On government

Dirk posted a government is Evil meme

[ 7/June/22 Dirk posted “The belief that government is a necessary evil is a belief that evil is necessary.”]

Government is a necessary factor in our current systems.

It is not the role of government to make decisions for individuals, but to set limits where such things are required, and to put in place common infrastructure.

And sure, governments, like all complex structures, are subject to sets of pathologies, and sets of emerging incentives that do not align well with individual needs. Part of being a responsible citizen is working to mitigate those on as as required basis.

The idea that government is, in and of itself as a concept, evil, is dangerously over simplistic nonsense!

[followed by Dirk replied – “No
There are definitely no ‘more equal‘ people who could be sufficiently prudent and wise enough, to rule the just equal ones.” …]

I don’t disagree with that first idea.

I agree with the notion that all people should be eligible to have a role in government.

And there are some areas of threat that require a great deal of time to investigate, that need to be regulated, and that cannot safely be left to market conditions.

There definitely are roles for coordinated group activity.

The idea that group coordination is evil has zero basis in reality. It is a recipe for extinction !!!

[followed by Dirk wrote “You know that I referred only to not consensual rulership.”]

Hi Dirk,

That kind of helps, but not really.

What about psychopaths who do not consent to any restrictions?

They must be restricted (if any are to survive long term).

There are certainly an infinite set of possible pathologies in governance, and the idea of governance is as critical as water. And just like too much water and you drown, and too little and you die of thirst; so too, too much governance and you lose freedom, and too little and you lose security (and that is just the simplest possible set of pathologies). It really is a deeply complex subject, and saying that “government is a necessary evil” really does not help create the sorts of depths of appreciation required; even if it can certainly appear like that in some formulations.

[followed by Mark replied in a different subthread “Government is like food.
Too little is negative evil.
Too much is positive evil.
The right amount does not evil at all.” – which I “liked”]

Agree Mark,

Like most things in life.

Even water.

Too little, you die of thirst.

Too much, you drown.

And there is a distribution between that in which it is essential for life.

Same goes with governance in groups.

The big trick, is finding where that sweet spot is in any particular set of contexts – it is highly variable.

[followed by Dirk “Where is the optimum?
What is the right amount?
When is consent not necessary?”
Mark “nobody really knows.”]

Hi Mark & Dirk,

We all need to make our best guesses, on such limited information as we have, to the best of our limited and fallible abilities; and trust that in that process we will arrive at some sort of useful approximation to a local optimum for that particular context.

And we all need to be conscious that it will be an ever evolving thing, as contexts change, as they necessarily will.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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