We are all aware that ‘governments’ tend to attract selfish sociopaths who try, by force or stealth, to siphon off the resources of the governed for their personal use. We call this “corruption” and we don’t like it, which is why the OOTs (Oligarchs On Top) use stealth when force might expose them. OOTs gravitate to positions of power in every tribe and nation. The OOTs you will always have with you, to paraphrase Jesus, which is why you will also always have the poor with you, which is what Jesus actually said.
OOTs have always done this. In Gilgamesh, the oldest written epic, written 5,000 years ago, we see the citizens of Babylon complaining about the abuses of the king:
‘Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement,
his arrogance has no bounds by day or night.
No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all, even the children;
yet the king should be a shepherd to his people.
His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior’s daughter nor the wife of the noble;
yet this is the shepherd of the city, wise, comely, and resolute. (sarcasm)
In the Old Testament, when the Jews demanded a king, the prophet Samuel said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.
Right on, the anarchists may be thinking at this point. But the Jews demanded a king because the system of rule by hereditary judges was corrupt. “(Your sons) turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.”
History, Mark Twain said, “doesn’t repeat-but it rhymes.” We reject the old divine right of kings thing, yet many still tend to portray state leaders as either gods or devils. It’s partly our fault. Check out Twitter today, a few months before the US election. Trump is either praised as a savior or put down as a stupid, whiney orange toddler.
Why government? Long ago we made a social contract and it’s fairly straightforward: We will work and you will administer our surplus products to ensure our survival, protect us from others who want to steal our stuff and enslave us. Run things in such a way that we can live decent lives in peace.
I say we made a contract-that’s a metaphor. It happened gradually, over centuries and there is no such signed document. But it’s not a bad deal-if it worked the way our ancestors intended. Humans have never been solitary predators. Our social organization is a major survival strategy. It’s why we soft, relatively slow and yummy creatures are still alive.
Most of us are decent. We know the right to swing our fist ends at the next guy’s nose. We know that society crumbles if we allow any man who is attracted to a pretty girl to grab her and rape her, if we allow strong guys to break in and steal what we have worked for, if we allow hotheads to murder at will. We need a government, and we want a decent government. But sociopaths are attracted to power and when they get there, they act like sociopaths. What to do?
We must insist on decency and have a corruption-proof mechanism to throw the bums out. We must insist on free speech* because you can’t make good decisions based on lies. We must ask ourselves regarding various acts: What if everybody did this? Would we like to live in such a world? If not, it’s bad and the actor must be punished.
It sounds like a constant struggle, doesn’t it? It is. Take heart, there’s a lot more of us than there is of OOTs. If we all just peed on them simultaneously, they’d drown. But we’d have to pee united, so they strive to keep us divided: black versus white, Democrats versus Republicans, left versus right. Don’t fall for that either-or nonsense.
I think that’s the best we can do. Life is not static, it’s a process. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. Adapt or die. If we are honest, we will admit that there is a worm in the heart of each of us. There is no perfect man on earth and there is no heaven on earth, either.
Native American Grandpa to Grandson:
Inside of each of us, there is a good dog and a bad dog fighting.
Which one wins, Grandpa?
Whichever one you feed.
*Free speech: Includes unpopular speech and even lies. It does not include incitement to violence. That is not free speech, it is a crime and should be swiftly punished. In Rwanda, Hutu extremists broadcast constant incitement to kill the ‘cockroach’ Tutsis-purchased hundreds of thousands of machetes, passed them out and said, “Do it now.” One hundred days later, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus lay hacked to death, decomposing in the hot African son.