The recent hiccup with China has made everyone nervous, not so much for its immediate effects but in the worry that this is the first of a series of events. A big crash will make the world’s interconnected economies fall like dominoes, and often those smashups are preceded by a pattern of small crises.
Even if this blows over, it has made people nervous because it presages another inevitable event: the collapse of Western debt. Since the Second World War, the West has been able to borrow on the basis of its historical wealth and power, and its role as the only man standing among the industrial economies after that war. This gave it a momentum, or a trajectory zooming across economic skies, that has still not lost inertia.
Debt is only worth something if others will purchase it based on the presumed future value of the assets that support that debt. It used to be that the West could point to thriving economies, happy people and relatively few of the chronic social problems that plague most societies on earth. Now, none of this is as true, meaning that it is fading. Investments on a downward trajectory are worth less than others.
China discovered this because, having borrowed to oblivion, it became unstable economically. This was not an issue in times of growth, which are what liberal leaders excel at, but as the market corrects it shows how short-sighted those decisions — like those of Clinton and Obama in the USA — were. As Pravda-on-the-Hudson relates, the source of this crash was excessive Chinese debt:
How much debt remains an open question, given the opacity of China’s market. The country’s debt load rose from $7 trillion in 2007 to $28 trillion by mid-2014, according to a report published earlier this year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, China. “At 282 percent of G.D.P., China’s debt as a share of G.D.P., while manageable, is larger than that of the United States or Germany,” said the McKinsey study. “Several factors are worrisome: Half of loans are linked directly or indirectly to China’s real estate market, unregulated shadow banking accounts for nearly half of new lending, and the debt of many local governments is likely unsustainable.”
What has people worried is not China itself, but that the debt loads of modern nations will lead to disaster. In particular, the introspection that the West deflects with political correctness has finally appeared, and under the lens, while not as bad as China, our debt and instability appear shaky as well. And what made this debt? Since the 1950s, our budgets have more than doubled through the contributions of a single source: social justice, or civil rights and welfare, programs. In Europe and the USA, governments have spent themselves silly buying votes and now, the first inklings of fear that the gig is up are coming our way.
Without social programs, our government spending would be more than halved. Our economy, without such rigid regulation, could grow in a more natural way than the goldrush free-for-all created by liberal economic programs. While we could no longer prop up our economy by dumping money into ghettos and trailer parks for people to buy iPhones, we could build value over time by basing it in not consumerism, but the production of industry and agriculture. This would provide less growth than the liberal program of easy loans and “pump priming” the economy with federal spending, but would provide a more stable longer-term platform for us that does not require radical growth.
For those who can read the tea leaves of history, this suggests a shocking realization awaits the West: we cannot afford — and never could — our “social justice” and welfare programs. We cannot afford governments swollen to more than twice a reasonable size by leftist-style spending on citizens. As China is discovering, that path leads to misery and a series of hiccups culminating in one, big ugly downfall.
While most media commentators have focused on the gay in “gay marriage,” the real issue is invisible: that the gay marriage crusade represents domination of symbol over substance, in the name of a tiny group forcing the majority to humble itself for the benefit of centralized control. As Nietzsche and other critics of the modern State have observed, democracies tend to go out this way, demanding symbolic obedience as a means of keeping together a population that long ago lost any desire to actually work together.
In fact, to a historian, the gay marriage debacle may seem indicative of the ideological conformist actions that generally accompany the ends of empires when obedience becomes more important than competence. The Soviets, Romans, Aztecs and even Greeks went out this way. As the clich&ecaute; goes, history repeats itself, and when we choose the same path that has failed before we have committed ourselves to the same failure. When forcing people to follow an ideology is more important than the health of the nation as an organic, living and breathing whole, the writing is on the wall for the end.
Even more, looking at gay marriage on a practical level, we see the danger in symbolic realities. Gays are a minority, perhaps 3% of the population on a good day (although over-represented in media and government). Not all of those want to get married; in fact, if history shows us anything, it is that legalized gay marriage shows us how few gays want to be married. Without the commitment to biological reproduction, there is simply not as much motivation to commit to a lifetime of sexual exclusivity, despite the media tales of dying people on their deathbeds whose life-long partners were excluded from the hospital room. In other words, this issue affects very few people, but is being used to whip the rest of them into submission by government.
When you enter the age of symbolic issues, the first casualty is not truth per se but reality. Laws, rules, regulations, goals and morals are no longer reality-referential, but socially-deferential. That means whatever grabs the attention of the people out there immediately becomes issue number one, which is another way of saying that there are no eyes on the road and no hands on the wheel. Your elites have found a way to control you that allows them to keep running the country into the ground because their goal is to consume it: destroy its resistance, sell its assets and pocket the cash on a plane for the Bahamas. All parasites behave the same way, and our elites — the Cathedral — are parasites of the most common kind, just unusually successful ones that got MBAs and JDs and clawed their way to the top of a heap of other liars.
Taking this further, gay marriage gave them consent. They have successfully pacified the electorate to the point where it votes by what it is afraid of being accused of, not by what it wants to achieve. Most people, as is the nature of majorities, want us to keep on truckin’ with the good times they see in their jobs, their local communities and their families. In the time-honored tradition of stupidity, they define morality as a personal thing only, where it obviously exists on a civilization level. Like the ostrich with its head stuck in the ground, they do not see evils on their commute to work so they pretend these do not exist. Just keep your head down, work hard and take care of your family and everything will be alright — said every dying population ever.
All of this leads us to an unseemly revelation. The “good feelings” and pleasant illusions that our leaders preach to us are lies and they know it. This means for us to live in anything but an evil country, we need to immediately replace them; we are not so naïve to assume that at the leadership level a middle ground exists between nurturing health and parasitism. Further it means that, as predicted by the Greeks and Romans, democracy has yet again failed because groups of people vote with their emotions and greed, not their brains, assuming that the majority of them could even understand the issues at hand. Finally it shows that the USA as concept and reality has self-exterminated and that all sane and good people need to start planning now for what must replace it.
In AD 2015, government has failed. All of human innovation in politics since the middle ages has turned into a dysfunctional bureaucracy which borrows money it can never pay back, creates social chaos and worst of all, seems to endanger the best among us while letting the worst run unchecked.
I submit a modest proposal: this year, let us free ourselves from Society.
For too long we have suffered under the notion that Society can tell us what to do, for our best interests. The result is that all of us are forced into the same institutional programs that not only fail to achieve the results they intend, but create total havoc in their wake.
Instead, let us combine the best traditions of the past: anarchy, or total independence from the plans of others, and monarchy, or the tradition of picking our best leaders on the basis of their leadership ability alone.
Leadership is a complex thing. It shows up at every level of humanity and consists of the ability to make decisions intelligently while considering all that needs to be considered. Very few do it well, which is why most of human activity is disorganized and mediocre. To be a good leader, one must be able to balance many competing needs in the mind and to think of the long-term as well as the short-term. Bad leaders create rigid rules that are essentially knee-jerk reactions, but good leaders plan to bring out the best possible outcome and then keep improving on it incrementally through a process the Japanese call kaizen.
I propose a simple revolution in how we lead ourselves:
- Restore the Althing. The Althing was the Scandinavian parliament which functioned in a way different than any other government: members got together and argued a point to its conclusion. There was no pulling away early and relying on a mechanism, like a vote, to solve what was fundamentally a need to gain clarity. Local communities sent their leaders — usually aristocrats — to the Althing, and chose those leaders however the local community felt was necessary.
- Get rid of all non-collective benefits. Government can bribe its citizens when it benefits them using the collected wealth of the group; for this reason, any such action should be verboten. Benefits that help us all, like repairing infrastructure or having an army, are good and fine; any act which benefits only a specific group of citizens is wrong, no matter how pitiable that group may be.
- Replace laws with courts. One reason our courts are so abusive is that they have been displaced from their original function. We have thousands if not millions of criminal laws and crime is rising, although under-reported. Instead of trying to use laws, let people come into the courts and say, “X person did Y thing to me, causing Z damage.” Let them state their case in plain language and show the harm. Laws, under the guise of addressing problems, mostly just restrict what can be made illegal. Instead, make all harm a cause of bringing someone into court. Why is lying legal? Why is cheating legal? Let people have real justice, instead of this elaborate cat-and-mouse game of laws.
- Wise elders. Every local area needs some leader in charge, but also needs its memory and judgment facility, which is the elders of the society. These are people who have done notable things and are now retired, but still have all of the knowledge of what they have learned over their long lives. Get a group of these together to inform on decisions, offer advice, and listen to citizens’ general complaints.
- We’re not all in this together. Allow communities to refuse membership to anyone they want. This way, people who contribute nothing cannot simply move wherever they want and begin taking what others have made. Instead of wasting billions of dollars moving people around, we can let those people who are doing the right thing get away from people who are not, whether for political, social, criminal or economic reasons. Allow natural selection to take her course and allow people to group together with others like them. There will be a community for everyone, and we will see how well those work out.
You will note that the above is not a system. Systems exist when we decide it is too hard to choose what is correct, or choose the best people to rule us, and so instead we set up a whole bunch of rules and procedures to do it for us. This makes the same mistake as those who confuse cruise control with an autopilot, in that systems help society keep the same pace but do not give it guidance.
This is more than even a change of government; it is an attitude shift toward the method of government. Instead of forced collaboration, it is willing cooperation, with those who can work together toward the good able to separate themselves from the rest. The rest must then take responsibility for their own futures and figure it out or perish. As human quality has plummeted during the past two centuries, this fixes that problem — yet another of the many that government cannot solve.
The real problem that we face in governing ourselves is that “systems” favor wishful thinking, or us deciding what “should” be true and voting for that instead of a realistic response. Realism requires us to both be aware of our world, and to have a goal other than the immediate, like an aspiration or transcendent purpose. Most people are afraid of that choice because it defines them by quality and ability, and there is no faking it. Good people choose good things in any of a million varieties, while bad people choose infinite variations of the same actual goals, which are always parasitic, perverse or deceptively predatory. These people deny life itself, and rage against it, desiring power so that they can alter in appearance the reality that offends them, and from that, conclude that they were right all along. This giant confirmation bias self-ratifying circle is what lies behind “progress,” which is the idea of pretending that reality is other than it is so that humans feel comfortable because they are no longer challenged to rise above what they are. “Progress” is a path to doom because in the process of denying appearances in reality, it also denies the inherent patterns of reality, and sets itself up for inevitable collision when those manifest in ways that conflict with progressive behavior.
What is most different about this modest proposal is that it does not center on method, or ways we can keep ourselves in line without purpose, but in the discovery of purpose. We do not need systems, dogmas, ideologies and symbolic victories. We need to concentrate on reality and the decisions we make within it, fully aware that doing so will force us to decide what we really want out of life and that this will separate us into different striations based on our degree of aspiration. And yet, this allows us to be free of the parasite of Society while encouraging the best among us so that our future is one of improvement, not “progress.”
The last time Republicans forced a shutdown of the government of the United States, life improved. Those who depend on entitlements for their existence tended to stay away, leaving society to those who are fully participating.
Many of us have a simple rule: if I must go to work, and pay taxes, so must you. We do not care if life has handed you a weak hand at the poker table, because although we do not talk about it, all of us have had to overcome some difficulty and find none to be truly insurmountable.
We also have seen how this country has swelled with people who quite simply do nothing but take. They demand the handouts, and if they do not get as much as others, they demand more. They feel they are owed these for various reasons related to their sense of being victims of the rest of us, but are unwilling to do anything to fix this situation. We now have a permanent class of dependents who will take anything they can get and are oblivious to the consequences.
Our elites do not notice because to them, the additional taxes represent a less significant chunk of their actual income, since their needs are met at a much lower level than what they take in. A man who makes $40,000 a year will feel more taxes acutely, but someone who makes $200,000 and needs $80,000 to live will not notice as much when taxes take a bigger bite. The man making less, who lives among those that government supports, will more acutely feel the pain of seeing others do as well as he does for doing nothing. Soon he will join them, unless he stubbornly insists on making his way alone for reasons of pride.
Government and its allies among the dependents has made itself rich and powerful on the backs of the middle classes. They are the cash cow which gives it power, and which it has now milked to the point of dryness. Once we had extra money, in part because our society functioned so well that we did not need every cent possible to buy insurance, private security, private medicine and private schooling to keep our families away from the dystopic chaos. Now, thanks to government incentives, our basic services are rotted away and we need every cent we have.
John Boehner thinks it a terrible idea to defund government and as a result shut it down. He could not be more wrong: the source of all of our problems originates in the ability of government to justify itself using humanitarian concerns, take whatever it wants, and then make itself more powerful. Shutting down government would savage the dependents and make the ordinary person who does the right thing more powerful. We might even make alternatives for everything that government does, at which point paying taxes becomes irrelevant. We can simply let the diseased and broken government die and create a new society based not on subsidizing the entitlement dependents, but on protecting those who do the right thing.
If we remove funds from government, its hold over us diminishes. Our problem now is not a lack of laws, but too many laws and no purpose and no sanity. Let us remove the bad laws, and the entitlement state which controls us, forcing our society to renew itself by reclaiming its institutions from this cancer.
In the beginning, communities recognize common interests and form small governments to accomplish shared needs more efficiently than each person individually performing them.
Communities contribute resources to build a strong policing force, deterring bad behavior more effectively than ad hoc gatherings of friends and family to brutalize miscreants after unwelcome acts have left their mark.
While the community and government are small, it is a bargain to contribute towards a sustainable and inexpensive system that serves the interests of many.
As government grows, it is increasingly able to unchain itself from the concerns of the community. Soon it establishes laws mandating citizens fund its arbitrary initiatives, and then government can thrive independently under threats of jail and property confiscation. At this point, government becomes a self-interested force much like a large corporation or special interest group.
Agencies gradually become large and recognize their lifeblood is collecting money from the wealthy and middle classes, focusing on money gained from citizens more than their established purpose. Some use a form of gerrymandering to win a democratic majority by funneling the income of the wealthy and middle class to the unproductive poor, while agitating the poor by claiming the wealthy and middle class pay no taxes.
The latest data show that a big portion of the federal income tax burden is shouldered by a small group of the very richest Americans. The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent — those below the median income level — now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes. – AEI
Mature government institutions are unelected, unreviewed, and not subject to any standards. As self-serving entities without responsibility to the public, each desires expanding their size, power, and control over the citizens that serve it and are forced to sponsor its complex system that extracts their income and takes what it can without concern for the actual cost of services used. Government becomes a 50% tithing scheme, no longer a modest cost-saving servant acting on behalf of the community.
Under a large government, schools no longer attempt to educate, but rather to make children allegiant to the tax collecting state and agree with the worldview that large organizations rightfully govern a person’s life. Schools once taught the essential facts of the world and familiarity with the great works of civilization, but now indoctrinate and teach obedience to fashionable values convenient to the state. Basic skills drop, yet returning to earlier ideas and methods of teaching with proven success is forbidden.
Once government dominates society in such a fashion, mentioning the extent of its control becomes taboo. This creates a number of ripple effects as other types of market actors follow the pattern that government has instituted.
Our religions long ago gathered to provide spiritual insight, pause for sacred considerations, and foster togetherness on our mutual destiny, but now only gather masses to fleece them of money.
We previously had media that informed the community about important events and took care to truthfully and insightfully convey their broader meaning. People took this orientation for granted and soon factual content was replaced with triviality, celebrity drama, superficial and semi-fictional depictions of events to enforce ideological beliefs and maximize paralysis so readers and viewers can be shown profitable advertisements.
With our foundations devastated, we would likely do better starting our institutions anew, this time remembering that they either serve the needs of the community or mutate into aggressive and selfish parasites acting against our interests.
Everyone recognizes the gross violation when a guy is driving a car that bellows smoke like a mobile chimney. His car isn’t maintained and he knows it, but does nothing about it. His life is likely the same mess of moving wreckage everywhere he goes.
Politicians recognize the specific offense of pollution, as if it is unusual and isolated from a mindset and spirit, rather than the general problem of disorganization and its wider consequences. They then attempt to limit its harm by winnowing the population through mandated periodic emissions tests administered at the time of vehicle registration renewal.
Offenders aren’t even 1% of the population, but everyone else becomes engulfed in a dragnet of implied guilt that requires all to prove that even new and well maintained cars are innocent of pollution. This process involves going to a service station to pay a worker to inspect and approve the car, and then visiting a government office to wait among a large crowd to eventually pay for a sticker proving lack of violation. Everyone is required to waste hours of waiting in order to be legal, and then repeat this dreadful process every year or two.
Garages are pleased to have state mandated emission inspections. They are guaranteed a generous fee for a few minutes of work, and can open garages that run exclusively on the long lines of people who need to be certified as innocent of pollution. When run efficiently, a single garage bay can earn several hundred dollars an hour. The emission tests can be easily faked and their steps skipped to maximize the number of cars processed. If your car is in violation, you can pass with a small bribe.
Citizens just want to get through the exam. They see it as ludicrous and don’t care if the check is faked and skipped. They want to minimize the amount of their time wasted by government policies.
Garages want to take advantage of government policies that guarantee them customers and healthy margins. Individual garage employees see how the mandate annoys citizens and that bribes to speed the process and pass defective vehicles are a good way to earn a side income.
Governments don’t care about the practical costs of their policies or their lack of correspondence with stated purpose. They earn money from mandatory obedience, expand their breadth of authority, and can claim to have solved the problem despite it continuing to appear.
By not going after observed offenders and instead creating a thoughtless system mandating everyone prove compliance, government has created a gap so distant from reality that it was almost immediately filled by innovative bribe takers and resentful citizens, somewhat reducing the new imposition on their lives but utterly failing to solve the original problem.
So it is with democratic policies decided upon by diverse committees seeking popular appeal and not actual solutions. Those who had a hand in the law will use it to promote themselves in the next election as protectors of the people and the fragile earth.
They would be best remembered as big talking hucksters who promised to fix problems, weren’t sufficiently concerned or smart enough to figure them out, and instead left behind a maze of new obstacles and a cloud of smoke as the next snake oil salesman took the stage with a warm smile and an assortment of new offerings crafted for a credulous public.
When you are entirely dependent on one entity, you have two choices: either you can work toward its ends and have it reward you, or work around it and find some way to protect yourself from its wrath.
In democratic societies, the middle class becomes the entity on which society at large depends. From the middle classes come the professions, the small businesses, the business and military leaders, police/emergency and the clergy. The middle class also provides the bulk of taxes and other social benefits.
Politicians need a way to work around the middle class. Inevitably they follow a script that seems to work eternally: find a value that sounds good, get the middle classes excited about it, then use that as a signature on a blank check. The inevitable targets are: the poor, minorities, and those who don’t fit within society.
In the case of America, the forces that be must have smiled when the Great Depression hit, just as they did when the Slavery crisis hit. You want us to protect the poor? Just sign here. And once you have signed, we have the power to do anything we want in the name of this task.
Note that “in the name of” resembles “for the purpose of” only incidentally. A child caught spraying his sister with the hose will claim he was watering flowers. Humans learn early on in our bag of simian tricks to assign our acts to whatever big justification we can find. God, ending poverty, homework, and other social goods figure large in that equation.
Once the middle classes — from a sense of obligation brought on by the guilt of their unequal wealth — signed on to the anti-poverty agenda, it began its growth spurt. First charity, then agencies to enforce, then expansion to civil rights and beyond. Now anti-poverty comprises the main focus of our government and its expenditures. Why? Because it is an unquestionable path to power, and if you object, you are a racist or a classist. It’s Soviet-style power hidden within a shopping mall.
Those who wanted power found the magic ticket to it with anti-poverty. The middle classes could be avoided because it was the middle classes themselves who demanded something be done about poverty. Now, to those of half intelligence who want power and wealth for its own sake, it seems the gravy train will never end. Except that it will when they run yet another society into the ground with this trick.
Many of you may be familiar with White Girl Bleed A Lot, the book by journalist Colin Flaherty that details how some black people are forming racial retribution groups and staging race riots, but more importantly, how our media absolutely refuses to cover this fact out of fear of being “racist.”
Flaherty, who is not racist, does not blame African-Americans as a whole for these riots, which generally target whites, Asians and homosexuals. He points out that this is probably a minority of the African-American community. With that in mind, he asks, why can’t we talk about what’s really going on here? Why do we have to call these people teens and pretend they aren’t race riots, when it’s obvious they are race riots?
White Girl Bleed A Lot branched to become a website, a podcast and a series of videos. That’s where the trouble came in. In lock step with the mainstream media and the US Government, giant search engine company Google is now also censoring any mention of America’s race riots, as Flaherty writes in his email update:
We get a lot of traction from Facebook and YouTube. They are great for spreading the word about the racial violence and denial in White Girl Bleed a Lot.
But people who cover racial violence get kicked off YouTube and Facebook all the time. A month ago I did a story for Breitbart about a video of a child beaten on a school bus.
Within two hours, the video had 30,000 hits.
That is a lot. here is what they banned: Black mob violence on the bus.
YouTube pulled it down. It said I was violating their terms by somehow glorifying racial violence. It did no good to explain I was exposing racial violence, not the other way around.
And Google, of course, has threatened a lot of web sites that talk about racial violence. Including places where I write, like WND.
So we are probably short-timers there.
This is worth noticing because we have industry, media and government acting toward the same agenda.
This agenda isn’t racist; it might appear “racist” to some, but more likely it’s just rocking the boat. That is, it refutes the idea that everything is going swimmingly with our current direction as a civilization.
In a healthy civilization, pointing that out is a matter for discussion.
In a dying civilization, pointing that out is the ultimate sin.
Which is it? To find out, I certainly won’t “Google it.”
When I was a very young child, I really disliked the idea of democracy. You can even see what happens back then: if you get up in front of the class and offer them a choice between a more interesting semester later, and free ice cream now, ice cream wins out.
There’s an additional layer to this which is that government itself is a contractor of the American people, and like most poorly-managed contractors, it has found a way to pad the billing and expand itself at its employers’ expense. Since 1950, the great government jobs program has been entitlements: welfare, social services, civil rights, immigration, anti-poverty and behavioral modification.
Let’s take a relatively harmless example. The government decides smoking is bad so launches an anti-smoking initiative. This requires advertizing in media, which in turn requires a staff and some media experts. Then the team decides it might do better with street-level interactions like handing out flyers. It hires another 500 people. Then they expand into the schools, and need graphic designers for posters, education experts, and lots of special contractors to help. Then they discover that pre-teens are smoking, and begin a program for that. More people are hired, offices rented, contracts signed, and products ordered.
What does this tell us? Government never gets smaller, and it acts for its own best interests more than ours. Government is based on what it can offer as a plausible excuse to the voters. “I’m doing X because of Y reason,” says government, and Y had better be big, emotional and receiving mass support because then — it’s a blank check. This is why government loves equality-based issues and anti-poverty initiatives. They are wars that can never be won, thus will always employ people until the voters wake up which (looks at window at zombies staggering past) is unlikely.
But there’s a flip side to this: what does government do about actual problems, as opposed to those that simply look good on paper?
Think about it from government’s perspective as an employee. If you’re working on a job, and what you want is a raise and job security, what kind of problems will you elect to take on? We already know that easy, perpetual problems that justify more expansion are popular. But on the flip side, programs that require solutions that can visibly fail are ignored until it’s absolutely the last minute.
One such problem is unraveling in Houston’s trendy West University neighborhood:
The recycling center closure and the proposed collection rate increases are responses to a decrease in the revenues that fund the city’s solid waste services, Peifer said.
“Over the course of the last few years, commodity prices for the sale of recyclables went down 72 percent,” Peifer said.
The recycling center also has seen a 25 percent reduction during the last four years in the volume of materials dropped off there.
So far this looks open and shut. Both revenues and usage dropped. However that doesn’t tell the whole story. Usage dropped in part because hours dropped and there was frequent construction around the recycling center, turning a 15-minute errand into a 45-minute errand. That’ll keep a quarter of the people at home.
Further, note how the response here is different than that of a business. When a business experiences revenue and usage drop, it tries to raise those numbers by being more competitive. In government, what has happened is that an easy perpetual problem has become a hard finite one, and so there’s a chance to actually fail, and so it is abandoned.
Luckily not everyone was fooled:
“The specious and simplistic argument that not enough residents use the facility to justify the expenditure gives lie to the moniker ‘The City that Recycles,’ ” [immediate past chairwoman Jan] Kellogg wrote in a letter to Mayor Bob Fry.
“I would argue that if there were any interest on the part of the council or its staff, that the center could be more profitable, but no such dialog ever occurs. Closure is presented as a fait accompli.”
Kellogg noted that consultants who recommended the closure suggested it be done in conjunction with enhancement of the city’s current recycling program, including the resumption of yard waste pick up.
What Kellogg is proposing here is a simple solution: if you close the recycling center, find another method of achieving recycling. That’s common sense, business sense, and how anyone would handle this situation, except government.
The best part about this situation is that it’s nobody’s fault, like most modern problems. The government employees are just trying to move up the ladder to the American Dream. The voters are just trying to pick a plausible-looking solution in the few hours they have per year to consider such things. And people who recycle are trying to find a way to do it that doesn’t require them to be fanatics.
To Europeans, this must be baffling, since recycling seems a gospel there. But in America we have a different gospel — the equality of all people — which mutated into civil rights in 1968. Thus our focus is not on recycling, but on amnesty programs, affirmative action, diversity initiatives, diversity training, political correctness in education and immigration (Houston is a “Sanctuary City” where the police don’t check your citizenship status).
We’re spending our money on all the wrong things. If anything, our plan should be to expand recycling to anywhere there’s a waste bin, including every home (only 100,000 homes in a city of five million so far have curbside recycling). Instead, we’re spending on it vote-buying programs that are basically straight out of 1965: give money to the poor, create a vast apparatus to enforce equality, chant propaganda in every classroom, and set up lots of aid that requires millions of government workers to apply it.
The problem here is both in the contractor and the employer. The contractor is doing what contractors do when badly supervised. The employer, which is We The People, is pretending it can afford to be an observer and critic but not active participant. Then again, We The People also have shown that its judgment is pretty poor, so perhaps the answer is we need some delegated leaders with greater intelligence and nobility of soul to do what the herd can’t do for itself.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” they told me in high school, with stern expressions to let me know I had been exposed to profundity.
I have a different supposition: Power is a virus. If not taken out of the hands of individuals and directed toward some abstract but realistic goal like the growth of a civilization, power serves only itself — but it does so through the individualism and self-importance of unorganized people.
This is where politics leaves politics itself, because now we’re talking about the nature of power, not values (right, left) or manipulation (compromise, spin, ideology). We’re talking about how the human herd organizes itself, and not what it intends, but what corrupts its intention.
Now, all of this is out the window if power has a goal. Power with a goal is a three way switch — did it: (a) come closer to achieving the goal, (b) move farther away from the goal, or (c) do nothing? For all practical purposes, #b and #c are so close together that they get measured the same way. This is what holds power in check; comparison to the objective.
However, where there is no goal or only a vague maintenance-style goal like we have in the modern west, power has nothing to check it. Like a government employee or non-profit, it has no measurement of its success or failure; it just is. It keeps meeting its own internal goals, and so it assumes it is OK.
Wherever this kind of power goes, it expands. This can be a volunteer group, a friend group, a government, a non-profit, a corporation or even one aspect of your own mind. Once power exists, and has no outlet (goal), it starts working to further itself — because if it doesn’t do that, or stagnates, it declines (options #b and #c above).
Bureaucratic institutions never get smaller, only bigger. When a need arises, a bureaucracy is created. It begins addressing that need. Unless it can fix the situation immediately, it sets in for the long haul. At this point, it starts working to perpetuate itself. The situation is removed, and replaced by internal goals and external appearances.
Each year, the bureaucracy needs to find a way to justify itself. It can almost never do that by pointing to what it has been doing all this time and saying, “Yep, we’re just doing the same stuff, year after year.” People mistake that for option #c, stagnation, even though for most non-immediately-solvable problems the answer is to keep doing the same stuff that is known to ameliorate them, or do nothing about them and design around them (this is difficult).
As a result, the bureau must come out with a new initiative ever year. It’s doing that to defend the jobs of the people who work for it. A consequence of this however is mission creep, or the tendency to keep tacking on new goals as “sub-items” of whatever ostensible goal it was founded to have.
This means that every year, the bureau gets bigger, hires more people, and does more stuff. This is a form of entropy because it is becoming less organized, less effective, and more likely to be internally “gamed” by people who are fulfilling its internal demands, which are a step removed from actually addressing the problem. If the managers are check-writers are happy, the organization has succeeded; the actual problem is a secondary concern.
You might then ask, why does government turn leftist over time, and why are most government agencies leftist in outlook? The answer is that barring agencies which deal with specific reality-based concerns, like economics or the military, government agencies need to perpetuate themselves.
Conservative politics favor results over intentions, and as a result, will never expand government or give infinite job security to its employees. Conservatives are neither pro-government or anti-government, but favor the right tool for the job. The minority of problems are best served with permanent government agencies, hence most people see conservatives as “anti-government,” even though that’s illogical in a government-based system.
The result is that government turns leftist because leftists favor intentions over results. Intentions are what bureaus do best; they announce the new initiative, hire more people and spend more money, and when the problem goes unsolved, they haul out their mission document and show they’ve met their internal targets, even if their external ones went unaddressed.
Leftism builds more government. It allows government to justify itself by intention, and thus to grow itself. Power is a virus, and it is expressed by finding more dependents that require it so that it cannot be removed. This is a fundamentally defensive strategy.
Think about government welfare programs. When does the number of welfare recipients decrease? Never, if the welfare program can help it. If the number drops, so does the number of employees, the budget, the perks, and the job security. So any welfare program will find new dependents every year and if they aren’t there, it will invent them by expanding its mission. If society ever runs out of poor, the welfare agencies will quickly expand to covering people with mental stress, exhaustion, compulsive masturbation, etc.
Power likes to be leftist and have good intentions because that lets it expand. This seems to be why all governments except monarchies quickly plummet into oblivion. Even the totalitarians come to love their dependents, and soon they have converted society into a trough with no visible means of support. Shortly after that, the bill comes due, and it collapses.