Tuesday, November 6, 2012

President Evil

WARNING:  Political opinions ahead.  If reading unpopular ideas pisses you off, then you're going to hate this one, and should probably click away now so your head remains safely in the sand.

When I can't even escape election insanity on some of my favorite gaming blogs, it presses about ten of my berserk buttons at once.  I am sick, sick, sick up to my eyeballs of everyone going into multiple barking orgasms over This Glorious Day, when we choose our new Fearless Leader.
"Democracy is also a form of worship.  It is the worship of jackals by jackasses." -- H.L. Mencken
I'm sick of all the idiotic blather about how one party or the other is Evil Incarnate, and the other is the Knight in Shining Armor come to rescue us from them and our own hopeless incompetence, and you're a fool or a monster if you don't believe so.  Here's a little secret: Other than the rhetoric, there's precious little difference.  The D's and the R's are both profoundly authoritarian, and both fundamentally fascist - not in the hysterical and indefinite pejorative sense that the word is most often used these days, but in the proper economic definition of the cartelization of nominally private industry under state control.  Talk of "right" and "left" and the yawning chasm of difference between them is just so much hot air.
"When the government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence." -- Gary Lloyd
Don't you get it?  Government is just a big con game.  It's a coercive monopoly of violence, and its every act is predicated upon violence or the threat of violence.  It owes its very existence to theft, extortion, and murder.  It is not about peace, or order, or compassion, or any of the other nonsense you learned in your social studies classes.  It's not about assuring and protecting liberty, nor can it even be successfully adapted for that purpose.  Liberty and the state are polar opposites.  No, it's all about who should be forced to do what for whom.
"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." -- H.L. Mencken
And this whole "democracy" scam, supposedly the best form of government?  That's just a clever ploy to mollify the slaves by convincing them that they run the plantation.  Voting is not a right of free people.  It's a privilege granted to slaves.
"A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." -- Lysander Spooner
Perhaps most of all, I'm sick of this asinine idea that we have some Moral Duty to cast our votes for a master, that we have no right to complain of our master's treatment if we do not vote, and working within this corrupt and immoral system is the Only True Way of effecting change. 

If we're ever to be free of our masters, it is not going to be through working with them, within the system.  If, by some quirk of fate, the exercise of the franchise affords some entirely unintended opportunity to hold the wolf of the state at bay, there is no shame in using it so, but it should be done with the loathing and contempt with which a gladiator-slave might use the sword given him by Caesar to fend off the lion set upon him by Caesar, not with fawning gratitude and worship for Caesar's wisdom and benevolence in providing the sword. 

If there is to be any significant progress in the direction of freedom, it must come not from working with the system, but from defying it whenever possible, openly or in secret, in large ways or small.  It must come from withdrawing our blindly-given consent to its tyranny, even if only within our own hearts.
"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces." -- Etienne de la Boetie

End transmission.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled gaming content.


  1. Replies
    1. Not at all. If you start from the premise that humans is corrupt and incapable of peaceable coexistence without supervision, there's no logical way from that point to the conclusion that allowing them to choose overlords from among their own number will ameliorate the situation.

    2. The way I see it, government is compromise for security and division of labor. I don't have the time or inclination to act as my own security force. It is true that this results necessarily in some restriction of freedom.

      You are an economic libertarian, no? Who or what enforces contracts if the government does not have a monopoly on force?

    3. I don't have the time or inclination to act as my own tailor, either, but it does not follow that a coercive monopoly is the only, or even the most efficient way to accomplish that task.

      There are various lines of thinking as to how contracts would be enforced without a monopoly enforcer, but it's been done before. The Law Merchant of Renaissance times is an example of an extragovernmental body of law that merchants followed voluntarily. It's likely that without the state, people would rely much more heavily upon trust and reputation than on forcibly collecting on violated contracts. Someone who developed a reputation for disregarding the terms of agreements would soon find it very difficult to find any respectable people or organizations willing to trust him, and would find his transaction costs greatly increased, either from paying premiums up front or from dealing with similarly shady individuals.

    4. The idea that Hobbes posits this awful view of human nature is a common misreading. He's talking of what is permissible, not of human nature. His point is that in the state of nature, everything is permissible.

      He's not saying that everyone is going to go around murdering and stealing for fun if someone doesn't stop them - simply that it would be permissible. If a group decides that murder is not permissible, they have de facto created a state and left the state of nature by giving up the right to murder, and giving it to the group (the state need to exercise this right, but they still have it).

      In all sincerity, though, are you proposing anarchy as an alternative to statehood? It seems clear to me that anarchy would exist for an exceedingly brief period before being replaced by warlords.

      It doesn't even require that everyone be bad, it really just requires that *anyone* be bad for anarchy to not work. That one person will become a warlord, and anarchy has been replaced by dictatorship.

      Really, the advantage of democracy is not that there's some magic to the people's choice. The people are terrible at making choices. The advantage is that there is a method for regularly changing who's in charge that tends to encourage moderation and finding solutions that are palatable to a broad base.

    5. Austrian school economist and prominent anarcho-capitalist Robert Murphy responds pretty well to the warlord/gang warfare argument. http://mises.org/daily/1855

  2. Thanks for the link - I'm always interested in learning more about this stuff. To be honest, I found that analysis wholly unconvincing...

    And the idea of an unbridled free market (especially where defence, police, and justice are "freely" traded) is just about as bad as warlords, to be honest. Without a government to siphon money off the top and reinject it at the bottom, all money and capital (and therefore power) pool in a few hands, and again, you don't have anarchy, but plutocracy (and, eventually, a descent into aristocracy, as wealth and poverty are passed down generation to generation). This is not far off from what you see in the States. Insufficient taxation, social programs, and regulation of the market has allowed concentration of enormous wealth in the hands of very few to the detriment of the vast majority of the population.

    Anarchy just isn't a stable state - it will always devolve into a concentration of power, whether by military or economic force. It is simply inevitable.

    I mean, the proof of that is in the pudding - before society existed, humans lived in anarchy. But everywhere round the world, that initial anarchy has devolved into a concentration of power. It is only when we see strong, benevolent states that people are freed from abuse of that concentration of power.

    With that in mind, anarchy is a terrible system if freedom is your goal. Meaningful freedom (as opposed to theoretical freedom that cannot be expressed due to economic or social reality) is only possible in a strong state with an excellent social safety net that ensures wealth disparity never grows too large. Anything else will (sooner or later) end up as an economic dictatorship, or be conquered and subjugated by superior force.

    I'm happy to continue the discussion, as it is one that is endlessly fascinating to me, but it might be just as well to agree to disagree, and get back to thinking about D&D!

    1. The thrust of your argument seems to be based on a very popular, but very mistaken, fallacy about how money and wealth circulate in a free economy, and my mind is fairly swimming with rebuttals, but you're right, this isn't really the forum for that.

      Seriously thinking now about reviving my liberty and economics blog...

    2. If you do, please post a link to it here - like I said, I find exploring these matters through discussion very interesting and stimulating.

      Similarly, if you'd care to continue this discussion off-list, or point me to some basic articles reflecting your rebuttals, I'd be very interested.

    3. Here's the other blog. http://inlibertywetrust.wordpress.com/

      I wrote a new post today, though it's more a rant against voter stupidity than anything else. I'll write more on economics and libertarian/market anarchism theory as the mood strikes.