There are two absolutes: people will commit evil and people in government will commit evil. Temptation exists for everyone – for both those in power and those not in power. It must be said that although the saying “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is true, it misses the mark – any amount of power corrupts absolutely. Who do you think is more likely to commit evil – people in government with power or people not in government? The list of the State’s evils surpasses insurmountably.
When people say we need a government to maintain order and stop evil people from doing evil things, what do we do when people in government do evil things? Are they ever held accountable, and if some of them are, do they get preferential treatment? How could we ever trust people to enter government and do well for people? Because that is what government is, it’s a group of people. Government is not a separate entity or a supernatural being – it is a collective of fallible people. If we cannot trust people without a government, how could we possibly trust people with a government? “If people are good, you don’t need a government. If people are bad, you don’t dare have a government.”
The State is a religious figure. It is revered and trusted. It is a vehicle for society to not feel the burden of committing heinous, violent acts. Every political affiliation has its own slogan – from the left, it’s “Remove the 1, eat the rich” – they are the cause of our problems; from the right, it’s “Deport the immigrants” – “Fight the terrorists” – they are the cause of our problems. In each situation, there are specific groups of people to blame – to scapegoat – to place the sins of humanity onto vilified groups of people.
When the State commits heinous acts of violence, you don’t feel responsible for them, even if you voted for that policy or voted for that person that enacted such policy. When you vote for someone who enacts policy that ends in the murder of tens of thousands of innocent people overseas, you believe it was not you who murdered these people. What if those murdered were not overseas but actually your neighbors? What if you knew their names, their faces, their families, their stories? Would you feel responsible then?
When you vote for someone who enacts policy that ends in the economic, nutritional, and educational stagnation and ruins of large groups of people, you believe it was not you that brought this onto them. What if those in ruin and stagnation were not unknown people but rather your neighbors? What if you knew their names, their faces, their families, their stories? Would you feel responsible then?
The State’s nature is to assume power and abuse power. It has centralized power and a monopoly on force. Doesn’t that sound appealing for sociopaths and the cold of heart? To enter the government, which markets itself as protecting your rights and serving the people, to receive an abundant salary and special protections, and to promote their self-interests at the expense of the people?
And you always have the cop-out of, “We were wrong; we made a mistake” – all evils are attributed to incompetency or negligence. And, to make matters even sweeter for these kinds of people, the corporate press diverts people’s attention by selectively covering other things or even downplaying the allegations and facts and manipulating the narrative.
How can you assure that government will not be abusive and tyrannical? Creating a system that regulates itself? We have that – the checks and balances – to ensure that all three branches of government remain in balance; each branch has powers that can be checked by the other two branches. For example, the legislative branch – Congress – consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives and makes the laws. In order to pass an act of legislation, both the House of Representatives and the Senate must pass the same version of the bill by majority vote. If the bill gets passed, the president can either sign it into law or reject it using veto power. If the president rejects it, Congress can then override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote.
What if the majority of the Senate and the House of Representatives and then the president are all in accordance to commit acts of evil? What makes you think this doesn’t already happen now? What makes you think this isn’t the majority of what happens now? How moral is the majority? Is it at all? If the majority agrees to drone bomb innocent people in Iraq, does that make it right? If the majority agrees to enslave a specific portion of the population, does that make it right?
To quote Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, “I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.”
If a gang of thieves took charge of a democracy, the majority will vote for theft, and you get theft. Is this how we should organize our society – allowing the majority, in other words, the stronger or the many to rule?
To quote Henry David Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience”, “But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? In which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.”
If you concede, “Okay, yeah the system is corrupt, but we need to improve the system; we need more checks and balances, we need to hold people accountable judicially, and we need to give people a more direct voice?”
Alright, how would you do this? Your answer inevitably is to go through the very system you recognize is corrupt. To change the system, you have to play by the system – voting, organizing politically, running for office, etc. If it’s corrupt, what makes you think that improvement or change is possible? Doesn’t that sound like a trap to keep you in the system with the illusion of reform when in reality the system is set in stone? Democrat and Republican are 2 wings of the same bird – they are both for corporate welfare, continuing the wars, and maintaining the status quo. The powers that be want to maintain their power and influence, and they will at all costs shut down dissidents and threats to their power and influence.
I liken it to slavery. When opposition to slavery was a minority opinion, abolitionists were posed with questions like, “What’s going to happen with the cotton industry? What are all these slaves going to do afterward? They’re illiterate and have no education. We can’t just abolish the system. The system is corrupt, but we have to make it just.”
The one thing these people fail to realize is that no matter how great slave masters were to their slaves, or how many new-found privileges they were given, it does not make it right – the inherent system is a violation of people’s rights – it is immoral. If you thought slavery was immoral and reprehensible, you would want to end it immediately.
Quoting Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience”, “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Luther…”
Let’s say you somehow were able to implement the right policies, the right systems, wouldn’t those in power find loopholes and ways to avoid the consequences for their injustices? To quote Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, “Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.” What makes you even think that there is a system that is impenetrable to corruption and evil? Isn’t it utopian to expect that people in government will regulate themselves and follow laws and not carry out tyranny and evil?
Governments start wars. Governments murder, maim, and bomb innocent children, mothers, and fathers, yet war is touted as a means of defense and national security. The victims of war outweigh the perpetrators of wars by mathematical magnitudes that are inconceivable. Both the victims and fighters of wars are pawns used to further power, control, and monetary gain. If different groups of people keep entering the government to perpetuate wars and legally sanction mass murder, why should we trust the government at all? Couldn’t they be just as self-serving, sociopathic, and heartless for any other respect?
The government counterfeits money, murders foreigners, traffics drugs, steals people’s property, permits human trafficking, puts non-violent people in cages, puts toxic chemicals into your bodies, promotes unhealthy regiments, indoctrinates children, pushes non-violent dissidents, and rips families apart.
To paraphrase Tom Woods, if Walmart ran a school where you paid to send your children to, what would you think of it if: in your children’s classroom, there were images of all of the Walmart employees on the walls, there were flags and relics of the Walmart logo plastered everywhere, they sang the company song and saluted the company logo at the beginning of every day, learned about all the Walmart heroes and their contributions to society, and emphasized your children’s responsibility to Walmart – to serve your Walmart, to vote for its CEOs and members of the board, to celebrate Walmart – what would you think about that? That’s what government schools do.
If in the early 1800s, a slave-owner had 10 slaves, and the slave-owner tells his slaves that instead of working 7 days a week, he will give them the weekend off. Are they still slaves? The slave-owner tells them that they only have to work 6 hours a day instead of 8 hours a day. Are they still slaves? The slave-owner says they will be allowed to eat what he eats. Are they still slaves? If the slave-owner says they can leave the plantation and do whatever they’d like but have to send the slave-owner a month’s worth of their paycheck annually. Are they still slaves? What if I told you that the slave-owner uses that money to fund local schools, hospitals, and charity organizations? Is it still slavery? That’s what governments do – it’s called taxation.
To quote Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience”, “Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life was that to live? When I meet a government which says to me, ‘Your money or your life’, why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.”
What good is it to compromise one’s morals/principles/conscience for life in the flesh when the compromise of one’s mind means one’s spiritual death – the corruption of one’s soul?
Thoreau adds, “Recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”
Recognizing an individual’s rights – the right to own your stuff, the right to own yourself, and the right to not be hurt by others and not have your stuff taken from you – is the next step; the inherent nature of governments is to violate these rights; they don’t grant you your rights, they don’t protect your rights, they violate your rights in more ways than you could think of. The State has you hostage but touts about all the freedoms it “gives” you.
“The best way to keep a slave enslaved is to make them believe they are free.” Give power back to the people by abolishing the State. Allow people to take personal responsibility for themselves, their families, their communities. Remove the injustices, remove the barriers, and remove the chains that the State has placed. We can rely on ourselves. We can cooperate together. We can engage peacefully. We can maintain order. We are the determinants of our morality, our soul, our love. We need no masters. We need no kings. We need no emperors. We need no rulers.
To end, as Thoreau emphasized, “That government is best which governs not at all.”
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