An Idea That Should Not Even Exist

Column by Alex R. Knight III.

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The other night, after a long day of doing far more productive things, I broke one of my own usual patterns and watched some congressional hearing videos online. These mostly consisted of people like Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz grilling various titular heads – and sometimes their subordinates – from any number of alphabet-soup agencies (DEA, IRS, BATFE, EPA, FBI) about a wide-ranging variety of government business. One of them even saw Gowdy interrogating Hillary Clinton about the Benghazi affair. There were some theatrics, some histrionics. Most of it was flat-out boring, in truth. 

And none of it, ultimately, accomplished a damned thing.

The bureaucratic puppets who led these agencies were in some cases reprimanded, in others, forced to resign – only to be replaced by other individuals of equal or greater arrogance and incompetence. All of them, naturally, denied any wrongdoing. These agencies then, without skipping a beat, continued (and still do) to pillage the American public, violate their liberty, impede progress, and destroy the market process and society along with it. Meanwhile, congresscritters like Gowdy and Chaffetz got to publicly pontificate, grandstand, and appear as either hero or villain to any number of government true-believers out there in the audience, both live and remote. Gowdy is retiring soon, but I'm sure if he wasn't, he'd have no trouble getting re-elected. Ditto Chaffetz.

I'm unable to relocate the video now, but I recall some time ago watching a clip in which Senator Rand Paul was similarly shaking down a bureau-rat from one agency or another in which he openly stated something like, “I don't expect you to fix it, because nothing ever gets fixed with government.” At which point, the aging bureau-rat, no doubt simply awaiting his retirement with a nice cushy taxpayer-financed benefits package and pension, vigorously nodded his head in agreement.

Here in Vermont, just a few months ago, Governor Phil Scott, elected largely on a “No New Gun Laws” platform, callously disregarded this and signed six new gun laws onto the books – breaking with 277 years of tradition in the safest place in America which had never before had any gun control.

While I make every effort to minimize or avoid them altogether, I pay a certain amount of taxes because of the consequences those in government promise to impose upon me – in no idle way – should I fail or refuse to . . . even when their own laws, in some cases, prevent them from legally doing so. For no other reason do I pay any tax. Ever.

I generally try at all times to avoid having any contact whatsoever with the government's enforcers (cops, tax-collectors), but in those cases where such contact is unavoidable, I attempt to make that encounter as brief and harmless as possible – so that I can go back to doing something either productive, recreational, or both. As a result, I end up obeying some of the government's edicts, some of the time. I don't need a cop around to tell me not to murder, assault, rape, steal, or vandalize. I don't want to do any of those things anyway, but statistics show that government people (like cops, and tax-collectors . . . and on foreign soil, soldiers) both revel in and thrive on this kind of behavior. This is why I always strive to only break victimless “laws” (using drugs, gambling, evading taxes, not answering a census, owning weapons) when I feel it's both in my best interest and safe to do so. 

That leaves voting as the final direct connection government has to my life, and I don't do it. If you'd like a detailed explanation as to why not, this is the best essay I've read so far towards that end, and after all, even above and beyond that, it's the only accoutrement of government which – at least for now – remains entirely voluntary. Everything else government sends our way is compulsory. Everything else.

But you shouldn't really require any further illumination at this point as to why I don't participate in politics or elections.

No one, after all, should take part in a failed idea that should not even exist.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 153

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales.  He has also written and published poetry, non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues.  He currently lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University.  Alex's Amazon page can be found here, and his work may also be found at both Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  His MeWe group can be found here.


D. Saul Weiner's picture

"Meanwhile, congresscritters like Gowdy and Chaffetz got to publicly pontificate, grandstand, and appear as either hero or villain to any number of government true-believers out there in the audience, both live and remote."
Yes. There are too many whose faith in government is kept alive by these occasional acts of decency and honesty.

It makes no sense to support government on account of a handful of congresspeople who are trying to do the right thing (at least, at times) when such people are given no real power, and are forced out of office whenever possible.

Alex R. Knight III's picture

Agreed.  In what other arena of life would the average person continue with something that was a long-proven abjectly wasteful failure 90% of the time, but then functioned halfway adequate the other 10% of the time on a sporadic and unpredictable basis?  
My answer, of course, would come only in the sound of chirruping crickets.