Of all the stupid things to come from the modern left (as opposed to libertarians, the true left), this recent trend of opposing a vote by protesting it and not voting at all may be the most stupid. Congratulations to Catalonia for its declaration of independence (given the foundation of the United States, if you request international assistance, the U.S. should have your backs). We won’t, because we’re too busy fighting in countries like Niger without any declaration of war while simultaneously starting fights with Syria, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and because, despite living in a country that was literally founded by a declaration of independence, many Americans seem to think that “declaring independence” is a right that no longer exists.
It’s worth reminding people that turnout doesn’t really matter in a democracy and that refusing to vote is like saying, “I know we’re going to drive somewhere one way or another, but I’m not going to express any desire about where we should go.” It’s stupid on its face. If one guy shows up to vote “Yes” and thirty million stay home to protest the vote, do you know who wins?
The one guy.
Because that’s how democracy works. Yes, it’s bad, and yes, it’s stupid, but it’s the system that’s in place, and until that system is dismantled, it’s counterproductive to protest it. Can you imagine in the United States if people protested Trump’s campaign by not voting? It’s pretty obvious what happens then, isn’t it? Only the people who support the Trump campaign vote, resulting in a landslide victory. Just like in Catalonia, where (primarily) only the people who wanted independence voted, which predictably resulted in a landslide victory.
So why do people do it, if it so obviously and directly causes them to lose the vote?
For one, because the modern left has this weird thing where they don’t believe that actions have consequences. I’m not even kidding–just look at their support for price controls (in relation to Hurricane Harvey), in full disregard of the long, failed history of price controls. And their support for socialism, despite its body count in the hundreds of millions and history of economic collapse. The modern left has a somewhat tenuous relationship with reality. And then, of course, there’s this absolutely bizarre inability to notice that “not voting because you’d vote ‘no'” is basically helping “Yes” win.
The actual heart of the matter is, unsurprisingly for the modern left, more insidious and deceitful. While it’s true that they’re generally confused about actions and consequences (and a total lack of awareness of Defensive Voting), there’s a deeper, almost masterful masquerade being played here: it becomes impossible to distinguish the “would-be No votes” from general voter apathy. And they use this to great effect.
Indeed, the primary contention people had against the Catalan referendum was that “the no voters protested it by not voting at all, so the support for it isn’t sure what it appears.” This is almost an open admittance of their attempt to obfuscate their numbers by hiding among the people who didn’t give a shit either way. Regarding Catalonia, 45% of the population voted, with a 90% vote for “Yes.”
Their idea is that a large portion of each country is genuinely apathetic about results, usually between 25% and 40%. If forced to vote, there’s absolutely no way of knowing how these people would vote. They can be claimed for neither side, because their disinterest makes it impossible to, you know, gauge their interest.
However, if a “No” camp refuses to vote, then they’re immediately mixed in with these apathetic voters, inflating and conflating their numbers. Instead of the actual vote results, the turnout itself becomes the measurement of success or failure. The number of “Yes” votes becomes irrelevant, because the number of “non-votes” exceeds the number of votes. The vote becomes illegitimate in their minds because less than 51% voted, so the “majority” doesn’t exist.
This overlooks the obvious fact that only people who actually voted have their votes counted and that people who don’t vote don’t have their votes counted.
The modern left has a desire to undermine democracy–or, to be more precise, the established and hitherto agreed upon rules by which we’re playing the game. Gary Johnson did this, too, by crying about the unfair debate restrictions, despite having no objection to following them until it became clear that he wouldn’t win the privilege of being on the debate stage. It was only then that accusations of unfairness came about.
Hillary Clinton, of course, basically wrote a book crying about the rules, not to mention the widespread attempts to decry the entire election as illegitimate because of magical 1337 Russian HaXorZ. When this failed due to an unfortunate and inconvenient lack of any evidence at all, they shifted to bizarre hopes that the electoral college would discard the actual will of voters and install Hillary anyway. When that failed, they decided to target the voters themselves by alleging that the portion of the population that elected Trump is too stupid to think for themselves and were manipulated by Russians into voting for someone the left didn’t want them to vote for.
The rules of universal suffrage as a method are pretty simple: every adult has one vote, and can use it as they wish. There are essentially three positions on any given Yes/No issue: Yes, No, and Indifferent. Indifferent voters are indifferent and therefore their “votes” aren’t counted–which is fair, because their votes aren’t cast. Not voting isn’t a vote for “No.” It’s a vote for “I don’t particularly care what the result is, and therefore I will do nothing to sway the decision toward one outcome or the other.”
A true Protest Vote can, in fact, be found among the electoral college. The Texan elector who voted for Ron Paul comes to mind. The two in Maine who refused to vote for Hillary also come to mind. A Protest Vote is actually cast. I cast my Protest Vote for John McAfee. Not voting isn’t a Protest Vote; it’s just not voting.
One would expect elected officials to be capable of making this gargantuan step of logic, but it evidently “takes in a field too vast for their narrowness of view and proceeds with mightiness of reason they cannot keep pace with.” In the Democratic method, votes are only counted when they actually exist. Votes are what matter. It doesn’t matter if that takes the form of direct democracy or an electoral college where each state has allotted votes proportional to their population and the direct democracy merely determines how the state uses its allotted votes. Despite this, a reported ten of eighty Catalan officials “protested the vote” by leaving during the session.
This is not a vote for “No.”
It’s an abstinence. It’s abstaining from the vote. Their reason for doing so may be important to them, but it’s not important to the actual vote results. The only way a democracy can find out what people want is by polling them (there’s a reason voting locations are called “polling places”). For all intents and purposes, refusing to vote because you don’t want “Yes” to win, in addition to being counterproductive and silly, is, from the point of view of the democratic system, no different from not voting simply because a person doesn’t care.
So what we really had in Catalonia was some 39.5% of the population voting “Yes” and 59.5% of the population abstaining from the vote. The reason that “No” advocates chose not to vote is that they saw the results of Brexit and the 2016 American election and knew that, if they voted, then their numbers would be clearly known, and if their numbers are clearly known then they can be easily compared to other known numbers. The solution they’ve found, instead of risking losing the election fairly and squarely, is to blend in with the 20-40% of any given population that doesn’t vote at all. If you assume even that 80% of the population wasn’t apathetic, and if you assume that everyone who didn’t vote but… would have?… would have voted “No,” then, at best, we get a tie of 39.5% to 39.5%. And keep in mind that this assumes a relatively low degree of apathy; the turnout of the Spanish general election in 2011 was only 68.9%, and 66.5% in 2016. The turnout for the UK in 2010 was about even with this, at 65.1%. Given that Brexit saw a turnout of 72.2%, which is an increase of 7.1%, we can assume the same turnout increase would have accord in Catalonia, given the importance and divisiveness of the issue.
Even if we assume a turnout increase of 10%, we’re only looking at 76.5% turnout, which is certainly below the threshold needed to overturn the 39.5% Yes vote. We’d need roughly 90% turnout with 90% of those people voting “No,” which certainly wouldn’t be the case.
And none of these assumptions hold water anyway–they’re full of holes. Turnout for the Catalan referendum was not 76.5%; it was 45%. It’s true that the Spanish central government told “No” advocates to not vote, and that should serve as a warning to all future people that “not voting” is not equivalent to “voting no.” In a Democracy, The Vote is supreme. I’m not a particular fan of that, but it’s the rules we’ve agreed to. Until we actually change those rules (by getting rid of the state, preferably), it doesn’t make any sense at all to ignore those rules and pretend like there won’t be any consequences.
While Part One discussed primarily the advantages of a Free Market and stacked them against the “advantages” of Interventionist Economics (Keynesian economics), Part Two shall focus more on the Government itself, and not its economic methods.
Let’s return to our definitions from yesterday:
The State is the collective governmental body which oversees a given society. The State is a collective whole which, in the United States, consists of the Federal Government, all of its branches, and all pseudo-governmental agencies such as the Federal Reserve.
The Society is the collective body of People. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Societies do not require the existence of a State; the existence of a Society is independent of whether or not the Society has a Government. Any group of people of any size who work together, whether voluntarily or by being forced, is a Society.
Once a Society has a State over it, the two collectively are the Nation. That is, the Nation is a Society and its Government.
In addition to noting that this creates within a Nation two distinct bodies (the Government and the People), one other fact can be drawn: Societies create Governments, but Governments do not create Societies. To understand this, we must go back a very long time, to the foundations of Society and then the foundations of Government.
Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense,” that:
In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labor out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.
Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness, will point out the necessity, of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.
Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of Regulations, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right will have a seat.
But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those have who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act were they present. If the colony continue increasing, it will become necessary to augment the number of the representatives, and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and that the elected might never form to themselves an interest separate from the electors, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the strength of government, and the happiness of the governed.
It would be intellectual dishonesty to say something along the lines of, “Surely you wouldn’t argue with Thomas Paine, would you?” But that’s just as well. We don’t have to use only Thomas Paine’s words to explain the origins and nature of Government. We can also turn to Murray Rothbard, who wrote:
The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means”; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory. For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute. One method of the birth of a State may be illustrated as follows: in the hills of southern “Ruritania,” a bandit group manages to obtain physical control over the territory, and finally the bandit chieftain proclaims himself “King of the sovereign and independent government of South Ruritania”; and, if he and his men have the force to maintain this rule for a while, lo and behold! a new State has joined the “family of nations,” and the former bandit leaders have been transformed into the lawful nobility of the realm.
It should be demonstrated amply by this point that Societies do, in fact, create Governments and that no Government has ever created a Society. Furthermore, written in the Declaration of Independence itself is:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
Let us say no more about whether Societies create Governments or Governments create Society. It is abundantly clear, by reason, by evidence, and according to the words of some of the greatest governmental thinkers in the history of mankind, that Societies create Governments and not vice versa.
Therefore, a Government cannot exist without a Society, but a Society can exist without a Government. If Societies create Governments, then it is logically inescapable to recognize that at some point there was a Society which had not yet created a Government; in order for a Society to create a Government, there must first be a Society with no Government.
Okay, You Made Your Point. Now Move On. This is Getting Boring.
Governments, by all reckonings, exist as a method for acting out the Will of its Society. When Society decided that the Government shall act to preserve “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness,” they created a Government with the goal of ensuring these things. The Government was created as a means of achieving the end, and the end was the preservation of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. This does not mean that Government is the only means of achieving this end, nor does it mean that Government is the best means of achieving this end.
It is important to think back to the founding of the United States. We basically had 13 independent and small nations who agreed on these things: “We need a method to protect our Lives, our Liberties, and our rights to Pursue happiness.” That is the extent of their needs and it is the extent of our needs. We need nothing more than a method of protecting these three things, and, indeed, anything beyond these three things can come only at the expense of these three things. I.e., in order to protect our “right to health care,” the Government must sacrifice our right to pursue happiness, since we cannot “pursue happiness” without the financial backing to do so, and in order to protect our “right to health care,” the State must take a portion of our money to pay for the health care (as opposed to letting us pay for the health care ourselves).
If the Government which governs best is one that governs least, then the Government which doesn’t exist must be even better than “best”. It’s difficult to get into this topic without expounding the principles of the Free Market.
Let’s consider, then, that it is our goal to establish a means of protecting our Lives, our Liberties, and our right to pursue happiness. Before we can do this, though, we must examine in detail what these three things mean. This is obvious: in order to establish a means of protecting our Lives, we must understand what is meant by “our Lives” and what is meant by “protecting.”
Any being which is living has the unabashed right to continue living. Once something has life, no force on Earth can legitimately take that right away, expressed in killing the person in question. Not even Society has the right to take life. Neither does the Government have the right to take life.
It must be clarified that any action which an Individual could commit that is clearly morally wrong is generally perfectly acceptable when it is done by the State. Murder is an example of this. When an Individual murders another, the punishment is occasionally quite severe*. But when the State does it, either through war, assassination, or the death penalty, it is considered to be perfectly acceptable. This is a Moral Hazard. Let it be clear: if an action would be morally wrong if committed by an Individual, then the action is morally wrong if committed by the State. The fact that the State is doing it does not make morally wrong actions suddenly morally right; it means only that we’re allowing the State to get away with things it should be punished for.
Theft is yet another example. If you broke into a bank and stole a bunch of money, and then donated all of that money to various charities, your Robin Hood attempt would still land you in prison. But when the State breaks into your wallet and steals a bunch of money, and then donates all of that money to various State-run charities, it is suddenly considered to be morally right. Again, just because the State does it means not that it is somehow morally right; it is still morally wrong.
Theft and Murder? You Create Slippery Slopes, Anarchist Shemale, and I Think You Know It
It is not a slippery slope or exaggeration, though this is often the counter to the statement that Taxation is theft. But, just as religious proselytizing always ultimately comes back to the threat of eternal damnation, so do Government actions always ultimately come back to the threat of force. As much as Christians talk about God’s love and forgiveness, under all of that is Hell and eternal damnation, forming the underpinning of the entire system. After all, if that threat wasn’t there, then they would have no need to preach to anyone and there would be no reason to actually follow the system. A religion which doesn’t involve eliminating a threat generally gets no converts–see Buddhism for a terrific example. But by underpinning the entire framework with the threat of eternal torture, Christians give themselves both a motive and a weapon to instill fear and help convert non-believers. Like it or not, underpinning the whole of Christianity is the threat of eternal damnation, and without that threat Christianity would be irrelevant.
In the same sense, everything that the Government does is ultimately backed by threats. Taxation, for example, involves some pretty severe threats. What happens if you don’t pay your taxes? You go to prison–Federal prison. And, as bad as State Prisons are, Federal Prisons are rumored to be much worse. Not only does the Individual not get a choice when it comes to Taxes, but if the Individual contests the State’s attempt to steal their money, then the Individual is punished with imprisonment and/or severe fines. Underpinning the entire Taxation system is the threat that if you don’t pay, you will be subjected to massive punishments. The State might as well be holding a gun to your head and telling you that they will shoot you if you don’t hand over your money, especially since 10 years in a Federal Prison will leave a person with a shattered mind**.
So Taxation is theft; moreover, Taxation is theft at the point of a gun, wherein refusing to hand over your wallet will result in extreme penalties and punishments. But let’s return to the issue at hand: the protection of Lives.
If the goal is to protect our lives, then there are a few examples we need to think about in regard to our current Government. Firstly, we must consider the Draft. How can we believe that the Government actively protects our Lives when it has the authority to send us off to fight and die? This is a direct contradiction. Nowhere in the Constitution does the Government have the authority to take our Lives from us, and this is so obvious it doesn’t need to be pointed out. The idea that the Government could take our Lives from us runs contrary to the most basic of human rights: that the Individual owns himself. If the Government can, for any reason it desires, conscript us and send us of to die, then we are, in all honesty, the property of the Government. Let it be known that the State does not own us.
We must also consider the numerous wars we have fought in the 20th century, all of which resulted in the deaths of Americans, and most of which would not have caused a single American death if they hadn’t been waged. No American would have died because of the Korean War, for example, if the State hadn’t sent Americans to fight in Korea. The Korean War was never a threat to American security. The War in Iraq is a more recent example: Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the American People. Terrorism was not present in Iraq and the Iraqi Government had no way to threaten the American People; they didn’t have anti-aircraft weapons, they didn’t have long-range missiles, they didn’t have ICBMs, and the record shows they didn’t have “biological and chemical weapons.” If we hadn’t invaded Iraq, no American would have died because we didn’t invade Iraq. But because we did invade Iraq, thousands of Americans did die, and we increased the Muslim world’s hostility toward us. Muslim terrorists all rally around the cause of getting America to withdraw from the Middle East, and the greater our presence in the Middle East, the greater the presence and threat of terrorism. This is a fact which even the CIA has recognized. Our Middle East invasions are pissing off the Middle Eastern People, and we react to their being pissed off by invading more Middle Eastern nations, thereby pissing them off even more. There are only two ways to solve the Middle East problem: withdrawing completely from the area or completely conquering the entire area and oppressing all dissent–and this would be distinctly anti-Liberty and anti-American.
So how is the Government “protecting our Lives” when the State is singlehandedly responsible for both sending Americans to die and taking actions which result in a large portion of the world being very pissed off at us and very hostile toward us? After all, the catalyst of 9/11 was known for a fact to be our presence in the Middle East. It’s not our “freedom” or our “values” or “their religious insanity” that causes them to hate us and want to kill us. These are just pieces of propaganda put out by the State to convince us that the Middle Eastern People are our enemies because they hate us. It is far from the truth.
Take note, America: Muslims in the Middle East do not hate us because we are free, because we have this value or that value, or because we don’t share their religious conviction. They hate us because of what our Government has done and is doing and because we are allowing our Government to do it.They don’t hate us because we’re free, because we have sex on television, or because we listen to Lady Gaga. They hate us because we’re allowing our Government to invade them, to tear down their governments, and to dictate to them what they can and can’t do. We would not tolerate this if someone did it to us. If the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China invaded and conquered the United States, abolished our Government, and told us that we had to put in place a Communist Government, how would we react? We would hate the Russians and Chinese who had allowed their governments to do this to us. And since we couldn’t fight in legitimate battles against the Russian or Chinese militaries, we would have no choice but to resort to terrorist tactics to achieve our goal of self-governance and independence.
The actions the State takes is not protecting the Lives of Americans, and the actions of the State usually threaten, either directly or indirectly, the security of Americans. We are in greater danger now that we have ever been. Americans travelling abroad frequently pretend to be Canadians. It is not very safe for Americans to travel abroad in the first place, and this is even in countries that are officially allies of the United States; there is a reason more American women disappear in European nations than do European women. Our arrogance and self-righteousness causes us to be valued more highly among people who like degrading and humiliating others. I’m sorry–that is a fact. And it is our Government’s fault.
No one in their right mind can accuse our Government of protecting our Liberty. Not much needs to be said about this. Our Liberty has been under attack for more than a century, and we have recently been attacked through unconstitutional legislation (the NDAA2013, which abolished our right to a trial, for example) and through bureaucratic regulations (the EPA has the authority, though none of its workers were elected by the People, to act unilaterally and make whatever regulations it wants, regardless of the damge done to the People, in the name of “protecting the environment”).
All of these things are done in the name of one cause or another, and it is here that we went wrong, because somewhere along the line, we concluded that the end justifies the means. And it doesn’t. It never has. It has been known for centuries that sacrificing Liberty to ensure Security destroys both Liberty and Security. And yet the sacrifice of Liberty is frequently justified by the allegation that it must be done to protect us. We need the NDAA2013 to protect us; we need the State to be able to arrest and detain Americans indefinitely and without a trial so that the State can protect us from terrorists. We need the Patriot Act to protect us; we need the State to be able to listen on every conversation, hack into every email account, read every Facebook post, and intercept every text message so that the State can protect us from terrorists. We need the President to be able to make Kill Lists and use UAVs to kill American citizens because we need the State to be able to protect us from terrorists. Somehow, the State convinced us that we need to be protected from ourselves and that, in order to protect us from ourselves, they had to have unquestioned power to control us, to watch us, and to do whatever they want to us. The fallacy of this is obvious: how can they be protecting us by harming us?
The Pursuit of Happiness
To honestly and sincerely pursue happiness, one must have Life, Liberty, and a few other things. One must have the right to own property, for example. But in the United States, our right to own property is non-existent. We don’t have the right to own property; we only have the right to RENT property. Even when you have paid off your 30 year mortgage (which you were a fool for getting), you still don’t OWN your home–you still only rent it. You must pay Property Taxes, and if you don’t pay those Property Taxes, then your home is taken from you and you are evicted. That is renting. If you owned the home, then you couldn’t be evicted from it and the State would be Stealing it from you if they tried. But you’re renting, so if the State evicts you and takes your home, it isn’t considered stealing.
Taxation in general amounts to purchasing the State’s permission to do something or own something. The idea that we now pay for the rights for which our ancestors fought and died is ridiculous. Our ancestors did not fight and die so that we would have the right to buy the State’s permission to live in our homes, and our ancestors did not fight and die so that we would have the right to buy the State’s permission to drive or flush our toilets. We have fallen so far from having the right to pursue happiness that the right to pursue happiness has become “the right to purchase the right to pursue happiness.” If you want to do something, there is almost certainly a Tax involved. If you want to drive, you must purchase a Driver’s License, thereby purchasing the State’s permission to drive. If you want to drive your own car, you must purchase a License Plate, thereby purchasing the State’s permission to drive your own car. If you want to buy a lightbulb, you must pay a Sales Tax, thereby purchasing the State’s permission to buy a lightbulb. All through America, the only way to do anything is to first purchase the State’s permission to do it. And that is not the “right to pursue happiness.” It is the right to purchase the right to pursue happiness.
The Founders would never have consented to such a system–nor should we. The State was not designed to require us to purchase its permission to do things. We must purchase the State’s permission to marry, to own a home, to drive, to buy a car, to have electricity, to have a cellphone… All of these things have Licenses or Taxes attached to them, and if you want to do them you must either buy the License or pay the Tax. If you DON’T, then the wrath of the State will fall on you, punishing you (often) more severely than you would have been punished for murdering someone.
What part of this is supposed to represent the right to pursue happiness? What part of the Government’s actions is protecting our right to pursue happiness? The Government does nothing to protect this right. In fact, the Government works against this right, allowing us to purchase the right to pursue happiness–but if you don’t purchase the permission, then you don’t have the right to pursue happiness.
The Society and the State
A failure to recognize Individual Responsibility has caused many Americans to identify themselves with the State, to share in the State’s successes and to draw pride from the accomplishments of the State. As Murray Rothbard points out in “Anatomy of the State,” most people have an intense love for their homeland. But because we don’t recognize Individual Responsibility and because Americans largely draw their self-esteem from the accomplishments of the State, many Americans have become Nationalists. Often, people identify themselves and borrow pride from the accomplishments of the State because they have no accomplishments of their own and borrowing the accomplishments of the State still allow them to feel superior and prideful without their having to actually do anything.
“We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world!” and other similar exclamations all allow the individual to feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, and greatness without any effort on the part of the individual. The individual gets to be terrific, great, and unrivaled simply because they are a member of the nation in question, and the Individual doesn’t need to do anything in order to feel terrific, great, and unrivaled. The Individual doesn’t have to become educated, successful, or anything else, because the Individual can always borrow from the accomplishments of the State and fill themselves with pride simply because they are underneath that wonderful mechanism. The Individual needs to do nothing in order to be filled with pride, a sense of accomplishment, and success.
This has done great harm to the notion of Individual Responsibility by preventing many Americans from wanting to take responsibility for themselves and their own situations. After all, if we acknowledge Individual Responsibility, then the State gets all the credit for its accomplishments and they cannot, since they did not contribute to the accomplishment, feel any pride or receive any self-esteem from the accomplishments of others. This is the reason most people now loathe the idea of Individual Responsibility.
They need to draw self-esteem and pride from the accomplishments of the State mechanism because they have no accomplishments of their own from which to draw self-esteem and pride. Indeed, the most vocal fighters against Individual Responsibility are generally people who have accomplished nothing and who have nothing for which they can be proud. And, in contrast, the most vocal fighters for Individual Responsibility are generally people who who have accomplished something and who have something for which they can be proud.
As long as people can draw self-esteem from identifying themselves with the State, Individual Responsibility cannot take hold. And, as I demonstrated in part one, a person’s identification with the State is built on contradiction and logical fallacy. We are not the State; we cannot, therefore, share in any of its accomplishments or have any pride whatsoever in anything it does–nor any blame for anything it does. The State is a body external to its Society, and individual members cannot, therefore, take any credit or blame for any of the State’s accomplishments or wrongdoings.
If you work for a corporation, then you can take pride in the accomplishments of that corporation and you must take blame in the wrongdoings of that corporation, weighted proportionately to the role you played in the corporation and the amount of influence you had to prevent or further the actions in question. But being the subject of a State is not the same as being an employee of a corporation. As I demonstrated, we don’t have any real authority over the State and the State is not us. The State is an entity over us, of which we can become members, and which does, from time to time, consist of people who are held by our desires. But this does not serve to adequately justify any identification of “ourselves as the State.” We cannot, then, take any pride in its accomplishments or any punishment for its wrongs.
We need Individual Responsibility, and not just because it will drive the people who suddenly lose the ability to draw pride from the accomplishments of the State to themselves work harder and make accomplishments of their own. We need Individual Responsibility because it is the only way to reaffirm Liberty and to curb our Nationalist tendencies. Liberty and Individual Responsibility are inseparable.
An Individual’s Subordination to Society
It is also often alleged that the Society’s needs outweigh the needs of the Individual. This is only possible because we have taken this abstract, unidentifiable notion that is the Society and we have given it needs, desires, and other characteristics, none of which can be justified or demonstrated. It may or may not be “for the good of Society” for Individuals to sacrifice this right or that right, but what is overlooked is the obvious fact that the Society consists only of the Individuals which comprise it, and, as such, anything that is detrimental to any of those Individuals is, therefore, detrimental to Society.
Society is not some external thing that has needs, desires, and other characteristics. It is just a term we use to label a mass of Individuals working together voluntarily for mutual benefit. The Society does not have needs, desires, and other characteristics; there is no such thing as “the good of society” and there is no such thing as “the needs of society are more important than the needs of individuals.”
This notion that we are selfish if we do not subordinate ourselves to the non-existent body called Society is a logical fallacy and a misidentification in exactly the same vein as those people who identify themselves through the State–it is just in reverse. Individuals do not identify themselves with Society, and this could be because Individuals instead identify themselves with the State. It is also because Individuals consider the State to be the mechanism which protects Society and makes it prosperous, even if it can only do this at the expense of the Individuals who comprise that Society. The very idea is preposterous and easily refutable. It’s as preposterous as the claims made in Vietnam that, “In order to save the village, we had to destroy it,” and George W’s more recent claim that, “In order to save the Free Market, I have abandoned Free Market principles.”
This type of Doublethink is unworthy of any People. We cannot benefit Society by harming, in any way whatsoever, the Individuals of which that Society consists. No, we are not the Government, but we are Society–at least in the sense that anything is Society. But, really, Society as an entity doesn’t even exist. There is no Society to which we are or should be subordinate. There are only Individuals. And no one has the right to make any Individual make sacrifices to benefit other Individuals, even if “more Individuals” would be benefited than harmed.
It quickly comes back to a matter of Liberty and the notion that the State has the right to force a minority to do what the Majority thinks is right. The Majority, having become convinced that Society exists and that it is the right and duty of the State to harm Individuals, if it must, in order to benefit Society, force this notion on the Minority, and this is morally wrong. Forcing anyone to do this or that because one thinks it would be morally right for others to do this or that is never morally right. It is morally wrong to force someone to do something, and the notion that it is the right of the State to harm Individuals in order to benefit Society is exactly this: the notion that it is the right of the State to harm Individuals in order to benefit other Individuals. It is Taxation and Welfare all over again.
As it hopefully has been demonstrated, all of these things are related, and they all ultimately stem from the failure of Individuals to take responsibility for themselves, their decisions, and their actions. This failure has resulted in Taxation, State-sanctioned murder, the loss of rights, the loss of Liberty, the loss of our right to own ourselves, the loss of property rights, the tendency of Individuals to identify themselves with the State rather than identifying themselves with themselves, and the notion that the Individual is subordinate to the non-existent Society.
I have here demonstrated that Taxation amounts to Theft and the use of force, that State-sanctioned murder is still murder, that we have lost numerous rights, that we have lost substantial amounts of Liberty, that we have lost the right to own ourselves, that we have lost the right to own property, that Individuals have the tendency to identify themselves with the State, and that many Individuals believe that the Individual’s needs and rights aren’t as important as those of the Society’s. I have also explained why all these things happened. The inability of Individuals to take Individual Responsibility has led to all of these things, and taking Individual Responsibility is, at this point, the only way to reverse any of these trends–and all of these trends need to be reversed.
In Part One, I demonstrated the basic principles of the Free Market and how Welfare programs do more harm than good–and how State-run Welfare could easily be replaced by the much more efficient and productive Free Market. I also demonstrated in Part One that we are not the Government, so if you need clarification on why I assert that we have no right to claim the successes of the State as our successes, then refer to Part One for that clarification.
In Part Three, I intend to address Anarchy, what it means, and how it functions. In short, I plan to explain what a Society which has no State looks like and how a State-less Society handles things likes murder, theft, and other things that are considered morally wrong. I will also explain how an Anarchic Society does not mean lawlessness or chaos, nor does it mean that we would have no ground on which to stand in punishing murderers, thieves, and rapists, that these are pieces of propaganda put out by dishonest intellectuals to cause people to reject Anarchy out of ignorance.
* Sometimes the death penalty is given. I am not an advocate of “eye for an eye justice” and I don’t think that murdering someone in punishment is any more morally right than the actions of the murderer. Moreover, the evidence shows that the death penalty is used disproportionately to harm minorities and, particularly, black Americans. This is the very reason why Ron Paul recanted his position on the death penalty. It was absurd to hear people accuse Ron Paul of being racist, considering that his position on marijuana (and other drugs) is that outlawing these substances has disproportionately harmed minority communities and resulted in a disproportionate amount of black Americans being imprisoned for decades over trivial offenses that harmed no one; and considering also that Ron Paul ceased his support of the death penalty when he learned that it is used most against black Americans and that white murderers are sentenced to life in prison more often than death and black murderers are more often sentenced to death instead of life in prison. Ron Paul objected both to the death penalty and drug laws because they harm black Americans disproportionately; how can anyone justify calling him a racist?
** The American Prison System is fucked and is a bastion of evil and tyranny. In order to fix it, we must reassert the rights of criminals. Yes, they committed crimes–but they’re still People. However, because of wording in the Thirteenth Amendment, once a person is guilty of a crime, they can and do become Slaves to the State:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. [emphasis added]
Slavery is never morally acceptable, and you should be able to agree with that. Involuntary servitude and slavery are never acceptable, no matter what a person has done. And this issue is more serious than you’d think, considering that we’ve given the State the sole authority to dictate what is and isn’t a crime and we’ve also allowed the State to run trials. In the modern American Justice system, trials are not by a jury. People instead receive Trials by the State. Let me explain.
We still have jury trials in most cases in the United States and it is up to the jury to deliver a verdict of Guilty or Not Guilty. However, Jurors are now sworn to deliver a verdict “according only to the evidence” and this means that whoever decides what evidence is allowed and what evidence isn’t ultimately is in control of the verdict. By taking this oath, Jurors ultimately become as predictable as computer programs: feed the information to them and they will deliver a result which depends entirely upon the information you feed them. As surely as 2x + 4y = 22 when you feed in the information that x = 3 and y = 4, the jury’s verdict becomes Guilty or Not Guilty when you feed in certain information. Having sworn themselves to consider only the evidence, Jurors will deliver a verdict that can be predicted with precision and certainty, so long as certain evidence is given to them.
And who controls what information is allowed to the jury and what evidence is not? The State controls what evidence is admitted. Judges are part of the State apparatus, and many judges have agendas, as demonstrated by the FISA Courts and the revelation that many of these judges have an interest in simply approving whatever requests are made. Judges are not members of the People; they are members of the State, of the Judicial Branch. The State includes all branches and all quasi-government agencies. It is an inescapble conclusion that the Judicial Branch is part of the Government, because… well, the Judicial Branch is a part of the Government.
As such, we are allowing the State to dictate what evidence is admitted into trials. Since Jurors are sworn to deliver a verdict that depends entirely on the available evidence, the State ultimately controls what verdict is delivered. If Jurors deliver verdicts based only on the available evidence, then whoever controls what evidence is available controls the verdict.And that is where the American Justice System has gone wrong. Let ALL evidence be admitted, and let the Jury decide what evidence is valid and what evidence is not. We must not allow the State to control verdicts by binding Jurors to oaths and then restricting whatever evidence they desire. That is not a trial by Jury; it is a trial by the State using the Jury as a method of carrying out the State’s wishes. Juries, in effect, unwittingly become Puppets of the State. I urge you, my fellow Americans, to add the addendum to the oath that you will deliver a verdict according to the evidence “only under the condition that all evidence, no matter how tangential, is admitted.”If we do not require this, then we allow the State to dictate the verdict. And, in the long run, this will yield very bad results. This is, after all, how most Chinese trials go: the State doesn’t allow evidence that would go against the verdict the State desires. We already have a mechanism in place which will allow our own Government to do just that. We need to dismantle the mechanism before the Government “starts” doing this (if they haven’t already–we wouldn’t know, after all, if we weren’t being given relevant information because someone had an agenda and wanted to see a specific verdict).