The ‘Gay’ State


Just imagine yourself in the following scenario: on a Saturday afternoon you are at a shopping center looking for clothes to wear for the upcoming summer. Well of course, you are not the only one who is looking for new clothes, but you differ from the other shoppers in quite an obvious way; namely, in your own unique preferences in clothing.

Some prefer blue trousers, some prefer black trousers, and some prefer white trousers.
Now, this great diversity is nothing new and everyone accepts that people peacefully make impersonal economic transactions that are beneficial to their own pleasure and to the pleasure of the seller.

But imagine this, you are at the register buying a blue pair of trousers and next to you is another customer buying a black pair of trousers. Suddenly, the customer buying the black trousers attacks you physically. All because he disagrees with you, based on his own preferences – he utterly hates blue trousers.

Absolutely no one would argue that, in this case, his use of physical force is justified in any way. Socialists, libertarians, conservatives, liberals, all of them would agree with each other.

But let’s assume that somebody has some weed plants in his garage, is violence justified on the basis of disagreement in preferences? Liberals, libertarians, and socialists would argue no, but conservatives on the other hand, would fall into a deep state of cognitive dissonance. They would argue that violence by the state is justified because smoking and keeping weed is immoral in some way, despite the fact that it hurts absolutely no one else in the community. Thus, they are not consistent in the premise held during the trousers case.

This inconsequence can also be found among other statists, such as liberals and socialists, in the case of refusing to pay taxes. Just imagine you disagree with the policies of your country according to your preferences, statists would argue that the use of physical force is justified in getting you to pay taxes.

You would hear things like ‘taxes are a privilege’ or ‘we pay taxes to live in a decent society’ or ‘taxes are needed for schools’ or ‘well who would protect us?’ Honestly, libertarians are not against schools, healthcare or safety; we are against the use of physical force in a broad sense (except when your freedom is at the expense of others, like in John Stuart Mill’s harm principle).

We prefer to live in society based on voluntary actions, such as the ability to buy our own healthcare on a competitive market, rather than being forced to pay taxes for an expensive and inefficient healthcare system run by the Federal Government.

Most people view the state as something gay or friendly, but that isn’t the case. The state is run based on the use of physical force, an action which, in libertarian thought, is regarded as immoral when used outside the harm principle. It is namely an infringement on the crucial natural rights of man, specifically body and property, and thus, an infringement on individual liberty.

This infringement and use of force has become quite ordinary. People accept the fact that the state is all-powerful in the life of individuals.

People would laugh at the trouser case because of its absurdity, but taxes and force are regarded as banal when exercised by the state. But, honestly, they’re the same, namely using force against some whom you disagree with.

This discrepancy is quite blatant in the case of political violence. Many people regard political violence as immoral, because the implementation of thought needs to be peaceful. But suddenly, when policy is implemented through the state rather than through private individuals at a rally, it is regarded as all different. It would be business as usual and would exist almost without critique.

This article is written in understandable language because of the necessity that people will start to doubt the existence of the current status quo and its immoral use of physical force.

We ought not to be lazy in thought; we need to rethink how to build a state outside of the box.

I would propose opening a debate on a peaceful way of collecting taxes, in absence of the use of physical force (which makes it an infringement on nature rights and legal robbery).
Political thought ought not to harm others in the end.

* Olaf Leeuwis is a political science student living in Leiden, an advocate of liberty, whiskey, blues and philosophy.

The following two tabs change content below.
The main account, used for editorials and guest author submissions. The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions. Contact the Editor at [email protected]


  1. For the most part, individuals and couples as well as corporations pay their taxes not because some armed authority figured comes to their door and demands tribute but because it is the law. Yes, ultimately the law can use means of violent persuasion to compel behavior, both individual an group. But that is an extreme situation. Perhaps we need to examine group behavior and see why that is so.

    Like it or not, we all belong to at least one group and for the average individual, he or she belongs to many groups. The only group membership we did not actively choose is that of family. All the rest we have actively joined. This doe not mean that we are always accepted by a group’s membership or leaders. One may wish to play sports or join a chess club. Membership in these groups is usually based upon one’s ability. But within our groups one of the central organizing principles is that of cooperation. The status of ones membership very often depends on how much cooperation one gives to others in that group. There are very few groups where members are forced to engage in certain behaviors by force or the threat of force. Prison and the military come to mind.

    The hallmark of any group is the set of values, goals, and even rules of conduct expected by its members. If the group demands membership fees, then one either complies willingly or one is forced out of the group. Political groups are just an extension of group membership in the private sector. We live in some expected form of cooperation. We cooperate because it is a reciprocal system that benefits the group and the individual. Thus we may live in a geographically defined political unit. We will have certain rights and duties within this group structure and we will accrue certain benefits through its membership. The payment of taxes is not considered theft because there is a quid pro quo involved. Do we need to compel a few individuals to pay taxes and fees? Yes, but we seldom revert to violence. We construct a set of rules we call the laws of the land and expect individuals who are living it this land to respect and obey them. Most individuals see the necessity of doing so.

    So let me ask you, what was your point?

Comments are closed.