"In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on rather than off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day." - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Government Is Not The People

 "The state is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
One of the most persistent myths in political thought is the absurd idea that the you and I (as in, society) "are" the government. Remember, "of the people, by the people, for the people?" Nothing could be further from the truth.

Government is not the same as society. However, politicians love to say things like this because it makes you, dear voter, feel included in whatever they say and more likely offer your consent to be ruled. It gives credibility to the State by linking the public will to government action.

It would also mean that tyranny is impossible. After all, since you are the government, almighty voter, you're basically ruling yourself! If the government picks a fight, it's our war. The government takes on debt? That's national debt. We owe it to ourselves. If we protest and get thrown in jail, we did it to ourselves. They sign you up to pay for their ambition, greed, and negligence by throwing the cloak of "we" over everything they say and do.

So let's ruin their party and look at this claim logically. Goofy people and victims of Stockholm syndrome will tell you that a government is a great thing - like the brothers and sisters of humanity coming together to cure our mutual ailments.

That's a bunch of crap. A government is, at its most basic level, an organization that seeks to monopolize the use of violent force in a geographical area. In other words, a government is simply the most powerful gang in a country. A government does everything a criminal does - theft (taxes), murder (war), fraud, etc. - but has the resources and the blind support of the masses to enforce itself.

So are we part of that gang? Well, when is the last time Obama invited you to the White House to consult you on matters of foreign affairs or the state of the economy? When was the last time you were called for one of those made-up opinion polls that we see plastered all over political discussion? Did you get your Obamabucks bailout money yet? Get the point? You're on the outside, no matter how many letters you wrote to "your" Congressman.

But our power is at the polls! No. Come on, be realistic. There are over 235,000,000 million voters in this country, and about 130,000,000 turned out to vote in the last election. Now, even if the votes are recorded faithfully - and no one can argue that's a guarantee anymore - your vote is worth approximately 1/130,000,000th of the electorate. Congrats, that's some power you got there. Add in the billion dollars of dollars being thrown around in elections, the trillions being doled out by politicians to their banker buddies, and then consider the fact that nothing actually changes from one guy to the next. Then you'll realize, to take a quote from Carlin, that it's a big club, and you ain't in it. Your shares in the company have been diluted to nothingness while the bigwigs at the top have consolidated everything you volunteered to give away.

Besides, being an elected gang doesn't make it any less of a gang. Remember, the cartoonishly fascist and thuggish Nazi Party was elected to power; and being elected doesn't mean that the government even has the support of a majority (let alone all) of its people. In the words of the Rothbard:
Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have "committed suicide," since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part.
Pictured: suicide-by-government.
Like many statist arguments, there's no consistency or depth to the idea that "we" (or "society") are the government. When you take the idea to its logical conclusions, it becomes completely absurd.

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