We all know that it’s not okay for children to hit each other. But, does this apply in grown-up life. Let’s examine…
Were you to have a pencil and I a dollar, and were you to want a dollar more than your pencil and I to want a pencil more than my dollar we could agree to trade. I could walk away happier with a new pencil, and you could walk away happier with a dollar. It isn’t okay for either of us to bang the other on the head and take their property. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that we engage in peaceful negotiation and walk away having transacted the pencil-for-a-dollar exchange .
If, as you walk away with your dollar, a thug were to approach you, put a gun to your head and proclaim his authority to steal a portion of your dollar you would call it theft. Even if this thug were to promise to give a portion of the stolen money to good causes (after paying himself, of course), it is theft. I am talking about the government stealing your money and calling it “taxation”.
I’ve heard it argued that there exists a social contract by which members of society are bound to provide for one another. But, alas, under close examination no such contract exists. In order for a contract to exist two parties must communicate an exchange of goods and/or services under no threat of force, and each party must agree to the terms of the contract. As stated earlier, this is not the case under the government’s so-called “social contract”. People do not agree to give their money to the government as a means to provide for the common good, because they are not given a choice. They are told to give their money to the government in exchange for not being imprisoned or murdered. Complying with a bully is not the same as agreeing to a contract. The immoral root of taxation is arguably why people dislike paying taxes fundamentally, though they have been conditioned to think that they dislike paying taxes because they’re selfish by nature (original sin doctrine).
In fact, people have been conditioned to think many things which are not true. For instance, paying taxes is not an accurate description of what people do. If you were to hand over the requested portion of your dollar to the armed thug in the storyline I described earlier, you would not be paying him anything. You would be complying with an armed robber.
If you were to resist the armed thug, let’s say he would then arrest you and take you to jail. Of course, you would more accurately describe yourself as having been shackled, kidnapped, sexually violated and imprisoned.
Let’s say you were to resist kidnapping, and the robber were to use necessary force to subjugate you, or perhaps even be obligated to use deadly force against you. You would probably be more precise in saying you’d been beaten or murdered. I could give countless examples beyond this, but I think you’re starting to get the point. The government justifies its immorality through soft language. The people are being fffffooled. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you won’t first be penalized with fines for not handing over significant portions of your earnings – you will. I’m saying that the IRS will demand your money, then they’ll demand more of your money, and finally they’ll call up some costumed sociopaths to initiate force against you.
If someone feels I’m being extreme in my descriptions I suggest that they stop paying their taxes; I think they’ll quickly come to terms with the precision of my imagery.
So what is “mine”? What is “selfish”? Indeed, they are one in the same. Selfishness is one of the most basic instincts built into mammals to include human beings. Very early on children show a strong sense of “mine”. Just imagine taking a toy or ice cream cone away from a toddler. Indubitably, parents, teachers, coaches and the like expel this instinct from children on the grounds that it is “not nice” and indoctrinate them with a sense of sharing-as-duty or even virtue. But, this notion of what belongs to us is so essential and inherent within us that it really ought to be given some consideration before writing it off as a corrupt or non-virtuous trait.
The “mine” concept is innate rather than learned in order to provide us the desire to obtain necessities and to trigger our protective instincts when our property is threatened. Selfishness is beyond virtue; it is a rudimentary mental tool necessary for survival. Conceptually, this is akin to self-ownership, responsibility for one’s self, etc. It is instinct that drives us away from complacency and toward productivity in our own interest. This is a superb mental feature.
This doesn’t mean that sharing superfluous resources is unreasonable; in fact, sharing can be a wonderful act of cooperation, or charity and should be celebrated! But it must be understood that individuals hold the power to decide how much of their resources are superfluous, and when and where to distribute them – if they feel the desire to distribute them at all.
To force a person to give up the fruits of their productivity is immoral. After all, if a person’s possessions are acquired as a result of their own productivity and private-trade, then to force that person to hand over their possessions is to force them to work. This, which was once called slavery is now called a “social contract”.
Some people argue that were there no government to steal our money there would be no civil rights, no roads, no fire services, police forces, or all the things that government provides. This is a tremendous breach of logic and a stupefying attempt to justify the initiation of force. It must be understood that the government doesn’t produce anything therefore it has nothing to give to its subjects; rather, governments steal money from productive tax-livestock (you and me) and redistributes it to its agencies who then trickle the stolen money through the systems paying every bureaucrat on the way down until finally providing a service to a special interest group in order to bolster support for politicians.
Not only does the government not provide anything, it hinders social progress. To better examine this let’s pose some of the aforementioned statements in questions.
1) If there were no government who’d allow women to have equality?
I must first point out that women’s lack of equality in the world until less than 100 years ago was a direct result of governments. Governments dictate who is allowed to do what. Until the 1920’s governments dictated that women were lesser than their male counterparts. This changed due to a shift in societal attitudes. Had the government not existed to hold women back, society could have been able to move forward in their acceptance of women as equals far sooner. It was the state whose law was enforced on society through the threat of violence that is responsible.
This applies, of course, to all civil rights. While slavery was eventually abolished by a stroke of the proverbial government quill, it was also legally instituted with a previous stroke of that same utensil.
In fact, segregation was also enforced by law. When considering that the success of private business is directly proportional to the amount of customers partaking in their services, it stands to reason that excluding a large generic group of potential patrons from commerce would not be a viable option for business-owners for long. Segregation was legislated and enforced on the private market under the threat of violence; had it been a matter of private choice, it could have been considered unfeasible and been done away with through public ostracism much more quickly than we eventually saw through political discourse.
2) Who will build the roads?!
This is possibly the most preposterous question to ask, but so many people do ask. Well, first of all, I suppose private companies will build the roads without the government. There are certainly plenty of pavers and graders out there in the private market to build roads. And private companies will be in the business of owning roads. They’ll charge tolls for using their roads, and people will pay gladly.
At first, it must sound outrageous to suggest that people would have to pay a toll every time they use a road; I understand, but that is simply because people cannot afford to pay twice. It’s really difficult to understand this concept of constantly paying private-road tolls without considering what it would be like to keep your money in a world without governmental theft (taxation)!
Today, nearly half of an average worker’s wages are sucked up into the ever-present vacuum of government institutions in order to pay for things that probably would not be funded were the government not to hold its subjects at gunpoint. You see, if you weren’t being robbed to pay for walls around the country’s borders, or to pay for others’ medical treatments, or to pay for other people’s children to go to school, you probably wouldn’t. And this is fine. This is good, even! You shouldn’t pay for someone else’s responsibilities. You have your own responsibilities as a result of your plight in life and your decisions. Take care of your self.
If you kept what you earned, you’d be able to pay tolls on private roads. You’d be able to pay a privately operated fire department to protect you from fire stuff. Or perhaps you’d pay an insurance company who could pay a privately owned fire department. You could pay for private security in your neighborhood. You could pay for whatever services you wanted, and you could NOT pay for services that you don’t think are necessary for your well-being. It could be your choice. You could work to produce for your self, and you could keep what you earn, in a truly free society.
3) If you don’t like it you can leave!!
This is usually one of the last attempts to argue the statist viewpoint. Statists point to the notion that if you don’t like living under a constant threat of being robbed and forced to pay for others’ responsibilities “Well, then you can just move to an ISLAND!!!”
This is, without ambiguity, a complete breakdown of cognitive ability. Going back to our situation with the armed robber, if the robber repeatedly steals your money at gun-point and says to you, “If you don’t like the way I run my block, well, then you can just throw away all that you’ve worked for thus far and move to a new block!” that really isn’t a reasonable suggestion. It’s difficult not to laugh at the absurdity of this statement. Just imagine Paul Revere riding the opposite direction from town and shouting, “Oh no, guys! They won’t let us freely trade, so we have to pack up and move to the woods and fend for oursellllvvvves!” This statement is as astonishingly dimwitted as it is emotionally vomited out of desperation.
Here’s the kicker. It doesn’t matter. These statist arguments don’t actually hold a candle. All of these arguments are for effect. They’re scare tactics. Think about what is being proposed by these arguments. They imply that without the government, its theft, its threats, etc, we’ll all live in a world where women are mistreated, minorities are left by the wayside, in which there will be NO ROADS, and buildings and houses will burn to the ground in a heap of regretful, unpatriotic ash. It will be a world full of murderers and selfish narcissists. No one will care for the poor. The underprivileged children won’t be educated. It will be… …AAAnnaarrrchyyy!
In truth, nobody knows what it would be like in a truly free society. I, and many others, assert rulers aren’t needed to set the rules. Instead, public ostracism would be hard at work. Public ostracism can currently be seen working every day as pop culture dictates what is acceptable.
For example, when I was growing up it was cool to call people faggots, but if I were to do this today I’d be virtually (and possibly literally) flogged by society. Societal norms do shift, and with those shifts come direction on which behaviors are acceptable. Without the brutality of government social molding would be far more effective as norms would be shifted more freely without the extra steps needed to persuade elderly bigots who hold power through the threat of violence to make changes.
Free society is a ways off, but we can all start living more freely today by resisting the urge to search for handouts, taking responsibility for the negative consequences of our decisions and actions, and feeling good about reaping rewards for our good choices. Society owes nothing to us, nor do we owe anything to society. Reject regulation and taxation; instead move toward cooperation and liberty.
*This article may be offensive, but it’s worth the risk of offending if a single person is steered away from a life wasted chasing sky-ghosts of millennia past. Please feel free to share this perspective with loved ones who may be lost.
There is no reason to believe anything for which there is no proof. Even if something is thought to be true for a long time, even by lots and lots of people. For example, it turns out that the sun is not the center of the universe, Earth is round, hurricanes and tornados are the result of atmospheric disturbances, and recently the Catholic Church proclaimed that limbo doesn’t exist…so the unsaved babies are all in heaven already!! Hooray for the babies.
If the only so-called evidence for something a person believes is that lots of people raised in a mysterious fog of folklore have been deluded enough to be convinced of it, those “beliefs” are illegitimate. In the case of Christianity, people have been convinced, mostly through indoctrination of the youth, that an invisible trio of supernatural, cosmic, zombie-like aliens are responsible for everything positive and neutral in our lives, and that another, bad, alien is responsible for everything unfortunate in the world except some things which are the fault of the zombie-trio who tend to “work in mysterious ways”. Personally, I tend to steer clear of and question every opinion and decision made by those ppl – being that they’re in a constant state of slight hallucination at least.
Religion is a mental poison. It negatively affects everyone it touches. Whether a religion causes guilt or shame, or compels physical violence and verbal abuse, or just slightly affects a single decision, the effects are unnecessary and damaging. Imagine if you were told that peanut butter was guacamole as a youngster. Imagine going your whole life thinking that peanut butter was guacamole and vice versa. This would probably impact your decisions a few times, though, whether negatively or positively is speculative. So how much does being indoctrinated with religious teachings impact a person’s opinions and decisions? It stands to reason that a misunderstanding of physics, delusions of ethnocentricity and telekinetic correspondence with aliens from a different dimension, and subconsciously seeing virtue in subservience are all things that probably have a fairly significant amount of pull on the decision making strings within the heads of religious folk.
Religion is completely intolerant, although it’s almost always disguised as loving, caring, supportive, and all about spreading joy and peace, etc. Under that botoxed façade religion has nothing to do with any of these things.
I’m often offered a valid point when voicing these truths: as long as the “beliefs” of others cause no effects in my life, then I shouldn’t care. Of course, this is where the problem arises.
Public opinion shapes the rules by which we live. When the public is duped into rooting their individual values in fictional, morally flawed tales from the days when “WingDings” was a readily legible font on stone tablets, public opinion becomes vastly skewed toward the illogical.
This is why slavery was once lawful, why gays are not allowed to make the same public commitment to each other by law as their hetero counterparts, why 3000 people were crushed and burned to death on 9/11, why an army of Catholics and Protestants committed the Natzi holocaust, why hundreds of millions of Americans have been incarcerated in the war on drugs, etc, etc, etc. Self-righteous dicks everywhere just can’t help themselves from initiating violence in order to curb non-violent behaviors in there fellow man simply because they, themselves, aren’t “into” those behaviors. Overwhelming popular opinion heavily influenced by religious values caused the afore mentioned list of wretched violations to life and property (and uncountable others) to be executed more smoothly than if they’d have been carried out in a free-thinking, rational, secular society. Of course this has not been tried, so we can’t know for sure, but I think it’s worth some thought.
To the argument which suggests atheists who argue against religion are simply on the opposite side of the spectrum from proselytizing evangelists: Helping to normalize rationality and logic and belief in evidentiary claims is not the same as attempting to spread the indoctrination of societies into a highly gullible and easily moldable base of superstitious, complacent fools.
Hierarchy is not pyramidal; it is horizontal. In modern society, sociopaths drawn to power over their fellow humans are allowed to reign over populations because of horizontal ostracism waged between their subjects. Religion, which is false to begin with, is used as a tool with which people are conditioned into complacency and distractingly pitted against one another on the basis of unethical codes. This makes people susceptible to unwarranted trust, and unwarranted forgiveness. It dulls the senses, and when 90% of our peers allow this ridiculous storyline to serve as the foundation of their morality I find it irresponsible not to combat that line of thought when given the opportunity. It most certainly does affect my life, and yours, and your parents, and your future children, and my future children, and everybody else.
Lastly, when I was involved in the church (for 10 years) I remember thinking that non-belief sounded more reasonable than what I was so adamantly favoring at the time. Honestly, it teed me off when people spoke about how pleasant life is without religion, because I was living nearly “sin-free” under all sorts of constraints and restrictions, and they were having a better time than I was in general, so I understand the frustrations of those on the other side of the truth whole heartedly. Then again, I’m full of wonder rather than answers these days, and that curiosity and lack of introspective pressures is exquisitely freeing. Even though it is a sin punishable by eternal damnation and hellfire, I highly suggest throwing off the manacles of religion for a couple weeks (or forever) in the interest of seeing what living for yourself has to offer.