Governments: Five Laws of Decline
Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 15, 2013
I am still diligently working on my next book on State, Society, and Justice. Boy, what a project I have undertaken here. I am, at the same time, have the blast and pulling my hair out. There are so many subtle nuances that must be cleared up to keep the main thing the main thing. At any rate, this is what LIFE Leadership is about – learning, growing, and helping to create positive change. Here is a segment on government and the Five Laws of Decline.
Throughout recorded history, human beings have been shown to be capable of remarkable acts of honor and correspondingly astonishing acts of dishonor. Indeed, if a Biblical scholar were to describe this historical fact from a Judeo/Christian worldview, he would say – although mankind is made in the image of God, his rebellion led to his alienation from God and his self-centered will is capable of spectacular deeds of both good and evil. For on one hand, when people work cooperatively together in justice, the SDS thrive in a growing society. However, when mankind seeks to exploit his fellow man for his own gain, the magnitude of injustice man is incapable of of being quantified. For the history of genocides, mass murders, and total war boggles the mind. In effect, the Five Laws of Decline (FLD) describes, in a systematic fashion, mankind’s exploitive nature which results in his ongoing inhumanity to his fellow man. Dismally, the historical record is loaded with egregious examples of man reaping where he didn’t sow, exploiting the production of others rather than producing wealth for himself. Ironically, when the SDS are thriving under justice that the risk of exploitation and injustice is the greatest. For the increased wealth becomes an irresistible temptation for the exploitive potential within mankind. In other words, the more wealth a society produces by just “economic means”, the more creative the exploiters will become in seeking to plunder it by “political means”. Accordingly, wealthy societies must forever be vigilant to identify where the FLD is seeking to siphon off its wealth. For the FLD is a systematic method for describing how man’s fallen, exploitive, and anti-social behavior seeks to gain plunder at society’s expense. The Five Laws of Decline were first introduced in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE to describe how organizations decline. These concepts were then further expanded into the political field with the release of LeaderShift, co-authored with Oliver DeMille.
In general, when the FLD are not checked, society is split into two groups – those who produce wealth and those who plunder it. James Madison described man’s nature appropriately when he wrote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Men, however, are not angels; therefore, most men, when they recognize opportunities for plunder without punishment, will move in this direction. The purpose of just governments, in essence, is to check mankind’s exploitive nature to ensure justice for all. For then society’s members will choose cooperation “economic means” to create wealth since exploitation “political means” is not viable. For just as a pickpocket avoids practicing his craft in the vicinity of police officers, so too do exploiters steer clear of plunder if the government punishes it properly. However, it’s vital to remember that society’s protector (government) consist of men and women who also have good and evil within them; thus, if society isn’t diligent, plunderers will seek to redirect the government’s “monopoly of force” away from protecting against injustice into initiating injustice at the exploiters command. In fact, much of third-world poverty is a disgraceful record of government force being used as a tool of injustice rather than justice. Although Western Society governments are, of course, less overt when practicing injustice than their third-world counterparts, the same principle still holds true. All governments, in short, must be watched to ensure exploiters do not gain control of government and set up systems of exploitation. Thus, using the “monopoly of force” for unjust ends.
Indeed, the real challenge to taming the FLD within society is that any government with sufficient power to protect, is, by definition, also powerful enough to exploit. For when government receives the “monopoly of force” to restrain injustice, what is to ensure this force is not used unjustly by the rulers themselves? Regardless of governmental form society chooses, the underlying systemic issues of FLD must be specifically addressed, for the FLD is inherent within the human heart. Hence, since governmental leaders are human in every form of government, the FLD question must be addressed and answered or liberty will die as exploitation increases. Professor Issac Kramnick aptly described the challenges of government power and man’s inhumanity to man in his discussion on the French Revolution and the ideas of Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke:
Government is simply a necessary evil, useful, if not mandatory, to control ourselves when we fail one another. How we effect that control (and what additional restraints need to be governmentally supported) is for each age to decide. The important consequence for Paine was that no matter how much reverence Burke adduces to support the undeniably important wisdom of the ages, Paine asserts that those living now should not have to forfeit their right to pass judgment on choices made by those no longer alive. Both Paine and Burke decried the extremes of the French Revolution, and both were disillusioned by man’s inhumanity to man, but both saw opportunity for needed change in the events unfolding in Paris. Paine’s support of the revolution was founded in the insanity of the French monarchy. Burke’s denunciation of the revolution was rooted in the insanity of the republic. Both were right.