Had a short discussion with a good friend the other day, and we were in agreement over so many things… but he made a statement I consider entirely too optimistic, and very unlikely.
We agree to the principle of non-aggression, that freedom simply means doing what you want as long as you don’t hurt others. Now, this isn’t cut and dried, by any means, but negotiation and voluntary association is the answer to disagreements, rather than “laws” and cops and jails.
And, as I’ve said so many times before, what prevents people from truly understanding that important difference is the fact that so many of them accept without question the idea that any “government” or other “rulers” have a legitimate authority to dictate those “laws” and so forth, rather than seeing their own natural authority over themselves. And that natural authority gives each individual the proper basis for whatever negotiation or association works for them – and is always subject to change as the situation changes.
So, I was talking about the acceptance of this false authority as the cause of the big problem, that most people either accept being ruled, or actually want an external authority… and thereby accept being part of controlling the lives and property of others through voting and other political actions. They can quibble over the details, and bemoan the perceived excesses of government authority, but they don’t even wonder if that exercise of authority is legitimate.
But my friend didn’t think that was necessarily true, that maybe people didn’t want government very much and would be ok to do without it. Then he said he didn’t care how much government people had for themselves, but was just against government for himself.
Well, sure! I don’t care either, but my life experience – nearly 70 years – is that there aren’t many people who share that idea. I have not found many who are truly willing to leave me out of whatever government or “for your own good” rules they choose to live by.
So, here is the test. Pick a subject, such as recreational drug use, “gun control,” or go hog wild and question the authority of the Feds to invade and occupy foreign countries… anything you like.
Go talk to individuals, or get brave and introduce the topic to the average gathering of people in a coffee shop or “civic” club. Ask them if they accept the “authority” of government to dictate what people eat, drink, etc. Ask them if they’d be willing to leave others alone to do as they wish, even if they don’t personally approve of it.
Would they be willing to set up their ideal “government,” but leave you alone to ignore it – and most important, not be forced to pay for it – always providing you didn’t engage in aggression?
I’ll bet you won’t find many. And I suspect that most of those you question will consider you a radical fool, or outright dangerous for even proposing such a thing.
What do you think about this? Your comments are most appreciated.