The Trib is supposedly the conservative “opposite” of the other major (if you can even call them that anymore), liberal, government spewing paper, Pittsburgh the Post-Gazette. The Trib, we are led to believe, is a champion of individual rights, a proponent of “limited government” (which is NOT a solution to our problems), and a strong advocate of the ever elusive “government transparency.” The Trib actually does a pretty good job of fooling the public that this is what they are about when a Democrat is in the White House.
In this article we examine the claim that increased government transparency benefits citizens and taxpayers at large.
The Trib lays out the issue:
Sadly, though, the township’s stance shows that some government officials persist in absurdly believing that the public has no business knowing the public’s business.
Only when that arrogant, government-knows-best mindset is replaced by one with proper regard for the public’s right to know will Pennsylvania truly approach the level of government transparency its citizens and taxpayers deserve.
This is the undisputed conventional wisdom among the chattering classes, taxpayers, and even ambitious politicians who really want to win their popularity contest so they can run your lives and live their own funded by your hard work. This conventional wisdom is that more government transparency is a good and righteous thing. After all, it’s our money and we deserve to know what it’s spent on, right? Makes sense.
Well, actually, I’m here to tell you that no, it doesn’t make sense.
The Trib completely misses the most important fact: the fact that all governments are already quite transparent. I argue here that when it comes to the issues that actually matter, all governments are actually 100% transparent.
As usual, the Trib misses the point entirely. Governments are all the same. This includes all levels: Federal, state, and local. They are all based on one thing and share a common thread: a foundation of theft. This is often called “taxation” or (a personal favorite of mine) “revenue.” Yes, revenue.
(The word “revenue” normally implies voluntary action. You hear it a lot during public company conference calls. It is usually associated with private businesses who earn sales through quality products and services. The fact that the government has co-opted this word is disgraceful. The only proper and accurate word to describe government funding is theft. Using “revenue” is dishonest and misleading. No one chooses to fund government.)
Asking for increased government transparency is sort of like asking for increased Mafia transparency. It misses the entire point and ignores that all the important government details are already very transparent for all to see.
If the mob releases a monthly income and expense report, it doesn’t change the fact that much of their income is derived from theft, violence, threats, and corrupt dealings. We already have all the transparency we need. Knowing details such as “the Mafia had net income of $500,000 last month” or that they operated in a bar on 9th street during the week and on 10th street on the weekends doesn’t really change anything. A list of customers or Mafia names involved doesn’t change anything either. Organized theft is still theft. Organized violence is still violence. In fact, the more systemic and organized theft and violence, the worse. Widespread, traditional. organized theft via taxes is the worst of all.
Any other details are irrelevant.
Actually, my comparison isn’t totally fair to the Mafia. The Mafia sometimes does engage in perfectly legitimate business activities such as extending loans or accepting wagers. These voluntary activities set them apart from government, which always and everywhere relies on theft to fund itself. You also have a much better chance at avoiding the Mafia than the government, which extracts money at every turn. Of course, libertarians do not defend Mafia staples such as violent threats and theft. But at least some of their activities are voluntary, and most people are perfectly capable of avoiding interacting with the Mafia altogether.
Ask yourself the questions the Trib (and certainly the PG also) will never address: what would we really gain if the PA state government was totally transparent, down to the last detail and the last penny? Even open it up to politicians’ personal lives. What good would it do if we knew exactly where every cent went? Would that somehow change the fact that it is all stolen loot? Would that make state government “more efficient?”
How is that even a noble goal anyway? Pushing for a more efficient government is like saying we should push for “more efficient” muggers or burglars or con artists. It is despicable, and the Trib fails daily by not pointing this out and by glossing over the important issues in favor of some pie in the sky idea that “the public” would benefit if only we knew where all our hard earned, stolen money went. Once the money is gone, rights have been violated. The end destination of stolen money can NEVER justify the original theft. And that’s the real story the Trib is too scared and too knee deep in promotion of government to publish.
Do you know how to ensure people know where “their” money goes, 100% of the time? (again, once the government steals it, it is no longer yours)
It is actually quite simple. We simply relieve everyone of the burden of taxation. That’s right, increased transparency is just another happy side effect of eliminating government from our lives forever. The Trib won’t tell you that, neither will the PG or the City Paper or any mainstream outlet because they all still hold fast to the idea that “we the people” agree to have our money stolen at gunpoint. What a joke. I’m here to tell you that I do not agree or consent, and many others don’t either. But what choice do we really have? Stop paying and risk certain time in a (taxpayer funded) cage, or instant death if we resist? The entire system is still corrupt from the ground up. No rational argument can ever change that.
“Transparency” in a system based entirely on theft, lies, threats, and violence is not only an unrealistic goal but also the wrong one. It is time for us to demand our rightful access to the full 100% of our earnings. In the end, the need for government transparency would disappear, replaced by privacy and personal responsibility. That’s a system that really benefits citizens of PA.