I have been told by a respected member of the patriot movement that I routinely bring up rather heretical topics. I consider it a compliment, but also consider this a trigger warning…apparently the statists are not the only people who get bent out of shape confronting inconvenient truths. Much debate and discussion has occurred among the various free-thinkers here in the U.S. about the future of our government and what the replacement will look like. Thankfully, we have seen a gradual movement beyond ‘restoring the Constitution,’ but the discussion continues to be mired in the desire for the unattainable. I intend to put the matter to rest, driving a stake through the heart of the libertarian, anarchist, and paleoconservative. Undoubtedly this will result in consternation among the diehard supporters, but I believe looked at objectively, the facts will speak for themselves.
A government is an ethereal mixture of reality and perception. Governments exist at the whim of the populace at large, they rely on compliance by the vast, vast majority of the population to function. Consent of the governed is not a philosophical statement, but a statement of fact. A microcosm would be the nearest city to me, having a population of ~70,000, and a combined LEO presence of 300. Assuming every LEO will act in unquestioned obedience, it leaves us with a ratio of 233:1. In a strictly rational sense the perception of omnipotence, or at least near omnipotence is a larger part of the equation than the reality of non-parity of weaponry on a national scale and parity at the local level. As a result of this reliance on perception, a government is ultimately a reflection of the aggregate zeitgeist, intellect and education of the population. The government may have a long tether, but it is tethered to the population nonetheless. The services, authority and control that are acceptable will manifest themselves. Some will ask about PRNK or PRC and state that surely people cannot want that level of tyranny. The continued compliance of the general populace means that logically we must draw that conclusion. Perhaps revolt would be of horrific consequences, but the population is still making the choice that compliance is preferable to revolt. Few governments have the capability to quell a true rebellion of a simple majority of their population, and even fewer have leaders willing to exterminate 51% or more of their population.
The dire warnings of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and other luminaries about the necessity of a specific culture and education level to maintain a constitutional republic largely fell on deaf ears. Because governments are a function of the aggregate populace, we can draw correlations between the manifestation of particular types of governments and the supporting populations. Populations who can support nearly all of the responsibilities historically delegated to governments, such as infrastructure, economic and social safety nets, and dispute resolution require the median citizenry (50th percentile) to operate at a higher function of both intelligence and self-regulation. Contra, the higher burden placed on a government, the less intelligence and self-regulation is required by the citizenry. In social contract theory this can be explained through an equilibrium of exchange between the two parties, citizens and the government. Few services and regulation in exchange for a low level of compliance and monetary compensation for providing regulation and services (taxes). Abundant services and massive regulation require large amounts of compliance (a crude form of behavior modification) and monetary compensation. The entire philosophical idea can be expressed in terms of a bivariate quadratic equation, the respective unknown variables being self-regulation and external regulation in its most basic terms, but always self-balancing.¹
The application of this theory to modern and historical nations, particularly in the case of the United States, illustrates the problem with the forms of government having less regulation than the current model, a significantly degraded constitutional republic, or more accurately a socialist democracy. Many within the libertarian, anarchist and other more classically liberal forms of government focus on the proof of concept. Unfortunately, this philosophical exercise ignores the real-world limitations of the populace. In essence, they have designed a modern GE turbofan before the discovery of superalloys. The plan is sound, but the prerequisites are nonexistent. “The U.S. ranked 16th out of 23 countries in literacy proficiency, 21st in numeracy proficiency, and 14th in problem solving in technology-rich environments, according to the OECD survey.²” In terms of strictly literacy, “50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level, 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level, 44% of the American adults do not read a book in a year, 6 out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year.³” The Flesch-Kinkaid scale ranks the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence at a 17.8 and 15.1 grade level, respectively. While unscientific, I believe it is completely reasonable to assert a wholesale ignorance of the philosophical, economic and moral philosophies that gave rise to the constitutional republic in the United States. Aside from the esoteric knowledge, the social norms have also been removed, leaving no functional bulwark to provide social pressure to behave responsibly in fiscal, personal or social matters. The populace has largely lost the ability to delay gratification for future growth, voluntarily place the benefit of the community or household over personal gratification and actively engages in persecution of deviation from the mean, providing a disincentive to excel in any meaningful field of work. In simple terms, the American populace has devolved to a point below which the original design of a constitutional republic can function. The equilibrium is becoming increasingly unbalanced as the populace fails to self-regulate and thus continues to push more and more decision making upon government entities.
As the graph illustrates, I believe there is ample evidence to a positive correlation between the median intelligence and morality of a population and the type of government supportable by the population. As one increases along both the x and y axis there is a divestment of decision making by governmental bodies, because at its heart it is an inefficient way to distribute resources and artificially suppresses cultural and economic advancement. While IQ fails to wholly encompass the idea of intelligence, it serves handily as a label. What is truly meant by this label is the collective practical, philosophical and mathematical knowledge relating to everyday activities. At the level of anarchy the vast majority of the population requires a working knowledge of free market economics and possession of sound business acumen, as well as the foresight to make pragmatic contributions to public infrastructure. An example of this would be local businesses collectively widening and repaving a road to provide increased traffic flow for the town,indirectly benefitting the proprietors and recouping the expenditure via increase customer flow. As one moves down the curve, less and less collective intelligence is required. Statism for instance requires no thought by the local businessmen and substitutes that private exchange of ideas for a government order to widen and pave the highway, likely to increase traffic flow to the state-owned store where the profit-motive is nonexistent.
As you may note, a high level of intelligence without a moral bulwark results in sociopathic behavior. An amoral society cannot be a free society. Again, if we look at local businesses in an anarchist society we see the need for implicit trust between the owner and his customers. While in some cases tainted product might become immediately apparent, often it is not the case. Independent bodies might be established to ensure consumer confidence, but the opportunity for bribery and graft still exist without any moral component. Quite simply, individuals must discern between what they can do and what they should do. Simply because one has the ability to strip mine upstream from a local town and poison the water supply does not mean it is a moral decision. Maintaining a free society absolutely requires a significant level of cultural investment and the passing on of similar values to succeeding generations to prevent devolution or a complete crash to statism or tribalism. Conversely, cultural values and morality have little place and virtually no influence in highly regulated societies. As we have increasingly seen in the U.S., the religious and cultural spheres are being eclipsed by regulation stating what is and is not acceptable to believe, practice and say. The reason I specifically referred to Western cultural values is the undeniable fact that Western society has been the only segment of the world population to evolve past a functional monarchy. While Japanese and Chinese cultures have a long and storied tradition of relative stability, neither has been able to create a populace capable of sustaining more than a monarchy. Recent history has relegated them to either a constitutional monarchy that is quickly failing and a devolution back to statism.
Anarchy, panarchy, paleoconservatism and libertarianism are all exciting and largely untested forms of government. Interesting to contemplate and discuss, I do not discount the ideas as invalid, ignorant or irrational. What has been lost in translation is their unattainability. While most of the proponents of these forms of government are largely educated and moral people, there seems to exist a projection by many supporters that everyone else is much the same. If history, statistics and personal experience are any indication, one must take a decidedly low view of the public at-large in the United States. I believe the 2016 election cycle illustrates that point rather well. One candidate is markedly less felonious than the other, but in a nation of 360M+ people, these are not the two most qualified or even in the 1% of the most qualified. So my anarchist friends, I don’t hate you. I don’t even disagree with you on many things. I wish there were more of you. However the idea that people incapable of behaving responsibly with what limited freedom we have in this country will transform into a nation of John Adams’, Frederick Bastiats and Adam Smiths, is a vampire sucking valuable time and energy up from surviving the plunge to tribalism we are currently in. While not pleasant, it is time we put a stake in its heart and let it die. No doubt if we manage to survive the next few decades it will be a topic worthy of discussion, but even among many patriots and most conservatives, advanced forms of government are simply unsustainable. The public is now the equivalent of a 500 lb. obese pre-diabetic and we are arguing about whether he should climb K2 or Everest. Let it break and get out of the way. I know it sucks, but let go. A toast, here’s to the ideologues on the right side of the Bell curve and the wrong side of history. May we once again not only rise to such great heights as a people, but surpass them.
¹[ Nx² + Ny² = 0 ] I lack the necessary mathematical acumen and time to come up with an equation accurately representing the proposed model, but I believe this could be an advancement in our understanding of political theory. Pointy-head math types are free to email me.