- Rights as a Stato-Legal Construct
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
When two companies contract with one another, each obtain certain “rights” or “privileges” to the other’s stuff. For example, a company building a new apartment complex will lease building equipment from another company. For a period of time, the building company has rights or privileges over the use of the leased building equipment. At the end of the period, the rights or privileges evaporate, to be leased again to another building company.
People often give each other a “lease” on the use of what they consider to be their property. This quite often is much more than just a temporary lease, but a permanent title transfer. Your property becomes my property, and vice versa. Once it becomes my property, you no longer have rights or privileges over its use. Nobody has rights or privileges over the use of my property without my say-so, or so common convention goes.
I believe that in many ways, this is how people think of whatever legal systems exercise power over their lives. Nor do I believe that thinking this way is an accident, but rather an intentionally created mindset due in large part to government schooling. One of the very first things I learned in my government schooling about society is our need, and thus desire, for people to make rules about what we can and can’t do with ourselves and with each other.
From a very young age the idea was planted that our lives must be controlled by other people for, supposedly, our own good. Preceding this “social studies” lesson were very similar lessons from Mom and Dad at home. Without this control, people would hurt one another, and everyone would always be in fear of their lives. So instead of living in a barbaric world, people got together and created a “social contract”, which grants to everyone permission to do some things, and forbids them from doing others.
If there is something you desire to do, then you must consider whether or not government has granted you the privilege to do it. Going to school, driving a car, starting a business, these are privileges that must be granted, and may be taken away. I do remember learning about governments being “reset” in the past, and new governments forming, and new constitutions being written, and some people fearing the new governments wouldn’t recognize certain pre-existing rights and privileges, and so sought amendments to their constitutions to prevent the abolition of these pre-existing rights and privileges. And often these rights and privileges were described in naturalistic ways, but at the end of the day what was being argued over was a legal document.
And so, centuries later, people are confused about what they may or may not due in a so-called “free society.” Some people figure it out and are quickly labeled “radical” and “extreme” and kicked to the curb as crazy. Rights are whatever we may do after laws are passed to tell us, say most. Otherwise we’d all be murdered within the week.
At this point, “rights” are a stato-legal construct in the minds of most anyone you’ll encounter. Maybe “rights” need to be thrown in the garbage heap of history.
- Safe Spaces Make Sense, but Not Always
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
Feeling safe, at least temporarily, could probably be categorized as a human need. People seek out places to feel safe and secure. Nobody wants to constantly be looking over their shoulder or stepping lightly. That’s probably not a healthy way to live.
Adults buy or rent property in order to sequester themselves and their stuff from the risk of being harmed or stolen. Children find spots in their homes or their neighborhoods where they can feel safer than otherwise.
Safe spaces are a necessary component of the human experience. Without safe spaces, people become short-sighted about the choices they make. We need security in order to plan and prepare for the future. Children especially need safe spaces where they are free from physical and emotional harm. This space should be their entire home, with their families, but more often than not, they aren’t.
Safe spaces are only as guaranteed as are property rights secured. What you allow other people to do on your property should be entirely up to you. Same goes for any other privately owned property, be it residential, commercial, industrial, or academic.
Conflict regarding the desire for safe spaces is no different on a fundamental level than conflict regarding speech and behavior. Case in point: the hue and cry for “safe spaces” on college campuses. Should college campuses have safe spaces? Should the entire college campus be a safe space?
Where people have contracted for room and board, the safe space nature of those places should be up to the parties of the contract. I for one would not rent a dorm room that did not guarantee I would be free from either physical or emotional molestation. Had I done so believing so, and molestation ensued, I would be just as upset as anyone calling for safe spaces on college campuses.
The issue shouldn’t concern privately owned or rented places, and I don’t think it does. The issue does concern places designated for public use. And therein lies the root of the problem. It’s the age old economic problem, the tragedy of the commons. Nobody specific has ownership rights over these places, and so nobody can exercise control in designating some as “safe” and others as not.
The solution is simple: sell public colleges and universities to the highest bidders. Case closed. Unfortunately, that’ll never happen. And so methinks we’ll always have one problem or another of this sort. Today’s it’s safe spaces, free speech, and immigration. Tomorrow it’s… what will it be? It will be contentious and loud… and totally avoidable.
“Safe spaces” makes sense for dormitories and cafeterias, since in there people should feel safe from encountering potentially offensive ideas. It doesn’t make sense for classrooms and lecture halls, since in there people should feel safe expressing potentially offensive ideas. And that’s all I have to say about that.
- Progressives and Conservatives are Allies on a Fundamental Level
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
I’ve put together a simple thought experiment for those who consider themselves political enemies. (As always, I stand on the shoulders of giants.) Those who consider themselves a part of “the Left”, such as liberals, progressives, social justice warriors, et cetera, aren’t really divided from those who consider themselves a part of “the Right”, such as conservatives, beltway libertarians, alt-righters, et cetera. The thought experiment goes as follows:
Me: I understand you hate Donald Trump, is that right?
Progressive: Oh my god, yes! I hate everything he stands for and everything he does!
Me: You consider him a political enemy, yes?
Progressive: Absolutely. He’s the worst thing to ever happen to America.
Me: What if I could show you that you and Trump are allies on a fundamental level?
Progressive: That’s not possible. We have nothing in common, and everything he does I oppose.
Me: Let me ask you this, do believe your government has the authority, or the right, to create and enforce laws that have the effect of controlling other people’s peaceful personal and economic decisions?
Progressive: Of course, that’s what government is, and why we need government. Without government, especially without democratic government, people would do whatever they want to other people, including hurting them.
Me: Do you think Donald Trump also believes his government has the authority, or the right, to create and enforce laws that have the effect of controlling other people’s peaceful personal and economic decisions?
Progressive: Yes, obviously. He’s the President of the United States, hashtag notmypresident.
Me: So then, it would seem that both you and Donald Trump believe in your government’s authority, and their right, to control other people. Do you know that there are people, such as myself, who do not believe that anybody calling themselves “government” have the authority, or the right, to forcefully control other people’s personal and economic decisions so long as they are peaceful?
Progressive: People like that, like yourself, are delusional if you think society can exist without government.
Me: You agree that the question of government authority is fundamental, then?
Progressive: I suppose.
Me: Then it would seem that you and Donald Trump are in agreement on a fundamental level. You and Donald Trump are political allies against those like me who do not believe that anyone, including those who call themselves “government”, have the authority or the right to control other people’s peaceful decisions.
Progressive: Ugh, gross! I’m not an ally with Donald Trump!
Me: As long as people like yourself and Donald Trump believe in government authority, there will always be conflict over other people’s peaceful decisions. History is replete with examples of political groups violating the liberties of other groups and other people. Government authority, democratic or not, is one-size-fits-all and has little tolerance for people like me who prefer to control their own personal and economic decisions. If you believe in government authority, then you stand with Donald Trump in using it to control other people. You may disagree with how he uses it, but you don’t disagree on his right to use it as President of the United States. If you did, then you’d be an anarchist, just like me.
This thought experiment works no matter the audience so long as they believe in government authority. Try it out sometime, and see where the conversation goes!
- Cultural Marxism’s Fundamental Flaw
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
I just listened to a Munk Debate titled, “Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…” (found here). It was semi-interesting. Much to Stephen Fry’s and my own disappointment, “political correctness” was hardly discussed or debated at all.
Still, what was discussed had my mind bouncing around different ideas on race and gender. Psychologist Jordan Peterson made the point that only individuals have rights (and thus responsibilities), not groups, and when we assign groups rights without responsibilities (his opponents weren’t interested in doing so), disaster likely ensues.
I wasn’t quite sure why at the time, but this brought to my mind cultural Marxism. It was not a term used the debate at all, but it is a term associated with the idea of political correctness. And in fact, I’m not well versed on what it even means, so I did some searching. I read the introduction on the Wikipedia page, which wasn’t very helpful. Then I watched this video explaining cultural Marxism, linked to by the Mises Institute.
The foundational claims made by cultural Marxists seems to be that 1) groups exist, 2) groups act, 3) groups are either oppressive or oppressed, 4) group identity is mostly unchosen, but not always (eg. transgenders), and 5) group identity entails privilege, or not.
As a cisgendered “white” heterosexual male, I am a member of a number of groups that have historically and contemporaneously been categorized as oppressive and privileged. The funny thing is, the only person I have ever oppressed is my cisgendered “white” heterosexual (I think) son. I oppressed him violently, actually.
Cultural Marxists would argue that cisgendered “white” heterosexual males have, at least in the Western world (and for heterosexual males, the entire world), been the group that has oppressed all others, those who identify with groups such as women, “people of color”, homosexuals, and transgenders. Seems inarguable as we survey the history of the West, does it not?
And as oppressors, they have enjoyed political and legal privileges not afforded these other groups. This also seems inarguable as we survey history. But there seems to me to be something wrong with this so-called “critical theory” approach to topics of oppression and privilege.
This brings us to what seems to be the fundamental flaw in cultural Marxism: the refusal to engage in methodological individualism. From the Mises Wiki:
Methodological individualism is the theory that social and economic phenomena can be explained by reference to the actions of individuals rather than groups or collectives. Based on this theory groups and collectives are not entities which can act in and of themselves but only through the action of the individual members of which they are composed.
If instead we approach the analysis of oppression and privilege under methodological individualism, what you see when you look at me as an individual who happens to be cisgendered, “white”, heterosexual, and male is not an oppressor of women, “people of color”, homosexuals, and transgenders. Never once in my life have I done any such thing (except, again, toward my son). Nor, to my knowledge, has my father (except to his children).
And when I look out at my group peers, I see nary an individual who has oppressed anyone (except perhaps their children, at some point). You see, I am not an oppressor, and when I was, it was only toward another single individual. It was never toward a group, nor any of the above listed groups.
For that I consider myself a good person, a good man. And I believe that there are many other good people, good men from “my” group, in this world. And not only my contemporaries, but throughout history. There have been many who have been good men, and most men have never wielded any political power.
Yet here are the cultural Marxists (and social justice warriors), in their fight against oppression and privilege, grouping good men like myself in with bad men just because we share characteristics. I find that sickening. Not only am I being grouped in with violent pricks, but violent pricks are and have been quite arguably the minority of “my” group.
And here as a supposed member of “my” group, I must feel guilty for it’s abhorrent actions and “check” the privilege I supposedly have, which having was never in my control to begin with. If you think telling me these things and making demands on me is going to be received with supplication, you are a certifiable idiot.
I don’t wonder why other cisgendered “white” heterosexual males get pulled into identity politics on the right. I know exactly why. It’s because they’re being accused of doing something horrendous which they have no recollection of doing as individuals. It creates resentment, which breeds radicalism, and when they live in a society ruled by one-size-fits-all policy, which we most unfortunately do, they just might feel like violence, either through the ballot box or not, is their only recourse.
So no, unless I’m totally mistaken on the details, I don’t consider myself a cultural Marxist. It’s fundamentally flawed because it fails to recognize that groups are imaginary and that only individuals exist and act. And further, it seems to call for political solutions, which are by definition violent, and in this case, violent toward individuals by virtue of group identity. No, thank you.
- Let This Promise in Me Start, Like an Anthem in My Heart
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
If you haven’t seen “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and more, you are missing out one of the best movies and musicals of our time. It’s mesmerizing and uplifting, a true tour de force, and has captured the hearts and minds of my entire family.
Every one of its ten songs is an absolute gem. But the one I’d like to bring to your attention is from the end of the movie titled, “From Now On”. Here it is in official audio form:
While it’s not the intended interpretation, the theme that has found its home in my mind is based on the chorus, and goes like this:
From now on: This voice will not be used to encourage violence against peaceful people.
From now on: These hands will not used to hit or strike fear in my children.
From now on: This body will not serve as a means for expropriation or indoctrination of others.
Let this promise in me start, Like an anthem in my heart!
From now on!
Alright so, it’s doesn’t rhyme, but oh well! One of the reasons that I engage in the work of writing and podcasting is to turn hearts and minds away from violent solutions to the problems they have with other people, with special emphasis on the parent-child relationship. Nothing validates my work more than when a parent tells me that I was instrumental in their own “from now on” moment of ceasing to use violent parenting tools. I was told that in my latest podcast conversation, and it warmed my heart.
It can be difficult internally and challenging to deal with opposition by friends and family when making these sorts of changes. But your children deserve your promise and anthem to never hit or strike fear in them again.
And when you move forward in partnership, the relationship you build and maintain will last the rest of your life paying dividends every single day. From now on!
- The Voluntaryist Ethnicity
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
Thinking of “ethnic” as an American of Northern European descent fills my head with images of people and cultures from Latin and South America, Polynesia, Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Asia, and aboriginal Americans and Australians.
Reading about the etymology of the term is interesting. It began in the English language (after the ancient Greek and Latin) as a term for pagans and heathens, anyone who was not a [white] Jew or a [white] Christian. Then it was transformed through secularization to mean anyone foreign. Do Africans or Polynesians think of me as “ethnic”, I wonder? It’s very strange to think of myself that way. Ethnic was always non-“white” people, from my particular perspective.
Related uses around ethnicity include “adopted to the genius or customs of a people, peculiar to a people,” “band of people living together, nation, people, tribe, caste,” and “people of one’s own kind.” Your ethnicity is the array of customs peculiar to your people. So yes, I have an ethnicity, as do each of the various cultures and subcultures of Americans of Northern European descent.
In any event, as my family has traveled the country and met or stayed with other voluntaryists and unschoolers, I can’t help but notice certain general customs among people and families of this kind. Without putting anybody in a box or limiting how it is expressed or experienced, here is the voluntaryist ethnicity as I’ve seen it.
Peaceful parenting: Voluntaryists don’t use corporal punishment, don’t hit or smack their children, and typically don’t yell or traumatize them in any other way. Many are the tools employed by the voluntaryist parent in guiding, mentoring, correcting, and disciplining their children, all of which are based on love, compassion, play, reason, and, when required, serious talk or swift protective force (not allowing one child to hit another, et cetera).
Radical unschooling: Voluntaryists range in their approach to childhood education, from eclectic homeschooling to radical unschooling. The basis for whichever approach is employed is the realization that every child is unique and has needs specific to their personality and interests. For myself and my family, we’re radical unschoolers. We don’t employ any level of control on what my children do with their time day-to-day, and every day looks different for each of my children. Spontaneity is a regular feature of our time spent exploring the world around us.
Intellectual discussion: Voluntaryists, in my experience, always want to engage in heavy intellectual discussion, far more so than those not of this or similar ethnicities. Whenever voluntaryists are engaged in conversation, the topics range from politics to religion to philosophy to science to economics. You won’t find a lot of discussion on the Kardashians or the latest sale at JCPenney.
Abstention from electoral politics: Voluntaryists typically don’t participate in voting, as the futility (at least) of doing so is recognize early on in their philosophical journey. Oh, they’ll have plenty of opinions on the many aspects of electoral politics, but their voice is not limited to entering marks in the ballot box. Many write and podcast and debate, doing so for reasons of mental stimulation, improvement, entertainment, and enjoyment.
Critiquing coercion: Voluntaryists are quick to recognize and criticize the use of coercion and aggression by other people and groups. The opposition to coercion is the lynchpin of identifying as a voluntaryist. The use of coercion in society, beginning in the home, is the root cause of people being unable or unwilling to settle conflicts over scarce resources peacefully. All of the world’s social ills can be traced back to the use of coercion (unjust, by definition).
Bias against government: Voluntaryists typically have a bias against considering government “solutions” to social problems and a prejudice against people working for the state. Government is, factually, “a bandit gang, writ large.” Most criminals hide behind a veil of being a regular person, but public criminals where badges and insignia to make their willingness to initiate violence against peaceful people clear, making it easier to identify them as people that should be avoided, if it can be helped.
Aside from the above, voluntaryists come in many stripes. Some are business executives while others are off-grid survivalists. What they have in common is [mostly, but not always entirely] the voluntaryist ethnicity as broadly outlined above. Meeting new people of the voluntaryist ethnicity is like being reconnected with old friends and family. There has always been an immediate feeling of kinship and connection for me, personally. If you have the opportunity from time to time to gather with other voluntaryists, I think you’ll find what I’ve written to be accurate. And I highly recommend doing so as much as you can.
- Involuntarily Celibate: Clever Rhetorical Trick
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
I heard the phrase “involuntarily celibate” recently as a way of describing oneself. It was on the context of a man who had a grievance against women for not sleeping with him. Considering the ins and outs of this phrase was a near total mind fuck. That doesn’t happen very often these days, so I absolutely must tell you all about it!
Obviously this person is not choosing to be celibate. As he puts it, his celibacy is completely involuntary. The women he’s encountered, and I suppose propositioned, have made it clear that he’s not worth their while. And since that’s an injustice, Mr. Involuntarily Celibate is a victim.
What a clever rhetorical trick! I must admit he had me feeling sympathy for his plight. That poor, poor man can’t find any woman on the face of the earth to sleep with him. I’m sure he’s tried convincing a prostitute for an agreeable sum of his hard earned money, all to no avail. What is wrong with people? Why won’t they sleep with this man?!
And then it occurred to me just how often this rhetorical trick is employed. Here are a few examples of grievances of this nature:
Involuntarily poor: since other people won’t give me money or trade with me for my labor, I’m poor, but not of my choosing!
Involuntarily sick: since other people won’t treat my illness, and I don’t know how, I’m sick all the time, but not of my choosing!
Involuntarily lonely: since other people won’t spend time with me, I’m a loner, but not of my choosing!
Just writing these has me feeling sympathy for these poor, poor victims of circumstance. Why should anyone be poor in our world of material abundance? Why should anyone be sick in our world of medical abundance? Why should anyone be lonely in our world of social abundance? That anybody is poor, sick, or lonely in our world of abundance is a manifest injustice that must be corrected by any means possible!
And those means must be political and legal in nature. There’s simply no other way to help the poor, the sick, and the lonely than by passing laws designed to correct these injustices. Universal Basic Income will fix the problem of being involuntarily poor. Universal Healthcare will fix the problem if being involuntarily sick. Making it illegal to live alone will force loners together, and their loneliness will evaporate.
And what about involuntary celibacy? Universal Sexcare, I suppose, is the answer to this most serious of problems. Nobody should be without sex. Everyone must pay their fair share to funding the Administration of Universal Sexcare so that everyone has a sexual partner when they need it. Such is good and noble in our world of abundance.
When rhetorical tricks lead to government policy, hold on to your wallets.
- Markets aren’t Miraculous; God Bless the World
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
Markets, or the array of exchanges of property between individuals and groups, are responsible for the rising standard of living enjoyed by human beings all across the world. To the extent that markets are free to develop, people’s needs are easier met and conflicts over scarce resources are reduced. I’m guilty of describing these amazing effects of markets as “miraculous”. I wrote a few entries in a “Miracles of the Market” series back in 2009.
But I was wrong to ever describe anything the market does as a miracle or as miraculous. Why? Because the positive effects of markets broadly described above do not depend on any sort of divine intervention, and its totally ridiculous to say that they do. Rather, they are the natural result of individuals and groups engaging in market action. No divine explanation necessary.
What may require divine intervention, however, is increasing the knowledge that people have about the importance of keeping markets free, of allowing voluntary trade among consenting individuals and groups to happen however the participants involved see fit. What people need is a better understanding of rational economics, first, and second, to explore normative claims that free markets are good for people.
I don’t know if there is a God [sic], but assuming for a moment there is, I say, “God bless the world” with a better understanding of what it takes to help people meet their needs easier and reduce conflict over scarce resources. “God bless the world” to stop its violent prohibition of voluntary trade among consenting individuals and groups. “God bless the world” to stop its campaigns of terror among innocent people. “God bless the world” to stop traumatizing its children and perpetuating the cycle of abuse. “God bless the world” to one day develop the technology to permanently make the state obsolete.
Markets don’t need God’s blessing, but humanity sure seems to.
- Technology Kills the State, Over and Over
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
The state is “a bandit gang, writ large,” wrote economist and historian Murray Rothbard. This is demonstrably true due to the inability for people who call themselves “the state” or “government” to produce any factual evidence that their rules, including the rules to give them money (or else!), apply to anybody they claim to have jurisdiction over.
Like any other criminal enterprise, they operate within a certain temporal context. The tools they wield are limited to current state of the art technology. The first states probably used what everyone else used to hunt: sticks, stones, bows, et cetera. Later states added swords and axes, then rifles and cannons, and today’s states use high powered guns, missiles, and bombs.
If we identify a state as not only the particular time and place in which they operate, but also by the tools they use, then what is revealed over and over again are the many ways in which technology has killed the state. For example, hypothetical State A-Sticks enforced it’s claims of jurisdiction by sticks and stones. At some point swords were invented giving State A-Sticks’s victims more power to defend themselves. In order to maintain their rule, State A-Sticks was abolished and immediately replaced with State A-Swords. Had State A-Sticks not been abolished and replaced with State A-Swords, it likely would have been ineffectual and eventually gone away. Swords made State A-Sticks obsolete, and so the only way to survive was to replace itself with State A-Swords. State A-Sticks was killed by technology.
Once guns were invented, State A-Swords became obsolete and its survival depended on abolishing State A-Swords and replacing it with State A-Guns. At each point, the state is made obsolete, then killed, then replaced. This same type of analysis applies not only to states, but to any other organization that operates within a certain temporal context. The Catholic church operated on the basis of keeping scripture away from the layman. Once the printing press was invented and scripture was distributed, the Catholic church as it was then known was made obsolete, then killed, then replaced.
Organizations that refuse to recognize how they’ve been made obsolete will fail to kill the way the organization operates, and then replace itself using the tools necessary to continue operating. This necessarily applies to states, churches, businesses, charities, et cetera. Technological progress makes old ways obsolete, and survival depends on technological adaptation, if possible. The Catholic church as a monopolizer of reading scripture could not survive without a campaign of bloodshed against all non-permitted scripture producers and consumers, and likely would have failed at that. It survived because it killed it’s obsolete self, and adapted to the new technological environment.
So, what does this say about the state’s future? To me, it says that the state will only cease to exist finally and permanently through technological change for which it cannot adapt. Taxi cartels are quasi-statist organizations. They will not survive the ridesharing revolution. The day will come when we look back at taxi cartels like we do the dodo bird, ie. extinct.
Technology is constantly killing organizations through obsolescence, and I hope one day the state will receive it’s final shot in the chest, so to speak, and be unable to replace itself. No violent revolution necessary. That will be a glorious day for advocates of liberty, peace, and prosperity.
- Compounded Ignorance Leads to Hubris
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
A broken clock is correct twice a day, so the adage goes. I think I’m correct at least as often, possibly, hopefully, more. The other day I had an epiphany, of sorts, and shared it on Facebook. It went as follows:
A person is mostly ignorant. People are ignorance compounded. Government is evidence of people’s hubris.
I know I was onto something when a friend thought he should confirm whether it was a Collins Original. I can’t take full credit for the ideas conveyed, though, because they have their antecedents in other ideas I’ve encountered. Anyway, I thought I’d explore each idea and explain my thinking.
“A person is mostly ignorant.”
Despite the protestations of his ego, a person is mostly ignorant about the facts of reality his entire life. Persons who’ve studied a great deal are usually the first to say that what they’ve learned the most is how much more there is to know. It’s as if the higher you climb on the mountain, the more realize just how big the mountain truly is, and more, that you’ll never approach even the halfway line. But climb we do!
While I think I’ve studied a lot in my life, I know that it’s a fraction of what humanity knows in total, itself a fraction of all there is to know at all. While I still find interest in things, and dig in, I’m not as zealous as I used to be to really dig for new ideas. (That’s not to say that I never encounter new ideas. I definitely do. Often.) I guess realizing the size of the mountain and impossibility of reaching the top has put a bit of a damper on this area of my life. And I’m at peace with that.
“People are ignorance compounded.”
This statement was not meant to say that if we add our ignorance together, we become more ignorant. That’s silly. If my 5-10% of knowledge is partially different than your 5-10% of knowledge, then putting it together boosts are knowledge to more than 5-10%. I get that. What I meant here was the idea that people as a collective are horrible decision makers. And the more people we cram together to make a decision, the worst the decision is going to be as it concerns the needs and wants of each and every individual.
As ignorant as we are, we are probably most ignorant as it concerns what other people need and want to live a happy and fulfilling life. How many of us even know what we ourselves need and want to live a happy and fulfilling life? Hah! And we think we can make decisions for other people concerning their needs and wants? There’s only one word to best describe thinking this way: hubris.
“Government is evidence of people’s hubris.”
There’s very little more hubristic than the belief that we can effectively and successfully make decisions for other people that concern their lives, except that this is exactly the basis for government. At the very least, government tasked solely with the protection of life and property must make all sorts of decision that involve other people.
Knowledge, calculation, and coordination are problems even for the so-called nightwatchman state. Where should we build security measures? What sorts of security measures should we build? Which crimes should we deal with, and which crimes should the people deal with themselves? How should we force everyone to pay for it all? And what are we going to do about dissent? These are one-size-fits-all questions, and one-size never truly fits all.
Now compound the number of tasks performed by government to include things like managing the money supply, controlling foreign trade, providing welfare and entitlements, regulating business activities, prohibiting nonviolent behavior, et cetera, ad infinitum. What do you get? Problem, after problem.
Any economist worth their salt will recognize the futility in using government to solve problems. It never turns out as intended, and never without unintended consequences to other people. And these consequences are not benign. They’re terrible interruptions to everyone’s goal of meeting their needs and wants to live a happy and fulfilling life.
The less ignorant I became of the consequences of government actions, the more convinced I was that government is one of the worst ways to make decisions as it concerns other people. I’m glad I learned this early on, and every year the reasons for viewing government action as folly pile up higher and higher.
It’s truly astonishing to me how many people still believe in government.
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