Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Take the red pill

More so than in any other area of human behavior, the world of politics is firmly and irretrievably grounded in contradictions and illusions. If you were to ask others to identify the purposes for which governments were created, you would likely get the response: "to protect our lives, liberty, and property from both domestic and foreign threats." This is an article of faith into which most of us are indoctrinated since childhood, and to suggest any other explanation is looked upon as a blasphemous social proposition.

"But what," I ask, "are among the first things governments do when they get established? Do they not insist upon the power to take your liberty (by regulating what you can/cannot do), and your property (through taxation, eminent domain, and regulations), and your life (by conscripting you into their service, and killing you should you continue to resist their demands)?"
Then why force always eats itself...
If the police system fails to curb crime, or the government schools continue to crank out ill-educated children, most of us are disposed to giving such agencies additional monies. The motivations for state officials become quite clear: "the more we fail, the more resources we are given." Contrary to marketplace dynamics, contradictions arise between the stated incentives of government programs (e.g., to reduce crime, to improve the quality of education) and the monetary rewards that flow from the failure to accomplish the declared purposes.
Highly recommended.