Friday, February 08, 2008


One of these days, my pent up frustration and anger towards big government and social programs is going to boil over, and I am going to write a book called "Meddling".

Nothing quite as elaborate or nuanced as Alan Greenspan's "The Age of Turbulence". It doesn't have the same bold image as Obama's "Change we can believe in" motto. It doesn't even try to aspire to a positive and bold new outlook such as Kevin Rudd's "Fresh Thinking". I won't campaign for power or prestige, for leadership and for hordes of loyal party adherents.

Because this book will call a spade a spade. No more distortions of the English language. No more Orwellian doublespeak. No more attempts at summoning people to higher purpose, to a common destiny. And certainly no promises of unattainable dreams and fantasies.

This book will be deeply grounded in reality and plain English. We've got a lot of history to learn the basics from. We've got a lot of economic theories that have been put to the test on a massive scale, so if we took the time, we would see which ones clearly work best. We've had dozens of countries, trying the same ideas again and again, all with dismal results, and yet they vote in leaders to give em another try, and they call that "Fresh Thinking". Ha !

"Meddling" is simply a state of the modern world, where leftists, bureaucrats, career politicians, social workers, environmentalists and media personalities believe they have a valid say over how you should live your life, whether you are entitled to own property and how you may use it.

In this fantasy world, the individual is no longer trusted to make decisions for themselves, and people are not trusted to interact and trade with each other voluntarily.

Your speech, your religion, your driving and smoking behaviour, your workplace habits, your personal relationships, your mobile phone contract, your medical insurance, your education and the roads you use are better decided by somebody else. That somebody else is of course empowered by the state to regulate, tax and punish.

For anybody who appreciates liberty as a goal in itself, the single biggest cause of frustration seems to be the general attitudes towards the status quo, the mainstream media perspectives, and generally how people react to news events that involve government.

Rather than discuss and question the very presence of government, its involvement, the way it meddles with private individuals, most people either support this form of meddling, or they oppose it, because they believe that their method of meddling is a superior one.

Person A: We oughta have bigger baby bonuses!
Person B: No we shouldn't, there are too many people in the cities, we should impose a baby tax !

Person A:
I know better, I'm a real leader, I'm in touch with the people, I know what families need, times are tough, raising children is expensive, people should vote for me !
Person B: No you're wrong! Our taxes should be spent on other priorities, having children is harmful to the environment and causes overpopulation !

Person A: No you're wrong!
Person B:No you're wrong!.

And that sums it up. Nobody steps into this kind of discussion, slaps the 2 idiots, and injects a sensible and rational opinion into the discussion.

"You're both arrogant idiots ! Why can't private family decisions be made by the people involved without a 3rd party meddling and telling a couple what they should or shouldn't do ? Its none of your damn business, you don't even know the thousands of prospective parents out there, you can't speak on their behalf and can't tell them whats the right decision, so its best you stay out of it.

Now think about every aspect of our life, from the food we like, the clothes we wear, the place we work, your family values, your social circles, your religious values, your driving abilities, how you work and save, how you use your leisure.

Nobody in their right mind thinks that some random human, can decide whats best for you in all of the above areas, that would make you as happy and prosperous as having you decide for yourself.

Humans make mistakes. And government is a procedure where instead of governing yourself, your own decisions, your own property, you allow other humans (politicians, bureaucrats, social workers, police, public teachers, doctors, the tax office) make decisions for you.. AND EVERYBODY else. You've created a" system", designed, implemented, administered and run by other human beings who make mistakes. They make mistakes that affect the entire population.

Instead of allowing an elderly wheelchair-bound man with a painful disease take marijuana, the police force think they know better. Instead of a hard working individual keeping his pay, the ATO rips out 1/3rd of it. Instead of a petrol station being able to sell cheap petrol to customers, the ATO steps in and forces them to charge nearly double, so they can extort some money out of it and empower the government to spend it on pet projects.

Instead of a homeowner arming himself to defend his property, because he lives in a risky neighborhood and has been assaulted and robbed before, the police don't allow him to own firearms. The basic template is that instead of a free choice being made by an individual, in pursuit of his own welfare and happiness, agents of the state intervene and use coercion, force or the threat of imprisonment to stop that choice.

And on and on. So many decisions, that could have been made by individuals, rightly or wrongly, are blocked, cancelled annulled. Even if they were wrong decisions, like taking hard drugs, or driving recklessly, the individual who made that decision gets to face the consequences. Its called responsibility, its taught at schools but we do not adhere to it in the real world.

Risks and rewards are "socialised". Even if you word hard, the government won't allow you to save. Even if you are the laziest person in the country, the government will give you a welfare cheque so you don't go hungry or without shelter. Those kind of fears usually motivate people to work - remove the risk, you remove the incentive. As cruel as it sounds, a dose of reality does push people to make the most of the situation.

Multiply those examples by the entire population and across all areas of life and you start to be sympathetic to the idea that we are over-governed. There is too much regulation, too much meddling. There are thousands of pages of legislation just for our tax code. It would be very easy to write an Encylopaedia of Meddling.