May 08, 2010

The concept of rights and the assumption of a functioning government are inextricably intertwined. Where there is no societal governing structure to enforce it, the concept of rights can have no meaning. At the same time, there is no need for a concept of rights without a functioning government.

A perceived need for rights is cored in the belief that government and the instruments of government can never be trusted, and therefore must be constrained at every turn by legal and administrative procedure. Sublimating power to procedure makes it impossible for the government -- or any individual person -- to act both arbitrarily and with power.

Only a trusted government can remain small. Since nothing can abate a fundamental mistrust, the procedures put into place to try to constrain any potential abuses can only ever grow. Consequently the manpower needed to staff ballooning levels of procedure must necessarily increase, and with it the size and cost of government.

To try to reduce the size of government (usually by trying to cut back on its tax income), without simultaneously conceding a certain basic trust, cannot actually cut back on its size. It can only render that government inefficient at best, ineffective at worst. The end result is a bureaucratic anarchy which eats up huge amounts of money while accomplishing ever less of substance.

Yet within a determination not to trust, this should be seen as desirable. Inertia is at least familiar, as are its abuses. Where a government is not trusted, changes of substance are to be feared.

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