Friday, July 28, 2006

The inconsistency of statists

Universality is a profound concept. It points out the inconsistency that lies at the core of statism : if it is moral for a certain group of people to be aggressors in the name of society, then it should be moral for everyone to be an aggressor. If it is moral for policemen and soldiers to wield guns, then it must be moral for everyone to wield guns. If one argues that policemen and soldiers need guns in order to defend themselves against criminals and aggressors, we can equally argue that anyone else can also encounter criminals and aggressors, and thus equally need guns. I discussed this principle in The Moral Razor.

But there is another way in which we can use universality as an argument - we can look at the motivations for a statist's support of a specific civil liberty, and show how they contradict his support for the state. Being for any measure of individual freedom and a statist at the same time is a contradiction.

For example, a statist can be against the War on Drugs. There are many possible reasons for this. He might be against it because it creates more crime. And yet by sustaining the War on Drugs, the state itself is proven to be the biggest generator of crime ! More to the point, the state itself is, by definition, the biggest generator of coercion in a given society, and is nothing more than an organized process of coercion. To support the state is to support coercion itself.

Perhaps a statist may argue that you should be able to do whatever you want with your own body. But if that's the case, then the state has no business regulating abortion, prostitution, immigration, trade, or by extension what I do with my labour (by taking it away in taxes).

The general method here is to find one specific example where the statist agrees with market morality, state the underlying principle clearly and apply it universally, getting the statist to agree on every issue based on the universality of that principle.

Of course, this does not apply to people who only value freedom as a tool of the ruling class. For example, a collectivist might argue that the War on Drugs is evil because the state must be allowed to get the tax revenues from the drug trade. In such a case, one must come back to the Moral Razor to point out how collectivism is fundamentally incoherent.

1 comment:

Francois Tremblay said...

To Jason Bowden: I think you,re looking for the entry "The Moral Razor", not this one. And of course I won't accept your comment either way, since it's just yet more statist dreck. There are plenty of blogs dedicated to your ideology out there, so go read those.