There is a rule all of us know, but aren’t always consciously aware of: if you take their money, you have to take their crap. This is just how society works; it’s not written into law, but most us live by the principal every day without giving it much thought.
If you’ve ever asked a friend or relative for money, then you probably already know the rule. You may get the money, but with strings. “OK, here is the money, but I’ll expect to see you at the family gathering you usually avoid.” Or maybe even worse, “Here is the money, but I’d really appreciate it if you would return the favor and rub my foot corns.”
Sometimes the money comes with much larger strings attached. Taking money from someone else can lead to the person giving the money running your life. “Here is the money, but I’ll expect you to – stop smoking, go back to school, lose the facial piercings, start going to church, etc.”
Working for a living means you’ll take crap from your employer because they pay you. If you work the cash register or take payments at your job, you take crap from the customer. Even if you are self-employed, whoever you take money from has the unspoken authority to give you crap about your product or service.
Those who know the crap rule were not surprised to see the government complain about bonuses paid in the banks and auto industry. If you take money from the government, then it’s safe bet you’ll have to take some crap from them. The reverse of this is also true: politicians can expect to take crap from those who donate large amounts to their campaigns.
The rule works both ways most of the time – If you hand money to someone else, they have to take your crap. If you are at a restaurant and don’t like the service or food, you can freely complain or refuse to give a tip. If the service is lousy, you can threaten to take your business elsewhere.
There are some people who take your money and instead give you crap. Doctors, mechanics, and PC technicians have been known to take your money for service and turn around and give you crap about poor maintenance. People who ignore the unspoken crap rule do so at their own peril, because you can go and find someone else to take your money who will not give you grief.
In all the above examples, the person taking the money does a cost-benefit analysis. Is the crap I have to take for the money worth it? We all have our own crap-to-money calculations. As long we have some say in deciding how much crap we are willing to put up with, we usually play along. The crap rule is far from perfect, but at least it gives each person involved some limited control of the transaction.
The one area where the crap rule does not apply at all is between an individual and government. The rule here is that the government takes your money and gives you crap and you have no control. Government doesn’t have to play by the crap rule, because they have the power to take money from you without your consent.
Government takes money from you and then turns around and tells you you’re are too fat, greedy, lazy, stupid, ignorant, addicted, selfish, impatient, pampered, intolerant, unhealthy, unloving, fiscally irresponsible and to top it off, you complain too much. All these may be true; the point is, it’s a violation of the crap rule for the one who takes the money to give you crap!
When looking at government through the crap lens, it should come as no surprise that people are angry and fed up with governments in general. The little control we have in our daily lives is nonexistent when dealing with government. The natural rule of refusing to pay or seek service elsewhere just doesn’t apply when it comes to government, and that really is a load of crap.