• How much anguish would this simple belief have spared you?
  • Governments are coming for you, but they’re not very good at it
  • Don’t fear the intention, fear the outcome

If you believe the media, governments are giving us plenty to fear. They plan to keep us kettled in 15-minute cities and fed with insects instead of meat. They’ll use compulsory acquisition to take our homes for housing migrants and limit our overseas holidays to cut carbon emissions.

They’ll use central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to enforce their rules and smart meters to control our heating. They’ll indoctrinate our children at school and monitor our social media for unapproved opinions.

Of course, many of these are already happening in dystopian places around the world, like Britain. It’s enough to seriously scare anyone, even if they don’t know what they have to hide.

But today I want to ask you a simple question: what if, when faced with all this dystopian government policy, you told yourself, “Don’t worry, it won’t work anyway.”

You see, I came to my ideological beliefs by learning about how government initiatives always fail. They invariably make problems worse, or create bigger problems elsewhere.

As the demotivational poster I used to keep on my desk says, “Government: if you think your problems are bad, just wait until you see my solutions.” Or as Ronald Reagan put it, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

The idea is that government intervention is bad because the net impact is negative. Over the years, I’ve also come to believe this as a moral and philosophical viewpoint. But it was the endless list of government failures as analysed by economists and social scientists that really persuaded me. Presented with enough examples of how well-intentioned policies backfired, you eventually see a pattern.

These days, people like me fear government plans because of our moral and philosophical beliefs. We think it’s wrong for politicians and civil servants to control our lives. We also fear that the impact of this will be to make us poorer and have a lower standard of living. Not to mention destroying the environment as the plans to save it backfire.

But what if this is a completely incoherent way of thinking about the problem? Many of our fears about ominous government programmes presume that they will function as intended. That they will achieve their intended dystopian aims. This is a bit ironic and contradictory for someone as sceptical about government intervention as I am…

How can I simultaneously believe that the government shouldn’t intervene in our lives because it won’t work, and fear that sinister government intervention in our lives will function?

Perhaps I should use some examples to clarify…

The basic premise of vaccine mandates was that vaccines would prevent us from catching Covid 19. Or prevent us from passing it on to others. Or prevent us from dying. Or prevent us from being hospitalised.

As the efficacy claims of vaccines unravelled, so too did the justification of the vaccine mandate. These days, politicians deny ever having imposed vaccine mandates. In fact, they deny promising us that the vaccine would stop transmission – the very basis for a vaccination mandate in the first place.

So, for those who were worried about the health risks of vaccines, opposed mandates, and refused to take the vaccines, what was the rational course of action?

They could’ve spent their time in a panic, researching conspiracy theories, starting court cases, fighting the mandates, exposing the vaccine health risks, waging war on social media and much more. Or they could’ve told themselves, “Don’t worry, the vaccine won’t work anyway.”

Since estimates of the vaccines’ efficacy has waned, vaccine mandates have vanished and the lawsuits have begun. The public’s perception of the vaccines has shifted too.

Was it worth being up in arms about the issue for years? When we examine what it did to the personal and professional lives of the people who fought the government, and how successful they were, I don’t think it would’ve been worth it for many of us.

That’s not to criticise the heroic efforts of so many people who made it their mission in life to battle the vaccine mandates, unravel efficacy claims and expose side effects. It’s just that a dramatically calmer and more patient response was probably a better idea for most of us. Wait for the government program to fail on its own merits, rather than expending time and effort fighting it. After all, it was the failure of vaccines to live up to the hype that undermined the mandates in the end.

How many families and friendships would still be intact if people had just sat back and waited for the justification for the mandates to dissolve?

All this goes for the masks too. And the social distancing. We now know there was no sound scientific justification for these policies. Those who knew all along only got themselves into trouble for telling us. And they still had to wear the masks. If they had just waited for the policy to fail, as it did, they probably would’ve been better off.

So, let’s try and apply this idea to the things you are worrying the government might impose on you next…

CBDCs are threatening to create a panopticon – a metaphorical prison where the government can keep an eye on every aspect of everyone’s life, but the inmates (you) don’t know who is being watched.

It’s easy to worry about this because it would allow the government to crack down on us with an extraordinary degree of precision and effectiveness. A CBDC would both give them all the information and proof they need that you have been misbehaving, according to their definition, and also the means to impose their punishment, because they would have the means to control your money too.

If you eat too much meat or not enough insects, if you travel too far too often, if you attend the wrong sort of religious ceremony, or “like” the wrong opinion on social media then you’re in trouble and at the mercy of those who control the CBDC ledger.

But if we apply the, “Don’t worry, it won’t work anyway” philosophy of life to this government initiative, our fears can ease dramatically.

Quite frankly, the idea that the government could create a CBDC that functions in the way it intends is laughable. There’s a reason why governments don’t issue and control money in the first place. They need banks and central banks to give money any credibility and functionality.

I suspect CBDCs will fail to gain adoption because they’ll be too clunky. And the whole initiative will fade into another conspiracy theory the government was too incompetent to carry out, even if it tried.

The 15-minute city drama is an extension of the ULEZ schemes which are unravelling thanks to civil disobedience. Do you think people would put up with being charged for travelling outside their designated city “cells”, as they call them in Bath? There’s just no way it is going to work – the government couldn’t impose it if they wanted to.

Net zero is another good example. Every aspect of the plan is failing. The cost, the targets, the EV sales, the hydrogen network, the EV charging point network, the share of renewables, the backup grid, the amount of renewables being installed, the ability to connect those renewables, the crackdown on questionable renewables, the amount of fossil fuels being consumed worldwide, and so much more – it’s all falling apart.

If you had spent the last few years worrying about governments actually imposing net zero, and calculating what they would actually have to do to achieve it, then you would’ve been in an outright panic. I pretty much was. And I’ve actively been warning readers about it all.

But what if we apply the philosophy of, “Don’t worry, it won’t work anyway”? What if we understood from the beginning that the government was never actually going to try and achieve its goals, and that they would fall by the wayside, as they increasingly are around the world?

What if intermittent power was never going to reach dangerous levels because the government is too incompetent to get that much renewable energy built?

What if we could all just stop worrying so much and apply a healthy dose of scepticism to the government’s latest mad plans for our lives? Don’t we have better things to do that might actually radically change things for the better?


Until next time,

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom