The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero – Rome 63 B.C.
This chapter shows us how little has changed in the underlying operation of the state since its first beginnings some four and a half thousand years ago. Whether the rules are written by divine pharaohs, dictators or presidents, by priests or elected parliaments, the resultant state tells us what to do, taxes us as much as it can and threatens to damage us if we do not comply with its demands and regulations. It’s fundamental raison d’etre is to protect us from other versions of itself.
It now seems apparent that any new version of this ruling apparatus will, at best, be less costly and corrupt than the preceding one – a meagre hope seldom satisfied. It does not seem to ultimately matter what sort of people run the state or how they got to power. All is subservient to their primary goal of remaining in power.
The most positive thing we can do is to recognize that the state will neither be able to bomb, nor even negotiate us into world peace. Neither can it legislate and tax us into harmony with our environment. Until we free our heads from such expectations the route to viable forms of peaceful self-government will be difficult. We have the technology, the will and the need.