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Status-quo extremes

Many statists are afraid of ideas like anarchism because they are afraid of extremes. Extremes are always wrong, they say in unison, which is why we reject your idea. Such people do not realise that the extreme is the new normal.

Look at the economic world. We have regulations that support or outright create oligopolies or monopolies in every industry. We have policies that encourage financial institutions to take trillion-dollar bets that end up crashing the economy. We print trillions of dollars more to save them from bankruptcy. Taxpayers are on the hook for all these trillions and more, and will be paying for money borrowed today for generations. As a result of this endless, self-interested intervention, the global economy is frighteningly turbulent and may be on the brink of collapse. And yet, US presidential candidates do not disagree with these extremes. The election will not have anything to do with them. The staggeringly extreme will continue to remain the norm.

Look at the surveillance state. The authorities are reading the emails and text messages of people they do not suspect of any crime. They track cellphones, track your online activity, seize websites and servers. They tap phones. There are now drones in the air above the skies of the US, with thousands more to come, spying on US citizens just in case there is something the security apparatus wants to arrest them for. And drones are coming to many more parts of the world. Apparently, they are popular with the powerful.

Look at the wars and the weapons. There are an estimated 23,000 nuclear warheads in the world–fewer than in the 1980s; far more than enough to wipe out human life on Earth. Torture was once condemned (and still is ius cogens–absolutely illegal); now, it is taken for granted. The US starts wars on the other side of the world with entire nations that cost trillions of dollars while most Americans are at the mall and barely know what is happening outside their town. People controlling drones dressed in camouflage fatigues and sitting at a desk with a joystick kill people on the other side of the world and then eat a sandwich. These are not extremes? And yet, the system statists believe in so blindly is what enables all of it. The self-styled moderates are letting it all happen.

The status quo always changes. After a generation, what was a new and extreme policy becomes the norm. It is perceived as indispensable, even where there had been no initial demand for state involvement. Eliminating the state from one part of society would upset special interests and the bureaucracy, which is why they work so hard to tell us we need it. It is so in every area of life into which the state has poked its nose. Moderates will say reform is the answer, when reform serves the people doing the reforming–still the decision makers in government.

Here is an extreme position on drugs. Do not decriminalise them. Eliminate all laws and regulations and taxes on them. Regulations encourage concentration, rather than letting everyone grow cannabis like they would a tomato. Taxes go toward bank bailouts, war and the police state. Why would we want to pay more? A consistent moderate, if there is such a thing, would presumably be against such an otherwise sensible proposal.

The problem with the claim to oppose extremism is there is no moral philosophy behind it. Moderation for the sake of moderation makes little sense. What is the moderate stand on rape? Is it “Too much rape would be bad; but surely we don’t want to eliminate rape”? The question is, is it ever moral to rape someone? According to the non-aggression principle (see how simple it is?), no. Sometimes the extreme is the moral.

And yet, questioning all these things makes us extremists. If we are so moderate we refuse to question the enormity of the system we are forced to live under, we are cowards, afraid to take a stand for what is right. Perhaps in a world of extremes demanding peace, freedom and justice is an act of moderation. But status-quo discourse disguises it as radical.

Find more on all these subjects in my book, available soon.

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