Self Interested Exploitation And Government

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avarice_-_Jacob_Matham.jpg

Script:

There is an even more fundamental concept from economics than the invisible hand or monopolies that should be understood.  And that is, self interested entities will deal unfairly to gain for themselves while causing others to lose. It is either competition or regulation that prevents this exploitative practice.   You can say it is also morals or religion that prevent this exploitative practice, but it is foolish to depend on these.  It is foolish to give government power under the idea government will act morally in its use of that power.  So, in constructing government, you must consider how to make the interests in government compete with themselves, or how to regulate government so it does not exploit citizens.  And, if we look at the US, the US founders did this in a number of ways.

First, by having state governments and a federal government, it was thought that the states would compete with each other, and that the states would compete with the federal government, such that the federal government would not be able to usurp power that was vested in the states.  Unfortunately, through bribery, through the central bank, and through many other sly efforts, the federal government has managed to co-opt states, and states no longer pose much of a check against the federal government.

Second, the founders created three branches of government: the executive, judicial, and legislative.  These branches were supposed to compete with each other and reign in each others' power.  Unfortunately, the branches have figured out that they can cooperate in increasing government power, and they have cooperated in sweeping power grabs like the patriot act.

Third, the founders limited the federal government, stating in the Bill of Rights that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution ... are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."  But, this hasn't stopped the federal government from intentionally misinterpreting the general welfare clause to mean the federal government has the power to do just about anything so long as it is rationalized to be for the general welfare

Fourth, the founders attempted to make each individual culpable for defending his or her rights by presenting those rights in the Bill of Rights as something both the states and the federal government must abide by.  And, by having the rights listed, each citizen is justified in asserting those rights above any other government proclamation.  But, even with these rights listed, and even with a justification for asserting these rights, when government threatens citizens with imprisonment or death, citizens are not inclined to assert their rights.

Although religion can serve to empower individuals to fight exploitation, and although religion can serve to prevent individuals from acting exploitatively. the system of government can not rely on religion to prevent government from being exploitative.  It, instead, falls upon regulatory dynamics and competitive dynamics to prevent government from becoming malignant.  And, although the US government is probably the forefront of optimal design in terms of preventing government malignancy, the checks on power have failed.

Any static set of rules designed to regulate an evolving system will eventually fail.  And, although the founders were smart enough to realize this, and they provided a means to adapt to the evolving system by allowing the constitution to be amended, this was apparently insufficient to prevent the malignant accumulation of power, and the moneyed monopoly interests have ended up subverting the US.

So, before you assert this or that system is the best form of government, know that the US Founder were not only very smart, they also had the best understanding in history of how to create a controlled government, and they still failed.

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