Thursday, May 29, 2014

Balance of Power

I've spent more than my fair share of time annoying people by challenging their political ideologies - and have even been challenged on my own from time to time. I don't mind people challenging my beliefs as I feel it helps me to understand why I believe as I do and even to adjust as I feel it's necessary. I am not so locked into my beliefs that I feel they are infallible nor do I stay static in my own ideology. As I have grown older and have more experiences, I have sometimes found that earlier beliefs are no longer satisfactory to me and I am not afraid to admit when I have changed.

Politics is one of my (many) passions and that is probably obvious from the content of this blog. It should also be obvious that I am not a fan of big government or the belief that government is able to solve all of the problems. I have had more than a few discussions with people on the left side of the political spectrum who believe that more government and regulation is the answer to society's ills. I'm not particularly inclined to that belief and have been more than a little vocal at times trying to explain why. In short, more government means acceding more power to others (e.g. the government) rather than learning how to live for and with ourselves. More regulations means that the already large number of regulations are even less likely to be enforced and the problems that the new regulations were intended to resolve most likely either already have regulations that were not previously enforced or could have been resolved by a little common sense among people. However, in such a litigious society, it seems that the only way to resolve an issue these days is through lawyers rather than rational discussion among people. This is the result of a government that feels it has to be a part of every facet of day to day life.

However, an obtrusive government is not the only problem. Big business (the bugaboo of the Left) is also not the only problem. Frankly, the problem is that they both are working together to amass more power and control for themselves at the expense of the people that the government allegedly represents and for which big business needs to both create and purchase their products. This is neither Republican nor a Democratic problem - it exists for both though they both howl at the other for taking advantage of the people they allege to represent. Democrats rail against big business and how it takes advantage of people, denying them the opportunities to earn good livings in order to maintain a real middle class - all while accepting huge amounts of money from the corporate leaders who they denounce so readily on the campaign trail. Republicans, meanwhile, denounce big government and its intrusiveness into the lives of citizens while simultaneously stridently pushing for greater "morality" (and I hope I've been clear about how subjective terms like "morality" are) among citizens that are intended to be enforced through promulgated regulations. Both sides have secretly (until it was released by Edward Snowden) pursued policies that will allow the government greater ability to observe its citizens in their private lives and communications as well as killed US citizens abroad who were alleged to be members of terrorist organizations without the right of due process (though, admittedly, I am of two minds on this issue).

In short, the problem that we face (and it is not just a problem faced by the US but by a great many countries and citizens around the world) is of powerful forces, seemingly at odds with one another, that instead work together and collude to find ways to increase their power and control - with the losers often being the very citizens they allege to represent or benefit. Yet they are able to continue this pursuit of power by simple misdirection of those same people, giving them enough to distract their focus from the events that shape their lives and instead focus on things of otherwise little consequence to them.

There is no easy answer; indeed, there is not even a single right answer in all circumstances. Frankly, there are answers and solutions if people are only willing and able to pursue and implement them. However, to be clear, this battle has never ended. And it likely never will. But that should not preclude people from trying.