Government Necessarily Leaves Citizens Clueless

Big government is anything beyond a small town of, say, 10,000 people or less, and even that size is already too large.

Most government activity is “big”, so that it does little violence to the facts to refer simply to government and omit the adjective “big”. Therefore, it’s quite accurate to say that government necessarily leaves citizens clueless, even though it’s more accurate to say that it’s big government that does this.

Even if a government didn’t intentionally obscure, hide, mislead and lie about its activities, bigness of government insures that nearly all citizens will most of the time on most issues and government activities be largely uninformed and in the dark.

Most citizens of a city don’t know what the city is up to, still less what the state is up to and a vanishingly small amount of what the federal government is up to. It is impossible to know the many machinations and laws of a big government, now or over time. It is also not in anyone’s interest to be well-informed about more than a tiny fraction of its activities. At best, citizens become aware, often dimly aware, of some government law, activity or dysfunction only when it hits home to them in such a way that they can put 2 and 2 together, that is, connect government as cause with their misery as effect.

This necessary ignorance has the main consequence that big government, which accounts for nearly all government nowadays, is unresponsive and unaccountable to citizens. The system of elections and voting also sees to it that governments maintain their independence of action. There is no social contract for big governments, i.e. nearly all governments. The theory of democracy, which is the theory that an informed public monitors its government, controls its government and makes it act in the public interest, fails altogether. This theory is a pipe dream.

If this theory doesn’t hold, then what actually is government? This question has been answered by a number of bright, observative, thoughtful and inquisitive thinkers. Lysander Spooner’s answer is one of the best. The government is organized for plunder and thievery. It is a highwayman.


11:37 am on September 15, 2015