Cats Get What They Want
Humans didn’t domesticate cats, cats domesticated themselves. They marketed themselves properly to show their value to humans, and in exchange got value back from the humans. Continue reading
Cats Get What They Want
Humans didn’t domesticate cats, cats domesticated themselves. They marketed themselves properly to show their value to humans, and in exchange got value back from the humans. Continue reading
In the past I have fallen into the habit of talking about the problems society faces, mostly from coercive government. These are real problems of which most of us are aware, and there is copious discussion on these topics in older posts on this blog. But at some point, we need to stop identifying the problems with society, and start formulating solutions. Continue reading
Everyone, especially parents, should read this article by Carol Black called On the Wilderness of Children. In it she most eloquently lays out several ideas that I have been, perhaps less articulately, trying to point out. We are ruining children by forcing them through public education, we are ruining ourselves with a coercive society, and we are perpetuating this destruction every generation.
She’s not glorifying tribalism, and she’s not pretending there is a simple equation that will make kids perfect angels; Carol is pointing out how many social problems are created by treating children like caged zoo animals. In fact, when public education was created, the authorities were very upfront about removing children from their natural habitat, and raising them in a way to get them used to working in industrial factories.
And we never left that model behind. Practically everything sick about our society can be traced back to the systematized abuse children suffer that many consider integral to raising children. I recently summarized a different article with the same general theme, that our society is sick with coercion, and it is literally driving us crazy!
And Carol points out that this coercion is normalized in a public school environment, so that a master/ slave paradigm seems like the only way to solve problems.
But as Odawa elder and educator Wilfred Peltier tells us, learning -– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of non-interference, in the right of all human beings to make their own choices, as long as they’re not interfering with anybody else. As Nishnaabeg scholar and author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson tells us, learning –– like all human relationships –– must be based in the ethical principal of consent, in the right of all human beings to be free of violence and the use of force. Simpson explains:
If children learn to normalize dominance and non-consent within the context of education, then non-consent becomes a normalized part of the ‘tool kit’ of those who have and wield power… This is unthinkable within Nishnaabeg intelligence.
Interestingly, the most brilliant artists and scientists in Euro-western societies tell us exactly the same thing: that it is precisely this state of open attention, curiosity, freedom, collaboration, consent, that is necessary for all true learning, discovery, creation.
Once you think about the causes of social problems, it all becomes so clear! Why do we think there are huge drug problems–both prescription and illicit–in our society? People do drugs for much the same reason that they starve themselves, behave violently, become depressed, or “act out”: they can’t stand the environment they are in and have no idea how to remedy what has been done to them.
For decades our model of drug addiction has been based on research done on laboratory rats provided with a lever they could press to deliver water laced with heroin or cocaine. Researchers found the rats would press the lever and consume the drug until it killed them, and they concluded that the drug itself was the cause of the addictive behavior. But then a psychologist named Bruce Alexander noticed something. The rats who killed themselves in this way were isolated in an unnatural environment, a barren Skinner box where there was nothing rewarding to do but self-stimulate with drugs. When they were placed in a more varied, more natural setting, able to interact freely with the environment and with other rats, their drug use was reduced by more than three quarters. In other words, if you gave them a life they wanted to live, and a world they wanted to live in, they did not destroy themselves. Or, as author Johann Hari has put it:
“It’s not you. It’s your cage.”
And as a byproduct of our cages, most people end up being terrified by the prospect of free humans. Many people do not understand the world outside the cage, and simply assume it would be chaos. Maybe the cage is a bleak, depressing, violent place to live, but its all I know! The outside must be worse.
But by studying un-caged societies, and the progress being made on un-schooling the “civilized” humans, it is a pretty safe bet that free animals are happy, productive, well adjusted animals.
Political theorist Toby Rollo has pointed out how the forcible subjugation of children by adults forms the psychological underpinning of every other model of political and economic subjugation. This is not a metaphor; it’s a structuring principle of political reality. During the days of overt empire and colonialism –– the same days in which our modern school system was created –– Indigenous people, people of color, women of all colors, and lower-class whites were all viewed as childlike, in need of fatherly tutelage and discipline. And because it was understood that children often required violent “chastisement” –– for their own good! –– it was natural that childlike adults would require the same.
Those who realize how harmful “traditional” education is to children have the opportunity to create a better society in one generation. We can break the cycle, we can cure the human race, and we can set in motion a cycle of freedom, love, and happiness, instead of a cycle of oppression.
I try to play devil’s advocate with myself, in order to always move closer and closer to truth in my beliefs. So the other day while running, which is a great outlet for getting the mind flowing as much as the blood, it occurred to me that there must be examples of government advancing civilization at certain times.
It is practically impossible to tease apart all the factors in a society that contribute to its advance, stagnation, or decline. Clearly it is easy to point to the “benefit” government creates in one sector, while ignoring the cost in another sector (for example corn subsidies might be good for the farmer, but bad for the taxpayer). That is not what I am talking about.
I am talking about examples of government force being wielded so as to prevent a cataclysmic catastrophe, or bring about a monumental advance. Perhaps an example would be Chinese government funded invention and discovery of the 15th century.
Now per usual, I have to remind readers that I still do not believe the end justifies the means. Even if I stole $10,000 from my neighbors, knowing they would blow it on booze and cigarettes, and invested it for a return of 20% over just one year, returning $12,000 to them, this would still be wrong. Even if I do know how to manage their money better than them, it is still theft, and it is still aggression to take it in the first place, even if I return it with interest, and even if I buy them something with their stolen money that would greatly improve their quality of life.
But anyway suppose government could advance civilization, on the whole, without harming anyone in the sense that everyone’s life was actually improved in some objective manner. Yes, already a big what if, but considering extreme examples can help define our philosophy. So for argument’s sake say a government has in the past over a ten, twenty, hundred, or five hundred year period “advanced civilization”.
The Marathon to Become Civilized
To run a marathon in just under three and a half hours takes about an 8 minute per mile pace, and this is a respectable marathon time for any amateur. Now, in order to hit the target time, the best way to run it is slightly negative splits, that is, to get just a little faster each mile. No one is perfect, and most people end up varying a bit from mile to mile, but it is hard to hit your target time if you are off by more than about about ten seconds on either side, per mile.
What happens if our marathoner decides to go out with the elite runners, and does a 4:40 first mile? Well he is sure as hell not going to hit his target marathon time of 3:30. Most likely he will have to drop out of the race because he has never sprinted so fast in his life, and his legs now feel like jello. If our runner manages to push himself the rest of the way after that first mile, we are looking at a five hour marathon at best.
Relying on government to advance civilization is like forcing an 8 minute mile pace marathoner to sprint at random times throughout the race, “because it will more quickly get him to the finish”. And sure, for 4 minutes and 40 seconds of that marathon, it was easy to argue that he was quickly advancing towards his goal. But at what overall cost?
Civilization will naturally progress, and some miles might be slower than others, but government does not get us any closer to our overall goal in any real sense. It may feel like we are rapidly advancing at times, but the hidden costs of that advance are bound to slow progress down later. The monster we allow in government force will always come back to haunt us with a destructive war, genocide, epidemic, or any number of other unintended consequences of allow some people to break the rules of society that the rest of us must live by.
Chinese Versus European Progress
An old article I wrote based on Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel contrasted the centralized authority of Chinese government in the early 1400’s, with the diverse competing governments of Europe in the late 1400’s. China had 400 foot ships going on treasure expeditions as early as 1405, but when a rival faction took over the government, they grounded the fleet, dismantled the shipyards, and made shipping illegal in order to centralize their power. This one decision possibly set China back a thousand years; but it was the same type of power which initially gave China a navy more advanced than would again appear on earth until the 18th century.
Columbus had a 62 foot ship almost a hundred years after the Chinese were sailing to Africa on 400 foot ships. But even though Europe was initially behind in technological development, their progress was steady according to Diamond.
The story was the same with Europe’s cannon, electric lighting, printing, small firearms, and innumerable other innovations: each was first neglected or opposed in some parts of Europe for idiosyncratic reasons, but once adopted in one area, it eventually spread to the rest of Europe…
Europe’s geographic balkanization resulted in dozens or hundreds of independent, competing statelets and centers of innovation. If one state did not pursue some particular innovation, another did, forcing neighboring states to do likewise or else be conquered or left economically behind. Europe’s barriers were sufficient to prevent political unification, but insufficient to halt the spread of technology and ideas. There has never been one despot who could turn off the tap for all of Europe, as of China. (413-416)
I’m using Europe as a “free market” example because the states were competing with each other. But clearly their power was also a government sprint versus a steady pace. Perhaps the Portuguese fishermen who had already discovered North America would have set a different tone for the new world than Columbus’s government funded expedition, and the government armadas which followed.
Maybe working together with the Native Americans in the interest of mutually beneficial transactions would have advanced society naturally so that we stayed on pace to reach our marathon goal. Instead we are still at mile 18 when we wanted to be finishing.
It is possible that the United States government collapses under its own weight. Though many scoff at the idea of the U.S. government collapsing, it would actually be stranger if it didn’t. We need look no further than the collapse of Rome in 476, which fell due to many of the same conditions which affect the U.S. today.
But the U.S. has 50 states to pick up the pieces. Because of the unique setup of the United States, these 50 states could cushion the blow of an immediate collapse, stopping another strongman from taking over the whole landmass in the turmoil. Instead, we may see 50 competing countries emerge, which would give free markets, and eventually a stateless society a fighting chance.
But first, let’s quickly review why Rome fell, and how America is in a similar place.
The Writing on the Wall for Rome and America
History.com summarizes eight main reasons why Rome fell, which I would suggest checking out. But the main reasons were, 1) “Invasion by barbarian tribes,” 2) “Economic troubles and over reliance on slave labor,” 3) “The rise of the Eastern Empire” or splitting in two of the Roman empire, 4) “Over expansion and military overspending,” 5) “Government corruption and political instability,” 6) “The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the barbarian tribes,” 7) “Christianity and the loss of traditional values,” 8) “Weakening of the Roman legions.”
Without getting into a long discussion about the similarities between the current United States and Rome just before it collapsed, I would like to just point out a few highlights. Towards the end, Rome was “crumbling from within thanks to a severe financial crisis. Constant wars and overspending had significantly lightened imperial coffers, and oppressive taxation and inflation had widened the gap between rich and poor.”
That quotation applies unaltered directly to the United States government. The United States is over $18 trillion dollars in debt, and while Bernie Sanders might have you believe the widening wealth gap is because of capitalism, the truth is that the government directly causes large wealth gaps by confiscating money through taxation and inflation, and upwardly redistributing it.
“At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River in the Middle East, but its grandeur may have also been its downfall. With such a vast territory to govern, the empire faced an administrative and logistical nightmare…As more and more funds were funneled into the military upkeep of the empire, technological advancement slowed and Rome’s civil infrastructure fell into disrepair.” Again, I struggle to add anything. This very same situation grips the United States today. The endless wars and military expansion in the middle east could be the United States’ downfall. It has become more profitable to be a government contracted bomb maker than to invent new standard-of-living-raising technology.
“If Rome’s sheer size made it difficult to govern, ineffective and inconsistent leadership only served to magnify the problem…As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership.” I don’t think many Americans trust their leadership right now, but they just don’t know what to do to fix it! We have been scared into thinking government is the only way, somehow still better than markets, even as the empire crumbles under the inmates running the asylum from DC.
After the Hun invasion forced many Germanic tribes to flee their land, “[t]he Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory, but they treated them with extreme cruelty.” I find this interesting as some have called for illegal immigrants to earn their citizenship through military service. This would seem to fit with the Roman plan, as many displaced Germanic tribes ended up fighting for Rome as mercenaries, and then eventually sacking Rome twice.
America also has refugees to deal with, caused by the wars which the U.S. created and escalated. This also leads to a loss of traditional values, which I am not saying is necessarily bad, but will certainly add to the troubles of keeping the American Empire afloat. For instance, a predominantly Spanish speaking area of the U.S. might want to split off to form its own little society.
But the Collapse of the American Empire Could Do More Good than Harm
This is the thing: saying all these things pose problems for the empire does not mean all these things pose problems for the American people. In fact, the American Empire is the biggest risk to our life, liberty, and property. The fear is that things will devolve into chaos in the absence of mammoth government. Now lessons from after the Roman fall might seem to suggest this is true.
The Dark Ages did indeed follow Rome’s fall. But these were conquered lands, which have historically felt turmoil when an invading empire departs. I would start by suggesting the actual United States territory would not devolve the same way conquered lands did under Rome. State governments would probably pick up the slack. It seems there may be a mixture of competition between states and rich landowners who may become like modern feudal lords.
Since the government and military broke down, people began searching for protection and access to resources. Rich landholders provided a respite for the desperate. The rich allowed the poor onto their lands and provided protection. In return, the poor worked the lands for the landowner and provided a portion of the crop to pay rent. This was the beginning of the feudal system.
At the time, peasants would seem to have had little options in terms of which Lord to work for. But these days, moving to gain protection from a better more fair “Lord” would be easier. Also, “as a result of several factors, the European economy degraded to barter,” which means it was hard to aggregate capital as a peasant, without a way to protect it. Today things like bitcoin give the opportunity to use alternative currencies in the event of a U.S. dollar collapse. Since these currencies would not be centralized and controlled by government or one corporation, it would be that much harder to hold economic power over others. If an entity with a lot of one type of currency became aggressive, simply refusing to accept or use that currency would take their power away.
This could cause an equilibrium between government and industry, with people choosing who they think can do a better job of providing security and other services. If the government ended up oppressing people, powerful corporations could offer protection, and vice versa. Since companies, at their base level, offer a valuable product and must compete to attract customers, it would seem that they would be likely to outcompete government. This is because government is inherently violent, forces you to accept their services, and steals your money to fund them, meaning you cannot defund bad services.
Without a monolithic state to back up the aggression, smaller states would have to ease up on their oppression, allowing people the viable alternative of not participating in the government system. Without a centralized United States Currency (because it would almost certainly be one of the causes of collapse, or at least collapse with the rest of the government) it would be harder for government to have control over corporations, and corporations would have less to gain from taking control of a government.
Since people would be using voluntary currencies, this would make it more difficult for one state or corporation to aggregate vast amounts of wealth that allow them to monopolize with the same ease that the United States government does today. Using force would cost them more than they could gain from it.
What do you think? Is my assessment naive and overly hopeful? Or would this collapse lead to the regrowth of the economy into the conditions depicted in my fiction novel, “Anarchy in New England”?
When I say real crimes, I mean a crime with a victim. A crime where no one has been negatively effected is not really a crime at all. You can break a law, in my opinion, without committing a crime in this sense. The point of police is to keep us safe. It would seem that solving murders and rapes would keep us safer than arresting marijuana users, or even those in possession of harder drugs that have done nothing violent.
As the politicians keep creating more laws, and as the drug war rages on, a murder now only has a 60% chance of being solved. A rape has about a 3% chance of being solved. Talk about a war on women! Police are too busy harassing people for going 5 over the speed limit to test the 400,000 to one million untested rape kits.
That’s right, there are upwards of a million rape kits collected and ready to be tested, that have simply not been tested! Solving rapes doesn’t make money like civil asset forfeiture, where the government steals property they suspect had something to do with a crime. SUSPECT! Innocent until proven guilty does not exist under these circumstances. You are assumed guilty, and must prove your innocence to get your property back.
The Free Thought Project posted an article about the drop in clearance rate. The clearance rate for crimes is the total solved, out of the total number of crimes reported. In 1965 the clearance rate for murder was 91% but it has steadily fallen over the years to 65% last year. Keep in mind, this is the rate of solving the crime, at the same time murder rates have fallen. So we have more cops, fewer crimes committed, and a lower percentage of those fewer crimes being solved.
It’s not that police are incapable of solving these crimes either; they’re just not interested in doing so.
“Take for example, homicides of police officers in the course of their duty,” University of Maryland criminologist Charles Wellfordpoints out. On paper, they’re the kind of homicide that’s hardest to solve — “they’re frequently done in communities that generally have low clearance rates … they’re stranger-to-stranger homicides, they [have] high potential of retaliation [for] witnesses.” And yet, Wellford says, they’re almost always cleared.
Go to the Free Thought Project article to read more about this problem. Once again, crony-capitalism or corporatism is partly to blame for the law enforcement problems in this country. For profit, “private”, yet tax funded prisons depend on inmates, versus trying to keep people out of jail in order to save tax dollars. This is why the “Land of the Free” has the second highest incarceration rate* (more than twice Iran’s rate, and five times China’s rate) and highest number of prisoners in the world**!
*The highest incarceration rate in the world is in Seychelles, a country with 89,000 people, and fewer than 800 total prisoners.
**More than triple Russia’s numbers; 1.5 million more prisoners than China (while their population is 4 times as large as the USA), and almost 6 times more prisoners than India (with a population also 4 times as large as the USA).
I’ve been criticized at times for likening taxation to slavery. As the above meme demonstrates, almost everyone can agree that 100% taxation is slavery. So then a lesser percentage of forced labor, as I have argued, is also slavery, perhaps to a lesser degree.
Whether a cent or a million dollars is stolen, we call it theft, unless we call it taxation. And if someone forces you to work for them 1% of the time, or 100% of a time, that is still slavery. We need to stop letting the government off the hook by softening the perception of theft and slavery and allowing them to use the term taxation.
Frederick Douglas was a slave, by any reckoning. So it is interesting to read his own words, on the same subject of having his rightfully earned wages taken by force. First, he laments the state of his servitude, that all his hard work is confiscated from him.
Besides, I was now getting—as I have said—a dollar and fifty cents per day. I contracted for it, worked for it, earned it, collected it; it was paid to me, and it was rightfully my own; and yet, upon every returning Saturday night, this money—my own hard earnings, every cent of it—was demanded of me, and taken from me by Master Hugh. He did not earn it; he had no hand in earning it; why, then, should he have it? I owed him nothing. He had given me no schooling, and I had received from him only my food and raiment; and for these, my services were supposed to pay, from the first. The right to take my earnings, was the right of the robber. He had the power to compel me to give him the fruits of my labor, and this power was his only right in the case. I became more and more dissatisfied with this state of things…
Frederick Douglas sees here what I see: that the only “right” the government has to take your money, is the right of the robber. Yes, they have enough power to force you to give them money, and that is the only thing that makes it “legitimate”. Douglas then muses about what conditions make slave-masters able to keep men enslaved.
To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery. The man that takes his earnings, must be able to convince him that he has a perfect right to do so. It must not depend upon mere force; the slave must know no Higher Law than his master’s will. The whole relationship must not only demonstrate, to his mind, its necessity, but its absolute rightfulness. If there be one crevice through which a single drop can fall, it will certainly rust off the slave’s chain.
And this is the same reason people accept taxation. We revere authority, and accept government as necessary, and still think we get some benefit out of our slavery. Of course people think this way, how often do you hear people support something because, “it is the law”. Is there no higher law than that which the government makes up for its own benefit, and then exerts through force? The will and force of government is the highest law we know.
But as soon as we realize that it is never okay to be robbed, no matter how small, the injustice is a potent demonstration that we are at the mercy of a thieving gang who has convinced most people that somehow in this case, theft and slavery are acceptable.
In case you are hung up on the percentage of stolen labor: it is interesting to note that Frederick Douglas did not always have 100% of his wages stolen from him by his masters.
I could see no reason why I should, at the end of each week, pour the reward of my toil into the purse of my master. When I carried to him my weekly wages, he would, after counting the money, look me in the face with a robber-like fierceness, and ask, “Is this all?” He was satisfied with nothing less than the last cent. He would, however, when I made him six dollars, sometimes give me six cents, to encourage me. It had the opposite effect. I regarded it as a sort of admission of my right to the whole. The fact that he gave me any part of my wages was proof, to my mind, that he believed me entitled to the whole of them. I always felt worse for having received any thing; for I feared that the giving me a few cents would ease his conscience, and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable sort of robber.
How often do people squeal that the rich need to pay their “fair share”? It doesn’t matter how much any person earns, the government always wants to steal more. And somehow they have convinced millions of people that the thieves are the good guys, and the wage earners deserve to be enslaved and robbed.
We also shouldn’t feel excited when we get out tax refunds, we should be all the more infuriated. The government knows and admits that it is our money, that we earned, to which they have no right. Yet they still take it, and we still stand by as helpless slaves while being robbed? The worst part is, that the robber undoubtedly thinks he is honorable in our circumstances! Welfare, roads, a military to “keep us safe”: our robbers, our slave masters, want us to thank them for giving back cents on the stolen dollar!
But I won’t accept it. I won’t pretend with the rest of the slaves that it is just. Yes, I will give up my wages at the point of a gun, but that is the only right the government has over me, the right of the robber.
He exhorted me to content myself, and be obedient. He told me, if I would be happy, I must lay out no plans for the future. He said, if I behaved myself properly, he would take care of me. Indeed, he advised me to complete thoughtlessness of the future, and taught me to depend solely upon him for happiness. He seemed to see fully the pressing necessity of setting aside my intellectual nature, in order to contentment in slavery. But in spite of him, and even in spite of myself, I continued to think, and to think about the injustice of my enslavement, and the means of escape.
That passage strikes an eery tone to me, because anyone can see the government has the exact same advice for us, as Frederick Douglas’ master had for him. Just sign up for Obamacare, pay your taxes, vote, pay into social security, it will all be fine! Don’t worry, you don’t need anything but us to be happy and content. If people feel dependent on the government, they are terrified to be free! The government will take care of you, just as long as you abandon your intellect, and push away any thoughts of influencing your future. Leave your fate to the hands of government.
Frederick Douglas had incredible insight into the true nature of slavery. He was the self aware slave that every master fears. Frederick Douglas was at times even placed in the same type of slavery we find ourselves in today, where we have the appearance of freedom. But it is really the worst of both worlds.
I was to be allowed all my time, make all contracts with those for whom I worked, and find my own employment; and, in return for this liberty, I was to pay him three dollars at the end of each week; find myself in calking tools, and in board and clothing. My board was two dollars and a half per week. This, with the wear and tear of clothing and calking tools, made my regular expenses about six dollars per week. This amount I was compelled to make up, or relinquish the privilege of hiring my time. Rain or shine, work or no work, at the end of each week the money must be forthcoming, or I must give up my privilege. This arrangement, it will be perceived, was decidedly in my master’s favor. It relieved him of all need of looking after me. His money was sure. He received all the benefits of slaveholding without its evils; while I endured all the evils of a slave, and suffered all the care and anxiety of a freeman.
Precisely. We are “free”! Just so long as you give the government protection money at the end of each work week. If you can’t find work, you still need to buy healthcare, you still need to pay your property taxes, you still need to pay sales tax, and so on and so forth. We have all the stress of free men, without the benefit! And the government has all the benefits of a slave-holder, without all the intricacies of owning slaves.
The criticisms that Frederick Douglas expresses of his masters are perfectly interchangeable with all the criticisms I have for government. Heed his words. Douglas was 100% a slave at times, 99% a slave at other times, and even at a point 50% a slave, according to how much of his labor was confiscated.
But he was still a slave. Don’t let the masters keep you a thoughtless slave.
This week was the the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp used by the Nazi’s to murder over a million people. I’ve written about genocide; the signs leading up to genocide, the many many cases of governments carrying out genocide, and the real story told by Hersch Altman about how he survived the Holocaust at age 11, while the rest of his family was murdered by Nazis.
I want to remind everyone, genocide is not a Nazi problem, it is a government problem. Those calling themselves Nazis may never have significant power again, but unfortunately, genocide is certain to happen again, as it occurs right now under many regimes in various forms. Directly after WWII genocide was allowed to continue and escalate in the Soviet Union. The Nazis were punished, the Soviets were rewarded with half of Europe. Individual’s lost, governments won.
Government oppression is the norm, while peaceful governments have never existed. People often argue that we need a government by using only examples of relatively good government, at a relatively good time of governing. Anarchists on the other hand must defend every foreseeable scenario for what negatives might occur without government.
Yet statists will generally try to argue in abstracts, about what the government could do, should do, or would do; where the government incentives supposedly lie, and that if we would just elect the right people, government could be good; or how good government would be if it was designed properly and kept small.
But here’s the thing: I always humor the statists and explain how the worst case scenarios for their dire predictions of what would happen without government, are already happening right now under some government. But statists weren’t talking about those governments, they were talking about the fairytale government in their heads, like, admittedly, I talk about the fairytale absence of government in my head.
Yes I can admit it, anarchy has never been attained. But neither has “good government” and the closest we came to relatively good government lasted… at most arguably 3 years (time between the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and the federal quelling of the Whiskey Rebellion). And during that entire time, western Pennsylvanians were in open rebellion against the whiskey tax, discussed secession, and finally had their rights violated by the federal government (literally, the same rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights 3 years earlier were completely ignored).
The point is we have never had anarchy, and we have never had good or limited government: don’t pretend my fairytale world is any less attainable than yours. The difference is governments have solid crimes I can point to as evidence of their evil. The evidence of evils under anarchy do not exist, or can only be applied to individuals. A government is to blame for crimes of individuals in the government when it comes to the aid of and protects said individuals, supports the evil act, or ordered the evil act. Anarchist aggressors have no such cover, funded through extortion. (You may want to claim the mafia or a gang is an example of anarchist aggression, however the mafia or a gang operates despite the government, with the help of the government, or is the government).
And there is no proven method of preventing government oppression, though some would argue there are proven methods of slowing down the road to serfdom. So the argument between statists (especially minarchists and limited government libertarians) and anarchists should essentially involve the statists arguing that the benefit of government outweighs the costs. A hard case to make: start by explaining the government benefits that outweigh the hundreds of millions of people murdered by government in just the last 100 years.
The anarchist must argue how the costs of not having government pale in comparison to the benefits. And this especially is where the limited government folks stand on shaky ground. They will argue that the government hurts the economic sector. So what is different about intervention in other areas of life? What is it about force that is bad when applied to economics, but good when applied to disputes between individuals? What if no one was forced to associate, and everything was accomplished through agreements, and mutual benefit?
I don’t think it is a coincidence that government holds a monopoly over the sectors of the economy statists think could not be handled by a free market. The idea is to never show people how effective the free market is at various things, and use fear to continue the government monopoly on security, investigation, courts, and defense.
How is this even a question anymore? Why do people still jump to support their slave masters, and make excuses for every abuse we suffer as inferior citizens to the political class?
Since the first NSA spying revelations came to light, the government has repeatedly changed the story, only to be caught lying with the next revelations. We have a Nobel Peace Prize winning President who’s drones have bombed wedding parties in a country we are not even at war with. America has police officers armed to the teeth with military weapons, who kill more innocent Americans per year than terrorists. All the while these elitists don’t trust us with guns, they call peaceful groups terrorists, and every injustice is carried out with our money, in a system where theft is legitimate if you call it taxes instead of extortion.
America puts people in jail for drug crimes without a victim, yet those who teamed up with the government to steal our tax dollars for their corporations are free. America puts away organic farmers and raw milk salesmen 1,000 times more aggressively than it prosecutes murderous cops, and corrupt congressmen.
Insider trading is legal for members of Congress! But If I want to start my own business, I better not conceal from the IRS anything that I have earned. Better yet, I should not speak out publicly about politics if I don’t want to be audited.
And now we see the CIA torture report, which seems to reveal who the true terrorists are. Water boarding to the point of almost drowning in a salt pit dungeon where they claimed nothing of the sort ever happened. Shoving foreign objects and substances up rectums because it prevented terrorist attacks. Can you imagine the fury and volume of exploded metal that would shower the middle east if American marines were routinely treated in such a way? Then it would be torture, but sitting in the courtyard of the evil empire makes people here claim these are necessary tactics. These tactics do work out for some: namely the people in government who want perpetual war. You see, when the sheeple give the government more power, and more money in times of war, you can expect a government that is perpetually at war.
And how far do you have to go back to when the U.S. government quite literally enslaved young men, and sent them off to die for their homeland? The draft? Are you kidding me? How the hell did anyone put up with this?! And they criticize our generation! Their brothers, fathers, sons, cousins, and friends were taken at the point of a gun, and thrust toward the “enemy” in Vietnam in countless waves to die. Almost 18,000 of those 650,000 slaves, forced into a mercenary army, died while slaves to this country.
That was all legal. How can people support laws without questioning whether they are just? How has it gotten to the point that almost 70 years after the Nuremberg trials, men and women in our government are repeating the phrase used by Nazi’s, with success no less: “I was just following orders”. We aren’t supposed to get mad at the SWAT members who kill innocent 7 year old girls in their bed when the wrong house is raided. They were just following orders.
It was about 75 years ago that this very government violated the rights of anyone with Japanese ancestry, and put them in concentration camps! There are people alive today that were sent there by this very government! How can anyone fathom trusting a single action of the government, with so much as an ounce of their being?! Stockholm syndrome does not begin to express the blind and insane devotion many have to such a sociopathic abusive “Motherland”.
This government makes no distinction between protesters and rioters, except when the protesters are gassed and pepper sprayed. This government threatens more legal action against those who would protect their private property, than those looting it. A free market is conflated with a government regulated market: the non-existent former is blamed for all the problems caused by the latter.
It was once legal to own slaves, illegal to drink alcohol, legal to subjugate women, illegal to own gold. Laws are meaningless. Right and wrong is meaningful. Yet many are more concerned with obeying the laws than protecting actual victims. 80,000 dangerous SWAT raids a year for drugs, when the public was assured 30 years ago the teams would only be used for hostage situations. We are now being told that military tanks going to local police will only be used against terrorists, and in hostage situations. Last time they used a bearcat in a hostage situation, the hostage was killed.
But with all the fear, doom and gloom, God forbid I want to own a big gun myself! It is not hard to figure these people out, they count on blind obedience. If they cared about our safety, they would not try to stop us from obtaining weapons, and protecting ourselves against criminals with them. Edward Snowden aided the American people with revelations about how corrupt our government is, and they charged him with aiding the enemy. So then who is the enemy?
And still people think they can bring about peace and equality through government action. People think a system agressive by nature, hierarchical by design could bring about peace and equality. Others hate everything the government does, until it comes to their foot soldiers, the only ones who could actually carry out the oppression ordered down by the elites. The smartest thing politicians ever did to secure their own power was to splinter fascism into the two party system, to keep the peasants perpetually arguing about the “differences”. One idolizes the welfare nanny state, one worships the military police state.
Should you trust the government? Never has the answer to a question been so obviously: No, Never. Don’t sit there and pretend I’m paranoid. Don’t complacently think anything would be different now than it has been for the past 100 years, when it comes to the intentions and actions of the government.
You know, we all know, what we’ll get if we trust the government. You know exactly what you will get, because it will be exactly what everyone who has ever trusted the government has got.
I thought of this little example to show that good government is a gamble.
Currently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is a great example of horrible government. They get more than half of their operating budget from drug companies that are seeking FDA approval. Essentially everything people worry about without regulation of drug companies has happened under the FDA, because all the companies have to do is pay to play. There are plenty of dangerous drugs approved, and countless safe alternatives nixed, or simply not reviewed by the FDA. Big pharmaceuticals win by paying off the government, the little guy loses by having unsafe drugs on the market, or not getting their safe drug approved.
Commission E is Germany’s version of the FDA. They have reviewed hundreds of natural herbs to determine their effectiveness against diseases and ailments, and recommend when to use the herbs, in what way, and how much to use. This does not make Commission E money, they do it because that is their task as a government agency.
These are two government agencies, from two different governments. The FDA has become corrupt, wasteful, and harmful to the general public of the USA, while Commission E appears to be relatively neutral, and has helped people by suggesting natural cures. Neither one of them has much to worry about in the way of consequences for being wrong. Neither organization must meet the demands of the consumer. Each simply rely on the political process to make them work. Sometimes this proves affective, sometimes it proves disastrous.
But notice my example of good government comes from Germany. If you will recall, just 70 years ago the German government had started a global war, was wreaking havoc across Europe and Africa, was systematically murdering millions of Jews and Gypsies, and would leave its dark mark on the world for at very least, decades to come. Government can help people by recommending the proper herbs to eat and use in natural healing. It can also carry out genocides. But it is going to take a hell of a lot of cured sick people to make up for the tens of millions of lives ruined by the not-so-distant-past German government.
It is not impossible for government to do something good, but the odds are against it. And the good it does seldomly outweighs the bad it does.
At least in the private sector a business must attract customers and investors; corruption is unattractive. And guess what, much of what was publicized by Commission E was research already done in the private sector.
The difference between the depths to which a government can go, versus a business, is simply that a government can monopolize and kill competition with force. Without government for hire, businesses cannot do the same. If they care about their bottom line, engaging in mafia style tactics will be too costly on a scale as large as government does it. Even if they did try to bully their way to the top, the company’s reputation would suffer too much (and profits slip too much) to be able to establish monopoly control over the media, law enforce, justice system, and consumers. The only reason they can do so now is by using the budget of the United States government (almost $4 trillion each year) to do the policing, spew the propaganda, prosecute the enemies, “lose” the criminal file on the cronies, deregulate their business, over regulate their competitors, or force the public to buy a product.
And without a single government agency to pay off for approval (the FDA), it would be difficult for a company to buy good reviews from the hundreds of competing online and in print publications, organizations, and non-profits who evaluate drugs, and publish findings on healing remedies. The market for information would bring to light the risks of certain drugs, and turn profit from selling information on positive natural alternatives. Competition among these groups would keep the information reliable, and advertisers would keep the information cheap.
The point is that government can do good things, but does such bad things that it is impossible to outweigh them with the good. And even so, it is a gamble whether they will do anything good at all. If a business does something bad, you are not forced to give them your money anyway.