In facing today’s myriad problems (“challenges”) far too many of us think “if we just had a better society,” or “if we just could force people to be better.” Or even, “if we just had a better government,…” “IF” one or the other things could be done, we’d have fewer (or no) problems. Life would be a paradise. (Or at least much less of a hellhole.)
This idea is built on lies. Lies because the facts are not taught, not understood, and not acceptable for most people.
Why are these facts that are so unacceptable to so many people? We are filled with lies by public schools, by relatives, by neighbors, by authorities, from an early age. We are also made fearful by those same people and media and others. We fear that government is essential to protect people and things we hold dear. That society and culture are built around governments and dependent on them. And that God established governments.
These things are lies.
Although many profess to love liberty, they seem to act, to behave, otherwise. Because they believe these lies.
But the plain facts of history are clear:
- Government is bad for human life, for liberty, for prosperity, for peace, for freedom. There are some governments that have been less bad than others, but it is a very relative matter.
- More government does not result in utopia. Keep in mind, there is no utopia possible. But the less government, and the more there is government by consensus, if not unanimous consent, the better things are.
- Governments do not protect us from predators, because governments are chief among predators. We are told that the major benefit of mandated human government is to protect (most of) society – individuals – from predators. But historically, the most dangerous predators are the people organized into other governments, followed closely by the government of the people being protected.
- Governments do not control criminals or prevent crime. Yes, criminals: both lone individuals and in gangs, ARE a threat to life, liberty and property. All of fundamental values are supposedly protected by government. But time and time again, the governments organized (and submitted to) to protect us against criminals have been a far greater threat to all three basic gifts of God.
- Government really produces nothing. Not anything. That is, anything that is worth the effort it costs to produce, that is not done by stealing resources from people (and their organizations or entities). Yes, people in government produce a LOT of things: paperwork (including regulations and laws and such), and some actually do productive work. When they can (when their agency and bosses let them, for example). They can treat sick people. They can fix roads. They can direct traffic. They can teach people. But they really are far less productive because of how government works. Governments are inefficient, wasteful, and coercive even when providing something that is good.
- Societies can exist without mandatory, obligatory, organized, powerful government. History again shows that is true: voluntary societies with little government and no mandatory rulers/ruled or real organization can and have thrived and advanced. Yes, having ways to protect ourselves against predators (human and other: individuals and in groups) is important but there are ways to have protection without control and tyranny. And in those societies, there has been little difference in crime, progress, or quality of life from highly organized, very powerful, obligatory governments in cultures of similar technology and development. Among these are ancient Israel (pre-kingdom), tribal societies in both parts of Europe and parts of North and South America, and Pacifica. No – NOT utopias. But not even as much “hellholes” as the societies ruled by thugs and gangsters called government.
- Government does not need to have a monopoly of power or force – particularly armed force. Tyrants do, tyrannies do, but it can be argued and shown that even mandatory human government can exist and provide some good services while the people – individually or in voluntary association – are armed to the same level as governments. The early decades of the great American experiment which began “officially” in 1776 demonstrate that.
- Government does not need to be a monopoly: not just obligatory but without “competition” in a given geographic area. Although the existence of national systems such as Switzerland, Canada, Australia, the States and even the Holy Roman Empire should have shown the untruth of this, it is a common fallacy. Non-mandatory, non-obligatory governments (in essence voluntary cooperative organizations) can and do exist in various ways, when responsibilities (and authority, within limits) are clearly defined and maintained. And such arrangements actually provide for more liberty and more prosperity. And usually, more peace!
There are more truths, of course. But let us leave it at this for now.
We humans can and have lived without governments like we put up with right now. We can not just survive, but thrive. Government isn’t worth it.
That government is best which governs least.
Henry David Thoreau, in his 1849 “Civil Disobedience,” or “Resistance to Civil Government.