The “keeping track of government” problem

Watching a video of Lawrence O’Donnell being interviewed by the WeAreChange people about the NDAA and Obama’s kill list. They were asking him something about how he supports Obama if he has a kill list consisting of American citizens and their usual attack line of questions. He says, “I can’t keep track of everything the government does.”

Then it sort of hit me. Why should anyone be expected to keep track of what the government does? Why should this be necessary? The bigger government gets, the less people will be able to track it to see if it is being tyrannical or not, and the next thing you know you’re a total slave and they’re taking your property.

The only reason that it’s necessary to manually keep track of government activities is that money is not an issue. The government can just take or print the money it needs to function, so not only is efficiency unnecessary, but so is internal oversight. Nobody “needs” to keep track of what Apple or Priceline or IBM is doing, because the companies themselves need to keep track of what they’re doing or they’ll lose money. If they steal from someone, that someone should take the company to court. Every transaction a private company has is subject to market regulation, and therefore no one needs to keep an eye on them. The only reason anyone would need to know what Apple is doing is if he wants to invest in the company. If Apple wants investors, they’ll have to be honest. If they lie, they’ll lose investors and money.

But government needs no investors and is not subject to market forces, since they rely on threats and force. That’s why you need outside watchdogs funded by watchdog groups to keep an eye on government. The watchdogs aren’t investing in government. They’re using resources to make sure it doesn’t screw anyone over, because the market itself cannot.

In a free society, there would be no need to see what the government is doing, or to keep track of it. Everything would be subject to market regulation, and everything would be totally decentralized. Problems would be dealt with as they come up, and you’d spot them whenever the price of something falls or rises too fast.


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