How to achieve political freedom? It starts with personal freedom …
March 27, 2010 · Posted in Philosophy
Recently I asked a friend on the comment board here what the solution is to the phenomena of mass murder and mass theft perpetrated by the government.
That is a good question, and one for which I don’t know if I will ever have a great answer. All I hope is that I, over time, get somewhat closer to a good answer and never become satisfied with the answers I get. I do have a great respect and reverence for emergent order, decentralized planning, and free association. I also realize that the order that emerges can sometimes be counter productive and dangerous. Yeast is an amazing little factory and product of evolution. This doesn’t keep yeast from destroying itself by the very alcohol it produces when in a closed system.
As for mass murder, I think individuals should do whatever they reasonably think they can to prevent it. I know this is not as easy as it sounds. I worry that as long as a vast majority of the United States, or even the majority of world powers, support these actions that they will not change. I am supportive of the idea of putting “your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the all the apparatus” and making it stop, but even this I worry might be ineffective.
Although the anti-war movement in recent history has been (somewhat) quicker to respond and quicker to denounce (at least to some extent), there is definitely nothing of the sort of revulsion as took place with organizations like the Weatherman. Despite their literal willingness to do almost anything, it seems like it might have had little effect on the direction of the war. Massive distaste and dissatisfaction with war efforts is what seems to turn the tide, whether in Vietnam, Iraq, and (hopefully) Afghanistan. What will make large portions of the populace feel that revulsion BEFORE 8 years of war? That is one of the most important, if not the most important, questions out there. If you have a good answer I would love to here it. Hoping and working for the elimination of the state is one option, in my mind not the most expedient, effective, or necessarily beneficial, but I could be wrong.
I am aware of the arguments that a state apparatus has been necessary to create the atomic bomb and mobilize massive killing operations. Whether having a non-monopolistic society with competing systems of force would result in less violence and death is a complex and interesting one. States going through civil wars or with unstable governments often tern their genocide internally, those states that are strong and relatively stable tend to focus that genocide outward… not a great set of options.
Some states, such as Switzerland most famously, have managed to remain relatively separate from wars and genocides. As far as large wealthy states they do seem to be in the minority.
In a world that already HAS atomic weapons, I am curious what you think would happen to them and be their nature in an anarchistic society? If someone has a powerful atomic weapon, doesn’t that weapon represent a certain monopolistic power, or at least singularly threatening, access to force? This does not seem to me to be alleviated by more people having atomic weapons. Sure mutually assured destruction no doubt provides the vast majority with the incentive not to use one, but if someone has a death wish it only takes one or two nukes to create the most destructive single event in human history.
As far as mass theft, it mostly depends on what you are talking about. If you are referring to taxation, as I said before you can move to a country such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Singapore, Burma, Macau. They all have very low taxation rates and government spending is very small. As you said before, why should you have to move to escape taxation, etc? That’s like the mob!
Well, I don’t know why in an anarchist world you would be able to live wherever you wanted without consequence. If you want to live where it is sunny and humid, you move to Florida, if you want to live where there are low taxes move to Bahrain. In an anarcho-capitalist world (correct me if I’m wrong) no one guarantees that you get to live wherever you want without paying for it. Like I said before, if you want to live in a house that is part of a particular homeowner’s association, you are going to have to pay what everyone else does. If you don’t like it, you can move to someplace else more palatable.
If you are referring to corporate theft… well that is something on which I don’t wish to comment, as my knowledge and thoughts on the subject are not necessarily well-founded enough or thought-out enough to make me comfortable presenting them.
If you are referring to some other form of mass theft that I am not thinking of, let me know.
My response to this:
I don’t think I disagree with many things of what you said above.
Just a few comments:
I do think that mutually assured destruction is a great force for peace, simply based on historical evidence. No nuclear power has ever attacked another.
Regarding mass theft, yes, I was referring to taxation. Regarding your statement: “I don’t know why in an anarchist world you would be able to live wherever you wanted without consequence.” – You absolutely can’t, and never did I say that you can. In fact every single thing you do has consequences. All I am saying is that people shouldn’t be allowed to initiate violence or threat thereof in order to take your property.
To me, the answer to these problems lies in ourselves. We need to abdicate from the political process. Marching and demonstrating and angrily waving signs, as tempting as it is, is and has always been a complete waste of time in the larger picture of things.
The main purpose of what I do is happiness. You and I find happiness in seeking truth. We will most definitely not find happiness from shouting or marching or chaining yourself anywhere. We will also not find happiness from hurting our heads over all the political nonsense that the Krugmans, Bushes, or Obamas of this world are spouting day in day out. We will only become broken and deplorable little creatures that people will enjoy denouncing whenever they can.
What I will say now are not really my own original ideas, they are Stefan Molyneux’ ideas, but I happen to agree wholeheartedly:
True happiness and a better life comes from pursuing truth. To improve other people’s lives we need to spread the truth to people in our immediate environment, our friends and our family. Actively seek relationships with people who are as curious about truth as ourselves. If there are people in our life, be it friends or family, who staunchly cling on to the false, irrational and ultimately cruel and corrupt faith in governments and Gods, or who feel the need to physically or mentally bully us whenever they get a chance, then we have two options: We can get them out of your life, or we can continue to associate with them.
If we continue to associate them, that’s absolutely fine. But then we need not complain about the fact that the world is corrupt. If we can’t even get corrupt people out of our own lives where we don’t face gigantic repercussions, then how can we expect people to sever from the state where billions and trillions of massive special interests are involved? How can we expect to change the largest, most armed, most powerful government in the whole world by checking some boxes on a ballot or by yelling and waving signs at them, if we can’t even disassociate from a few irrational bullies ourselves?
That, to me, is the main task that lies before us. And it won’t take broad effect in 4 or 8 years, probably not even in our lifetime. But at least it will set us free in our personal lives immediately, and bring us a gigantic leap closer toward happiness and fulfillment. I for one find it much more exciting to be at the beginning of this movement than at the end of it.