Thursday, September 1, 2016

To Chaos and Back

“We need to shake up the status quo.”

“We need to get rid of the whole system; it’s not working. Then we can start from scratch and do things right.”

This is the kind of argument being tossed around this election year—eight years into the Great Recession. And also the argument of anarchy groups like Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, white supremacists, and Islamist terrorists. If there is any seed of sanity under their attacks on civil society, it must be the burn-it-to-the-ground-and-start-over theory.

Clearly there are things to be dissatisfied about. But do we need to throw out our whole system? Our Constitution? Our economy? Our money?

If we did, would we be likely to create something better? That totally depends on who is doing the creating and what principles they follow.

Chaos is something we don’t like. It means we all fend for ourselves, safeguarding our own lives and property, with no expectation of help from a government. It is another form of tyranny: rule of the strongest and best armed. Not very different from the statist version of that, which guarantees that the government is the strongest and best armed and can therefore take your life, freedom, or property at will.

There’s the Marxist theory, practiced by Trotsky and Lenin, of purposely creating chaos (revolution, they called it) so that the very instigators of the revolution could step in and say, “Let me rule, and I’ll make everything better for you,” which translated means, “I will rule absolutely, and I won’t allow disorder or dissent.”

Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” That was the same thing; use any sign of chaos, label it as bad (it often is bad, but people can be stirred up to think it’s critically urgent to get relief), and insist that more government control is the solution.

So there’s an oscillation between chaos (non-governmental tyranny) and governmental tyranny.

There’s an event in Pearl Bucks The Good Earth, where the general population is suffering greatly, living in tents and huts on the streets, while the wealthy rulers live in luxury behind great walls. At last the people can take it no longer. They riot and break in, oust (kill) the elites, take their belongings, and eventually use the confiscated wealth to buy land and settle down to work the land and begin building up their wealth. Then the next occupants of power and wealth begin doing the same things as before. The oppression caused misery. And then the chaos caused misery. And then the previously oppressed seize power and use it to oppress others.

Principles that would lead to general prosperity help when followed, but they’re hardly ever followed, and they’re hindered by those in power.

So, if we were to suffer some significant chaos here in America, what is the likelihood that would lead to greater freedom, prosperity, and civilization?

The Spherical Model helps us see where movement from statist tyranny to chaos takes us. Statist tyranny is in the southeast quadrant: principles of freedom and free enterprise are ignored, and control is in the hands of government at the highest levels, rather than the most local. Chaos is in the southwest quadrant: principles of freedom (honoring and protecting each person’s right of life, liberty, and property) are not followed, and control is in the hands of whoever seizes power through force.

The Spherical Model, looking at the
division between local and global interests

Movement from statist tyranny to chaotic tyranny is a lateral move, from east to west, while remaining in the southern hemisphere where God-given rights are not protected. When the people can’t take the chaos any more, they turn for relief to whatever strongman or organization claims to be capable of controlling the chaos. It’s a lateral move again, this time from west to east.

That is the typical story of human history. Moving north—toward freedom—is rare. It requires people who understand what it takes to move northward. We had such people at our founding—as if God had raised up people who would understand how to form a more perfect union:

·         Government must be strictly limited to its role of safeguarding our natural rights to life, liberty, and property.
·         Economics must be free-market, allowing everyone the right to pursue their choice of work, leading to entrepreneurism and innovation that benefit everyone. Government’s only role is in settling disputes and safeguarding property, which may include standardizing the form of money and enforcing laws.
·         Those unable to care for themselves are cared for charitably by families, churches, and philanthropy.
·         A critical mass of the people must be righteous. They must recognize that our rights are unalienable because they are God-given, not man- or government-granted. And God requires that people must live lives that honor God, family, life, property, and truth.
·         A critical mass of the people must raise children in families with married mother and father, to pass along the principles of freedom, prosperity, and civilization.
There are plenty of details within each of these principles, enough to fill books and college courses. But the basics are easily knowable.

So the question isn’t about whether creating chaos might be a good thing; it isn’t. But leaving the status quo with a bold and direct move northward—that would be a good thing. Such a startling change might appear to create chaos, but only while people readjust to something unfamiliar.

For example, getting rid of Obamacare would remove a huge burden and expense from the economy. But the immediate concern would be how to get health care to those who couldn’t afford it before Obamacare was forced on us as the solution. But the problem was there because of interference with the free market. There are free market solutions that could take hold: health savings accounts, choosing to pay directly rather than with insurance except for catastrophic coverage, insurance across state lines, insurance connected to the person rather than the employer. Add in some philanthropy and the market would do a better job than government interference ever could.

Another example would be education. Assume for a moment that education could be done entirely privately. Doing away with all government education would be drastic and chaotic—especially during the middle of a school year. Eventually the free market would meet the need. There are so many options now, because of online information. Free market solutions combined with philanthropy could also meet the needs of those who can’t afford education, so that the next generation doesn’t get stuck in uneducated poverty.

But the solution would seem drastic, and the adjustment might take some years to readjust. A learning child doesn’t have years to waste while the adults who should be educating them get their act together. However, removing the federal government layer immediately would do no harm, and would allow education money to stay within states. A movement toward local would be a good next step. More school choice, through charter schools, educational savings accounts, or homeschooling are just common sense.

The solution shouldn’t be toward chaos; it should always be northward toward freedom, free market, and civilization.

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