Conforming human behavior requires and so generates human government; organized groups fare much better than lone individuals. Government is distinguished from other forms of human leadership by its custody of the use of force. There exist two kinds of human government: those in which the citizens exert significant, real control upon the governors and those in which they do not. The former are considered democratic, the latter, authoritarian.  This is the only significant difference among human governments; all others cited are subsidiary. This is recorded in the founding of the United States, the founders of which encoded it with their Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

Generally it is assumed that democratic government is more desirable than dictatorship, though the modern histories of Chile, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan suggest that is not entirely the case, However, such examples are admittedly atypical and usually temporary. And as with everything in our universe, the indicated beneficiaries paid for their gains..

Authoritarian governments naturally try to limit social change, usually seen as destabilizing. Dictatorial governments simply impose and enforce desired behavior as they can, and work to head off significant change thereafter. When change is seen as necessary, they seek to control it. Any instability threatens their existence. Democratic governments are different; the inherent competition between political parties demands competing political programs advertised to improve the present by changing it somehow. Conservative parties favor improvements no less, usually just smaller ones. Sooner or later, the inevitable imperfections of any status quo become targets for opportunistic politicians.

Among political parties, it is said that liberals are about what they want, conservatives are about what they have and libertarians are about what they don’t want. That is certainly simplistic; if it is at all fair it seems to advertise a sound reason for refusing to hand power to any party for very long: constant change, constant reversal and constant obstruction seem equally undesirable, though that is still simplistic. It may help to explain the perennial gap between that which is actually done by a party in office as compared to that which the party claims as its goals.

It comes down to this: While any human politician can promise a utopia, no human governor can produce one. Reality sucks, keeping unreality alive and human governments inherently unstable.  Perceiving instability, human governors counter it with increasing force, simultaneously confining and feeding the instability, thus creating a time bomb. Democratic elections are intended to be safety valves for this. However, the interests of contending politicians are too often better served by negotiated compromise than by the costly uncertainty of elections. That underlies the U.S. two party system and explains the mutual support between contending parties elsewhere upon the formation of a new party. For a politician, the interests of other actors are generally more immediate than those of the voters, outside an impending election. .

The bottom line, if there is one, seems to amount to this: humans are conflicted and variable so human governments are conflicted and variable too. Improved environmental control and communication improve the human condition at the price of destabilizing human organization, so large scale human progress proceeds in fits and starts that challenge both societies and governments.. The human behavior that necessitates human government is also a guarantee that providing said government will always remain a struggle, both for the governed and for the government. Anyone offering us a solution, is pitching us a scam.

The scam du jour is Democratic Socialism, which is itself an oxymoron since only authoritarian government has ever been able to compel people to give up the the means of production. In the United States it is even less realistic considering that it amounts to putting all production into the hannds of those who have given us the VA healthcare system and the U.S. Postal Service as examples of their capabilities.  And provided the public education that has kept America’s youth from understanding that. But democratic politicians will remain swindlers as long as their voters are willing to bet on a free lunch.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Economics, Goverrnment, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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