Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Ruled By Criminals

     First, an instructive and inspiring graphic:

     I hope that seems “obvious” to you, Gentle Reader – but not because everyone who might ever see it would say so. You see, a great many Americans have bought into the scam that “the King can do no wrong:” what jurists have called “sovereign immunity.” My hope is that anyone intelligent enough to read the drivel I post here has not yet succumbed to that fantasy.

     But the matter demands more than an off-the-cuff observation at which many people would shrug.

     The rise of criminals to the corridors of power is inherent in the dynamic of power-seeking. There is simply no possibility of designing and implementing a government that lacks that tendency. While this cannot be mathematically proved, history tells us that the rate of confirmation is nearly 100% — and that the exceptions were all governments toppled from outside, by an invading force.

     Does that sound like an argument for anarchism? It could be read that way – but anarchism is also unstable. Sooner or later it will birth one or more governments. I’ve written to this effect before:

     [W]hereas [Which Art In Hope] was principally concerned with a moral-ethical problem an anarchic society would find supremely difficult to face, the later one moved in a somewhat different direction: an exploration of the most insidious of all the processes known to operate among men: the rise of power politics. Freedom’s Fury continues in the direction Freedom’s Scion undertook to follow.
     I shan’t attempt to deceive or misdirect you: I’m horrified by politics and all its fruits. I consider the use of coercive force against innocent men the greatest of all the evils we know. But I try, most sincerely, to be realistic about the world around us. In that world, peopled by men such as ourselves, anarchism—the complete abjuration and avoidance of the State—is unstable. In time, it will always give way to politics. Hammer it to the earth as many times as you may, you will never succeed in killing it permanently. The State will rise again.

     As Friedrich Hayek observed in The Road to Serfdom, the desire for power and the willingness to do anything to get and keep it are strongest in those who would abuse it. So with the passage of enough time, the corridors of power will be filled by criminals. Worse, let a little more time go by, and the lesser criminals will be replaced by the greater ones: strong-armers, rapists, and murderers.

     Think Ruby Ridge and Waco.

     “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” – Eric Hoffer

     The progression of government corruption is simple enough that I feel no qualms about presenting it schematically, as a list of stages:

  1. A government is formed around a set of moral-ethical principles that command overwhelming, perhaps even near-unanimous concurrence.
  2. That government begins to operate.
  3. Persons inside the government notice opportunities for personal enrichment, aggrandizement, or both. Some of them seek to use the powers of the State to attain those things: perhaps legally, perhaps not. Other persons, aflame with passion for some Cause, seek to use the powers of the State to advance it: again, perhaps legally, perhaps not.
  4. Persons outside the government notice the above processes taking place. Some protest against it; others shrug it off as the way of the world; still others scheme to “get in on the gravy train.”
  5. Persons inside and outside the government who have compatible goals eventually come together and agree on “deals.” In the deal-making, larger amounts of money will prevail over smaller ones. Those deals will almost always contravene the law and the moral-ethical principles on which the government was founded.
  6. Eventually, in a process similar to blackmail, those inside the government transform their outside collaborators into servants compelled to conform to their agendas, regardless of the costs imposed on those outside. While such machinations may possess a veneer of legality and contentions about the “public good,” these become steadily less sincere and more cosmetic.
  7. Over time, the less scrupulous will rise through the use of their wider arrays of means: first to displace the more scrupulous, then to make themselves immune from removal. (“When force is made the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket.” – Ayn Rand)
  8. Also over time, the sense of immunity from consequences persuades the governors that they can break any law as blatantly as they like. (Cf. Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, etc.)
  9. Such a government will perpetuate itself unless and until it rots from internal strife too greatly to endure popular pressure (Cf. Ferdinand Marcos’s Philippines).

     As I’ve already said, one cannot prove that this will happen…but the sole cases in which it hasn’t have been governments toppled from outside, by an aggressive invading force.

     I’m mainly concerned about America, of course. While we haven’t yet descended to the level of a banana republic, the process here has gone far enough that we’ve already elected a credibly-accused rapist to the presidency. Moreover, that president’s party is about to nominate another credibly accused rapist, demonstrably complicit in international corruption on a stunning scale, for the same office.

     However, other nations’ experiences should be taken into consideration. The pattern suggests that in the absence of an aggressive external force, we can expect all the following:

  • If there are multiple levels of government, power and funding will be sucked upward, toward the highest – ultimately the national – level. Lower-level governments will be gradually stripped of all independent authority and autonomy, eventually to become mere administrative units of the national government.
  • At every level of government, power will be drawn into the executive from the other branches. The executive can do this because it possesses greater mobility and commands the means of enforcement (that’s inherent in the nature of an executive).
  • Within the executive, power will be pulled upward: within departments, toward their respective heads; overall, toward the titular head of state.

     The end result is a “strongman” state, in which a Maximum Leader is the sole source of authority. Whoever else seeks to be part of such a government must perpetually reassure the tyrant of his absolute loyalty and perfect compliance with the tyrant’s lightest wish. If that government becomes sufficiently riven by conflict among internal contenders for advancement, it can be toppled from below – i.e., by popular pressure – but this doesn’t seem inherent to the dynamic that forms such governments.

     Anyone who has read and comprehended the above can easily see that America is not the only nation so afflicted. In this Year of Our Lord 2020, essentially the entire population of the world and its whole habitable land area are ruled by criminals. In a way, it’s comforting to recognize this. It means we’re not alone. But it’s still a problem that demands correction.

     The uber-problem is that correction, in the absolute sense, is impossible. The dynamic is without a counter-dynamic other than emigration through spatial expansion. In a closed, frontierless system – and at this time, Earth is such a system – there is no escape. The cycle of political collapse, coalescence and renewal, the encroachment of corruption, the ascent of ever more unscrupulous criminals, the “strongman” state, and ultimate collapse will continue.

     Damn it all, where’s my planetoid?

     Highly if tangentially relevant to the above tirade is Si Graybeard’s discourse on law and unintended consequences. Don’t miss it.


Linda Fox said...

The funny thing is, the process is taking place amid relative political peace - no open warfare, no crowds in the streets rioting (well, not many, and not large). The state is taking over through appeals to fear of death, and SEEMING to be concerned only with the health and well-being of their citizen-subjects. The breath-taking abuse of power - forcing sovereign people to stay confined to their homes, not for crimes they were convicted of, but "for the good of others" - is not being resisted - except by a few lone, brave souls.

The pushback from many is hard. On FB, if you suggest that it's time to lift restrictions on business operation - why, they immediately accuse you of wanting dead people, and of valuing MONEY (yuck, spit!) over PEOPLE.

"If it saves just ONE person"

Yeah, right. Those same people have not distinguished themselves in the past in protecting lives. On the contrary, they cheered the widespread unemployment of the Rust Belt, make jokes about deaths from Hillbilly Heroin (and, yet, surprisingly, NOT actual heroin), and deride resisters as "snaggle-toothed morons, clinging to their guns and religion".

Oh, and H8rs. ALL of those not promoting the Progressive Way of Life are H8rs.

All we can do:
- keep the pressure on the state level to toss out those measures that promote stealing elections - No ID at polling places, harvesting ballots, same-day registration, bloated voter lists, loose accounting for ballots/absentee ballots.
- Post/comment on blogs
- Pass on the dissident information via social media
- Talk to people - it's cheering to do so, as many who seem to be supportive of the Progressive agenda have some reservations. Do it gently, calmly, and - for God's sake - don't take the opportunity to SPEW all that you know. For those on the fence, it comes across badly. Stick to ONE issue at a time.
- Vote. Register others (have some voter registrations with you always). Follow up with neighbors and friends, and take voting day off work to ferry people to the polls. Make it a community event. Network.
- Pray.

JWM said...

I'm in a particularly grim mood this morning, and not adequately coffee'd up so I don't know if this is even going to be a well thought out post.

Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of a very crowded indoor venue, say a concert. Some guy three rows in front of you takes out a cigarette, and lights up. Everyone seated near the smoker begins yelling and raising hell because they truly believe that the smoker has put them all in danger, threatened to kill them with second hand smoke. The smoker is a big guy. No one's going to mess with him one on one. But the yelling continues, and he smokes away. Someone next to you gets a better idea of how to stop the threat. She screams FIRE, FIRE, and the entire auditorium erupts in panic. Everyone charges the exits; there is a massive crush going on all around you.
Does it matter much that you are aware that there was no threat to begin with? Can you reason with the people charging for the exit?

I look around my little corner of LA County here in So Cal. Everywhere I go I see people walking alone on the street. No one around them for hundreds of yards. And yet they walk around masked up like plague doctors. Many wear rubber gloves as well. They are masked up and gloved alone in the car with all the windows rolled up tight. They've been indoor doing nothing but watching television for weeks. They believe everything their TV tells them, and they do just what the concerned voices on TV tell them to do. They will not leave the house without a mask, and gloves. They cross the street if a stranger approaches. Woe betide the rebel who will not wear the gloves of security, and the mask of safety. Can you reason with the people who hear the cry of FIRE, FIRE! and are charging for the exit?
Here's the quick answer: no.