Friday, October 11, 2013

War and Force and Division and Government

In the old days human society was simple.  There was the community, within which differences were settled by hierarchy. If you were a high status person you got your way; if you were a low status person you gave way.

Outside the community things were also simple.  All other groups were enemies, actual or potential, because all other groups were competing for land, and land is life.

So in the old days every community was at peace within the community and at war without the community.

But in our world things are more complicated because every community has a government.

Government is force, meaning that government doesn't do anything by consensual agreement.  It does everything by law or by rule.  Not to do things by rule or by law is to commit an injustice because special favors and special allowances for certain favored people amounts to an injustice to all the others.

But who wants to sit there as a judge evaluating rules and violations?  People want action.  And so government gets involved in peoples' quarrels.  Who wouldn't want the government on their side when they have a disagreement with their neighbors, and want to force their neighbor to curb their barking dog or cut down a rotten tree?

So here we have the government with its apparatus of force with nothing to do unless someone has a quarrel.  If there's a quarrel that the participants can't resolve then you have a war on your hands, and you need a war to justify using force.

Thus it is that the men and women that direct government have a special interest in ginning up quarrels and dividing the people.

You can't justify the use of force unless there is a war to fight.  And you don't have a war unless there's a quarrel.  And you don't have a quarrel unless you have a disagreement that two parties won't resolve on their own.

Thus it is that politicians are in the business of division.  They need to divide people to gin up a quarrel.  And with a quarrel they have a chance to gin up a war.  And with a war they have the justification to use force.

And force is what government is all about.

But the whole point of human society is to maximize friendly cooperation and to structure society so that almost all transactions between people can be conducted in a spirit of amity and give and take.  It means that people work with the other rather than work to divide from the other; they work to help the other rather than work to defeat the other.

But it makes sense that the more government the less give and take, the more government the less people are thinking about how to help other people rather than dominate other people.

So the great question in all political affairs should be: How do we reduce government?  Because by reducing government we reduce the zone of force and division, and increase the zone of cooperation and agreement.

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