It’s not enough to just talk about it or make names for it. The real problem is a fundamental one of philosophy and not recognizing the basics of human nature. What is self-government? Then, how do you fund it, this something that nobody really understands? For me, it’s about the difference between a republic and a democracy. It’s about breaking the Vico Cycle. In a republic, our politicians are our representatives, extensions of ourselves that buy us time to do other productive things in the world. At the same time, they manage the affairs of our country, states, and counties. We do need government, but what does that mean for people. Some, especially those who aren’t so bright and are timid about spiders and other bugs, don’t want the responsibility of self-government. They’d rather have a “leader” running things so they can complain about the results, one way or another. For self-government to work, all individuals must be empowered to understand how to maintain a republic as opposed to democracy and to spend their lives productively, not worshipping others in the process because they fear personal responsibility. So the key to everything past and future, including the present, is to define responsible living and how that translates into responsible government. You can’t expect politicians to behave if the people who put them in decision-making positions truly represent the people who voted for them. If you want a good government, you first need to be a good person.
These are the thoughts I had while watching a local school board meeting. I don’t mean to pick on Brad Lovell, whom I have covered in other articles about the politics of changing our school board from a liberal body of government to a more conservative one. He’s a local guy; every school district has its own version of him. There are many people like Brad Lovell in government at all levels most of the time. They are little power-hungry attention seekers and are easily corruptible. Electing people like that and turning them loose, thinking they are leaders, is one of the most dangerous things society could do to itself. To be mad at Brad for being what he is isn’t really fair. We elected him at some point in time because we were suckered as a society into what he said he would do, which was bring big government to our community by wasting endless amounts of money in the process. When I heard Brad talk this past week, it was just as dumb as what we hear from our own congress over budget considerations revolving around Build Back Better. This article is not the one to talk about the communist intentions of Build Back Better. It’s about how weak people spend money and are lazy and too unmotivated to manage money given to them as taxpayers properly. They essentially don’t understand their roles as politicians, and the people who voted for them don’t either. Even Tucker Carlson gets it wrong all the time. We do not elect our “leaders,” we elect our “representatives.” No politician is a god to be worshipped. None of them can be elected and turned loose to do all the hard work while we sit around watching reality television.
Based on my experience in life, especially in a corporate setting, I would say that half the money we spend on taxes at the federal, state, and local level could be cut in half right now. If we use the same methods used to approve basic overtime in a corporation, we could reduce the tax burden by at least half by asking our political class basic questions. Now, where I live, and this is not by accident. People call me the Tax Killer for a reason. I would say that I’m a pretty nice guy. My family loves me. I think people respect me tremendously. But when I walk into a room, I would not say that people like it. Everywhere I go, I am called the “tax killer,” which is a nickname that people who don’t like what I do have persisted to call me because I do question our taxes, especially at the local level. I think everyone should do what I do; it is the primary responsibility of self-government to elect representatives and ask those reps to be responsible in the same way I would. When I get mad at Brad Lovell, the local school board tax and spend liberal, it’s not that I don’t like the guy as a person. I’m sure his wife loves him and his kids, and that’s fine. People care about him out in the world, but we are talking about management here, and being liked is not a value; it’s a lazy retreat and a shift of responsibility for those afraid of it. I would say that I am known as the tax killer locally because I ask questions the same way I would in a business. I don’t get invited to many Christmas parties because the goal is to get drunk and act like idiots, and I am also known as a buzz kill. Sometimes you have to pick being liked to being right, and to my mind, being right is all that matters. If many managers brought me the overtime needs for over 100 employees who needed to work 10 hour days and 8 hours on a Saturday, I would challenge them. I would ask them why they weren’t getting the production they needed in an 8-hour day. Are you short headcount? I would then ask why Saturday was necessary because it’s a lot more expensive to operate on a weekend than during the week. Now everyone who knows me understands that productivity always trumps comfort. I expect people to do whatever they must do in life to be productive, even crawling through broken glass naked. I ask people to do what I would do in life, and it’s my job to set the parameters to define success. Most of the time, those managers retreat from their overtime requests and figure out how to get the work done without overtime. Why? Because the overtime requests were lazy and driven by chaos, not logic.
I could write books and books and books on this topic of self-management and the values of a republic, and over time, I just may do that. But for now, understand that the areas I live in, the school district, the townships, and my county all are operating at a surplus, meaning they take in more money than they spend because the money they spend is challenged. Just think of what a nice world it would be if people everywhere challenged their politicians in such a similar way. The goal is not to elect a leader then go to sleep playing video games. It’s also not to be liked. “Oh, here comes that person who will ask us all kinds of uncomfortable questions.” But once we manage to understand our role in a republic and not a democracy, we can begin to improve lots of things for the better. I don’t think it’s difficult at all, but people go wrong in the world when they’d rather be liked than to be respected. And in that basic function, so many evils in the world are conducted. What needs to happen often doesn’t because people, including voters, would rather be loved than to be right. It doesn’t matter if we have term limits or an R next to a name or a D. If we elected idiots to office, then stop asking them to represent us, allowing them just to lead us, no wonder costs run out of control, and a government develops a bottomless pit attitude about taxation and its worth to society. The way to fix it isn’t to complain; it’s to demand answers for the spending, then to watch them flail when they can’t explain it, and in that way, the conditions of our republic improve dramatically, and for a fraction of the cost.