Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Deadly Hand of Our Politics

Going to an Alpha Chi Alpha sorority’s event at Atlanta University last night to have people running for political office tell us who they are and what they stand for, I was struck by one thing. Everyone except one was screaming UNCLE at today’s problems. To the man, they gave us a sob story. They started by telling us how they had failed at government education. Our children are less educated than they need to be and if we don’t do something about it, businesses won’t want to come to Georgia to establish their business. We are just "gonna" be too dumb down here.

Then they told us that because of the lack of funds, police departments are being cut. Criminals are running loose to the point where our communities are no longer viable places to live. We are just too cheap down here.

Then we learn (and all know) that Georgia is suffering massively from the loss of jobs and that people simply are unable to make a living here. By this time we were all sobbing uncontrollably.

And how do we fix this? More money. Georgia’s governments have to find more money. The politicians who were there and have been in office told us that they’ve been trying to find more money but it is hard to come by. It just isn’t available.

Oh my, oh my, what are we to do?

One told us that Georgia has a lot of pine trees and that the way out of this is green jobs – jobs which will convert those renewable pine trees to useful matter. Another told us that we need the light rail system, that the absence of that is preventing Georgia from attracting businesses and jobs. One told us we have to find more money to take care of children who find themselves in dire circumstances – from crime, from broken homes, from death of a parent or guardian. (I wasn’t clear how this was going to solve our problems, but someone apparently thinks it does.) The solutions came rolling out. Everyone was very sincere. Don’t tell me I saw yawning and heard snoring!

Am I the only one clear that we are talking about a major institution – Georgia government – that is broke and begging for money? Are we so blinded by this all-encompassing institution that we are willing to let it force us to eat the foods it wants, buy health insurance we don’t need, pay it some money before I can cut your fingernails, force us to send our neighbors’ kids to school, force us to pay for people who don’t work. Force, force, force and more force. So what is the answer to human life, the thing that makes it all work? Force?

Do you thrive when you are forced to do something? Are you filled with the thrill of living if someone is forcing you? Does it occur to anyone that it might just be force itself that is the problem?

Force is something that must be used judiciously with human beings. Given their particular consciousness, they don’t do well if they don’t get emotionally committed to their own projects. Thriving is certainly out of the question. If they succumb to allowing themselves to be bossed around (known as regulated), they become the walking dead, life reduced to the lowest level.

When I say judiciously, I mean that one can never initiate it against another human being and can only use it to stop another’s initiating it against you or another person. In other words, when government uses force to stop the initiation of force, it is our friend. When it initiates force, it is our enemy. And, today, government is initiating force against us in every aspect of our lives.

Humans do not do well when we accept and put up with being forced by the government. We find ourselves either sapped of our energy or left with the angry coals of allowing ourselves be treated less than who we are. The evidence for this is all around the globe.

So this places us in the presence of a principle which can make a difference for us. The government should only use force to control, i.e., retaliate against, the initiation of force by a citizen, a group of citizens or an outside invader. When we abandon the initiation of force, life thrives and prospers. When we indulge it, it shrivels and dies.

The one candidate who came up with something different, to his credit, was Dan Barber, businessman, co-founder of The Order of the Heldhigh Torch, and now candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the Libertarian Ticket. “Because we are operating under an incorrect conception of the role of government, we are destroying ourselves.” Rather than the government paying for everything and running everything and having to take all of this money out of whatever the citizens may have, what if the government backed away from providing anything except justice – except stopping initiated force.

What then would our world look like? Given that we have provided so much with the government heavy on our back, what would be possible if it weren’t?

This, I’m sure, is just the start of many questions. But at least they are the good questions – the right questions. Let’s start asking these questions. What would be possible with freedom?

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