Assume we have three people: one with a big mouth, one who doesn’t say anything, and one with a gun. Who gets to control the situation? I think it’s fairly obvious that there’s a kind of pecking order here. The big mouth will exert influence over the living status of the silent people, but the person with the gun will get the final word if and when they want it.
Despite this being a very simple example, it applies regardless of scale, albeit the more people that are involved, the more difficult it is for the guys with the guns to enforce their will… at least at a moment’s notice.
In China, the government is fast working to stamp out any resistance of any kind. Most people are complacent in life, so as long as you aren’t dictating their every step, it’s not impossible to get them to fall in line. However, despite the memorandums from the higher echelon, local authorities get the final say in practice, which is why for instance, the commies have been unable to stamp out independent bloggers, religion (particularly Christianity), environmental pollution, and a host of other things that go against their will.
In other words, when things get too big, the guys with the guns start to rely on smaller groups of guys with guns to enforce their will, but the smaller group may have another agenda, and in a big world, it’s hard to chase everyone down.
… Thank God.
In “first-world” countries where some form of democracy remains intact, the guys with guns generally trade hands. It’s a revolving door. But they also feel personal obligation obey the people declared as “authority”.
The “authority”, in the United States, is said to stem from “the people”. In actuality, it comes from previous “authorities” following along the rules established by the “authorities” before them who followed the rules of the “authorities” before them until you get back to the original “We The People”, who were considered “representative” of the voice of the people in their respective regions merely by having been the most popular. In other words, “We The People” are a bunch of dead guys from over 200 years ago.
What holds things together today is that certain types of people like to follow along the established system. If every generation were like new, then there would be complete chaos. However, in order for things to work, you have to draw a line and stick to it. When you let the line waver, chaos ensues.
The “authorities” in the United States, England, and other “democratic” countries recognize the written lines, and they believe they need to comply with them in some way. However, if it isn’t written, it’s legal. And there in lines the problem.
Nothing really stops the guys with guns from enforcing their will on the common Plebeian except another man with a gun. But if the man with the gun (the soldier, the policeman, etc) defers to a so called “authority” (the mayor, the President, Congress, etc), then the power can be wielded by whoever makes it look like they are following the rules and should therefore have power. (e.g. Winning the election by most votes is what matters according to the rules, even if gaining them by illicit means is performed.)
So now we have the authority in the situation of the guy with the gun. Go back to our starting example and consider this. What’s to say this “authority” can’t actually do whatever they wish?
Some people say “the existing laws” (e.g. the Constitution, etc), but all laws have loopholes and can be reinterpreted over the years, as many court cases have shown us. In other words, there is always a way to make the protected area an exception or impossible for the common man to find himself in again. (I call this the “Legalizing Amoeba Effect”, considering how cells and amoebas swallow their prey without breaking their outer walls.)
For an overly simplistic example, consider this: Suppose the supreme law of the land says that everyone has a right to candy bars or that it’s illegal to ban them. The loophole around this is simply banning sugar and its production or importation as well as banning “imported candy bars” (which are said to not fall under the protections of the law). No need to ban the candy bar if people can’t make one in the first place!
Things can get worse, of course. In todays world, rather than outright banning (which would be illegal), countries have decided to require people acquire a “license”, meaning that they must have government approval, and of course, the government can set its standards in such a way that no one obtains approval.
One example is guns, but a more applicable answer that lies “closer to home” is charity. Did you know that many states require you to have licenses before you can set up or run certain kinds of charities?
For example, a certain Kentucky man discovered that it was “illegal” for him to give away free glasses that weren’t perfect to homeless people. Most people were rightly upset because these homeless people couldn’t afford glasses in the first place, and thus the poor were given no care because they couldn’t have perfect care. How stupid. But what was notable to me was the bizarre nature of the illegality itself: How is it that a person giving away an item with clear and obvious disclaimer of their imperfection doing something illegal? If I give a pair of glasses away to a friend of mine, there’s nothing illegal about that. Apparently, if you set up a building and give your setup a organized name, it can be declared illegal in Kentucky. Here’s the big question: Where did the government get the power to do that?
That’s a very simple answer, and no, it’s not from the Kentucky constitution. The answer is this: from the guys with guns. Because the Kentucky government can enforce their laws with the police, they can invent any laws they wish and stop good-natured people from doing good.
Why Ban/Regulate? (Good intentions)
Assuming people have good intentions, they want to see the best things happen rather than what they consider partial solutions. They also want to avoid certain kinds of problems that inevitably come from partial solutions, even though such problems are livable and, even with “long term” solutions, you will still have problems.
Thus, in answer to WHY people regulate things like charity, it’s because many people hold to the very, very, very, very, very, very, very delusional idea that systems can solve all problems. For example, they believe a single organization is superior in efficiency to scatter shot tactics, but they don’t realize the human factors in the way.
For example, one guy thought we should ban the allegedly “ineffective” technique of feeding the poor on the street simply because it wasn’t optimal. In other word’s if it’s not perfect, it shouldn’t be done at all. Sound like the problem with the glasses?
The arguments for these things are short-sighted. For example, they hope to stop bad people. But bad people doing bad things won’t be solved by regulation. Bad people will ignore the regulations. Only good people follow them. Moreover, those in need end up suffering from the bad people running the systems (because bad people exist both inside and outside of systems, you know).
The good people providing charity often respond when it’s most needed: At a moment’s notice and in the place of suffering. Not all homeless people feel comfortable going to shelters. On the street it’s “Free. No questions asked”. In a system, it’s “Please fill out this form so we can verify you have nothing.” Not all people can make it to the shelters and food banks.
- Housing Not Handcuffs, an organization against the use of the criminal justice system targeting activities of the homeless.
- Newsweek article about the banning of feeding the homeless, stating the city reason is disease prevention even though “there is no documented cases of food poisoning coming from food that is shared with hungry people in public places”.
- Police force food providers for homeless to relocate, with incidents occurring in both Shibuya and Sanya, Tokyo.
While it may be tempting to disagree with all this, consider this: No one runs a marathon without first running much shorter distances to be prepared. No one builds a Saturn V rocket without first starting with very, very simple rockets. Likewise, no one fixes the situation of the homeless by running them through a mill instead of taking care of their immediate needs. In short: temporary fixes first, then long term. Don’t ban the short term solutions just because they’re short.
Why Regulate/Ban? (The REAL Intentions)
Of course, good intentions aren’t the reason for regulation and banning. The real intentions are always more diabolical.
The VAST majority of people (I dare say close to 100%) want other people to think and act like them on the surface. There may be differences underneath, but as long as there is no apparent conflict, people can be however they want underneath the surface. By thinking and acting the same, I’m not talking about labels; I’m talking about the underlying mindset. (For example, liberals think they can get along with “diverse” opinions (like Islam), but what they really want are other people who, like them, tolerate diverse opinions, regardless of the labels. Conservatives think they can get along with anyone holding a strict view of the Constitution, even though in actuality, interpretations may vary to the point of being conflicting. What they really want are people who, like them, hold traditional views of the Constitution.)
This goal is all about creating a psychological comfort zone in which one can be happy living with other like minded people. As good intentioned as this sounds, it is outright selfish and destructive.
It is selfish because it considers one’s own way as the only right way and that everyone else should suffer psychologically suffocating changes in order to conform the way of thinking of the select individual in question rather than coming to an understanding of differences and learning to work with them.
It is destructive because a world in which there is only one ruling mentality ultimately results in railroading itself to failure. The hive mentality knows no better alternative and thus everyone ends up dying the same way.
Such a mentality is dominant in both China and Japan, whose governments are each strongly represented by only one party. Both nations have declining birthrates and suffocating economies.
But while it’s more obvious on a national scale, this wicked mentality hurts on a small scale as well. For example, what happens when your mayor decides that everyone should have a yard that looks as nice as his. It might liven town spirit in his mind but end up costing others dearly in the form of fines or health. Can he do such a thing? Going back to my opening paragraph… he most certainly can if he has the support.
Note, there are malicious intentions that could be considered as well. In general, people don’t go out of their way to make trouble for other people unless they have some vested interest in doing so. In other words, most people are not sadistic. However, it seems rather evident that there is bigotry over the poor (to the point of wanting to hide their very existence) and laws targeted directly at certain organizations merely out of personal disliking or disagreeable agenda.
Government power becomes a real problem when its lines haven’t been drawn for it to begin with. Such is the case with local governments who are free to make whatever laws they please. Elections are too infrequent to allow cycling, and it’s easy for those in power to rig elections and guarantee their reelection. Officials make good friends with employees and enter a “good ol’ boy” system whereby people already “on the in” are always “on the in” and help each other out, for better or for worse. Consequently, city councils have become cesspools of criminal activity. From Austin to Washington, city councilmen take bribes, write unconstitutional ordinances, and siphon money into their favorite pockets. When money is short, they can punish their residents who have little or no recourse when the judge is on the city’s side or they can’t afford a lawyer.
One example hitting the headlines was the town of Doraville, GA. It was taken to court last year by its citizens over excessive and outright ludicrous fines for things like not having straight firewood or having a cracked driveway.
There are of course, thousands if not millions of instances of abuse by local governments, even in just the USA (which I leave to you to search on the internet). To give you some idea of city priorities: I recall hearing the city council of Austin, TX – after their ethics oversight board member left – decided to close the post.
With power over the courts, local government officials prevent justice from being served and situations corrected. This results in “vigilante justice”, as you might expect.
Slowly but surely liberties rot away under people’s feet. Most people don’t even realize how much is regulated these days.
I discovered myself just how deeply things had been regulated when I considered starting my own business in food. True, food needs to be sanitary, but you’d be quite surprised at all the other rules and regulations that go with it, all the paper work that needs to be filled out, and all the people you have to speak with to get approval.
The good and bad news is that with population decline, laws are less enforceable and increasingly necessary to break just for the sake of survival. The police force ages along with the population, who become too old to carry on. Such is the sad fate of the world.
What did Paul say?
In regards to charity, St. Paul said that “against such things there is no law”, and yet today, there are such laws. Even the Romans were more sensible than today’s governments. Think of that!
St. Paul also said, “Submit to the authorities.” The problems come when authorities decide to stop people from doing good. Such “law makers” (and indeed, they are “makers” and not “stewards”) are children of Satan.
Personally, I find most of what St Paul says regarding daily practice (and he said alot of things) to be inapplicable these days in one way or another. Obviously, St Paul didn’t live in a socialistic democracy melting into a communistic state with a sense of patriotic duty. It’s emotionally stressing to be told you need to change the system through voting even though you know the people going into (or already in) the system are dooming it to failure.
It’s interesting how nations, governments – and pretty much any organization of man – tends towards more and more rules (like communism) until it collapses under the weight of its own corruption into a state of despair. Such is the current case with just about every “First-world” nation in existence. It’s not the mechanism of law itself that causes the collapse but that laws primarily limit and hurt good people. Bad people don’t care, so ultimately, corruption and selfishness end up destroying a nation.
What helps good people is a clear and obvious line, and most of the time, there isn’t one. Bad people don’t want obvious lines; they want ones they can redraw at their convenience or “discretion”.
Things only get worse from then on.
In order to stop bad people from ruining the lives of good people, laws have to be made for both people and government, but more importantly, lines have to be enforced. Realistically, this isn’t possible.
You can’t force the guy with the gun to cooperate if he doesn’t want to. You can yell and shout about “rights” and “liberties” and how you deserve certain treatment, but in the end, he has his finger on the trigger. You can either accept the final fate of slavery (albeit you may wish to go down throwing punches) or seek a higher power for help. You’re subjected to someone either way.
This hints at the general situation of all human life, in which people have two options for trying to improve the world: 1) trying to fix the outward appearance of the world (trying to get everyone to look good on the surface) or 2) trying to fix the inward appearance of the world (its selfishness, bigotry, hatred, malice, deceit). The former causes strife, and even when problems are “fixed” for a moment, they resurface. Decay is inevitable. The latter is the better option, but people fail to realize it can only be done by fixing the only interior thing one has access to fix: oneself.
If the hearts of people are good, then in the long run, they produce morally and ethically good leaders – one’s that aren’t corrupt. That’s the better target to aim for. It’s hopeless to trust wicked men to follow rules.
The most hopeless endeavor is investing all your hope in this world. I’m quite certain God meant it to be this way. God who is all good and powerful lets systems collapse to show people just how badly things fail when they don’t submit to Him who is Perfect Order itself. But people blame one thing or another or a multitude of factors, trying their best to explain world problems and find solutions that avoid the real heart of the matter.
God could correct the system, but then we’d always be happy and go on living our drab, meaningless lives. We’d never learn what we were really put on this earth for. We’re here for a journey.
Life is actually quite simple: It revolves around the choice between uniting with God – an act of submission that leads to great joy – or trying to make paradise apart from Him. Sorry, but the latter is the losing option every time.