"A person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim."
-- L. Neil Smith
Friday, November 2, 2007
Government - Size matters. So does power and selfishness.
and thesaurus.com gives us all of these;
So what is it anyway? Boiled down, it's the act of governing. Oh, thanks Einstein. How 'bout something we don't know. OK, then, what does it mean to govern?
Something in that first definition is very interesting. "to rule over by right of authority." So the first thing to establish might be whether or not the "government" in question even has the right of authority. What is a right? Where do you get one? Rights can be as difficult to explain as gravity. Hard to point to and say, "There it is," but if it's taken away you recognize that it's gone pretty dang quickly. I was trying to explain to someone last week the objectiveness of the existence of rights. He wasn't going to accept my argument until I could tell him where they came from. He didn't acknowledge the existence of a creator nor would he listen long enough for me to explain rights as they exist in nature. It was his contention that rights only exist because some human granted them. Of course, if people give people rights then people can take people's rights away just as quickly and if rights can be given and taken then they are subjective and cease to be rights at all. Rights must be inherent. They must be part of the state of nature or else they do not exist at all. In fact, so called rights which can be granted and taken away by people are actually not rights at all. They are privileges, sometimes referred to as "positive rights" because they require positive action on the part of someone else for their existence. As opposed to actual rights or "negative rights" which require nothing to exist except that no other person violates them. Human beings or groups of human beings cannot give or taken away rights. Humans can exercise, ignore, respect, defend, violate, subjugate, and voluntarily transfer rights but can not call them into or out of existence. So where does that leave us with respect to government? The exercise of the right to govern must only exist in the individual except that he grant someone else the privilege to govern him voluntarily and also retain the right to withdraw that privilege. At times government comes as the result of an exercise of privilege. (You may use my pencil, but you may not write dirty words with it.)
Legitimate governance can be granted through various routes. Self governance is the simplest example. Some governance comes as the result of one family member's dependency on another. If I have the privilege of living under Daddy's roof and consuming the fruit of his labor, then he has the right, within reason, to govern my actions. Some governance is by mutual agreement. An employer/employee has the right to dictate guidelines. I will work for you as long as you pay me an ounce of gold per week. You may work for me as long as you wear a clean shirt and don't spit on the customers. Voluntary association is very important. I remember asking an old friend, "What's the difference between a cult and a religion?" He replied, "The difference lies in the degree of difficulty involved in leaving." Friendship, church, the Moose Lodge, all have aspects of governance, sometimes articulated, sometimes just understood, but when violated, one must retain the right to disassociate.
It becomes obvious that the larger the entity, the more difficult it becomes to simply walk away. Sometimes it's not even an option. As the circle widens the association between the governor and the governed must, by nature become less voluntary and the degree of force used to maintain that association increase, and enter what we call, "The State."
Watch this and I'll continue this later...