The state is a group of individuals who successfully uphold a claim to legitimized ultimate arbitratorship and initiation of physical force in the enforcement of their will in society.
The state and consent
The state uses any means necessary to impose itself and its decrees on its subjects irrespective of their consent.
The state de novo
Coming. How can you grant yourself powers that you never had in the first place?
Statism as civic religion
Theism and religion are not the same thing. Religion does not necessarily require theism and theism alone does not constitute religion.
Theism is the belief in the existence of god(s).
While there is no universally accepted definition of religion, some characteristics are:
- Belief in something sacred.
- Distinction between the sacred and the profane.
- Ritual acts focused around the sacred.
- A moral code believed to have sacred or supernatural basis.
- Religions feelings (awe, adoration, sense of guilt, sense of mystery) which tend to be aroused in the presence of the sacred or during the practice of ritual.
- A view of the world and the place of the individual therein.
- A more or less total organization of one's life based on the world view.
- A social group bound together by the above.
Statism shares many or all of these characteristics. The argument is not that god or religion is literally the same thing as the state or statism, rather, it is that the claimed justifications for and legitimacy of religion and statism are equally fundamentally flawed, and flawed in what often amounts to virtually indistinguishable or identical ways.
The state allegedly protects its subjects against aggression. The state itself, however, invariably and inherently initiates aggression on a large scale. The state does not allow failure to comply with its decrees, and every state decree is issued under the ultimate threat (and carrying out) of deadly force.
Consider what happens to anyone who commits some alleged minor offence. Initially, fines may be imposed. Failure to pay may result in court orders and jail sentences. Ultimately, armed agents of the state will come after the offender to confiscate his property or kidnap and cage him. Any attempts at defending oneself or one's property from the state's aggression will result in being assaulted or killed. With larger alleged offences the state does not start at the bottom of this "scale" but goes straight to the initiation of physical force. (e.g. when it comes to drug offences etc)
Consider the following quote:
'For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it "war"; then ennobled the mass slaughter that "war" involves. For centuries the State has enslaved people into its armed battalions and called it "conscription" in the "national service." For centuries the State has robbed people at bayonet point and called it "taxation." In fact, if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.'
Consider the following:
- Organised mass murder. ("War")
- Military slavery. ("Conscription")
- Imposition of debt irrespective of consent or getting anything in return. ("Taxation")
- Imposition of arbitrary laws, rules and fines and punishing of behaviors for which there is no victim.
State inability to prevent aggression
The state allegedly protects its subjects from aggression. However, not only does the state itself invariably initiate aggression on a large scale- in many cases it is also incapable of or disinterested in preventing the aggression of others. High levels of crime and violence can be found in many statist societies, including those with strong states. Many state legal systems are not only slow and ineffective but also complicated, corrupt and expensive with the result that only the privileged can make use of them.
The necessity of the state
The state is allegedly a necessary institution in society, without which society would collapse. This completely ignores the fact that stateless societies have been common over long periods of time in many parts of the world, including in Europe. Many of them were also more peaceful and prosperous than their contemporary statist counterparts.
Many societies which are perceived to have been statist in fact lacked features typical of statist societies in the modern sense. E.g. ancient Rome had a largely non-state legal system until Imperial Edicts and centrally imposed laws gradually started taking over.
Stateless societies do not lack institutions for maintaining order
A common misconception is that stateless societies lack institutions for maintaining order (such as law and law enforcement), and that it is simply assumed that everyone will get along, and that there will be no aggression or predation.
This is not the case. Stateless societies use many of the same or very similar mechanisms that statist societies use for maintaining order. Stateless societies have laws and law enforcement in the form of police, courts, military etc just like statist societies.
The state as an obstacle for the rule of law
The state invariably exempts itself from its own laws and changes the laws for arbitrary reasons when it deems fit.
The state and self-interest
Just like every other individual, the group of individuals who make up the state act out of self-interest.
Hobbes & Leviathan
Hobbes was wrong. His argument rests on the premises:
- that the state itself does not initiate aggression
- that the state is capable of preventing the aggression of others
- that society will collapse without the state
None of the premises are true.
Hobbes wrote Leviathan during the English civil war and was greatly affected by it. He argued that there must be a state in order to prevent war, aggression and other things damaging to society. This is ironic to say the least, because the English civil war was a conflict between different arms of the state itself, i.e. the monarch and the parliment. The state did not prevent but instead created the conditions for, triggered and enabled the war. The state itself aggressed on the populace, who were robbed ("taxed"), enslaved ("conscripted"), murdered and forced to murder others ("war") etc.
Hobbes also simply completely ignores the fact that stateless societies (and societies with states that did not fulfill criteria we use to define states in the modern sense) have been common over long periods of time in many parts of the world, including in Europe. Many of them were also more peaceful and prosperous than their contemporary statist counterparts.
The leviathan doesn't solve the problem
The leviathan is the super-giant who will guarantee that the giant and the ant interact on equal terms. This doesn't solve the problem at all, it just moves it up one level.
Direct democracy is a form of government where eligible voters are able to directly vote on state policy.
Representative democracy is a form of government where eligible voters are able to vote on representatives who then in turn are able to vote on state policy.
Democracy and consent
In order for democracy to be consensual the following criteria need to be met:
- The participants must consent to bringing something up for vote.
- The participants must consent to the method applied.
- The participants must be aware of the possible outcomes.
- The participants must consent to adhering to the outcome.
- The outcome must only be imposed on consenting participants.
- Only the proposal that actually won may be imposed.
E.g. two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner can not be considered consensual if:
- The sheep does not consent to bringing the issue up for vote.
- The sheep does not consent to the method applied.
- The sheep is not aware of the possible outcome that he will become dinner.
- The sheep does not consent to adhering to the possible outcome that he will become dinner.
- The wolves eat the sheep despite the sheep not being a consenting participant.
- The wolves eat the sheep despite that not being the winning proposal.
Democracy however inherently means that the outcome will be imposed irrespective of participation or consent. So, while it's possible for all the above criteria to be met in a democracy, in the cases that they do, democracy isn't necessary, because no one is being ruled. In such cases it's really just people doing what they want to do, which may happen to depend on the opinions of a larger number of people.
A fundamental logical problem with democracy is that of eligibility.
Who decides who gets to vote, and on what? These questions demonstrate that democracy rests on fundamentally undemocratic foundations.
Democracy is not necessarily majority rule
- eligibleness of voters
- both must be over 50% of total
The representatives and the will of the people
How can the state or elected representatives be said to represent the people when so many things that the state does is wildly unpopular among the people?
Reasons not to vote
(Numbers for reference only, not intended to reflect order)
- The chance that your vote will affect the outcome is so unimaginably small as to be practically 0.
- In many cases, even if you convinced thousands to vote for your choice, the chance of that affecting the outcome is still very close to 0.
- In practice, who you get to vote for is decided by the political establishment. The range of options is strictly limited.
- Those elected are free to break any promises without consequence. In other contexts this would constitute reason for invalidating an agreement or even pressing criminal charges.
- Those elected use their power for their own gain and for the gain of special interests like banks, corporations, unions etc. You are not of any concern to them.
- Voting means consenting and granting legitimacy to the state, democracy and the political process. If you vote that means you consent to the outcome and you have no right to complain.
- Voting in "self-defense" against other political camps, or voting for "the lesser of two evils" is a vicious circle that doesn't solve anything.
- Voting is immoral. Voting means supporting and endorsing the initiation of violence on peaceful people (including, ironically, yourself) to force them to do what you (or, in the case of representative democracy, what the elected "representatives") want.
Not using political means does not mean apathy
Not using political means for change does not equal apathy. Political means are are not the only means for change. Using political means is hard, requires considerable effort, time and money and yet enjoy small prospects of success.
Withdrawing consent, participation, obedience and revenue from the state is simpler, requires less effort and money, is more effective and gives immediate results. A state that is denied consent, participation, obedience and revenue on a large scale will not survive. A state that enjoys any of them will.
State mass surveillance of subjects is a good example. You can try to get rid of it or change it through the political process, or you can start using means such as encryption to protect confidential information and correspondence. Using encryption is simple, takes very little effort and gives immidiate results by making state surveillance irrelevant. Using political means on the other hand is time and resource consuming and enjoys little prospect of success. By following the rules and trying to change things using political means, you also grant the state consent, participation and obedience.
The lesser of two evils
Violence is irrational and unnecessary
Violence is an irrational and ineffective means to change because (among others) it is destructive, dangerous and despite high cost the risk of failure is high.
Other means to change such as encryption, black markets, non-fiat currencies, tax evasion etc are peaceful, simpler, have lower risk and cost and are more effective and have immediate impact for the individual.
- Who decides there should be a vote?
- Who decides what gets to be voted on?
- Who decides what the options are?
- Who designs the voting system?
- Who decides who gets to vote?
- How can the outcome being forcibly imposed irrespective of participation or consent?
Just an outline of some topics.
- state loan in the peoples name irrespective of consent
- bias to expressive interests (For example, there are instrumental costs to restricting international trade. Yet many people favor protectionism as an expression of nationalism, despite its economic costs)
- The costs of such inefficient policies are dispersed over all citizens, and therefore unnoticeable to each individual. On the other hand, the benefits are shared by a small special-interest group with a strong incentive to perpetuate the policy by further lobbying. Due to rational ignorance, the vast majority of voters will be unaware of the effort; in fact, although voters may be aware of special-interest lobbying efforts, this may merely select for policies which are even harder to evaluate by the general public, rather than improving their overall efficiency. Even if the public were able to evaluate policy proposals effectively, they would find it infeasible to engage in collective action in order to defend their diffuse interest. Therefore, theorists expect that numerous special interests will be able to successfully lobby for various inefficient policies. In public choice theory, such scenarios of inefficient government policies are referred to as government failure — a term akin to market failure from earlier theoretical welfare economics.
- Anyone who derives utility from potentially irrational policies (such as protectionism) can receive private benefits while imposing the costs of such beliefs on the general public. Were people to bear the full costs of their “irrational beliefs”, they would lobby for them optimally, taking into account both their instrumental consequences and their expressive appeal. Instead, democracy oversupplies policies based on irrational beliefs.
- pork barrel projects
- Costs are diffused, while benefits are concentrated.
- rent seeking
- ↑ Taken from http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=jNc4mc_MYdIC&pg=PA9&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false with modification
- ↑ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theism
- ↑ Taken from http://atheism.about.com/od/religiondefinition/a/definition.htm with modifications