“Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.”~~Lord Acton
Terrorists are a major topic of government concern in the U.S. today. In order to fight the terrorists, we are told, the government must watch everyone and everything they do. The government must be allowed to use torture to force information from our secret enemies. In order to protect our freedoms, our property, our way of life, the government must be allowed to deny us freedom, property, and our way of life.
These arguments have been used for, literally, thousands of years around the world. Governments have feared loss of power and internal enemies at least as much as they have feared the external threat. But they have used the external threat to justify actions that would be considered immoral, unacceptable, and even criminal in other times.
What does the nature of our money have to do with any of this? Isn’t that just how governments are? Is there any way to prevent government abuse other than eliminating government altogether?
Let’s examine the situation and see. First, governments are not some strange collective mind with a will of its own. Governments are composed of individuals, each of whom is trying to improve his own situation. In the context of a physical object money (POM), a money which is a physical object or which represents a physical object, governments must take money from their citizens (taxes) in order to pay those who do the work of government. Naturally, those in government want more money. They want the power that money can buy for them. Therefore the government will spend money to get more money. The government hires people to take money from the citizens. The government pays its police and soldiers to overcome any force the citizens may use to resist the collection of taxes.
Naturally, this tax collecting puts the government as an organization in opposition to the interests of the citizens who don’t want the government to take their money. The government must expect people to conspire to keep their money. Therefore, the government must watch the people closely to spot potential opposition to the government and crush it before it can grow.
But the collection of taxes by a government creates a rather large amount of money that can be spent by the government. Lots of people would like to have control of that money. Whoever the head of the government is, they must suspect everyone else of wanting their position. There is enough money involved that the head knows that people will do anything they can think of to get that money. They are willing to kill and torture and violate the law to become head of the government. Therefore the head must be afraid of everyone and trust no one. In that situation, the head must spy on everyone and have as complete knowledge as possible of everyone. The head must stop at nothing to find out about plots against him. Torture is not too extreme a measure to use to force information from plotters. Suspicion is sufficient to warrant punishment, torture, and death.
Meanwhile, the bureaucracy that actually operates the government is being paid to carry out these measures. People are being rewarded for doing terrible things to other citizens. They are afraid of losing their jobs. They are afraid of being suspected. If they don’t do these things someone else will and then they will get the money.
Contrast that situation with that of a Non-POM economy. In a Non-POM society, no one can get money without someone else benefiting. There are no taxes at all of any kind since money cannot be transferred from one person to another. Money in a Non-POM economy comes into existence when earned and ceases to exist when spent. A person with money cannot have it taken away. Therefore, the government does not have an adversarial relationship with its citizens. Persons who work in a government bureaucracy can only gain money by doing things which make life better for others. The head of the government controls no money at all and no one’s pay. If the head of a Non-POM government asked to have someone tortured or killed his order would be ignored or he would be checked for insanity. Not only would the bureaucracy not cooperate in any spying on the citizens or attempting to force confessions, it and everyone else would be paid to help prevent and/or stop such actions. So long as the Head of State made decisions that helped keep the citizens safe and happy, that leader would have power, respect, and the cooperation of almost everyone. No one could gain money by overthrowing the head of State because such an action would be seen as being harmful and therefore, any who cooperated with such an action would lose money they might otherwise have earned. In fact, everyone could earn money by resisting such a conspiracy. Because all citizens would be on the same side, terrorists actions would bring the people together and all citizens would cooperate in preventing such actions. They would be paid for that also, of course.
So POM provides the motivation for oppression and provides the means to carry out such actions. The motivation and means are always present in every POM nation so that whenever a head of State weakens, loses confidence, feels that others are opposing him, there is the risk that he will yield to the temptation to oppress. If it doesn’t happen with this head it will, perhaps happen with the next, even in supposed democracies. There is too much POM at stake to allow freedom to flourish.