I posted a video from d.tube from Larken Rose called Incrementalism: Enemy of Freedom.
One of my good friends from college responded and we started talking about the crux of this video. Rather than have the debate on facebook (which has a terrible platform for holding a real discussion) I decided to post what has been said so far here and continue the discussion.
Matthew Bond is someone I spent a good bit of time around and someone that I respect... so I'm hoping to have a real discussion here.
Matt: Grab yourself a Steemit account! Just do it man. If people like what you have to say you earn virtual currency... that can be cashed out as real money. Additionally it is on a block chain so your posts/account can't just disappear because what you say isn't popular with the platform... unlike FaceBook. Also, if you want good formatting look up Markdown Syntax on google. Steemit supports markdown... and it's a quick and easy way to post things.
So... here we go...
I'm not sure I agree that the initial analogy he's basing his argument on is correct.
Slavery as a concept is arguably evil, so the binary position of the abolishonists makes sense.
While government may not be benevolent its also not evil (in most cases). We get all sorts of benefits from our government that we wouldn't get in an anarchy...roads, firefighters, care of at least some sort for the elderly and disabled etc.
He also argues that things never get better specifically regarding taxes...but this is factually incorrect, taxes have decreased multiple times...the 2018 tax rates were dropped substantially (I'd argue incorrectly as they were dropped more for corporations and the wealthy...but everyone got a tax break this year).
My initial response (cut off while editing due to facebook seeing a newline as finishing ones post... I hate it. Yeah, I know people are trained to be sound byte oriented but they should have a damn post button...):
Government is simply a group of people working together and forcing everyone else to pay for themselves, anything they want done, and often their cronies. Hopefully we can agree upon that. If you think that "government" is not a group of people working together and is instead something else please let me know.
As a group of people, they cannot do anything that normal people could not do themselves. If you disagree, please let me know.
Roads, fire fighters, care for the elderly and disabled... these would be done anywise and probably much better and with less fraud and corruption.
I'm not saying we could immediately go from a juvenile society of ruled people who are definitely not self sufficient to a society of free people who can choose their path overnight. However, I do agree that asking those who claim to have special rights that allow them to force everyone else to do or not do something to do the right thing is simply not something that is going to work.
Taxes might go up or down depending on your social class and the year... but if the size of government is being increased every year (it is) then are taxes ever really being reduced? Or are they just being hidden in other forms?
Homelessness is one of the clearest examples of what our so called rulers are doing.
Matt's initial response:
I agree, government is just a group of people, for the most part, at least here, they are people we’ve elected as our representatives in the government. There’s a whole host of issues we could go into about whether or not our election system is broken and gerrymandering etc. but not really the point here. I also sort of disagree that they can’t do what other people can. As our elected officials they are provided the ability to pass legislation, so they can say what the tax rate is, and what it can be spent on, regular citizens don’t have that ability, instead we have the ability to elect officials who we believe will pass governance we agree with.
I completely disagree that social series, Roads, Fire Fighters, Elderly Care etc. would be taken care of in an anarchy. While Anarchy seems to be able to work in relatively small communities, I don’t think it scales, well, at least historically anytime an anarchy developed at the scale of a country, lots of people die. (caveat: I’ve only done limited research on this, totally possible I’m missing a good historical example)
So, here is my follow up to this discussion now that we are on a platform that supports quoting, emphasis, links, etc.
I agree, government is just a group of people, for the most part, at least here, they are people we've elected as our representatives in government.
I have to take issue with this as they are not people that we've elected as our representatives in government.
To represent someone means (legally) to stand in ones place. Most people I know don't vote because they know that the system is rigged and they have no real voice.
Even if they did vote, representation means that the one representing has NO MORE RIGHTS than those they represent. This means that if I don't have the right to stick a gun to your head and tell you what to do (or not do) then those claiming to represent us have no such right either. That being said, at the end of the day politicians pass legislation and then use police force to attempt to force everyone to do what they say (or to not do what they say not to do.). They have no right... and the very fact that they do such things makes then factual criminals (organized crime).
There’s a whole host of issues we could go into about whether or not our election system is broken and gerrymandering etc. but not really the point here.
That actually is a major point. The fact that they create schemes to get what they want suggests complicity and corruption at a deep level.
I also sort of disagree that they can’t do what other people can. As our elected officials they are provided the ability to pass legislation, so they can say what the tax rate is, and what it can be spent on, regular citizens don’t have that ability, instead we have the ability to elect officials who we believe will pass governance we agree with.
I'd like to hear more on this. If I don't have the right to put a gun to your head and tell you that you must or must not do any particular thing and you don't have that right either... then I'd like to know what logic leads anyone to believe that if you and I both vote for someone else then they have the right to put guns to both of our heads and demand compliance.
You and I may both like "John Oppenheimer" and vote for him... but if he decides, once elected, to do an about face, take a multi million dollar bribe (or cave in due to a threat from people who might have him killed), and pass legislation that is the exact opposite of what he claimed he will do then what recourse do we have? Represent means something... and if neither you nor I could send someone to the others house to take 20% of what the other is making to do with as we please then I don't see how anyone buys the idea that some 3rd party has that power. I invite you to look up the word represent in a legal dictionary. It means "to stand in place of". It does not mean "to acquire magical rights that those you represent don't have to start with".
I completely disagree that social series, Roads, Fire Fighters, Elderly Care etc. would be taken care of in an anarchy.
Historically, roads were created where they were wanted and useful. If people with more money on hand really wanted they could improve the roads with the consent of others in the area. If no one was willing to pony up the cash then the roads were not improved.
I agree that our roads might look much different today if government could not just extort money from everyone to build roads wherever they wanted... but I guarantee that roads that were necessary would still be built and maintained. Look back at history and you will see that most of the national highway system was created not because the roads were wanted by people but because the federal government wanted a national defense system. Lack of roads was a huge problem during the civil war as rail roads were easily disabled (both during the war between the states and during invasion of indian territories yet to be stolen). Wikipedia
Necessary roads would be built by the people and companies wanting them built. Unnecessary roads would remain dirt paths and/or gravel roads. Unfortunately we now have a system where some people (the rulers) and their supporters (typically mega-corporations) decide what is to be done and then tax everyone for the supposed benefit.
- Fire Fighters
In some states, fire fighters are still volunteer organizations... and well funded by those in the local area as most people want the services that they provide.
In others (like ours) they have been co-opted by the so called state (a group of people) and now we are all taxed whether or not we want their services.
If I build a cob house I have to pay the fire fighters even though I'll never have any use for them as my house will simply not burn down. Of course, I might still decide to contribute as I can see the value... but currently there is no choice. And if you cannot for some reason afford the taxes on your land (maybe you lost your job and didn't have enough cash staffed) you would soon become homeless... and gods forbid you are homeless as every municipality wants to jettison those horrible homeless peoples... (I'll post more on this later).
- Care for the elderly and infirm
Historically there were charities that took care of the elderly and inform. There were also families that took care of each other.
Unfortunately, people calling themselves government have stepped in, suppressed charitable organizations (you have to register with government officials and toe their lines to remain in good standing with them), and taken over what they used to do.
Government costs money. Government does not produce anything. Anyone looking objectively can see that government solutions ALWAYS cost more than any other solutions.
You want to help the homeless... so you set up some tents, work with local wood mills to get free firewood, show the homeless how to grow their own food, and provide a meager sustenance off of your land.
Government comes along and either (a) decides to regulate what you are doing or (b) takes over what you are doing.
You were helping people for free... but now you have to either comply with government regulations (so many bathrooms, showers, etc. per people helped... built as they dictate no matter whether it makes sense or not) or you have to pay for government officials to do everything, the corporations they own stock in that actually do the work, and anything else they demand. It ALWAYS costs more to have "the government" do something because the people calling themselves government have generally never done an honest days work in their lives, don't want to start now, have friends and family that they need to support, and/or have been bought and paid for by corporations.
If you continue helping people for free then you will be fined and/or jailed. If you do not then you have to earn more than you had to earn before to "care" for the people you were already supporting just so some other group can live off of your labor.
- What is anarchism
My most recent wife divorced me for many reasons... not the least of which is that I support the idea of anarchism.
That being said, I am a voluntaryist. That is, in fact, a form of anarchism that maintains that ANY use of coercion is wrong minded and will never have the intended effect.
Anarchy seems to be able to work in relatively small communities, I don’t think it scales, well, at least historically anytime an anarchy developed at the scale of a country, lots of people die. (caveat: I’ve only done limited research on this, totally possible I’m missing a good historical example)
You are mostly correct. All peoples that have lived in anarchism have historically been slaughtered by their neighbors that could not afford to have their subjects see that they don't have to be slaves.
During colonization one of the greatest crimes any settler could commit was joining an indian tribe. People who did that were drawn and quartered. (literally cut up and pulled apart limb by limb). The "people" had to see that they should definitely not join the (anarchistic) native american tribes and become free... and that anyone who tried would suffer the worst fate that the masters could think up.
Historically (primarily in France), when anarchists actually threw off the yoke of imperialistic governments (which is what we have) all neighboring imperialists ganged up to stamp them out. This does not mean that anarchism does not work (French history shows that it actually does...) but rather that the elite that run the world are extremely scared of people in general finding out that they don't have to be serfs.
We used to have the idea of free holds. Now we are relegated to serfdom.
Anarchism worked well for the Native peoples of north america. It works well for indigenous peoples around the world. Unfortunately it does not work well for the 1%, mega corporations, or anyone else that things everyone and everything belongs to them.
Native americans (at least in north america) did not have "a chief" who was a ruler. They tended to have many chiefs (leaders) and a council of elders... and any individual that did not agree did not only not have to obey they were allowed to speak their piece.
Police belong in a police state. We (and most of the 1st world) live in a police state. The only reason people comply is because of (a) propaganda (the main stream media is owned by just a few mega corporations...) and (b) fear (most people are scared to give the man the finger and tell them to prove their claim.
Only a few generations ago people knew the difference between lawful (no one was harmed) and legal (government edicts were obeyed). Today most people believe they are the same.
My argument against "Rulers/Government"
If you give anyone the power to subjugate someone else (decide what they may or may not do and punish them for non-compliance) then you immediately attract the worst elements to fill the seats of power.
Power corrupts. People in government offices are corrupt. The problem is not whether we have this politician or that politician in power... the problem is that we believe that politicians have the right to rule us to begin with.
I consider myself a lawful anarchist. I respect law (harm no one) but I have NO use for legislation (edicts from other people or groups of people).
If someone else wants me to do or not do something they should strike up a conversation and convince me. If they want new roads built they should start up a kick starter or pool money locally to get the job done. If they want to throw people in a jail cell forever and charge everyone else 100k per year to pay for it because those people sold pot to others who wanted it 3 times then they should be ignored and ridiculed for being idiots.
WE have the power to ignore those who claim to rule us.
Maybe this is rambling... but I know you are intelligent and I hope you at least consider what I have said.
I believe we both have the right to do whatever we want as long as we are not harming other people. And I don't believe that some groups of people magically have rights that none of us have individually just because they claim to represent us.
I also believe that most of the problems we face are false problems with false solutions. All we really need to do is to stop "just following orders" and start treating each other as equals... and we will have a world with some promise. Our children don't need to be drugged. They need to be taught to say hell no and to be shown how to grow their own food and create their own shelters... and that no one has the right to subjugate them... no matter whether they wear a crown or were born with a golden spoon in their mouth.