The more I study history and forms of government, the more I find myself asking: When will people learn? That is, after thousands of years of history, and hundreds and hundreds of examples of governments designed, instituted, gone awry, then collapsed – at some point, I would think that the people must realize the futility of this whole “government” strategy.

It’s a vicious cycle that goes something like this: People co-occupy a region, and the productive begin to trade with one another. The vast majority of the people will interact peacefully, while a few deviants prey on the productive, seeking to seize wealth from others instead of laboring to produce. To protect themselves from the bad element, and to delegate the use of force so that peaceful people need not take matters into their own hands, they establish governments and give them monopoly control over the legal use of violence.

The interesting dynamic is this: Now, that segment of the population that would rather seize wealth than create have an avenue for their aspirations – a position in government. They can now use the power of the state to steal from others.

Eric Hoffer said that those unfit for freedom seek power for the sake of power. He characterized them as the “have not” type of self. Free people, on the other hand, have a low need for power over others. “Leave me alone, and I shall create my place in the world and take care of myself and my family”, they say.

In establishing governments, the peaceful create an institution tailor made for those unfit for freedom, and the latter aspire to its ranks. Men write constitutions in the vain attempt to restrain government, but the government itself is responsible for overseeing the extent of its own power. The fleecers cooperate, uniting against the people, ignoring the restraints placed upon them; setting about a long, steady path of bleeding the productive sector in a continual transfer of power from individuals to the government.

In time, the government destroys the productive sector, the people give up all of their liberty for safety from government-created bogeymen, and the “planners” take over. Violence ensues, and hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, lose their lives. Eventually, the system collapses upon itself; government loses its legitimacy in the eyes of the people, and they are forced to deconstruct it and start all over again. This time, they say, we’ll build a better government – and the cycle begins again. It just never ends well.

I’m encouraged by the networking effect of the Internet and its ability to record history and disseminate information. There is great competition for ideas in the free exchange of the web. Greater interconnectivity changes the rate of change in systems. I imagine that the networking effect will serve to accelerate the government cycle – perhaps we’re witnessing the last government to exist for centuries.

On another note – As a thought experiment, assume that space travel becomes possible, even routine. One of the key pieces of the formation of a state is region – a land mass shared by a community of people. As space becomes infinite and mobility increases exponentially, are governments less likely to be formed?