It seems to me, the presumption of government always, and must always, stifle innovation. Societies that lack innovation stagnate. Those poor souls living in societies that are in stagnation, have only the past to look at, when estimating the future. A lack of innovation has many results… all of them bad. Alternatively, less government results in more innovation. Innovation that would have been crushed under a pile of red tape and licensing can flourish instead. Everyone doing their own thing and not forcing anyone else to act, think or believe, whether through government coercion, the threat of violence, blacklists or political correctness, allows humanity the ability to innovate, creating the expansionary part of the economic cycle. So it is very true that government has a great deal to do with the state of the economy.
Government presumes to know best for everyone everywhere. Not only do they know what is best for you and I, they are willing to do violence to our persons, for our own good. The whole chain is based on the presumption of those in government. The sin of presumption is to expect to go to heaven no matter what one does on Earth. The sinner presumes, or in other words believes that which is not so. The consequences for society, civilization and the march of humanity by the presumption of those in government not only is a violation of the limits our Constitution puts on government but has been is and will be the downfall of civilizations, past present and future.
Innovation is the lifeblood of a civilization. The very reason ours has been so successful is that we have not only allowed innovation, but encouraged it through patent law, copyright, venture capital, etc… Our civilization is the most scientifically advanced, not because we are at the end of time as we know it, but because we have allowed innovation. Innovation is dangerous to vested interests however. Change is always harmful to those at the top simply because change means they will no longer be at the top, that is the meaning of change. Therefore those at the top of a scientific field, industry, firm, agency, corporation etc… will oppose it. Since they wield political power to match their economic might, they presume to “ask” government to limit innovation in the name of, safety, patriotism, protectionism, apply the RICO statutes, and sometimes, dammit, it’s for the children. What it all amounts to is innovation and thereby, civilization itself, is stifled.
A stifled civilization always rots… Imagine the Roman in the declining years looking forward and saying to his friends that Rome would recover if only a new emperor was inaugurated. When in fact only a slow rotting away of his empire, language, status, wealth, indeed his very way of life was being disintegrated before his unseeing eyes. All the while presuming his and his civilization’s fortunes would turn rosy again… The old ways, the only ways allowed under penalty of law, become ever less effective to meet the always growing demand and so, calamity after calamity ensue. Once a civilization enters the final stage of decline, where each bad decision is met with another that is worse which is, of course, met with an even more absurd decision, the path is set. Even the most resilient societal and economic fabric cannot withstand such shearing force, force that gathers with each stupid decision.
Even when government is most benevolent and kind as it grows so innovation declines. The most wise man of Machiavelli’s time might have prescribed leeches for a migraine. To argue that was quackery would have got you arrested. The consensus of the scientific community is always in flux. The moment it stops changing it ceases to be a scientific community and becomes a cult. Today the consensus of scientists might believe that children are better off never having a pacifier. Regardless of merits of the argument, to force others to follow that dictate shows presumption. Even when the weight of scientific evidence shows a thing to be true to presume to force another to follow that finding is tantamount to the inquisition, the question being scientific consensus instead of Justification.
In the end, civilization only advances when there are many small experiments going on all the time. This country tries that economic policy, that nation over there tries a different legal system, another is an oligarchy while millions of economic experiments go on at the same time. A store opens on 4th street by the bakery, will it last, is it located right to get foot traffic, are the prices competitive, too high, too low… Millions upon millions of little experiments going on, each yielding their results to mankind, showing us what doesn’t work, what works, what works better and how to get around doing it at all. Any smothering of innovation and the mechanism of human advancement stops. All those small experiments cease and the whole thing stagnates… all because some egoists presumed to know what was best.