I don't share your conclusion, Fred. I think in a democratic republic such as the United States it matters a great deal to our quality of life what others believe and what their values are. If you live in a country of looters, your choices reduce drastically down to loot or be looted.
I of course understand what you mean; I've expressed it differently, as 'the mob can do what the mob can do.' Yes, if we come of age and find ourselves in a sinking lifeboat jam packed with existentially terrified beings, clawing over each other for survival, it is a clear example of a circumstance where it matters a great deal to the quality of life what others believe and what their values are.
But I'm not sure what you mean by the conditional, "If you live in a country of looters..." I think from your perspective you don't believe that is already the case, whereas, I've seen that-- as my assessment -- as something given, from before I was born. Everyone? No. A Majority? Clearly a majority enough, to tolerate the looting that goes on in plain sight. That has gone on in plain sight. And I am not talking about welfare. I am talking about what used to be published daily, in plain sight, in things like Federal Business Weekly, or now, Federal Computer Weekly, and today here. https://www.fbo.gov/
For 15 years, I was the world's smallest defense contractor, and not just to the US. (And indeed, what goes on by governments is a tribal thing, a can't avoid it disease of mankind. It is what people will do when handed the Tribe's Magic Stick. IMO, we don't tame that by finding some perfected species; we deal with it by minimizing the amount of it that we attempt/tolerate. But that is not a majority view, so the present path just needs to fail; get out of its way.) I was like a tiny tsetse fly, landing on a massive beast of an elephant every so often. The first few landings, I thought, "How remarkable that I keep landing on a pus-laden area of this carcass." But after the nth landing, and nothing but pus to be seen, I finally realized the whole beast was infected. The beast -was- the infection.
The DOD-FARS is a joke. The entire arrangement is a massive opportunity for an extended welfare state, folks tasked with making sure that taxpayers aren't being hosed over for the necessary machinery of a critical government function, when in fact, the entire process does nothing but guarantee that taxpayers get hosed. With all the t's crossed, with all the i's dotted. In all that time, never participated in (or even heard of) a bid process that wasn't already wired before the RFP hit the streets. No, by the time you get past all the 'justification for less than free and open competition" and "black budget rainmakers" and "wired RFQs", you are down to the odd anecdotes over fringe commodities. Loot or be looted? Nonsense. With the federal government in its present size and mode, the only choice to most Americans is 'be looted.' We send hundreds of billions into a tight circle of flag waving corruption surrounding DC, and then pray that enough makes it past the mansions and finds its way to the bleeding E1 heroes at the pointy end of the stick. And when they have stopped bleeding for this nation, it is not the E1s who find the soft landings waiting for them in that circle of corruption. No, the E1s get to find a job and pay their taxes and continue to pay the price.
But I don't now, and also did not in the 70s regard the current political context as quite yet at the sinking lifeboat stage, rather, I saw it as one in which the popular majority constitutionally limited democratic republic process was clearly begging to swamp the ship of state; the lifeboat stage seemed to me to be likely in our future. And there were plenty of active political voices screaming "No, Don't, Stop...and here is why." In writing.
So my assessment was indeed different; As a young man freshly out of grad school, sprinting from my first and last W2 job in the early 80s, I didn't see my options in the pre-swamped-lifeboat stage as 'loot or be looted.' In the pre-lifeboat era, what little or large amount may remain of that is anyone's guess, I targeted a career to try and mimize my exposure to those choices. There are all kinds of intellectual and business challenges in the world, still. Maybe for a long time yet to come, maybe for a short time to come. But today, now, yes. And to make that fringe strategy work, I had to selectively care about what others believed and what their values are -- my customers. But those did not include everybody, or even a significant majority, or even by world standards, very many people at all. I deliberately lived in the cracks and crevices of world commerce, because I could. But not a problem-- neither for me, nor my customers. Because my strategy deliberately did not target running and organizing a group effort, or shareholders, or employees (to either loot or be looted from, totally moot when they don't exist.)
I voted for Clark in '80 over Reagan, because Clark put his ideas firmly in writing, black and white, in New Beginnings. And then I watched a political process in America where his ideas were going to maybe get 1% of the popular vote during my adult life. What little hope I put into the popular political process, I (pointlessly) transferred to the GOP, as the party of power that -should- have been most receptive to those ideas, with Reagan at least paying lip service to the concept of limited government. And it was totally pointless, false hope, waste of concern. Going nowhere. Like the GOP is ever going to run Rand Paul for POTUS If they don't prop up that jackass Christie in 2016 to get roundly trounced by Clinton -in this nation - I will be shocked. Because in -this nation-, the alternative would be Rand Paul getting trounced by Clinton. (Not the nation I wish it was, or think I could ever move to become but the atrophied, mature, once free nation that America is and long has been, since before I was born.) So I focused on what I could do, which was, my strategic career goals, which explicitly included "How can I minimize my dependency on what my fellow Americans clearly broadly think and value?" I did so by narrowing the scope of that dependency to the best of my ability to do so. I eschewed the popular formulas, deliberately, because the popular formulas support popular ideas.
The loose ideas long loose in this nation won't prevail in the long run, not because this America will ever be convinced otherwise, but because they won't work. I'm not debating that, that is just my assessment. Maybe they will work someday; the proof of that will be, not some debate, but ... they will work. Until then, not a problem (for me, anyway) and I'm not immolating my one and only life to their success (nor running for office to change/tilt at windmills in this nation.) So my conclusion is indeed different. When you find yourself standing in the middle of a tribal stampede, get out of its way, and let it fail. If it makes any of us feel better-- if it satisfies some personal urge to tilt at windows, we cam whisper "don't ... stop" or even immolate out lives by amplifying our voices, or, we can get ourselves the Hell out of the way to the best of our ability-- just like Man in the Universe, as it is, facing any natural disaster out of his control or even influence. In the midst of these periodic calamities, individual focus is critical, and that for sure includes triaging the world into things you can change (yourself) and things you can’t (others.)
Not even in the self-emperor vision granting world where the majority believes as I do would I ever value running for political office; because in my view of utopia, self-government is made up of honorable plumbers, drafted from a poll of folks living their lives and running the economies, like jurors, who are vetted and who agree to take on the task of being handed a plunger, to take their turn at keeping the plumbing of state clean and free flowing. I accept the obligation to support jury duty, I support the concept of Superior Violence. But I don't seek jury duty. My never going to see it wish is to live in a nation where staffing necessary governmnet is viewed like jury duty, as opposed to a shot at American Idol and the chance to implement a government of will. Compare this with the current national frenzy over American Idol/Leader Maximus, Runner of The Economy, able to leap tall recessions without ever even once ponying up so much as an embarrassing basket weaving college transcript. That is the nation you and I live in. So now what?
As in all things, for as long as you can, feel free. Including, scrolling past my stream of consciousness offerings, which serve as my own cheap alternatives to much needed therapy. Which, if you've read this far, begs the question.