"If the major opportunities for future growth of government lie in the area of conventional taxation, are there any defenses available to the citizenry? ... Perhaps the most fruitful advice comes in two parts. The first piece of advice is to avoid war and the rumor of war: this is history's greatest boon to the tax man. ... The second piece of advice is to seek ways of inhibiting government's ability conveniently to increase its collections. Possibly the very increase in that ability that is in prospect can be turned to account by a constitutional provision which forbade the income tax, and perhaps even the storage of information regarding individual incomes by third parties, including government." ~ Benjamin Ward
Government, a Force of Nature
Column by Paul Bonneau.
Exclusive to STR
When I go outside this time of year, I get cold. I compensate by getting a coat on, and then go about my business. This is the standard way of dealing with forces of nature. I don’t spend a lot of time lying in bed wishing it weren’t cold. I have better things to do with my time.
Why is government any different?
Government is just a gang of humans, which are themselves a part of nature. Millions of words are spent on the Internet and in other venues bemoaning the fact that our liberties are being trampled by tyrants and complaining that people are sheep in the face of it. “Why do these people put up with it?” I’ve said it myself, many times. “Those sheep!”
Of course the bemoaners and complainers are not voluntarily putting themselves in the same situation as those they criticize, to prove they would handle things in a more manly fashion.
People are who they are. Most of us don’t bother ourselves with what the average Joe in Topeka thinks about our religion or lack thereof, or our choice of cars, or what hamburger chain we prefer. We don’t have time for such worries. Shouldn’t government be treated essentially the same way, in almost every case?
I spent a lot of time on homeschool email lists in the past. Whenever a homeschooling newbie appeared on the list, almost the first thing off their keyboard was the question, “How do I get right with the authorities?” I would invariably answer, “Why bother?” Why do people even think about getting permission for every little thing? Is this another version of grade school, where you have to ask the teacher for permission to pee?
No doubt what I am saying is not much news to folks around here. But I sometimes get the impression we don’t fully realize the extent to which the state (or its minions) don’t matter; otherwise we would tone down the complaining about it.
For parasitism to work, the parasites have to be relatively few, otherwise the host organism is overwhelmed. There just aren’t that many minions and enforcers out there to get excited over. Cops run on the order of one per thousand population. One per thousand! Of them, very few are actually homicidal maniacs.
The Dorner manhunt was instructive. The whole Keystone Kops brigade were out there looking for him, vast numbers of cops. They were looking amazingly ineffectual, not to mention absurdly stupid (filling a truck full of bullet holes without worrying too much who was in it). These are the people we are supposed to be afraid of? These are the ones whose job it allegedly is to protect us? This is the implacable state?
Remember how long the two idiots Malvo and Muhammad had their way in the Washington D.C. area?
Sometimes I wonder if the “thrashing of the dead dinosaur’s tail” that is so dangerous to us as the current empire comes to an end, is not actually the thrashing of a dead gecko’s tail.
You might say, “It could have been my truck they filled with bullet holes.” Well, yeah, it could have been. You could have been struck by lightning going to work, too. You could have been a victim in a terrorist suicide bombing. But you weren’t. Do we concern ourselves with every unlikely possibility? Driving itself would be impossible. At some point, sane people put the fear aside and continue on.
Do we really care what gun control is passed by Congress, for example? Why? If you think your “gun rights" depend on those bozos, you might as well hand ‘em over right now. Some of us don’t intend to be quite so accommodating. The majesty of the state does not impress us. We actually do believe it is just a grubby collection of criminals. Our ownership of guns depends on their opinion? I don’t think so!
What is going to give us problems is the collapse of the economy. But that too is just another force of nature, since it is part of our human nature to have economies--and also to bend them to our personal needs if we have the power to do so. Some forces of nature actually can smash us. Every now and then a big storm comes along, and you have to batten the hatches down. Prepare the best you can, and then carry on.
Otherwise, the antics of humans should be a source of amusement. We are an amusing creature, after all. Mencken had the right attitude: "Here (in America) the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly, the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat slittings, of theological buffoneeries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villanies, imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances is so inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only a person born with a petrified diaphram can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night and wake up with all the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-School superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows."
I don’t know if I’m getting my point across, or even if I have much of one. Maybe that, if you are constantly in fear and frequently finding yourself agitated, the rulers might have you just where they want you! My guiding light these days seems to be Alfred E. Newman, “What, me worry?” Works for me. I also like this statement by Karl Hess: "The revolution occurs when the victims cease to cooperate."