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The Crime Of Big Government

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Government needs to get out of the way and stop making everyone debt slaves

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Government defined

So about now, the obvious question should be: What exactly IS government? The answer comes from German sociologist Max Weber: Government is that entity which has a monopoly on force within a prescribed geographic area. The key word here is FORCE. Government and only government can legally use physical force to achieve its goals. Government agents can punish you, with whatever level of violence they think is necessary, to whip the citizenry into line.

A government agent can approach you with a deadly weapon and demand your money. You and I cannot legally do that. But the agent can whip out a card that says he’s a government employee, and for reasons that befuddle me, it’s suddenly OK.

A government agent can tell a business owner: "Mr. Businessman, we don’t like the way you run your business, we don’t like the prices you charge, we don’t like what you pay your employees. Our people will now come in and straighten things out." And if the business owner protests, they can haul him away and lock him up.

The government, by way of the Federal Reserve, can counterfeit our currency. They say they're "stimulating the economy," but if you or I attempt to "stimulate the economy" like that, we would surely endure much suffering.

The targets of government violence do not even have to be inside our borders. The U.S. government can say to any foreign government anywhere: "We don't like the way you govern your nation. Therefore, we will attack you, invade you, embargo you, and bomb you until you fall into line with our desires."

Government is violence. And violence is never a tool of productivity, wealth, prosperity, or problem-solving, and it should not matter if the perpetrator has a card saying he’s an employee of the government.

The only positive role of force in a civilized society is to DEFEND your life and property against others who employ violence or dishonesty. But when government uses force to steal your property, run your life and your private affairs, counterfeit the currency, and provoke war, that is not defending anybody. Let's call government what it really is: a gang of thugs.

The standard response to this charge is that government must do these things because they are acting in the "national interest" or the "common interest" or the "common good" or whatever buzzword you prefer. So let me get this straight: the government must steal my money to pay hordes of fat-cat government bureaucrats their 6-digit salaries because … it’s in my "interest"? The government must spend tens of $billions of my dollars each month to turn some hellhole over in the Middle East into the biggest special interest project in history, because it’s "good" for me? I have no patience with people who feel they can run my life and spend my money better than I can, and are all ready, willing, and able to physically punish me if I disagree.

Another standard answer is that government force is justified because "the people" voted for it, thus government has a "mandate." Let's examine this myth. If one does the math, one realizes that the President of the United States is usually elected by only about a fourth of the adult population. (70 million voted for Obama, out of a population of about 250 million over the age of 18, yielding about 28%.) What kind of "mandate" is 28%? And this figures gets much lower when state and local offices are considered, due to low voter turnout.

Furthermore, the typical average voter is a clueless moron who values style and image over substance. Ask any voter in that 28% group why they voted as they did, and odds are you will not get an intelligible answer. They will probably say that the candidate "made them feel good," or that they simply picked a candidate at random, or they will give the "sheep" answer: "everyone else was voting for him, so I did too!" And this is how politicians acquire the power to run our lives?

The Alternative

So if government didn’t "run the country" and protect the "public interest" and do all the things it attempts to do, who would? The answer, in short: people. Workers, volunteers, entrepreneurs, you and me. People, voluntarily cooperating with one another, acting in their own best interest, can solve problems and produce the goods and services we all need and want. It’s called free enterprise – a system where people are allowed to buy, sell, work, and trade without interference, so long as their actions are peaceful and honest. The free market always can solve problems and produce what people need better than government. There are no exceptions.

Consider: an airplane crash, an event that most people instinctively think only government can prevent. So which of these two people is in a better position to prevent an airplane crash? The CEO of the airline, who’s very livelihood depends on convincing the public that his product is safe, or some bureaucrat in Washington, who’s livelihood depends on the continuation of airplane crashes?

Consider: government "entitlement" programs, where the vast bulk of the collected revenues go to bureaucratic overhead. In contrast, non-profit organizations must demonstrate positive results, else their contributions will disappear.

Profit or non-profit, all private institutions in the free market must convince you to donate, or to buy their product, because it will make your life, or some else's life, better. They must persuade you to come to work for them by offering a better job than the next guy. Government, on the other hand, says: follow our orders or we will punish you. The free market offers a positive incentive. Government offers a negative incentive.

Is the free market perfect? Of course not, because the free market is run by people, and people are imperfect. But wait a minute – who runs the government? People do, not gods!

But what about all those businesses and non-profits that run fraudulent operations and steal people’s money, or who hire goons and thugs to apply coercion? Let me point out that that is NOT free enterprise. As already stated, people should be left alone as long as their actions are peaceful and voluntary. It is true that, in any society, you will have some people who use violence and dishonesty to try to get ahead. But this type of behavior has never been acceptable and has always been outlawed. But let’s be consistent here – no exceptions if the violent perpetrator happens to bear a card saying he’s a government employee.

Conclusion

So where is this argument going? Should we totally abolish all government? Not necessarily. Government can have a role, but it’s a very small role: to institute a system of justice to protect us from force and fraud. As stated earlier, force is justified only for defending life and property. There are those who feel that government should perform that task; a compromise here is not unreasonable. But everything else government does, or attempts to do, must go.

So quit supporting politicians who use every crisis, every emergency, every problem, every piece of bad news as yet another excuse to make government bigger, more powerful, and more expensive. Instead, look for a politician who promises something like this:

"Because of the current crisis situation, I propose that we totally abolish each of the 100 government agencies listed on this report, and that we reduce government spending by 90%. Yes, I know it’s very drastic, and it will be very painful; but, it’s an emergency. And it’s a proven fact that big government does not work."

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Government needs to get out of the way and stop making everyone debt slaves

All you need to do is to persuade everyone else to vote for that and you'll be laughing ;)

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Government needs to get out of the way and stop making everyone debt slaves

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The lie of 'big government' - anything which society as a whole has encoded in law but which I dislike.

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Big Government, Big Business, two sides of the same coin.

Some of them would not be so big w/o the government "support"/ties?

Edit: and as people point it out, we don't have obligation to deal with businesses, big or small

Edited by Meerkat

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slavery and government

Slavery existed for thousands of years, in all sorts of societies and all parts of the world. To imagine human social life without it required an extraordinary effort. Yet, from time to time, eccentrics emerged to oppose it, most of them arguing that slavery is a moral monstrosity and therefore people should get rid of it. Such advocates generally elicited reactions that ranged from gentle amusement to harsh scorn and violent assault.

When people bothered to give reasons for opposing the proposed abolition, they advanced many different ideas. In the first column of the accompanying table, I list ten such ideas that I have encountered in my reading. At one time, countless people found one or more of these reasons an adequate ground on which to oppose the abolition of slavery.

In retrospect, however, these reasons seem shabby – more rationalizations than reasons. They now appear to nearly everyone to be, if not utterly specious, then shaky or, at best, unpersuasive, notwithstanding an occasional grain of truth. No one now dredges up these ideas or their corollaries to support a proposal for reestablishing slavery. Although vestiges of slavery exist in northern Africa and a few other places, the idea that slavery is a defensible social institution is defunct. Reasons that once, not so long ago, seemed to provide compelling grounds for opposing the abolition of slavery now pack no intellectual punch.

Strange to say, however, the same ideas once trotted out to justify opposition to the abolition of slavery are now routinely trotted out to justify opposition to the abolition of government (as we know it). Libertarian anarchists bold enough to have publicly advanced their proposal for abolishing the state will have encountered many, if not all, of the arguments used for centuries to prop up slavery. Thus, we may make a parallel list, as shown in the table's second column.

In the table, my repetition of the cumbersome expression "government (as we know it)" may seem odd, or even irritating, but I have chosen to tax the reader's patience in this way for a reason. When the typical person encounters an advocate of anarchism, his immediate reaction is to identify a list of critical government functions – preservation of social order, maintenance of a legal system for resolving disputes and dealing with criminals, protection against foreign aggressors, enforcement of private property rights, support of the weak and defenseless, production and maintenance of economic infrastructure, and so forth. This reaction, however, shoots at the wrong target.

Libertarian anarchists do not deny that such social functions must be carried out if a society is to function successfully. They do deny, however, that we must have government (as we know it) to carry them out. Libertarian anarchists prefer that these functions be carried out by private providers with whom the beneficiaries have agreed to deal. When I write about government "as we know it," I am referring to the monopolistic, individually nonconsensual form of government that now exists virtually everywhere on earth.

Readers may object that at least some existing governments do have the people's consent, but where's the evidence? Show me the properly signed and witnessed contracts. Unless all of the responsible adults subject to a government's claimed authority have voluntarily and explicitly accepted its governance on specific terms, the presumption must be that the rulers have simply imposed their rule. Propaganda statements, civics texts, opinion surveys, barroom allegations, political elections, and so forth are beside the point in this regard. No one would think of proffering such forms of evidence to show that I have a valid contract with Virgin Mobile, which supplies me with telelphone service. When will the governments of the United States, the state of Louisiana, and St. Tammany Parish send me the contracts wherein I may agree (or not) to purchase their "services" on mutually acceptable terms?

The similarity of arguments against the abolition of slavery and arguments against the abolition of government (as we know it) should shake the faith of all Americans who still labor under the misconception that ours is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people." From where I stand, it looks distressingly like an institutional complex that rests on the same shaky intellectual foundations as slavery.

Arguments Against the Abolition of Slavery and Arguments Against the Abolition of Government (as We Know It)

Slavery is natural.

Government (as we know it) is natural.

Slavery has always existed.

Government (as we know it) has always existed.

Every society on earth has slavery.

Every society on earth has government (as we know it)

The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves.

The people are not capable of taking care of themselves

Without masters, the slaves will die off.

Without government (as we know it), the people will die off.

Where the common people are free, they are even worse off than slaves

Where the common people have no government (as we know it), they are much worse off (e.g., Somalia).

Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils.

Getting rid of government (as we know it) would occasion great bloodshed and other evils.

Without slavery, the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem.

Without government (as we know it), the people would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem.

Trying to get rid of slavery is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal.

Trying to get rid of government (as we know it) is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal.

Forget abolition. A far better plan is to keep the slaves sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and occasionally entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation by encouraging them to focus on the better life that awaits them in the hereafter.

Forget anarchy. A far better plan is to keep the ordinary people sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation by encouraging them to focus on the better life that awaits them in the hereafter.

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