We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are. "
Mencken was a quote machine (P.J. O'Rourke is the modern incarnation - minus the racism). My favorite by Mencken is:
"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten, that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looking A to satisfy B. in other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods."
I have to say that Mencken was an optimist here. The hit rate on promises is a lot better than 1 in 10 now.
Our Founding Fathers knew well the same problems that Mencken described. That was why they designed a government of limited powers at the federal level and most worked to keep state governments within limits too.
At the same time, it is a proper role of government to protect "the inferior man" from those with the strength but not the right to harm him. I could be called an inferior man myself; I have only moderate wealth, a decent skill set for work, and no real drive in business. I am of only average size or strength. I look to the proper role of government to guard me against thieves and plunderers.
"I look to the proper role of government to guard me against thieves and plunderers."
Precisely, sir. That is the proper function of government. I have nothing to fear from an aristocracy of merit in a society where individual liberty is the norm. There will always be folks with greater and lesser levels of skill, genius, and tenacity than each of us. So long as we confine ourselves to trading of value for value, there is no inherent conflict. The greater success of others becomes my success as well, when they product goods and services I would not have without their enterprise.
Howdy, Bud and the B
Individual liberty and mutual protection through the law make for a prosperous nation, just as you say.
And when the government is the plunderer, we do have problems. California and New York illustrate only too well exactly what Mencken was worried about. The poor voted for the liars and the productive had to leave to survive. This is the problem with believing that what people earn or have really "belongs" to society. Those who didn't make it want more of it; those who make it flee.