web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Limits of Government Power

A system that strives for depth of control is always running the Red Queen’s Race, passing more laws and declaring more wars on obstructive social problems just to stay in place without ever solving anything.
brain drain

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

Share Button

A country and a people can be measured in its breadth and its depth. A government can either choose breadth of control or depth of control—but it cannot have both.

Breadth of control allows for governing a large area, but with only limited control and influence over those who live there. Depth of control allows for extensive control over the lives of a population, but such control requires government infrastructure of equal depth that is difficult to sustain or project over a large territory. One is a mile wide and an inch deep. The other is a mile deep and an inch wide.

Governments that choose breadth of control are able to govern a large territory with a light touch, but breadth of control depends on a population that governs itself through a national identity rooted in an ethical, religious or tribal code. When a government attempts to replace this code with its own control, then it trades breadth of control for depth of control.

Depth of control can only be extended over a limited area. When governments invest in depth of control, then they tighten control over a handful of urban centers clotted with massive bureaucracies that carefully regulate the lives of its middle class while the rest of the country begins going its own way unknown to the ruling class. These decadent systems lose touch with the outskirts and with their own lower classes and remain unaware even as their empire crumbles.

Modern government is fixated on depth of control over people. It plots to control every aspect of their lives with the goal of creating a completely harmonious whole. Technology has fed the illusion that such control has become more feasible than ever allowing for the rise of truly scientific government. This illusion is destroying the nation-states of modern civilization by overburdening them with massive governments flailing for control and destroying their economies in order to achieve that control.

Bureaucracy is the sticking point of depth of control. Each level of control requires more staff to implement that control. The more aspects of private life that government seeks to make public, the more men and women sitting behind desks are needed to formulate the rules, promulgate them, process them and enforce them.

The nationalization of private life runs into the same problem of all nationalization and collectivization. Large operations tend toward greater degrees of inefficiency due to the diffusion of responsibility and accountability. Large systems respond to inefficiency by creating more redundant structures which only increase the inefficiency.

Bureaucracies cope with all problems by adding new layers of paperwork without recognizing that paperwork is itself the problem. The world outside comes to be modeled through paper so that rather than interacting with problems, the system interacts with a paperwork model of the real world that is detached from the real world and requires ever increasing resource of paperwork handlers to maintain.

Governments begin by seeking depth of control and end by losing control over the depths of their own bureaucracy which not only becomes incapable of managing an entire control, but develops its own agenda and becomes a political rival of the politicians who serve as the conduit of their rulership and also the void into which all their ideas, both good and bad, fall into and vanish without a trace.

Depth of control is implemented through the proliferation of laws, regulations, mandates and codes, but the proliferation of laws is also the proliferation of lawlessness. The more laws exist, the more they are broken and the more the system must struggle to restore credibility with constant crackdowns or sink into a state of complete lawlessness.

A system that strives for depth of control is always running the Red Queen’s Race, passing more laws and declaring more wars on obstructive social problems just to stay in place without ever solving anything. The problems become institutionalized and unsolvable because the institutionalization of a problem creates a bureaucratic mandate for the survival of the institutions dedicated to solving the problem and the institutions dedicated to solving the problem seek to survive by not solving the problem.

Like a war, depth of control takes on its own momentum and comes to exist for the sake of existing. Even though the various social wars can never be won, the ruling class and the middle class are obligated to believe that victory is at hand. The working class and the lower class, as well as the lower middle class, who are usually the targets of government problem solving, are usually well aware that the problems are unsolvable. Their obstinacy acts as a kind of passive aggressive insurgency against the problem solvers.

Like most wars, especially unwinnable wars, depth of control is also very expensive and there is no end to the expense. But once depth of control has become the default mode of government, the system loses the ability to disengage from its own obsession with control. Every new measure and program appears to be the genius idea that will finally turn the tide. And after a while no one in power can accept the idea that the alternative to depth of control will be anything but anarchy. This contention even has a basis as once a system switches from breadth of control to depth of control; it tears apart the codes that made the old way of life possible.

When enough people become used to dumping their responsibilities to their parents and children onto the government, the moral and social codes of responsibility wither so that the alternative to the system really does become the ice floe and the beggar boy. And when marriage falls into sufficient disuse and few people believe in a higher power and even fewer in the power of personal achievement, then the people have become unfit for any system but that of the nanny state.

Breadth of control depends on moral and social capital that the planners who implement their depth of control mousetraps do their best to subvert and destroy as backward and outmoded. And once they have accomplished that then the society is broken and the only thing keeping it together in a limited way is an equally broken government.

Technology is not the deal breaker that scientific government advocates believe it to because technocratic government does not solve problems or make decisions, it only harvests and collects masses of information, virtual paperwork that still has to be fed into a flesh and blood bureaucracy. Rather than streamlining bureaucracy, technology adds another layer to the information management staffs of the bureaucracy and holds out the promise of solutions without ever offering any.

The problems of government have never really changed in thousands of years and the obstacle to depth of control is still the human factor. And the human factor does not change. Technology appears to make human data more accessible, but it does not make human beings more amenable.

Governments strive for depth of control because they distrust breadth of control. Breadth of control is based on organic social codes and not easily amenable to changes by politicians who seek to remake the society they rule over into one that is more responsive to their control. Their campaigns for control lead not to more control, but to more illusory control, and their control is limited to the centers of bureaucracy.

While breadth of control effectively holds together large rural territories, depth of control works best within the urban model. Breadth of control allows a people to develop their own identity, while depth of control fragments identities. Depth of control is unable to hold the same breadth of territories because it innately fragments societies and its aspirations to total control lead to multiple centers of authority.

Depth of control governments actively or passively disrupt the codes of the old society. Modern systems in the West even deliberately import large numbers of exotic and foreign cultures and religions to make any of the old social or ethnic codes outdated and unworkable. These actions are meant to unglue the old horizontal peer-to-peer bonds of a society and recreate them in a vertical puppet-master-to-puppet system that controls behavior from the top down. However the new populations are much less amenable to control than the old populations were because of their essential foreignness.

Diversity attempts to overcome this problem by creating multiple ruling centers which fragments the system and leads to a tribal system with tribal representation that fragments any central directives. Multiculturalism is meant to be the acid test of the superiority of scientific government by showing that a system can define a people, rather than the people defining the system. Thus its planners imagine that the high business of government will be lifted out of the muck of tribalism; instead however it sinks down into the muck of rival tribes squabbling for power and selectively altering the law to benefit themselves.

Hubris is the essential human fallacy and the one that brings down empires. Depth of control is the ultimate expression of hubris in the modern age. Past the age of kings, the new folly is not the building of great pyramids or model castles, but the construction of edifices of unlimited political authority that are meant to enforce complete control over the people. Like the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the marble edifices of modern authority that bury a government and its people within their depths for the greater glorification of its rulers.

Only by escaping the tombs of government, can a nation and a people come alive again.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Share Button

About the Author: Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Limits of Government Power”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Indepth Stories
Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

More Articles from Daniel Greenfield
Jews are no longer slaves, but many are still plagued with a slave mentality.

Passover is a road that we still travel, a long journey from slavery to freedom.

policeman

We’ve become very good at symptom management and at not thinking about the underlying problem.

Their grandparents had already loosened their grip on religion and as the family disintegrated, materialism took its place.

Mohammed beheaded Mahuddin Mahmud making it a case of Mohammed on Mohammed violence.

At the Benghazi hearings, Hillary famously demanded to know what difference it made. The same can be said of her life.

With Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party already has an Anti-Obama in waiting.

The constant expansion and destructive acquisition of small innovative companies maintains the illusion that the latest digital horse is something special.

The JFK assassination became a liberal martyrdom in search of a conservative inquisitioner.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-limits-of-government-power/2012/10/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: