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2/9/02

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All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man. - H.L. Mencken

Keep it Basic - The Business of Government

Albert Jay Nock said it best:

"The State, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing."

It seems that few people understand the real nature of government. No doubt that every society has taken pride in all the achievements that have been attained, while under the protective rule that organizes civilization. But is this really the basis upon which man has reached such lofty levels of understandings and sophistication? What exactly is the business of government?

By business we mean the supreme objective that all governments have in common. Some will say that the State exists to provide services to society. Others will claim that the government has the role of protecting the country from threats, both foreign and domestic. And there are many who suggest that the State's purpose is to ensure equality among citizens. Well all of these objectives are functions of what government attempts to do with varying degrees of success. But it doesn't answer what is the most fundamental goal of government.

The State in all of its forms is consumed in it's own survival. This is the only business of all governments, for it is the ultimate motivation of every participant in the exercise of power. Reflect upon the prescript that government is the natural condition of organization for every society. It would be very difficult to cite many examples when some form of civic rule was not in place. Every culture and era has its own form of administration. From this record it is customary to conclude that this must be a truism, that cannot be denied.

You will say that governments change all the time and different forms of authority have evolved throughout history. Such a conclusion, correct as it may be on the surface, misses the insight that governments never disappear. Only conflicts for who sits in the seats of power or the framework of appearance, alters. The State always continues.

Even during time of civil war or conquest, the business of the State is to survive as a government. So far, it should be self evident that virtually every population accepts this reality as a basic fact of life. They may resent the current rulers, but expect that if they are replaced, the new magistrate will act in the same manner. So where does the State attain their authority to manage all the rules?

Forget that the supremacy State is of divine origin, for it arises out of willful consent of inhabitants. People want a government, they demand order and they cede natural rights to an abstract concept, out of fear that government might not exist.

With this illusionary attitude in place, cultures amplify this rational - that society is served well, when governments provide useful functions. But governments only concern itself with the semblance of services, while their true mission is to guarantee the survival of its power to rule. Substitutes and rotations in administrators all owe their allegiance to the organization that demands obedience from all. The regime has become king, even if it merges into evolving forms. The end result is that the principal duty of the State, as viewed from the government mind, is to reign. Upon this simple but true axiom, rests the range of abuses and failures that are apparent within the operations of all governments. It is not enough to acknowledge that a desirable method to organize society is proper, the politician must perform their service first to the State, before the public can be served. And when it finally gets around to what really benefits the populace, we receive a diluted version of what is admirable at best.

So what can be done to change the mindset, about what we call the State?  The first step is to confirm that any government has only one purpose; to serve the people. Governments do not possess rights, they are mere instruments of functions. Our argument is not to exclude valid purposes for administration, but to redefine the true nature of the institutions that construct the milieu that seeks allegiance from every citizen.

The conflict that erupts and prevents prudent relationships between government and the individual, arise when the State concludes that their interests are being threatened. But the government never has any interest that is proper to itself. Their entire reason and presence in society is to organize. The State has no intrinsic existence. Governments have no inherent being that supersedes or even equals the citizen. But every government accepts as unquestioned, their presence to rule. They operate as if the preservation of the State is the ultimate goal for civilization. Is the business of government a valid concept?

We think not! Since any demise of a particular regime creates a temporary void, the common practice of installing a surrogate version comes with little haste. People are so conditioned that the greatest terror for a society is the absence of order, represented by the symbol of this concoction know as government.

The duty of each individual is to seek an accurate understanding of what it means to be a citizen. Their need to know what rights are natural to all human life is essential. If they justify that the State exists separate from their consent, we will continue to be doomed to accept that the business of government is genuine. Our responsibilities are towards ourselves and our neighbors. They exist between and among people. The notion that anyone has an obligation to a scheme of organization defies logical scrutiny.

Each person needs to address and answer these questions. Your conclusions are crucial and to the benefit of the entire society. Is the survival of any State the supreme objective of your society? Or does the government owe its organizational mandate to the will of the People? The business of government, just might be more your business than that of the State.

SARTRE - February 9, 2002

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