No Idea What Government Good For

Many problems in modern societies happen because people confuse political government for something it isn’t. They expect it to do things it can’t do and isn’t suited for. To do things right you need to use the correct tools.

A hammer is the proper tool for driving nails. A feather isn’t a hammer; neither is a shotgun. Even though you might be able to use a coffee cup to drive a small nail — don’t try this with your favorite cup — it’s not a hammer either. Using things for purposes they aren’t well-suited for will cause problems.

Even if something looks like a hammer, feels like a hammer, and can be wielded like a hammer, if it is made out of the wrong material it’s not going to work well as a hammer.

After decades of observation I have yet to find any situation that requires government, or where government would be the best tool for the job. It doesn’t seem to be the correct tool for doing anything helpful.

You probably disagree, so I’ll stay out of your search for the proper use of political government and instead focus on what I know government isn’t the right tool for.

Government is not your doctor. It is not a scientist. It’s not an expert on anything other than how to push people around and steal their life, liberty, and property.

Government is not your parent. It is not your educator. It is not your moral guide. It is not your savior. It is not your friend.

Government is not your spouse, nor is it your provider. It is not your leader or your protector.

Government is not a genie from a magic lamp, granting your wishes. It is not your ATM. Anything it gives you has been stolen from someone — often from your future self. Can future-you afford to support present-you?

Thinking of government as something it isn’t won’t turn out well for society. It’s not healthy to treat it as though it is any of those things.

Even if you get away with using government as a tool, when you mix anything with politics you end up with only politics. It’s like mixing poison with food.

As I say, I can’t tell you what government is good for; I’ll let you ponder the answer to that puzzle for yourself. For me, political government — which is everything people usually call “the government” — is an unnecessary evil. It’s not a tool I would use even if I had no other.

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Kent McManigal

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