When the outlook is grey, look for greener pastures
The surveillance state. Like the tale of the frog in a pot of boiling water, we have been exposed to a gradual increase of this as a blatant misuse of technology. There is a role for safety & security, but when it gets out of control, it is time to rethink where you live. If you feel the upcoming election cycle will drive your stress level up and your sanity challenged, this article might help you get some awareness of what is going on and your options.
This is a recent photo I found on Twitter from Flint, Michigan.
Yes, it is real. A city devastated by a lack of water quality oversight seems to have a government that applies more oversight to parking fines. The problem here is clearly a lack of management and balance as to the responsibility of the city to generate tax revenue, and a responsibility to the citizenry to let the make it fairly. This is the poster child of a government gone off the rails.
Trust in government
Have you ever lived in a community that is managed by an HOA? It is an interesting dynamic. Everyone who owns property in that community shares a common interest to keep the place looking clean, nice, maintained, etc. The costs of doing this are shared among the community. That all sounds pretty fair and decent, right? Well why is it that about 80% of people who live in HOA managed communities would like to destroy the HOA? Because everyone wants to benefit from the common services, but no one wants to manage them.
HOA's elect their members by voting, just like governments do. If you want to run to be elected to the board of the HOA, you have to have a lot of time on your hands to devote to the community and most of us don't have or want to devote that time. So who runs? Normally dysfunctional, outspoken people with no actual background in governence. Many times they have no understanding in basic financial accounting either. You vote for anyone so that it isn't you. It could be a school teacher, corporate worker, retired person, etc. Just as long as it isn't you. I mean you are busy, you have a job, family, a business to run, whatever. Just elect Sally Jane to the board because she seems to be level headed and ok, right?
But what motivates people to run for these positions? Power. Plain & simple the reason is that they have power. They can choose to bring up laws, grievances, etc. with the rest of the board and if they are able to generate allies with other board members, they can topple votes anyway they want. They get to be the "HOA Nazi" and spend their day time hours walking around the neighborhood like a Mall Cop, finding any breach of any small bylaw and fining the homeowner. The homeowner has little or no recourse. They signed over their rights to the HOA when they bought their home, so they can't fight most of the violations. And if you don't have a friend in the HOA, you get fined over and over again. I mean these people are your neighbors and god forbid you have a grievance with any of them. Then you will be run out of town, so to speak.
Humans have a wonderful flaw to overcome when they get into groups. You get this dominance of some personalities that rise up to take the lead, and you can only hope that they have the training and understanding of putting their own needs aside in favor of the needs of the group. But as we all know, it takes a very wise person to be able to do that. They are rare, and typically they don't go working for government.
As a citizen, to give up your power and control to a state assumes you have total faith in the leadership and management team that run that state, and that you defer your own self-interests to them. What if they can't be trusted? What if you don't agree with their positions? Your only recourse is a vote. A vote that maybe meaningless depending on the sheer size of the population. Or that the methodology for counting and recording the votes is flawed and favors one group over another. At what point do you lose faith and trust in your governence? Whether that be your HOA or your local, state or Federal government?
Dangers of mismanagement
Great leaders recruit others in their own image. They know their strengths and weaknesses and they find a team of people they trust to fill the gaps in terms of skills. They hold those people accountable for results and they have means to measure their progress. They know that perception is everything, so they manage perception regularly - yet keeping a close eye on the domain that their team presides over. They grow a vision, an idea, a product, into an ideology that everyone - employees, customers, onlookers, etc. - all embrace.
But how many of these great leaders are there? Sure, many in business have been successful because in that world the rules are relatively clear and the net profit is measured in mathematics that can rarely be corrupted. Some business leaders are criminals and they tell their teams to do evil things. They normally don't last long. The customer ends up revolting against them. If they implement any form of extortion or monopolistic behavior, the customer eventually moves to something else. If they can't produce high quality products, the customer returns them and buys something else. There is a natural balance that comes with this simply because the customer maintains the power of the purse.
But when government steps in with its dysfunctional leadership and attempts to pick winners & losers in business with policy, then you have lost the natural cleansing that the free market brings to the table. You have taken away the recourse that the customers have by forcing monopolies or by creating policies that support one organization over another.
And the worst case is that you start to use the same criminal methods and adopt them in governance that would normally find a corporate CEO heading to jail or at least fired over. Because at least the CEO doesn't have the power of the police or military to force their will onto their customers. They might try and create a "lock in" business model, but smart customers find a way to hack that system and break free of it. It may take time, but they will. Look at the inventiveness that created the Internet that broke the back of the phone companies. There are countless examples of this in history and will continue in the future. But if they are forced not to do these things because it will upset power in governance, then we have a problem.
How to create a culture of submission
Governance doesn't need uprisings. They don't need to cut off their monetary income stream. If this was a business, they would ensure that their quality of service, quality of product and innovation was constantly pushing the limit forward because that determines their revenue. And that they would run as a lean operation because they know it is all about net worth.
The last thing in the world they would do is to threaten their customers. Or make their customers feel uneasy about their region. "The customer is aways right" was the mantra of the past and business knows that they have to do the right thing in order to have long term survivability.
But government.... Not so much. Government only needs to do the bare minimum, and even that is often too high a bar. I mean if the customer can't go anywhere, and the government has the power of the gun to force the citizenry to do whatever it needs, then it doesn't have to be very good at all. And if it needs money to function, then it issues bonds as "stable investments" with small returns. If that isn't enough, then it finds a way to enact its power to control the monetary supply. By producing more money into the economy, it can manipulate the value of a single element of currency thereby reducing its debt load down. If you owe $1,000 and your $USD is worth 50% of its value because you pump 2x as much of it into the economy, then your debt load is halved. In this case, the government gets off with a massive gift, but the citizenry who are forced to use that currency now have to pay 2x as much for everything. But because this can't be seen as a "tax" they can't blame the government outright. But they know who created this manipulation. Maybe they can be brainwashed into blaming someone else, or have their attention moved to some other boogey man because their fear will have them give up choice and let the government "protect them". How many times in history have we seen this strategy play out? And yet, like the frog in the pot of boiling water, we choose to just accept it as "business as usual".
Meanwhile while we are not looking, the government gets to peer closer and closer into our affairs because they don't need dissenters. They don't want anyone to upset the apple cart and destroy the status quo. A status quo that no human on earth would embrace given how it treats them. When humanity simply wants to be free, healthy and the chance of doing something great with your life, you need a culture and a place to do that in. Does your country provide this? Will it provide this for you? And will you be actually able to have a say in that for the future? Or are you stuck, like a homeowner in a dysfunctional HOA, where they pay fee after fee, fine after fine, and feel shackled and controlled?
The buck stops with you
So what can you do about this? If you don't believe in it, do you organize and protest? That is your right (at least within the US constitution). But does it work?
It can, but it takes extreme people to get volume of agreement. And this very same method is what lured the dysfunctional government officials into power. No one wants to risk making things worse, so society has to pass a certain threshold of pain before this method typically works. If the society is lulled into a state of submission, is hypnotized to like that state and yet accepts that they have no risk mitigation strategy provided to them by government and they are on their own anyway, then you get this lacklustre attitude. Sure, we hate our government. Everyone will champion their "team" for government power because the leadership of a country know that to psychologically manipulate people into thinking that politics is a sporting event, means they can get ideological allegiance to one side or the other. And if there are only two sides, you have to have one win over the other. God forbid a third option would prevail because then the math doesn't work. You need two teams - fighting it out for the ultimate win, like a WWE match. And the bloodier and rougher it becomes means more people will be glued to the TV watching the fight.
You can pretend to ignore it. You can opt out of voting or watching the news, etc. Because it is just depressing, raises your stress level and anxiety. That's probably the healthiest option in the short term, but then you miss out on critical information that you probably need to function and mitigate your own life risks. And it doesn't help that all your work collegues or friends at church, etc. are all polarized by the big fight and want to talk about it around the water cooler each day. It is hard to participate when you purposely disassociate yourself from it all. Yet, you do feel saner and healthier for doing that.
Or the extreme is to move. Like owning a home in a dysfunctional HOA, your only option is to sell it and move. Once you do that, the HOA has no ties to you anymore and no ability to charge you fees, etc. Sure, they will probably try to bill you something on the way out, but once you are out, you are out. Then you hope to not repeat that same mistake again.
Unfortunately the US government doesn't let you get out. They rule by the "Hotel California" method - you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. US citizens and permanent residents are US tax payers until the day they die. Regardless where on this big, beautiful planet they choose to reside. They have to file taxes every year and they can't get out of that. If they ignore it, then the fines will destroy them. And the long arm reach of the US government will get them pretty much anywhere they are. They will influence the local authorities to act in their best interests and you are then reminded that you are a subject to a republic that you swore your allegiance to, or were born into allegiance with. If you want to escape, you have to renounce your citizenship, which is expensive.
But the fear of leaving your birthplace and your identity is too much for most. Some, like Andrew Henderson of NomadCapitalist.com, did it. And it seems an ever increasing number. But for most, particularly retirees who found that they can't afford to live in their own home country anymore, are lumbered with the tax return responsibility every year. Maybe they can find a US accountant who will not rip them off and file it for them. But the amount of work in documenting everything is a heavy burden they shoulder each year.
Let sanity prevail
So let's all agree to one thing. We are about to enter another election cycle for the 2020 Presidential elections. This will be a bloody mess of an election. 2016 was horrible. But this time it is likely to be worse. While we see party A fight party B, the reality is that nothing will likely change. The issues that face your daily life should be the focus of your choice of allegiance - not some ideological alignment because that probaby was taught to you from your parents, or by some hypnotized media control.
You have to trust that those that tell you that they will look after your best personal interests are actually able to do that. You know how civics work in the USA, and you know what is actually possible and what is not. And that no matter what level of authoritarian control of the chambers of government might be attempted, that unless all chambers agree on something, nothing happens. So with that knowledge you have to go forth to the voting booths (or not) and vote your gut. And when I hear the message about how your vote doesn't count, or by voting for the actual candidate you think will really have your back won't work because they can never get in, then stop for a second and think that even a vote in protest of the popular norms might help. I mean if a third party can never get in, maybe you can change that somewhat if you put enough support behind them. If they only garner 10% of the vote, that is huge. That sends a message that maybe next election it could be 20% and then they are a player.
Or you can give up, renounce your citizenship and leave. Just make sure you have sorted out where you want to go, and that you can go there. You need to have some citizenship for anyone to let you into their country first.
Do we really need government?
There are many who suggest we do not. Visionaries such as Doug Casey writes "Do we need the state?" in which he expands upon the history of what got us to this place. Candidates like Adam Kokesh proclaims an orderly disassembly of government in favor of a more anarcho-capitalist approach. I realize that these may be considered extreme views, but they demonstate that many are thinking this way. The fact is that although one could easily perceive these approaches as risky, they are the very same approaches that formed the United States of America in the 1700s.
The reality is that when you look at what we have, and what we need, if the divide is great between the two, then someone will attempt to step in and fill that divide. I, for one, hope that whatever happens, the free market is left to be free and to exercise its ability to cleanse dysfunction from the marketplace and to let the people vote with their dollars rather than meaningless voting that won't change society in any meaningful way.