Rethinking the State ConceptSubmitted by dwalters on Wed, 04/30/2014 - 00:52
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.
~ Thomas Paine, Common Sense
As a scientist, it is my job to make observations, interpret the data based on a fundamental understanding of the system under scrutiny, and report the useful findings to the greater scientific community (or perhaps, employ my newfound knowledge in a worthwhile endeavor). Humanity has had thousands of years of experience under State rule, but only very rarely are meaningful adjustments made. It's disturbing to me how often and easily valuable lessons are ignored for the sake of familiarity and tradition.
The Newtonian Revolution brought mankind a workable understanding of the Laws of Nature. Almost immediately - as John Locke was a friend of Newton - concepts such as divine right came under the fire of reason and logic. Can kings break the Laws of Nature? Such a question leads one to the conclusion - All men are equal before the Laws of Nature. The American Revolution was simply an offshoot of the Newtonian Revolution.
I have several Chinese colleagues, and it's always a pleasure to converse with them. Today, as I spoke with one of my friends, the concept of the State came up - as it often has in the past. The statement was made (paraphrasing) - "In China, special economic favor is given to those closely connected to the politicians. The class of wealthy entrepreneurs is dominated by such people - while opportunities for common people are much less prevalent especially in major industries." Sound vaguely familiar? (How about that solar farm of Reid, for example?)
People from around the world place different flavor labels on various State designs, but in reality, a State is a State is a State.
My friend lauded the opportunities people have in the United States to become successful. However, I quickly pointed out, we've been living on our grandfathers' grandfathers' wealth - which is quickly vanishing in our, now, debt-based, nanny-state dominated system. It's only ever a matter of time before the State plunders what it considers the excess wealth of its perceived subjects - regardless of the flavor.
A question that will receive a virtually uniform response from people across the globe is - In general, are politicians trustworthy?
If your child had a friend that you suspected of stealing from your household, would you continue to allow him/her to come over? Would you marry or have a significant relationship with a person which you clearly couldn't trust? If you owned a business, would you fire a person for stealing from the cash register, or would you promote him/her to manager? If there was an entire group of people you couldn't trust, do you think it would be a good idea to give them billions of dollars, a shitload of automatic rifles, tanks, & nuclear weapons, and the ability to punish anyone they wanted to with impunity?
Adhering to flawed philosophy out of familiarity and tradition is a cop out. Often I've heard - "Well, that's just the way things are. So, you may as well just take it up the woo-hoo like everyone else." Truthfully, the reason why "things are the way they are" is because of this complacent attitude. If people continued to have a similar stance for the remainder of human existence, would anything ever change?
Rather than engaging in the futile endeavor of trying to perfect the State, Humanity should aspire toward anarchy. We should venture to make the State as small as people are willing to tolerate, and then, once they become comfortable, shrink it a little more until one day, hopefully, it disappears.
People tend to, more or less, say - "Who will protect me?"
Who protects you now? For instance, do the police protect you? How often are police present when a crime is being committed? Police don't prevent crimes, police respond to crimes after they occur. Deferring protection to other individuals only provides a false sense of security that often places victims at greater risk.
It was reported that a college girl where I live was sexually assaulted in a university parking deck over the weekend. Suppose that she was packing a Derringer - which is forbidden on campus - and plugged the perpetrator? What if the headline read - Attempted Rape Victim Shoots and Kills Assailant - rather than - Girl Gets Sexually Assaulted at Parking Deck: Assailant Remains at Large?
Crime is prevented much more effectively when it is known by potential criminals that the potential victims are willing to defend themselves - rather than when a criminal knows the victim is likely defenseless and the police are minutes-and-minutes away. (This is no fault of the police. It's simply the nature of the beast.)
The proceedings of those robbers and murderers who call themselves "the government" are directly the opposite of the single highwayman. In the first place, they do not like him make themselves individually known or, consequently, take upon themselves personally the responsibility of their acts.
On the contrary, they secretly, by secret ballot, designate someone of their number to commit the robbery in their behalf while they keep themselves practically concealed. They say to the person thus designated:
"Go to A B and say to him that the government has need of money to meet the expenses of protecting him and his property. If he presumes to say that he has never contracted with us to protect him and that he wants none of our protection, say to him that that is our business and not his, that we choose to protect him whether he desires us to do so or not and that we demand pay too for protecting him.
If he dares to inquire who the individuals are who have thus taken upon themselves the title of 'the government' and who is soon to protect him and demand payment of him without his ever having made any contract with them, say to him that that too is our business and not his that we do not choose to make ourselves individually known to him, that we have secretly, by secret ballot, appointed you, our agent, to give him notice of our demands, and if he complies with them, give to him, in our name, a receipt that will protect him against any similar demands for the present year.
If he refuses to comply, seize and sell enough of his property to pay not only our demands but all your own expenses and trouble besides. If he resists the seizure of his property, call upon the bystanders to help you. Doubtless, some of them will prove to be members of our band.
If, in defending his property, he should kill any of our band who were assisting you, capture him at all hazards, charge him in one of our courts with murder, convict him, and hang him.
If he should call upon his neighbors or any others, who like him may be disposed to resist our demands and they should come in large numbers to his assistance, cry out that they are all rebels and traitors, that our country is in danger. Call upon the commander of our hired murderers. Tell him to quell the rebellion and save the country, cost what it may. Tell him to kill all that resist though they should be hundreds of thousands, and thus strike terror into all others similarly disposed. See that the work of murder is thoroughly done that we may have no further trouble of this kind hereafter.
When these traitors have thus been taught our strength and our determination, they will be good loyal citizens for many years and pay their taxes without a why or a wherefore."
The logic that underlies the concept of the State is extremely flawed.
This generation is not the first to encounter State tyranny. It has been around for ages. The State cannot be perfected and, very likely, cannot be limited once given a monopoly on the use of force.
What must one do to change it? Spread ideas. Learn to communicate effectively. Speak in a regular volume so that those lingering in the immediate vicinity can hear what you are saying. Never be ashamed to admit that you're a minarchist or anarchist or whatever else. Be proud and stand on sound logic. And, rather than telling people what you want them to know, try to instead ask them questions that will get them to think about the message you are trying to convey.
If you were around during the days of chattel slavery, would you have been for immediate abolition? Or, would you have been for gradual abolition for practical reasons? To hell with what's practical. Stand for what is right. Stand for what you truly believe and nothing less. Even if you don't change every mind you encounter, you will earn quite a bit of respect for your candor and consistency.
The State is not great. This is something virtually everyone knows yet does nothing to change. Be the exception. Politicians are not divine; they, too, cannot break the Laws of Nature, just like the kings who came before them. If you disagree with them, challenge their supposed authority. Stagnation is not progress. If something is broken, it is reasonable to make appropriate changes - while leaving things unchanged and expecting different results...
It's high-time to rethink the State concept.