“Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” – Pericles
I can’t say for certain why people who don’t trust government don’t trust government. Some say government is a massive and inefficient bureaucracy that provides services that a streamlined private company could provide at half (or even a tenth) of the cost. Some say it’s just a place for control freaks and attention whores to be humored at the expense of its citizens. Some say it falls drastically short on half of its projects, while the other half it just fucks up royally.
My take is that government is a self-perpetuating entity whose only real interest is its own survival and proliferation. In other words, government is quite literally a virus that exists today only because it successfully survived yesterday. Evolutionary theory posits that there is no divine explanation for the existence of beings today; those that are around merely exist because their ancestors were successful at staying alive and breeding. Government is just that: a big, pulsating social organism that manages to feed, avoid predators, and proliferate. Capital Hill is a massive fuckfest of politicians, staff, lawyers, lobbyists, and aspiring young politicos that just goes on multiplying. Keeping government in check is not now, and has never been, an option; it will, by its very nature, continue to grow indefinitely.
The IRS has caught a lot of hell recently with the assertion that agents have been using political demarcations, such as the “Tea Party” label, in making tax-related inquiries and decisions. Many have called foul. From delaying applications for tax-exempt status to downright harassment, the IRS is in the hot seat right now.
Most people would agree that this is problematic, but not necessarily systemic. The general attitude might be characterized as something like, “This needs to be fixed.” But I assert that fixing this particular problem is like trying to control a forest fire with a water bottle. The problem, I think, is the very nature of government, which has grown very efficient at exactly two things: surviving and growing. Thought in this light, the IRS was acting quite intelligently at maintaining its (and the federal government’s) existence, as the Tea Party, while arguably benign for now, poses a larger threat to the aggrandizement of the federal government than most other groups. If the government is going to spend its resources quashing threats to its own survival and growth, I suppose the Tea Party would reasonably be in its Top 10 list.
It’s time to face the hard truth that government doesn’t survive in spite of “foolish mistakes” like this, but because of them. They aren’t mistakes at all, even if that’s the state’s official position. At least the Russian KGB had the decency to level with the political dissenters they targeted. “You are an enemy of the state and you must die,” they would say, presumably in Russian (or at least with an authentic Russian accent). American government, on the other hand, tries to maintain a façade of integrity while actually doing what it does best: surviving by any means necessary.
Forget fixing the IRS. Eliminate it. When a viral epidemic sweeps the nation, we don’t try to genetically engineer it to make it a little less destructive. We eradicate it.