Govt as evolved critter (was: We luv)

Steve Witham (
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 21:00:52 -0400

Charlie Stross writes:

>Seriously, though. If you look at things from the perspective of social
>darwinism, an argument can be made that Government -- as a concept --
>must have been, if not beneficial, then at least a functiona, rugged,
>and competitive concept at some time in the past. Otherwise it wouldn't
>be so ubiquitous today.

Of course. It is a successful parasite or predator and we are the
host or prey. Just because it's higher on the food chain,
doesn't mean it's better or worse than us. But it is our enemy.

>I don't like facile generalisations like "government BAD" and "free market
>GOOD". Both institutions may bring benefits and may be open to abuse,
>depending on the specific implementation.

Huh? Food is good for us and predators are bad. Perhaps in some self-
flagilating sense too much food makes us lazy and disease weeds out the
weak leaving the strong. But in that case we're the strong but underfed
ones and it makes perfect sense to say: food is good and disease is bad.

Still, the self-flagilating truth is that government evolved from an
instability caused by our ignorance and fallacious beliefs. It has
prospered by taking advantage of our imperfections and even discovering
more and more of them. It actually has taught us things, demonstrated
dangers, and yet without destroying us totally (yet). Yippee.

>What I want to know is WHY
>governments at the end of the twentieth century have become bloated,
>inefficient, and counterproductive monsters that are resented by many
>of their citizens.

The demonstration continues. Because they can afford to. Because we,
their food source, are sheep who haven't destroyed them. I don't see
what's so mysterious. Rot advances unless you stop it. It has no
interest in being efficient, productive or not bloated. Eating and
spreading is what it does, just like any successful, evolved life form.
Don't you understand your own idea?

>Anyone got any good ideas? (Preferably ones that haven't been hashed
>over until they're dead meat already; if the Extropians list is anything
>like it was in the old days, even _whispering_ the idea that government
>isn't automatically evil is going to induce a Pavlovian reaction among
>some of the less flexible libertarian subscribers.)

You don't have to whisper. My only reaction is mystification. Here is
not the place to go over these basics, aren't there economics books on the
recommended reading list? Haven't you read them?

>Better still: anyone
>prepared to put on their Devil's Advocate hat and pretend to be a
>government employee trying to explain why what they do is _good_ ?

If you don't have any ideas, what's the point? Do you want someone
to advocate Santa Claus just because you think he *can't* be *all*
fictional? I think you're taking a sense of fairness a little too far.
"Quid pro con," don't you know: the fallacy that there must be two sides
to every issue.


<>Steve Witham
Don't dream it, su to it.