the utopian ideal
A service is a thing of value carried out because there is a demand for it. A service is an economic transaction, so the party that demands the service should pay for it. What is a government otherwise? A road is built when there is a demand/need for a road being built. There is a need that the populace be secure and healthy, so there is a force that takes care of security and health. There are much more complicated demands relating to scarce resources, trade and foreign affairs which the ordinary person cannot be bothered with – here jumps in the government to the rescue. What should we do in return? Pay for the services provided, in terms of taxes and once in a while do audits if everything is going ahead as promised. One of the vital elements of this transaction is trust, I trust the government that it doing everything as it promised and the government trusts me that I am conforming to my end of the contract.
The Government however is a super-human entity, a reflection of all our tribal selves. This tribal self assembles itself as a mass, averaging out everyone so that it can be an image of the people. This superhuman self of the government is also not directly dependent on the people itself, that would mean a failed state like Libya or Afghanistan has people with lesser average selves than say people in Switzerland or Australia. The foundation on which a government operates also is dependent on other governments and the time at which the said super-human structure was allowed to grow. A country like the United States has around 250 years of existence to its credit whereas Libya and Afghanistan dabbled with dictatorial and Geo-political disadvantages.
Let us for the sake of an argument consider a government in a relatively stable democratic context (even if a country is not democratic, the functions of the government remain the same. If the basic promises are reneged upon popular rebellions are waiting right at the doorstep) and see why the transaction does not appear to be like that of a service but one that is more aligned towards power centrism, elitism, influence and control.
One of the ideas that we believe that there is some form of the world which is perfect and that we should work hard and change things to get there and systems are created to motivate to do better. One such system is religion where a central God ordains people to do things in a certain way. It is essentially a control system for making everyone fall into line. The image of God falls onto the monarch, the dictator, the autocrat and your garden variety 'democratically elected leader. The other system which is more primal is the family. We are born and raised in families or in communities that value the familial system, where the child is constantly course corrected on a system of predetermined values deemed right by the parents and the immediate community.
When we grow up in such a system, it is hard to imagine a system different from it. There will be no radical new system that will eradicate world hunger, stop all wars and make people nicer to each other on a global level. This is an utopian view that is best discarded, the problems that persist today will persist way into the future and into infinity and understanding that is solving half the problem as it sets the expectations right.
Having this parental outlook to how we view authority also explains the suspiciousness that the system has back on us. This is very akin to a parent always having a close eye on their loving (or burdensome) child, to discipline him to go the way of community prescribed righteousness and whatever self-believed sense of truth they seem to possess. Every action is scrutinized to stop the child from falling into the vices though the parents eventually know that the child will always outgrow them. In the eyes of the government, the citizenry are the perpetual children, they will never outgrow them as the State and its machinery are always older and bigger than them. Politicians invoke utopias like priests promising gods all at the same time trying to see what you think and have the complete ownership of you are. The man on the high throne does not have anything to look down to if there are no people to feel small under.
How to break these bonds created through existence? One of the first things to do is to break the parental attachment while the emotional configuring is still at its immaturity. Break free and realize the relationship is essentially selfish and you were created to fulfill the needs of the parent and your obligation in the participation of the relationship is purely involuntary. Once that is established, the circle of dependency established for generations is broken down and it gives a small glimpse of the absurdness of the political systems outside.
This emotional break is not easy to accomplish and perhaps even impossible in the first generation but it is an important tool to raise future children on, where children are seen as propagators of a race and not as the selfish replication of one's own self. Once this relationship dynamic has been established and all the old rules of how humans have lived and interacted are decimated, it starts giving rise to further cycles of cold, rational beings for whom authority is not something that is seen as a given but rather life itself a series of arbitrary decisions to be made. This wholly independent society of humans can then establish detached political systems that do not focus on ownership and control rather focused on problem solving and rational justness. This is again a perfect worldview and this does not exist. This being's rationality will atleast not be tainted by the ideas which are not ours. We can atleast be in peace that our ideas have never worked anyway and the best way to go forward is to purge them.
The idea of a just government or a perfect democracy are not possible with the systems we have in place now or whatever that will replace them in the future. No matter what activists, journalists, thinkers, writers, politicians and army men scream about, the change will never come. Not now and not in two thousand years. What does matter is to extinguish all the millennia of useless thoughts pursued with their obtuse power structure. Eliminating them would mean starting with a clean state and paving the way for a purely transactional being for whom we have nothing but hope.
#society #governments #governing #utopia