15 October 2011

It’s Not That Simple

Even though I’m a libertarian, and as such am generally fond of my fellow libertarians, there are times when they say things that are hilariously funny.  Like this:

The fix for these huge tasks is surprisingly simple: to abolish government, all of its ordinary employees must be motivated to quit their jobs, and to prevent resurrection all its clients and beneficiaries must be shown they can do better without it, and one program will suffice for both these vital tasks: universal re-education.
As de la Boëtie said, the one thing indispensable to government is support; and now that it can print its own money that doesn't mean financial support, it means labor. Take away its employees, and it is totally helpless; in fact it ceases to exist, for it consists of nobody else. That's the sine qua non of abolition; while there are soldiers willing to do grunt work for this monstrous Mafia, it will get by; when they are no longer willing, it will evaporate. That single change will do the whole job.
When everyone has come to learn the real nature of government and of individual liberty, the motivation to work for it will evaporate and the habit of begging it for goodies will disappear; self-reliance will be understood and a restored sense of morality and self-interest will cause employees to find honest work instead. It is quite easy to test this: assuming you, gentle Reader, are already convinced of the destructive and evil nature of government, would you work for it? – would you demand of it handouts, knowing how much wealthier you can become by honest trading in a free market? Of course not. So all that's needed is to bring everyone else to the same level of understanding that you have now.

Look, government evil is so commonplace that it’s a joke.  Government evil is accepted as a fact of life.  People already know what the government is really like, at heart.  Not everyone may be aware of the scope of government evil, but pretty much everyone is familiar with how petty, tyrannical, sordid, and evil the government can be.

Conservatives and liberals are both staunch statists.  They may disagree on the role of the state, but both sides generally support and defend the existence of the state.  And, more importantly, both sides spend a lot of their political energy complaining about the state.  It’s their favorite sport.  I’m almost beginning to think that the only reason liberals and conservatives support the state is so they can always be guaranteed to have something to complain about.

At any rate, though, the continuous complaining of both liberals and conservatives about the evil of the government reveals that they know, at a visceral level, just how evil the government is.  So there’s no need of convincing them of reality.

The problem that liberals and conservatives have is that they always wish to reform the government to make it less evil, or even good.  The problem is not that they can’t see evil.  The problem is that they wish it can be reformed.  And this sort of willful ignorance can’t be educated away.

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