The Less We Fear Each Other, the Less We Need the Government
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
This July 4 weekend, I ask my readers to take a step back and reflect upon the words written by Jefferson more than 230 years ago. Jefferson was fundamentally challenging the American public to reconsider the type of government they lived under. Jefferson was not talking about “reforming” a system of governance, he wanted to fundamentally change it.
Jefferson thought that a strictly limited republic, constrained by a constitution, could bring about greater prosperity and happiness for everyone that lived under its rule. Today, I think Jefferson’s vision has proven to be just as flawed as the monarchical rule the colonists lived under so very long ago.
The word “rulers” is deceptive. The word implies that “rules” and “rulers” are inextricably linked. Yet the two words in practice are miles apart from each other. Today, our rulers ignore all the rules. It is illegal for subjects to steal, yet taxes are the bread and butter of the ruling class. It is illegal for subjects to spy on their neighbors, yet our rulers have erected a total surveillance grid to monitor every single digital transaction their subjects make. It is illegal for a subject to murder, yet our rulers have engaged in endless war to ensure their policies are implemented on a global scale. This inversion of morals is systemic across virtually every sector of public policy.
There is no good justification for a society to have two separate sets of moral values that are split between a ruling class and those who are ruled. Society accepts this inversion of morals out of fear. Fear for their safety, fear for their health in old age, fear for their jobs — you name a government program and I can point towards an emotion of fear that drove its creation.
I find it hard to believe that the best means of governing mankind is through fear-based reactionary measures. Our “rulers” depend on fear for their livelihoods. A fearless public does not need rulers running their lives. A fearless public is composed of fearless individuals, ready to stand and face the challenges life throws at them on their own two feet. A fearless individual asks politely for help from his neighbors when he knows he’s in over his head. A fearless individual doesn’t need a huge security state to watch over him. A fearless individual creates solutions to problems, rather than threatening those who create problems. Presently, a state of fear completely dominates all of human existence. This state of fear manifests itself as our present forms of government.
Fear is part of a polar emotional spectrum, the opposite pole being love. In the absence of fear there is only love. All the flavors of hate, bigotry, misogyny, anger, or any other negative emotion first stem from the emotion of fear. Without fear, there can be no hate. And without fear, there can be no state. I urge my readers to consider this carefully, because a government erected out of fear is not in harmony with humanity’s evolutionary end.
A society without rulers does not mean a society without rules. In fact, the only way to have a legitimate rule is for that rule to be equally applied to everyone. How can a rule be a rule if some people are allowed to break it whenever they wish, while others are not? Such rules are not rules at all, they are orders. Isn’t it time for all of us to start recognizing the difference? Each of us should be free to chose our own leaders or be our own leaders, while all agreeing to play by the same set of rules. Such a state does not invite chaos, but rather brings it to an end.
War is chaos. Hyperinflation is chaos. Subjugation is chaos. A lone gunman in an elementary school can certainly create some chaos, but he is nothing compared to what a full-blown state can do. How many children have been blown away by drone strikes or starved to death because of sanctions? Let’s get our priorities straight here. If we tackle the large problems first, the smaller ones will correct themselves.
Why can’t I chose to be protected and served by the organization of my choosing? I can chose what organizations protect my health, my car, and my home by choosing an insurance agency. And among those individual agencies, I can further chose the level of protection and service I want. The more protection I want, the more I am willing to pay. Insurance agencies don’t show up at my door with a gun demanding payment. If I don’t pay, I don’t get service — it’s that simple.
Insurance agents are governed by the same rules that govern me. They can’t take my money with impunity, and if they want protection themselves, they have to pay or work for it themselves. Why should a government be any different? Americans today spend twice as much on private security as they do on police protection. It seems to me that if the police were actually doing their job of protecting private property and lives, that would not be the case.
This “private law” system of governance has been advocated by numerous economists throughout history. It’s easy to see why. Under such a system, there are no rulers, but there are plenty of rules. There is only one set of moral principles in a voluntary system of governance. No one is above the rules. No one can break the rules in order to enforce them. To live under such a system requires a certain fearlessness. Perhaps we are not ready to move on to such a system yet, but eventually we will get there — evolutionary progress demands it.