Government.


America Is the Only Country That Went from Barbarism to Decadence Without Civilization In Between (said Oscar Wilde)

I am rewriting this essay in light of what I see in the United States in 2016.

First, understand that I believe that in general, humanity is in a long term positive trend. Some of America's founding fathers were truly inspired and wise. The checks and balances they imposed on their new government were prudent. It has taken many years for this government to sqeeze out from under those checks and balances to become a real monster. It's tendrals reach into more and more areas of its citizens, and the rest of the world's lives, yet it still calls itself the Land of Liberty.

All men (and even all non-human animals) want to be free. The founding fathers recognized that the only legitimate fuctions of government were to best preserve this freedom. They tried to write a constitution that precluded the government from EVER intruding into most aspects of our lives. Yet slowly, the forces of popular mass opinion, power seeking politicians, Christianity, and just plain stupidity have led to the bizarre state of the U.S. government today.

It is actually a good sign that the man in the street now routinely considers his own judgment and conscience to be better guides (to him) than anyone else's laws. This does not mean that any choice an individual makes is just or right. If he initiates violence or threats against others, he is committing the same evils that most governments commit.

Tragically, governments lay ultimate claim to our property (one fruit of our labors), criminalize numerous types of consensual, private experience, and sometimes enslave our bodies (the draft, jury duty, even filling out tax forms). Especially due to the Republican party, the U.S has pursued intrusive, aggressive, financially wasteful, and diplomatically foolish foreign policy. This has led to America being reviled in much of the world, and makes us all more likely to experience terrorist violence. The U.S. government's foreign policy has made it dangerous to travel with a U.S. passport, and has probably lowered living standards significantly (as do most tax and spend programs).

Additionally, any government which tries to protect individuals from themselves becomes an obnoxious and unnecessary intrusion. A government which imprisons people merely for experimenting with altered states of consciousness is capable of any evil. The witch burning hysteria of a few centuries ago never really ended. Governments today still fear the unknown, and still resort to torture (prison), body cavity work, property seizures, and who knows what else, just as the Inquisition did, in counter-progressive and futile attempts to restrict lifestyles to some political idea of 1950's TV normality. I guarantee you, people and societies will change over time, and never be static. Thus, to attempt to impose stasis at any point is to impede the natural order. The Republican Party would outlaw abortion, homosexuality, teaching evolutionary science, and teaching climate change science in schools if they could. Under Ronald Reagan, they kept the U.S. off of the Metric System. They would appoint Supreme Court justices that would set the nation back 70 years.

Note that I do not think the Democrats are wise either, but they are just stupid, not evil like the Republicans.

Two nation states that seem relatively sane today are Switzerland and Canada. Note that they spend on things like infrastructure, and limit foreign policy to occassional humanitarian aid. Most first world countries wisely spend on health care programs instead of military bases in over 100 countries in the world.

Some things to keep in mind when thinking about government are:

  • Most governments basically operate to serve their employees. Think about this, it explains much.

  • The absence of intrusive, self-perpetuating governments is not necessarily chaos.

  • Much anger surrounds and is associated with the government. This is one indication that government is a low-level influence in our lives. To live sanely, it is probably best to make government as little a part of one's life as possible, but to be ready to get out if things get really crazy.

  • Since becoming totally free is the same thing as awakening, a true seeker might experience ANY constraints as unnatural and arbitrary.

  • I suspect that only by evolving ourselves as individuals will meaningful atrophy of government occur.

    What might be a saner perspective on government?
    A man might as well take the practical view that throughout human history there were individuals and groups attempting to enslave us in various ways, and that the best one could do was to achieve ones goals, and live ones life, in spite of these obstacles. If you meet a tiger in the jungle, try to avoid it, don't try to take it on directly.

    What about helping improve the world, and social movements?
    Ramana Maharshi says that a man can only help the world by evolving himself. I take this to mean that only one-on-one interactions between people, and improvements in individual character, change things. I also take it to mean that the "individual" creates his reality MUCH more than he imagines. I suspect that most mass political movements which seemed to change culture, were in the air anyway, and that the individuals involved were largely puppets in the process.

    What could replace governments?
    Associations (on ANY scale) of individuals voluntarily banding together for one or more purposes (goals, intents) is nobler than probably any existing government today. Since the noblest human interactions are voluntary, then lack of coercive force or threats must be an attribute of ANY such association of people. Anyway, mutual aid societies, to the extent that they were formed of conscious types, would never assume that they would or should exist forever, and would constantly reevaluate their need to exist.



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