"[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state -- what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations -- what we can call civil society. ... In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does. ... Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force." ~ Ed Crane
Ode to the Average American Citizen
Exclusive to STR
For the average American citizen (AAC), government is voluntary.
The AAC believes that each and every speck of land on the Earth is subject to some national government. The AAC believes that every human being must be a citizen of some government. The AAC believes that the land area of the Earth that we label United States of America on our maps is subject to the federal, state, and local governments of the United States.
The AAC is happy to be able to travel relatively freely within the borders of the United States. The AAC does not mind having to ask permission to leave or to return to the country. After all, the AAC doesn't want citizens from other countries coming in without permission. It's not fair for others to use our stuff without paying for it.
The AAC would avoid paying taxes if he could, but he knows that taxes are the price to be paid to maintain the government. The AAC believes that if he really was unhappy with the current state of affairs in this country, then he could leave and take up residence in another country. The AAC believes that there is no other country better than the United States of America, so he stays. It is his choice, so it is a voluntary decision.
In other words, the AAC knows that everyone must belong to a country, and since he finds himself in the best country, then he must pay his taxes to maintain that country. The AAC is glad that there are guns behind the demand for taxes, because he feels it necessary for someone to compel him to make payments he might otherwise try to avoid. It's only fair. The AAC also wants to make sure that everyone else pays, since he is paying, and so he thinks the guns are a very good idea indeed. The AAC does not trust the other AACs to do the right thing.
The AAC thinks his country is more successful, more ethical and more moral than any other country. The AAC is proud to be a part of such a noble organization. The AAC knows that the government is not perfect, and perhaps it is the worst government on the face of the Earth except for all the rest, but he would not trade it for any other. The AAC likes to tell other AACs that they should love their country or leave it.
The AAC does not realize that he has inalienable rights. The AAC does not know what the word "inalienable" means. The AAC thinks that the Constitution gives him rights. The AAC has been taught in school the phrase "All men are created equal" from the Declaration of Independence, but also has been taught all the exceptions to this phrase. The AAC believes that nations, not each and every human being, are sovereign entities on the face of the Earth. The AAC has spent between 13 and 17 years in government schools learning these things.
The AAC believes every child has the right to such an education. The AAC believes every child must, in fact, have such a mandatory education or be removed from the custody of his parents. The AAC is looking out for the youngsters.
The AAC believes that poor people should be helped. The AAC thinks everyone should help. To be precise, the AAC thinks everyone should be forced to help. The AAC is looking out for the poor.
The AAC is not concerned about his own freedom. The AAC is concerned about his safety. The AAC would gladly trade some of his freedom for some more security. The AAC just wants someone to protect him and take care of him. The AAC does not want to grow up and be responsible for himself. He wants the government to care for him as his parents did when he was a child.
The AAC thinks that if we can just get the right people into the political offices, things will improve. The AAC thinks that America is a democracy. The AAC thinks that democracy is the best form of government ever invented. The AAC has no idea that there is a long list of democracies in the history books, all of which failed. The AAC, if he did know this, would think that this time it will be different, but he would not be able to explain why.
The AAC thinks that lawyers and politicians (but I repeat myself) are the most untrustworthy forms of human life, but he trusts politicians to "lead the nation." The AAC wants his country to have great leaders, and so he taps the great pool of lawyers to find them. The AAC looks for authority to guide him. He is a follower. He wants to be told what to do. By lawyers.
The AAC has an unnatural emotional attachment to rectangular textile swatches emblazoned with stars and stripes. The AAC gets goosebumps when the National Anthem is played. The AAC gets misty-eyed on the 4th of July. The AAC is thankful for all the soldiers who have died in order to protect his freedom. The AAC believes it is ethical and moral to kill people as long as the right people say it is necessary.
The AAC believes that voting is a privilege and not a right. He is thrilled to have had this bone thrown his way by his superiors. The AAC believes that if one does not like the system, then one must work within the system to change it. Use it or lose it.
The AAC doesn't think too much about the wars his government is currently undertaking. The AAC is vaguely uncomfortable when he hears the words "Muslim" and "Islam." The AAC suspects that these words have something to do with men who were created not quite as equal as others. The AAC cannot find Afghanistan or Iraq on a globe. The AAC is too busy judging the finalists on "Dancing With the Stars."
The AAC thinks that all ethics is subjective. The AAC thinks that laws define what is right and wrong. When all is said and done, might makes right. The AAC will never admit that he believes that might makes right.
The AAC believes that morality can and should be legislated. The AAC believes that we are a nation of laws, not men. The AAC lives in a country with thousands and thousands and thousands of laws on the books. The AAC breaks a dozen or more laws every day without even realizing it. The AAC is perpetually guilty.
The AAC thinks that money is little green credit strips from a central bank. The AAC thinks that gold and silver are pretty rocks. The AAC thinks that a little inflation is good. The AAC thinks that federal government deficits are healthy. The AAC has no concept of how big "one trillion" is. The AAC thinks the stock market always goes up. The AAC does not pay much attention to or really understand his 401k. The AAC is counting on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for his retirement. The AAC does not know what an unfunded liability is.
The AAC believes in God. The AAC believes in Democracy. The AAC prefers superstition over logic. The AAC has the courage of his convictions, but refuses to examine or change them. The AAC was raised to believe certain things, and he will fiercely hold on to those beliefs. The AAC 's idea of critical thinking involves Siskel and Ebert.
The AAC is a slave who voluntarily, and very prudently, chooses the plantation that fits its slaves with the longest leashes. The AAC then calls this "freedom." The AAC is insulted at the suggestion that he lives as a slave, even if he is a slave with a long leash. After all, it can't be slavery if you voluntarily participate.
The AAC is voluntarily a citizen because he does not realize that it is possible to not be one. The AAC is crippled in his head. The AAC has been lobotomized. The AAC is an enabler. The AAC suffers from Stockholm Syndrome. The AAC has been brainwashed by a cult. The AAC has a slave mentality. The AAC is a plate full of paradoxes with a side order of inconsistency. The AAC needs an intervention, but he must first admit he has a problem before he can be helped.
I have, without a doubt, come up short of any comprehensive list of attributes for the AAC , but this sampler is sufficient, I think. With it we can now begin to understand why the AAC cannot comprehend the idea of human freedom.
The AAC cannot comprehend that it is possible for human beings to own land. The AAC cannot comprehend that an imaginary organization called government cannot own land. The AAC cannot comprehend that the land area within the United States of America has been unjustly claimed and unjustly held through violent means. When the AAC is confronted with things he cannot comprehend, he proclaims that the stolen property must be cherished or vacated.
The AAC believes that I must conform to his worldview or else leave. The AAC does not realize that I, not his government, have the inalienable right to life, liberty, and property. The AAC will not concede the immorality of an organization that seizes and holds land by violent means, because he is part of that organization and he certainly is not immoral.
Just ask him and he'll tell you.
Long live Homo stultus.