Gregory Sams
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2. The Emperor Has No Clothes

"We shall get nowhere until we start by recognising that political behaviour is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured."

George Orwell (1903 - 1950)
We all know the story of the little boy who realised not only that the emperor was wearing no clothes, but also acknowledged that he saw it, and said so, even though everybody else was acting exactly as if the emperor did have his clothes on. Today it is apparent that big government, the state, has lost any of the merit that we imagine it had in "the old days." Deep inside, more and more of us realise that our structure of government by the state is a decaying system and all over the world we read daily of its latest dire activities against our civilization and of past abuses now revealed.

The term "for political reasons" is commonly taken to mean that something is not being done for genuine reasons. Politicians rate below even lawyers in numerous surveys that gauge public respect for different professional groups.* Our own cultural "body language" tells us what we really think of politics. Most of us have far greater confidence in our corner grocer or our carpenter than we do in our government - those who profess to be supplying us with the essential need of running our society and protecting our borders. It is sobering to recognize that few of those who claim the ability to run our country would be able to successfully manage a corner grocery store in the marketplace they have distorted. Few of us can look in our souls and really believe that the state, our government system, is working.

* A Jan. 1997 survey indicated that 95% of Pakistanis believe most politicians to be corrupt. Of course, each of the parties in the election about to take place was promising to clean up corruption. According to the respected English language "Herald" newspaper the respondents were unanimous in seeing bureaucrats as the most corrupt group.
"Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

George Washington 1st US President (1732 -99)
Yet most of us go about our daily lives acting as though the emperor does indeed have on his new clothes - heatedly comparing one politician's outfit to another's, wishing they would "do something effective" about this or that problem, bemoaning the billions wasted on shelved missile projects and failed employment schemes and thinking that it is somehow going to stop happening.
We refuse to recognise openly that the emperor has no clothes because the alternatives seem so horrific. If the emperor is really naked then:
  • who will run the emergency wards?
  • who will pay the unemployed?
  • who will maintain employment in the arms industry?
  • who will keep our streets safe?
  • who will make sure our air is not poisonous?
  • who will safeguard the farming industry?
  • who will educate our children?
  • who will insure the nuclear power industry?
  • who will decide what foods and drugs are safe?
  • who will look after us when we can't look after ourselves?
These may be important and vital issues but the size of the issue and the need for action should not blind us to the obvious. The archaic/modern state does not deliver what it promises when it moves in to control these vital issues. This seems to be the case whether we are talking about Uncle Sam, the Taliban, the former Soviet Union or present day Russia. I would be interested to hear of any country in the world where, in private, a majority of the inhabitants are genuinely satisfied with their government's efforts.

Of course, so many of the terrible problems which we depend upon governments around the world to deal with, are problems that are caused by governments around the world. It is the state in general, our protecting Emperor, which carries out, sanctions or aggravates the activities that create orphans, refugees, terrorists, the homeless, famines, bankrupts, bulging jails, unsupported families, many of the unemployed and even mad cows, as we shall see...
"Politicians are, in fact, in the business of getting and keeping power and everything else is subordinate to that.

As I have grumbled before, there is no such thing as 'good government,' certainly not in the sense that some businessmen look for it. There is a lot of government and there is a little government. If you are lucky, you get the latter. We are unlucky."

Andrew Alexander - Jan. 1997
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From the book "Uncommon Sense - The State is Out of Date"
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