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October 25, 2014

Fundamental Concepts-What Does Government Produce? [WeirdDave]

Here's a simple question, but it's one that very few people even think to ask: What does government produce? Think about it for a minute. With any other organization, the first thing that you need to know to start to understand its nature is, why does it exist? What is it for? In other words, what does it produce? GM produces cars, Apple produces phones, an orchestra produces music. Once you understand that basic fact, you can start to analyze how each organization functions to fulfill that purpose, and more importantly, realize how an organization seeks to maximize that production. If you examine the structure of GM, and you find, say, a Muslim relationship division, then that division was created (absent outside influence-we'll come back to this) to help GM produce more cars. Maybe they wanted to put a factory in a Muslim country, and the division was created to make sure the company could do so efficiently by not offending the native culture. Maybe it was created to produce Muslim friendly sales material to increase sales in a Muslim country. It doesn't matter. What matters is that the division exists to further GM's production of cars.

Now, let's turn this same critical eye to government. What does government produce? A leftist will tell you that government produces jobs, health care, happiness, wealth, a healthy environment, clean water, safe food, whatever. In point of fact, government produces none of these things.

The one and only product of government is power. Government produces (or more accurately, projects) nothing other than power. Look at anything that government does, and once you strip away all the rhetoric, you'll find that all it's doing is projecting power, and that it has only two ways to do that. Government has the power to compel and the power to spend. That's it. Everything government does falls into one of those two categories.

The power to compel

Government power to compel is nothing more than brute force. The people are compelled to obey laws passed by government because if they don't, government can and will force them to go to jail. This is not a bad thing. We (most of us anyway) want government to enforce laws against murder, theft and rape. We want government to force people who break those laws into jail, hopefully for a long time.

There are two subsets of the power to compel, really they are just buffers between the citizen and the jail cell. The first is the power to regulate, and the second is the power to take. Regulations are weak versions of laws. They are not laws, because they were not passed by any legislative body. They do have the power of law behind them. The legislature established the regulatory body and lends it the ability to bring the brute force of government to bear if it chooses - break a regulation and you could go to jail - but often there is an opportunity for the citizen to come into compliance with the regulation short of that, most frequently by utilizing the power to take. The regulatory body may take money or property from the citizen as a consequence of their breaking a regulation and allow the citizen to avoid jail, but the iron fist of incarceration is always sheathed by the velvet glove of the fine.

The power to take also stands on its own. Government takes taxes from the people, it takes wealth from the future through irresponsible borrowing, and it make take wealth from the people indirectly, through inflationary policy. Remember my essay from two weeks ago, Government is theft? Government loves utilizing its power to take, because the ability to take allows them to employ something that is far more powerful than brute force, and that is the power to spend.

The power to spend

Imagine for a minute that you want your neighbor's 57 Chevy. Now, you could go over there and take it, but chances are he'd resist. You'd have to fight him for it, and even if you knew going in that you'd win, he might hurt you in the process, the Chevy might be damaged, all manner of bad things could happen. OTOH, if you had Bill Gates' checkbook, you could just keep giving him money until he gives you the keys. Which is easier?

It's the same with government. They have unlimited money to spend (see the power to take, above), so it is far easier to achieve their ends by spending money than by utilizing force. What do they care? It's not their money. Did you care how deep you went into Bill Gates' pocket to get the 57 Chevy? Didn't think so.

"OK", you say, "So what?" What I've described is simply the normal function of government. That's how it works, how it has always worked and how it will always work. And you're right. But think back for a minute to the GM example above. All parts of GM work towards the goal of producing more cars, or better cars, or producing cars more efficiently, or more profitably. Couple that with one further insight:

Organizations, like organisms, have one prime directive: They must survive, and they seek to grow.

GM seeks to survive and grow by producing more cars, or better cars, or producing cars more efficiently, or more profitably. Government is no different, and since the only thing it actually "produces" (projects) is power, the prime directive of government is to project more power, to better project power, to more efficiently project power or to project power over more and more things.

So here we have the hypothetical government bureau the Office of Muslim Outreach. The stated purpose of the OMO is to foster friendly relations with the Muslim world. Contrary to the fevered delusions of leftists everywhere, it doesn't do that by its mere existence, so it has to DO something. First, it uses its power to take money in the form of taxes to fund itself. Deciding that maybe Muslims would like us better if they were driving shiny new cars, it issues a regulation that all auto companies form a department of Muslim relations to facilitate the sale of cars to the Middle East. Then it figures that tone of the negative nellies in the US are working counter to it's directive, and prosecutes activist "Mama Lou" Feller for inciting hate and forces her into jail. It then spends money to hire everybody who belongs to the group Committee for Islamic/American Chumminess to go to Iran and tell the Imams that those American kids are just alright with them.

All of this is done in the name of fostering friendly relations, but what's created is a self perpetuating bureaucratic machine that gradually takes over the entire country. Next year OMOs budget grows, it requires the computer and gas industries to engage in outreach, the website Gee, Maud's Clock shuts down to avoid prosecution, and CIAC hires more missionaries and sends them to Saudi Arabia. Since CIAC is now dependent on funding from OMO, it lobbies Congress to increase OMO's budget, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Obviously, all of this couldn't happen in America (yet), and that's because the Founders recognized the principle I've been talking about and set firm limits on what government could and couldn't do with its power. It's been almost 250 years, however, and those limits have been weakened, exceeded, eliminated and ignored. They will continue to be weakened, exceeded, eliminated and ignored until the above scenario becomes not only likely, but inevitable (see: Prime Directive). Nothing is going to stop this unless We the People remember that the only thing government has to offer is power; and power inevitably will consume everything and everyone if it is not strictly limited and controlled.

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posted by Open Blogger at 02:10 PM

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