When I was a child I wanted to rule the world. Over time, life taught me that I wasn’t clever enough to accomplish that, smart enough to deserve it or strong enough to enforce it. However, I still believed that there were others who were. I no longer do. From where on earth did I get that idea in the first place? Research into human cognition and behavior reveals that we tend to accept as truth that which has simply been repeated often enough, that which we have simply lived with or been around long enough to unconsciously internalize.
For at least eight hundred thousand years of human species history, we’ve accepted being told what to do, what not to do and being punished if we don’t go along. It worked. Now it now seems as built into the human psyche as defecating where we squat. But such an explanation no longer serves as an adequate excuse; we no longer need to live that way, though we’re so used to being punished that we even punish ourselves when there’s no one else around. We still debate and fight over who’s going to tell us who should be punished and for what, but isn’t the real point now, not who should be allowed or chosen to do so, but rather if anyone should be allowed to do so at all anymore? When the subject of the debate is who will make those decisions for us, the debate over whether or not we should be subjugated at all has already been won. The debate needs to change, to evolve out of the iron age.
Human activity is accomplished by individual free choice, force or fraud, but in spite of the demonstrated superiority of free choice to produce the greatest good for the greatest number, there are still those who assume the right to use force to impose their will and establish an ostensible monopoly to do so by virtue of the fraud that they have such an authority. The bully in the neighborhood, the drunk dad in the back yard, the thug on the street all impose their will, their agenda on another individual by force, offending the ultimate minority, the individual, but they can we walked or run away from. Ironic isn’t it, that government wants to cure bullying by bullying all of us everywhere? When we debate the nature of government and who should be in it, we’re not discussing persons or government; we’re really discussing little more than the color, shape and size of the club that will be used on our heads, whose heads will feel it, how often it will used and what the new pretense for doing so will be.
I submit that clubs are only justified for self defense, not to force obedience. The Libertarian view espouses non-aggression in all its forms as the ideal of a virtuous society, so government is only a part of the problem. I’ve seen so-called “Libertarians” who want to force their views and agendas on others. They don’t get it.
Muslim fundamentalists murder children to get to heaven (good luck there!). Christian fundamentalists defended slavery and preach hatred for the unapproved (isn’t love wonderful?). Liberals accuse those who wish to keep what they’ve earned as being greedy, but see no contradiction in using clubs to take it from them by force to spend themselves. Conservatives are perfectly willing to condone the impoverishment, imprisonment and shooting of the unarmed for behavior of which they disapprove.
The ostensible purpose of government is ensure that the inherent rights of the individual (the ultimate minority) are not interfered with. Ironic that government insists on ever more prohibitions and punishments, ever more violence, ever more control.
It may be that before we can change that, we need to learn and experience ourselves, a new second nature knee jerk reaction every time we think we know how someone else should be behave, i.e. to immediately tell ourselves that no matter how much we may disapprove or dislike something, unless it involves the defense of person or property (obviously not theft, murder, rape, destruction of property, interference and unwarranted disruption of privacy etc.), then we really have no business either forcing others ourselves or having someone else force them in our name to do otherwise.