The Unintended Consequences of Good Intentions, etc.
By Ron Ewart
War, as has been said so many times, is Hell. So many people die or are maimed for life, families are torn asunder, immeasurable property damage as well as ever-lasting hate between cultures that takes generations to heal. Is it not noble, a good intention, to want to find a way to bring an end to the madness?
So many in the world suffer from hunger, starvation, disease, pestilence, government abuse and civil unrest. As humans, we have a powerful urge to want to ease the pain of the sufferers. How could this good intention, be a bad thing?
A society of millions of souls becomes a complex system of competing interests and it is a formidable and thankless task of those charged with its management, to try and maintain order to what could become chaos and keep the competing factions happy. A worthy and good intention by any description.
Millions of illegal aliens stream across the porous border of a country, most in search of a better life. How can it be wrong that the humanitarians among us cry out for the salvation and emancipation of these homeless folks, by wanting government to grant them amnesty, or a path to citizenship? An obvious good intention.
From the perspective of some, man bears a striking resemblance to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the environmental destruction of our planet. Eco-systems die, wetlands eradicated, species go extinct and we dump our collective human waste into the oceans and upon the land. Is it not right, as a good intention, that the "some" want to have laws and regulations passed by government to try and limit their perception of the damage?
Disease and the infirmities of old age have plagued mankind since he walked out of the jungles many millennium ago. Many citizens devote their education and their entire lives to the eradication of diseases and the extension of our lives. Is this not one of the highest callings, to heal the sick and make growing old a little easier?
Let us examine how good intentions can produce drastic, unintended consequences.
Wanting to bring an end to the Hell of war is decidedly, a good intention. So we create an organization of member-nation states (the UN) to discuss the differences between us at the negotiating table and come to a compromise on the means to stop all wars. The member nations draft up and agree on plans and the means to reach this most laudable of all objectives, the cessation of all wars. One such plan was drafted by the United Nations and it was entitled Freedom From War. This three-phase plan was delineated in the United States Department of State Publication 7277, September 1961. Basically, the grandiose plan's design was to disarm all nations, destroy all weapons of mass destruction, create a superior United Nations peace-keeping force with citizens from all nations, eliminate all nations defense or offensive forces and the means to wage war, (except those forces necessary for internal order) and to disarm the citizens of every member nation state. A tall order by any definition.
Fortunately, at least for the United States and the rest of the free nations of this world, this plan has so far, failed miserably. Had it succeeded, history has proved that the unintended consequences would have been enormous and would have left all other nations highly vulnerable to any "state" that decided to ignore the plan to end all wars and take advantage of those nations who naively threw their sovereignty to the winds on good intentions. Some might remember the treaty of Versailles (June 1918) that finally brought an end to World War I. The treaty was supposed to prevent Germany from re-arming. Hitler thumbed his nose at the treaty and re-armed anyway. The rest is abysmal history. We are definitely not ready for this "good intention".
In and out of any country, hunger, starvation, disease, pestilence and persecution by abusive governments are pervasive. It is most pervasive in third-world countries. In a torturous path to successive good intentions and the exploitation of our collective guilty consciences for the sufferers, our government convinces us that we are responsible, and by law takes from those of us that produce (our sweat equity and the product of our labors) and gives it to those who produce nothing, because it is the humane thing to do. They do so in spite of any governing authority. In the process of foreign aid, dictators are rewarded with huge caches of our hard-earned fortunes, misdirected to their own ends, with little or none being distributed to those in need. Current example, Burma, the governing junta and the devastating results of the cyclone that inflicted a huge loss of life and endless suffering.
In addition, government convinces us that it is OK to let the unwashed hordes of other countries to sweep into our country by the millions and it is our responsibility to care for these folks who trample on our laws and our generosity. Government tells us that it is our duty to grant them outright amnesty or a path to citizenship. The unintended consequences of government's good intentions (or hidden agenda) are lavished upon those who play by the rules, in the form of exponentially rising taxes, crowded out of necessary government services, crime and disease, lost jobs and an uneducated group of incoming socialists who eventually get to vote for other socialists to keep their benefits coming.
But then comes how to manage a country of 300,000,000 people that are governed by the rule of law. At best, a complex task. In order to maintain reasonable control, the "managers" (government) try to balance all the competing interests, agendas and biases and come up with a system of laws to accomplish this purpose. In their headlong rush of good intentions to be fair to everybody, they create a system of laws so complex, overlapping and conflicting, that it only exacerbates the competing interests, agendas and biases of the citizens. The unintended consequences are a citizenry that squabbles amongst themselves, scrambles to change laws for their benefit and all the while they have their outstretched hands to the government for whatever they can get. Not a pretty picture of self rule, is it?
But what about the supposed damage done to the environment by reckless and self-absorbed humans? What comes from this egregious myth is the birth of a religion, or cult. A cult steeped in mindless emotion and guilt that uses that emotion and guilt of others to propagandize a solution. Phase one of the solution is to convince the people that they are guilty of the damage and without equivocation, they are obligated to the costs and sacrifices of phase two, relinquishing all constitutional rights to property. The irrational rationale is that only large governments and non-governmental organizations are wise enough to properly manage all the land and oceans of the Earth, for the benefit of the environment and mankind. The unintended consequences in a free society are self-evident, the loss of freedom and the depletion of our wallets.
Finally, government, in spite of its good intentions, can come to fear 300,000,000 people, as it only takes a small fraction of that 300,000,000 to upset the applecart. So government makes plans on how to handle that unruly fraction in order to prevent a disabling uprising. In America, there are two such ways that government can draft these plans with the force of law. The first is by passage of a law or laws by Congress. The second is by presidential executive order. On February 16, 1962, President John F. Kennedy passed ten (10) executive orders to deal with just such an uprising, under the constitutional power of the president to declare a national emergency.
No. 10995 - Authorized the appropriate federal agency to seize and operate all communications media in an "emergency".
No. 10997 - Provided for the federal seizure of all electric power, oil and gas, fuels, and minerals.
No. 10998 - Authorized the seizure of all food resources and farms, including all farm equipment.
No. 10999 - Authorized the seizure of the means of transportation, and federal control of highways and seaports.
No. 11000 - Provided for the mobilization of all civilians into a federal work force.
No. 11001 - Provided for the federal takeover of all health, education, and welfare activities.
No. 11002 - Authorized the Postmaster General to conduct a national registration of all persons.
No. 11003 - Authorized the federal government to seize all airports and aircraft.
No. 11004 - Authorized a Housing and Home Finance Agency to re-locate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned as unsafe, and establish new locations for populations.
No. 11005 - Allowed the government to seize and operate all railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.
Could this be government paranoia? How many of you knew that these executive orders even existed, are listed in the Federal Register and have the force of law? How many of you doubt that government will use these laws in just such an emergency? How many of you know that there are other plans to implement the use of the U. S. Military on our own soil, in direct violation of Posse Comitatusstatutes (18 USC Para. 1385)? If this potential to assume ABSOLUTE power by the United States government doesn't scare you, it is quite possible that your head is firmly mired in the sand. These executive orders and other plans hardly represent the preservation, protection and defense of the U. S. Constitution. They hardly are what the Founding Fathers had in mind for a Constitutional Republic. They are in fact, the last nail in the coffin of the U. S. Constitution.
In the final analysis, extending usurpation of greater power by government beyond constitutional limits and the legislation and law creation for good intentions to its absurdity, one arrives at a point where there are so many laws that no one is in compliance and we end up losing our ability to enforce any of them, not to mention the loss of our freedom and liberty. In such event, the potential for a police state rises exponentially. Some of the wiser ones think we are already there.
Thus, the only answer is not in complexity, but in simplicity and fewer laws. Ultimately, if we continue on the path we tread, we will become as a rogue spider, spinning a web from which we shall be forever entwined, or is it enslaved? Could that be our final destination? Are we to choke on our own obsessive/compulsive drive to complexity, in the pursuit of absolute power and good intentions?
The ultimate unintended consequences of unfounded good intentions are the slowly increasing power of government and the loss of individual freedom. The solution is to return to the foundation of all of our laws that made us the most powerful, creative, ingenuous and generous nation on Earth. A return to the Constitution that laid out a blue print to govern our individual and collective affairs and maintain and defend our God-given freedoms under a Constitutional Republic. To do otherwise is sovereign, political and individual suicide. Without interdiction, WE THE PEOPLE get closer by the day.
Copyright May 18, 2008 - All Rights Reserved
~ The Author ~
Ron Ewart is the President of The National Association of Rural Landowners and may reached for comment via email at email@example.com.
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