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Why The Idea of Government Is Overrated

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On September 11th, 2001, the government failed in it’s one primary job… to keep it’s citizens safe. Then, it used it’s massive failure as justification to grow it’s budget, it’s military, it’s surveillance systems and it’s desire to profit from war. 20 years later, almost to the day, the President of the United States announced his intentions to use the tools and force of this expanded government on millions of peaceful, non-aggressive citizens to force them to receive a vaccine. With such a blatant attempt to trample upon individual rights, it is time to ask: Do we even really need government in the first place? Can a society have law without a government?

Economist Bruce L Benson asked this question in his book “The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State.” Others, including Lysander Spooner, Murray Rothbard, and Benjamin Tucker have all explored the concept to one degree or another. Believe it or not, most of the rules we choose to follow in our day to day lives are not rules generated by the state. Rules and laws are simply a matter of behaving in ways that people agree upon. They can come from many places other than the government. Contracts, mutual insurance arrangements, individuals voluntarily interacting, all of these developed through various communities over time. We may also call them norms or customs. The point is that they come from many places, not just the government.

The customs that individuals adopt pre-date authoritarian government rule. We can go back in history and find examples in tribal societies where things were just “how things were done” with no central authority figure mandating the behavior. People somehow got along, they interacted, they traded. It was voluntary. We see a small example of this in modern everyday behavior. People wait in line at the grocery store. They don’t cut in front of other people, if they do it is very rare, they get dirty looks, and other people in the line might speak up and shame the person. The simple peer pressure of others enforces a “law” that says “don’t cut in line.” All of this happens without the state. Without the use of force. Another example happens every time people voluntarily join into a pick-up game of basketball. Certain rules (laws) are agreed upon. “Call your own fouls, are we playing half court or full court? Make it take it…” If the rules are not followed, the game breaks down, does not become as enjoyable for everyone, and perhaps people choose to go play on another court.

How might this work in application to much more serious issues, such as theft , or even murder? How can these much more serious crimes be deterred without the state? For an answer we must go back in history to a time before the law of Kings, or to what Benson has referred to as “Royal Law.” Prior to Royal law there were mutually agreed upon customs. One such custom was the idea that every free individual had what was considered a “piece.” This meant that the individual had property rights. The individual would have rights to things like their homes, their farmland, their livestock, and other belongings. The custom and the expectation was that everyone recognized one another’s property and respected each other’s individual rights to the ownership of the property.

Just as in today’s day and age of police state surveillance, there were people back then who did not respect these customs or “laws.” Benson explains that these situations were dealt with by communities of free men who formed what can best be described as mutual insurance arrangements. They were called the “tithing” or the “hundred,” essentially they were agreements to cooperate with regards to certain issues. If someone’s cow strayed off their land, the individual could call upon his neighbors, the “tithing” to help him find it. If he was robbed, he could call on his neighbors to pursue the robber. Those in the tithing had agreed upon obligations such as maintaining roads and pathways in the community. This system relied on frequent interactions and reciprocity by all in the community.

If there was a dispute as to whether or not they had captured the right criminal, there was a court system of sorts in those days. The court was not backed up by a King or any government, the court system worked at the “hundred” level. It was made up of representatives of each tithing and they would act as judge and jury. If the offender was found guilty, they might be made to pay restitution. If the offender was unable to make restitution, the tithing would pay it for them and then the offender would be in debt to his tithing (friends and neighbors).

If the individual did not accept the court’s judgement, he would be considered an “outlaw” and would no longer be protected by his community. All of his property would be free game to anyone who wanted it. When you stop to think about it, this isn’t too different from the RICO and asset seizure practices of today’s law enforcement. But I digress.

This system, also referred to as “the man price system” was common practice in most communities. Participants included the common man, the wealthy, and even the poorest people of society. Eventually Kings arose in England. Their origin was not born of a need to make and enforce laws, but they arose for the purposes of fighting wars .Kings started out as warlords and they would eventually claim divine right or some other mandate that empowered them to lead armies. Since wars cost money, the Kings looked for ways to fund their armies. This evolved into restitution for a crime being rendered to the KIng (government) rather than to the victim. This is why today, if a drunk driver hits your car, the drunk driver pays any fines (restitution) to the government and not you. You have to rely on insurance.

Eventually the King’s system of fines resulted in citizens being seen as sources of revenue and this led to a rise in harassment by law enforcement and a reduction in individual freedoms. Over time the system of restitution broke down and was replaced with the rise of the prison system. First prisoners were sent to colonies, such as America and mainly Australia, and eventually they were put in prisons. All of this at a greater cost to the taxpayer as is the case in our modern times.

As our country increasingly becomes a totalitarian police state in service of the prison industry, it might be time for an exploration of restitution practices, private mediation, and other voluntary negotiations. For example, if a security camera in front of my house catches my neighbor’s teenage son smashing my windshield. It is entirely possible that upon showing this evidence to my neighbor, he offers to compensate me for the damage times two if I agree not to press charges. Things like this happen all of the time, but should probably happen more often. What if this type of an approach could be formalized and more frequent? Perhaps America would not have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.

The state can only acquire income through the use of force and physical coercion through taxation and it has a monopoly on the defense of individual rights (the military, police, and the courts). As an attractive alternative, private, non-state entities can provide for the protection of individual rights, History has shown that asking the state to secure individual rights is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house. One can be opposed to the state without being opposed to police protection, courts, the printing of money, mail delivery, and roads and highways. One can oppose all forms of physical coercion, threats, aggression, and the use of force against others and still advocate for the same services the government has a monopoly over. These services can be provided more efficiently through voluntary cooperation and contract by free people operating in a free market.

A system of voluntary exchange to replace the current system of government backed monopolistic force would not necessarily be a utopia. Like anything else it would have its drawbacks and challenges, but participation in such a system would not be the result of submission at the point of a government gun. The rise of private motor vehicle registration services as an alternative to visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles is one small example, dealing with the former is a much more friendly and efficient experience than dealing with the latter. Finally, take the past 20 years as an example. In the name of “Keeping us safe” and “defending our liberties” the government has sent us off to fight in unending foreign wars to no avail, spied on us and invaded our privacy, and now they are forcing us to be injected with a strange genetic therapy. At this point, would exploring an alternative anchored in peace and non-aggression be such a bad idea?

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Can the Party of “No” Beat the Party of “Free?”

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Have you noticed the rhetoric, “At least we have the House to stop some of Biden’s crazy plans!” The GOP’s keyword is “STOP.” Have you noticed that the Democrats have positioned themselves as the party of more “FREE” gifts from the government?

The GOP wants to cut budgets, cut government jobs, stop abortions, stop illegal aliens crossing the border, stop election cheating, stop student loan giveaways….and the list goes on. The Democrats have effectively positioned the GOP as the party of “NO!”

With a small margin in the House, Biden’s veto, and a likely Democrat Senate virtual majority, the Republicans face a difficult challenge. How do you shape a narrative that can win in 2024 and minimize the damage that the Democrats can do until then?

It starts by capitalizing on an issue that Republicans have been reticent to exploit-school choice. Have you noticed that the youngest voters went Democrat in every state? We have let the Democrats control public schools. Teacher unions have used their money and influence to ensure adequate funding. The result is clear-the youth under their influence have rejected the responsible values of their parents. The young lack confidence in their ability to make free-enterprise work, and they like government entitlements, rent relief, and promises of student loan forgiveness. In short, they have settled for the party of “FREE”-the Democrats!

School choice wasn’t even part of the Republican’s Commitment to America. Our leaders missed its role in Youngkin’s win in Virginia. It’s time to start becoming the party of “YES” to school choice. Many minority parents feel trapped in underperforming schools, and they want better schools for their children. Conservatives want an end to the indoctrination of liberal values that public schools provide. In short, it’s time to embrace school choice as a central focus in the GOP’s 2024 campaign.

There is no question that the issue of abortion also played a key role in impacting the Republican gains in the November election. The Democrats were able to turn fears over the Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs Wade into voter turnout in key races. It’s time to be the party of “YES” to reasonable limits on abortion and responsible support for adoption for unwanted children. Most Americans are supportive of reasonable limits on abortion. House Republicans could introduce federal legislation to make abortion after the first trimester illegal. Let the states take the role of considering even more restrictive measures. Make Democrats the party of “NO” to sane abortion limits.

Be the party of “YES” to government support for organizations that provide vulnerable women with support and material resources to help them consider both parenting and adoption. Democrats would have women believe that abortion is their only option. There are parents ready to adopt, and it can be a beautiful experience for all involved. It’s time to convince women to support life for their unborn child by providing loving options instead of trying to force the total elimination of abortion. Abortion disproportionately impacts minorities. To meet the needs of the future, America needs all the births our citizens can bring into this world.

Say “YES” to responsible citizenship-every citizen working to find a satisfying career in pursuit of their true American Dreams instead of settling for government dependence. The Republican message must be strong and clear-we belief in all Americans’ ability to gain their mojo and take back their future. There is no future in dependence-Getting “Free” entitlements are not “Freedom!” Let people know that America is still where the “pursuit of happiness” is not just something to justify a revolution. It is what has made America great and the envy of the world. It is by improving your skills and earning advancements or starting one’s own business that true dreams are achieved. No citizen should settle when she can soar.

Say “YES” to a secure border and legal immigration. America remains the land of opportunity, and we need immigrants. We don’t need millions of illegal immigrants unvetted and unprepared to add value to our country. Stand for completing the building of our Southern border wall and increasing our focus on expanding legal immigration. Republicans must not be against immigrants; we are only against welcoming illegal immigrants who do not honor our immigration process. Americans want a secure border, and they want to be known as a country that welcomes immigrants. Have the strength and wisdom to stand for both.

Say “YES” to law and order. Stand in support of law enforcement and accountability for criminals. Yes, we want fair treatment of all Americans, but citizens are tired of criminals having the upper hand. They want to feel safe in their homes and their businesses. We need DAs who will prosecute criminals instead of letting them go. There is a simple formula for the GOP to reflect most Americans-“Do the crime and do the time!”

Say “YES” to energy independence and an all of the above approach to energy policy. Instead of saying “No” to climate change paranoia, affirm the importance of developing all of our energy resources to be independent of foreign dependence. Capitalizing on all available energy options will also strike a blow at inflation, since the cost of energy impacts all facets of our economy.

If you want to beat the “Party of FREE,” we need to become the “Party of YES” to the things that Americans truly value. It’s time to begin preparing a narrative that can win in 2024. May it be so.

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Elections

Three Things Republicans MUST Do Now

The Republicans have a very important job to do!

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Now that the Republicans have taken the House, they have a few VERY important jobs to do. In this short five minute video, Chris Widener, Founder of PolitiCrossing, makes the case that there are three things the Republicans must do to be successful through 2024 and take back the Senate and the White House as well.

1. Investigate
2. Defund
3. Cast a Positive Vision for America

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