"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

Welcome to Patriot's Lament. We strive here to educate ourselves on Liberty. We will not worry ourselves so much with the daily antics of American politics, and drown ourselves in the murky waters of the political right or left.
Instead, we will look to the Intellectuals and Champions of Liberty, and draw on their wisdom of what it is to be a truly free people. We will learn from where our Providential Liberties are derived, and put the proper perspective of a Free Individual and the State.
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

What do we DO???

This really is the perennial question.

Consider this piece by Wendy McElroy.

I'm going to cherry pick a few points out of her very good article to expand upon, leaving out her supporting arguments. You can (and should) read her article if you don't see what I quote here as immediately obvious.

The great political lie is that individuals need the state. It is a lie on at least two levels.
The first layer of the great lie: It states the opposite of what is true; the state needs individuals. And the state is desperate for you to believe it is indispensable to your life.
The second layer of the great lie is its foundation. Namely, there is no "state" as opposed to individuals. Both the state and society consist of nothing more than their individual members and the sum total of their interactions.
Individuals who form the state through their membership attach a specific meaning to gathering and coordinating with each other. The meaning or purpose is to exercise the perceived privilege to rule over individuals who are non-members. To do so, it is necessary to convince non-members of the state's legitimacy.
Mystification sanctifies the actions taken by individuals in the name of the state. That is, a double standard of morality is introduced – one for individuals who are members of the state and another for non-members. The double standard contradicts a longstanding principle of liberty; namely, that a violation of violates [I think she meant to write "rights"] committed by an individual remains a violation of rights when performed by a group of individuals.
Rape is no less rape because a gang is involved or because they shout "do for England!"
In her concluding paragraph Wendy writes:
The state exists as an engine of privilege only because the vast majority of people believe that the individuals who comprise it can properly operate on a double standard. If state agents, from the president to post office workers, were viewed as individuals who are bound to the same rules of decency as the rest of us, then the state as we know it would crumble as the illusion it is. 
After you read this you say, "So what does this have to do with determining what we do?"

The key thing underpinning the evil things the state does is the moral double standard which is necessary for it to exist. Anything which leaves that double standard in place is counter productive.

Let me say that again: Anything which leaves that double standard in place is COUNTER PRODUCTIVE.

Limited government people, Constitutional Conservatives, etc. all leave the moral double standard in place. Yes, they want to reduce the predations of the state to a less onerous level. Yes, they want to increase the sphere of private action somewhat, but the core error is still there. The germ from which we went from 1789 to today is still there. As Dr. Robert Higgs wrote recently the only difference between a limited government and a tyranny is time. Limited government people and constitutional conservatives are on the right path if they started out as neo-cons or neo-liberals, but if they stop there and get bogged down in "making a difference in government" then they're part of the problem, not part of the solution because they justify and rationalize the central mistake of the state, the moral double standard in the two main things -- stealing and killing. It can only steal and kill for a couple reasons, reasons that they like, but it still gets the exemption. Having that exemption it then becomes a battle of numbers and emotions as to when it gets to exercise that exemption.

So, what is to be done? The state exists in the minds of people. This is what must be attacked. It's key error and evil is the moral double standard. This is the root. Playing at the branches with a pocket knife may be fun, but often times by doing so you're fertilizing the tree.

If you think about the root instead of the branches you'll see that there are many avenues of action open to you. If you get involved in politics, are you doing so to "fix" the state or to undermine its legitimacy? If the first, then I think that you're part of the problem. If the second, I think you're part of the solution. But, it is a very dangerous path as the number of people able to resist the lure of political power is very small indeed.

1 comment:

  1. This article by Lew Rockwell really deserves its own blog entry, but I want to get it here before I forget: http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/lew-rockwell/lew-rockwell-admits-it/

    The point Lew makes which I think is indispensable is that once the error of the state is made the battle to keep it limited is impossible. It requires a level of understanding in the populace which is simply not going to be maintained, particularly when the state grabs education. Once the error of the state, the moral double standard, is swallowed by the people they become much more susceptible to the further errors which are really only the natural corollaries to that mistake.