Friendship With Statists
Played: 298 | Download | Duration: 00:10:27
This podcast is for me, and a friend... or friends of mine who I will not not name here. As ridiculously intelligent and insightful as they are, I'm quite certain they will realize I am talking about (or to) them if they hear this.
To my friends:
First things' first: I love you. You are a member of the family I got to choose. Your presence in my life is something I am immeasurably grateful for, whether I talk to you every day, or only every now and again. You have brought love, joy, laughter, warmth, strength, caring, insight, perspective and esteem to my life, and I only hope that when you think of me and our friendship, that you see me in a similar light.
The most chilling realization I have come to since I became a voluntaryist is that the overwhelming majority of people see the voluntaryist philosophy as either naïve, silly, or worse still, as a threat to society. When you discuss why government should be peacefully abolished, defenders of the right and left will cry out with raucous laughter, or sarcastic cynicism, “Who will build the roads?” “How will we educate the children?” “Why don't you just roll out a red carpet for the muzzlum turrsts!?!?” “End social security? Who will take care of my grandma? She paid into that system! You're a thief/chicken shit/fascist who has no respect for people, or the Constitution! You love the welfare queen, druggie, and criminal but hate cops, old people, babies, children, the poor, 'Murrka, apple pie, puppies, baby Jesus and Christmas!”
Friends with whom I disagree do not go ANYWHERE near these examples I've listed, but if you've ever debated the evils of statism with anyone, I imagine you've seen or heard similar things in responses to your arguments.
In the ether and relative anonymity of the interwebz, these kind of unfortunate exchanges can be blown off with little thought or concern, but when you find yourself discussing issues that are part of your core values with close friends, and those close friends disagree with you, it can be... unnerving. For example: one of my friends has some issues with American foreign policy, but believes that worldwide American military presence and influence actually promotes our national defense and protects American interests abroad. I respect his opinion, but I disagree with him. In fact, I go so far as to say that our foreign policy is morally repugnant, and destructive to true national defense. Now my friend may think mine is a foolish stance, but he loves me anyway and we agree to disagree. But that isn't really the end of the issue.
My friend sees the rule of law as a good, just and moral thing, and is personally committed to living under and according to that rule of law. I see laws as little more than words with guns. I believe that, were people to universalize what we all generally consider to be preferential morals and axioms for governing behavior in society, i.e. do not kill, steal, lie etc, that laws wouldn't be necessary. Other forces like the power of ostracizing from participating in society those who initiate violence against others would do at least as well in deterring crime as the institutionalized violence of prisons. So let's apply these two perspectives to some potential eventualities regarding me and my friend's disagreement on American foreign policy:
My friend is a peaceful person, and I know he loves me as his friend. If I carry our disagreement over American Foreign policy to the next... level, say and claim that I plan to reduce the tax payment I make directly proportionate to the percentage of the budget received by national defense (roughly 20%), he would caution me and say that I should expect to be audited by the IRS and fined or punished for not paying what is... owed. The fact that I made the choice to withhold my money based on moral convictions would bear little weight with him, and not because he is mean, immoral, obtuse or wished me ill. His response would simply be in-line with his worldview. This is where things get dicey. See, my friend is a man of character and integrity, but in this instance, my choice to stand against what I consider to be unjust would conflict with his worldview on the supremacy of law. I will not speak for my friend, but when I ponder these things, I'm faced with the stark realization that, it is likely, or at least plausible that my friend would support force (the law) being used against me to extract the remainder of that tax payment. If I refused to comply with orders to pay, then I likewise am inclined to believe that he would then support me being caged as punishment. What if I refused to be caged? What if I attempted to defend myself from the kidnappers in blue costumes, and they gunned me down? I am quite certain that my friend would be deeply saddened, but I am also afraid that my friend would then curse me for being stupid, and defend murder by the state as just.
This scenario boils down to this: a peaceful person takes a stand against being stolen from to fund efforts he finds morally repugnant, which I believe in most any other situation people would support. I mean, imagine not standing in support of a Christian who refused to praise Shiva or Allah... But when peaceful actions taken on that moral stance break the law, whether the particular law be moral, just or virtuous, that person can, and arguably SHOULD have more stolen from him for his disobedience, be caged for non-compliance, or even killed for trying to defend himself. People like my friend ultimately believe that the state is just in forcing you to do, or in stealing from you to fund the activities it performs that you find morally reprehensible. If you stand against that... if you follow your conscience and stand on your principles, the supposed rule of law and bullshit social contract be damned, then you should be financially raped, kidnapped and caged, or killed if you resist. This is the moral paradox of statism: as individuals we find those who steal, kidnap and kill to be criminals, but we collectivize the power, authority and morality of doing these things to each other... of such criminality in the entity known as the state.
I often ponder these things... it keeps me quiet more times than not. I struggle with the fact that I love and care for people who I believe love and care for me, too, but at the end of the day, would stand idly by or even passively support these actions being taken against me if I took such a non-violent stand against the state.
My friends, keep whatever faith you like in the state, or in politics, politicians or political solutions. Be as fervent as you wish in your support of ideologies, of parties, of the Constitution, or government in whatever form you dream. But before you renew that faith, please consider this: I would never, EVER support you being stolen from, caged or killed for what you believe, or for peacefully acting on those beliefs. If you choose to remain faithful to the God of statism in any form, then you are nodding in silent agreement with the state stealing, caging or killing us for peacefully acting in accordance with our beliefs. It's ironic, really... when the punishment for taking non-violent action on moral conviction can be punished by theft, imprisonment or death, and that punishment is so staunchly supported by people who consider themselves to be good and moral people, the world has truly turned upside down.
***I would highly encourage you to check out Stefan Molyneux's video, "Statism, Cages and the Murder of Conscience" at this link: http://youtu.be/ATR-eHXwceU
Please click that 'liked' radio button, leave a comment letting me know what you think (What did you like/dislike? How can I improve? Let me know if you disagree, and why), and of course supportive remarks are always welcome and appreciated. =)
5/10/2013 10:12 AM