A Few Thoughts on the Nature of Government

The older I get the more I seem to see how military maxims and how to govern intersect.

There’s two in particular which I think are important to look at.

First: “Never give an order you know will not be obeyed.”


There are sound, sound reasons for this. To give an order you know will not be obeyed diminishes your authority.

So too with government. Think about how many laws we all break on a daily basis. From speed limits, to parking regulations to downloading software or music. All these laws they had to know no one would obey, tend to diminish people’s respect for the rule of law. It’s the old “slippery slope” argument, and the left loves to dismiss it as a base canard. The problem is, it’s not. Once you start breaking the law it can, not always but it can, become easier and easier to do.

No one sets out and says “today I’ll embezzle $1 million from my company.” Even Bernie Madoff didn’t start that way.

No, you decide you’ll cut one corner here or there “just this time,” and the next thing you know you’re in prison with some 400 pound guy named “Bubba” explaining to you how you’re going to be his wife — best to not start cutting corners at all.

So too with society. The disrespect for law and responsibility which starts with a plethora of laws no one thinks twice about ignoring leads directly to the Occupy Movement and the lawless camps it spawned. Civilization cannot exist without laws — but they must make sense and be easy to live within.


Which leads us to the second maxim: “Don’t give too many orders, once you’ve given an order on a subject you’ll always have to give orders on that subject.”

Basically, “don’t micromanage.” In the military this means giving broad orders and allowing your subordinates to figure out the best way to implement them — and not giving orders on basic day-to-day things like when to do laundry or telling a senior NCO how best to lay in a machine gun. He knows how to do these things and doesn’t need your help.

Giving too many orders not only destroys your authority, because inevitably you’ve given some that won’t be obeyed, but it also saps the initiative from your subordinates.

So too in the real world. The insane number of laws we all are subject to, and the stifling regulation businesses find themselves having to obey mean that both people and businesses are frightened to make a move for fear of falling foul of the law — with predictable results for job creation.

So what’s the point of all this, then? Well if you want a strong, robust country of free people who can take care of themselves then you have a perfect example of what not to do in this administration.


If, however, like the left, you are looking to create a totalitarian state, filled with cowed and compliant sheeple? Well then, the explosion of laws no one will obey, coupled with a bushel basket full of laws designed to hem us in will create that for you quite well.

The problem for the left, is that it can explode in their faces and create and ungovernable mass of lawless barbarians — and bring down Western Civilization in the process.


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