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Mommy, What is Government?

A young girl struggles to understand why anyone would wish to live under government.
The sun had just set over the Martian landscape and the thin atmosphere was still lit with a blue glow. The Castro family had finished dinner and watched the sun set through the thick windows of their home, a large structure primarily beneath the surface, but with one level above where the surface could be seen. Maria Castro sat on the couch, snuggled against her mother. The local educational collective had shown an old film about war on Earth. It was a strange world, Earth, with many concepts and ideas foreign to Maria. Maria looked up at her mother and asked, "Mommy, what is government?"

"Something we left behind on Earth, my dear," she replied. "Why do you ask?"

"I saw a film today about a war on Earth. The filmed mentioned the word 'government.' I never heard that word before," said Maria.

"Well, Maria," said her mother, "I've never lived under a government so what I have to say may not be accurate. However, I will tell you what my father told me."

The mother pondered thoughtfully for a moment, as if struggling for words, and then she began to recount what she had heard about government.

"A long time ago, back on Earth, before it was destroyed in a great war, people did not live freely as they do here on Mars. Most people believed that humans were evil by nature and that they needed to be controlled by other humans."

"That's silly," said Maria. "First of all, people are neither good nor evil. We begin our lives ignorant and we learn to be ethical. Secondly, if people were evil by nature, how could it be that some would be good enough to lead the evil?"

"I know," said her mother, "that seems obvious to us, but it was not obvious to them. They failed to understand that imposition of control denies individuals the opportunity to be responsible. Without full self responsibility, learning to live an ethical life is impossible. Having failed to achieve an ethical life, it is no wonder that the people of Earth seemed evil.

"In their simplemindedness, they sought to control the existence of violence and injustice by imposing violence and injustice. Rather than giving each individual the right to choose between being just and unjust, they chose to construct a mechanism to impose an artificial justice, selecting from the population individuals to control the mechanism. These selected individuals tended to wield the mechanism of "justice" with impunity. Having concentrated the power of the many into the hands of the few, society became hierarchical and government evolved to exist for its own sake, exploiting the hierarchical relationship to extract more and more resources from the people for the purpose of increasing the government's control over the people.

"Those entrenched in power, enabled by the tools of government - a great lever whereby all of society's collective force could be wielded in the interest of the entrenched, the powerful discovered that they could control and manipulate the perception of reality. In a real and just world, natural forces impose reality upon the senses. Under natural circumstances, such as we have here on Mars, an unjust person can be shunned, denied resources and handed justice by the individual decisions of his or her fellow humans. Under government, such individual choices are limited and the government reserves for itself the right to determine justice and control resources. Under government, it is the government that decides which unjust individuals shall receive justice and which shall not. Within hierarchical societies, mechanisms controlled by entrenched individuals are wielded, more often than not, in the interest of the person at the controls and not in the interest of justice. Therefore, there is no objective justice under government, only an expression of the self serving interests of those wielding the power they stole from others.

"With such power concentrated in the hands of the few, the people became pawns in the competition between governments..."

"Wait!" exclaimed Maria. "There were more than one government on Earth?"

"Yes," her mother answered. "Some people just can't get enough of a bad thing," she laughed.

"As I was saying, governments competed with each other for resources. Those in control of a government could further enrich themselves and their associates by expropriating the resources (e.g. the natural resources and human resources) of other governments. Naturally, governments do not usually roll over and hand their resources to another, so this led to conflict. The conflict between governments took the form of war and the people were sent to fight on behalf of the governments."

Maria interrupted her mother. "You mean it was not enough that government stole the resources of its own people, but now it was using its own people as resources in conflicts? Moreover, these conflicts were intended to steal the resources of other governments - resources those governments stole from people would would then be sent to fight to defend them?"

"I know it sounds absurd, Maria, but that is how it was," said her mother. "As governments conquered governments, the number of independent governments on Earth grew smaller and smaller until the was only one super powerful government imposing its will upon a handful of subject governments. That super powerful government became more and more oppressive as it had no one to answer to. In time a rebellion brewed. Many of the smaller governments began to organize against the super powerful government and a large war ensued. Rather than give up its power, the super powerful government destroyed the Earth with nuclear weapons. Fortunately, before this happened, many humans had already come to Mars, a world without a government, and decided to keep it that way."

"I'm glad we did," said Maria.

"So am I," said her mother.

homepage: homepage: http://www.whiterosejournal.info/thewhiterosemagazine/id48.html

The young girl is right 04.Apr.2004 00:54

govenment sucks

Government is an un-natural force that ultimately becomes corrupt. Show me one example of a benevolent government. Here in the US, bureacracy is becomming less accountable.

Hmmm... 04.Apr.2004 16:47

Justice Evans

Instead of asking for evidence of just one benevolent government, and knowing already that it will be impossible to provide that evidence, why not try and create a benevolent government? Because, while people are not inherently good or evil, they are inherently pack-animal like. They need someone to guide them and take them on the right path. Leaving them to care for themselves always leads to some new heirarchical social structure.

The flaw is, people want things. And, given the opportunity, will do most anything to get what they want.

Government is not ultimately corrupt, it is the people who implement it and distort it and bend it to their will who are corrupt.

mommy, what is propaganda? 04.Apr.2004 18:09

this is

This is patronizing.

Boring Moralism 04.Apr.2004 22:07

World Socialist wsppdx@yahoo.com

What the hell, after 150 years of radical theory, we are treated to another story which reduces the revolutionary movement to a question of morals... Boring.


Comment on critiques. 04.Apr.2004 23:11

Reader

The story is intended to be read to children by adults, thus the false impression that it is "patronizing." As for reducing this to "morality," on the contrary, it reduces them to ethics which is not surprising since the author is a rational anarchist. Rational anarchism derives from ethics and not economics. It is a philosophical and not a political approach to anarchism.

no it's not 05.Apr.2004 03:09

more patronization

>The story is intended to be read to children by adults

Bullshit.

On top of which, teaching children self-serving victor's-justice stories about the grown-up status quo is silly. "Children" -- up to ridiculously high ages like 18 or 21 -- don't appreciate or benefit from the precious "rights" and "freedoms" that "adult" citizens reserve to themselves and share only with each other, either in the real world or in the fictional one spoon-fed to us applesauce-like above.

What's 05.Apr.2004 04:13

with all the

venomous pessimism here? Has Portland Indymedia become a pit of vipers? Relax, people...

The venemous posts are not by Portland IndyMedia readers. 05.Apr.2004 07:33

Readers

I suggest you read about who is making the venemous posts:

 http://www.rationalanarchism.org/fieldmanuals/example_three.htm

The source of the venemous posts is the CIA.


WOW 05.Apr.2004 11:31

clamydia

I didn't know that Stephen DeVoy INVENTED the <a href=" http://www.rationalanarchism.org/fieldmanuals/example_three.htm" target=blank>concept of disorganized resistance</a>! Now I know who to give licinsing credits to whenever I advocate the use of this tactic...

yes, he did invent it. 05.Apr.2004 13:34

smile

try this google search:

 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=%22Disorganized+Resistance%22

sorry to disappoint anyone that thought he didn't


Stephen DeVoy, middle-class philosopher 05.Apr.2004 14:31

GRINGO STARS

"Rational Anarchism" is not based on economics, and does not believe that any kind of class politics is meaningful. Apparently, from reading his site, anyone who disagrees with him is some kind of government agent. I never knew I was a government agent! I learn somthing new every day...

To ignore class struggle and to comfortably philosophize about a government-less world without any plan for action is... dare I say it... irrational?

Rational anarchism seems to equal libertarianism. Am I wrong here?

So apparently, ones personal ecomonic condition has NO EFFECT on ones politics, and vice versa? This is insultingly nonsensical.

So Stephen, do you think that the rebbelion that "bewed" in your story was not iverwhelmingly working class? You think that middle-class and ruling-class people don't directly profit from the current system? You think any of them would support such a revolution?

to justice evans 05.Apr.2004 15:27

yak

you must of failed the bar:

"Instead of asking for evidence of just one benevolent government, and knowing already that it will be impossible to provide that evidence, why not try and create a benevolent government?"

WTF?!! are you serious or simply being sarcastic? i can understand that, and even find it funny, but if you are serious, i fear for your sanity. to answer your question "Why not try and create a benevolent government?" because only a moron tries to create an oxymoron. it is like "adequate funding", an impossibility.

"Because, while people are not inherently good or evil, they are inherently pack-animal like. They need someone to guide them and take them on the right path. Leaving them to care for themselves always leads to some new heirarchical social structure."

are you on drugs right now? this makes so little sense...so people need someone to guide them becuase, left to themselves, they will develop new hierarchial social strustures? WTF are you talking about? oh, i forgot about the assumption of 'benevolent government'

"The flaw is, people want things. And, given the opportunity, will do most anything to get what they want."

so now you are aware of the tragic flaw of humanity, "materialism", and this tragic flaw gives you, more specifically a government, authority over me? that is so ass-backwards my friend. more like my desire for material goods is conceptualized as a concrete institution (a government, though not always) whose job it is to protect me from criminals and those that would impede my ability to exercise my material perogatives.

"Government is not ultimately corrupt, it is the people who implement it and distort it and bend it to their will who are corrupt."

this is your only statement that even makes sense, regardless of its veracity, which is dubious. government CAN be ultimately corrupt in a million ways: consider a government without a 1st amendment, a government that allows no petition to redress grievance. you see, the point is that while individual people come and go, the system stays, that is the whole point right? and ultimately if individuals are prevented from altering that structure you have a corrupt government, get it?

yes steve, indymedia is a big CIA trick 05.Apr.2004 17:23

your mother

The whole original post is insulting.

"Patronizing propaganda" is not venom, it's a description.

Smearing his critics (as if he has any fans) as CIA assets is beyond insulting. It's almost enough to get this whole thread composted.

SDV is obviously a paranoid wackjob with a grossly inflated sense of his own importance.

Look at how many different schools of philosophy he's founded ALL BY HIMSELF.

blah, blah, blah 05.Apr.2004 22:41

daddy - o

"SDV is obviously a paranoid wackjob with a grossly inflated sense of his own importance"

--no,

he's just a Libertarian . . .

My thoughts 06.Apr.2004 22:52

Tyler Wells twells1@gladstone.uoregon.edu

"LAPD's blood-stained past suggests that corruption could be traced back to the 1930s, when some of the largest police scandals occurred."

"its totalistic image of an "evil" system might more be applied to the extensive crimes of the CIA or perhaps certain sectors of law enforcement."

"corruptability and violence were rewarded skills of police recruits, veteran cops were often 'promoted' from the beat to the mob, and the LAPD was shifting from a frontier mentality to one modeled on the military."

"Projecting Paranoia", Ray Pratt, p. 212

How and why our government was formed
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/04/284953.shtml

Where it is going
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/278143.shtml

what? 21.May.2004 20:51

wacko

the author says "Under natural circumstances, such as we have here on Mars, an unjust person can be shunned, denied resources and handed justice by the individual decisions of his or her fellow humans"
SHUNNED=isolation=mental torture=suicide or continued bad behavior
DENIED RESOURCES=lets say food and shelter=incentive to steal these items=incentive for violence=possiable death of person or persons
HANDED JUSTICE BY THE INDIVIDUAL=
could be nonviolent justice=lack of incentive for criminal to change behavior=criminal may repeat action.
could be violent justice=violence or future death who is to stop them?
how is this any better then the system in existance? it is not, it won't work.
ignoring crime=crime