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Government Distrust

This is the fifth instalment of this series. Each instalment will be published independently and can be read independently. We are tackling head-on the 6 reasons why you should distrust governments, reasons that were kindly provided by the apparatchiks of The OECD A Bureaucratic Organization You Should Know.

Some time ago, we published the article In Government We Distrust and promised we will continue in that direction because of the massive amount of useless information (i.e. job security) that the apparatchiks from the OECD created. If you are interested in the original OECD article, search for the "Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development", specifically "Trust in Government". Let's make it happen.

DISHONESTY

Perception

The OECD says many things, most of them utterly nonsensical. Let's take a look.

Integrity is a crucial determinant of trust. Evidence suggests a link between trust in politicians, both from the business community and citizens, and the perception of corruption.

Which is nominally correct, emphasis on "nominally". If a government is perceived to have "integrity" it will be trusted by people and business. On the other hand, if a government is perceived to be "corrupt", it won't be trusted. As we explained in the previous sections, trust is nothing but a control mechanism to ensure obedience to the government, therefore appearances matter. Perception becomes reality and nobody argues with reality.

But there is a tiny snag in the issue. We know that trust is very important from the government's perspective, but why should it be important from the public perspective? In other words, what's in it for the public? What is that the public gets if the public trusts the government? The reality is that the public does not know because what governments provide is subject to policies which change all the time. Hence the fact that when governments talk about increasing trust in them they never mention quid-pro-quo (one-for-another or give-to-receive). In technical terms, governments never frame the trust issue as a contract between them and people. And the question is why?

Governments are all for "law and order" and when pushed hard they indirectly argue about Social Contracts. One way or another (usually indirectly) the notion that there seems to be some sort of arrangement between citizens and their government eventually floats to the surface of the discussion. But if this arrangement actually exist, why is that it is a dirty secret that must be maintained hidden at all times? Why is that it cannot be used to explain why trust is important for people?

Excellent question grasshopper.

The answer is very simple. This "arrangement" is a figment of politicians' imaginations that was sold to people over a period of more than two centuries (see Social Contracts Are A Scam). It does not exist. It never did. If it would exist people would know exactly what it is that they are getting and as such why they should trust their governments to get it.

But there is a logical flaw in this reasoning. If such a contract would exist, then trust would be utterly unnecessary. If the government would breach this contract, the government could be sued for breach of contract, no trust required. Precisely because in a business transaction each party does not trust the other is that contracts exist. As Contracts Are The Key To Coexistence, they are the enablers of coexistence. This simply means that through contracts we can ensure that even when we don't trust each other we can still live in close proximity without killing each other out.

The fact that a contract (social or otherwise) between people and governments does not exist makes the requirement for trust absolutely critical. Without trust there is nothing preventing us from realizing that we cannot live with governments in close proximity and much less as our overlords and would hence proceed to destroy them immediately.

Trust in governments is only required for the benefit of governments because they lack a valid contract with people. F&P

If you ask any "law enforcement agent" (e.g. police) if you should make deals with a large organization you don't know much about who happen to have armed people at their disposal and are not afraid to use them, the answer would probably be no. Furthermore, if such organization tells you to "trust" them and that no paperwork of any kind is necessary, all kinds of alarm bells will begin to ring. Words such as scam, con artist, mob, organized crime and many others will be mentioned. The idea that they are dishonest would be least of your problems. The advice you would receive would be to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. One thing that you would not hear for sure is that you should "trust" them. But if this is the generic case, why is that you should trust the government? Exactly the very same rules apply. Any person or organization on this planet that asks you to "trust" in them blindly is asking a lot and in all likelihood they don't have your best interest at hearth.

Let's be clear. Most of us believe that we have a valid contract with our government. The problem is, again, that appearances are deceiving. To begin with, our contract (if one exists) is not voluntary. The government tells us what it is that we are going to get and we have no choice but to accept it. Take for example municipal taxes which are supposedly used to clean the streets and provide illumination at night. But these services are subject to unilateral modifications at the whim of politicians. One year we get daily street cleaning and the next twice weekly. One year we have all lights on and the next every second one. One year our public parks are taken care of and the next we need to bring a machete just to get in.

All in all there is an argument that can be made here. The argument is that the contract itself may allow for such discretionary changes. But if this is the case, where is such a contract? Where is it written? Well, it isn't. Laws and regulations are not that specific and the few that actually are, are changed all the time without our approval, knowledge or consent.

Furthermore, we have the issue of "incidentals". Any government spends far more money in boondoggles and "unspecified items" than it does in us. We did not sign a contract saying that it is OK for governments to do so because if we did, the government should be able to produce it. Well… it cannot.

Of course, politicians will argue that they can do so because they are our "representatives". This is nothing but shifting the contract problem a step higher. Let's assume that they are correct and through their "representation" we have waived our rights to accept contracts directly and we have passed this right to them. If this is the case, we have two problems. The first one is obvious; if we have passed this "right" to them, then there must be a contract signed by us so specifying. Well… there isn't one. And no, a constitution is not such a document unless you personally signed it. Did you? Though so. The second issue is that rights are inalienable. We cannot lose our right but we can pass on privileges. And so in reality our so-called "representatives" act based on the privileges we gave them But these privileges are revocable at our whim because the right where they originated are ours. What this means is that we can revoke the "representative" status of our "representatives" any time we want. Now going back to reality, can you do so? Of course not! Why? Because if you attempt to do so, people with guns and badges will come after you. And why would they do so? Why would they resort to violence and brute force if they have a contract? Precisely because they don't have one.

Trust is a two-way street but governments insist in making it one-way only. They must do so in order to prevent people from realizing that they have been scammed. And when this fails, they resort to brute force.

Lastly we have the implied notion that if people trusts politicians they won't believe they are corrupt, which is a very strange way to put it (to say the least). The OECD is not talking about preventing corruption but preventing the perception of corruption. In other words, as long as corruption goes on but people trust governments everything is OK. To be fair, the OECD later on clarifies this point, but what is significant is that they choose to lead with the concept of "perception".

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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