"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
The Great Game of Government™
Column by tzo.
Exclusive to STR
Imagine you are going to participate in one of those chess games in which actual people occupy each of the 64 stations on a large board. If you agree to play, and you are assigned the role of bishop, then you can move only diagonally. Furthermore, you can only move when and how far the player who controls the army of which you are a part decides. Those are the rules of the game.
Of course, as a participant in the game you aren’t really a bishop—you remain a human being. You would be quite delusional to actually confuse your own flesh-and-blood being with that of a large plastic figurine. You would also be quite delusional to believe that the battle represented by the chess game was an actual raging melee between human beings. No, it is merely a game that abstractly represents a tiny slice of reality: A game of war.
Your participation in the chess game is a small portion of your actual life, and when you are not taking part in the chess game, you have no nonsensical restrictions upon you that compel you to walk diagonally only, and only upon command.
But now consider The Great Game of Government.™ Everyone plays! Select a colorful plastic token to represent yourself! You will be assigned a government at the start, but you may change governments at any time! Restrictions apply! Now you are a Citizen in the Great Game of Government! Yay!
A very interesting phenomenon generally manifests itself here. Unlike in the chess game, the human participants in The Great Game of Government confuse themselves with the artificial game pieces. They actually believe they are little Citizen tokens made of plastic, inextricably tied to the rules of the game. The game becomes their entire life—they are immersed in it 24/7. They are like play-actors who believe the stage production is reality. They live as plastic Citizens, not as flesh-and-blood human beings.
This is truly bizarre behavior, is it not?
A Citizen has no human rights. A Citizen is not a sovereign human being. A Citizen is like a bishop in a game of chess, which is a game that abstracts the war portion of reality. But The Great Game of Government abstracts all of reality, not just one tiny slice. Most human beings believe they have no choice but to play, and they quickly lose their way and become, in their minds, actual Citizens.
And Citizen is a lowly station in The Great Game of Government. The imaginary collective entity that is labeled The People is sovereign, while individual Citizens are not. The People enjoy superhuman rights that they can delegate to The Officeholders. The Officeholders create and enforce the rules of The Great Game of Government as it goes along, giving them a permanent advantage over The People.
At times, The Citizens urge The People to get tough and stop letting The Officeholders push The Citizen around. After all, The People are sovereign, just like The Officeholders. But The People gave The Officeholders the power to forge the rules of the game even as it is in progress. The Officeholders have declared that they have control of The Guns and that The Citizens better keep in line or else it may Get Ugly. This is perfectly acceptable behavior, since whatever rule they make is valid via the superhuman powers delegated to them by The People.
And so on.
Well, what a stupid fecking game. I quit. I am a human being, not a Citizen. I was born to be sovereign upon the face of the Earth, and I do not relinquish this inalienable status (paradox noted) in order to participate in a rigged shell game. I am not destined to Forever Remain Only On The Black Squares. The Great Game of Government is not part of my life. I am very sorry that there are many deluded people who cannot understand this—who believe they are actually plastic figurines and not flesh-and-blood human beings—who assume I am playing the game with them because they cannot distinguish that it is merely a game and that an entire reality exists outside of the game. I exist in reality, and the rules of reality do not correspond with that of The Great Game of Government.
The game is not reality, but it is superimposed over it like a giant 1:1 scale paper map. The Citizens do not walk the Earth as human beings, they slide around on the superimposed paper map as plastic tokens, their actions restricted by the ever-changing rules of the game.
Well, to all you delusional Dungeons and Dragons role-playing types who have lost their grip and can no longer distinguish between fantasy and reality, just stay out of my way: I'm not playing with you.
Of course the masses will want to force me to play anyway. But then it's not really a game anymore, is it? Can you tell the difference?