There are a lot of people who consider themselves freedom advocates, who, with righteous zeal and indignation, vehemently rail against the injustice, corruption and oppression “government” continually spews forth. However, many of those same people, when they hear someone suggesting life without the monstrosity called “government,” will immediately go into turbo-backpedal mode, insisting that some “government” is needed, that we need to work to fix the system, and that we need a good “government,” that just does good stuff, and protects us, and so on.
The situation is a lot like a battered spouse, who is given the opportunity to escape her abuser, but who insists that she can’t leave, that he really loves her, that she needs him, that the relationship can be fixed. Such a response shows that, as much as the abuser is a nasty scumbag, there is also a serious problem in the mind of his victim, which enables the abuse to continue.
So it is with statists who just want a nicer, gentler “government.” They don’t actually want freedom. In fact, they are scared to death of freedom, which is why they refuse to give up the very beast that they are constantly condemning and complaining about. They insist that “government” is needed to protect people, to maintain liberty and justice, and do nothing more. The fact that the gang called “government” has never done that, anywhere in the world, at any time in history, doesn’t shake “limited statists” from their faith in the idea that that “needs” to happen.
Those who glorify the Constitution, for example, don’t like to accept that it utterly and completely failed to keep the beast “limited.” Those who still focus on voting don’t like to admit that democracy has utterly and completely failed to lead to freedom or justice. Those who still advocate limited “government” don’t like to admit that there has never been any document, any ritual, any system or plan, that has resulted in an actually limited “government.”
Those who speak of getting back to the Constitution refuse to see that the Constitution was just another tyrant trick. Aside from the obvious example of slavery continuing under the Constitution, the thuggery of the new “servant government” became evident very quickly. Four years after the Constitution was ratified, the new tyrants created an extortion racket (“tax”) related to whiskey, and then used the violence of the state to crush resistors. Eleven years after the Constitution was ratified, the new tyrants were locking people up for criticizing “government” (under the alien and sedition acts). The document has been used an excuse for tyranny since it was written. Why is there any reason to believe that trying the same thing again (as if that’s even possible) would work out any better the second time around?
More to the point, why would someone who advocates a puny, weak little “government,” that does almost nothing, be so utterly terrified of having no “government” at all? Again, the excuse is usually that we need some form of “government” to protect us. But that is not what “governments” do, and it never has been. You might as well argue that your town needs a carjacker in order to protect you from car thieves. How can we “need” “government” to be what it never has been, and how can we “need” it to do what it has never done? And why would anyone expect, or even hope, that that will ever change?
Every gang called “government” commits extortion, and calls it “taxation.” Every gang called “government” threatens and bosses non-violent people around, and calls it “law enforcement.” Ron Paul recently stated that the only proper purpose of “government” is to promote liberty. The only trouble is, not only has there never been such a “government” in the history of the world, but by definition, there can’t be. If there was an organization that only defended individual liberty, there would be no reason to call it “government.” It would have no power to “tax” and no power to “legislate.” In fact, it would have no power, no rights, and no “authority” that you don’t have all by yourself. It wouldn’t have a monopoly, and it couldn’t force people to fund it. It would be a private security company, or many of them. Nonetheless, when someone like me advocates what “limited government” people say they want–organizations that only defend against aggression–most people can’t handle it. In fact, they won’t even allow themselves to think about it.
A while back I made a deal, offering to send anyone a copy of my book, “The Most Dangerous Superstition,” on these conditions: the person has to read the book, and then, if it changes the way they see the world, they pay for it; or if it doesn’t, they send the book back. Over a hundred people have paid, after reading it. Of the four books I’ve gotten back, three of the books looked a lot like the reader never made it halfway through.
It’s a small book, the wording and concepts in the book are quite simple to follow, and the people agreed to read the whole thing. So why didn’t they? Because they have been indoctrinated to the point where there are some things they literally don’t dare to think about. When their minds start to approach something completely outside the authoritarian paradigm they were raised in, they mentally flinch, and back away. And, I’m sorry to say, most people who consider themselves freedom advocates are the same way. I’m even more sorry to say, I was that way myself for many years. I still insisted on pretending that there is such a thing, or at least could be such a thing, as legitimate, purely defensive “government.” I now realize that there isn’t, and there can’t be.
If your ultimate goal is to be bossed around and coercively controlled in a limited manner, to be extorted and robbed in a limited manner, and to have everyone around you victimized by similar theft and aggression in a limited manner, then I guess we have different goals. You see, I want you (and everyone else) to be free. All the way free. Not robbed at all. There is a fundamental difference between being a free human being, and being the property of a relatively benign, compassionate master. If you’re still advocating “government,” you’re only shooting for the latter. And you won’t even get that.
To those of us who were trained to be the subjects of a ruling class (which was almost everyone), the idea of a world of equals can be a foreign, disturbing concept. Heck, it’s even called “anarchy,” in case you weren’t scared enough of it already. And there are some who are trying hard to keep it so that, even if you’re one of those people righteously pontificating about how evil and destructive “government” is, you won’t actually get to the point of advocating true freedom, or even to the point of being able to think about it rationally. Freedom is unpredictable and scary, and the psychological security blanket known as “government,” despite its horrendous track record in the real world, feels so much more comfortable and predictable.
The promise of an omnipotent good guy, who will make everything fair and safe, is so tempting that even otherwise rational people still try to hallucinate such a thing into existence. They insist that we need the magical (and mythical) entity called “government” to keep us mere mortals in line. And when the monster they create turns around and stomps on them, oppresses them, extorts them and assaults them instead, they then say that we need to modify the monster, or maybe even get a new monster. But if you suggest life without the monster, those same people freak out. “We can’t have live without any monster at all! We just need a wise, compassionate, limited monster!” The success of authoritarian indoctrination can be seen in the fact that even many of those being eaten by the monster will continue to defend the monster’s existence.
Well, if the evils done in the name of “authority” and “government” ever get so bad that you are willing to re-examine a few fundamental concepts and principles, then read “The Most Dangerous Superstition.” Until then, keep trying to cage the omnipotent monster that you created, and that you continue to create, and see how well that works.
Allow me to end with a low blow: All of you out there horrified at all the oppression and injustice going on–the police state lunacy, the murderous war-mongering, the socialistic robbery and state control of everything–remember the seed that this grew from. The Constitution. This is what “limited government” becomes when applied to real life. How do you like it so far? To those who say that a stateless society will never work, how has the “stateful” society been working so far? To put it another way, “government” sounds good in theory … but it will never work.