Government

/ Kleptocracy /
@ K. 1999

Government: The Thief In Chief

The more important, the more fundamental, the subject the more likely the treatment is to be inadequate. That’s certainly true of this my treatment, but understand, my subject, my government, has sabotaged me every step of my life. I think I do pretty well considering. First I resurrect the module as I posted it in 1999 (before my arrest and jailing, 2006 10 and censorship (2007 02). I add the scrapbook file I’d appended, and then I’ll add notes on important thinking and learning I’ve invested in the subject since 1999:

Government:
the Institutionalization of Interference

And

Government:
a parasite with no respect for its host

I rescue this 2015 10 29 a bit at a time

What do all governments have in common? What is the essence of government?
I’m not asking how they publicize themselves or what tame historians write: I’m asking what would a rationally skeptical anthropologist or a disinterested, scientifically oriented alien find? A little reverse-engineering is in order.

Governments tax.
Governments spend.

Then they tax more so they can spend more, taking always a portion for themselves.

Anything else?
Yes.

Governments expand.

Contraction, like stasis, is death.

2006 09 29 There. That’s my original government module. Over the past eight years it gerrymandered, gathered quotes, other comments … Meanwhile it spawned a scrapbook. Today I restore it to its original simplicity, move all additions to the scrapbook, and create a government quotes file.


Government: a disease of overpopulated civilizations. We can no more reason ourselves out of government than we can reason ourselves free of cancer.

2015 10 29 I’ve read a lot of good writing on the subject since 1999, the more so since my release from prison in 2007: Albert Jay Nock, Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Frank Chodorov …

Government Quotes

Government Scrapbook

nogovt
drawing by Jackney Sneeb

Alternate Take: Mini Take:

People trust their governments to cheat on their behalf.

If the government doesn’t successfully cheat on your behalf, posturing the while so that you can feel morally superior about it, then what good is it? The leader who fails gets his head kicked through the marketplace.

When our enemies cheat, they forfeit all rights;
when we cheat, we’re just being sensible.

All external government is tyranny.
Benjamin Tucker

The American Dream:

Abraham Lincoln was born in a little log cabin in the state of Illinois (then still-forested). He went to the White House in Washington DC, fronting on the Potomac River (no longer forested).

pk’s Dream:

That the United States Government, that all governments that ever were or ever could be, would go from “the White House in Washington DC, fronting on the Potomac River”, to a little log cabin in any forest, preferably in a state of stillness: and there get unborn. [note]

First, government is how a society gangs up on its neighbors.
Finally, government is how a society gangs up on itself.
(After all, top predators themselves need a check.)

Asleep at the wheel and proud of it
Alvin Toffler

My piece on magic asserts that Church and State are siblings, that both offer magical solutions to “problems” which I strongly suggest are pathological on the part of the public to begin with, that our sense of cause and effect is so naive as to beg trickery. Elsewhere, practically everywhere, I further hint that statesmen as well as priests are strongly akin to magicians and their assistants. They control the Illusions, but not without the willing gullibility of a majority itself steeped in deception.

When the Church ruled we were all brainwashed as Catholics. The Church stumbled and its sibling in fake magic, the State, quickly stepped forward. (I should return to develop the observation that both have acted as missionaries for the other depending on which is ascendant for the period in question. Meanwhile, think of the crusades for example.) [note] Now religion is optional but government isn’t. Public “education” is the norm for most societies. The contemporary products of schooling equate absence of government with chaos. Chaos is thought of as the absence of God’s magic and the absence of the State’s order. I say that both of the latter are illusions. The real god has no truck with magic. Order is a condition of existence. Order existed before the evolution of Homo sapiens. The State’s “order” is inherited by natural causes. It is not a product of the State. The Church credits God for marriage. But human monogamy (in so far as humans are monogamous) is far older than the God whose creation has been dated at 4004 BC. (See also Jared Diamond, The Third Chimpanzee or Why is Sex Fun?) The State pulls the same trick, taking credit for ancient behaviors, ancient orders.

There can be no such thing as “limited government,”
because there is no way to control an entity that in principle enjoys a monopoly of power …
Joseph Sobran

The genus Homo developed approximately seven million years ago: Homo sapiens five hundred thousand years ago. Anatomically modern humans appeared around two hundred thousand years ago. The mentally modern species is approximately fifty thousand years old. Governments postdate agriculture. Agriculture is only ten thousand five hundred years old. Are we really supposed to believe that we couldn’t survive without government? Were we dead for the first ninety-odd percent [note] of our time of existence? You want to see a “miracle”? How about billions of the schooled believing that they’d evaporate if there were no government? (I concede that natural law and existing customs would not support six billion humans very well, especially not when the culture encourages their greed and selfishness. (How can a “Christian” own stock when profits aren’t shared with the poor?) But then I don’t think six billion greedy humans should survive: just a few hundred million natural men. The deaths of the rest by whatever cause would be a “good thing.”)

still to edit, weed: move to Government Scrapbook

Modern governments promise whatever will keep the taxes flowing. The current fashion is to promise fairness, equality, and a “level playing field.” Does any government deliver? Do we get our money back when it doesn’t? No. Neither do we demand it.
No. Government says “equality.” We read between the lines and hear “advantage”: the US will strive to make sure that we get the Arab’s oil on favorable terms now that we’ve wasted so much of our own, blown it up in wars and so forth.
The state is concentric and the individual is eccentric. James Joyce
1999 08 04
My time these days is allocated to improving the section on Meta-Oxymoron but thoughts of this morning move me to insert something briefly here.

We sheeple believe the government has our welfare at heart. Certainly that’s the illusion it must maintain. Last evening’s NBC news had an item that I’ll exploit as a chink in the facade. A woman got a fax in her office. A vacation offer “too good to be true.” The sender identified itself as “Corporate Vacations.” The woman had the impression, intended no doubt by the sender, that her company was subsidizing vacations for its employees. So maybe it was both good and true. She mailed off her check for $699. Nothing happened other than that her check was cashed.
NBC informed us that advertising by fax is illegal. Then it informed us that the law was unenforceable: the companies change 800 numbers regularly. Etc. No doubt they also reincorporate regularly, launder the money, etc.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. H.L. Mencken
Question: why is the government not held responsible for useless legislation? First, we have to pay note the legislators to waste their own time. Then we pay for law enforcement to spin its wheels. Now we pay for news that it’s so. Now the legislators will author new laws. And around we go.
Humans are not competent to write laws; but incompetence doesn’t deter us.
Question: are not the banks licensed by the government? Doesn’t the government recognize the avidity with which many banks launder money? OK, much of it is done off-shore. John Grisham’s The Rainmaker has a jury award $50,000,000 to the family of a deceased plaintiff. The next day the multi-billion dollar firm is bankrupt, the billions safely off in other banks in other countries. Fine. Then why did the judicial system waste our time promising a justice it can’t deliver? The government isn’t in control. How can it be when it’s merely national? Local? Not universal? (No more than the Catholic Church was ever for one instant catholic.) (Nor does the latter represent god!)
Next point: “Corporate Vacations” is a parasite. But then so too are banks parasites. So too are Church and State. (So too are individual citizens who neither find their own food nor make their own shelter.) (OK, symbiosis and parasitism are not identical, but allow the simplification for the sake of the point it does make.) note
The government is in a sense in partnership with the banks. Two symbiont parasites: one saying to the other, You pay us taxes and you too can suck from the well. We’ll make sure you don’t suck too much. Can’t suck it quite dry or there’ll be nothing for either of us to suck.
You can shear a sheep many times but skin it only once. saying
What we “have” is one biosphere, many different environments, all supporting a chaos of competing composite parasites.
That’s how I first thought of it this morning. An instant latter I corrected myself. No, that’s not quite right. The taxpayer is also a parasite. The symbiosis is complex. The real parasite is multi-bodied civilization, sucking the biosphere, sucking it dry, sucking it degraded, sucking it extinct. Civilized man is a willing partner in the web of deceptions. You let us steal Sutter’s land, the Canaanites land, the Lakota’s gold, elbow Japan out of the Pacific we want for ourselves, etc. Promise us equality but give us advantage. And we’ll let you and the banks have their suck. So screw the lady and her vacation check. What? Are we supposed to give the land back to the nomads? What about my mortgage? Laws don’t have to mean anything. We don’t want them to mean anything. If they meant anything, how could we cheat?
Caveat emptor is an old principle of law. Advantage to the seller. Sellers generate the taxes. Fine. But then along comes the United States with all its fine talk about “We the People” and “fairness” and “level playing fields.” What does it do? It keeps the old principles. Advantage to the seller.
What did you expect it to do? Think? Make sense?
I think my parasite metaphor would be improved if I found an anatomy of some real parasite’s feeding parts and relabeled it: this part is the government, this part is the public … Or military, banking, agri-business … comprise this part. The host remains the biosphere.

The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself. Ursula K. Le Guin
My Social Pathologies module on Law & Order tells the story of how John Sutter discovered a passage through the Rocky Mountains west to California in the early 1800s, developed New Helvetia, had treaties of mutual sovereignty with both Mexico and the Unites States, also had diplomatic as well as financial relations with Russia … and got wiped out by the 1949 gold rush which began with his gold on his land. Sutter’s Mill is known; its implications are kept silent.
It occurs to me today (2000 10 04) that my generalization that there has never been a government that wasn’t a kleptocracy should except Sutter and his New Helvetia. Sutter had asked the locals if they wanted to work with him at developing the Sacramento Valley. They weren’t developing it themselves. They didn’t want to help. They didn’t care if he did. The territory of New Helvetia may have been subtracted from the biosphere-commons; but it wasn’t stolen or conquered from any people.
The United States’ kleptocratic seizing of New Helvetia in the early 1850s as part of “California” made one thing certain: New Helvetia never degenerated into a kleptocracy. It was a sole proprietorship. Sutter imagined it, Sutter built it, Sutter ruled it. His sons didn’t inherit it. The one pure kingdom was killed before it could spawn a string of Richard IIIs. note

2001 06 06
from Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal:

Combat Futures

After the world war there was a world government. It was officially known as the United Nations, unofficially as the U.S./UN, and colloquially as the Yanks. It kept the peace, from space, or so it claimed. What it actually did was prevent innumerable tiny wars from becoming big wars. But in order to maintain its power, it needed the little wars, and they never stopped. We had war without end, to prevent war to the end. The U.S./UN kept the most advanced technology in its own hands, to keep it out of “the wrong hands” — i.e., any hands that could be raised against the U.S./UN’s dominion. It was not as dreadful as generations of American dissidents had feared. It wasn’t, by a long way, as dreadful as generations of global idealists had hoped. That leaves a lot of leeway for bad government.
The Stone Canal is science fiction. It describes a fictional future. But have you ever read contemporary “non-fiction” half so accurate?
See also Addicted to Civilization.
I also recommend Frederick Mann’s piece, The Nature of Government:
“There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states. … But the state lies in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it says, it lies — and whatever it has, it has stolen

2008 04 06
I wrote my “Government: a disease of overpopulated civilizations …” line here on 2006 07 27, but today move it to the main Government module. I leave this fragment here today so I can add a thought to the rest of the quote. I’d said that we can’t reason ourselves out of government any more than we can reason ourselves out of cancer: now I add that there are of course cures; but none that any human society constituted as a super-zoo will willingly contemplate: extreme population reduction. Oh there have always been conquerors who would happily kill all of the conquered males of fighting age, and kill all of the undesirable women, etc. etc. There have long been fascists who would kill all of the Jews, all of the gypsies, all of the Commies, the terrorists … all of the anarchists … But the killer’s arm always gets tired before the job is complete, the bloodletting always peters out into exhaustion, indifference. Resolve softens.

I mention this now to add that “Nature” will not soften before the job is finished. For the Nth time I emphasize: I pray that Nature will flush 99% of us before it’s too late to stop flushing 100% of us.
With Hss gone, will sentience continue to evolve? I was once loyal to God, once loyal to the US, once loyal to civilization. Once I believe in human reason, human dignity, human intelligence … Now I don’t buy any of those things, find them all to be delusions. But I’m still a hopeful for sentience, for intelligence.
Perhaps the sooner we’re gone the sooner a better sentience could emerge.
For sure, the sooner schools disappear, the sooner “learning” could begin to repair itself.
Government is a disease of populations that have overgrown their ecology. 2008 04 06

Government:
2004 08 22 a coalition of privileged adults supervising the behavior of all others in the hegemony. It matters not whether the coalition attains power by conquest, by murder, by election, by magic … it’s still select adults telling other adults what they must do, what they may not do. This applies to rituals, to family formation, to markets …

An anarchist like pk concedes that children need supervision but insists that adults should mind their own business when it comes to other adults.
pk also concedes that individuals don’t stand a change against coalitions. Big groups win over small groups and small groups win over individuals: until stupid choices render the matrix unable to bear groups of any size.
Will any individuals survive this process? Hard to say what’s possible, but I doubt it. I don’t think there will be any Adam or Eve emerging from the coming die-off. If there are, I sure hope they’ll come out anarchists: don’t let large groups form, don’t saturate an environment till it’s toxic to the inhabitants.
Government:
banding together for the right to steal. Vito and Julio must not gang up on Peter, but Peter and Tom and Susan and Michael may gang up on Julio, Vito, and Chang. And Running Bear.

A country that gets strong off its weak
Lorenzo Carcaterra

Notes

White House Dream: Fronting on the Potomac:
There: twice I emphasized that the White House fronts on the Potomac: why? Why in hope of reminding you (if you know and telling you if you don’t) that the famous view of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue is the mansion’s rear, not its front. The White House was designed southern style, and plantations were built to face the river, their back to the road! All that patriotic pride: for a building with its back to us!

Church & State: the Crusades:
If you study the behavior of Emperor Constantine around 325 AD you will see that from that time on the Church merely was an extension of the state. Christianity, if it ever had been Christian, ceased being Christian in that year.
Gary Jennings novel Raptor is very good on the subject and I just read a recent novel, Daughter of God, that’s OK in at least that area.

Non-degenerate New Helvetia:
I am reminded this 2001 06 06 that Sutter’s sovereign state may not have been the only non-kleptocracy. I’ve heard of an island whose autocratic owner (Lawrence Durrell’s brother) styled it as a lampoon of government. I’ve forgotten many of the details but do remember this delicious particular: his monetary unit was the scruple.

Ninety-odd Percent:
The movie One Million Years B.C. depicts two bands of humans coexisting with mechanical dinosaurs and a lizard illusioned to make it seem Cretaceous-sized. The narrative declares the story to take place close of the beginning of time. One band, the Shell People, is mostly blond, extremely nice, and boasts Raquel Welch. The other band is dark and mean and spawned John Richardson. His rock people commit two murders, including a chieficide, in the first ten minutes. Yet their population of a couple of dozen is half middle aged. How can that be? Any wise audience should hope Raquel Welch inherits the earth but a knowledgeable audience would hoot the rest of the movie out of the theater. Yet the movie is far less mendaciously absurd than many others where the men spend all their time bashing each other with clubs or dragging women around by the hair. Could such a species have ever survived one week past puberty? Even if survived till there were a few twelve years olds, it could have zero offspring.
I here isolate two related political absurdities.
I) The Rock People are cowed by a rapid succession of quarrelsome chiefs. Small bands of humans still live in the world today. They have been studied before we absorb, pervert, or snuff them. No chiefs have been observed. There’s every reason to banish chiefs from hypotheses about past bands we can’t observe directly.
II) The Shell adults respectfully seek the blessing of a skinny elder before going off to do what they want to do. All that’s known about bands show them to be egalitarian. Egalitarian adults are not necessarily equals but neither do they need anyone’s permission to do something. You need a population base in the thousands note before the specter of “permission” rears its perverted head.
I invite you to contribute cave-Hollywood (1MYBC was filmed in England) absurdities of your own. But notice: just as church missionaries today are advance men for the state, softening today’s natural people up for tomorrow’s invasion of police and bureaucrats, Hollywood-etc. is the state’s apologist. (If Church were ascendant these days, the media would be the State’s apologist.) Gee, aren’t we lucky to be saved from bashing each other and dragging women around by the hair by the order of the state?

Thousands:
I write this in the midst of Reading Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. If he ever sees this I hope he realizes that I’ve been thinking, speaking, and writing this way for decades. But now I’m aided by his facts as well as his complementary analyses. His facts are more easily checkable than Sir James Frazer’s for this reader. Chiefdoms requiring a population base minimally in the thousands is his figure. [p. 268.]

Have to Pay:
I say “we,” though personally I pay as few taxes as it’s possible to pay. What would I pay with? I was never paid for any of my real work. I was never paid for my illuminating thesis on Meta-Oxymoron nor hired by any institution because of it. The public supported FLEX to the tune of a few dollars. Institutional support wouldn’t have paid the rent and phone bill for more than a couple of months. My fiction has cost plenty but never earned a penny. I have never had a paying career. Now I insist on developing this site in preference to making a living. Still, my girl friend and I pay gas taxes, clothing taxes …

Parasitic Symbionts:
Thanks to bkMarcus’ enthusiasm I’m just reading Robert Axelrod’s The Evolution of Cooperation. And he distills a symmetry I’d never noticed so starkly: not all cooperations are desirable: such as that between a Rockefeller and a Carnegie, between a Hitler and a Stalin, between Citibank and Chemical Bank … Any gang is a cooperation. The whole may suffer from any number of specific cooperations. So: we have to keep thinking that cooperation is “good”; and stop thinking that all cooperation is good.
More on this when I get time: and when I’ve read and digested further.

Church & State:
If you study the behavior of Emperor Constantine around 325 AD you will see that from that time on the Church merely was an extension of the state. Christianity, if it ever had been Christian, ceased being Christian in that year.
Gary Jennings novel Raptor is very good on the subject and I just read a recent novel, Daughter of God, that’s OK in at least that area.

Non-degenerate New Helvetia:
I am reminded this 2001 06 06 that Sutter’s sovereign state may not have been the only non-kleptocracy. I’ve heard of an island whose autocratic owner (Lawrence Durrell’s brother) styled it as a lampoon of government. I’ve forgotten many of the details but do remember this delicious particular: his monetary unit was the scruple.

Ninety-odd Percent:
The movie One Million Years B.C. depicts two bands of humans coexisting with mechanical dinosaurs and a lizard illusioned to make it seem Cretaceous-sized. The narrative declares the story to take place close of the beginning of time. One band, the Shell People, is mostly blond, extremely nice, and boasts Raquel Welch. The other band is dark and mean and spawned John Richardson. His rock people commit two murders, including a chieficide, in the first ten minutes. Yet their population of a couple of dozen is half middle aged. How can that be? Any wise audience should hope Raquel Welch inherits the earth but a knowledgeable audience would hoot the rest of the movie out of the theater. Yet the movie is far less mendaciously absurd than many others where the men spend all their time bashing each other with clubs or dragging women around by the hair. Could such a species have ever survived one week past puberty? Even if survived till there were a few twelve years olds, it could have zero offspring.
I here isolate two related political absurdities.
I) The Rock People are cowed by a rapid succession of quarrelsome chiefs. Small bands of humans still live in the world today. They have been studied before we absorb, pervert, or snuff them. No chiefs have been observed. There’s every reason to banish chiefs from hypotheses about past bands we can’t observe directly.
II) The Shell adults respectfully seek the blessing of a skinny elder before going off to do what they want to do. All that’s known about bands show them to be egalitarian. Egalitarian adults are not necessarily equals but neither do they need anyone’s permission to do something. You need a population base in the thousands note before the specter of “permission” rears its perverted head.
I invite you to contribute cave-Hollywood (1MYBC was filmed in England) absurdities of your own. But notice: just as church missionaries today are advance men for the state, softening today’s natural people up for tomorrow’s invasion of police and bureaucrats, Hollywood-etc. is the state’s apologist. (If Church were ascendant these days, the media would be the State’s apologist.) Gee, aren’t we lucky to be saved from bashing each other and dragging women around by the hair by the order of the state?

Thousands:
I write this in the midst of Reading Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. If he ever sees this I hope he realizes that I’ve been thinking, speaking, and writing this way for decades. But now I’m aided by his facts as well as his complementary analyses. His facts are more easily checkable than Sir James Frazer’s for this reader. Chiefdoms requiring a population base minimally in the thousands is his figure. [p. 268.]

Have to Pay:
I say “we,” though personally I pay as few taxes as it’s possible to pay. What would I pay with? I was never paid for any of my real work. I was never paid for my illuminating thesis on Meta-Oxymoron nor hired by any institution because of it. The public supported FLEX to the tune of a few dollars. Institutional support wouldn’t have paid the rent and phone bill for more than a couple of months. My fiction has cost plenty but never earned a penny. I have never had a paying career. Now I insist on developing this site in preference to making a living. Still, my girl friend and I pay gas taxes, clothing taxes …

Parasitic Symbionts:
Thanks to bkMarcus’ enthusiasm I’m just reading Robert Axelrod’s The Evolution of Cooperation. And he distills a symmetry I’d never noticed so starkly: not all cooperations are desirable: such as that between a Rockefeller and a Carnegie, between a Hitler and a Stalin, between Citibank and Chemical Bank … Any gang is a cooperation. The whole may suffer from any number of specific cooperations. So: we have to keep thinking that cooperation is “good”; and stop thinking that all cooperation is good.
More on this when I get time: and when I’ve read and digested further.

Fronting on the Potomac:
There: twice I emphasized that the White House fronts on the Potomac: why? Why in hope of reminding you (if you know and telling you if you don’t) that the famous view of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue is the mansions rear, not front. The White House was designed southern style, and plantations were built to face the river, their back to the road! All that patriotic pride: for a building with its back to us!

Kleptocracy

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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