If the Government Goes Away

I’ve been tripping over this theme quite a bit, lately, in a variety of areas.  First, there was a series of posts on The Archdruid Report.  Then, a mention of the idea on another blog I read frequently.  I borrowed the first part of the first season of Jericho (the TV series) from my local library, and there it was again.  Likewise, reading Without Warning, by John Birmingham.  (Side note: would there be interest in book reviews?  Both fiction/non-fiction?)

One of the first things I usually look at, when confronted by a “government collapse” story, is how/whether the author conflates local, state, and federal government.  Some of the above examples are okay with this; one of them errs.  (I’ll leave which as an exercise for the reader.)  If you’re positing a complete loss (for whatever reason–alien space bats?) of the federal government, the immediate effect on the running of your county/township/parish/whatever will probably be minimal.  Yes, the police and fire department are (typically) “government” agencies; in at least 90% of cases, however, they’re local–or at most state–government.  If the theory is a complete loss of all government, then there realistically should be bigger issues than that the government is gone…

Granted that the Jericho television series is–well, it’s a TV series, written for entertainment, with micro-issues that have to be solved within a 30-minute time span–I’m still a little off-put by the depiction of how everyone will react.  It’s as if there’s an on/off switch for panic, and anything that would induce even a little stress flips the switch to “on.”  If things are going otherwise normally, it’s like another day in the small town…  This, despite there having been numerous nuclear blasts, devastating the major infrastructure and federal/state governments.  If anything like that were to actually happen, I’d expect panicked rioting and looting, probably with lots of injuries.

Overall, though, I’m struck by how little folks seem to understand how the government (at just about any level) actually works.  There’s a rulebook, so to speak, for each agency at each level of government.  This is not to say that the rules get followed perfectly, or that there aren’t a few “bad apples” within the government, but I believe I can say with confidence (having worked in/with the Federal government for over 20 years) that they’re not the bogeyman presented by the paranoid.  About the worst I can say is that it’s a bureaucracy, and as such things move slowly, often in confusing ways, and that the various parts of it don’t work together nearly so well as they might.  Are they coming to take away your guns?  Quick hint: I’ve met more “pry-from-cold-dead-fingers” types in the government than not.  Are they looking at your every email, text, and tweet?  There’s not enough manpower, nor hours in the day.  FEMA concentration camps?  Absurd–the level of organization that would be required is titanic, and to what end?

I suppose this has turned into more of a rant than I intended; still, as mentioned above, I’ve dealt closely with the Feds for rather a long time.  When I read/see a poor (or flat-out wrong) depiction of them in fiction, it fairly quickly triggers a “cognitive dissonance” threshold in my brain, and often have a hard time suspending disbelief.  And when I read about whatever the latest conspiracy theory is, it makes me worry about the future of humanity.  Well, more so than if I wasn’t already watching the Long Descent unfold in real time…


About leftwingsurvivalist

I'm a survivalist and prepper with a difference!
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