By Steven Clyde
I can only attempt to speak the words that too often go unspoken; yet who am I but an individual making a case for the individual?
We live at a strange time in the existence of humanity, and nonetheless at a time when poverty is at its lowest and where the capacity to be productive and acquire wealth for oneself has been increasing steadily for centuries.
In the pursuit of the most functional society we can only ponder on whether our actions, which merely amount to the pursuit of our goals, can make up the society we live in; an effective society at that.
The only other alternative aside from pursuing our own endeavors is 1.) total war or 2.) a society set up through a set of rules enacted by a few men or women to create order; the same type of order we’re willing to sacrifice a huge portion of our life to in order to be secure from our own persons.
So do we dare deny that governments are coercive in nature, or even violent? Surely not our own in the United States (at least never in the name of evil we think), but unequivocally we know the answer for North Korea, Cuba, the somewhat recent (in terms of history) dissolution of the USSR, etc, no?
If it rings true for us in the states that our overlords don’t have as much blood on their hands as the nearly 70 years of communist Russia and the 60+ million deaths, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia wiping out 20% of the population, or Hitler’s insidious genocide of six million Jews and 5+ million others, then we could easily rationalize why our government is supposedly unlike any other in the world, no?
And so I ask again, but in different context: Do we accept lesser crimes as overlookable, compared to the vast monstrosities those have faced under oppressive dictatorships? It’s an easier question not to ask in the first place, but it’s difficult when we’re forced to answer it.
Most of all then, why do we deny the longstanding conspiracy against all nations and their personal freedoms of their citizens, and most of all their dignity, when we can take them back? It’s only the false notions we’ve allowed to manifest amongst the masses through centuries of denigration of the so called “greedy” or the “gluttonous” which have led to a destructive cycle of what we have come to know about human nature: that we aren’t robots and each want a better life for ourselves.
Our happiness is subjective to each of us, and objectivity can’t come through the lens of a Keynesian formula, nor can it be mandated. Above all else, we want more than we have, so quite simply, we act.
How long then shall we question our own intents and our willpower to make an impact in this world; as if the good decisions we must make are the end results of the micro management of our personal lives? And as if ideas are to be held to such a miniscule standard when formed at the individual level that we must form governments to legislate and implement the proper climate of human activity and nourishment, except when they end up starving their people.
So in what way can a government be made up of the nation’s collective thoughts about state policy without the same citizens being held at gunpoint forced to cast a vote? How can we justify the consent of the majority who votes, when there has never been a time where 100% of eligible voters in the U.S. have participated. Nonetheless, the highest turnout rate ever in the U.S. among eligible voters was 81.8% in the election of 1876. The average turnout rate over the entire 20th century was 48.7%; more often than not less than half the population was putting people into power that was supposed represent the majority of the population. Isn’t the goal of democracy supposed to be majority rule? Not minority rule? But essentially, that’s exactly what we have.
The Inevitable Epiphany
We are humans, capable of completing the most astonishing of tasks, yet we would throw our own ambitions out the window in order to satisfy the superficial needs of the state, at least until we the people dissent and ask ourselves if we’re worth more.
Is freedom simply a buzzword then for the freedom to dominate others as some might claim? Or could it be that freedom first comes with the responsibility to own oneself, and to recognize ones self-worth; how else could we then theorize about whether others must own themselves as well? And nevertheless, are there not those that ascribe prejudices against some of the same people that manage to be successful within the same framework? We sometimes call this greed, or self-interest, but according to our intellectual superiors we can rid ourselves of greed and live selflessly for the community, so long as we have a revolution.
But then we find ourselves in a state of irony when they claim you are a parasite if you reject the idea of state redistribution: you still use state roads, state post offices, state educational facilities they will say. This is all of this under the notion that the tax money we paid in benefits us in a way that would’ve have been impossible so long as the people were never plundered, and that these goods and services we speak of would fail to exist had the state not had a direct interest. It never begs the question of the possibility of the state itself being a parasite for having used coercive deprivation of the countries resources to create their so called order.
We (or at least those of us fortunate enough to live in a free society) have access to vast amounts of information, and have an unprecedented amount of opportunities at least in comparison to even a hundred years ago, yet we somehow tend to doubt our fellow man on his ability not only to do things for themselves, but to assimilate freely and voluntarily with their fellow man to accomplish long term goals.
The Ultimate Questions
- Who would build the roads without the government and who would keep them from falling apart?
- How would the healthcare system work without the government mandating that citizens purchase insurance, all under the notion that they really want access to healthcare for all?
- How would money work without the government centralizing the currency and controlling the money supply, while simultaneously legislating that other currencies can’t compete?
- How would the rule of law work without the government and their system of courts and their hundreds of thousands of laws which even they can’t keep count of? That last part I added in to make a point: We literally don’t know how many laws are on the books, only that the average person commits three felonies a day without realizing it.
To a free thinker, one might be able to form a reductio ad absurdum out of these analytical questions:
- Is it really true that individuals are so helpless as to not be able to assimilate and coordinate with other individuals and accomplish goals?
- Does there really need to be the presence of a higher authority that’s perceived to be better suited to plan the entirety of the initial goals?
- Do we dare classify these so called authority figures as “more intelligent” than the rest and that their political clout will guide us, if our second question rings true?
Aren’t people too untrustworthy to have the ability to shape the world around us without a central authority guiding their path?
Do we ultimately reject our existences as being a necessary one? One must be a fool to not realize the consequences of such a notion.
To be Continued…
 Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2017) – ‘Global Extreme Poverty’. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty/
 “Slouching Towards Utopia?: The Economic History Of The Twentieth Century”. 1997. J-Bradford-Delong.Net. http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TCEH/Slouch_wealth2.html.
 26 years of which Stalin ruled
 Some of which are theorized not to exist, see Chapter
 See Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (1949), 11. & Murray Rothbard, Man, Economy and State, 1962, 1.
 The “right” or “moral” impact.
 “Collective” as in the total population; versus the small portion of the population that actually votes for representatives
 Necessarily their own drive for more access to resources
 Cali, Jeanine. 2017. “Frequent Reference Question: How Many Federal Laws Are There?”. Blog. Law Librarians Of Congress. https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2013/03/frequent-reference-question-how-many-federal-laws-are-there/.
 “Harvey Silverglate On ‘Three Felonies A Day'”. 2009. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwsLAqjqnxo.