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Why I can't argue for Limited government.

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." — George Washington, allegedly

I believe the root of our problems revolve around force and coercion. The ability for some to coerce others - through the threat of violence - into action that they would not voluntarily take, most people agree, is wrong.

The entire structure of our government is based on the ability to use force. As George Washington (allegedly) points out, it is force. The core of what makes government government is its ability to steal to fund its operations and its ability to initiate force to carry out its agenda. The perceived authority to use force is what makes the organizational structure of government unique.

We teach our kids that theft and coercion is wrong. We don’t accept this behavior from our friends and we condemn it when we see others doing it. We have this reaction because reason, which government is not, tells us it is wrong. Reason tells us that peace won’t come through theft and force. In order to find peace we have to respect others and show tolerance even when we may not agree with their actions.

When the very heart of our system of “order” and “justice”, the system used to “keep the peace”, the system that protects us from unjust force and coercion... when this system is based upon force and coercion, should we expect a successful result? Is this possible, or will it only create more violence?

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

When people argue for “small” or “limited” government it seems that they are trying to solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used to create them. In fact, it is the same kind of thinking that big government proponents use, just to a smaller degree.

In both cases emotions are driving the abandonment of logic. The mistake isn’t in the size or scope of government, the mistake is in acceptance of force and coercion to solve a problem. To accept limited government is to accept some amount of force. The difference between small government proponents and big government proponents is the extent to which they are willing to use theft and force to solve a problem.

The motives are good. The desire to feed the poor, help the elderly, provide for the common defense are all noble. But our emotions let the false promises that theft and coercion give seem necessary. When you are arguing for small or limited government in favor of big government you aren’t condemning this evil, but merely trying to change one’s emotional attachment to a specific issue. You are trying to convince them that certain things are too important to not use force for, but the issues they feel passionate about aren’t important enough. That’s a tough argument to make.

Often times we use the argument of the evils of theft and force on certain issues, but fail to take this principle to its logical conclusion. This slight amount of hypocrisy is confusing and hurts ones credibility. How can something be a principle if it has exceptions?

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

It's simple. It's not complex. It's not violent. Theft and coercion are wrong.

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Many claim government is essential? Examples?

The Hobbesean argument is that the only way to secure civil society is through universal submission to the absolute authority of a sovereign.

It's nonsense to believe that fallen man or fallen men can bring civility.

Recorded history, however, reports countless failures.

If it is found that government is just as dangerous as autonomy and liberty for all, then why waste the time and money for nothing?

Free includes debt-free!

Black's Law Dictionary's

Black's Law Dictionary's definition of State is a good example.

~ Engage in the war of attrition: http://pacalliance.us/redamendment/



A body politic, or society of men. united together for the purpose of pro- moting their mutual safety and advantage, by the joint efforts of their combined strength.

How are the men uniied, by consent of all men involved.?

Who recognizes a state?

Free includes debt-free!

Though wrong, theft and coercion will always be possible

I often post here against collectivist ideas and consider them to be a source of evil in the world. However, there is one solitary reason for the idea of collectivist action to be embraced. By collectivist actions I do not mean voluntary cooperation among groups of people such as is necessary to accomplish productive goals that exceed the capabilities of single individuals. Such as: division of labor within families and communities.

Collectivism, where the rights and needs of the individuals are subordinate to the group, is only beneficial in one very specific situation; when a group, such as a family, community or larger society is physically threatened by aggression from an external group. Like in the old days when an aggressive army would amass on another nation's border, or when a marauding band threatened a community.

With military action, numerical superiority is important, which doesn't mean just the number of troops, but also armaments and logistical support. To ensure survival of the group in a defensive struggle to the death, individual rights must be subordinated to the needs of the group. If many individuals in a threatened group assert their right to their own life, all the members of the group risk death or violent enslavement.

This is what is meant by common defense. Home and family are threatened with destruction, individual rights must be sacrificed to preserve woman and children for posterity.

Human nature being what it is, once a group of individuals who are entrusted with the common defense become established, those individuals tend to identify with the martial group more than the peaceful group it exists to defend.

In normal situations, when the peaceful members start to be threatened by the martial members the peaceful group can withdraw collective support, or defund the martial group which is dependent upon the greater community for its support.

In the present day United States, the martial group is not dependent upon the larger society for its support and funding. Various writers, including Catherine Austin Fitts talk about a breakaway civilization when describing the military industrial complex. Drug prohibition insures large flows of cash to fund covert programs and operations, and the petrodollar scheme siphons wealth from the global economy to fund and expand the greatest military force ever created.

The martial group of the United States is no longer financially dependent upon the peaceful members of society for its support, even though its ostensible reason for existence is defense of the those who desire peace.

Everyone is made to fear attack as justification for surrendering their individual rights as if a life and death struggle for survival of the group is imminent but the primary threat to peace is the breakaway martial group.

Ending drug prohibition would reduce a great deal of the back door funding of police forces, but only the collapse of the petrodollar system and the end of US dollar global hegemony will rein in the American military empire.

This is a huge topic. As I

This is a huge topic. As I read each comment here it is all earily familiar. That's probably because ive had this conversation with myself a hundred times. I cant possibly elaborate on my position here but If you're interested in hearing my thoughts you can read an article I wrote a while back entitled PEACE AND FREEDOM ARE NOT THE RESULT OF GOVERNMENT.


PS Ive been quite on Dp for quite a while. I check in about every day to see what is new but I just haven't been motivated to comment. This post however did the trick. Thanks husker, I think we need more principle driven discussions here. Peace.


I've been thinking about writing this down for a while and it took a while when I finally did, so thanks.

I read your article and I don't know where to start. I'll sum it all up with I concur, completely.

I used to associate anarchy with chaos, like most people. but after thinking about it and the natural order that could arise, makes me think that harmony would a better adjective than chaos.

Mises on government and anarchy

«Anarchism believes that education could make all people comprehend what their own interests require them to do; rightly instructed they would of their own accord always comply with the rules of conduct indispensable for the preservation of society. The anarchists contend that a social order in which nobody enjoys privileges at the expense of his fellow-citizens could exist without any compulsion and coercion for the prevention of action detrimental to society. Such an ideal society could do without state and government; i.e., without a police force, the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion.

The anarchists overlook the undeniable fact that some people are either too narrow-minded or too weak to adjust themselves spontaneously to the conditions of social life. Even if we admit that every sane adult is endowed with the faculty of realizing the good of social cooperation and of acting accordingly, there still remains the problem of the infants, the aged, and the insane. We may agree that he who acts antisocially should be considered mentally sick and in need of care. But as long as not all are cured, and as long as there are infants and the senile, some provision must be taken lest they jeopardize society. An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state or government.

State or government is the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion. It has the monopoly of violent action. No individual is free to use violence or the threat of violence if the government has not accorded this right to him. The state is essentially an institution for the preservation of peaceful interhuman relations. However, for the preservation of peace it must be prepared to crush the onslaughts of peace-breakers.»

«It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

To draw attention to this fact does not imply any reflection upon government activities. In stark reality, peaceful social cooperation is impossible if no provision is made for violent prevention and suppression of antisocial action on the part of refractory individuals and groups of individuals. One must take exception to the often repeated phrase that government is an evil, although a necessary and indispensable evil. What is required for the attainment of an end aimed at is a means, the cost to be expended for its successful realization. It is an arbitrary value judgment to describe it as an evil in the moral connotation of the term. However, in face of the modern tendencies toward a deification of government and state, it is good to remind ourselves that the state by a bundle of rods with an ax in the middle than are our contemporaries in ascribing to the state all the attributes of God.»

«State and government are not ends, but means. Inflicting evil upon other people is a source of direct pleasure only to sadists. Established authorities resort to coercion and compulsion in order to safeguard the smooth operation of a definite system of social organization. The sphere in which coercion and compulsion is applied and the content of the laws which are to be enforced by the police apparatus are conditioned by the social order adopted. As state and government are designed to make this social system operate safely, the delimitation of governmental functions must be adjusted to its requirements. The only standard for the appreciation of the laws and the methods for their enforcement is whether or not they are efficient in safeguarding the social order which it is desired to preserve.»

«It is a display of supererogatory mental gymnastics to emphasize that the notions of state and sovereignty logically imply absolute supremacy and thus preclude the idea of any limitations on the state's activities. Nobody questions the fact that a state has the power to establish totalitarianism within the territory in which it is sovereign. The problem is whether or not such a mode of government is expedient from the point of view of the preservation and functioning of social cooperation. With regard to this problem no sophisticated exegesis of concepts and notions can be of any use. It must be decided by praxeology, not by a spurious metaphysics of state and right.»

«A country's public opinion may be ideologically divided in such a way that no group is strong enough to establish a durable government. Then anarchy emerges. Revolutions and civil strife become permanent.»

- Quotes from Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: http://mises.org/document/3250

- Rakafanten -

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato

This is why I always agreed with

Rothbard above von Mises.

No use of force?

So tou will never use force, even in self defence? An you will certainly not let anyone organize a defence of your individual rights that uses force to repel criminals?

I think this is an obvious one unless you are a Ghandi-style pacifist who is unwilling to use force even in self defence.

Exactly where do you agree with Rothbard over Mises, and what is the logical reason?

- Rakafanten -

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato

Rothbard and Mises are closer then what most people believe

Mises folks are generally Anarchists as well. The only real difference I see is strategy in getting people to convert to Anarchism. Mises followers believe it's easier to convert big Ls and will join the fight to go from 100% statism to 20% statism, while Rothbards generally believe in the ignore & nullify strategy. Maybe I am wrong, but that is at least the impression I have been getting. But make no mistake, both schools of thought have anarchism at its core. It's not that Mises folk actually believe a gov is essential to have an army for defense. It's just their strategy is to work to big L then to Anarchism.

I think you are making the same mistake as many big Ls make with your. You think we need central governance to have an army? That's the same who will build the roads and provide police protection argument.

We didn't create these problems with limited government though

And your points are about force. If government is limited in scope how does it have means to apply force?

Because if it doesn't use force it isn't a government.

Lets imagine there is a government that provides legitimate protection for its people at a fantastic price. Will this ever happen? Probably not-- but for the sake of argument we'll pretend it did (as this is the role of the state according to the "limited government" folks).

For whatever reason I decide I don't want this protection.

The government can...

1. FORCE me to buy it with either violence or the threat of violence.

Conclusion: The state is a violent institution.

2. Allow me to buy protection elsewhere or not at all.

Conclusion: The state is not a state- but one of many private providers of protection services.

the point stated is limited government, correct?

Democide is a perversion of big government.

Not quite

The one characteristic that distinguishes government from any individual or group in society is that government has the power to harm with legal impunity.

says who?

I think your statement is too blatant to accept as fact.



So how does anyone secure their inalienable rights?

In the face of someone who commits violence upon you, steals or damages your property, infringes upon your liberty, how do you correct that situation?

If force is being used upon you, what are you to do if not use force in response and in kind, to end the abuse, damage, theft, et cetera?

THIS is the SOLITARY purpose of government recognized in our FIRST organic law of the United States of America.

ANY other purpose or function of government - the use of force - is wholly unjustified, regardless of any language in subsequent documents "granting this or that power."

You aren't going to secure rights without force. If you've figured out how, the world would love to hear the answer.

That leaves us with something called government.

The problem then, isn't government itself, but the gross ignorance of why it needs to be limited to ONE PURPOSE and ONE PURPOSE ONLY.

Outside of this one purpose, I refuse to and cannot argue for, "limited government" either, but I'd wager when most people are arguing for limited government, even if they don't say so right at first, this is what they really mean and would gladly accept.

In fact, we should seriously revisit the Constitution through the prism of our Founding Document - the Declaration of Independence. If we did, we'd clearly find room to repeal most of the powers delegated in Article I § 8 and we'd likely find that some hybrid of the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution would suit us better.

That strawman is all turned to dust

from being beaten relentlessly by you minarchists. I don't know about the OP, but most ancaps do not argue against using force in self-defense. We do, however, argue against coercive monopolies in defense services.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Having a government for purposes of securing rights does not

necessarily imply monopoly on the use of force for self defense.

In fact, it doesn't now. If it did, it would be illegal for you to use force in self-defense, yet the examples of people killing others, either for protection of life or property when attacked (depending on the State involved) are quite extensive in number.

To be sure, just as we need to refocus government on its sole purpose, we would be re-evaluating just how limited that is in practical terms, and of course, how that does not in any way grant a monopoly on self defense, making citizens sitting ducks.

We also might find, after reducing government to its proper role, that we really don't need it at all, and can accomplish the same ends through other means.

But we haven't tried that yet, and there is little to no evidence anything else would work.

We can't just press the Easy Button to get their either.

The path to less government and then no-government has to begin somewhere, and you aren't going to get people to agree to make the leap until they begin to see results.

I can't start a defense services company

You are confusing self-defense with defense services. The government doesn't allow private police forces with subscribers.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

That's funny, ever heard of Blackwater/Xe?

And yes, some towns have begun outsourcing their policing among other things. This is a state by state issue.

We're also mostly talking theoretical here anyway.

they are a government contractor

You can't hire them to police your neighborhood and opt out of paying taxes for your incompetent, unresponsive local police department.

Furthermore, since their only customer is the government, Blackwater is not a free market operation.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Yes, they take government contracts. No that does not constitute

the entirety of their business.

THEY don't get hired to do local policing, but there are some similar type companies who do.

A private firm CAN hire them for security.

Government does NOT have a monopoly on "defense services" in that respect.

Amen! I am glad someone else here "gets it".

I can, however, argue for limited government, in the same manner as you seem to have have in your final paragraph. Jefferson argued for revolution every 20 years. I do not feel that is necessary. However, I would have opted for something such as Chief Justice John Marshall disappearing briefly after his usurpation by Marbury vs. Madison or Alexander Hamilton disappearing briefly after the Whiskey Rebellion, along with at least a few key officers in the Bank of England. If any of these things had happened, this world would have been a far more pleasant place to live over the following three centuries.

Remember, murder is the taking of INNOCENT life.

While your dream may have worked, and may yet still, I'd prefer

the route Dr. Paul would most likely steer us to:

Arrest the bastards, convict them publicly, and let the record show that tyranny does not pay.

Disappearing public officials into swamps or pig farms might be an immediate and effective solution, but it doesn't also help to make sure we don't have to keep doing that.

I'd rather use the event as an opportunity to educate the People, the "aristocrats" and posterity.

After all, isn't the mark of what we would consider "civilized" be that we don't resort to force to solve our problems if we don't have to?

Of course, if we have to, that is, if those in power have rendered peaceful justice impossible and made themselves "untouchable" then by all means, break out the concrete boots and let them sleep with the fishies.

I sympathize and yet there are a few problems.

1. Big weapons and big swaths of geography that disagree and have governments.

And on the opposite end ...

2. Local governments, in essence, are basically 3rd party arbiters. They are corporations with special powers that simply exist through a contract with the community. They can't throw you in jail for not paying local taxes (at least in most cases), but they can basically run you out of town or make things very hard for you if you don't follow the rules and yet use their services. And the rules are clear and transparent (in most cases) and they are the rules because the local yokals agree to them. There are examples of abuse and we are human and there is never going to be a Utopia. But for your argument to hold water then these corporations are not governments ... right?

You need some force to guarantee individual sovereignty

You can whine all day about no one can coerce someone else. But if there is zero government, the strong will coerce the weak.

Sometimes I think the anti-constitution talk is a counter movement within a movement designed to keep us on the fringe when what we should be doing is focusing on restoring the constitution.

We have no more time for this taking things to ridiculous extremes. This is no game. It is our asses that are on the line here.

The only faulty logic here is yours. You are advocating zero coercion knowing fell well that no government means a Road Warrior type civilization in the short run, and tyranny in the long run.

What we need is a Constitutional Republic which guarantees the rights of man. The founders had that right. If we don't make restoring the constitution the issue, then the "law" is what each individual believes it to be. And that is basically what we have now... groups deciding what they think the law should be and coalescing around that cause or this cause. You see the result.

Lets keep it simple dude. Lets work together to restore this nation into one that is consistent with the original intent and meaning of the supreme law, the constitution.

"You can whine all day about

"You can whine all day about no one can coerce someone else. But if there is zero government, the strong will coerce the weak."

at least with no government the strong won't be "legally" able to steal from us to coerce the weak. Then they will not have as many funds to carry out their nefarious plans. The strong own and run the government.

"Sometimes I think the anti-constitution talk is a counter movement within a movement designed to keep us on the fringe when what we should be doing is focusing on restoring the constitution."

I know how you feel, I often thing the same thing.. obviously vise versa. While paid trolls do exist, I suspect most of us, at least on this page, are well intentioned truth seekers. And none of us are fully "awake". We are all probably wrong about something.

"We have no more time for this taking things to ridiculous extremes. This is no game. It is our asses that are on the line here."

Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Barry Goldwater said that and I agree. "moderate" solutions probably aren't solutions.

"The only faulty logic here is yours. You are advocating zero coercion knowing fell well that no government means a Road Warrior type civilization in the short run, and tyranny in the long run."

I don't follow, explain to me how no government means tyranny in the long run.

"What we need is a Constitutional Republic which guarantees the rights of man. The founders had that right. If we don't make restoring the constitution the issue, then the "law" is what each individual believes it to be. And that is basically what we have now... groups deciding what they think the law should be and coalescing around that cause or this cause. You see the result."

think about it...

I'm keeping at simple. Theft is wrong.

With no gov't to enforce the sovereignty of the individual

the biggest , baddest gang around will force their view of reality on us.

as opposed to now

where the angels in government protect us??? no, government is just a trick by the biggest baddest gang to keep people from revolting and paying their taxes.