Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Asshole Theory of Government

The Asshole Theory of Government

Problem: Why is it that no matter what kind of political system man devises it always ends up going bad?
Answer: Because no political thinker has yet managed to solve the problem of the Asshole.

Sure, the details often differ, but when you come right down to it all forms of government run into the same problem: What does society do with the asshole? Nobody has yet come up with a satisfactory answer, and this is why the vision of life on Earth as put forth in Star Trek has failed to materialize. No matter what principles you build your system on, there will always be some asshole out there who can screw it up and pervert it from its presumed ends. Let’s break it down with a few familiar examples:

System: Capitalism.

Principle: Efficiency and virtue will be rewarded by the market; only the truly useful will survive. Those who cannot make it to the top will be employed in the service of those who have, and if anyone falls through the cracks, private charity will alleviate the worst of their misery.
Problem: Some asshole with money and power will always be trying to fix the market to protect his own assets. Also, assholes don’t give a damn about the suffering of others and have no incentive to take care of them.

System: Communism.

Principle: Everyone cooperates and shares the work and the wealth so that everyone’s needs are taken care of.
Problem: Some asshole will always try to get out of doing his share of the work while at the same time collecting his share of the profits.

System: Fascism.

Principle: Everyone surrenders their will to the State, whose leaders will decide what is best for the people.
Problem: Fascist leaders are almost always assholes.

System: Pacifism.

Principle: Nobody hurts anyone else.
Problem: Some asshole is always going to be willing to hurt you to get what he wants.

System: Anarchy.

Principle: People are left to themselves to do as they see fit without being hassled by The Man.
Problem: Left to themselves, most people will behave like assholes.

System: Democracy.

Principle: Government by the people, for the people.
Problem: Get enough assholes in one place, and you’ve got government by assholes for assholes. [...] The Asshole Theory of Government Theories of Government #9 [ 2 ]

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