Nuggets of Wisdom

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top 11 Statist Arguments

LordTHawkeye made the following video and list which I decided to repost and share. Enjoy:

11. Love it or leave it

Statists love to support their pet government by arguing that if you don't like it, you're free to leave whenever you want...of course ignoring the fact that you need the government's permission to leave and thus they can stop you if they so desire.
But what's really downright evil about this argument is how it's effectively blaming the victim. If a woman complains about how her husband beats her and blows all their money on booze, what would you think of someone who replied by saying it's her fault for staying with him?

It really takes a special kind of asshole to resort to a low blow argument like this and shame on anyone who ever has.

10. Taxation is not theft

When the mafia demands 10% of your income or else, it's racketeering. When the government demands 40% of your income or else, it's taxation and somehow is totally different. And my only question is HOW?!

"But Hawkeye!" they cry at me, "The government uses that money to help people! It's not stealing!"
All right smarty pants. Go rob a bank, donate a fair chunk of it to an orphanage and argue in court that you didn't steal the money because you used it for a good cause and let's just see how far that gets you!

I didn't think so.

Even if taxation was money legitimately owed to the state, how exactly does that justify threats of violence for non payment?

When you borrow from VISA and don't pay it back, what happens? They send your name to collections and you get your credit rating shot.
When you borrow from the mafia and don't pay it back, what happens? They send armed men to your house.

Now you tell me, which one sounds more like what the state does?

9. Without government, everyone will murder, rape, steal etc etc...

Ah yes, the original sin argument. Without god er...government rather, everyone would kill, rape and steal and it would be total disaster!
As our good friend Richard Dawkins said to a theist who tried to make this argument with regards to god, "Are you saying the only reason you don't murder, rape and steal is because you're afraid of punishment?" If that's the case, you're really in no position to be lecturing about morals.

Folks, I got news for you. We're not all that different. If you think you're the only moral person in the world, kindly get over yourself. I have asked for solid evidence for this claim for years and all I have to show for it is a pile of VERY weak anecdotes.

Besides, even if you were right, your idea still fails. A race of evil humans won't be good and moral on their own but they will vote in someone who will force them to? How, pray tell, does that make anything even resembling logical sense?

The only situation where a state could be argued is if most people are evil but only good people get into the government. There is no logical or emperical reason to believe that this is, was or ever will be the situation and I'd really like to know how such a group could remain in power if the rest of the population disagreed with them so passionately.

8. Who'll build the roads, take care of the poor, run healthcare, tie my shoes etc etc...

The answer to this is very easy: You will.
If we had no state, you'd have vastly more money with which you could use to help anybody you wanted to, fund any endeavor you thought was a worthy cause and nobody would try to stop you, that I can guarantee.

To those who argue that people wouldn't fund some project unless you force them, if you can't get people to voluntarily fund something, then it wasn't a worthy cause in the first place. Get over it.
And no, having a cause you deem worthy does not justify forcibly extracting funds because human lives are not yours to dispose of and no cause is so great that it deserves to be shielded from public scrutiny. Get off your high horse.

If you want funding, you prove your worth like the rest of us. End of story.

7. Without regulation, the rich will dominate us!

Stargazer summed this one up perfectly so I'll just paraphrase him.

"Can you name me one time in history where governments were not controlled by rich people? Just one, any one! Who were the richest people in monarchies? Who were the richest people in aristocracies? Who are the richest people in republics or democracies? It's always people with political connections. Governments do not help the poor, especially not in the long run."

And if you think public welfare is helping the poor, I think you'll find a midsummer stroll through South Bronx VERY educational. Before welfare, poverty was decreasing every year. After welfare, that came to a screeching halt. Case closed I'd say.

6. Redistribution of wealth

This is a term that somehow both amuses and infuriates me at the same time. Funny in how obviously it's a way to sugar coat thievery and infuriating in how so many actually play it straight.
The idea of redistributing wealth to make it more fair requires the presupposition that all the wealth belongs to a central authority who gives it out as it sees fit.
In other words, the fruits of our labors all belong to the state, a claim it has no authority whatsoever to make.
A truly fair economy is one where if you want something, you have to work for it. Those willing to put the most work in will get the most out. The alternative is effectively rewarding laziness while penalizing hard work and it doesn't take a prophet to predict where that eventually leads.

Redistribution of wealth is a notion which can charitably be described as dangerously misguided and uncharitaby described as glorified slavery.

5. What about the environment?!

Uh...dude? Governments are the biggest polluters in the far! Even if you don't count wars which you should...

Next one please...

4. The "free rider problem"

Ah of course, a free society can never work because the free riders will drag us all to our doom!

Pray tell, how exactly does one "free ride" in a society where nobody is granted the right to initiate force? The occasional non payer will benefit from the safer streets made possible by private police? Why do you even care? He'll still have to pay if he wishes to report a crime commited against him and likely more since he hadn't been paying the regular fee but if that's his choice, who are you to question it? He simply feels the fee isn't worth his while for whatever reason and that's his money and thus his decision to make. You have no say in the matter. Accept it and move on.

Besides, anyone really concerned about free riders would do well to steer clear of the government who are not only the biggest free riders in the world with all their pork and wasteful spending but are also the biggest enablers of free riders through endless entitlement programs that just keep growing.

As a wise man said "I'd take a few free riders over an entire nation of unfree carriers any day of the week."

3. Safety > freedom

When the endless attacks on personal liberty become undeniable, some statists will fall back on this one. Yeah sure the state intrudes on your lives but it's all for your protection and hey! Freedom's overrated anyway!

This is another tragic case of claiming to solve a problem when in fact you have only deffered it over. Sure, if against all odds you managed to completely purge all guns from a society so that only the police and military have them, yeah you probably are pretty safe from being shot by a criminal.

One problem: What's going to protect you from the police and the military should power go to their heads? They are but mere mortals after all.

This argument is based on the flawed idea that safety and freedom work at cross purposes. The strength of one means the weakness of the other but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is they go hand in hand. Freedom is a very friendly person that way.

You see, when people are free, they will naturally migrate towards whatever endeavors they personally feel comfortable with thus whatever proves itself the safest will naturally thrive while undue risk fades away.

To instead trust our safety to one elite and unaccountable group is quite literally putting all of one's eggs in one very flimsy basket which is anything but safe.

This is why our good friend Franklin warned us that those who sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither, because you sure as hell won't get either one in the end.

2. But Anarchy's never been done before!

Ah yes, the "Everything that can be done has been done already" angle. We all love this one.

If you want to really frustrate statists who resort to this argument, just ask them "Can you name me one society in history who kept their government small and unintrusive? A government that didn't overstep it's authority, grow uncontrollably and eventually collapse as inevitably as the tides?"
When he stands there with a blank look in his eyes, you'll know how much he actually cares about empericism and historical precedence...

The truth is, anarchism is all around you. The vast majority of your everyday life is self governed and you would never have it any other way. Spontaneous order and the excellence that comes from voluntary trade is everywhere if you bother to look.

Yes it is true that no society has ever dismantled their government with no intention of ever creating a new one but that's beside the point. A stateless society is an entirely new idea and one that has worked in every small way it has been tried. There is no reason to doubt that it can't work on a larger scale and to claim that you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it can't is simply irrational fear of change talking. Let it go, it's not healthy.

1. The social contract

And then we come to this. The social contract, the idea that by living under a government, you agree to obey. Really now? That's it? The state is legit because a contract you obviously made up on the spot says so?

I've already many a time discussed the legal problems with this argument but that doesn't seem to dent the state worshippers. I've even pointed out how this is a completely wild card argument you could use to justify literally ANYTHING a government does. Is anyone seriously going to try and tell me that the holocaust was perfectly justified because if the Jews didn't approve, they should have moved away or voted in someone else? Yeah yeah, scream Godwin's Law until you turn blue in the face. I'm not comparing you to Nazis. I'm saying that your argument is so open ended that it could be used to justify the Nazis and that's why it fails and that's why you need to think your arguments through a little more carefully in the future.

What oh what kind of spin does it take to make such a completely illogical, baseless, freedom-hating, hypocritical non-argument look like a valid point?

The truth is this. Because governments only made semi-logical sense back when we used to believe in the divine right of kings. Since the king was supposedly directly chosen by god, that was proof that he should rule and be an exception to all of god's rules. Flimsy but at least it made SOME kind of sense if you accept the premise that God exists (as a side note: he doesn't)

Without divine right, all arguments for the state self detonate. I mean come on, the initiation of violence is bad so we need to give one elite group permission to initiate violence in order to stop the initiation of violence? Even a 5 year old can tell that makes no sense.

So while the smart people have gone on to start questioning the premises of the state's existence as a whole, the slower people (and that's the nicest term I can use), desperate to hold onto their dogma simply whipped out a replacement for divine right which came in the form of the social contract. Now instead of "You have to obey because the invisibile man in the sky that I can't even prove exists says so" it's "You have to obey because the invisible contract that I can't even prove exists says so." It's nothing more than feeble excuse making for elitism, fascism and barbarism and it needs to stop.