Is government benevolent? It is assumed to be. Citizens would like it to be. So far in recorded history there hasn’t been a benevolent government. Understanding the way government works means thinking beyond the way we would let it to be. Government is not benevolent. Beleaving it is causes people to make wrong decisions and enable belligerence.
Let look at what governments ends up doing. Representatives go to Washington and tirelessly do what is right by the people they represent, right? It is comforting to trust they do that they do but they don’t. There are a number of human instincts which prevent lawmakers from promoting the interests of their constituents.
In their own minds human beings are special to themselves so they expect others to view them in the same light. Friends and family do. Strangers are either indifferent to you or see you like a commodity that might be useful to them. Leaders pretend to represent you while using you as a resource. You are part of a pool to pacified until you are useful as voters in the next elections.
An economist who is lost in his state of unawareness, assumes economics starts with things like the laws of supply and demand. They assume incentives never change and nothing matters unless it can be reduced to a number. Self interest is treated as a primary incentive but other incentives are assumed to exist, but they don’t.
I start at the beginning. The notion that a lawmaker will cheerful represent voters is based on the imaginary incentive to serve. All who speak are assumed to be speaking honestly unless there is damning evidence to the contrary. Truth is not used in politics.
Here is how government actually works. As a species, like all others, humans progress through time consuming other living things. The more consumed, the more successful the species. The process of consuming other things is governed by the laws of dominance and subservience. Before performing productive work, it is instinctive to try first to live off the efforts of others. Most individuals are not very good at this. Some are born with high intelligence and sophisticated manipulative skills. These kinds of animals become corporate leaders and elected representatives.
Living off the efforts of others is not necessarily immoral. Paying people to work is an honorable way to benefit from the work of others. It is also a peaceful system. Paying people to work evolved out of primitive systems like slavery and general belligerence. Dominance and subservience provide the basis for all human survival efforts.
When you elect someone to office, you are providing the opportunity to use the position to live off the efforts of others. Self interest is the guide for every politician and that doesn’t disappear once an election is over.