The root of all evil (Why we should never trust big government)

Date Published: 
January 5, 2018

This is not a religious essay. It is a treatise on ethics and, to some extent, morals. It is also a statement of facts showing how misinterpretations and misdirections — many inadvertent but most deliberate — can cause destruction in today’s society: destruction of personal values; destruction of family structure and destruction of societal ethos.

The saying “Money is the root of all evil” is the most often misinterpreted quote I know of.

The correct version is cited in the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” It means what it says. Through the years, and more so, in today’s society of highly divisive and intensive feelings, it has been and continues to be misinterpreted as meaning that money itself is evil, therefore, those who have money must be evil. It makes an easy target for those who wish to deflect attention from their own evil actions.

Wealth is power!

It is a fact that the disparity in distribution of wealth between the rich and poor is growing — not just in the United States, but worldwide. It is also a fact — history proves it — that, worldwide, the most socialistic economies are the ones with the most unequal distribution of wealth, (read power). So neither capitalism nor socialism, in and of themselves, is the culprit.

In countries that embrace capitalism, the rich have the money — ergo, they have the power and resources and control the politics. They do that through the use of lobbyists and direct contributions to office-holders. They want the “ins” to stay in office because they control them like puppets.

In countries that embrace socialism, the “wealth” is political power, since politics controls everything in socialist countries. The top politicians are wealthy, but it isn’t talked about because they also control much, if not all, the media. They also control the allocation of government contracts and are the beneficiaries of gifts from lobbyists and companies that aren’t directly owned/controlled by the state. They are the “ins” and ensure they stay in power by ruling with an iron hand wrapped in a faux velvet glove.

In both instances, the winners are the ones in power and the losers are the middle class and working class.

Understanding economics can be intimidating. There are as many theories as there are economists. What is true, however, is that federal government, whether ours or another nation’s, is becoming the biggest influence on economics.

The larger and more complicated the government gets, the more rules it creates, hindering business and society. The more rules it creates, the more it plays into the hands of the rich, because they have the wherewithal to hire lawyers and lobbyists. Those rich, because they can, take advantage of the opportunity offered to them.

Most rich people today are opportunists, i.e., when an opportunity opens to them, they take advantage of it. That may come in the shape of a tax deduction, a loophole in business laws or gullibility of consumers. It may be the ability to hire lobbyists to convince (read bribe) elected federal officials into doing things or creating laws that will enhance their business interests but not necessarily those of the nation.

When money leads us — and the U.S. is a materialistic society — then we are controlled by whoever controls the money. Greed, rather than need, dominates.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” a phrase most often attributed to Plato, means that the primary driving force for an invention is an unsatisfied need. When Big Government creates an unclimbable wall of rules and regulations, businesses, large and small, search for a way to climb the wall. They have a need! Unfortunately, the “invention” to resolve the need has been lobbyists.

For the sake of this discussion, I will limit my remarks to the federal government. Each state is unique, and to lump them all together would be unfair (a highly overused word today), but more important would not be accurate.

Our country, the United States of America, is run by bureaucrats. The vast majority of these bureaucrats are ordinary people, going about their business, following the rules someone else made.

However, much of the “management” of those bureaucrats, the upper-level supervision, some political appointees, others, political but not appointed, are not ordinary people. They are opinionated, divisive, petty bullies, driven by their own, often pecuniary, agendas. As a class, they care only about their self-perpetuation in their positions and the advancement of their personal agendas.

Rule-making agencies — the EPA, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Housing & Urban Development, Department of Commerce, et al., have gone far beyond the original, useful, purpose for their being. They now exist solely to create as many rules as possible to ensure they will continue to have jobs enforcing said rules. They are “The Deep State,” and even the elected officials can’t rein them in — although, to date, few have tried to.

The people whose job is to keep an eye on these bureaucrats are our elected officials, Congress and the Senate. This is the classic example of the fox guarding the chicken coop. Let me give you a good hypothetical example of how Washington thinks.

A congressman and a senator from Vermont (Democrats) and from Utah (Republicans) sit down and discuss why they are two of only four states that do not allow gambling. The other two states are Tennessee (mostly republicans) and Hawaii (all Democrats).

“Perhaps we should discuss this with our colleagues” Vermont proposes.

“Good idea,” Utah agrees. “Let’s plan a fact-finding trip to Tennessee.”

“Oh, no,” interjects Vermont, “it’s winter. Let’s make it Hawaii.”

“Great,” answers Utah.

The fact the representatives of both Tennessee and Hawaii are sitting in the same chamber with them or can be easily reached with a phone call for those too lazy to walk the length of the corridor to their counterpart’s office is ignored. It is ignored because everyone in Washington is inflicted with the same “We are special!” disease. They not only don’t care about “We the people,” they barely recognize our very existence.

Remember that government, any government, has never created wealth. It takes what someone has created and disperses it — always in an inefficient and usually corrupt manner — to others. The single greatest mistake the average citizen can make is to assume that the “Government” is the cure for their problems. We are now at the stage where the “Government” is the cause of most of our problems.

Money is not the root of all evil. Money is a tool used by those prone to evil. Political egos run amok, insatiable desire for power, lack of morals — those are the roots of evil. When a plant is rotten, you don’t want it to spread the disease to others in the field. What do you do? You uproot the plant.

Let’s uproot the diseased plant. Now is the time to impose term limits! Now is the time to eliminate pensions for all elected federal officials! Now is the time to insist that elected federal officials have the same health coverage that the average citizen gets and nothing more.

If you want to clean up Washington, eliminate the things that entice ne’er-do-wells to run for office.

Now! Not tomorrow. Not later on. Now!