I live a small town and I tend to leave the doors unlocked when I am away. Most of the latches on my windows broke long ago and during the summer, they are wide open most nights to catch cool breezes. I do have a few possessions that have a bit of value left to them and I would just as soon hang onto them though I don't spend much effort on securing these things against theft. Some of my neighbors would call me a fool for practically providing what most people consider an gold-embossed invitation to anyone happening by to rob me, but I have an entirely different attitude about such things: I refuse to allow the potential acts of others to curtail my happiness.
You see, I don't have a lot of money. I have enough to feed, clothe, and house my family of eight, a little bit to spend on cheap entertainment, and a little bit to set aside for a rainy day. I certainly don't have any money available to spend on expensive security systems, heavy bars across every window, and reinforced doors. For the cost of even one security door, I can enjoy perhaps more than a hundred movies viewed with my old VCR and well-used TV.
I don't mind saying this "out in the open". Any robber will be taking some risk to steal what anyone would admit was a sorry piece of out-dated junk that you couldn't get five dollars for, as far as the TV is concerned. I also want everyone, including the robbers, to know that I picked up the VCR for free next to a dumpster and that most of the videos are ones that a store threw away a few years ago. I suppose you could spend your time hauling it all out of my house (which would save me having to pay someone to haul it to the dump). You could also risk someone seeing you do the deed and getting caught by the police, all for stuff that would net you about ten cents.
I say all of this as a service to anyone who would be silly enough to bother stealing from me. You would be doing me a favor (my kids watch too many videos anyway), you wouldn't find anything of real monetary value (as I have said several times), and God would still ultimately punish you for breaking a very basic commandment even if you never got caught for it your whole life long. Ultimately, if you steal from me, there will be no skin off my nose and you will burn in hell.
I sound like a winner on this one.
Let me tell you about another circumstance that may sound eerily familiar to the one I just laid before you. It has to do with government. If you think I am comparing government with a thief, you are right on the money. As I never named any particular robber in the short example above, I also don't indite any particular government, as I have found that many governments behave like my potentially foolish thief, basically taking silly risks by stealing garbage. Also, nearly every government should anticipate the same hellish fate.
As a gruesome prelude, I must mention that it really doesn't matter what you believe about God, sin, Hell, or anything along those lines. You can put all your stock in the worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and if you chose to ignore a commandment from God (the real one), you will be punished for breaking it, meatballs, sauce and all. No amount of "intellectual" work, formula-building, or evolved ignorance will save anyone from the simple cause-and-effect relationship: You sin, you burn; whether you believe in God or not. There are no passes given because you chose not to subscribe to the right magazines.
At the most basic level, governments are supposedly founded to free people from the day-to-day sticky mess of making everyone act a bit civilized. My mother notes that if people lived in true democracies, they would spend all their time trudging off to the polling place and voting on every little thing that some moron cooked up and presented as a bill. If such a place looked like a small town, everyone would starve to death within a few months because no one would have time to grow food for the need to darken little scantron bubbles or punch out chad constantly. To add insult to injury, no one would have any time to know what they were really voting for, so we would be filling in or punching out stuff with all the insight of drunk monkeys. This sounds suspiciously like the leaders you are familiar with, doesn't it? And yet, thankfully, you probably feel somewhat detached from the whole process and happy about it for reasons I will explain.
In our hypothetical tiny town, at some point in the past, people decided that true democracy was its own form of slavery and wisely created the more familiar representative government. Every once and again, everyone would vote for a representative and then get back to whatever productive thing they were doing. That elected representative would handle the bills proposed by morons, do a lot of bubble-filling and chad-punching, enact laws, and hire various folks to administer those laws. That's basically it: Government is supposed to get us a bit of civilization, a lot of freedom to do what we want, and the ability to avoid wasting time in dealing with morons.
For my purpose, "Civilization" is a lifestyle where other people decide what you can do. I like to think of it as the opposite of "Liberty", where you decide what you can do. Both of these words are somewhat neutral in this context, by which I mean that they are neither good nor bad at first glance.
Complete liberty, which is often called anarchy, is a pretty nasty thing having to do with toting guns everywhere and shooting anything that bothers you, which ends up being a really terrible way to order a place. Complete civilization, on the other hand, is a place where you can hardly take a breath without seeking the permission of everyone around you in triplicate, which means that if you cannot catch someone's attention or didn't bring a pen, you could asphyxiate, which ends up also being a really terrible way to order a place. I think nearly everyone would agree that neither circumstance is desirable for anyone.
I hope we can also agree that there are all sorts of people. On the range from complete liberty to complete civilization, you can find everyone at different places, though you may see some pretty distinct clusters of folks toward the middle of the range. What you will likely not see is much of a bunch anywhere near complete civilization because most people don't trust others to have their best interest at heart, if they think about you at all. Therefore, most people opt for just a "bit" of civilization, enough to convince people to keep their guns on "safety" most of the time.
As a simple-minded person, I am guessing most people want to be somewhere between civilization and liberty, but tending a bit toward liberty, just to avoid those silly sadists. Conservatively, I would put the bulk of people in the United States, for instance, about a third of the way from complete liberty and about two-thirds of the way from complete civilization. My thought is that people will tend to court the possibility of getting shot rather than letting some large group of drooling slack-jaws control every aspect of their lives. Of course, I have been wrong before.
I have to add here that a lot of people are lazy. I like to think I am obtusely so, which means that I write a lot with the copious amounts of spare time which laziness provides. The same people who originally wanted more liberty than civilization eventually switch sides as they become too rotund to get out of the chair and get the guns out of the closet. That liberty stuff really only appeals to young, somewhat skinny sorts.
Conversely, most older and chubbier people, at some point toward their latter years, figure out they don't like Vegemite half as much as Australians do. They have occasionally breathed clean air, traveled a bit, watched some pretty sunrises and sunsets, and come to understand that, just because they stock Vegemite in many larger supermarkets, no one is obligated to buy it, much less actually consume it. This is the sort of liberty most mature people come to desire, the one where you see that someone can actually put pasty yeast by-product in a jar, but you don't want to be required to mess with it. We want to be able to put up our hand courteously and say "No, thank you" to a wide variety of products and ideas and walk away from such encounters unmolested. At least, after forty-odd years, that's what I'm after.
For simplicity, I define a moron as a person that leaps into something before they look to see what the consequences might be. Although being the first to step off a cliff may be an act that can be described as bold and fraught with leadership, the more cautious folk often get to live a bit longer and learn from obviously avoidable mistakes.
I find that my exposure to morons is now limited and thankfully receding into the past. Like most people, I didn't encounter an authentic moron until I was about five years old and entered a public educational institution, where I was suddenly surrounded by them. Honestly, I don't know how many morons I sat beside in school or if I was actually a moron myself at the time, but recent studies show that it is just as useful to think of everyone in public education as morons because the statistics don't change if you think otherwise.
There is an interesting fact about morons, which is also born out by statistics, so therefore must be true. Statistics show that even though schools are better-funded and teachers use much more highly-researched pedagogical techniques, the standardized test scores of well-schooled US children are lower than the scores of the same sorts of students from the past and lower relative to the same sorts of students in other countries. Leaving aside the messiness of wondering about what exactly such tests are actually measuring, the effectiveness of teacher education in general, the value of making schooling compulsory, or other time-wasting tidbits, the simple conclusion is quite clear: the more one schools a moron, the stupider he gets. For those who think that this conclusion makes no sense, you may recall that what little training you have in logic probably also came from a public school.
I am pleased to report that I finally received a piece of paper that said I was done being a moron, right around my eighteenth birthday. I was dubious, so I spend a few more years in post-secondary institutions to make sure the problem really was in remission. I have been a recovering moron ever since. In relation to schooling and morons, the best advice I ever got was to "just stay away from the stuff."
At one time, I had heard someone refer to Government of the United States (GUS) as the most prodigious producer and consumer of data in the world. The generation, storage, and dissemination of all this is a major part of GUS activities and everyone (including a moron or three) uses it, often in the service of GUS. I, on the other hand, offer the reader my own analysis of the Government of the United States basically for free. As a bonus, you are also free to use this information as you like.
In my analysis, GUS is an organization composed of many morons who act as atrocious "servants" of the people that rarely offer anything that a random "anyone" really wants in return for its ever-growing demands. Where governments are expected to provide generalized and desirable services to people in an efficient way and at an economical cost, GUS spends its time being an employer of morons (glad I got that credential when I was young) and an intrusive behavior monitor.
A common GUS tactic is to convince people that because they can vote, they are responsible for what the government does. This is patently silly. One electoral act that you do every two years or so cannot control the course of GUS. If every citizen changed positions and every elected official were replaced, GUS would go forward in pretty much the same fashion and direction it does now, though perhaps a touch slower for a few strides while the new leaders learn how to spell "corruption". Though you may get a new choice of flavors on a regular basis, GUS is still basically offering everyone the same old untreated sewage.
GUS was built over two hundred years by presidents, legislators, and judges who were quite willing to see the American Experiment fail "for fun and profit". There are two things you are allowed to do about it: 1) vote occasionally (my guys never win) and 2) communicate your angst to your representative (I never get authentic feedback so I don't think he is listening). Neither of these actions can slow the loss of freedom, much less stop it, much less reverse it.
There are three things that work very, very hard to make sure that America is in continual decline and that you feel forced to waste your personal time doing your representative's work. They are called the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch of GUS. Honestly, it is like a three-headed hydra that wants to tear you limb-from-limb and consume you. I don't know why we make distinctions about which head ate which part of your body, but some people get picky that way, so I will give you a little lesson about each one.
The Executive Branch of GUS is headed by the President. The first President of the United States was George Washington. Everyone thought George Washington was great because he stopped being President and let someone else do it instead, which was different from the kings and other nobility to which we were previously accustomed. After two hundred years, folks figured out that this whole "picking a new President every election or so" wasn't the actual solution to the problem of kings. The problem is that Presidents have to actively avoid thinking and behaving like all-powerful royalty or accept punishment when they do try to rule everything. Of course, no President since Washington has managed either.
Presidents now routinely make executive orders that carry just as much weight as a law. As one example among thousands, though Congress has never declared a war since the 1940s, we have been in a constant state of undeclared war ever since, going so far as invading and occupying other countries, often against the will of a majority of Americans and definitely in direct violation of that crazy Constitution thingy. A President's favorite activity is writing himself new power and staring about with wonder as no one bothers to stop him.
The Congress is paid large sums of money by lobbyists to occasionally do their bidding. The Congress also makes sure that the things the President wants to do will soon be "legal". The Congress further spends most of its time making certain that existing Congress-persons remain Congress-persons for as long as they want. It takes a lot of time and effort and money to properly corrupt a legislator and no one on Capitol Hill wants to lose those investments. Civics professors often talk about a bunch of other functions of the Legislative branch, but, as we have discussed before, you should probably avoid morons.
There is another way of looking at Congress: a war between two political armies where neither side wants a definative victory. More accurately, both sides want to take regular turns being either the "knight in shining armor" or the "scapegoat", which are both great roles to take when things go bad, which happens every minute or so in Congress. What every representative, no matter their loyalties, can agree on is this: it's all the President's fault.
The Supreme Court is like a combination of the other two branches of government. Like the one all-powerful President, the Justices of the Supreme Court can make decisions that feel just like laws to everyone else. Also, there are nine "Justices", meaning they can battle over decisions just as well as Congress-folk do. What oppression the President or the Congress haven't already cooked up, the Judiciary will create magically from "the bench".
The most important thing the Supreme Court does is to never decide when you can kill babies and keep bringing it up when things seem slow. There was supposed to be something they do about "constitutionality" or some such, but being a super-trial-lawyer is so much more fun. Sometimes, you get to eat with the President, too.
You may have noticed that I didn't mention you at all in the last few paragraphs. This is because you are not involved in any of this, unless you are a President, a Supreme Court Justice, or a legislator. There is nothing that you can do about any of this because you live and work nowhere near the places where these things happen and if you tried to get near such places, you would find them pretty heavily guarded. Basically, powerful people don't want you peons around, except when it is time to look like a "democracy".
I look at it this way. When your representative is elected, they have the clout of their constituency behind them (whether that constituency likes it or not). If that representative uses their power to curtail freedoms that God has given to men, they will pay a price personally. That price will be multiplied by the number of people they represent, which is often thousands. That is the risk of being a leader (which no one forced them to do). I mentioned Hell earlier and I can only imagine the punishment for opposing the will of God and leading a few thousand other people (sometimes against their will) to do the same by voting in favor of something evil as a legislator.
The President should be an even larger check against evil, unconstitutional legislation, for he will be punished in the name of about 300,000,000 people (not counting the vassal states he rules over) for every evil he signs his name to in behalf of everyone. Personally, I don't even want to be in the same dimension when his punishment begins!
The hope is that when these people see their peril, they will be very unwilling to agree to about anything, just on the chance that it would go sour and turn to evil and their pain-ridden after-life. What a wonderful thing if leaders would spend their time in Washington trying to find reasons not to create new laws and enforce them. If government doesn't authorize something evil, only those who perform that evil will be punished. As it stands, if government does authorize something evil, the person who does evil will be punished, those in government who gave permission for the evil to be done will be punished, and there might be additional punishments handed out because otherwise good people may do the evil simply trusting that government wouldn't encourage evil things (only a moron would use this logic, though).
Of course, for men and women gone so far down the road of evil, simple statements of punishments in the distant future are completely worthless. The rewards of being corrupt today are far too lucrative to be tarnished by any possible damnation tomorrow. It is still important to warn them about the coming consequences, but one cannot expect to be heeded by those who have joyously fallen so far.
There is actually surprisingly little to do to make preparations. I think there will be some expected thrashing about as GUS enters the real death throes of its punishment, but I think only large government contractors will actually go down with the ship.
Store up food and water against the resulting confusion and lawlessness. Make sure your house is paid for or you can stay with someone who has a paid-for house. Avoid government-backed anything (because the backing will disappear with GUS). Build up marketable skills and abilities that are useful in a world without mounds of government paperwork.
It is best not to antagonize powerful morons (aka government officials) as they can choose to make your life pretty miserable. It is best to appease them publicly and then simply do what you like very privately. Some good vision-blocking walls and quiet pursuits will give you far more freedom than anything else. It is amazing what you can do if you just do it in a way that isn't overt.
My advice is to get a bit of "distance" from people, especially "nosy" people. You can move to a secluded place or to a "bad" part of town where people tend to mind their own business. You can learn ways of being discreet that criminals often use and avoid reporting things to the authorities, who are likely to get you killed.
Also, you need to forget about the silliness of "rights". You will be far happier if you behave as if you have no public rights and definitely never try to assert any that you may think you have. Police officer have guns and nothing stops them from using them if you are "threatening" in some way. Rights are something that may affect how governments choose to behave toward you, but they have nothing to do with you directly.
Here is my advice to you: stay small and quiet and stash essential things like a mouse on speed. The survivors are the ones who are neither seen nor heard and act like they are not home when the authorities come around.
In the beginning, I talked a bit about God and how his reaction to what we have chosen to do was inevitable, whether you believe it or not. The best part is that, no matter what anyone desires, God will be taking back what is his, which includes the functions of government. He will rule over his Earth and the only decision he makes in relation to you in all of this is whether you were on the side of good and right during the messy period when men ruled things. It will go quite poorly for those who choose the side of bad and wrong, but everyone really had a choice as to how they were going to act and react to happenings.
Just like that thief who thinks he can profit from stealing all he wants as long as he can get away with it, he should expect to ultimately get the authentic consequences of his actions when God gets involved. Similar expectations should worry those who chose to take upon themselves the mantle of government leadership.
You have been warned.