This is Essay Seventeen in the series Lighten the Load, a back-to-basics re-think of government. What should a government be and do? What should it definitely NOT be and do? Is it even necessary at all? If so, how much and why? How do we decide, against what criteria?
A Broad View
On a more general note, if we now take a broad view of the sorry condition of western societies, indeed of all global civilisation at this time, we can observe a lowering of survival potential on many fronts.
Well, where there is a lowering of survival, simple logic tells us that, in the absence of some natural disaster, there have been entered into the scene human activities that inhibit or impede the effort to survive.
Such activities or modes of conduct on the part of specific human beings or groups thereof, contravene the society’s survival codes but have escaped their sanction.
It may well be that the survival codes and laws in some way have been altered or weakened so that they can no longer so well perform their survival function.
That alteration, where the result is impeded survival, will always trace back to the machinations of criminals seeking license from existing codes.
To reverse the decay of our civilisation, and to spare ourselves the continual misery of wars, we have only to identify what alteration of code, custom or law has been successfully advocated (by whom) then observe the effects of that alteration. Or what violation of moré, custom and law is escaping correction.
But we must be thorough. We must ensure that the obligation to pro-survival conduct enshrined in our moral and legal codes applies to all men whoever they are. We cannot afford to permit any exemptions.
This is not a matter of “wouldn’t it be nice,” ideology or utopian dreams. It is an entirely pragmatic stipulation: societies will decay and will not survive unless we do it.
People in Power
The above caveat particularly applies to persons or groups in powerful positions whose conduct, for good or ill, affects a broad sphere.
Placing above the law and our survival codes persons who are in government or other positions of broad influence over large numbers of people, is a very foolhardy thing to do because these are the very people upon whom law, code and custom must be most rigorously binding.
A counter-survival act or pattern of conduct is counter-survival no matter who does it.
If it is wrong for Joe Citizen to murder someone or incite others to murder, arson, pillage, theft, assault, vandalism, intimidation, blackmail, graft, bribery, embezzlement, defamation, bigotry, torture or lying, then it doesn’t suddenly become a pro-survival act just because the perpetrator of it wears a chain of office, runs a newspaper, purports to the very best motives or is one of the country’s Top People.
On the contrary, the more powerful the position of the perpetrator, the more harm is his counter-survival act likely to cause.
This recognition and proscription of counter-survival acts is the way society protects itself and ensures its continued successful pursuit of survival objectives.
Any failure so to do leaves the perpetrator of the harmful act free to go on committing the harmful act and further suppress or inhibit our survival.
Exempting anyone therefore from this process deprives the wider community of the ability to protect itself and does immeasurable harm by granting license to the insane to commit harm.
It provides them with a safe vantage from which to operate and from which to emanate counter-efforts that impede or disperse the aligned survival-efforts of the community.
The more powerful a person is, the wider the sphere he is able to influence, the more important it becomes that he abides by the standards of conduct expected of the rest of us.
To the degree that such exemptions and immunities are permitted, enacted or tolerated, the ability of all men to survive is inhibited.
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