Upon the Conversion of Statists to Voluntaryism
Written by J.A. McDonald.
The author was talking with others recently, trying to explain how government is a natural enemy of all freedom; that government is a tyrant, a usurper, a trickster who stole our rights then claims to protect them. In most of these conversations I appear to be the victor: they cannot refute my arguments. They agree that Man is guaranteed his life, liberty, and property and that he should not be deprived of them. Yet they employ excuses for the state, many in fact, all claiming that the state, in all its immortal glory, is somehow necessary.
“What of the thugs and murderers and bandits?”
The author explains to them that those are easily taken care of in modern society, through polycentric law and the application of firearms: that most men and women are interested in the mutual protection of rights and that self interest takes care of that.
“You do have a choice, you can leave.”
No we do not. Government has claimed every inch of land worldwide for its uses, refusing to acknowledge freedom of people’s to settle in unoccupied areas, forcing men and women to live within its domains. If the author were to claim a small plot of land in the forest to be my own and were to build a house there, till the fields, and develop it, the government would claim that I had somehow settled upon their land. They did not build something there, they did not homestead it; they merely used their force of arms to claim it. The author would be imprisoned or killed.
“What of the roads/firehouses/X/Y/Z?”
“The market would take care of that” I explain ad infinitum. As could communes, or neighborhoods, or any sort of voluntary organization. So much literature has been written upon this topic that the author writing upon this would be pointless and arbitrary.
Inevitably, as the author deals with every excuse they bring up, they resort to the blunt exclamation that
“We need the Government/The State/Something!”
Never mind every single concern that the author addressed, never mind that the failures and crimes of government are everywhere, always do they shift the burden of proof to the voluntaryist.
Why is that? Why is it that almost all people in modern society assume that the state must exist, even if all evidence and logic points to the contrary, that the state should not exist?
To the voluntaryist, it is baffling. It is as if they were programmed from childhood to revere authority.
Let us pause one moment there…. We are all raised to revere authority.
From whom do children receive an education? What do they pledge allegiance to at the beginning of every school day in a rather disturbing manner? How often does the media and the history book glaze over government crimes and praise it as the savior of society, of civilization, of all things good and just? We were all brought up from birth to worship the state. Programmed, wired, made to fit its narrative perfectly.
Is it any wonder then that the average statist cannot refute the voluntaryist argument, yet still insists, in their blind way, that government must exist? That without it society would collapse? They offer no evidence to support this assertion, yet hold that it must be true. It is in denial of all reason that the statists continue their ignorance.
In spite of all of this, can we blame them? We were once like they, believers in authority, in forcing others to follow our will. The author remember when he thought that government was necessary, when he thought that he knew what was best for others. The “rewilding,” as it can be called, is a slow and steady process of discovery. The belief in authority must be eroded and replaced with respect for individual liberty. It is a hard, rough road, contradicting everything one was taught as a child.
To we voluntaryists this is a truly burdensome experience. We, those of us who desire liberty and peace above all else, must sit and watch as the world’s populace allows war and imprisonment and theft and violence to go on unopposed. At times it feels as if we will never win, that people will always advocate for the domination of others.
But the flame must not die. We must carry this torch, not for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren and all of our lineage. We must continue to spread the good word of liberty, of non-aggression and respect for free will. We must meet each and every argument and excuse with a peaceful, understanding retort. We must slowly get people to understand how no man or woman can rule another man or woman. We will never convince everyone, but maybe we can convince enough that the next generation can be that much freer. They may continue our work, continue to bear the burden we have hung onto, until we see critical mass reached. Then shall our descendants cast off their chains, spitting into the eyes of barbarism and cruelty, living as free men and women upon this earth.
Hope must not be given up. Stay true to the path, may we spread our word of peace and love until the end of our days and beyond that. For there is indeed hope:
Think of the statist, who argues voluntaryism cannot work because no one will agree to it. Then think of their religious belief in the necessity and righteousness of government. If there can exist a mass delusion so powerful and widespread that men and women believe that it is good and decent for the product of this delusion to rob, steal, and kill, then one day we can convince the masses to accept, on a widespread basis, the natural and peaceful belief in the liberty of the individual.
J.A. McDonald is a freelance writer and college student, attempting to spread the good word of liberty whenever he can.