Thursday, November 6, 2008

fun with government

just for fun, i'd like to run through some of the circular logic, contradiction and inconsistency of the ideas behind the concept of government. there a quite a few of them and i'm sure state apologists will have a hard time digesting this post.

1) the constitution is not only illegitimate, but also ridiculously impractical. if the "founding fathers" had the right to scribble down their ideas about such a naive concept as "limited government" and then sign their names to it, somehow binding everyone in a huge geographical area (that some called the "united states"), whether the people of that area agreed to it or not, then doesn't everyone have that right? what gives anyone the right to do that? honestly, would anyone put forward the idea that i can sign my name to something i wrote and produce in you some obligation? if so, sweet! i'm going to write my own constitution! you can bet that everyone will soon have to give me all of their worldly possessions under such a binding "contract".

not only did those guys not have the right to do what they did, but the very idea of the constitution is silly anyway. it's a classic example of the fox guarding the hen house. rules are written to govern the governors, but those same governors are in charge of enforcing the rules! it amazes me that anyone might think that idea would ever work - and it didn't.

2) if the individuals making up a society can not or will not govern themselves, or are lacking in the virtues that create just societies, what qualifies them to elect rulers? assuming such a society, needing government, from where would such prospective rulers be chosen? surely they shouldn't be plucked from that same society that can't govern itself! that would only insure that those unvirtuous people became governed by those in their own society who sought power! if a society can't maintain itself with decentralized power, then giving those-in-said-society-who-seek-authority centralized power could never do anything but exacerbate the problem.

3) ostensibly, governments are billed with upholding civil society by protecting individuals from violations of person or property. yet, in order to protect individuals from such criminal activities, governments must commit similar acts against those it supposedly protects. it must steal by forcing peaceful people to surrender their earnings or property through taxation and kidnapping (arresting) or killing those who refuse. it's like committing suicide because of a fear of death. government institutionalizes the very acts it was commissioned to curtail.

4) we have learned that government is a "coercive monopolist" in certain areas like regional defense, security and justice. the economic calculation problem, as well as some other violations of economic law, make its provision of such services expensive, ineffective and consistently subject to corruption. yet, most consider this violent monopoly necessary in order to prevent peaceful monopolies from rising in their respective market segments. talk about trading bad for worse! a peaceful monopoly can only arise and survive by providing the best goods or services at the best value compared to any other competitor. we need a violent monopoly to "protect" us from this?

5) often, it is said that the state must provide a safety net, or a welfare state. if it is the will of the majority of people to democratically support such an institution, why the need to have the state administer it by force? if the majority of people care enough about the poor to institute welfare, why can’t those virtuous people do it privately, with much more efficient private funding?

as p.j. o’rourke famously quipped: “There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as caring and sensitive because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he is willing to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he will do good with his own money— if a gun is held to his head.”

6) the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of monopoly is widely known in economics. monopolies lack the ability to determine proper allocation of resources and production values because of a lack of access to the price structures inherent in the market.

why, then, is it a good idea to create coercive, government monopolies (a particularly bad type considering they always insulate themselves by force from competition) in areas of great public importance such as justice, defense and security? with the options available why choose the one barred by nature from being able to perform the given task?

7) as discussed in a previous post, if election to office gives politicians rights over the person or property of others, how are they derived, since the electors have no such rights to give?

8) many argue that government has certain legitimate functions, such as providing for the common defense through a military, police services to protect person and property and courts to adjudicate disputes. they say that these are the most important functions for a society and they must be maintained by government. but if it is so that the most important functions of society can only be satisfactorily dispensed by government, then why not have the less important things dispensed by government? surely, if the state can do the most important things, then they should have no problem with any other parts of a society's function. why not put them in charge of building cars or houses or growing and dispensing food or cell phone service? why not have that super-capable entity control the production of all goods and services? sound a lot like that most incredible utopia theory called communism? you know, the one that resulted in the deaths of 20 million soviets, 60 million chinese and 2 million cambodians? well, if you support state military, police and/or justice, you are, at your core, a communist.

that was fun! now we know a few of the reasons why the state is no answer to any question except, maybe, "what the most unnecessary thing you can think of?"

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