Column by JGVibes.
Exclusive to STR
One of the most pervasive misconceptions in our culture is the idea that “government” has anything to do with the structure or organization that we see in our society. This is one of the primary reasons why people have such a difficult time considering the very real possibility of a world without the organization known as “government.” When someone suggests that we simply do away with this unjust and unnecessary organization, they are typically met with some very negative knee-jerk reactions from whoever they may be talking to. This kind of conversation typically ends very quickly because both sides have completely different ideas of what the word “government” actually means, making it very difficult to find common ground.
If we attempt to examine government from an outsider’s perspective, we would see a world where people are grouped into two different categories, those in government and those not. At face value, we can see that these two groups of people have completely different standards and expectations, even though they are the same species and have the same basic needs. Looking closer, we can see that these different standards and laws are not neutral, they are very much benefiting those in government at the expense of those who are not. The most important discrepancy to mention here is the fact that those in government have a license to kill anyone who happens to disobey them.
Pointing out this fact is vital in understanding the true relationship between those inside of government and those outside of government, and that is the relationship between slave and master. If someone has the right to initiate the use of force on you if you disobey them, you are essentially their property. If you don’t believe me, go on over to Google and type in “slave definition,” and the first definition you will find is the following: “A person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” Now, doesn’t that sound a whole lot like the relationship between people inside government and people outside government? If you can force people to do things against their will, then you are treating them as if they were your property.
However, if you ask any random person on the street to define “government” for you, they would probably give you the story that they were taught in government school. You know, the one about how government is the backbone of civilization, and the means by which people in the community come together for mutually beneficial projects. Well this may sound good, but it isn’t at all true, because the government is comprised by a miniscule fraction of the population, and they would not be able to provide anything at all if it wasn’t for the resources that they forcibly extracted from the rest of society. Therefore, it is safe to say that all functions that are currently being carried out by the organization known as “government” could actually be better served by individuals in the community working together for common goals. Voluntary trade, charity and other peaceful methods of interacting would create a far better society than the one that we see today, which is filled with violence and forced associations.
It is not a new thing for people to confuse government with culture and have the misconception that without a central planning structure, everything that makes a society great would vanish. This fact was recognized by some of the more radical “founding fathers” of America, including Thomas Paine. In his most famous literary effort “Common Sense,” there is a section called “Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution.” In this piece, Paine discusses the difference between government and society.
Paine writes, “Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without a government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.” His statement is as true today as it was during the first American Revolution. Culture, society and security are absolutely capable of continuing in the absence of a central control system.
The most common argument against having an organized civilization without government is the notion that we are all somehow stupid, worthless savages who would not be able to figure out how to build a damn road if there wasn’t someone with a gun in our face every step of the way, telling us how, when and where to do it. But if people are stupid savages, and politicians are people, then isn’t the government made up of a bunch of stupid savages who can’t be trusted with a license to kill? Aren’t they just the same as us and even in many cases far worse than us?
There is nothing that the government can do that you and a large group of likeminded people can’t do better. The government doesn’t provide services, they simply take money from everyone (except their buddies, of course!) and use a very small portion of that money to pay people in the community to do things for their neighbors that they probably would have done anyway in the natural course of human interaction. Looked at in these terms, it becomes apparent that the government is nothing more than a violent middleman, who forces his way into nearly every interaction that takes place between each of its so-called “citizens.”
Everything that the government does is an attack on people who don’t belong to that organization. If you think about it, every single action that the government takes is some kind of punitive measure taken against people who don’t belong to that organization. Even when the government claims to be doing something nice, they are doing so with resources that they obtained by using threats and violence, which really doesn’t make much of a case for the virtuousness of government.
This organization is not here to protect our rights as it claims to. In fact, when the government steps in and gives itself the responsibility to “protect” your rights, it is simultaneously stripping you of your ability to actually defend your own rights. When you are dependent upon the whims and capabilities of another human being to protect your rights, you are literally handing your rights over to them and essentially submitting to slavery.