It seems to me, if governments did only their core responsibilities, the world’s economy would expand rapidly, wars would become a thing of the past and crime would become rare. People who run the governments around the world, have created a system where their power and wealth is protected and enhanced by regulation, taxes, usurpations and war. To that end the bureaucracy is their most powerful tool. It is in actuality arbitrary rule with an administrative face. The role of government is, and always has been, warped. Since the first tyrant usurped power and attacked his neighbor to expand the tyrant’s domain, government was set up by and for the powerful. That dark paradigm has existed up to today with only a very few bright stars. We remember them in our history books, lore and our imaginations. The future could be bright instead of dark, if governments followed the examples of those singular places and times, where government took it’s rightful role, instead of being the means for evil people to meet their wants at cost to humanity.
When Rome threw off the yoke of the tyranny of kings and became a republic, protecting the rights and property of all the people, it started down a path that would lead it to become the longest lasting empire the world has ever seen. At it’s apex Rome covered most of the then known world. It’s economy was second to none and the military might it wielded couldn’t be matched. Contrary to popular opinion, Rome didn’t invade any of it’s neighbors, it only fought defensive wars, and if a neighbor kept attacking it, Rome would conquer it, leave the government intact, only placing a governor to make sure it didn’t attack Rome again. Every city state that Rome conquered in that way was better off than before in every measurable way. That is how Rome expanded during the republican years.
From this example, we see that when the city state of Rome had a government that followed it’s right role, Rome was prosperous and safe, when it abandoned that right role of government, crime, tyranny and poverty ruled. In republican Rome the people were jealous of their liberty and the elite kept to their place. Once the elite, patricians, realized they had the power to take the wealth and property of the people, plebeians, they began destroying Rome from within. The rot started when those who wielded political power began increasing that power and using it to steal. They must have had some knowledge of what they were doing, but their selfish interests trumped philosophy and patriotism for their country. It has been said that when Rome was a republic, it enjoyed nothing but good fortune, and when it became a tyranny, is suffered nothing but catastrophe. Every nation, country and empire is the same.
One of government’s principle economic downfalls, was the invention of the administrative state, the bureaucracy. A legislative body meets in the open, with every eye of the nation upon it, when an executive signs, vetos or enacts a law there is not one person who doesn’t know who did it and why, but where bureaucracy reigns, every act is hidden by the bureaucracy itself, with no one to hold accountable and no one to who has responsibility. Right government is transparent and accountable while wrong government is opaque and all powerful. By this definition bureaucracy is wrong government. Opaque government is the system most people have had to live under since the dawn of time, and only a very few people in limited periods of time got to enjoy transparent government, before they were destroyed from within, by those very people entrusted with it’s protection. Moreover, bureaucracy needs something to do, and what it does is regulate, and so regulation must grow forever, until the eventual fall.
It is in the interests of those who run governments to make as large a proportion of the population dependent on government, and therefore them, as possible. Doing so increases their power, lowers the chance of their loosing that power and allows them to hand out largess to their cronies. Wealth in such a system flows only to those with political favor. That is how Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont, went from welfare to becoming a multimillionaire simply by holding public office. His case is no different than the Roman statesmen, who connived to take the land from the plebeians, or the elite who took all the land from the citizens of Athens, requiring Solon’s sage innovations. All governments are the same, those with political power live above the law, and those without political power are below it’s protections.
It isn’t me who is saying that limited government creates prosperity, peace and equanimity, it is history, along with the smartest human beings to ever draw a breath, I am just parroting them. Taxes are a drag on the economy, that cannot be denied, and they only go up, regulation is friction to an economy, yet they are never high enough, those in government refuse to hold themselves to any of their own laws or constitutional limits, and there is always some tin pot dictator who wants to subject more people and more land to his despotism. That is the nature of government, we all know this intuitively, but listen when the elite claim limited government would be a catastrophe, and it would be… for them.
The future could be bright, and might be, if only we demand it… but the elite will use every dirty trick in the book to hold onto their usurped power, prerogative and wealth. The internet could be a means to reclaim our sovereignty, but now it is being groped by the greasy hands of the bureaucracy. There are some who say that technology is going to advance so fast, even the most ardent regulator wont be able to reign in our freedom, lets pray and work to that goal. The capacity of humanity to create untold wealth and peace for everyone is unlimited. The only thing standing in the way of humanity’s living in that peace, prosperity and liberty, is government and those who run it.