Cognizant Government

Governments that develop powers of cognition become despotic.

Government may not be a natural phenomenon, but the reasons that compel men to enter into them are rooted in natural law. Formation of civil society is driven by self-preservation, which is the seminal tenet of nature. All societies built upon this idea are therefore teleological. Government has an intrinsic natural end: to utilize its collected resources on behalf of its citizens and provide a greater degree of security than individuals can find in isolation. In some instances, security means nothing more than safeguarding individual rights. In other, security includes a material provision against homelessness, poverty and other social ills. If the government in question is a monarchy, the king wishes to expand his wealth and secure his power, for stability benefits not only his fortunes but the security of his subjects, whose good depends on his protection. If a democracy, the government is formed to protect and serve the interests of a majority, which has banded together to seek a protection of law devoid in nature.

But when government processes become ancillary to the will of the individual, law and order becomes a means to an end; it is a tool, with extrinsic purpose.

Government, like other beings, is subject to the laws of nature. When it develops cognition, it develops other capacities endemic to individuals. And think government does. In determining what policies are best suited to satisfy the needs of its citizens, government develops a discretionary process.

But government is not a producer. Its resources are limited. It cannot offer comfort for every citizen who comes before it expressing a need. It must prioritize need, determing which is most exigent and most deserving of support. This requires not only a mental process but an emotional capacity; government must empathize as well as think.

Government is now effectively alive. And this means that it, like others, possesses a survival instinct. It will begin to look to the preservation of its own interests.

But government is not subject to the same limitations of its citizens. Its edicts carry authority. By design, this cannot be challenged by its citizens, who enter into society with the understanding that the greater collective power wielded by government is made moral by the fact that it is used to secure that which the individual cannot secure on his own. Unlike government, the individual’s ambitions are limited by his physical constitution. Reason, too, stands as an impediment against the excesses of man: fear of retaliation governs the actions of man in regards to aggression against his brethren. One does not bite the hand that may one may feed him.

But government is insulated from fear of reprisals. More specifically, the individuals whose actions and wills animate government are insulated from fear of reprisal.

A government that takes on cognizance does so because the consciousness of an official is grafted into the organs of power. Government’s power of discretion, created that government might respond to the needs of its citizens, becomes the politician’s power of discretion. The survival instinct of those who animate the organs of government become the guiding force of its actions. Personal will is married to force of law, creating a chimerical creature that is omniscient.

This omniscience holds society ransom. Its will is an end to itself. Though “good” may be the basis for action, there is no guarantee of this, or that the definition will not fluctuate over time as the supreme power’s will fluctuates and different parts of his constitution are emphasized. Man and state must inevitably merge, making an objective marker- such as the rule of law-impossible.

There must inevitably be a clash between the supreme power and the broader polity. Unlike in a state of nature or in civil society, where rights are innate to individual being, the terms of life- the rights and conditions on which they are held- in a cognizant state are determined by the whim of the central authority. Since the ruler holds a monopoly on force, his will alone determines law, justice and even morality. The rights citizens holds, and their lives themselves, exist on the terms set by the ruler.

Cognizance corrupts the purpose of government. Man cedes his autonomy with the understanding that government will use its powers to confer benefits he cannot achieve himself, namely to secure his being. But the power of discretion given to government in service of this end is turned against man, used to enthrall him and make his needs subservient to the state.



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