Comforting Lies #5 &#6 – Government is here to help

Article by Bob Podolsky republished by permission on Jan. 6, 2016
Originally published at


Government leaders are honest, wise, and caring.

Government generally acts in the best interests of the public.

The evidence that refutes the validity of these myths is so vast that it is amazing that anyone still believes them. Most of us have met reptiles more honest, wise, and caring than the political leaders we know. Yet millions of people are still comforted by this lie, so we need to address it here.

Oscar Ameringer said many years ago, “Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other”. Another commentator, economist Frederick Bastiat, explained that government is the mechanism by which everyone tries to spend everyone else’s money. Let’s begin our analysis of these and similar assertions by examining some obvious facts.

a) It is an unending source of humor in this country to point out in various ways that politicians almost never keep the promises that they make to the public when they campaign for election to public office. Mark Twain was famous for such humor, as were Joe E. Brown and Groucho Marx. Night-time talk show hosts on television often joke about this widely recognized fact. Yet the lying politicians are never held accountable for their lies. They spend billions of dollars on surveys and polls to find out what the public wants to hear. Then they tell us the comforting lies that we want to hear in order to receive our votes.

They know that they are lying and have no intention of keeping their promises to the public, but there are no penalties for engaging in this practice; so they continue undaunted and unscathed.

b) For generations our government leaders have claimed that they possess the uncommon wisdom necessary to solve the serious problems that our society faces. In their (seeming) attempts to do so they have passed thousands of laws and promulgated scores of thousands of regulations. In attempting to enforce these laws and regulations they have spent trillions of taxpayers’ dollars.

What is more, in passing their laws and attempting to enforce them they have violated almost every provision of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Worse still, they have violated, and continue to violate, every one of the ten Ethical Principles. Yet, in the final analysis, government has failed to solve even one societal problem. They don’t even claim to have succeeded. Not one politician has gone on record to say, “Look! This problem is finally solved.”

In fact the major problems have escalated dramatically over recent decades. War, violence, terrorism, poverty, hunger, drug addiction, street crime, corporate corruption – you name it – all have gotten worse and worse as the years have passed. Today the likelihood that humanity will annihilate itself with weapons of mass destruction is greater than it has ever been in the past. It isn’t even controversial to state that government has utterly failed to solve any major societal problem. The only controversy to discuss is, “Why has government failed to attain any of its stated objectives to help the people by solving our problems?”

There are several equally applicable answers to this question.




Government leaders are neither honest, wise, nor caring.

a) Government actions consistently employ unethical means in their efforts to solve problems for the public. The most obvious example is the use of taxation to raise money to succor the poor (albeit the rich are succored in this way more than the poor). The end result of this practice is that almost without exception the outcome is the opposite of that which was supposedly intended…and the public suffers more instead of less. And the final, and most important answer to the question is:

b) Helping people by solving societal problems has never been the true objective of government.

To explain this statement we must consider the fact that government as we know it today was invented in the country of Sumer (now southern Iraq) some eight thousand years ago. That government was an outgrowth of tribal society and primitive kingdoms that had previously existed in the region. At that time government was comprised of those individuals who had amassed enough wealth to buy weaponry and to pay and/or coerce strong young men to wield them.

Up until that time these individuals engaged in costly, and often bloody, competition with one another. This state of almost constant warfare sapped their resources and threatened the security of both their assets and their power to rule their individual domains. In this “might makes right” environment they were also frequently attacked by lesser members among their ranks who envied their wealth and power and sought to take over rulership for their own benefit.

To alleviate this problem, the leaders of these disparate and competing groups decided to form a shared monopoly of their power over their constituent subjects. To accomplish this (unethical) end they invented the hierarchic mechanism that we call “government”. The method was simple. All power over others was vested in the leaders who acted as power brokers by delegating authority to their more-favored subjects in return for their cooperation and help in keeping lesser subjects under control and collecting material resources (taxes) from those who had still less power in this hierarchic scheme.

Government is a Power Brokerage Cartel

Such a shared monopoly, whether it be a monopoly of political power, money, oil, electricity, or any other industry, is called a cartel in modern times. So what are the true objectives of a cartel? There are only two:

a) To maximize the profits and power of the members of the cartel, and

b) To stabilize and enhance the position of the cartel’s members in the marketplace that they monopolize.

With these objectives in mind, let’s now ask the question, “Has government succeeded or failed to meet its (true) objectives?” Has government maximized the profits of its members? And the answer is, “Yes. It certainly has done so”. In the United States at the beginning of the 21st century AD,  fully one half of the wealth generated by the taxpaying public is turned over to the government to spend as it sees fit. In some other countries, more “socialized” countries, this figure runs as high as 75% or even more. When taxation was first instituted in this country it only usurped about 1% of the nation’s wealth. So we see that government has been very successful in steadily increasing its profits at the expense of the public.

Has government been successful in stabilizing and enhancing its members’ positions in the power-brokerage business? Again the answer is “Yes. Indeed it has.” Today all countries are run by power-brokering governments that operate on similar principles in order to achieve similar goals. So the trend that began in Sumer eight thousand years ago continues today.

The European Union, is an attempt to join the government cartels of Europe into a super-cartel with the power of all its individual government cartels flowing into the hands of a much smaller group of govern-ment leaders.

The United Nations is a similar effort on the part of a much larger group of governments to create a cartel that could eventually take control of the entire world. If permitted to succeed, the UN will eventually constitute an empire whose rulers control the day-to-day lives of every man, woman, and child on the planet. You may ask, “Could such a thing actually happen?” And the answer is, “Yes. It is already happening.” UN plans exist for a world military organization, a world bank, a world court, a world charity, and so forth. Portions of these organizations are already up and running today.

So the upshot of this awareness is that, while government has failed to meet its publicly stated objectives, it has, in fact, been very successful in achieving its true objectives of maximizing its profits and stabilizing its members” positions in the power-brokerage market. This observation and those preceding prove conclusively the falsehood of the fifth and sixth “Comforting Lies”.