Home > Anarchism and Voluntaryism > Memes that miss the root

Memes that miss the root

When one takes action to solve a problem, it is important that one strikes the root of the problem. One sees nowadays a proliferation of JPEG memes on the internet that show that people posting them want change, but they do not know where the root of the problem is. This post looks at some of those memes in order to reveal the root.

If they want to leave me alone, why do they need the government? Aren’t they leaving me alone right now? Power corrupts, not just left- and right-wing politicians but everyone. How about no one gets to take over the government? (See more on power here.)

I think this one is supposed to be anti-libertarian but I am sure many libertarians agree with it. Again, the goal is to reduce or constrain government, usually with a constitution. But if it is about freedom, why do people need to be governed? Why not let them decide, with their communities and other associations, what are the right rules, forms of currency and means of security? Why would any of those things needs to be centralised and monopolised?

The small government envisioned by the Founding Fathers has grown into the largest statist monstrosity the world has ever seen. The constitution has, in the end, done little to stop it.

Why love either? Nationalism and statism feed off each other. If you and your millions of compatriots are truly a nation, you need representatives; hence the government. If you have a government, it will foster a sense of nationalism in order to make you believe you need national institutions and national defense and so on to create loyalty to the state preserving them.

If the state did not cover more than a city or a community, it would have far fewer resources than it has today. Do you think a municipal state would try to track you with spy drones or cause trillion-dollar financial crashes? But nationalism magnifies the power of the state many times, because nationalism legitimises a national state with far greater resources. (See more on nationalism here.)

Just what the world needs—another nation state. It is understandable to want statehood in the present world, as nation states supposedly prevent the rapacious foreigner from invading. (Well, if they are strong enough; and no state anywhere near Israel is.) But they do not prevent the rapacious local from stealing anything; in fact, they institutionalise local corruption.

Palestinian people, if you want a state, consider what life has been like under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Surely, what you really want is freedom and justice and peace. Those things are not handed to you when you get a state. They are won when the people overcome the state.

There is no such thing as “majority rule”. Democracy, in its modern form, necessitates a government, and a government is a small clique of rulers. Voting every few years and hoping one’s vote has an effect does not mean one is in charge. All government is minority rule. As Will Durant said, “the political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.” Oligarchy is the norm. (More on democracy here.)

SOPA is a great example of how a specific bill can face a wave of opposition, die, then get resurrected sneakily as something even more sinister (CISPA). The problem is not one or more laws, but the fact that a small group has a monopoly on making rules and enforcing them at gunpoint. (Find my assessment of the problem of law here.)

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimates that legalising all drugs would bring in some $40b in tax revenues at all levels if the drugs were taxed at rates similar to alcohol, and we would save another $40b in incarceration and court costs. But as he points out, this might not make much of a dent in the colossal US government budget deficits; and one reason to legalise all drugs is that “all the people who want to use drugs are being somewhere between mildly inconvenienced and grossly harmed by the policy of prohibition. We are not helping drug users in any way, shape or form.”

Moreover, as economist Walter Block points out, giving more money to the government would not be a good thing. “It is sometimes argued that one of the benefits of legalising addictive drugs is that they could be taxed, and the government revenues enhanced,” he says. “From this perspective, this would be the only valid case against legalisation.” How about we legalise drugs and do not tax them?

Likewise, those who say they need to be regulated do not know what government regulations are. Regulations are not there to help all people but special interests. They mostly work to create oligopolies, like we see in cigarette, alcohol and pharmaceutical markets.

But all this talk about marijuana misses the bigger picture. The real reason to end all regulation and taxation of drugs is that no one has the right to tell you what you can and cannot put in your body when the consumption of that substance does not affect anyone else. Our bodies are our property, and no one can take away a free man’s property. Unless we are irresponsible children with no judgment, drug markets should be freed. (My indictment of the War on Drugs is here.)

By now, you may be able to guess my attitude toward the gay marriage thing. I do not care who gets together, as long as it is between consenting adults—it is none of my business—but why does marriage involve the law at all? Why would the state give extra benefits to people because they are married, or deny them anything because they are not. Time to get marriage out of the hands of the state altogether. (Here is David McElroy on the subject.)

Syria’s government fears its people. Need I say more?

Find lots more memes—ones that I agree with—at the Rule of Freedom Facebook page.

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