Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We're all in this together. It's for the greater good. It's important that we all pay our fair share. It takes a village. Recognize any of these statements? They are the stock-in-trade of those who feel that collective 'rights' are more important than the rights of the individual. The fact that groups are made up of individuals doesn't seem to matter to these folks, nor does the fact that collectivism demands universal participation in order for the system to work (however inefficiently), even by those who would prefer not to be involved.

I could go on quoting clichés all afternoon. You have heard them all and so have I. You may even believe that there is some merit to some of the expressions I've used. All I see is mumbo-jumbo. I see George Orwell's Newspeak. I see words that purportedly say one thing but in practice say quite the opposite.

Over the past several days, a couple of gentlemen and I have been bantering in the comments sections of several of my recent posts. One position posited is basically that we need government to keep order and to keep us playing nicely and fairly with each other. I might agree if governments were at least somewhat like what was envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Government has never really been like that though, even in the United States. As soon as ambitious politicians and meddling bureaucrats and various other improvers and busybodies got involved, things went downhill. I would rather have no government at all than to be controlled and manipulated and bled, all for the 'greater good.'

Who gets to define the greater good? Want a hint? It's not the honest guys and gals who work hard to support their families and generally go about their lives minding their own business. No, it's the do-gooders, the world-improvers, the ones with 'vision,' the ones who 'care' and who have compassion. I have a vision (unfortunately not a reality) where I go through life not bothering anyone and not having anyone bother me. Their vision, usually highly impractical and often part of a larger agenda, involves bothering me a great deal, by taking my money, for 'the greater good,' and spending it on things of which I do not approve. I am rarely consulted. They, after all know better.

And that's not all. After they take my money, and squander it hither and yon, they create thousands of rules and regulations to govern my behaviour. I have no problem with being told that it is not acceptable to kill someone, or to steal from someone, or to defame someone. After all, these activities are reserved to the use of governments and they don't want any competition. I do, however, have a problem with being told to do or not do things that by no reasonable measure are anyone else's business.

I believe that we are in for tough times ahead, times during which there will be a lot of tension due to economic hardship and worse. Those are times during which it is of paramount importance for people to work together and stop bashing and blaming each other for whatever ills there are in the world. You are who (and what) you are because of choices you have made. So am I. Occasionally things happen to us over which we have no control -- illness, job loss, accident -- and we sometimes need each other's help. So, let's help each other by treating each other with respect and care. Let's just not pretend that we are helping each other by passing off the problem to government, effectively hiring a bunch of goons who, in the guise of providing services to us, squander most of the money they extort from us and in fact provide very little of any real use to us.


  1. And how 'bout that excrement on the airport loudspeakers? (Distilled version:)
    Der Schtaat tankz u vor zubmittink to it's vill...plebes!!!
    The one I think is the biggest load of crap: "Make the world a better place"...by supporting the latest designer cause, ethical fad or gimmee-group.
    I have a simple, two-word reply for the geniuses trying to sell everyone more socialism; the last word of which is "you", and the first one is NOT "thank", but I suspect you can guess (rhymes with luck).

  2. The line of people who have had just about enough of being bossed around and bled dry is getting longer every day. Excesses such as are going on in the war on drugs and the war on terror are creating more disaffected individuals every day. The system will, and must, implode at some point. The issue is really how long will it take and will there be the almost-inevitable detour into real totalitarianism first.

  3. A close runner up in the Least-fave-cliche-Newspeak category is "Giving back to the community"...As if the people who work their duffs off trying to make a business that's barely functional due to the massive amounts of government interference, red tape and excessive taxation aren't giving enough by providing a valuable service!
    Talk about freaking gall...I'm ranting again, aren't I?
    I think Sylvain Duford missed his calling to be a reporter...He's a thousand times better with compiling facts than Faux News-speak Corporatists and their clones.
    Of course, that could be said for most bloggers. Our profit motive is telling the truth.

  4. That's a great post Sieg. Even though we may disagree on what the solution is, I totally agree on your assessment of the current situation.

  5. Sylvain: It is never a requirement that my friends agree with me. It would be a boring life indeed if everyone walked lockstep in every situation. Independent thought and flexibility about ideas impresses me more.

    I had another discussion today with someone, including the usual 'it couldn't happen here' statement about how stressful times bring out the worst people and the worst ideas, leading often to the dreadful situations so common in the last century. I don't want to see that happen to us and our children.

    Galt: Since I have met Sylvain personally, I can attest that he is meticulous in how he goes about collecting information. I agree with you in that he is a great reporter, and I would go further in saying that he is a great distiller as well, someone who takes reams of data and boils it down to its essence.

    Having said that, I repeat what Sylvain said about the fact that we don't agree on solutions or even the very nature of the problem. That is, of course, our right as free individuals.

    I have a very strong aversion to any sort of top-down 'guidance' or to following blindly behind proponents of any crisis-of-the-day, a result of butting heads far too many times with people who wish to control me or my actions simply because they have a different worldview than I. That means, simply, that I will listen to and consider anything that is presented to me as an option and reject most things that are presented as an edict. We are mostly alike, I think, on this point.

    I'm still looking forward to having that drink, in Boquete with both of you, maybe even at the same time. Now, that would be interesting.

  6. funny thing about those do-gooder collectivists is that they believe in a system that is restrictive of everyone else, while they have carte blanche. As my mom says it: they believe in mercy for themselves and justice for everyone else. Hypocrites. We need to take it back.

  7. :: "mercy for themselves and justice for everyone else"

    Priceless. and true. Love it.