Hydraulic despotism: why governments want people to depend on governments for drinking water

Growing in number and spirit, the Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is swiftly gaining strength ahead of a federal hearing on the controversial project. Support has spread across the country, and thousands have descended on the peaceful “prayer camps” in recent days, prompting state officials on Monday to remove the demonstrators’ drinking water supply.

North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite the sweltering heat, because of alleged disorderly conduct, according to the Bismarck Tribune, including reports of laser pointers aimed at surveillance aircraft.

“People are getting overheated now already,” said Johnelle Leingang, the tribe’s emergency response coordinator, as temperatures hovered around 90º F on Monday. “It’s very hurtful.”

Frank Herbert called this kind of thing “hydraulic despotism.”

Maybe the USA government would allow Indians to collect rainwater on their own land. Maybe.

Certainly the USA government will give the Indians taxpayer-supported drinking water on non-Indian lands, as a publicity stunt.

But as soon as the Indians become inconvenient, the state yanks the water.

People who can supply their own drinking water might be a threat to the state.

Did you wonder why the pioneer spirit left the USA? It was because of government actions like this one.

Government promises that it will take care of all its citizens. The exact terms and conditions are usually kept as vague as possible. The first people to get desirable things are the crony capitalists. In practice, when the citizens demand any desirable thing – such as drinking water – they get harassed.

The solution was known centuries ago to Patrick Henry. Make sure every citizen has as much capacity for violence as the strongest government agent. The great objective is that every man be armed. The USA will not go back to that attitude. The USA might collapse, but it won’t reform itself.

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