The Pragmatic Downsides of Government
It's easy enough to point out how governments are criminal organizations with no basis for their authority:
Why you should be an Anarchist
and usually a statist's reply isn't to contend with those arguments (they're too obviously correct) but to argue that government is somehow necessary. I already shot down that idea in the same article. In this article I just want to point out some additional pragmatic downsides of government, or at least of democracy.
- *It encourages discrimination*. Let me ask a question: what should you expect to happen if you take a society with an imbalance of superficial traits - let's say skin color - and erect a system where every conflict is decided by who has more votes? Should you be surprised when the minority ends up with less rights?
Contrast how capitalism actively *dis*courages discrimination by depriving bigots of customers and employees.
- *It encourages dishonesty and dirty argument tactics*. Because it makes convincing the masses the sole means of political power, anything that helps you convince someone is something you're incentivized to do, even if it works by exploiting their irrationality.
Dirty argument tactics
Now, obviously, this happens to some extent in any system. But in anarchy this only gives you economic power, not more power over a monopoly on violence.
And that's not even to mention how it makes civility in disagreement far less likely since anyone who's voting for something you're voting against is directly contributing to the violation of your rights.
- *It divides people who really have no reason to fight into arbitrary groups, creating needless conflict*. This one is really sad. You might be a Japanese soldier in World War 2 and have no problem with the people of America, but if "your country" decides to make war on theirs, you have to kill them. I have an idea for a short novel I want to make about two soldiers in opposing countries that go to war with each other. They talk, and realize they should be on the same side, and end up both murdered by their own governments for refusing to kill their friend.
- **It makes bribery massively more powerful.** Imagine that I live in an Anarchy and I want someone in power to do something corrupt that costs a million dollars. How much do I have to pay him? A million dollars because I'm asking him to spend a million dollars, assuming he has neither a personal stake in it nor any moral qualms. Which I should note is an imbalanced condition - he could have a personal stake in either direction, but moral qualms would only apply to something evil, so it's actually more likely than not that I have to pay him well more than a million. So bribery doesn't really do much in an Anarchy. At best it allows me to obfuscate my involvement. But what if I live under a government and I want to bribe an official to do something that costs a million dollars? In this case, I don't need to pay her a million dollars, because I'm not asking her to do it with her own money, so it wouldn't *cost* her a million dollars. It's taxpayer money and it's not like she can just pocket it and go home. Since she's not personally paying the cost, I might be able to bribe her with just a thousand dollars. Clearly, bribery is far more powerful under a government.
I got this last argument from Roderick Long's PDF:
Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to 10 Objections
It's a pretty good read in its own right, but I thought this point was so interesting I wanted to include it right here.
subscribe via RSS