“You’re Gonna Have To Serve Somebody”
“You may call me Bobby, you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say.
“You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
– Bob Dylan
To paraphrase Thomas Payne, the best that can said about government is that it is a necessary evil. Where a society is established and develops based on a common desire to advance, government is the instrument of restraint. What society evolves; government erodes.
What society creates – government corrupts.
The great talent of government is its ability to divide the people of a society for no government can stand against a people united against it. This is proven repeatedly as corrupt democratic governments are thrown from office and tyrants and kings are torn down by revolution and rebellion once a people are united against them.
No government can survive without the support or the apathy of a majority of the governed. Either work equally well for those lusting after power.
A Hitler could never have happened without the compliance of a majority of the German people; the failing democratically elected governments of the West could not exist without the partisan support or the indifference of a majority within the societies they undermine.
In both cases, they either lie to themselves or ignore the truth about their government until it becomes so corrupted it can no longer be ignored at which point, people become united and the government is overthrown by election or revolution.
Power is not merely corrupting; it is intoxicating – an aphrodisiac for most who have been exposed to it. Eventually power becomes the goal in and of itself; whatever benefit to society a leader might originally have thought his or her obtaining power would provide is quickly lost in the delusion of self-importance.
Like a drug, power becomes the addiction to which most political leaders become enslaved.
Like most addicts, morality and principle are quickly eroded. Truth, decency, even common sense are discarded if and when they stand in the way of feeding the addiction. Nothing comes before the need – not even the promises they made to themselves when they first came to power.
But if government leaders are addicts many among us are enablers.
It is we who make it possible for them to feed their need. We create the privileged, the powerful and those who shear us like sheep by choosing which shepherd is better when the truth is that all shepherds are the same.
Just today again, I saw one group of conservative supporters defending the actions of the current government with declarations that the former Liberal governments had behaved the same way.
There is no real difference once a political party is in power. We enable the continuing decline of our democracy and its institutions with rationalizations of one party’s misdeeds over another when both have actually violated the principles we thought we held.
We sustain the illusion with compromises to our values in the name of economic progress, national security and countless other issues designed by government to divide us. Like Oliver Twist, we stand at the foot of government’s table, bowl in hand to ask, “Please sir, can I have some more?’ and then support and worship those who feed us with entitlements bought with our own money.
And we are cheaply bought.
The current increase in the Tax-Free Savings Account contribution, heralded by the current government as tax relief for all Canadian families, actually returns only approximately $30 in reduced taxes on the new maximum contribution for an individual earning $60,000 or less. And yet, supporters of the government rally behind this initiative as if it was the second coming of The Christ. Opponents to the TFSA rally behind an equally as absurd hand out by the other political parties.
We have allowed ourselves to be reduced to little more than serfs in a feudal society ruled – not governed – by a corporate and government elite. We are manipulated, deliberately misinformed and the very workings of our own governments which were elected to serve us, are hidden from us.
We have become so bereft of common sense that even as we decry the invasion of privacy of the long-form census which the government cancelled, we support Bill C-51 which increases far more egregious surveillance on all citizens and provides freer invasion of our privacy by government.
In our rush to support one political leader over another, we condemn our own constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are like the German people who were so eager to regain their self-respect and economic prosperity that they turned a blind eye to the continual attacks on their democracy by Nazi Party and rationalized every erosion of their rights and freedoms.
If history has taught us anything, it is that corrupt leadership can be sustained for only so long before the veil is lifted from the eyes of the people and they rebel. It is a lesson we haven’t fully accepted yet in Canada. We are still too busy choosing sides rather than defending our society. As a result, we live in an era of corrupt and failed leadership which has no vision and merely bounces from issue to issue strategically in its quest to maintain or obtain power.
Democracy is not a game. It is how we, the people, have chosen to govern ourselves. There will always be those among us who attempt to turn it into a game for their own advantage. It is our choice as to whether or not we play.
If we choose to play, we lose for it is their game and all of the odds are stacked in their favour. It is only when we unite as ‘the people’ and demand better that we have any chance of winning.
It falls to us to make that choice. We can either continue to serve government and the ambitions of politicians or we can force government to serve us.
Choose wisely. Your choice will dictate who and what you’re going to serve.
© 2015 Maggie’s Bear
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