Question 1: A neighbor plans to build on his property in such a way as will, you think, hurt the market value of yours. What will you do?
Invite him over, to explore a possible resolution
Contact the Zoning Board to prohibit his plans
Serve him notice of a lawsuit if he proceeds
Question 2: The police catch a local teenager red-handed while vandalizing your car. How will you ask them to proceed?
go ahead and prosecute, you’ll gladly act as witness
enquire whether Social Services can provide counseling for the troubled youth
let you contact the boy’s parents about paying for repairs
Question 3: You’re a subsistence farmer, in a poor county of Appalachia; and you have two cows, a field and a strong ambition. What is your business plan?
contact the Department of Agriculture about getting subsidies to expand
sell the cows and grow marijuana on the field
sell one cow and buy a bull
Question 4: Your daughter is bright, but is doing poorly in the local High School, whose reputation is ho-hum. How will you get her a better education?
cut back hard on expenses, so I can afford to move to the next town with much better schools
my wife and I will home-school her
become an activist in the local PTA, and lobby the School Board for better performance
Question 5: What is the purpose of your life?
to serve my country
to build as big a fortune as I can
to enrich my children with good principles for living
to enjoy all that it can offer me and achieve as much as my talents allow
to leave the world more free and prosperous than I found it
to obey and glorify God
Question 6: What do you think about taxes?
an essential ingredient of a socially-just, compassionate society
unpleasant and too high, but they are the price we pay for civilization
simple theft, neither more nor less
worse than simple theft; the way the stolen money is spent does even more damage than the stealing itself
Question 7: Should the Feds be free to tap your phone?
no how, no way, not ever
never without a judge’s permission in advance, as Amendment 4 requires
of course; if I talk with terrorists, they have the right to find out why – without delay or formality
Question 8: A big war looms, and you’re 19 and about to be drafted. You agree that the world would be better without the enemy, but not that America is in any danger of unprovoked attack. What will you do?
before drafts can be mailed, call up the recruiting office to volunteer
report for duty as the draft card directs, so risking your life and that of those you’re told to kill
burn it, risking imprisonment and the scorn of neighbors and potential employers
Question 9: You’re about to marry the love of your life, but learn that your State requires you both to take various tests and to pay for a “license,” ie to get the government’s permission. What will you do?
fly to Vegas or another place where no such requirements exist, and marry there
bow to the inevitable and do what the State demands
welcome these laws as wise contributions to public health and marital stability
call off the wedding
make vows to each other and ignore the government, as in Common Law tradition
Question 10: Your firstborn has just been delivered, and the hospital staff ask you to sign a bunch of forms. You notice that one of them requests a Social Security Number to be assigned to your baby. Will you sign that one?
yes, for it will avoid all manner of government hassle later on in her life
yes, for I’m far too exhausted to argue or resist
no, for it’s really a kind of ID#, to make her more vulnerable to a highly intrusive government
no, for that application is one she should make, when she is old enough to decide
yes, for that’s the way the system works
Question 11: You encounter an unfamiliar viewpoint about a subject that interests you. By what process of thought will you evaluate it?
I’ll check what the authorities say, and reject the new viewpoint if it fails to conform
I’ll see how the new ideas compare with others, think about them some more, and decide for myself by my own reason which of them makes the most sense
I’ll recognize that the latest opinions are always the best, and so will discard the old ideas and adopt the new ones at once as my own
Question 12: Properly and by right, who is your owner? – meaning, who can properly take decisions governing your life?
The government is
All my brother human beings are
Question 13: What do you owe to your fellow human beings?
Whatever the government, by Law, says I owe them.
Everything they want.
Everything I can give.
Such things and services as I have freely agreed to give them.
Question 14: Quick, say what is your present idea about what human beings are, essentially:
Humans are just animals with big brains. The ideas of right and wrong, and of rights and purposes, is so much fantasy. We are mere protoplasm, seeking to amuse itself.
Humans are very special creations, made in the image of God – who created everything in the whole Universe. We gain fulfillment only when we find out what He desires for our lives, and then follow that divine plan.
The human species has developed an unique ability to reason, as well as refining attributes like love, purpose, conscience. Our defining characteristic is that we are rational, to a degree that no other animal comes close.
Question 15: But in that case, what part is to be played by authority and custom or tradition?
Such things are part of what humans have discovered and thought, and so take their place alongside all other factors to be evaluated by reason. But they have no special status; one’s own reasoning must be paramount.
Customs and traditions and myths, even, are part of the fabric of human understanding of the subject being considered and should be held in the utmost respect and given precedence over one’s own reasoning power.
Authority represents the accumulation of human wisdom and all one’s reasoning should be performed only within the boundaries set by the experts in the subject being considered.
Question 16: See if you can tell which of the following statements are true:
My lawn is green. Therefore, all lawns are green.
It is axiomatic that all men called Jack have red hair.
The desk is too heavy for one person to lift. Therefore, at least two people will be needed to raise it.
Question 17: What distinguishes humans from all other animals?
We walk on two feet
We communicate with each other
We reason things out
We have big brains
We have very little hair
Question 18: What is a premise, and what is an axiom?
A premise is the conclusion reached after a process of reasoning has been followed, and an axiom is the resulting action chosen
A premise is a mistaken idea, while an axiom is the right one
A premise is something assumed, whether true or not, while an axiom is a premise whose truth cannot be denied.
An axiom is anything on which reasoning can be based, true or not, while a premise is undeniably true
A premise is the process of logical reasoning that is based upon an axiom
Question 19: Why is it possible that each human being might be his own self-owner?
Because as a human, he has the ability to make logical choices for action
Because crowds usually mill around with no clear direction or purpose, unlike ants and bees
Because God gave man that power
Each us feels that we are, when alone in the wilderness or gazing at the stars
Question 20: Why is it certain that each human being must be his or her own self-owner?
No other possibility makes sense
If anyone else were to be my owner, how did he acquire me?
If we were each owned by the company or the state, we’d have no motive to work hard
Because if I were to deny I own myself, I’d be expressing an opinion as if it were mine, yet which says it is not mine. This is a contradiction and so must be false
Because if I did not have the power to make my own decisions, I’d be incapable of making any contract – including one to marry, or to pay for goods or services upon which life depends.
Question 21: Suppose your absolute right to make all your own decisions is denied by someone in practice. How can that interference be properly described?
An attack upon me
A theft of my property
An irrational act
All of the above
A breach of contract
Question 22: So, you have the right to do anything you like with your own life. Are there any limits at all on that power?
Nope. I can rule the world!
Only that I’m forbidden to harm someone else
Just those limits the Law sets
None. However my power extends only to the control of my own life, not of anyone else’s.
Question 23: What is government, in its essential nature?
Government consists of representatives of the People who arrange for those necessary functions to be carried out which could not be done by the operation of a Market – eg providing for the common welfare and defense
Government is an organization that governs those within its power
Government is whatever has a monopoly on the use of unaccountable force in its domain
Government is what limits vice, punishes wickedness and so prevents society going to the Devil
Government is the absence of a market
Government is a set of armed thugs with no moral validity at all, bent solely on domination for its own sake
Question 24: Some in a population generally accept or even support government. Why?
They suppose it does good and necessary work, protecting them from foreign enemies and ensuring justice and the rule of law
They do well out of it. Some get jobs that pay more than they might earn in a free-market society, some get money benefits, some have their prejudices enforced against others who do not share them
They think that without it, the law of the jungle would prevail and so that many would suffer
They believe that God has ordained it
Question 25: Now consider the purpose of government as perceived by those who lead it and work for it. Why do they support it?
They truly think they are serving their country, their fellow-men, and humanity at large: “Public Service” is to them a high and honorable calling
Nobody else was hiring
They enjoy the intoxication of power over their fellow human beings
The leaders love the adulation of being treated like royalty, and of supposing their decisions carry historical signficance
Question 26: Thomas Paine rightly (and in his day, most remarkably) recognized government as evil but still supposed it was necessary – a tragic failure. Why can an evil thing not possibly be necessary?
Paine was in the service of Satan
It’s necessary to prevent or counter something more evil yet
Because it would imply that all humans are evil, and if that were true, the human race would be doomed anyway.
Question 27: What exactly is the definition of “evil”?
Action that forces a human being to act in a way contrary to his wishes
Actions that violate the laws of God
Events or actions that bring suffering
Things governments do
Question 28: Compare government with another form of organized crime – the Mafia. Above all others, what is the key difference between the two?
The Mafia robs you or hurts you, but makes no pretense that it’s doing it for your own good. It also very seldom returns to harm you again, whereas government never stops
Government is far, far bigger than the Mafia
Nonparticipants – the general public – rightly despise the Mafia but with respect to government there are no nonparticipants; everyone is its victim. Even so, there is so far no general revulsion against it.
If Mafia people get caught, they can be prevented from doing further harm. Government, in contrast, writes its own rules and runs its own courts.
Question 29: What’s the key distinguishing feature of a market transaction?
It’s one in which the price is unregulated
It’s one in which nobody is obliged to honor his contract
It’s one in which every party takes part on a strictly voluntary basis
It’s one in which government plays no part whatever
Question 30: In a free, market-based society one would be free to live in solitude. What are some advantages of not choosing to do so?
To enjoy the company and stimulation of other people
To foster a good sense of community values
To divide labor, and so – through exchange – raise the living standards of all
To provide a common defense against marauders
Question 31: In free-market exchanges, everybody wins. How so?
There’s no government bureaucrat to skim off his take and distort the agreed terms
Each party is free to choose exactly the terms that will satisfy his wants
The participants each have different preferences and values
Question 32: There is no rational alternative to a free market. Why?
All others involve forcing one or more participant to act against his own wishes, contrary to his nature as a rational human being
No central directory of Prices and Fairness could possibly know what’s best for millions of products and hundreds of millions of people; it would make at least some irrational rulings and produce a sub-optimal result
The market allows (encourages!) each participant to seek his rational self-interest, selfishly; just as his nature demands
Experience proves it: the freer, the richer
Question 33: “Everybody prospers” in a free market. Why?
Because the results of exchanging goods and services are the ones each person chooses. “Prosperity” is about fulfilling wishes, getting choices satisfied.
Because each participant gets to keep all the products of his own labor or payment, he has the motive to make himself more and more productive
Competition adds an extra incentive to improvement, and so provides buyers with more for their money; ie, more prosperity
Question 34: Competition is said to be sometimes “destructive”. Is it? Why, or why not?
Yes, indeed it can be. Trucker A competes with rivals B by shooting out B’s tires. War is always destructive, and government is needed to stop that kind of crime
Not so. Buyers choose a new vendor only if they perceive him to be better than the one now used; he must show a benefit, in terms of better service or lower cost, just as automobile inventors offered convenience and speed over the horse & buggy. Nobody loses; even the displaced rival has a new incentive to do better next time
Obviously it is: four people apply for a job, only one is appointed. A destructive waste, for the three losers
Question 35: Why be Good?
(a) To Live with Oneself
Rationally, we acknowledge that humans each own themselves; we know “I” own “myself”. Therefore, we acknowledge that everyone else owns himself. Therefore, to live consistently and at peace with oneself, one must conduct one’s affairs so as not to violate his or her right.
(b) To Protect One’s Reputation
Here is a crucial reason: self-interest. In a free society, especially now that information is about as freely accessible worldwide as it used to be in a village, our livelihood is closely bound up with our reputation; and a reputation is very much easier to lose than to rebuild.
(c) to NOT to Sacrifice Oneself
[(a) and (b) above are about it: those are the two reasons, and notably the second, for avoiding evil and embracing good behavior. Self-interest is the key principle! Whatever preserves or enhances the self is good – including living healthy and eating & drinking wisely – and whatever damages it is bad.]
Notice how dramatically different that is from traditional ethics based on Judeo-Christian religious teaching – which tells us, in essence, to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. “Greater love hath no man,” said Jesus, “than to lay down his life for his friends.” Surprise: self-sacrifice has nothing at all to do with rational ethics, with why we should be good.
This brings a couple of important implications.
Question 36: First, what are we to say of the case in which someone we love dearly is in dire need of help? – about to drown, perhaps, in a flooded stream? Are we to jump in at heavy risk to our own lives, or stand on the bank and wave sadly good-bye?
The answer will come to us in the moment of crisis: we shall make an instant judgment on which is preferable for our self-interest – to live without our loved one, or to run the risk of losing life itself. Self-interest will be the guide. Some will choose one way, some the other. Harsh and uncaring? – on the contrary, that is the only rational way to choose.
Second implication, not unrelated to the first: self-sacrifice is a truly benighted idea.
There are a couple of reasons. First, if all “good” people sacrifice their lives for others, either in the full and literal sense as above or in the sense of dedicating a life to the needy, like Mother Teresa, then the proportion of good people remaining in society is going to shrink – presumably leaving it to the mercies of bad people. This is rationally nonsensical and self-destructive.
Then secondly, if the way to be “good” is to pour out one’s life in the service of others, it follows that in order to be good, we’d be dependent on an endless supply of people who (by that definition) are “bad.” That in turn means that those in need of help (with physical disability for example) are branded as “bad” and that there can never be more than about 50% of the human race who can ever make it to an adequate level of “goodness”! That is the logical outcome of supposing that goodness is achieved by self-sacrifice and that absurd and heartless result suffices to de-bunk it completely.
(d) To Enhance Self-Esteem
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Although these are only a few short introductory questions, they may also be the most radical. Ask anyone here for help. Or ask them what they think the answer is. And why they choose that answer. You may find they have answers not even offered as one of the choices listed here.
These questions take centuries of seldom-questioned premises and turn them on their heads. Understandably, it may not be easy to embrace them and accept the answers all at once. But when know the correct answers, and understand the flaws of the incorrect answers, you will feel immensely liberated.
Having these answers will mean no longer demeaning yourself by existing solely for the benefit of another. From now on, you are your own – and nobody else’s!
Best answers to questions 17 – 36:
17c – reason
18c – an axiom is a premise used as a starting point of reasoning. An axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy
19a – because a human can use logic to choose an action to take.
20d – If I were to deny I own myself, I’d be expressing an opinion as if it were mine, yet which says it is not mine. This is a contradiction and so must be false 20a & 20b & 20e are also correct, though less so than 20d. No other possibility makes sense. There’s no such valid method of some acquiring us as being our owner. Without power to make our own decisions, life as we know it would be impossible, we’d be living less-than-human lives.
21d – All of the above. ‘You’ includes all that makes up ‘you’, including your axiomatic right to run your own life. The aggressor is attacking that. You are your own ‘property’, so his interference is stealing that. Your self-ownership comes from systematic REASONING, so a denial of it is the opposite: irrational. There is no rational excuse for someone to dispose of any part of your life.
22d – Self-ownership power is limited in any way, by any person or device at all. It’s simply that the exact same power is possessed by every other human being simultaneously, and therefore all decisions about their lives are likewise to be taken by them, not by you or anyone else. To assert that you own anyone else’s is a complete denial self-ownership, and thus, completely irrational.
23e – The absence of a market. The best and simplest definition of all. This means government is not really something that IS, that has distinctive identifiable properties, but rather something that is MISSING. A market is what a society would be or become naturally, as free self-owning humans chose to interact with each other. Government is what prevents that. Period!
24b – not too many sit down and do the calculation. If they did, they’d be furious at how wrong they were. But yes, that is probably the biggest single reason many people implicitly support the institution of government.
25c – possession of power over others is the most potent intoxicant in the world. In the 1990s a certain multimillionaire visited several Heads of State in very small countries, and offered each a princely sum if they would all retire and remove their government, allowing the proposer to take over and establish a free, market society there at once. Not one of them accepted. Their power meant more to them than money.
26c Paine failed to reject the incorrect premise that human nature is so warped that, all attempts to fix problems like injustice, cruelty, suffering, and premature death are a waste of time. Thus he wrongly concluded we may as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Paine’s dark and nihilistic philosophy is what really underlies this naive faith in government-as-savior! Once pain chose a wrong premise, he proceeded to make a wrong conclusion. Garbage in, garbage out.
27a – though not the way the word is usually defined, this is the accurate definition. Forcibly changing the preferred behavior of a human being is the essence of evil. Why? – because every human is a self-owner; he alone has the absolute right to do whatever he wishes with his own life!
28c – The key factor is everyone is forced participate. It’s an anomaly! The bulk of the population is failing to act to preserve its own interests. The vast majority who suffer are allowing government to continue to existence to their own detriment. With sufficient education, that will change.
29c – in the market nobody is obliged to make a deal, or bow to the will of another
30c – division of labor means only each does what he’s best at doing, and trades the product of his labor with others. One can grow far more veggies than one can consume, and sell the surplus in exchange for other items. That’s all markets are.
31c – each person reaches agreement with another because each wants from the exchange something different. Each places an unique subjective value on the the goods or services being exchanged.
32a & 32c – Forcing one to act against his own wishes is counterproductive and, contrary to his nature as a rational human being. Selfishness has an importance that cannot be denied rationally, only the market can accommodate and reward it with benefit to all.
33a & 33b &33c – prosperity only equals wealth if the meaning of wealth is widened to include anything which satisfies wants. When that happens, the market causes the tide to rise – and a rising tide lifts all boats. A free market is win-win-win, all around.
34b – Not so that competition is destructive.
35a & 35b &35c – conduct ourselves in a way that doesn’t violate our rights or anyone else’s rights. self-interest. When information is freely accessible worldwide, our reputation becomes important. If you misbehave, no one will hire you or transact with you. Strictly out of rational self-interest, we will compete fairly. Preserving and enhancing the self and avoiding damage is in our self-interest.
36 – tbd – we’ll know when the time comes whether to attempt rescue or watch helplessly. We’ll make an instant judgment on which is preferable to our self-interest – possibly having to live without our loved one, or running the risk of losing life itself. Our inborn self-interest will be our guide.
The notion of sacrificing the best to save the worst and average is suicide in the long run. This notion creates a demand for the bad to increase so as to supply the needs of those seeking to be the good.
Best answers to the first 16 questions:
1a – seek resolution, 2c – pursue payment, 3b – grow highest in demand marijuana, 4b – add homeschool to public school,
5d – life is yours to enjoy and excel at, 6d – worst sort of crime, 7a – say no and mean it!, 8c – burn, say you never received a draft card ,
9a – Vegas, 10c – avoid ID’s and intrusive govt, 11b – decide for myself, 12b – you own yourself. This is the fundamental axiom, necessary foundation for all further thought. One would have to accept this premise implicitly, in order even to try to rebut it explicitly; and that is what makes a premise into an axiom (something undeniable.),
13d – your voluntary agreement is indispensible: if lacking, you don’t own yourself, 14c – Reason: the ability to conceptualize in logical steps; is a uniquely human ability, 15a – Always question authority!, 16c – True. The premise may or may not be axiomatic but either way the deduction does follow from it logically.
Everybody wants “freedom”, the ability to run their own lives; that’s a no-brainer. Of course we do; that’s human nature.
The purpose of these Basic Quesions ofFreedom is partly to confirm that you do too, but mainly to find out whether you are also willing to let everyone else run their lives too. willing to bear responsibility for your own decisions and expenses.
Because, those, too, are indispensible elements of freedom, and very few qualify. Very few therefore will have the best answers to these questions that represent a perfect score.
You made a note of yours, right?
Those who scored 80% or above will find answer these kind of questions delightful, straightforward and richly rewarding.
You’ll discover not just that your existing approach to life is right, but why it is right, in some depth; why in fact there is no rational alternative to liberty – that all other alternatives are irrational.
So too will those of you with a 50% to 79% score – but you will encounter rough patches here and there.
Those scoring 20% to 49% will find it a tough course with some serious decisions and adjustments required along the way; but still, I believe you will still find this a profoundly rewarding experience.
Those scoring under 20% have a big decision right now. The evidence is that at present, you’re not amenable to the idea that you alone are responsible for a life that you alone control.
That does not mean you should not proceed – just that pain will precede the gain. I truly hope you will remain here and attempt to answer these kind of questions – but this is your fair warning that there is a lot of hard work still to come!
From a young age, I have always had a strong desire for freedom. To me, the concept of liberty instinctively seemed to be a natural part of the human condition and as essential to a healthy life as fresh air and exercise.
As I grew older, I learned the economic, philosophical, and moral arguments in favor of liberty. Government seemed to be the largest and most dangerous enemy of liberty, but countless people seemed willing to defend it.
I had to take economics in college, and it was there I heard a lecture about deadweight loss, the inefficiency and loss of wealth that occurs whenever the operation of a free market is hindered in some way.
The professor was demonstrating through supply versus demand graphs how deadweight loss results from government taxation and price controls.
The professor stated that even though deadweight loss results from these government actions, the actions themselves are nevertheless justified because they contribute to the good of society.
This seemed an overreaching blanket statement made without justification, so I asked him for further explanation after class. The professor seemed perturbed and said that the “experts” in government know what they are doing, and shouldn’t be questioned.
It baffled me that an educated man such as my professor could be so quick to support government and withdraw from rational discussion. Since then, I’ve discovered that a rational study of human action pairs better far with economics than the university-promoted axioms of positivism and hasty assertions.
Eventually, I concluded government was an unnecessary and undesirable element of a truly free society. When I first tried to explain this position to others, they listened to me, but rejected the position out of hand without much thought.
When talking about the nature of government, most suggested I work within the system by voting for change. Why was it that everyone quickly dismissed what seemed to be an important discovery about the nature of liberty?
Why is it that liberty is ultimately rejected so often, even in America where people claim to value freedom so much?
Arguments Against Government
Arguments against government can be separated into three distinct categories: economic, philosophical, and moral.
Coercion, or the initiation of force, defines government. There is no such thing as a voluntary government, for the moment coercion is removed from government, it ceases to be a government and becomes something else altogether (perhaps a business, club, or religion).
By contrast, free markets exist in the absence of coercion. This makes free market activity inherently fair. In a voluntary transaction, each person benefits. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have agreed to the transaction! Coercion is a distinguishing feature between government and the free market.
Free markets are more dynamic and able to respond to change more quickly than government. Let’s say a hurricane wipes out a large number of houses in New Jersey.
Statists might complain about the rising cost of lumber in the area and call for government to take action against “price gougers”. However, this increase in the price of lumber is actually a good thing.
There is only a limited supply of any given resource at any given time, including lumber. Because of the high price, only those who need lumber the most will purchase it.
The increase in the price of lumber encourages people unaffected by the hurricane to put off their less urgent projects, such as plans for a new deck, and helps ensure there will be enough lumber for hurricane victims to rebuild their homes.
The spontaneous order created by the free market organizes and distributes resources to the areas of highest need more efficiently than government could ever do.
Consider two vehicles: a car you rent and a car you own. Which do you drive more carefully? Which do you think would be in better condition after a year of use?
People tend to take better care of things that they own than things that are simply passing through their hands. Free market property rights utilize this basic fact of human nature to address environmental concerns better than governments.
Consider international whaling. Due to the absence of property rights, whalers try to catch as many whales as they can as quickly as they’re able. They don’t want somebody else to get to the whales before they do!
This hunting frenzy endangers whale populations. But, if each whaler had property rights to a certain number of whales (or the whales in a certain region), they would be sure to leave some of their whales in the sea so that they could have a catch for the next year. Whale populations would be as secure as cows or chickens are today!
Free markets institutions would replace government institutions in a free market society and perform better because of competition.
Private defense agencies could replace the military and police. Arbitration and contracts could replace the court system. Seller rating systems, similar to those implemented by eBay, could replace burdensome regulations.
Information about a person’s past dealings would be readily available and a concern for reputation would keep sellers satisfying their customers. Customized goods and services would be provided at a higher quality and lower price than one could ever find in an economy under government control.
Free markets allow human creativity and innovation to flow unrestricted and benefit humanity to the fullest extent possible. When it comes to efficiency, fairness, and value, governments pale in comparison.
Government is undesirable from an economic point of view.
Each of us is a self-owner. This fact is self-evident. If you don’t own your life, who does? Even if you are religious and seek to serve God, most faiths hold that God gives free will.
You have responsibility for your actions, and may choose to follow or reject God. Therefore, you have freedom and free will as gifts from God and are a self-owner.
No other person or group of people owns you, and you do not own the lives of others. As self-owners, we may run our lives in any way that we choose. Any attempt to violate the self-ownership of a person goes against our nature as human beings and therefore produces negative consequences.
It is important to respect the self-ownership of others in order to avoid the negative consequences that come with self-ownership violation. You may protect yourself, but may not initiate force or ask others to initiate force on your behalf. Live fully according to your nature and allow others to do the same.
Government is undesirable from a philosophical point of view because it violates self-ownership.
As discussed earlier, coercion, the initiation of force, defines government. If you, as an individual, were to imitate the actions of government, your actions would properly be taken as immoral.
However, when government carries out these same actions, they are viewed as moral. If you were to carry out your own taxation, it would rightly be called theft.
If you were to imitate the actions of a combat hero, you would be considered a murderer. If you were to attempt to circumvent the free market by enforcing your own regulations, it would correctly be considered enslavement.
If it is immoral for you, as an individual, to carry out these actions, then it is immoral for a group of people calling themselves a “government” to carry out these actions. In fact, it is immoral for individuals to ask the state to carry out these actions on their behalf.
Government coercion manifests itself through charred bodies, prison rape, and execution. But, the consequences of coercion are not only found on foreign battlefields or in remote prisons.
They can be seen in the mom and pop store that is forced to shut down due to the cost of complying with onerous regulations and in the faces of the frustrated youth who have shunned education after being forced to attend boring, propagandistic schools.
The plethora of immoral actions that issue from the state grows everyday and is too voluminous to recount in entirety here. However, observant readers will notice these immoral actions around themselves everyday.
Institutionalizing violence through government masks the evil in an air of legitimacy, corrupting culture and encouraging private acts of violence. Through this mask of legitimacy, the meanings of words such as “freedom”, “justice”, and even “morality” are easily twisted and changed.
For example, the prison and court systems are not concerned with the compensation of victims, but with vengeance and the exercise of power.
Rather than repay their victims for items they have stolen, thieves languish in prison. Meanwhile, the injured parties are sent away with, at best, a thank you. This system is called “justice” and is funded by tax money taken under the threat of force.
Not only is government undesirable from a moral point of view, it is completely unacceptable because it embodies force, coercion, and violence by definition. Being Anti-Government = being Pro-Liberty
Although humans are always free by their very nature, it is only in the absence of coercion, only in the absence of government that they can thrive as free individuals.
For this reason, arguments against government are arguments in favor of liberty. When a person chooses to accept government as legitimate, they reject the fullness of liberty that can be experienced in its absence.
Why Might a Person Reject Liberty?
After exposure to the various arguments against government and in support of liberty for mankind, a person may still choose to reject them and therefore reject liberty as a virtue that is desirable universally.
This rejection can take place even if the case against government is well thought out, and rational. But, the rejection of liberty goes beyond a rejection of rationality.
It is a rejection of the very freedom that makes innovation possible-for without an atmosphere free of coercion, great minds are stifled. It is a rejection of the very freedom that makes morality possible-for without choice, a person cannot be said to be acting morally. It is a rejection of the very thing that allows individuals to pursue happiness.
The reasons a person might reject liberty are numerous and complex. We will now explore some of these reasons.
Fear of Chaos
A fear of chaos is one of the most common reasons that a person might reject liberty. When presented with an argument against the state, this type of person’s head fills with images of looters raiding shops, murder in the streets, and children abducted from their beds.
Politicians play to this fear of chaos by promising safety in exchange for people giving up some of their liberty. The politicians gain power without any real obligation to protect the people.
If a destructive event occurs under a politician’s watch, the politician can easily claim a need for more power to prevent attacks in the future and the “fearers” will gladly comply.
“Fearers” look to government to protect them from the chaos of violence. However, violence caused by private thugs pales in comparison with the mountain of wrecked lives and damaged bodies created by government.
Professor R.J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii estimates that governments killed 262 million of their own citizens in the 20th century alone, not including combat deaths!
It is difficult to imagine that any private thugs could cause such devastation. Professor Rummel attempts to put this number into perspective for us:
“If all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times.
This number includes 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century.”
The very existence of a government in an area increases the vulnerability of that area to invasion by other governments.
An imperialist government would have scant incentive to invade an area occupied solely by individuals. Household after household would have to be defeated and much of the property that could be claimed from a successful invasion would be at high risk of damage.
However, If a government already exists in the area, the invading government need only capture the capital or force surrender and they have won the entire country!
Governments also make an area vulnerable to invasion through their foreign policy. An aggressive foreign policy provokes in ways that individuals could never do.
It is ironic that “fearers” believe government will bring stability to a chaotic world. The economic arguments against government explain how truly free markets spontaneously organize goods and resources from around the globe to the areas of highest need.
The quality of goods and services offered on the free market far exceeds those of comparable services offered by government.
Free market goods are delivered in a more efficient and more convenient manner than government goods, without the deadweight loss caused by taxes, quotas, and price controls. The free market is much more orderly than any politicized economic realm.
“Fearers” reject liberty because they are afraid of an unknown future in a stateless society and the chaos they believe will accompany it.
Many people have favorite causes that are near and dear to their hearts. Having found a problem that lacks attention, a person may adopt it as their special charge and watch for opportunities to remedy the matter.
This drive for problem solving, whether at a personal or social level, is positive and natural. However, sometimes problems solvers become convinced that the sole solution to their favorite problem lies with government.
It is when they become convinced of this that problem solvers reject liberty and become a kind of “lobbyist” for their cause.
Start talking about the arguments against government and you will soon come up against objections by problem solvers who have staked their hopes on government solutions.
They will ask questions such as “Who would provide the roads?”, “What about the criminals?”, and “How would we protect the environment?”.
This type of person has become stuck in the “Government Solves Problems” paradigm and looks first to the state for solutions. The moral hazards in seeking coercive solutions over peaceful ones are tremendous, but these are easily dismissed from the “lobbyist’s” perspective.
If only the “lobbyist” would think outside of their paradigm, they could soon realize innovative ideas such as “private toll roads”, “private defense agencies”, and “contractual property rights” that were previously beyond their grasp.
The “lobbyist” rejects arguments against the state because they expect it to solve their favorite problem.
The remedy to all of this is to seek a deeper understanding of liberty by reading books and articles and talking with liberty-minded people. You should come up with a list of books to read by talking to people here and on other forums and reading the latest articles. And then devote some time to this each and every day.
At the same time, seek a deeper understanding of yourself. Learn who you are and what makes you tick. It’s your life! Start building the confidence to follow your dreams and live free!
Not quite right about Franklin, Clover, but I appreciate dealing with the portion of your statement that can be either confirmed or refuted.
Can you appreciate the difference between Franklin-types making men commonwealthier, and Bloomberg-types sacrificing men to improve bureuacrat-contrived performance statistics?
Who is a modern Franklin? Elon Musk? Can you name one person now in the public sector that is like Franklin?
If Eric is so wrong, why is his article #6 in Bad-Cop-No-Donut with 60,000 subscribers?
Ben Franklin and Philly City Police
Franklin (born in 1706) worked constantly to improve his adopted hometown of Philadelphia. He established the world’s first subscription library — in which members contribute money to buy books and use them free of charge — at Philadelphia in 1731; the original collection of this library still exists.
Alarmed by the extent of fire losses in Philadelphia, he organized the city’s first fully-trained fire department. Seeing that criminals frequently got away with their crimes, he helped reform the city police department.
Disturbed by the poor condition of the city streets, (you love roads) he started a program to pave, clean, and light them. Ashamed by the poor medical care provided for the city’s poor, he raised money to help build a city hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital.
The city had no school for higher education, so Franklin helped to found the academy that grew into the University of Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Police Department traces its origin to Hans Block who, in 1663, established the first system of patrol in the city’s Swedish settlement. By the year 1700, Philadelphia and it’s 4,400 citizens established a method of citizen participation known as “Town Watch.” This system remained the basic form of police protection until 1751.
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