By Chris Rossini
If only government were filled with the "right" people, or "the best" people, we wouldn't have the problems that we have today. You've heard that line, haven't you?
Far too many people cling to such a false hope, even after a solid century of the U.S. government leading us through its long downward spiral. There have been many elections over the last century that could have installed "the best" people. Why doesn't it ever happen? Would it even matter if it did?
Well, it doesn't happen because the strong tendency of people wanting something for nothing doesn't go away. And it wouldn't matter because the nature of government necessarily turns "the best" people into "the worst" while they're in office.
Take Thomas Jefferson as a great example: he was a giant figure while outside of government, yet a disaster as president. With political power at his disposal, he acted as a different man than the one who penned the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson most likely knew it too. On his headstone, he had the following engraved: "Author of The Declaration of Independence of The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of The University of Virginia."
Notice no mention of being the third President of The United States. Power corrupts even "the best" people.
With very few exceptions, "the best" people do not go into government for this reason. They are instead working hard in the real world solving real problems. Their focus is on voluntary service and creating wealth, not wielding force.
Since government holds a monopoly on force, the tendency will be to attract all the misfits of society that have a desire to wield it.
Government is a playground for narcissists who seek undeserved praise from individuals & corporations that are looking for the easy way in life.
Welfare recipients and corporate cronies want handouts and special privileges. Providing value and serving a customer requires tremendous effort and care. Why worry about customers when you can just grease a greedy politician's palms? Politicians love to feel loved. Why not make a buck while they're at it?
"The best" people are not interested in hollow praise or corruption. They're very often humble and interested in actually doing something of value. Their work gets put on a pedestal, not their petty egos.
A government filled with "the best" people is a complete illusion. Like attracts like in this world. Birds of a feather really do flock together. Government, by its very nature, attracts muggers who have higher aspirations than just the street corner. Imagine the ability to mug 300+ million Americans. Some people actually get a charge out of the idea. They go into government in order to make that fantasy a reality.
Let's pretend (and you really do have to pretend) that the government was filled with "the best" people. Well, even if an individual makes billions and billions of dollars in the marketplace, they're effectively neutered when they step foot in those government corridors. The incentives are completely different than they are in the marketplace.
In the marketplace, customers voluntarily hand over their money for a good or service. But with government, taxes are taken from everyone by force. In the marketplace, customers are welcomed and "customer service" is provided. There's an incentive to treat people kindly, lest they go down the street to a competitor.
Does that mean that everyone in the marketplace is perfect at providing customer service? Of course not! But the incentives are there. Those who are sloppy and who don't take care of their patrons soon find that the patrons stop dealing with them.
With government, taxpayers are considered a nuisance. There's no choice in paying a tax, so there's no incentive for government to care.
There surely is no such thing as "taxpayer service." Quite the opposite. Whenever you have to deal with government (in any capacity) you want to get out of there as fast as you can! There are no incentives for government to do a good job, to treat people with respect, or to even fix a problem.
Government is not subject to market conditions. There are no profits and losses to guide their decisions. In the marketplace, if people don't buy, monetary losses accrue and resources are shifted into areas where people do buy. Products are discontinued. Businesses close down. New products are introduced and new start-ups arise.
Government just piles waste upon previously accumulated waste. Politicians always promise to cut this or that (because it gets a lot of votes) but it never happens. Power never shrinks itself voluntarily. It always seeks to expand its scope.
So it's time to let go of the idea that "if only the best people were in government, we'd all be fine".
It's not going to happen, and even if it did, those "best people" would necessarily morph into "the worst".