IPFS Larken Rose

More About: Philosophy: Anarchism

Stating the Bleeding Obvious (Part 3)

In response to my two prior messages about stating the bleeding obvious, a lot of people said that we need some "laws," or that we need legitimate "government," or some minimal amount of it. Not surprisingly, no one actually contradicted the bleeding obvious points. No one said, "Yes, I can delegate rights I don't have!" And no one said, "Yes, I can be obligated to ignore my own conscience!"

In short, they dodged the obvious proofs that the concept of "government" is inherently bogus, and went into claims about how it's necessary to have some "government." Sorry, but that is not a logical response. If I pointed out that Santa Claus doesn't have time to go to every kid's house on Christmas Eve, that the laws of physics don't allow reindeer to fly, that Santa can't physical fit through chimneys (for those who still have them), that a bag that size couldn't hold a billion toys, and so on, would a rational rebuttal be, "But we need Santa Claus to exist, because otherwise Christmas won't work!"?

And a "limited Santa" position isn't any more sane. "Okay, we don't want Santa to be excessively involved, but for those kids whose parents can't afford gifts, we need a minimal amount of Santa involvement." Well, too bad. Because Santa doesn't exist. And neither does "government." It doesn't matter how much you "need" them. It doesn't matter what would happen without them. They DON'T FREAKING EXIST!

"Government" is the entity imagined to have the right (not just the ability) to rule others. Trouble is, no one can have such a right, because no one can delegate such a right. This is true whether someone is claiming the absolute, unlimited right to rule, or some version of "tyranny lite," as the Constitution pretended to create. No one can have a moral obligation to obey politician scribbles (their so-called "laws") when they conflict with one's own moral conscience.

There is no right to rule, and no obligation to obey, which means there is no "authority," which means that "government" does not exist. Yes, the gang of thieving, lying, murderous control-freak scumbags exists, as do their unthinking mercenaries, and the damage they cause is very real. But the claimed legitimacy of their forcibly-imposed "legislative" master plan is not real. And even if they only initiated the types of aggressive violence described in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution (e.g., limited "taxation" and "regulation"), it would still be utterly and completely illegitimate (though a lot less destructive). The logic of my two prior messages applies just as much to "limited government" as it does to totalitarianism. No one has the right to rob me, even if they only steal a little, and only in certain, relatively unobtrusive ways, and even if they say it's necessary, or for my own good.

People try to cling to the cult superstition of "government" because it makes them feel good, like believing in Santa. They want to think that, if they're good, some all-knowing, all-powerful entity will make sure they're protected. Never mind that "government" is always more of an aggressor than a protector. I can't count how many people have argued to me, "Well, what we have NOW is nasty, destructive and illegitimate, but we really need a good 'government,' or there would be chaos!"

You mean things like $2,000,000,000,000 a year being extorted every year from people who earned it? Oh, wait, that chaos is because of "government." You mean like 200,000,000 people being murdered in one century? Oh, wait, that happened because of "government." You mean like millions of non-violent people being forcibly kidnapped, dragged away from their friends and family, and put in cages? Oh, wait, that happened because of "government." You mean like an entire economy destroyed by people counterfeiting the currency into worthlessness, and engaging in massive banking fraud? Oh, wait, that happened because of "government." You mean like constant violent conflict on a massive scale? Oh, wait, that happens because of "government." You mean like people being terrorized, tortured, harassed and assaulted? Oh, wait, that happens because of "government."

How many thousands of years more does the myth of "government" have to result in suffering, injustice, death and destruction, before people will give up the insane notion that we need "government" to protect us from suffering, injustice, death and destruction?

There is a simple, logical reason why "government" is always destructive. It's not because of bad luck, or because we weren't vigilant enough. It's because, by its very nature, the only thing "authority" can ever do, and will ever do, is add immoral violence into society. That is not just a prediction; it is a logically provable reality.

There are two basic categories of force: aggressive force, where someone uses violence or the threat of violence to rob, assault, or murder another; and defensive force, where someone uses threats or physical force to try to stop an act of aggressive force. Most people acknowledge that aggressive force is immoral, and defensive force is moral. Attacking someone is bad; protecting someone is good. Starting a fight is bad; defending yourself is good. (I think most five-year-olds grasp this ... it's just the adults who believe in "government" who have problems with it.)

Defensive force is inherently legitimate. Each of us has a right to defend ourselves, or others, against aggressors. We don't need any official office, any badge, any special "authority," or any "law" to make defensive force justified. The only kind of force that needs special permission, that needs "legislation" or other pseudo-religious political cult rituals to legitimize it, is aggressive violence--force that is not inherently righteous. If the politician, or the cop, has a right to use force in a situation that you do not, then he has the right to initiate force. He has the right to attack someone, to start a fight, to commit acts of aggression. Because you don't need a badge, or a "law," to have the right to use inherently justified force. You only need them if you want to attack someone.

In other words, all "government" ever does, all it can do, is to add immoral violence into society. So, is that what society needs more of? Is that what we need in order to be civilized and peaceful? More unjustified violence? "There would be chaos and mayhem if we didn't add more immoral violence into society!" Is that really what you want to be arguing?

If someone, or some organization, only used inherently justified, defensive force, they simply wouldn't fit the definition of "government." A "government" which can only do what every other individual has the right to do on his own, has no "authority," has no right to rule, cannot enact and enforce any "laws," and does not in any way constitute "government." It can be a militia, it can be a private security company, it can be a concerned individual, but it cannot be "government." Because of what the word means, there cannot be a purely defensive "government," which only protects rights.

Here is my last "bleeding obvious" question for this series:

If every individual has the right to use defensive, inherently justified force to protect the innocent, and "government" has the right to use force in some cases where most individuals do not, what kind of extra force does "government" add to society? Here are your choices:

1) It adds GOOD force, because when otherwise immoral violence is "legalized," it becomes good.

2) It can only add BAD force, because any violence that is not inherently good--any force beyond the defensive, inherently justified force that every individual has the right to use-- must be inherently bad.

So which is it? Once again, you may not like your choices, but these are still your only logical choices:

a) Civilization requires an organization that does nothing but add more immoral violence into society.

b) Immoral violence is ... um ... immoral. We can't possibly need, and shouldn't have, any organization that only adds more immoral violence into society.

9 Comments in Response to

Comment by Mama Liberty
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Thank you. This series of articles will be featured at my website and the links entered into the archives there. www.thepriceofliberty.org

Comment by Die Daily
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Mama Liberty, click the author's name on this story to see all his previous stories, most recent at the top...but here they are if you prefer:



Comment by Die Daily
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Ok, Larken, much appreciate your clearing up my misunderstanding. I kind of do think of it as a legitimate, or voluntary "state", but this might be a purely semantic thing...it kinda seems we're not far from the same page. BUT, what I was hoping to drive at, is that I think Mike Chavez is describing a voluntary "state" in his civics. Sure, you are dead right about the horrible government we have and have had for a long time now. But I've rarely heard an argument so powerful and succinct as the one where he dispatched with the moral argument issue of "what if my personal morals support murder?" by simply replying "no problem, all you have to do is convince 1 out of 12 of a jury of your peers". Wow. That got my attention. I think his arguments in favor of a limited "government" [with actual authority] can not be so trivially dismissed. He may be correct in describing them as "self-government". I'm not completely sure yet...studying that...could seriously use some help in the form of arguments from both sides.

Comment by Larken Rose
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DD, Of course you can delegate some right you have to someone else, and the result can be as huge and complicated as people want to VOLUNTARILY make it. If everyone on the planet voluntarily agrees to let one group handle a particular service, that's fine with me. But that is NOT "government." It has no right to rule, no power to enact and enforce "laws," and so on. So far, in describing what you call a limited state, I haven't seen anything that makes it a state at all. Cooperation, organization, and planning do NOT make something a "government." The supposed RIGHT TO RULE is what makes it "authority." As for space travel, I'm not sure how quickly it would have happened without "government" involvement. And I don't much care, as it has nothing to do with the principle. I hope you're not implying an argument such as, "Something cool happened, so it was okay that people were robbed of billions of dollars to pay for it." Even if it accomplishes something useful, and even if it somehow benefits the victim, you STILL have no right to force someone to fund something they don't want to fund. For the one who asked, the other articles in this series can be found here: http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Writer-Bio-Page.htm?EditNo=240
Comment by Mama Liberty
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I'm rather late to this discussion. I could not find any links to the previous articles. Can you post them? Thanks!

Comment by Mike Chavez
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I'm not convinced that the actions of Congress and Assemblies are completely legal or the Executive and Judicial Branches are completely legal in their application of the laws written.

I am getting more and more certain that Congress has very limited authority within the 50 states, limited to art1 sect 8 of the constitution and further limited by the restrictive clauses found in art1 section 9 and the Bill of Rights. 

I think that they can only write these outrageous laws for the possesions that they are only limited by the restrictive clauses but are applying them to the people of the fifty states.

I also understand that most criminals are not guilty of damaging other people, and this is another area that I think all the branches of gubment are guilty of participating together in. 


Comment by Mike Chavez
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Allright, So you say government this and government that and I tend to agree with your frustrations...

You actually answer your own observation:- " "Government" is the entity imagined to have the right (not just the ability) to rule others. Trouble is, no one can have such a right, because no one can delegate such a right."-  when you made your observation about the righteous use of defensive force. 

In American Civics, your would be assailants must convince a Grand Jury to indict and a Petit Jury to convict. 

If the People were educated, they would not allow the state or federal gubment to harm us, by not authorizing the use of this defensive force.  I think this a brilliant way to organize the only power a community posseses outside the powers of the individual AKA Defensive Force.


I think that people don't understand the fundamentals of America and we are living under tyranny of the highest order- and I'm dumbfounded what to do about it. 

American Civics is not a fairy tale Larkin.  It's just rarely excercised.  Too seldom to make a difference. 

The moment you find a solution, I'm in.

Comment by Die Daily
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I never saw any comments that argued that we should pass rights we ourselves don't already OWN along to gummint delegates, so I guess you must be referring to some verbal feedback you've had. Everything you argue in this third, excellent article can be true. I was just hoping to have a few questions answered, and still am:

1. What can't I pass the rights I DO own, over to others, such as hiring a sheriff or any other thug for money to guard my chickens? (And, couldn't this make my community more efficient? Surely that's not Statism in your eyes, right? Wouldn't it be nice if there were experts on construction around to make sure we don't constantly collapse buildings on one another?

2. Why is there necessarily an irreconcilable conflict between voluntarism and organization or delegation to a central body (impeachable)? Isn't Statism a mistaken, radical position while pure Anarchism might be the opposite mistaken, radical position? I myself have not arrived at any "final" position on this difficult matter, so please understand that I'm just asking.

3. Isn't every rocket we've sent into space the result of a massive hierarchical effort complete with rules, regulations, leaders, followers, armed security guards and so forth? How are you going to make something that can take us up there without these organizational structures? Individuals within these structures are constantly having to do things a little differently than they would like to have done, aren't they? (Agreed: the only "force" used against them is "you're fired", so this is not an argument for totalitarianism in any sense. I'm with you 100% on that. But what about my limited "state" just to get the job done better? Must this be evil and misguided, or could it be smarter?

4. What mechanism stops a wholly anarchistic area from being overrun by a neighbor with a "state", or by thugs and cartels within the area itself? Might that be "Law"? Anthropology and history show that this is invariably the way things have gone. Don't we need an active and organizing principle in place to counter act this ever-looming threat, since it just crops up every single time so far? Might my tentative "limited state" solution a "middle ground" or "grey" or "optimized" solution?

Maybe I misread your words and you do in fact only object to specific abuses of States (inventing powers no individuals have) and otherwise see their usefulness and true value already. I know I have ZERO problem with your reasoning about governments using ANY non-delegated power that the people personally already owned and were therefore within their rights to delegate. Consider that pure anarchism might be just perfect for within small communities (I think it is) but is entirely inadequate for large populations. Voluntarism, yes, that's a must. But as I ask above, how the heck does pure anarchism not invariably lead to pure involuntarism at the hands of invaders (with States) or lawless gangs (internal tumor states).

Comment by Darren Wolfe
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Great article, Larkin. One of your best!

I think some people, perhaps without realizing,  it fall back on an ends justifies means rationale for govt. "Taxes may be bad", they'll acknowledge, "but if we didn't have govt X horrible thing would happen."