“For A Peaceful Society, Privatize Everything and Abolish the State” was co-authored by TJ Roberts and Justin Moldow.
Perhaps the most important case against the government comes from the simple definition of government. According to Max Weber, the State is an entity that successfully acquires a “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force” within a given geographical boundary. In other words, the State claims the exclusive right to initiate violence upon other individuals. Whereas humanity is best when humanity drives toward peace, a rejection of initiatory violence is essential to the establishment of a civilized society.
Through this framework, we can see the inherent evil of government. This piece will analyze this evil, explaining what government is not, what it is, and why it must end for the world to truly have peace. In this essay, one will realize that we are not the government, government is force, and that government goes against the very nature of humanity. In addition, one will see that advocacy of government is to inherently engage in performative contradiction, thus leading one to reject every hint of what makes humanity great.
What the Government is NOT
Most cases for government usually stem from a misunderstanding of what government is. In Anatomy of the State, Murray Rothbard explained what the government is not. While much of this section will reiterate much of what Rothbard said, it will also address some new points of contention.
We are Not the Government
Perhaps the most ignorant definition of the government is “the people,” in general. The idea that we are the government is nonsensical. If we (funny that advocates of the State never explains who “we” is, so to speak) are the government, then every victim of government overreach did it to themselves. If we are the government, then every victim of genocide committed suicide. If we are the government, then we steal from ourselves to fund immoral projects that will be inadequately handled.
We are not the government. If you work within the private sector, the government is a parasite that feeds off of you. Parasites are not you. They are invaders. The ruling class is not you (unless you actually are part of the ruling class). The reason why so many people are convinced that they are the government is because of the folly of democracy, which claims that every individual has equal access to political power.
The problem with democracy, however, is that it eliminates individual rights in exchange for the tyranny of the majority. Why be a productive member of society when you could simply woo the masses into sycophancy. So long as you are a skilled rhetorician, you can acquire political power. You do not need to be an entrepreneur. You do not need to uphold the values of freedom. You merely need to be willing to partake in demagoguery. Democracy is the God that Failed for this reason. It compels the people into obedience by claiming that you asked for it. It provokes a constant victimization of the greatest minority of all, the individual.
The Government is not a Limited Entity
People often claim to make a distinction between big government and small government. While smaller government is better than bigger government, where does one draw the line between big and small? These are completely arbitrary terms that is up to the interpretation of every individual.
But government always leans to big government. The prospect of limited government is impossible. After more than 200 years of the current system, the Founding Fathers wouldn’t even recognize the country we live in today. That is because no piece of paper is capable of restraining the will of agents of the State. In a constitutional republic (which is a system that has allowed for the democratic will of the masses to destroy any sense of liberty in America), people are supposed to follow their country’s constitution. But it is certain that the Constitution of the United States either allows for the massive government we have today, or was completely unable to stop it.
The nature of government is expansion. Once a monopoly on the use of force has been established, it is within the interests of the monopolist to attempt to expand its authority over the people. The inevitable result is a movement toward centralization, global government, and totalitarianism. No government has successfully limited itself and that is because no government can limit itself.
The Government is Not A Necessary Evil
The claim that evil is necessary is a cop-out. It is saying that we are too lazy to use virtuous means toward virtuous ends. To use evil to attain good is inherently contradictory. In fact, the bedrock of ethical action is using ethical means for the sake of achieving ethical ends. If you use unethical means, you will not achieve an ethical end.
Evil is not necessary in this world. There is no immoral act that is needed for the survival of humanity. Instead of using some subjective utilitarian calculus to “devise” that which is right and wrong, we should recognize the fact that every person is a self-owning being and respect the sovereignty implicit in that claim.
What the Government IS
Government is Force
As mentioned in the introduction, the government is a territorial monopolist on the initiation of force. This monopoly power is especially dangerous, since monopolies always yield higher prices and lower quality. But the State takes this to another level, whereas they acquire their wealth by means of stealing from the public. Taxation is theft. If you do not pay your taxes, you are not excluded from receiving government services, rather you are thrown in a cage and forcefully stolen from by the barrell of a gun.
Simply put, government is force. It is a monopoly on the use of initiatory violence. But the fact is, the initiation of force is illegitimate, no matter who does it. If I cannot assault someone, neither can you. If I cannot murder someone, neither can you. If I cannot steal from someone, neither can you.
Government Claims Special Rights
The government also claims to have rights that we as individuals do not have. Whether it be the right to steal through taxation, the right to enslave through conscription, the right to invade through regulation, or the right to kill through war, the government has set itself aside from the people. Since all rights must be equally applied, then it is clear that the current role of government is completely out of line. If one reads The Law by Bastiat, it should be clear that all rights are equal rights. In addition, rights stem from self ownership, of which we shall soon see that government goes directly against.
Government is a Subsidy for the Unproductive
In a free society, one acquires wealth through voluntary exchange. In a statist society, however, one can merely freshen up their skills in rhetoric, get the masses behind them, and steal from the public at will. Before becoming an elected official, Bernie Sanders never held a stable job. That is because he is an unproductive individual. Most politicians, however, are just like that. Very few members of the political class actually hold private sector skills that could lead to mutual benefit.
Simply put, government penalizes the productive, and rewards the unproductive. As the warfare-welfare state expands, the State chooses its winners and losers in business, all the while enslaving the productive members of society through government debt.
The State is Proof of an Uncivilized Society
Oliver Holmes once claimed that “taxation is the price we pay to live in a civilized society. He could not be more wrong. Taxation is the price we pay for being so uncivilized, that we have rejected the idea that consent matters. The State is an indication of the lack of civility of our modern society. For every role the State acquires, society becomes more oriented toward using violence rather than peace. The State is a rejection of the most important feature of freedom: Consent.
Why the State Must Die
Government Goes Against the Very Nature of Humanity
You own yourself. You are the sole owner of your body. This claim is irrefutable. But the government rejects your self ownership. Since violence is the only means by which a government may function, government is at odds with the very nature of your humanity and your natural rights. We must abolish the State if we are to allow for human flourishing in our time.
To Argue Against Self Ownership is to Engage in Self-Contradiction
If every government action violates the self-ownership of another person, then we must either reject the State or reject self-ownership, but the latter is impossible. By making the claim “I do not own myself,” one is expressing their self ownership in making that very claim. Based on Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s argumentation ethics, it is clear that it is irrefutable that you own yourself, and therefore, you cannot deny that fact without contradicting yourself. This irrefutably denies the legitimacy of the State, slavery, or any other form of involuntary interaction.
Since self-ownership is irrefutable, the non-aggression principle (NAP), that the initiation of force or the threat thereof is illegitimate, is as well. Through the NAP, we can devise a coherent system of justice based on self-ownerhsip, and therefore, private property rights.
From Self Ownership comes Private Property Rights
Since you own yourself, you have the inherent right to acquire private property. One can acquire private property by means of original appropriation (being the first to use an unowned item) or voluntary exchange. Private property is the foundation of a free society. By respecting self-ownership, one must respect private property by default. It gives a clear owner to everything, meaning that there is no confusion as to who owns what. Private property allows for a clear system of justice that is centered around consent. If I allow you to stay at my home, no crime has been committed. However, if you stay at my home without my consent, you have violated my right to private property.
When all is open to the public, the tragedy of the commons emerges. Resource depletion occurs when ownership is delegated to the public. By privatizing everything, we have an incentive to be smart about resource use. We have an incentive to provide high quality at a low price, the opposite of government function. In other words, the State must die for us to have justice, peace, and prosperity. To have liberty, we must not just work toward small government, but no government at all. Only then will we be free. To support liberty, it is time to advocate stateless capitalism and embrace the Austro-Libertarian tradition.