The Chaos Theory of Government

Chaos theory is a physics topic concerned with the difference in effects of what seem trivial differences in initial conditions. The popular catch-phrase is “butterfly effect”, which encapsulates the idea that, for example, a butterfly may flap its wings in Indonesia and somewhere down the line, a tornado is spawned in Texas. It theorizes that everything that happens affects everything that happens afterwards. Kind of like the commerce clause in the Constitution.

Let's say you decide to grow your own tomatoes. Now you aren't buying tomatoes grown by a farmer in another state, so he doesn't make as much money and doesn't owe as much in taxes. If lots of people grow their own tomatoes, the tomato farmer might not be able to sell his crop at all, so the government has to regulate the growing of tomatoes. (Or wheat: [link edited for length]) There is also some current legislation (HR 2749) that seeks to track where a given serving of food (or its ingredients) come from, to protect public health. I haven't read the bill. Examples of government control of food are common. But government does not stop its interest in control with food.

Let's say you decide to try an extreme sport and you hurt yourself, so you need health care. Well, actually using health care instead of just paying the insurance premiums results in potentially higher costs for you. If a lot of people start to actually use their insurance, then the insurance premiums go up. Maybe some people don't try extreme sports, but they are “weekend warriors” who get sprains and strains, or maybe they overeat and put too much stress on their joints and internal organs. Maybe they travel to foreign countries and become ill after they return. Maybe they just get old.

Chaos theory is applied (not by name) to grab control of everything in the interest of keeping things affordable. The government overlooks or ignores the irony of this being the alleged motivation for an organization famous for buying $400 hammers and building modern airports that only 20 people a day use. The argument is that this or that action, which used to be a personal decision tolerated by society because everybody wanted the tacit societal authorization to make some personal decisions of their own, should now be regulated by the government for the “good” of society, to keep insurance premiums affordable and health care costs low.

When the government talks of taxing soda and other “unhealthy” food choices, you may not care because you are an odd woman in Oregon who quit eating unhealthy food a year ago and now plans to wander around totally naked, with the permission of the police department who can find no law to use to stop her (“Naked Truth”, [link edited for length]).

When the government decides that, since most medical costs are incurred in the last year of life, this is a good area in which to cut costs by encouraging people to consider alternatives (e.g. hospice or palliative care instead of extreme medical intervention), you may not care because you are young, healthy, eat only organic food and live in the country where that carcinogenic smog can't get to you.

When the government decides that the pregnancies of women should be terminated whenever the women want, you may not care because you are not a woman, not pregnant, and you are safely out of the womb by twenty-one years or more. Maybe you will care if these abortions are paid for using taxpayer dollars, but maybe you'll feel better about it when you consider the carbon footprint avoided for another human beings You might even wonder why they aren't all terminated. After all, we have plenty of people and not enough jobs.

But why should the government stop there? Why not tell you how to exercise, how much, and when? What to eat, how much, when? What to spend, how much, and when? After all, the government (well, GM) is on track to build cars that no one is clamoring for, and there are lots of other cars not selling because people are worried about the economy. It would be much simpler if the government could just mandate that you buy a new car every five years. Consumers lack confidence? Pass a law to get them to buy stuff anyway. After all, the cars are made in another state, so failure to buy one would violate the commerce clause.

Where would it end? Not where the Founders thought when they put the commerce clause into the Constitution. Their goal for the Constitution was to limit what the government could do to the people, but 220 years of lawyers and other liberals have separated us from the original intent to the point that one day we will wake up, take a water-saving shower and use the low-flush toilet, put on our eco-friendly organic cotton coveralls, eat our government-mandated guaranteed-healthy kibble, and sit down at the computer to telecommute to our jobs (sparing the government the cost of maintaining road and bridge infrastructure and inhibiting the spread of disease). We will have no one to talk to because free speech websites will have been shut down (too many people experienced raised blood pressure) and we will live alone (avoiding disease and population increases). We won't have guns because they give off toxic fumes when used, not to mention the lead poisoning for the victim. (That's a joke.) The 2nd Amendment will be construed to apply to “arms” in general, e.g. mace and pepper spray. With the use of the commerce clause to justify universal health care legislation, and then to control everything else, there will be no powers covered by the 10th Amendment.

And if someone discovers that our kibble is people, there will be no one within earshot to hear him say so (movie reference: Soylent Green). Besides, the dead will have legally been declared non-human, like fetuses, so it's just recycled chemicals, okay? Sheesh.

O, Brave New World, that has such features in it….

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