Thursday, November 20, 2008

Those Who Reject the Argument

Well, there you go. It took a little longer than I'd expected, and certainly some of those articles were a bit dense and lengthy, but there are the answers to the six great challenges. They are by no means exhaustive. I was trying to inspire you to think about these concepts in a new light, not to put forever to bed the questions. As I said at the beginning, the answers I've given you here are only possibilities, no one can truly say how the market would meet the demand for education, or roads, or currency going forward, because we've never been truly free of the state.

Further, I told you at the beginning that no answer would suit the committed ideologue. That is still true. Many people support the state for many different reasons, and to some, no alternative, no matter how rational and well reasoned, no matter how their interests could be served, no matter how plainly you paint the image of their suffering, could sway them to deny it.

I believe that people support state authority for many reasons, but at their most basic, I believe these reasons can be summarized in four motivations.

The first is simple ignorance. I don't meant that in a derogatory sense, nor to imply a lack of intelligence or education. What I mean to say is that most people have either never been confronted with, or never even imagined, the idea of a stateless society, except perhaps in the most limited “Mad Max” sense of the concept. It's not that these are irrational or unintelligent people, they simply haven't looked at the issues yet. These people are the easiest to reach, you must simply present the cases for and against the state, and they are able to come to the conclusion on their own.

The second reason people support the state is out of base self interest. They are getting something from the existence of the state and so seek to maintain the status quo. They are not necessarily bad people, or even greedy people, but they believe they profit in some way from the state. This can range from welfare mothers to corporate executives, there is no social class which holds the monopoly on this position. These people see their lives as improved by state action, and so will cling tenaciously to their benefactor. These people can be reached. You must simply show them in a convincing way how their lives would be improved free from theft and violence. Just as no social class is singular in their view of the state as their provider, so too is no social class unique in their suffering under the weight of government authority. We all suffer the theft of wealth from the economy. We all suffer when innocent individuals are lost to the war on drugs, or poverty, or terror. How many innovations or works of art have we lost because the government stole the wealth of those who would have created them? How many philosophers and scientists have we lost because their ancestors were killed by government violence before they were conceived? All are punished.

The third reason people support the state is fear. They are afraid of being preyed upon. They are afraid of their fellow man. They are afraid of responsibility. They are afraid of being self reliant. They are afraid of being unique. And so they turn their sovereign authority over to others. I've heard people say “humanity isn't ready to be free from subjugation.” I've heard people say “If I had a gun, I know I'd be irresponsible with it, so you shouldn't have one either.” This kind of thinking is irrational. They are so confined by their fears, that they blindly accept oppression and domination for some measure of perceived security. These people will be far more difficult to convince, because their position is not based in logic. You can't argue or educate or enlighten them out of this hole. You can attempt to show how their security would be vastly improved, and you can attempt to address the root of their fear, but since they are constrained by emotion and not reason, there is only so much you can do for them. We must teach our children to act on logic, not on feelings, this is the only way we can someday address those who would sacrifice everything, and everyone, to their passions.

The final reason people support the state is simple evil. They see the state as a means of gaining power over others, and they pursue that means as far as they can. They relish in the ability to crush hope and life and justify it all by hiding behind the morality of the majority. It's ok to hold slaves, because everyone agrees, except the slaves of course, but they don't get a vote. It's ok to put people in prison camps because we were elected to defend the nation. It's ok to imprison millions of non violent Americans because most people don't agree with their hobbies. Like sadists, these people find gratification in the suffering of others. They can not be reached. They are beyond reason, beyond emotion, and beyond compassion. There can be no compromise with evil.

I don't mean to imply that everyone who supports vice laws or terrorist internment or other forms of government oppression are evil. I believe that like all support of the state, their behavior can be generally ascribed to the four previous motivations. Certainly some are evil, but some are afraid, or gain from the system, or simply don't know any better.

I believe that most people fall into the first category, with the majority of those remaining falling into the second. There are a small amount which fall into the third, but they are mostly individual beneficiaries of state action. The fourth category is the most vile, but also the most limited. There are very few people, even amongst our government, who are truly evil. The woman working at the DMV, though she supports an oppressive idea that your property must be licensed and registered with the government, and that by extension you only own and operate it with their permission, is not an evil woman. She wants what most people want, to feed their family and pay their bills. She doesn't see that her paycheck comes from money stolen from her neighbors, and if you pointed it out, she'd say, “Well that's just tax money.” Just tax money. People say it everyday as though that justifies everything.

Even those charged with using violence on behalf of the state, law enforcement and military personnel, are not generally evil. They believe as they have been taught. That they are the protectors. That they are doing right. That they stand against evil. And often they do. When a cop kills a murderer to defend the innocent, he has stood against evil. But when he pulls a person over for failing to display their license plates, arrests that person, impounds the vehicle, and writes the person a fine, he has done evil. He doesn't know it, and wouldn't see it, but it's there none the less.

Most people can be reached. You must simply sit down with them, listen to their fears, and explain the situation. They don't always come around immediately, but if they are objective and honest, and seek truth above all else, they will eventually. There is simply no other logical consequence. Only those blinded by emotion could come to any conclusion other than a stateless society.

If uninstigated violence is inherently wrong. If theft is wrong. If slavery is wrong. If man has the right to create his own life with his own hands, free from the oppression of others, than there is only one solution. Half measures are a compromise with something we know to be wrong. There can be no justification for rape and murder, no matter how dire the consequences, nor how mitigated the act. If evil is wrong, than any evil, in any measure is equally so. There can be no question of degrees where upon doing evil becomes doing good. If we are truly to be free, we must be wholly free. We must put aside any state, and all states. One may be better than another, but none are truly righteous. Only individuals, in a perfect state of freedom, oppressing none, can be truly righteous.

We can be truly righteous.

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