Friday, August 18, 2006

"We Need Government Because People are Bad" A Beginner's Guide to What Eventually will be Obvious

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"But it's the best system there is!"

"But what else can we do?"

First, a myth, second, an argument from ignorance. If "I" can't figure it out, then Government must be necessary. The first objections: "But people must be protected!" That's a good argument for the mob when they extort "insurance" from business owners, against their own violence. There's no protection against the ruling class' violence against us, since this kind of self-defense is illegal. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is not an "anarchist blog," per se, and there are quite a few blogs that take care of these questions.

So I'll stick with the beginners' stuff. And there's no better place to start than with the Argument from Morality, by Stefan Molyneux. Here are some excerpts:

To begin, there are really only three principles to remember when using the argument from morality:

1. Nothing exists except people.

There is no such thing as "the government," or a "country," or "society." All these terms for social aggregations are merely conceptual labels for individuals. "The government" never does anything – only people within the government act. Thus the "government" – since it is a concept – has no reality, ethical rights or moral standing. Moral rules apply to people, not concepts. If anyone argues with you about this, just ask them to show you their "family" without showing you any individual people. They’ll get the point.

2. What is good for one must be good for all.

Moral beliefs, in order to rise above mere opinion, must be applicable to everyone. There is no logically consistent way to say that Person A must do X, but Person Y must never do X. If an action is termed "good," then it must be good for all people. If I classify the concept "mammal" as "warm-blooded," then it must include all warm-blooded organisms – otherwise the concept is meaningless. The concept "good" must thus encompass the preferred behaviour for all people – not just "Orientals" or "Policemen" or "Americans." If it doesn’t, then it’s just an aesthetic or cultural penchant, like preferring hockey to football, and loses any power for universal prescription. Thus if it is "good" for a politician to use force to take money from you and give it to me, then it is also "good" for anyone else to do it.

3. What is bad for one must be bad for all.

Conversely, if it is wrong for me to go and steal money from someone else, then it is wrong for anyone to go and steal money from anyone else. If shooting a man who is not threatening you is evil in Atlanta, then it is also evil in Iraq. If being paid to go and shoot someone is wrong for a hit man, then it is also wrong for a soldier. If breaking into a peaceful citizen’s house, kidnapping him and holding him prisoner is wrong for you and me, than it is also wrong for the agents of the DEA.


The State

Certain people calling themselves "the state" claim the moral right to use force against other people – a moral right, they claim, that is based on elections. Very well – all we have to do is ask which moral principle justifies this rather startling right. The answer we will get is: when the majority of people choose a leader, then everyone has to submit to that leader. Excellent! Then we must ask if senators and congressmen ever defy their party leader. If they do, then aren’t they acting immorally? Their party has chosen a leader – don’t they then have to obey that person? If they don’t, then why do we? Also, if the principle is that the majority can impose the leader’s decisions on the minority, why is that only the case for the government? What about women, who outnumber men? What about employees, who outnumber managers? And last but not least, what about voters, who outnumber politicians? If the majority should forcibly impose its will on the minority, shouldn’t we all have the ability to throw politicians in jail if they don’t do what we want? What if atheists outnumber Christians in a certain town? Can they ban churches? Can Mormon wives "outvote" their husbands? Students in universities outnumber professors – can they then threaten jail for bad marks? Patients outnumber doctors, prisoners outnumber jailers – the list goes on and on. If the moral theory of "majority rule" is valid, then it must be valid for all situations. If not, then it is a pure evil, since it supports the use of all the ghastly horrors of the state – theft, kidnapping, imprisonment – and sometimes, as we all know, torture and execution. Thus the moral theory which justifies and demands the exercise of such terrible power better be pretty damn airtight – and as you can see, it is riddled with nonsense.

For more information on how I have the gall to say such crazy things, visit these blogs/sites:

Simply Anarchy

Freedomain Radio

Check Your Premises

There's No Government Like NO Government

Strike the Root


ChairoNoMe9390k said...

I don't understand why so many atheists are libertarians. I consider myself a liberal and an atheist, but I listen and watch a few libertarian oriented shows such as your Hellbound Alleee show and Penn & Teller's BS. I agree with them on most things, like banning the death penalty, keeping religion out of government, and keeping out of other people's business (especially with wars).

Where I differ with libertarians is the overwhelming trust they put into the free market. I do not agree that the free market solves every problem and I think this is been proven in matters of public education and public police and fire departments. We tried having privatized fire departments and privatized schools over a hundred years ago in the United States. The result? People's houses burned down because they weren't a member of the "club". Kids just worked on the farm instead of getting an education. Unless you were a skilled laborer, the only way you could get into educated fields such as law and medicine was if you had a wealthy family. Luckily today that isn't the case.

I did also catch one of your blog bits where you mention that the corporations should not be blamed for polluting. What I found funny is that you said in one breath that we need environmental regulations but in the next breath you say that corporations can be trusted to regulate themselves because it makes good business sense to take care of the environment. Well, I think the facts speak to the contrary.

You mentioned that the biggest polluter in the US is the US government and the problem is exacerbated by the fact that they don't have to follow environmental protection laws. Sure that's a big problem that needs to be addressed, but corporations are not limited to the United States. If you look at the WORLD'S biggest polluters, corporations like Exxon-Mobil and Monsanto pollute more than anyone else. It's a HUGE problem and you shouldn't be so quick to blame it all on the government. I'm sure if you were just to look within the United States and took all the corporations and compared the amount of pollution they produce vs the amount the government produces you'd find that the corporations have a much worse track record on the environment.

As for your comments on free market anarchy, we've seen what happens when corporations run governments. Read up on what happened in Cochabamba, Bolivia when bunch of private investors, including a subsidiary of the corporation Bechtel privatized the water supply. There's more detail here. Essentially the people held a peaceful protest and the police fought the protesters with tear gas, injuring 175 and blinding two people for life. A later protest left six people dead. Through an unofficial referendum it is found that 96% of the people disapproved of the water privatization plan but the government still refused to terminate the contract with the investors.

This is what happens when corporations are running things. The only things corporations care about is making maximum profit. Protecting the environment or preserving democracy doesn't usually factor into their profit-making schemes.

I would love to talk to you more about this, possibly even debate with you on your radio show. You can email me at chaironome [symbol that is an at sign] gmail [dot] com .

Hellbound Alleee said...

Yes, yes, I understand what you are saying, but you did not respond to the post. You are arguing about some stuff we said on the show, yes, but you aren't addressing the blog post you are commenting on. Do you have a counter to the moral argument?

If it's bad to shoot people, then it's bad for everyone to shoot people. What's wrong with that? Is it okay to steal from people?

I'm not arguing that "a free market solves every problem." I'm arguing against the pro-government stance that the solution to every problems is violence. You have just argued that we need violence to solve problems like giving people educations and "saving the environment." I am arguing that a monopoly of violent force, otherwise known as the US Government, is in fact never a solution to any of the problems you've addressed.

Hellbound Alleee said...

I'll have to add there, that you really need to Check your Premises. I really don't know what you're talking about re the "people's houses burned down" remarks. What are your sources? Since when is it free to use an ambulance, a hospital, or a fire department? Are the public monopolies great for everyone? Does it matter, since you don't have a choice whether or not to use them, anyway? Since when is it free to go to school? SInce when is gain/profit a bad thing? Do you know what gain is? Do you think that wasting your own resources is good for your bottom line? You're not a business person.

Then read the post.

PS: the WORLD's biggest polluter is the US Army.

ChairoNoMe9390k said...

Sorry for not addressing your post directly. I was trying to find something on the topic of government and free trade to comment on, and it looks like I didn't find something that was relevant enough.

I think we both talked about many different things that encompass the entire political spectrum. I think it's hard to debate without isolating a few issues and debating them one by one. I guess for starters we should have two separate discussions: one on the environment, and the other on the effects of privatization.

Would that be fine to discuss here or do you want to talk about something else?

Francois Tremblay said...

ChairoNoMe: I sent you an email in regards to coming on the show. Check your email...

Hellbound Alleee said...

Nobody can answer the...da da-daaaa


Actually, you should talk to Franc. But no, what needs to happen is you need to answer the moral argument. Then maybe we can talk about privati...I mean people owning things and offering services voluntarily.

Franc emailed you, you guys can take it from there.