Government's Core Competency

The idea of core competency is centered on answering the question, "What do we/I do best"? The question could be directed toward a person or a legal organization such as a company. Top management wrangles with this idea when contemplating strategy. Individuals take into this account when charting a career move.

The person or the organization must be structured in a certain way with regards to his core competency. Education, skills, know-how, process flows, and so on must be aligned with the core competency in mind. This is to say that the structure must be optimized to produce the desired result. There is only one structure that most effectively supports any one core competency. The structure determines the core competency.

Limits of Core Competency

Alternatively we can surmise then that once the structure is in place, the person or organization will then be less efficient at alternate competencies. Other structures will better suit these alternate competencies. Consider structure "X" having core competency "X", while structure "Y" has core competency "Y". Structure "X" is worse at producing competency "Y" than structure "Y".

As an example let us look at vehicles. Is there a vehicle that is capable of driving over land, under water and through the air? Maybe, but will it be good at any of those modes of transportation? Will the hybrid vehicle be as good at land based travel as the vehicle designed solely for land based travel?

The point is, once an organization attempts to use its structure for alternative competencies, it becomes a poor solution. So it is important for every organization to understand their core competencies, and guard against using that structure towards purposes for which it is not designed.

When wanting to drive a screw into wood, it is best to use a screwdriver instead of a hammer.

Government Core Competency

A perfect case study for this issue is government. The role of government is to govern. Governing implies enforcing a codified will on persons to act in a certain way. This in turn requires the projection of force/violence, against which the targeted persons cannot defend. So the core competency of government is the projection of force/violence. Its structure is optimized for this task. All government action entails the threat or application of violence.

Violence is used to harm individuals. Another viewpoint is to say that government punishes individuals with pain who do not act in a way that is aligned with government's will. This is what government does: project violence, harm, cause pain, expense punishment. Determining the proper role of government must then answer the question, "When should government agents punish an individual"? The straight forward answer is that when the person has, or is in the process of, harming another.

Use of Violence

The proper mandate for government is to protect the innocent against wrong-doers.

The corollary question is "When should government agents refrain from punishing a person"? Or should the government haphazardly inflict pain on others? Presumably, government should refrain from all actions not having to do with punishing a wrong-doer or protecting a victim. Where the government steps out of the bounds of acting against wrong-doers, it is by definition projecting violence against the innocent. This is a very important aspect of government. In every action of government, someone specific is being punished, as this is government's core competency.

Just as a fish cannot swim without getting wet, government can undertake no action outside of exacting punishment on individuals, or threatening to do so.

The above mentioned is to lay the groundwork for the following. When politician submits a policy for debate, the "who is harmed" is often not mentioned in the sales pitch.

Whenever a policy or law is considered, it is wise to discern the intent of the law. Is the law to protect the innocent by threatening wrong-doers, or does the law explicitly or implicitly harm those who have done no wrong. Since all government action entails punishment of some sort, all law targets a person. The question is, is the person guilty of any wrong-doing?

Citizens must be diligent about explicitly exposing who is harmed by any policy. No policy can be judged without a proper understanding of the harm projected by government agents acting under the terms of the policy.

In breaking this thought down, the law must define an action to be labeled as wrong-doing. The wrong-doer cannot be a wrong-doer until he does something wrong. If the law cannot specify a detailed action resulting in a real, decided harm towards another, we know that the law is unjust. When analyzing government policy and action we must always focus on actions of wrong-doing. The policy must be discarded when the test fails.

Typical broad areas of policy where the test fails are:

Personal Welfare

  • Insurance schemes
  • Investment schemes
  • Subsidies to persons
  • Natural disaster aid

Corporate Welfare

  • Industry market protection
  • Monopoly protection
  • Subsidies to industry

While all of these policies are sold to the public as being helpful for a "strong nation", a "stable & just society", for the "children & elderly" and for the "economy" in order to codify a "moral duty", they come with a very long tail. Before we judge the package, we must investigate all the contents of the package, not just what the sales man reveals to us.

Often in these examples, no action at all can be singled out. Never can an action pertaining to wrong-doing be identified. However, it is easy to pinpoint the individual being harmed to the benefit of the other. The sales man only tells us about the benefit, and conveniently ignores the ugly cost side of the equation. On the hidden side of the equation we have the individual who is punished although he has been neither charged nor convicted of wrong-doing.

The punishment inflicted come in two forms. In case (1) the government extracts wealth from the innocent under the guise name of "taxation". In case (2) the policies limit the choice available to the citizen when purchasing goods and services so that that industry can extract more wealth from the customer than otherwise. In both cases, money is moved from the robbed to the robber. Government is now a wealth transfer specialist, not a protector of the individual.

Misuse of Government Power

Most all police cars advertise the slogan "To Serve and to Protect". That slogan defines the limits of government action pretty well. The difference between this author's and the common vision for government action "to serve and to protect" is found here:

  • Has an individual been harmed?
  • Has an individual been harmed by the activities of another?

Before government can hope to seek to provide restitution for the harmed by the perpetrator, the perpetrator must be named. In the "welfare" policies above, what person caused the "natural disaster"*, or the "poor economy"? What harm has any individual bestowed upon the "farmer lobbyist"? Tax payers are obliged at the point of the gun to fund this transfer of dirty money.

We finalize by noting that government as a tool of violence is not optimized for the above questionable services, unless the goal is to steal from one and forward the loot to another. Violence is perfectly suited for this task. Many have seen the opportunity and capitalized on it. Some of the services themselves are valuable and perhaps some clients see them as necessary. There are organizations structured to optimize these services. They are available via mutual agreement in contrast to under duress.

When understanding these concepts it comes to no surprise that government run services outside of its true mandate are extremely costly, anti-customer oriented and absolutely corrupt. The structure of government ensures this completely. This results regardless of which political party manages the service, or how "well-meaning" some administrators might be.

This is not to say that all who claim to propose such policies are moved by good motives. As a matter of fact, the evidence shows that the loudest proponents are in reality moved by evil motives, and that consciously. The devil never arrives with horns, a pitchfork and red cape to tell you he has come to "steal, kill and destroy". No sir. He arrives in a nicely pressed white suite offering his services to help you.

Has any liar, thief or murder ever signaled his true intentions prior to the crime? Or did he conceal his true motives? We should not expect anything less from government agents. They are frail humans who succumb to the temptation of the abuse of power like the rest of us. The paradox is that for the seldom case where honest motives are a given, the desire to do good using government power necessitates doing evil by harming individuals who have done no wrong.

You know the tree by the fruit. What is the fruit of the services? Broken promises, bankruptcy, theft, corporate cronyism and the like.

Misuse of Government Core Competency

As agents attempt to coordinate solutions for "do-good" activities via the violence of government, they not only perform the services poorly, but also corruptly. At the same time, government agents shift resources away from government's true mandate to harm wrong-doers. The harm to society is two-fold.

Government agents must stay within the confines of their core competency and cease using the power in such a way that produces harm in areas of the individual's life where it does not belong. We must stand against fraudulent polices, whether due to or in-spite of their real motivation.

Remember: using the wrong tool for the right job ensures that the results will turn out poorly.

"natural disasters"*: note that the theory of "global warming caused by humans" is at best questionable, and most likely fraudulent. When the vice-president for Bill Clinton produces a film having a title containing the word "truth", one is best advised to assume the opposite is true.

Author: Scott Wallace Brians
Date: 31 July 2010
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