John Steward of Jesus
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Governors and governees

Decembeer 2, 1980

It is becoming clearer to me that the fundamental tension of our time is not that of producer vs. consumer, but rather the tension of the governors vs. the governees.

The producer-consumer tension is only one of the natural tensions which is used by those who would govern as yet another excuse for increasing the powers of government.  All men are in alternate situations producers and consumers. Free commerce will best meet both needs and maximize the benefits to men. But, as interest groups develop among consumers and producers, politicians promise, if elected, to use their powers to give special favors to one group or another. Parties develop platforms which may favor producers or consumers. Whoever receives the favors, the result is that the powers of government grow. This becomes the excuse for yet more government power to institute equality of favors. Favors to consumers lead to demands for favors to producers. This process leads to a system which is less responsive, where the creative tension is replaced a with government regulation, and where the total productive output declines.

Meanwhile, the entire debate is focused on opposing interest groups rather than on the increasing power of government. We are given the choice of favoring consumers and welfare (Democrats), or producers and warfare (Republicans). The merits of one verses the other are vigorously debated. Voters become frustrated and disillusioned because neither party seems to improve the voter’s life situation. Many give up on the political process. Seldom is the possibility of reversing the growth of government presented as a real alternative.  Rhetoric which, in the last campaign, proposed less government, may prove to be empty rhetoric as the government is cranked up to stimulate production and enlarge the war machine.