I was born into a world where my native country seemed to have a troublesome but adequate government. I was given an idea of what a government was through public education. I was never really given reason to be curious about the idea of government. I tend to blame it on the way our education system works, tho I’m not sure I could articulate that explanation even if that were the focus of this post. Rather, I’d like to leap forward to today where I ponder systems of mass collaboration on a daily basis.
I feel that the vast majority view government as an oppressive machine which the people are always at war with. To me, it looks like the people (all of us) are just at war with each other. I’m not sure which is more to blame for the state of things, the government or the people. See, the thing is, we all would benefit to realize that the government is our responsibility as well as our opportunity.
Capitalism is fantastic. As a system, it uses competition to drive innovation. The most powerful analogy I’ve heard for Capitalism is puberty. Both will make you grow quickly. We’ve embraced a lot of Capitalism, and we’re now a superpower. Go US! However, puberty is a transitional phase. Perpetual rapid growth isn’t a viable long term plan in either case. Capitalism is not the only tool in America’s bag. We manage our system of Capitalism with this thing we call the government. Just about the only power we gave these United States upon her creation dealt with trade. My how things have grown.
Look at what this monster of a government provides for us. We are sovereign. That’s a big deal. Then there’s that public school system I mentioned. Collectively, we humans of America own massive infrastructure. Seriously guys, we own one of the most powerful military forces to ever have existed. We have people floating in a pressurized box way up skimming the surface of the atmosphere. This concept of collaboration is producing some cool results, like those recent high resolution images of Pluto.
When we look at government from a very meta point of view, it exposes an obvious necessity for some kind of system. For many reasons, we love to hate our system. Most of us alive today had almost nothing to do with it’s design. We barely understand it much less feel we’ve participated in it. And many of the major politicians in the upcoming election are saying the whole thing is being consumed by corporate interests. It can really feel grim.
Fear based decisions are rarely good decisions. In a moment of panic, our instincts can serve us well – or at least to motivate us. However, long term exposure to fear leads to a less empowered state of being. If we who are born into an existing system only experience reasons to feel oppressed by an existing system, it becomes considerably less likely that we will be able to influence that system. Thus, I think it valuable to reconsider how we present the idea of government to one another.
Government should be seen as our point of agreement. Government is how we collaborate. “Hey everyone, would you like to have emergency response services in case of major disaster? Yes? Ok, here’s how we get that done… Hooray! Thank you government.” The system can always be evolving, or for the code-monkeys among us, refactored. The the system isn’t going to change itself, we have to participate. And we have every reason to be excited that we CAN participate. Government is a great human endeavour. For our own government, for all of it’s faults, it can be improved. We have the opportunity to improve it each and every day by participating. It’s not just civic duty, it’s civic opportunity. Many of us feel that opportunity doesn’t exist, and that is merely one of the things needing improvement.