Larken Rose

More About: Philosophy: Anarchism

Stating the Bleeding Obvious (Part 2)

My last "bleeding obvious" article addressed the absurd notion that anyone could ever be morally obligated to disregard his own moral conscience. But the concepts of "authority" and "government" depend entirely upon the insane notion that, at least in some cases, it is bad for people to do what they think is right (if the politicians call it "illegal"), and good for people to do what they think is wrong (if "the law" commands it). Statism relies upon such insanity. But that is not the only way to demonstrate the insanity of the superstition called "government." (This next one, many of you have seen before.)

Question: Can you give to someone else a right that you don't have?

Here are your two possible answers:

YES, I can delegate to others a right that I do not have. That would mean that even though it is immoral for me to do certain things (committing theft, assault, murder, whatever), I can nonetheless bestow moral permission on someone else, giving them the moral right to do such things.

Again, I hope I don't have to go to great lengths to explain why such a notion is utterly insane. If you don't understand it, don't worry; I'll just bestow upon someone else the right to bludgeon you with a club until you understand it.

(There is a slight variation, which is equally insane, which is the idea that one person cannot delegate a right he doesn't have, but that multiple people can delegate a right which none of those people possess. This is about as rational as saying, "No, I can't give you an apple, because I don't have one, but if I get together with some of my friends, none of whom has an apple, together we can give you an apple." Right.)

So that answer stinks. But here's the only other option:

NO, I cannot delegate to others a right that I do not have. As patently obvious as that is, consider what the logically implies:

The people called "Congress" have no rights that I don't have, and that you don't have. Who could have given them such rights, if no one can delegate a right he himself doesn't possess? If I have no right to "tax" my neighbor, and you have no such right, who could possibly have given the people called "Congress" such a right? In short, no one. You and I have no right to enact and enforce arbitrary "laws" on our neighbors. And neither do the people called "Congress," because no one had the power to delegate to them such a right. You and I have no right to rob people, assault people, threaten people, etc. (We can only rightfully use force to defend against an aggressor.) Ergo, the people called "Congress" have no such right to rob, assault, or threaten either, even if they call it "taxation," or "law," or anything else.

Sorry, statists, but once again, your choices are either believe something insane, or abandon your statism; either you can give someone else the moral right to commit theft, assault, and murder, or "government" is completely bogus, because the people in "government" have no right to do anything that you and I do not have the right to do (because no one has ever had the ability to give them such a right).

Once again, the insanity underlying statism is pretty darn easy to expose, even if it's rather uncomfortable for the indoctrinated to rationally consider. (Again, I was raised as a statist, and I vehemently resisted such obvious truisms for a long time, before giving up and choosing sanity.)

(I'm tempted to end by quoting huge chunks of "The Law," by Frederic Bastiat. But I'll settle for this tidbit: "But how is this legal plunder to be identified? ... See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.")


2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Die Daily
Entered on:

This one is an extremely air-tight logical assault on Statism, both in the ideal and in the real world. Much better than the first one. But I agree with TC that we can and should delegate those rights that we clearly DO have when it benefits us. In short, where's my libertarian right to have a limited state? Are you going to defend that? Or will you nanny it away from me?

If I pay a man to guard my chicken coop at night, I'm probably doing so because I can make a whole lot more money by doing my own skilled work by day. I don't personally want to waste my time guarding the coop and halt my production of widgets or whatever in order to do so. In this very limited way, I would rather there was a Sheriff around to deal with crap that costs me much more time and money to deal with myself. Sure I'd be available for deputizing as needed when things got to big for him to handle alone.

But, absent this impeachable Sheriff, the county would have huge problems. Evil would in fact abound. Family would feud on family. Violence would escalate out of control. Shiny badges are sometimes handy, especially when I myself have much better things to do than wear one. You do realize that "Statism" specifically does NOT mean "belief in a useful State", right? It means religious or dogmatic allegiance to a State that no longer safeguards our freedoms against real, actual enemies. States are like hedges. They need constant trimming. Once overgrown, they need to be chopped off near the ground so they can become beautiful again.

Comment by Trouser Chili
Entered on:

The problem isn't between statists and anarchists, just like the problem isn't between republicans and democrats.

The problem is between good and evil.  Evil is an entropy, a cancer, that will eventually come in whenever it is allowed.  Evil will find a way to circumvent any system.  Without a decent system in place, evil may arrive that much faster.

If the people are not guarding against this evil unofficially, or if they have no help officially, it will conquer that much more quickly.

The proper solution is extremely limited government whose only job is to protect individual rights, and an informed populace whose every member is dedicated to this goal.


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