Sunday, February 14, 2016

How's That Government Workin' For Ya'?

It appears that some people are waking up to the fact that our government doesn't reliably work to the benefit of the people who are paying the bill, and this, unfortunately, seems to be coming as something of a surprise to the newly-awakened.  Such people can often be found at rallies for Bernie Sanders encouraging us to "feel the Bern", and one suspects that their hope is that having an avowed socialist as President will fix that problem.  This is truly the triumph of hope over experience.

I know how they feel.  I have for a long time been aware that government does not fulfill my hopes and dreams.  In fact, it often works at cross-purposes to those hopes and dreams, almost as if it were designed to thwart those hopes and dreams.  Perhaps it is.

You may recall my positing recently that the nature of government is to be corrupted by wealth and power, and suggesting a libertarian government might be worth a try.  In case you suspected I was suggesting there that a libertarian government would not become corrupted by wealth and power, allow me to correct that mistaken notion:  Yes, even a libertarian government is subject to becoming corrupt.  Our only hope is that it gives us a temporary toehold from which to minimize the damage.

A government which does not start out life already corrupted (almost) inevitably becomes corrupt over time.  I think this may be something of a law of nature since I have never heard of any government that was not, at the end, irredeemably corrupt.  If we approach the problem with this history firmly in our thoughts we soon begin to understand that corruption is inherent.  Very well, if we are destined to have a corrupt government, what can we do about it?  A large corrupt government is a big problem.  A small corrupt government is less of a problem.  The answer suggests itself:  to minimize the corruption, minimize the government.  What the proponents of 'smaller government' always seem to miss is that the benefit of a small government is almost entirely that the inherent corruption is thereby minimized.  The reason for this is fairly straight-forward:  a smaller government interferes less with the normal workings of an economy.

Holy $#!@!, you're thinking, is this guy crazy?  He wants to eliminate government controls??  Hang on;  the only reason corporations can get away with their predatory antics is that their bought-and-paid-for Congress has rigged the system to allow it.  Absent Congressional do-jiggering, the economy would flush them like it did Enron, and courts would pound them into the dust.  The 'vicious capitalist tactics' you so deplore are only possible because of Congressional enablers.

Okay, so how do we get a smaller government?

Well, the Republicans have long touted themselves as 'the party of smaller government'.  How have they done so far?  Alas, there has never been a Republican administration that did not preside over a larger government than the one before.  If the GOP is the party of smaller government, they must define 'smaller' as 'smaller than some theoretical maximum sized government', and they haven't yet found the proper size for their 'smaller government'.  What we know for sure from their actions is that the smaller government they seek is much larger than the one we've got now, and the one we've got now is thoroughly corrupt.  Making it bigger can only make the problem worse.  Voting Republican in order to get a smaller government is a losing bet.

Ditto the Democrats.  They freely admit their goal is to grow government because the one we've got is incapable of doing all the good things they propose.  They won't get us a smaller, less corrupt government.  They will get us a larger, more corrupt government.

Perhaps at this point you're thinking: "He's going to say 'vote Libertarian'.  If I do that, it's like casting a vote for the person I don't want elected.  It's wasting my vote!"  Well, it may seem like wasting your vote, but look at it through the other end of the telescope.  When you vote for this party or that, your vote is seen as an affirmation of what that party is doing.  Whether that party is guaranteeing universal medical care or waging war on Podunkia, they see it as your approval to do more of it.

Oh, and to make the government bigger and more corrupt.  Did I mention that?  Yes, when you vote for an already-corrupt party you're approving the corruption and encouraging them to become more corrupt.  That's not what you meant?  Sorry; that's what they heard.

Futhermore, whether you get a big, corrupt Democratic administration or a big, corrupt Republican administration, do you really think it makes much of a difference?

If you're really, truly concerned about government corruption (and if you aren't, you haven't been paying attention) you simply must not vote either Republican or Democratic.  It almost doesn't matter who you vote for as long as it isn't one of them.  Of course, I think we'd all be better served if all those 'wasted votes' went to the Libertarian candidates, but, no, it just doesn't matter.  What matters is that the winning candidate wins by garnering 27% of the votes cast, followed closely by the loser with 25%, and the Libertarian with 17%, the Green with 14%, the Socialist Workers candidate with 11%, and the Silly Party candidate with 6%.  When the talking heads of ABC, CBS, and NBC figure out that 'minor parties' got 48% of the votes cast, the next Presidntial debates you see (if you watch that tripe) will be very different than what you see today, and wouldn't that be a nice change for once?

Beyond that, once the major parties see that they're losing grass-roots support (and, probably, contributions) they may change their approach to governing.

At this point, almost any change would be an improvement.