June 26, 2021

The Problem with Big Government

Chester McAteer:

Politicians haven't a clue about the principles of economics, in fact, in general they haven't a clue.

They tend to ignore all that they don't know and yet, always act as though they know everything.

Now this is where Politicians go astray in their policy decisions, since no individual is knowledgeable about every aspect of everyone's life, about the choices that millions of individuals make in their daily lives or the decisions that individuals would make absent political actions or inducements, politicians usually assume an ignorant position when constructing legislation. No matter how much we think we know, the truth is that we can't ever know enough to anticipate all the consequences of our actions, in particular the consequences of political actions. This is one reason why almost every piece of political legislation, no matter how good the intent behind said legislation, must be reformed because of the unknowability of unintended consequences. What happens is laws are reformed and then the reformed law must be reformed over and over because of the consequences of each subsequent reformation. Because we are not all-knowing we create errors that ultimately must be corrected and yet even the corrections don't correct the original error or the subsequent errors of continual reforms.

The problem arises when politicians assume a knowledge that they really don't, nor can they fully possess. Because of this fact, society suffers and continues to suffer, all primarily due to principles, principles of human action and political economics that politicians ignore 99.999% of the time. Every problem we face, both as individuals and as a society as a whole is due to politicians creating laws that are contrary to set principles that history has confirmed to be true for generations.

Politician's urge to make decisions for individuals without regard for the fact that we are individuals who have not only the ability but also the necessity to make choices for our lives, do a great disservice to society. The default position of the individual is freedom, freedom from coercion, from force, from external edits that are contrary to human nature and the desire of humans to be free. As individuals we are always free to either continually make the same mistakes over and over again or we learn from our mistakes. Due to the nature of politics and therefore politicians however, mistakes are rarely either corrected or lessons learned, in fact many times mistakes are not recognized for years or even decades, if ever.

For the individual, risks are a natural occurrence of choices however, the same is not true for politicians, they rarely face the same risks as individuals or even society. In fact, many times they exempt themselves from the effects of the laws they pass.

As individuals we can usually quickly determine the fact that we have made a mistake, we can quickly adjust our choices to ensure that we are not harmed or harmed as much by our mistakes. The same cannot be said for politicians and because of that fact politicians should be very circumspect in their legislative actions by following principles of economics, in particular, and have a knowledge of human action that will allow them to anticipate the consequences of the laws they pass. As much as politicians believe they can think for individuals, that it is possible for them to make decisions and choices for individuals it is absolutely impossible and therein is the crux of crafting legislation.

Politicians are not made from any finer clay than any of the rest of us, being elected doesn't empower them with any special knowledge or a greater ability to understand the intricacies of either individuals or, in particular, society as a whole. Politicians have the same innate desire as any other individual, like all of us, for certainty but the unbelievable number of variables in life make such certainty impossible. It is this desire that tends to foil good legislation, the desire to eliminate all pain and suffering, all poverty and inequities when such desire is impossible. For many politicians, this desire tends to create more problems than they ever solve because they forget the first principle of humanity and that is we are born as individuals who need their individual freedom.

Tim adds:

Well said. That's why laws should be few, concise, and limited in scope. The People should make decisions about their own lives.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 12:11 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 737 words, total size 5 kb.

1 You've got me thinking of the Biblical concept of shemitah. That's where the Hebrews were told that on every seventh year they had to forgive any debts against them, free any slaves they had; and I believe it extended to each field they planted: every seventh year a field needed a rest and so was not planted.

How wonderful it could be if all the laws on the books dissolved every seven years and had to be re-written. We'd sure end up with fewer laws! I grant you there are good laws -- against murder, rape, burglary, etc. Any really good laws would be the ones they started over with every seven years. It would weed out the unimportant ones quickly.

"WHAT?" you say. "We'd be a society without protection, without laws." Well, currently there seems to be a flagrant disregard for many of the laws on the books. What good is a law if it's ignored?

I just thought this was an interesting idea when it popped into my head.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at June 26, 2021 10:19 PM (aTfFy)

2 It is a wonderful idea Dana. Laws - except in the case of criminal laws - should all sunset. And the bureaucracy should be forced out every seven years too, along with Congress and the Courts.

We need fresh blood and a fresh start.

You know, one of the good things about America in the old days was you could get a fresh start if you wanted; just move out into the frontier. Criminals were only criminals inside their home states, so a guy who did something wrong could still make amends after moving away. It was a kind of amnesty. Yes, it did sometimes lead to desperatos - but it also gave people who repented mercy. Now the mistakes of one's youth follows a person everywhere forever. There is no incentive to clean up one's life if you are a criminal because you have no chance of ever overcoming your past.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at June 27, 2021 07:42 AM (U7nOT)

3 I like your idea of subjecting the bureaucracy to Shemitah! Perhaps with the proviso that once you're out, you can't get back in. Sure, we'd lose some good people that way, but think of the mediocrities we'd be rid of.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at June 27, 2021 09:10 AM (aTfFy)

4 Yep; and most of the bureaucrats ARE mediocrities!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at June 28, 2021 08:11 AM (QgMQq)

5 Absolutely. I've said for years that the bureaucracy exists to employ the unemployable.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at June 28, 2021 10:27 PM (X5D0l)

6 I agree Dana; just look at the post office!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at June 29, 2021 05:09 AM (JSp0E)

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