Wednesday, July 22, 2009

government and logical consistency

as the argument goes, the state is here to protect the rights of individuals, to stop the violation of person and property of those under its jurisdiction. there are thieves, so the state needs to be there to stop them from violating citizens. there are murderers, so the state needs to be there to protect life. this post is not aimed at theorizing about society absent the state (i've done that before), but about the logical inconsistencies inherent in the argument above.

the state, in order to operate,must fund its activities. the funding for this comes from one or more of three sources: borrowing on behalf of the citizenry, taxation, or monetary inflation. borrowing places a debt burden on citizens that they, themselves, never agreed to. it makes them liable for debts created by others - namely, those in government. taxation is the direct, forced extraction of wealth from citizens. monetary inflation is the forced extraction of value from the currency held by citizens in the form of newly printed currency. each of these requires the state to forcibly take money from the citizenry.

but isn't that very thing the argument above says the state is there to prevent? imagine the prevalence of crimes committed by regular street criminals. how common is it? what percentage of people that you know have ever been a victim of such crime? i'd imagine, for most, it's a very small number. now, how many people that you know have been victims of the state's forced taking of money and property? your answer should be, "virtually everyone". so what's worse? the specter of private crime (which, by the way, hasn't been stopped by the state) or the ubiquitous crimes of the state? how many people were killed or robbed by private criminals in the 20th century as opposed to state actions like wars, genocides, famines, ect?

the fact that the state, an entity supposedly here to protect rights and property, has been, far and away the leading violator of such rights should come as no surprise. but that's only part of what the state does to destroy the credibility of the "protector" argument. the state uses criminal activities to fund itself, we've already talked about that. but also, in providing police, regional defense and justice, it necessarily violates rights as well. because the state is a coercive monopoly, it uses force to keep people from trying to compete in the market segments above (defense, police and justice) which is, in itself, a violation of rights. if people don't have the right to compete in such areas, then how does the state derive such a right, considering it is nothing more than people itself?

to summarize, the state, in order to operate, must violate the rights it supposedly protects for funding, then, it must violate the rights of those desiring to compete in such market segments. and people say that this is necessary? it doesn't even begin to make sense - and we haven't even started on the idea of the consequences of socializing these very important services. i know, the myth of the state is so easy to punch holes in that it doesn't even seem fair, but the majority of people still believe in it, so a hole-punching we will go!

No comments: