A major product of governments is trust. And ours is hell bent on destroying it.

by w3woody

The single greatest product a government produces is trust.

For example, laws protecting property rights of real property owners (through recording ownership of real property and defining the survey boundaries of such property) is to allow owners of real property to trust that they indeed own the property and can receive the help of the government in protecting their property.

Contract laws exist to allow two complete strangers to trust that a monetary transaction can take place without one side being taken advantage of. Building code laws allow a stranger buying a house to have confidence in the quality and construction of the house. Drug laws allow patients some confidence in the effectiveness of the pills they take, and laws governing product quality allows consumers to trust the things they buy will not be shoddily constructed.

And this allows us to trust the 320 million people around us. It’s not to say there aren’t dishonest people pushing shoddy houses, dangerous products or ineffective pills. But we trust that there is a remedy–and in that process we trust that most of the time we will be dealt with fairly.

However, there are major areas where individuals seem hell-bent on destroying that trust in order to push their own ends.

Civic forfeiture laws, for example, mean we cannot trust the police to leave our stuff alone.

Eminent domain laws mean we cannot trust the government won’t take our property to hand it to someone who is connected and powerful.

And now, Democrats seem to be trying to find a way to disclose the private tax records of individuals they don’t like, for no other reason that I can see other than to embarrass or harass individuals they dislike. (If people were seeking a uniform law that requires the disclosure of 4 years of tax records for everyone running for Congress or the Presidency, this would be different than simply trying to pry into one individual’s tax records.)

Each of these circumstances erode trust in the government, because they represent the government eroding the singular product governments provide: Trust.

And when governments erode trust, as they have at the local level with policing agencies policing for profit rather than to preserve the peace, we get riots, murder, and revolts by those who had been sitting on the sidelines.

As an aside, with respect to civil forfeiture laws, in Philadelphia, the median cash amount between 2011 and 2012 for civic forfeiture was $178. Meaning someone walking around with $200 is presumed to be guilty of using the money for drug transactions by virtue that the person was carrying $200.

Well, in point of fact, I routinely carry around $200 in my wallet on occasion; I try to use cash for a number of transactions and I hate visiting the ATM (because it’s inconvenient). So as a point of law, if I were in Philadelphia, I would be presumed guilty of being involved in illegal drugs simply because of the amount of cash I carry.