By Bill Bonner
You’ll recall that this series began by pointing out how worthless most “theories of government” really are. They’re not theories at all. They don’t explain anything. Instead, they are just wishful thinking…flattery…and apologia for the elite who use government for their own ends.
The “social contract,” for example, is a fraud. You can’t have a contract unless you have two willing and able parties. They must come together in a meeting of the minds — a real agreement about what they are going to do together.
But what is the ‘social contract’ with government? There was never a meeting of the minds. The deal was forced on the public. And now, imagine that you want out. Can you simply “break the contract?” You refuse to pay your taxes and refuse to be bossed around by TSA agents and other government employees. How long would it be before you got put in jail?
What kind of contract is it that you don’t agree to and can’t get out of? They can dress it up…print out a piece of paper…have a solemn ceremony in which everyone pretends it is a real contract. But it’s not worth the paper it’s not written on.
Also, what kind of a contract allows for one party to unilaterally change the terms of the deal? Congress passes new laws almost every day. The bureaucracy issues new edicts. The tax system is changed. The pound of flesh they got already wasn’t enough; now they want a pound and a half!
Every theory of government we’ve come across is a scam. So we offer a better theory: government is just a way for the insiders to take advantage of the outsiders.
Until the Industrial Revolution, the apologists relied on God to justify government. If one man bossed around another, it was God’s doing they said. The Almighty got the blame. Which was neat and clean as long as you accepted the major and minor premises of it.
But the system came apart for two reasons.
First, it made God look like a fool. Monarchs governed in ways that must have been inexplicable to the “divine right of kings” theorists. Kings were frequently incompetent, murderous and venal. Finally, the theorists gave the theory and the kings the heave-ho at the same time.
Second, the rising wealth and power of the productive classes required a new idea.
Insiders always use government to transfer power and money from the outsiders to themselves. When wealth was easy to identify and easy to control — that is, when it was mostly land — a few insiders could do a fairly good job of keeping it for themselves. The feudal hierarchy gave everybody a place in the system, with the insiders at the top of the heap.
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