolutionary or some kind of a nut job. I am just a regular guy who prefers to call a spade a spade. We should all make an effort to speak the truth when we see injustices occurring. My honest opinion is that government, all government, is the biggest threat to human advancement and civilization. No other agency claims the right to inflict harm on society the way that government does.

We are all relatively powerless in the face of people who can tax and print enormous sums of money, and can kill and kidnap with impunity. The only thing a regular person can do is speak their truth humbly and yet firmly. None of us has to consent to depredations against humanity.

Even if people don’t agree with you, or refuse to listen to what you have to say. Even if those in power disdain you and treat you as if you were a fool. Even if you feel like you are all alone in the world. If you say what you know to be true and live by your principles, you are taking a stand for goodness, civility, and human advancement.

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2 Responses to Society’s Biggest Problem

  1. kit goldman says:

    BRAVO! Your latest piece is beautifully said and so compelling. i think you should now write your truth about what government should rightly do. Love you!!!

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