Comfortable and Furious

Government Control Must be Replaced by Individual Restraint

Any blanket political term will have far-ranging applications some of which are contradictory. An American conservative would be justly infuriated to be lumped together with the conservatives of the later years of the Soviet Union because those conservatives wanted to maintain soviet communism uber alles. Conservatives of one ilk want greater freedom and conservatives of another ilk want greater government control.

Libertarians are also in a similar position. The notion that the government has no legitimate hand in peoples lives leads to libertarians legitimizing abortion even though abortion certainly prevents someone from enjoying his or her own life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Libertarianism is far more complex than whether a state should legalize online casino gambling.


In his great book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig spoke about the proper role of civilization. He was honest enough to recognize that a hiker in the wild who injures himself will be more than happy to return to the civilization his or her excursion was meant to escape from even for a short time.

Fleeting Popularity

There are religious groups that eschew modern medical treatment in favor of prayer and that when a person dies it is because God has determined that it was time for that person to die. There are many people who feel that modern medicine is too intrusive, that many surgeries are unnecessary, that medicine is also a big business and is run with business motives rather than with humanitarian motives.

Although many people are leery of the medical establishments prescriptions for treating and, more importantly, for preventing disease, they are unwilling to arrange society in which there is no medical establishment at all and in which anyone can make any claim about medical treatment or disease prevention whatsoever. While the invisible hand that corrects all wrongs is trying to figure out how to correct the wrongs caused by medical quackery, many people will have spent, that is, wasted vast sums of money may have gotten ill, and may have died.

So, some medical establishment is necessary for most peoples opinion and any opinion that rigorously says no will lack for substantial numbers of followers forever.

Call the Police

In a similar vein, many people feel that police are as prone to abuse their power as any criminal gang is prone to abuse power. The difference between the two is often simply a matter of whose power is legal and whose is illegal.

In many cities in Europe, there are today no-go zones where police are hampered from doing their jobs at best and are attacked at worst. Recently police were pelted with rocks in a no-go zone in Brussels. In many American inner cities, there are also no-go zones. The ethnicity of the inhabitants in no-go zones may be different from city to city but the main motivating factor is always the same: a deep belief that police power is illegitimate no matter how legal it is and the peoples power is legitimate no matter how illegal it may be used.

Nevertheless, when someone in one of these cities is in trouble the first people they call for are the police. Inherent in our sense of civilization is the notion that someone in an organized manner has to sometimes simply say no, you cant do this.


Our neighbor to the north has been criticizing US immigration policy. Cities all over the country have popped up as sanctuary cities. But just this week a report came out that Canada is now chiding the Trump administration not for actively pursuing a strict immigration policy but for pursuing an immigration policy that is not strict enough and some people are making their way to Canada who are not legally in the country having illegally passed through the US and are causing civic problems in Canada.

A Giant Elephant

A political philosophy that proclaims that all government is inherently bad cannot hope to gain widespread popularity. It will remain a fad forever. That is because as the government that has been set up by people is dismantled it has to be replaced by another government.

The founders of the United States, not just the politicians who drafted the Articles of Confederation and, when they proved inadequate, the Constitution, but also the farmers and skilled laborers who gave them their support, fully knew and understood, the government of best choice is self-government.

Freedom Alone Cannot Hold

A.S.Neill, the founder of the Summerhill School and the write of the book Summerhill was compelled to write a sequel because the central idea of Summerhill had been so profoundly misunderstood. The second book was called Freedom, not License. It spoke about the need for free people to make the right choices and act in the most civilized ways. Without that, the vast population will ask for massive police forces to quell the waves of crime and civilization will have been lost.

Neill understood that without restraint, freedom is a fleeting pleasure and the government that will inevitably rise up to counter licentious behavior will be far worse than the government that was originally replaced.

American Experiment

The notion of self-government is a notion that needs to be nurtured if we are to avoid the horrors of government. It could very well be that even as idealistic as the founding generation of the United State was, the flaws inherent in the human condition made government necessary.

The great challenge is how to restrain government enough that it doesnt become a tyranny to the people.