2 The Emperor Has No Clothes

“We shall get nowhere until we start by recognising that political behaviour is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.”

– George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

We all know the tale of the little child who had the innocence to speak out what everybody else could see, but not perceive. We can all see that government by force does not work any more than does beating your child into good behaviour. But few are willing to question it and consider whether we might survive without it – whether we could self-organize into a stable and free system, as does all else in the universe. Many great thinkers, from Thomas Jefferson to journalist Andrew Alexander have made the point that there is no such thing as good government, and that the best we can hope for is less of it.

We use the term “for political reasons” to describe something being done for reasons that are somehow not honourable. And yet we all go about our lives as though as though the emperor had his clothes on, as though government was working. We continue to hope that with the right tweaks and twists to the knobs and levers of power, the politicians will eventually get it right. Most of the problems which we expect governments to sort out are, sadly, problems caused by governments, whether that be orphans or terrorists, refugees or the unemployed, bulging jails or even mad cows…as we shall see.