Mandeville, LA – I love hate mail that is signed with some cheery, insincere signature like “In Peace & Liberty” yet contains unprovoked accusations of infamy that some men would go to fisticuffs over. Such is the fake nature of so many “Libertarians” good will toward men unless they are not in accordance with the imprecise dictates of anarchy. This is the nature and nasty intent of this string of letters between listener Chris Connell and me this morning.
Dear King Dude,
The state is defined as a sovereign organization which claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within a well-defined territory.
I don’t understand how some piece of paper signed 224 years ago (or any other piece of paper that I did not sign) has any power over my life! You always talk about how government CAN do this and government CAN do that because somebody (I’m not sure who) “gave” it the power. How? How can people give rights to others that they don’t have themselves? If you don’t have the right to beat up and rob your neighbor, how can you “give” others the right to do it? Whether it is tariffs, imposts, duties, or an income tax, you don’t have the right to collect taxes, so how can you (or some other group of mere mortals) give the right to collect taxes to others? It’s a “non sequitur” as you always say. It does not follow.
You always say that the people gave government the right to do certain things to protect society. After the secession from The British Empire, the Articles of Confederation was probably the most limited form of a state that has ever existed and it has become the largest, most murderous, tyrannical government to ever exist. Shouldn’t that be proof that limited government is impossible? The reason it is impossible, is because when some people (the state) are given the ultimate decision making power in all conflicts (even in conflicts the state has with others), that power will always be abused for the benefit of the state and its actors. Hat tip to Hans Hoppe for his amazing work on the subject.
Forget the moral problem with mere mortals being able to give rights (like the right to prevent freedom of travel across invisible lines) to others that they themselves don’t have. Let’s discuss it from the standpoint of Austrian Economics. Monopolies produce worse products at higher prices than the market; so why would we want to put things as important as Justice, Defense (it always becomes offense with a state), or Money Creation in the hands of a monopoly?
I don’t imagine I will change your statist mind but I imagine one day, enough people will ignore the idea that some men have “authority” over them and the state will just whither away. I hope that you will stand with us as you can always create voluntary political bodies in a free society. You just can’t compel me to go along with it like what happens today.
In Peace and Liberty,
For starters, the letter writer accuses me of conflating “rights” with what I clearly and regularly call them, “enumerated powers”. These powers are contained in documents ratified by the people that live under those documents (or constitutions). Anarchists love to hitch their revolutionary wagons to Thomas Paine because they have heard rumors that he was an atheist and therefore must be amenable to anarchy. A fair reading of Paine’s “Common Sense” contains dozens of references to “constitutions” and the revolutionaries prospect to compose their own.
“A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.”
Tyrant! Who gave Thomas Paine the right to impose an idea that revolutionary Americans should have ANY form of government. Chris Connell informs me that this makes Paine, and me by association, an accessory to theft and murder.
“If you believe in this fairy tale you call government (I.e. a state), you are by definition, a statist. If you believe in communism are you not a communist? The corruption of language is one of the ways the gang of thieves and murderers you call the state has perpetrated its massive fraud. You play right into their hands when you claim that opposing some of the things the state does makes you not a statist. As long as you believe some people have “rights” that others do not, you are a statist and are helping to perpetrate the biggest scam the world has ever known.”
I counter that raising an objection to the tyrannical acts of government including murder and theft at great risk to one’s livelihood is not indicative of a “statist” but I will let you be the judge of that. It will be letters like this coupled with similar actions that will make any substantial change in our out of scale governments possible. The perfect and utopian will become the enemy of the good. This is exactly as it should be for the anarchy crowd because as long as one stop sign or judge’s bench exists, the world is an unsafe place for “peace and liberty.”