Numerous Internet news sources and commentaries have carried an increased number of reports for many months about various group in-person protests and email/petition actions in the US (and elsewhere) in regard to high government taxes and/or various regulations.
I contend that public complaining and even protesting in public is of little real meaning unless those protesting withdraw their sanction/approval from and usage of the things that government does, all paid for by taxes or from borrowed money with principal and interest then repaid from taxes. A brief list of recommendations:
It is clear that a better society is the desire of most, if not all, of the activists against high government taxes and choice-limiting regulations. However, it needs to be understood that the withdrawal of sanction and the practice of self-responsibility are both necessary for any real changes in human society which will benefit each member all at the same time. I find myself very often reminded of nonviolent power theoretician Gene Sharp's reference to "the most vulnerable characteristic of all hierarchical institutions and governments: dependence on the governed." (Gene Sharp Interview in March 2007 Progressive Magazine)
Governments exist because the majority of people are not self-responsible; they have not matured to full psychological and social adulthood despite having physically matured into biological adults. Encouraging dependency rather than self-responsibility is the practice of those who seek to attain or retain positions of authority backed by the legalized initiation of force - this being the effective description of any government.
To the degree that an individual looks to others to solve his/her (hir) problems, s/he is not self-responsible. This does not mean that a person must be totally self-reliant in order to be self-responsible. A self-responsible person will consult with others, especially in areas where hir own knowledge is limited, but s/he will make the decisions and take responsibility for the consequences and the incurred costs. To do otherwise is to be dependent on the decision-maker and cost-payer, who are most often the same. Such a dependent state is natural for a child, but it is not the optimum arrangement for adult humans.
No one can know you and what will maximize your lifetime happiness (the purpose of each person's life, whether or not s/he recognizes it) better than you. Your very best friend - likely your spouse or domestic partner - will know you better than anyone else, but even s/he will not know you as well as you know yourself. The ability to communicate one's own thoughts and emotions to another are limited, even when one is well aware of them by introspection. Humans have not yet achieved the capability of the "Vulcan Mind-Meld".
Despite the impossibility of complete knowledge of everyone by everyone else, those in government continue to claim that they can and should make rules and regulations that limit the available actions of all within their jurisdiction (and often far beyond it, especially in the case of the US). In decades and centuries past, there was some figment of logic in having the clan elder, tribal wisemen, town "fathers", etc make many types of decisions for all those in the clan, tribe, town, etc. The tasks of and related to hunting and gathering in order to feed those in the earliest societies took the majority of time of all those beyond young childhood and survival of the individual depended on association with others. Those who had survived longest had the most experience and consequently the most knowledge for surviving - and prospering - in that environment. Practices that promoted the wellbeing (or appeared to do so) of those in the group were remembered by the older members and were passed down to the young. It is likely that those who were too old to continue be good hunters or gatherers - or maybe individuals who were never very proficient at the basic tasks - maintained their value to others by being the repositories of much of the knowledge necessary for survival. In such a society, decisions on when and where the group would move to find new sources of food likely were made by the senior most individual(s); divisions of groups also likely occurred when a fair number of individuals (enough to sustain another group) no longer agreed with the decisions.
Through the thousands of years since those earliest of human societies, the amount of information that forms the body of knowledge available to humans about reality - and surviving and prospering in it - has expanded immensely. Up until a few generations ago, access to such information was limited only to those with sufficient time to study the books and papers in libraries; such individuals were ones supported by the Church or the Monarch, and later also by wealth accumulated from their own previous, or an ancestor's, efforts. It was common for those who spent the majority of the hours of each day "making a living" to defer to those who had "more schooling" for what was best to do in all areas outside of one's limited work knowledge/experience. Even with the increasing availability of all manner of written material since printing presses came into common usage, the majority of people still accepted the idea that "others" knew best about the vast majority of what constitutes all aspects of an individual's life. The US "Founding Fathers", those who created the various mechanisms and the documents describing them as an alternative to the governing format of England and other European countries from where they or their recent ancestors had come, were generally men who had acquired knowledge that included philosophical ideas of the past - not the topics of discussion for the general man and woman. The typical individual, though, always knew what social atmosphere made it easier or more difficult to perform the tasks for not merely surviving, but highly prospering. Enormous numbers sought those locations, where social arrangements enabled more available actions towards improving their lives by means of their own efforts, without the imposition of restrictions opposing that desire.
Representative government was viewed by likely the majority of those in the 18th century American colonies as an improvement over the dictates of a distant monarch, even with the counsel of Parliament. Having some say regarding the regulations of a society was an improvement over none at all, even if it was through the person of someone else chosen by those allowed to cast a ballot. And the person selected in those early days was typically a man of experience, if not actual book learning, and therefore assessed by those voting as capable and responsible at "looking out for" the general welfare - and "general welfare" is what the US Constitution states as one of its purposes and lists as the reason (beyond common defense) for the power to tax given to Congress. What a Pandora's Box the concept of "promote the general Welfare" has proven to be!
Just two generations ago, when those who are grandparents today were young children, most communication in the US was done in-person or via letters sent in the mails; phone calls were short and usually local. Information was obtained from books, with the guidance of parents and teachers, often including a prized set of encyclopedia volumes. News and commentary were the realm of newspapers and magazines, with the addition of radio broadcasts and movie shorts of special or unusual events; television was still so new that many did not even have a set. Despite what may seem like deficiencies to many now, more quantity of information was available and the speed with which it was transmitted was greater than at any time previously. Being informed about current and past events and on what was currently being and had been written and spoken throughout the country (and the world) was available to anyone who was really interested in knowing.
Today (2009), electronic access to countless sources of information (many not even available 40 years ago) and rapid lengthy communication with virtually anyone else can be had by the vast majority of those in the industrialized areas of the world and much of what is still on the road to "development". It is a rare person (adult and child) in the US who does not have access to, if not actually own, hir own computer; many have computer features in their cellular phones. For an individual in the US (and much of the world) these days to be informed on everything that happens currently or in the past and on ideas published by anyone currently or in the past is now mostly a matter of interest/desire/time rather than purely technical and/or cost availability.
So the questions can and should be asked, "Why does the individual still need to be ruled by others? Is there not a better way now to achieve social order than by some centralized governing body to which an individual can, at best, only have an effect if part of a majority casting votes for a particular candidate/bond/referendum in a particular election?"
The nature of human beings does not automatically lead to the conclusion that individuals must be ruled by others in order that there be orderly interactions between them. Society, just like any other natural system can be naturally self-regulating by means of interactions between its members, if only humans seek to discover and are allowed to implement the methods by which such self-regulation can be effective, rather than continuing to embrace social systems that need to be constantly held in an unnatural (and very unoptimal) state of balance by the operations of their rulers and other influencers. Individual self-order without rule by others is the social system whose members are fully adult (particularly meaning self-responsible) humans. Just as people can become physical adults, so can they become psychological and social adults - if only they are allowed (and even required in the sense that they will not achieve their desires unless they do) to socially mature sufficiently.
Understanding the social interaction methodology by which more individuals would progress to become fully socially mature adults requires a paradigm shift in thinking about human interactions. I invite - and even challenge - those who seek a society of individuals interacting to mutual benefit (or are maybe only curious at this point) to read "Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Human Interaction" and then review the twin frameworks of the Natural Social Contract and Social Preferencing, both of which flow from that basis.
Only after the underlying principles of Social Preferencing, the ultimate effector of social order, are grasped, assimilated, thought over, comprehended and integrated (more than simply read and accepted) by a large number of people, will my list of recommendations in the second paragraph of this essay start to have significant impact towards changing the ways people interact. Regularly interacting individuals form a society - and a society in which the majority are self-responsible can be self-regulating without any government. A government then would be unnecessary and, in fact a hindrance to the purpose of the members of the society, each attempting to optimally increase hir lifetime happiness necessarily all at the same time.
This essay was first submitted to OpEdNews.com (OEN) on 4/14/09. On 4/16/09 Kitty received the automated message:
"We have decided to publish the article as a Diary entry; thus,
you'll find it in the Diary column with subjects:
Activism, Government, Happiness, Ideas, People, Power, Protest, Regulations, Society-Culture-People, State, Taxes, Thinking
"There are a number of reasons article submissions are published as diaries. First, if you submit using a handle or transparently fake name, your submission will not be accepted as an article and will be published as a diary. Some articles that do not meet our criteria for articles (length and style are among reason not related to quality of writing, which is also considered) will be published as diaries instead of being rejected. You do not have a choice, if you submit an article, to not have it published as a diary instead. It is the prerogative of the OEN editorial staff to determine the content category. We do value and appreciate your submission, but our time is also valuable, and having read and evaluated your submission we reserve the right to decide where to put it, just as magazines and newspapers do. If you are not happy with the result, you need to consider it for next time, but keep in mind, we allow zero tolerance for abuse of editors. Courteous disagreeing dialog is welcome. Angry missives are cause for banning."
After some "courteous disagreeing dialog", the editor who did the orginal reading and decision-making, sent Kitty a message stating "I reread and reconsidered. The diary is now an article in H3." This last is reference to a particular headline status, in this case for 4/17/2009. Several comments to the article have been made bringing out some good discussion. Unfortunately the time period for articles at OEN is rather brief; comments are welcome and encouraged at MoreLife Yahoo for those who meet the posting requirements.