Are members of Congress smarter than the yeast used to make bread and beer? Research would seem to indicate the answer is a resounding NO!
A recent experiment shows that yeast can exhibit a degree of altruistic cooperative behavior. But they also recognize when altruistic cooperation becomes self-destructive and harmful to the entire colony.
Research shows that some yeast, call them "makers," can produce an enzyme that allows them to digest more food but also helps fellow yeast that don't have the enzyme, call them "takers," feed off the same food source. But making this enzyme requires extra energy, so the makers grow more slowly during production then they would otherwise. Making the enzyme is still an overall benefit for makers, but not as much as if the enzyme were "free," as it is for the takers.
The takers, on the other hand, have a great situation because they get the extra food without having to expend any energy making the enzyme, so they can grow very quickly. Much quicker than the makers who are using some of their energy to produce the vital enzyme.
As the takers grow and flourish, they consume more and more of the available food, leaving less for the makers. With less food, the makers begin to die off. But this also means that less of the vital enzyme is produced, so the takers begin to die as well. As the takers die off, the makers can begin to rebound, and start making more enzymes.
When (food) resources are limited, a state of "perpetual war" exists between the takers and the makers, and one species will eventually come to dominate. If the makers triumph, the yeast colony flourishes and grows to the limit of the food supply. If the takers dominate, they consume all the food until the supply of the enzyme runs out, and then the colony collapses (strong Allee effect). Both types of yeast suffer until the concentration of takers drops to the point where makers can, once again, begin to grow
It was only when an "unlimited frontier" is available that both makers and takers can expand and grow without conflict. In nature, if there is a constant "frontier" where makers can move away from takers, and continue to produce their critical enzyme, then makers can grow because the takers aren't "stealing" all the food, and takers can survive because the makers are still producing the critical enzyme.
But the situation only lasts for a limited time because the takers invariably follow the makers, and the cycle starts all over again.
To translate the findings into human terms, if you have too many people consuming without producing, society is eventually destroyed unless you have an "escape route" for the producers. History is full of examples of this behavior. In America, the first colonies came close to starving because they allowed takers to feed off the work done by the makers. It was only when colony leaders modified the structure of the colony to support makers that the entire colony was able to limit the number of takers and become self-sustaining.
Congress, on the other hand, seems to think that it is healthy and sustainable to constantly increase the number of people living on government assistance (takers), while hampering those who produce the wealth in society (makers). Not only do they make it harder for makers to produce and distribute the wealth needed by the takers, they are increasingly restricting the freedom to be productive necessary for makers to succeed. In other words, they are following the same destructive path on a human scale that has been shown to lead to extinction on the micro level.
Some might argue that humans aren't yeast, and that government can do rationally what yeast do instinctively. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that is the case. For more than 5,000 years, evidence shows that when governments allow the growth of takers in society, and force makers to subsidize them, it eventually leads to societal extinction. Europe is going through the death-throws of this cycle even now. Some nations, such as Germany and Sweden, are trying to pull back, but the projections are grim. Even in the United States, the rapid growth in government dependence over the last few decades is clearly unsustainable.
So, are we doomed to turn into a fermented bath of putrid mush as takers dominate the makers, and drag society down with them?
Congress doesn't seem to have any answers, but if we seek guidance from a more intelligent species, yeast seems to point the way out of our quandary. The key is having a place where makers can go to "get away" from the takers. And, believe it or not, we are seeing this solution playing out on the human scale.
As taker controlled governments extort ever more from the makers in society in order to feed their burgeoning takers populations, and place ever greater restrictions on what makers can and can not do, makers are following the lead of the yeast and "moving away" from the pernicious grasp of the takers. Whether out of France, New York City, or California, makers are moving to places where governments are not under taker control, and where makers still have a chance of benefiting from their "maker" efforts.
The problem is that we don't have very many places for the makers to go. A few states in America such as Texas, and a few other countries around the world, but that is all. As more and more governments come under taker control, we are reaching a critical point where, like the vat of yeast, our takers are going to kill off our makers, and we are all going to suffer. If we want to avoid such a fate, we need to stop the flood of takers, and create more havens for makers where they can "do their thing" in peace, and the rest of us can benefit from it. But so far, Congress doesn't seem interested in taking the hint. They are continuing the policies and programs that even yeast recognize as self-destructive.
While having a Congress run by yeast may seem far-fetched, one really has to ask, could they be any worse than what we have?