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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.
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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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.

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.


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