I just stumbled upon this the other day and felt it needed to be shared. Nothing really witty to add, just wish to concur with the old (that is, pre-progressivism) The Amazing Atheist in his view of how the government makes problems worse in the guise of solving them.
If you’re here from my normal audience and are expecting some snark-filled rant on the evils of gun control, prepare to be disappointed. This article is my attempt to strike a more positive and accommodating tone with leftists on the issue of guns. As such, it’s not really intended for my usual readership. However, if you know an open-minded liberal, please feel free to link them to this post.
My intent here is to argue that there is a way for us all to get what we want, and to attempt to explain it within the context of the framework of left-wing thought. If any of my more conservative readers get the creeps reading this, don’t worry, I haven’t fallen to the Dark Side, I’m just trying to explain my thoughts in terms the target audience (that is, liberals) can understand.
Hello there, Mr./Mrs. Liberal. Do you consider yourself open-minded? If not, please give this article to someone else who is–this article is just a waste of your time. If so, please continue–I encourage you to read this and reflect upon what I’m saying.
Before we begin, I think it’s important that we determine where we both stand here. I have no way of knowing your exact opinions on guns, of course, but if I had to guess, I’d say that as a liberal, you’re in favor of restricting gun ownership and increased regulation. You probably want a ban on “assault rifles”, want the federal government to inspect and register all guns sold, and to outlaw gun sales to people with criminal backgrounds and the mentally ill. You’ve probably never fired a gun before, and don’t feel any shame in admitting that guns scare you. It’s probably hard for you to understand why other people would even want a gun in the first place. Don’t they see how dangerous they are? Maybe if you’re the type who cares very strongly about gun violence, you just want to ban all guns outright. The point is, as a liberal I assume you hold something approximating the above positions.
As for myself, the first thing you need to know is that I don’t believe in governments. In the same way that an atheist believes that a church is just a bunch of old men who think they’re speaking for a god or gods, I believe that a government is just an organized crime syndicate whose members think they have moral sanction. Now I don’t expect you to agree with me on this, obviously. For the purposes of this discussion, just think of it as a generally harmless personal eccentricity, like stamp-collecting or being a furry.
What does this have to do with gun control? Quite a lot, I think. Personally, I’m rather ambivalent about guns. I’ve never owned or fired a gun before. It’s not that I’m afraid of guns or uncomfortable around them, I just don’t really feel like going through all the trouble of buying and maintaining one. However, politically I’m absolutely for increased gun ownership and against any form of government-mandated gun control. Mostly because I think guns are very handy for self-defense against the government, and perhaps even revolting should the tyranny reach unbearable levels. Again, I don’t expect you to agree with me on that point or follow that line of reasoning, I’m just letting you know where I personally stand on the issue.
So, my open-minded liberal friend, at this point you’re probably thinking, what’s the point of me even reading this? We’re at two opposite ends of the spectrum here on gun control. We’ll never agree on anything.
That is where you’re wrong, mon ami. I am writing this open letter to you because I think there’s a way for us to both get what we want here, without either of us having to convince the other or overthrow the government. The solution’s pretty simple. In fact, it’s so simple that I suspect that’s why none of the politicians who gain so much on both sides of the gun “debate” ever bring it up.
The key here is the differing cultural sensibilities of pro- and anti-gun regions of the country. It took a while for me to really understand it, and I didn’t even full grasp it until I moved from the Massachusetts suburbs to the ass-end of southwest Pennsylvania.
It’s not exactly a staggering insight to point out that how a person in America feels about guns is deeply intertwined with which culture you grew up in. If you grew up in the South or the country, you’ll probably have grown up around guns your whole life. This means you don’t see them as some alien thing whose only purpose is death and sorrow–they’re just an everyday tool to you. To a Southerner or a rural American, a pistol in the drawer of the end table by the bed or a shotgun leaned up in the corner is of no more note than a blender on the counter or a lawn mower in the shed. The idea of regulating it seems pushy and intrusive. They see guns as a part of the home, and thus a personal matter outside the scope of the government.
If you grew up in the North or the cities, however, things are different. In urban areas, guns are seen as unfamiliar and dangerous, instruments of mayhem owned by criminals, thugs and drug dealers. It’s not uncommon for a city-slicker to only ever see a gun once in his life–when he’s mugged. To the average urbanite or Northerner, guns are a weapon of last resort–something only done out of sober necessity when the all-powerful and all-knowing police are still half an hour away. The idea of people simply finding guns fun is, I think, is fundamentally alien to them. Likewise with children being instructed on gun safety or taking part in shooting competitions. They see guns in general as Not A Thing To Take Lightly, a dangerous and uncivilized pastime to be avoided whenever possible.
Essentially, we’re dealing with two separate cultures here, neither of which understands the other.
We see this disconnect all the time whenever someone goes on a shooting rampage. The usual suspects in the big city start talking about how guns (especially the fearsome “military-style assault weapons”) should be restricted to responsible people like cops, subject to increased scrutiny, or just banned outright. The usual argument runs along the lines of utility, as in, “why do you really need a semi-automatic rifle with a 40-round magazine?”
To which the obvious answer is this: “I don’t need it, it’s just fun. I enjoy going out to the shooting range with my buddies and firing it. By your logic, we should ban vodka and any other alcoholic drink over 15%, too. Obviously high-proof alcohol serves only one purpose, and that is to get humans drunk, and we all know drunk humans are to blame for a lot more mass death than humans with guns. So how come you think adults can responsibly use one with almost no regulation and not the other? Besides, the vast majority of gun deaths are from handguns, not military-grade carbines. And even then, inner-city violence over the drug trade is responsible for the vast majority of gun crime, not rednecks with AR-15s. Why not decriminalize the drug trade, get your own houses in order, and leave the harmless hobbyists alone?”
But instead of taking this very reasonable approach to the situation, a disturbing portion of the pro-gun crowd seems to go Full Retard and metamorphose into gun nerds talking about how “if one victim/all the victims/the whole country had been armed, none of this would’ve happened.” Apparently the existence of friendly fire is just a lie cooked up by the Trilateral Commission to enact the New World Order. Or something. They react with terror and lash out at anyone who they perceive as hostile to their favorite hobby, and in so doing say incredibly stupid things that just so happen to reinforce the liberal stereotype of gun owners as paranoid, lunatic rednecks.
The point being, neither culture comes out looking too good in these debates.
So, what’s the best solution to dealing with two fundamentally opposed cultures living under the same set of rules? Easy: tolerance and understanding. We gun-lovers just have a totally different culture surrounding the use of firearms than you do. By the same token, your liberal and urban culture has completely different cultural standards on guns. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s not even really a problem. All we need to do is promote a shared culture of “live and let live”. In short, let’s just agree to respect each others’ cultural diversity on this issue.
If you feel as though you simply must pass some form of gun-control bill (to which as a gun-rights supporter I can only say: “eww, why?”), then it’ll only really be effective locally. Different states–even different regions of the same state–have differing cultural standards, and we should all respect that. America is a huge land with dozens of different cultures and sensibilities–don’t you think it’s a little unrealistic to expect laws formulated to work in New York City to apply equally well to Billings, Montana? Your community can pass whatever anti-gun law you wish amongst yourselves, and you won’t hear any complaints from me. But when you start stumping for gun laws that apply to all Americans, that impose your own cultural standards over peoples who never asked for your opinion and are perfectly content to be left alone, then I have no other choice but stand against you.
If you simply must restrict gun ownership (and again: “eww, why?”), at least make it a local law. It should be the responsibility of each individual local community to determine what their policy on guns should be. After all, it’s their culture, not yours or mine.
Cultural imperialism is very unbecoming in our modern age. And I think, Mr. Open-Minded Leftist, that that’s something we can both agree on.
Agree? Disagree? Please comment! I enjoy hearing what you have to say.
First, some housekeeping.
If you’re still waiting for The Solution, then I regret to inform you that you’ll be disappointed. I’m still ironing out a few of the details, but a coherent answer probably won’t be posted until late next week. Of course, take that with the same grain of salt you take all my other big scheduling announcements, ha-ha. However, to fill the void I have two more posts in the works I’d like to pontificate on. Neither of them is Crimea, however. I just plain don’t have an opinion on that. Instead, I’m going to focus upon building bridges, first with one disparate aspects of the post-Paul liberty movement, and then with liberal gun-control advocates. The way I figure it, here at Voluntarydactyl.com we’re great at tearing things down, but we still need to build things up in order to have a freer society.
With that in mind, I’d like to begin.
Many of you may not know this (Note to self: update blogroll), but I happen to be a big fan of Christopher Cantwell. For those of you who don’t know, Chris is a comedian and self-described “libertarian brutalist” activist famous for having a caustic sense of humor and generally just being a magnet for drama of all sorts. While I certainly don’t agree with everything he says (I support certain forms of intellectual property and don’t care one way or the other about conspiracy theories), we seem to agree on most things that matter. I consider him to be a very compelling and perceptive guy, even if he does make too many fleshlight jokes than I would find funny. But whatever, to each his own.
However, there is one issue in which our respective philosophies differ just enough to not sit quite right with me: the advocacy of violent resistance to the government. Chris, being his normal cut-to-the-chase sort of self, has made no bones about it–you are absolutely justified in using whatever level of violent force to protect yourself from government intrusion and aggression. Furthermore, this sort of resistance, once it reaches “critical mass”, is the only realistic way to achieve freedom.
Now, my disagreement with Chris on this issue is fairly minor. He acknowledges the importance of peaceful strategies like civil disobedience, he just doesn’t think they’ll work, because they’re not really backed up by a serious threat:
No one rules, if no one obeys. True enough. Civil disobedience, for the purpose of this paper being defined as non-compliance with laws until force is brought to bear, has its merits. Its advocates will look at the American civil rights movement, or the struggle for Indian independence, to say what a wonderful non-violent solution these actions are.
They ignore the fact that these things were anything but non-violent. In both the American civil rights movement, and the struggle for Indian independence, countless demonstrators were beaten, imprisoned, and murdered. Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi were both ultimately rewarded for their kindness with assassins bullets through vital organs. All that was accomplished in the way of non-violence, was assuring that the demonstrators remained the victims when the violence occurred, empowering aggressors at the expense of victims.
It also isn’t really dis-obedience, so much as it is delayed obedience. Governments surely require a very high rate of compliance in order to accomplish their goals, but they have always ultimately gained that compliance with a threat of force. If one disobeys laws, but refuses to deploy defensive force when government agents come to gain their compliance, then the compliance is ultimately gained, and the purpose defeated. This again, is not non-violent, it only empowers the aggressor at the expense of the victim, as evidenced by countless beaten, imprisoned, and dead activists.
There are those who would say that the goal of civil disobedience is to expose the violence inherent in the system, and there is merit to that. On the other hand, why we need good people in prison to expose the violence inherent in the system, is beyond my comprehension. The violence is on the television daily. People vote for wars and gleefully worship dead soldiers. Police who rob, assault, kidnap, and murder are hailed as the saviors of mankind.
Exposing the violence inherent in the system is not only redundant, it is counterproductive. When you disobey the law, and law enforcement comes to gain your compliance with force, and you submit, what you actually do is show everybody how effective violence is. Problem: Lawbreaker, Solution: Force. You are assaulted, imprisoned, or murdered, and the rest of society either cheers for your suffering, or fears these penalties being exacted upon them, and in either case, the outcome is compliance.
Still, the advocates of civil disobedience would say, a large enough civil disobedience movement would be unstoppable. So the problem again becomes a mathematical one. This gives civil disobedience a leg up on democracy, in that far fewer than 50% of the population of a given geographic area can render a place ungovernable, simply by failing to comply.
This sort of requires one to set aside a few harsh realities, not the least of which is, this would still result in a great deal of violence. Governments have been known to open fire on crowds of peaceful demonstrators, and since civil disobedience forbids violent resistance, the demonstrators would have to tolerate bullets flying through their vital organs without fighting back. They would have to continue to disobey, even as the man next to them was beaten, hauled off to prison, or murdered. Fear being a powerful motivator, you can imagine very few would remain both defiant and peaceful under those circumstances.
Now don’t get me wrong here: what Chris is saying here has a lot of truth to it, and ultimately I think he’s right when he says that a libertarian revolution would require some level of violence in order to gain traction. But I don’t feel comfortable with writing off peaceful civil disobedience just yet.
Luckily, Chris has anticipated such a disagreement, and preempted this with a challenge in his post of almost a fortnight ago:
If civil disobedience aims to prevent violent conflicts, it fails the moment the State decides to make it. If the goal is to prevent an insurrection, then it fails the moment demonstrators decide to fight back instead of going to prison and dying. Since neither of these factors are within the control of the advocates of civil disobedience, I’m going to go ahead and write this off as impossible. If someone else would like to write a paper quantifying the number of people they think would need to engage in civil disobedience to bring down a government once and for all, I’d be happy to update this article with a link to that post, and perhaps even publish it on this website.
Challenge accepted, good sir. The rest of this essay will be my attempt to quantify the “critical mass” of people I think would be needed to engage in enough civil disobedience to end a government, or at least enough to cripple it enough that it has a negligible influence over your life.
A brief disclaimer before I begin: you should probably know that I suck at math. In fact, I’m borderline innumerate. So this isn’t going to be super in-depth statistical analysis, more of a back-of-the-envelope approach. But for our purposes it should be sufficient.
First, we need to establish the sample size we’re working with here. How big of a population are we talking here? After all, we live in a very diverse world. The “critical mass” needed for the creation of, say, an anarchist Leichtenstein is obviously going to be worlds away from that need to bring about an anarchist China or America. So establishing a fairly average baseline is important. Luckily, Chris has said on numerous occasions that establishing a stateless society in even one area of the world would be good enough for his purposes. I happen to agree: it’s likely that such a revolution would spread once it became established in one area and people could see statelessness in action, but we all have to start somewhere. And if libertarianism in practice were to put down roots anywhere, it would be in the United States. I could be mistaken, but the state of personal freedom and distrust of government on other continents seems rather grim as of this time. But I’m willing to accept corrections on that. If a reader thinks I may have overlooked some liberty-loving foreign country (Ireland and Hong Kong spring to mind), feel free to let me know in the comments, and I might add it as an addendum in later editing.
So for our purposes here, let’s choose a location here in the US where the populace would be most conducive to a lack of governmental intrusion. This is chiefly for realism’s sake, as well as to provide some sort of context for the calculations. Numbers are meaningless unless you can relate them to real life.
Right off the bat I think we can count the coastal states (with the exception of New Hampshire and maybe Maine) out of our calculations. After martial law in Boston came and went without a shred of protest, I think it’s safe to write off the East and West coasts as irredeemable for right now. Likewise, the theocratic, chickenhawk South can be written off, although I suppose I should break with my atheistic instincts and point out that they are slightly less irredeemable than the coasts.
So what are we left with? The Great Lakes states, the Midwest and Southwest, and Alaska. The continued existence of Chicago and Detroit disqualifies the entire Great Lakes region in my opinion. The Southwest (New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona) are a bit of an easier sell, but their continued insistence on kidnapping Mesoamerican peasants when they cross an arbitrary line in the dirt is a bit of a disqualification.
So we’re left with the Midwest (defined for the purposes of this exercise as Montana, Idaho, the Dakotas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma) and New Hampshire. For convenience’s sake, let’s ignore the geographical separation between the two and pretend massive, coordinated libertarian civil disobedience campaigns broke out in both regions at the same time.
The first thing we need to consider is population, to get a read on what we’re dealing with. The combined population of the above states, as of the 2010 census, is around 15,765,680 people, or a cool 16 million when rounded up.
So, how many people would need to disobey the law in order to end the government, either legally or just in practice?
Let’s assume these protesters are all anarchists, and their method of civil disobedience is to refuse to pay their state taxes. Taking Montana as an average state from this group, we now have the following information:
Montana’s income tax system covers seven income brackets:
- 1 percent on the first $2,800 of taxable income.
- 2 percent on taxable income between $2,801 and $4,900.
- 3 percent on taxable income between $4,901 and $7,400.
- 4 percent on taxable income of $7,401 and $10,100.
- 5 percent on taxable income of $10,101 and $13,000.
- 6 percent on taxable income of $13,001 and $16,700.
- 6.9 percent on taxable income of $16,701 and above.
Okay. With this information, how many Montanan tax-evaders would it take to cripple the state government?
Well, the next step is to see how much the average Montanan pays in taxes. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income in Montana from 2008 to 2012 was 45,456 dollars. The state average 2.37 people per household. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume everyone in the household makes the same. So, unless I messed up with my calculations somewhere, the average Montanan pays roughly $1,342 each year in income taxes. With the links provided, you can find similar numbers for the other states listed.
Now, I didn’t take property taxes into account for this number, which may skew things since most Montanans and other Midwesterners tend to be farmers. But for our purposes all we’re looking for is a rough estimate. This is just establishing proof-of-concept for Chris.
So, how many people would have to not pay taxes before the state government was too overwhelmed to arrest and process them all?
Well, as of 2011 the state of Montana has a statewide total of 3158 full-time law-enforcement personnel, with a further 488 part-time or reserve officers. So I suppose if you wanted to make extra sure the Montana income tax (or Montana taxes of any kind, really) became unenforceable, in theory you’d only need 500 people refusing to comply. Although in theory you’d need probably only half to three-quarters that number to completely tie up the arrest and trial proceedings. It’s an open secret that American prisons are seriously overcrowded. An extra 500 or so inmates all in the same month would be a massive backlog that the system wouldn’t be able to handle, especially in such an underpopulated state to begin with.
So in theory, you’d only need 500 people refusing to pay their taxes to overwhelm the Montana state government. If you got a lot of wealthy Montanan ranchers and the like on board, it’d probably take a lot fewer. With no ability to arrest people for tax evasion, the government of Montana loses most of its revenue. Once the enforcers go long enough without being paid, they’ll eventually get few up and go home to find employment in the private sector. Once that happens, the people of Montana would be able to safely ignore the demands of their newly-toothless “rulers”. Liberty ensues.
Now, what about the IRS? Even without a state government looming over them, the Feds are still going to want their cut of the action. What do?
The IRS has six branch offices in Montana. A ten-minute Google-seach failed to turn up any exact numbers. Since Montana isn’t exactly a bustling province of the Empire, it’s probably safe to guess the IRS has fewer than 10,000 agents in Big Sky Country, most of whom are likely just accountants rather than the folks that actually go out and make arrests. We can safely estimate their numbers as significantly lower. In theory, all you’d need would be a few thousand more tax-evaders to sign onto your protest to completely gum up their works, too. Federal prisons are even more overcrowded than state prisons, and the primary reason American legal system works so quickly is because most people never get to court. If the government actually tried to prosecute them all, there’d be massive backup. And in the end, they’re still not getting the money unless the protester goes to trial. It should work the same as protesting state taxes, although obviously with scaled-up numbers. Probably around 5,000 people instead of 500. In a state with a population of a little over a million, that’s still not a big number, but it’s a non-insignificant minority of folks.
Now, if Chris reads this and points out that there are a lot of factors here that I haven’t considered, then I agree wholeheartedly. The number of intangibles involved are staggering:
- Is there a significant amount of the populace who, while not necessarily libertarian themselves, would sympathize with the protesters?
- Is jury nullification practiced a lot within the state?
- Does the state also have a strong libertarian movement before the protests start? In this regard, the Free State Project alone may give New Hampshire a boost.
- Are the protesters willing to resort to defensive force if it all goes south?
- What’s going on with the rest of the country? If the sitting president is unpopular, the greater public my be sympathetic enough to give an anti-government movement a decent defense in the mainstream press.
All of the above would have an important, but ultimately unquantifiable, effect on the success of civil disobedience on that scale.
Now, I’ll be the first to agree that the numbers above are in no way definitive. There’s a lot of vagueness and (over?)-simplification that would probably need to be refined before we can make a definitive statement on whether civil disobedience would work on this kind of scale. In this regard, I’d say that I’m merely setting the groundwork. If someone with actual math skills and knowledge of American tax codes wants to take a look at this and make corrections where necessary, feel free. And it may be true that this kind of a protest will fail and need to be backed up with the kind of uprising Chris Cantwell says may be necessary. And he may end up being right.
But I’m not quite willing to give up on the idea of peaceful revolution just yet.
Well surprise surprise, looks like I’m behind again. University stuff, mostly. Been meeting with my teachers a lot–extra help and the like. Turns out that the differences between True Pure Land Buddhism and the more classical mainland Mahayana schools were more subtle than I’d thought.
But enough about my useless degree! I’ll get back on track. Expect The Solution to be ready by Wednesday at the absolute latest.
Hmmm…it really does sound rather sinister, doesn’t it? Like I’m a supervillain describing his latest evil invention…
Anyways, for those of you who missed the announcement, this is The Problem, the first part of a two-part series that will serve as essentially a brief overview of what I see as the major problem facing the world today and what I see as a likely solution. You can essentially see this as Voluntarydactyl’s Grand Grand Unifying Theory of What the Hell is Going On (hint: The State).
I’m certainly not the first person to consider these things, nor could I ever claim to be. How many of our thoughts can we truly ever call our own anyway? So a lot of different thinkers have contributed to this brief synopsis, most notably the work of the always excellent Larken Rose, with a smattering of Lysander Spooner and various other folks.
So now we come to the big question: what is The Problem? There have been thousands upon turgid thousands of pages written on this topic, but I feel safe in saying that it can all be condensed down into one word: Leviathan.
What is that? Essentially, Leviathan is authority. But, I must point out, a specific kind of authority. Leviathan is government authority, and therefore by definition hypocritical authority. No other type of social authority gets that sort of moral pass. When your father uses his parental authority and tells you not to steal, you instantly lose respect for him when you catch him smashing open your little brother’s piggybank for meth money (yes, I know that dad’s got a lot of other things wrong with him. But the moral argument still stands). But you let your government “authority” get away with violating all manner of societal and ethical norms every day. You went to a public school and were taught (as much as that word can apply to anything public schools do) that being a good neighbor meant being considerate and not stealing or assaulting people. At the same time, the government funding those schools routinely demanded money from your parents without their consent (taxation) under threat of kidnapping and possible rape/death (arrest and prison time), with the possibility of death if they resisted. And all of society, all of whom understood perfectly well that extortion and kidnapping were wrong, cheered them on.
Morality for thee, but not for me.
Leviathan is the authority that hides behind respectability, much like its namesake hides in the deepest sea. It is authority based in coercion and threats instead of consent and respect. It is the violent and exploitative entity that hides its brutality behind a perceived moral right. It don’t think it would be very controversial to say that we all generally see violence as a bad thing. And almost everyone lives their lives based upon that principle, and holds others to that principle in turn. But almost all of us give Leviathan a special exemption from these basic instinctually-ingrained rules of behavior. Most people think that if we just call it theft and murder by a different name, then it suddenly becomes moral, justified, and necessary for civilization.
What other social authority do we let get away with that? None. When Leviathan controls the education of the young, Leviathan gains a stranglehold on the minds of the adults those children will become. And oh, does it set to work on them. It turns different segments of the population against one another in an unending pseudo-bloodless civil war for free stuff. It promotes nonsensical and self-refuting ideas of “equality” to justify its expansion. It encourages patronage and rent-seeking, because it provides them with a steady stream of patsies eager to prop up its moral facade. It sticks its tendrils into even the most private, personal, and (dare I say it) sacred elements of your life under the guise of protecting you. It can manipulate currencies and markets on a planetary scale and destroy economies with a scribbled signature. It sends your friends and family of to die for lies and empty promises of freedom. Its villainies can’t even be reined in by economic constraints, because unlike other social authorities, it gets to steal more funding whenever it wants to, because it knows we’ll let it.
How does it know? Because we love it. We’ve been raised to love it. We’ve been bred to love it.*
Leviathan breaks every possible moral law and social taboo with impunity, because we love it.
The concept of government as currently understood, the Leviathan itself, is not just prone to violence and abuse. That loophole, that one blind spot in the collective mindset of humanity, that cynical lie is the only thing separating Leviathan from just being another healthy and beneficial social institution. It is without a doubt the primary force of violence and corruption in the world today. Even the Catholic Church is peanuts compared to this monstrous idea. It would seem that trying to end this monster is a moral imperative for anyone who values their freedom first and foremost.
But what about all the people who just…don’t?
What about the hundreds of millions of good, everyday folks who just want to live their lives peacefully without making waves?
What about the people who’ve lived in the stomach of Leviathan for so long that they’ve forgotten how to be human, the people so self-domesticated even the thought of a new way terrifies them?
What about the devotees of the largest religion in human history (Leviathan-worship), the people who feel like they gain genuine meaning in their lives from rituals like voting, and who would probably have a better time of things if they stayed domesticated?
What about the sociopaths who cling to Leviathan like barnacles for the dark thrill of wielding power, and who would return to cause mayhem and evil in the private sector if the government ended?
Smashing the state sounds all well and good, but what about the empty people in the world who’d be better off being herded around? Is it really right to force them to compete in a world they’d be morally and experientially unprepared for? Just imagine how much of a pain all those ex-government employees are going to be to re-integrate. Not to mention all the welfare recipients who’ve grown so used to dependency that they wouldn’t know what to do with freedom once they had it. We need to take these things into consideration if we want our children to live in a free and happy world.
*People genetically predisposed to value independence and personal agency tend not to see much need for government. They also tend to be killed by policemen (“tax evasion”)and totalitarian regimes (“treason,” “right-deviatonism”). Given all of the independent-minded people murdered by their own governments in the last two centuries alone, I’d honestly be surprised if this didn’t have some sort of net dysgenic effect on humanity as a whole. When the individualists die off quickly, the less independent-minded have an evolutionary advantage. Thus the once noble Homo sapiens sapiens slouches towards his fate as free-range tax livestock for the sharply-dressed statesmen. Funny, the first aristocrats were land-holding farmers as well…
I had an entire fucking 300-word post here, but my utterly useless fucking cunt of a computer just crashed on me and wiped it all out.
I’ll be damned if I’m typing all that out again. And to think that I had links and everything, too!
Suffice it to say, I’m coming into a spot of free time this week, so I’ll be working on a two-part series of posts to summarize my blog. I call them The Problem and The Solution. Think of this as sort of Grand Unifying Theory of What’s Wrong and How to Fix It. Expect Part One around Thursday/Friday and Part Two sometime Sunday. See you then!
WARNING: The following contains copious amounts of satire, which may make it unsafe for consumption if one has a history of heart disease, mental illness, chronic butthurt, cognitive dissonance, unfamiliarity with 20th-century literature, is pregnant or may become pregnant, or is easily offended. Please read at your own risk, and preferably with a buddy in case you get offended.
So anyway, there’s been something on my mind recently that’s just been bothering me to no end. I understand that this topic is controversial, so I would ask that you read all the way through to the very end before passing judgment upon me.
What’s been on my mind lately is privilege. For those of you who don’t use Tumblr, some context may be necessary—“privilege” is the idea that certain groups (usually specified as white heterosexual males, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on here) have disproportionate advantages in society that other groups just do not have. These privileges can be either obvious or more subtle, and are so ingrained in our culture as to be considered just normal. Most social justice types will add that having privilege makes it impossible, as a white heterosexual man, to truly understand and empathize with oppresses minorities unless you ritualistically purge yourself of the Original Sin of your white-hetero-maleness (the “Checking of the Privilege”).
There’s a lot of Christian baggage under the surface here that just cries out for examination, but let’s save that for another time, yeah?
Now you may think that I’m arguing that privilege doesn’t exist. Well, I’m not. Privilege is a real thing. Being white, straight, and male makes your life quite easy in a lot of really obvious ways, and trying to argue that it doesn’t is just silly. No, what I’m interested in doing is unpacking the rest of the baggage, to take a look at some of the implications of the privilege narrative that maybe the social justice types don’t like to talk about.
That’s what I did, and the results were rather disturbing. What I realized was that the privilege narrative, even if it’s correct, leads to a blatant Catch-22 situation for white heterosexual males, where they’re the bad guys no matter what they do. If you’re privileged, then everything you say and do can be criticized or ignored because it can all be interpreted as coming from a privileged position. Think about it like this: if you’re privileged and don’t want to help the oppressed minorities, then obviously that is bad. But what if you’re privileged and do want to help? Surely that’s good, right? Nope—that’s no better, because according to the privilege narrative, that carries connotations of you being a Big White Savior out to protect the inferior people. They’ll tear you apart, saying that your intentions are poor and your privilege prevents you from doing any good.
So now we find ourselves in an uncomfortable paradox. If you’re privileged and don’t want to help minorities, you’re an oppressor who needs to be stopped. If you’re privileged and do want to help minorities, then you’re still an oppressor who needs to be stopped, you’re just being condescending about it too. If we view the world through the privilege narrative, then we realize that to be a good person we must accept that white heterosexual males are evil oppressors no matter what they do or don’t do. There are no positive options here. It would seem that my demographic is just doomed to be tyrants.
Naturally, this is an emotional body-blow. I’m not surprised that so many white heterosexual males in the social justice community seem to be eaten alive with self-loathing. Realizing that you’re irredeemably evil and obsessing over how your very existence is oppressive can’t be psychologically healthy. So, what’s a white heterosexual man to do in this brave new world?
I say that since we can’t change our fate, the best thing we can do…is embrace it.
Arise, my pasty brethren! Get out there and become the racist homophobic misogynist bastard you were always meant to be. Slut-shame and fat-shame until you’re blue in the face. Vote against gay marriage and welfare every chance you get, and wield racial slurs with all your heart and soul. If we’re selfish vicious oppressors of women, gays, and other races no matter what, the least we can do is be honest about it. If our demographic is doomed to be the villains, then I say we man up and play that role to the hilt. If we’re supposed to be evil, then let’s get our shit together and be goddamned evil.
Or we could just dump all narratives and treat each other like individuals so that we can all become free. But come on, what are the chances of that?
To all the statist utopians out there, I have but one question:
We have yet to build or buy a better human. What on Earth would make you think pointing guns around will do the trick?
An excellent summary of answers to one of the most annoying questions ever devised:
Originally posted on Libertarian Money:
It’s the question that has tortured libertarians with a sweet melody repeating itself over and over and over again for as long as statists have roamed. It’s the simple question, “Who will build the roads?” It’s not really the hardest question to answer but no matter what answer is provided, people will look with skepticism at you, as if you’re the one advocating absurd things. Well, the next time you get the question, you don’t need to start twitching compulsively or laughing hysterically. Just link them to this article. It will go over all the major points about roads. It will also introduce the basic philosophy behind reducing the size of government.
If you’ve been linked to this article then you’ve probably asked the question, “who will build the roads without a government?” or a similar question.
This is actually a very…
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No deep musings today, just a wish that all three or so of my readers have a safe, happy, healthy, and free and voluntary beginning to 2014. A Happy New Year to you and yours, from your favorite Internet pterosaur.
And what better way to celebrate than with Monty Python’s Flying Circus?