Why I’m So Down on Government

Some people ask me, “Why are you so down on government?”

The answer is:  I believe that governments are the only entities that can legally seize property, draft people, tax, promulgate new laws and regulations that destroy capital or chase it away, and print money…none of which are good things. 

Thus, if governments take more tax than the population can afford to pay, the majority of people become poorer, not wealthier, even if it is in the guise of helping the poor.  Or, if the government passes enough regulations to chase business (jobs) and/or capital away, again, people become poorer.  If governments print money that isn’t backed by anything of value (fiat currency), each currency unit becomes worth less, until, eventually the currency becomes worthless.  Again, this impoverishes the majority of people.  In the United States at this point in time, we are seeing all three of these phenomena.  Thus, the population is becoming poorer.

And at some point, governments don’t care about the peoples’ unalienable rights.  The government becomes all-important.  Its survival becomes most important and individual rights are extinguished.  At what point does one become a slave to the state?  When one must pay 10% of his income to the state?  Or 30%, or 50%, or more than 50%?  If U.S. citizens add up all the taxes (income, Social Security, Medicare, sales, excise, etc.) paid on the local, state, and federal levels, many of them could be considered slaves.

Furthermore, governments generally grow until they become unbearable.  The only predators are other governments.  Who keeps governments in check?  The voters vote themselves as many benefits as they possibly can.  That’s not a check against uncontrollable government growth.  Dictators take as much as they think they can get away with.  Who will stop governments’ growth?  In the end, wars are the only things that keep governments in check.  But, of course, during wars, peoples’ rights are trampled to an extreme.  It’s even worse for the losers of wars: new sanctions, restrictions, and conditions (payments) may be imposed, making life even more difficult for them.  This builds resentment and can lead to new wars.

Unfortunately, most people don’t see these things.  They think governments are good because they pass laws and regulations to give to the “poor.”  What they don’t realize is that governments are not productive entities.  They must take something from one person before they can give something to another person.  In other words, governments are just big redistribution machines.  Many people who are forced to pay into the machines become resentful and look for ways to minimize their payments, often spending an inordinate amount of time and money (that could otherwise be spent in productive pursuits) just to keep their tax payments to a minimum.  People who receive payments from these machines like them because they receive subsidies for being victims.  Because it’s easier to become a victim, and the victims vote themselves ever more benefits, eventually the whole system collapses because there are fewer workers/taxpayers than victims (or retirees, in the case of Social Security).

In short, the idea of “good government” has been perverted from an entity that protects peoples’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to an entity that finds ways to take from some and give to others (whether in the form of taxes, subsidized loans, or cheaper printed money).  People have lost sight of the idea of governments protecting peoples’ rights, and are more concerned with how other peoples’ assets should be redistributed, rather than on how to improve their own lots in life.  Perhaps if more people saw what I see, they, too, would be down on governments, as I am.

Robert F. Sennholz

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