Jan 162008
 
Part of the Applied Anarchy Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Staples has been running an advertising cmpaign for some time now featuring the “Easy Button”. They even sell actual Easy Buttons that can be purchased and placed on your desk for when work just gets too stressful. The whole concept is that whatever problem you’re having in your business, you just have to push the Easy Button and Staples will solve your problem for you. I’ve often seen these ads and wished there was an Easy Button for politics. One push and the government would be gone. In fact, I’ve been trying to write a post to that effect for quite some time. Alas, Francois Tremblay beat me to the punch (and did a much better job then I will probably do) at his Check Your Premises blog. He started out by quoting famous (or is that infamous?) Libertarian Harry Browne-

Suppose there were a magic button sitting in front of you. And suppose that button would instantly reduce the federal government to only, say, $200 billion.

Would you refuse to push the button — even if you want the federal government to be 0 dollars? Would you refuse to push the button — even if you think the federal government should be $500 billion?

Obviously the answer is yes. Smaller government is smaller government and that’s always a good thing. But Francois takes things to the next level with the following question whose answer is not as clear as it first seems-

But now let’s turn the question to us. If there was a magic button that would instantly make the State disappear, would you press it?

He then answers that question in the same manner I would: no – I (and he) would refuse to push the button. Not because we don’t want the size of government reduced to zero. But because we recognize that instant removal of government without first educating the masses would create the exact form of chaos that anti-anarchists claim we support. I highly recommend you read Francois’ post on the subject (here’s the link again), but here’s one of the best lines I’ve seen on any anarchist blog to date-

Anarchy is not just a desire to eliminate the State: it is a moral commitment to voluntary interactions and non-violent principles. The Anarchist is a person committed to helping his fellow man, not hurting him through either political means or more mundane criminal means.

That’s why I’m proud to display his Voluntary Victory symbol in the header of Philaahzophy. I don’t think I could have explained the basic premise of anarchy as I understand it any better than that.

The reason we lack freedom is the government, plain and simple. But in order to move towards a free society we need to do so much more than remove government. We need to reeducate as many people as possible into understanding that government is the one thing standing in the way of freedom. As long as the general populace continues to see government as the solution instead of the problem we will continue to be slaves.

That’s what all of my posts on anarchy are about: educating as many as possible. Showing them the truth that government is standing in the way of their freedom and is incapable of doing anything but constricting it. Every step we take away from government is a step towards freedom. Francois ends his post with the following paragraph-

As for the magic button: if there was a magic button that could undo the indoctrination of the State in everyone’s minds, I would press it with no hesitation whatsoever. The next day, there would be no more government, no more religion, no more hierarchies or authorities. Just people living their lives as they see fit. Isn’t that a dream?

Now that’s a dream I share. I know that were the indoctrination gone, then the government would be as well. Stop fighting the state and start fighting the government indoctination. Freedom starts in your own mind and it spreads from one person to another through communicating the truth.

Part of the Applied Anarchy Series - Previous in series        Next in series

  24 Responses to “Pushing The Political Easy Button”

  1. Ah, I think you misunderstood my first point… I *would* press the button to reduce the federal budget. This, however, does not mean that I endorse gradualism- because in practice, we have no means to even begin to try to reduce the size of the federal budget.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..US government attacks privacy worse than most of the world, according to rankings.

  2. Actually, I understood your point, just screwed up the post. When I was rereading it right before posting something seemed wrong, but with the distractions of the moment I couldn’t find it. Thanks to your comment I now have and have edited the post to be more accurate. So now your comment here makes a little less sense (sorry) but the post makes more sense.

  3. Rereading with the corrections, I see now that you understand completely. Good work. 🙂

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..US government attacks privacy worse than most of the world, according to rankings.

  4. I don’t understand how one could eliminate government. Where there are two people, there’s government. Government is the system whereby it enacts and enforces rules so a group can interact with each other, essentially.

    “Anarchy is not just a desire to eliminate the State: it is a moral commitment to voluntary interactions and non-violent principles. The Anarchist is a person committed to helping his fellow man…”

    I’m sorry, I don’t think this constitutes anarchy. Anarchy is defined as a state of society without government or law. “Helping fellow man” is something completely different. If one’s political purpose is to “help fellow man” that immediately constitutes a form of government– a rule of law whereby one helps another– and cannot be defined as anarchy.

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..In Search of the American Traveler

  5. Welcome to Philaahzophy Mrs. Mecomber! Thanx for stopping by and please don’t take my reply as argumentative 😉

    Your assumptions are faulty, Mrs. Mecomber, although widely accepted as fact. There can (and often are) two (or more) people coexisting without government. To claim otherwise is to deny the evidence all around us. Children play with each other sans rules constantly. Couples do not always have an authority figure.

    While you are correct that government enacts and enforces rules, your assumption that such a body is necessary remains unproven. There have been countless societies throughout history that existed and prospered without a central authority figure. I’ve given two examples of such societies here at Philaahzophy – the Yurok indian tribe and Somali. There are many others including pirate society (which wreaked havoc on ‘civilized’ society but functioned exceedingly well on a purely voluntary basis) and the early settlers of the American West are just two examples.

    As for your final assertion – If one’s political purpose is to “help fellow man” that immediately constitutes a form of government– a rule of law whereby one helps another– and cannot be defined as anarchy this seems completely nonsensical.

    Are you saying that if I were to send you $20 that I would somehow gain authority over you? Is some rule created out of thin air when I hold the door for a lady? Should you be stranded on a remote highway and I happen by to fix your car is government somehow created? The answer to all of these is, of course, no. That would just be me helping my fellow man on a voluntary basis. There is no authority or rule necessary there and in fact any such system would only make the process more difficult.

    I hope to hear from you again, though. Either on this post or any other, past or future!

  6. Interesting…

    no, I don’t think my logic is faulty. Children playing with each other DO have rules. The rule is to 1) play with each other, 2) play peacefully. If one child is hitting the other, haven’t the rules been broken? Or perhaps the rules are to hit each other.. then, playing peacefully rule is broken. One does not need an authority figure to have a government– self-rule is a rule.

    I think perhaps you are confusing a central authority figure as a form of government? This does not matter. The authority of the law constitutes authority (i.e., a form of governing) just as much as a figure, or figurehead.

    You are denying the existence of something that you need to be existing in order to deny it. See?

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  7. In case you haven’t noticed, I am talking about government as one of the laws of nature (see Locke’s writings). I am talking about the essence of government, based upon the necessity of law itself, which is inherent of nature and of life.

    Your $20 allegory is not accurate; it does not sufficiently embody your “form of government” which would be stated as “giving to people irregardless of their consent.” This is the “law” behind your action (giving $20). I am saying that your giving $20 is the RESULT of a law you have established.

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  8. As an anarchist I do not call for an abolition of rules, but of rulers.

    Self-rule is rule, but it is not rule of law, nor is it government. It is personal choice. Government is, by definition enforcing rules upon others.

    Children playing is not a rule, it is a desire whether they play peacefully or violently is a matter of personal choice. The rule to “play nice” only comes down from above. Should both children desire to play in a violent manner (and no one intercedes) they will do so. If one does not they will absent themselves from the situation leaving the other to play violently alone. By leaving they are not enforcing rule on the violent child.

    I’m not sure where you got that one would be giving regardless of the consent of the recipient, but I also don’t feel it’s relevant. Once again, self-law is not government as it is personal choice, not something being forced on anyone.

    You’re free to define government as you wish, but I use it on this blog in its generally accepted manner within American society (and its dictionary definitions). The term is not required in a discussion of anarchy anyway as the term anarchy means simply “no ruler”. That is what I strive for as an anarchist – the freedom of self-rule. I am therefore required to help my fellow man, to a degree, because I cannot have freedom for myself without granting that same freedom to others.

  9. Let me use a quick example to shed a little light on what I mean. You’d said:

    “Self-rule is rule, but it is not rule of law, nor is it government. It is personal choice. Government is, by definition enforcing rules upon others.”

    Let’s say everyone in the world decided on self-rule– everyone. The world was alllll self-rule now. Everyone did as he/she pleased. But then there came two who decided they did not want to have self-rule, and one became slave to the other. Would this be permitted under the premise of this world of self-rule? The world would not longer be self-rule if this happened. The self-rule system, borne from anarchy, would suddenly find itself the victim of anarchy.

    I think you summed it all up yourself when you said: “That is what I strive for as an anarchist – the freedom of self-rule. I am therefore required to help my fellow man…”

    So you are required?! This is law! You are denying one form of government and replacing it with another, that’s all. This is not true anarchy, this is delusion. (Please take no offense at my bold words, however– I have no animosity but am saying these things for clarity in discussion).

    And, just for clarity, I AM defining “government” as is historically and definitively accepted: the form or system of rule by which a state/community is governed. To have a form of “No Government Here” is a form of government!

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  10. Okay, everyone lives in genuine freedom. I’m with ya….

    One guy, we’ll call him Joe, decides that he wants to be Frank’s slave. Okay, fine, as long as…

    Frank is happy to happy a slave. Which he is. Fine.

    There are no problems here. No one is being forced to do anything. Everything is voluntary. Have Frank and Joe created a government amongst themselves? It doesn’t matter because they’ve volunteered for the positions they’re in.

    Having complete freedom means having the freedom to form a government of your choosing. What it does not allow for is for you to force that government on me.

    Once again, self-rule is not government. It is choice. As for the requirement that I grant freedom to all in order to give freedom to myself, this requirement is not governmental law. It’s a law of nature. If you claim that Mars has government because it follows the laws of physics then you are absolutely correct, there can be no existence without government. However, Mars is still in a state of anarchy because there are no rulers and that is what anarchy means. This is what I seek (anarchy, not Mars 😛 )

  11. No, government necessitates a ruling class, by definition. If there is no ruling class in a society, then there is no government. If there are no people who enforce and are above the rules, then there is no government. If there is no taxation, there is no government.

    It’s as simple as that.

    Read “People Without Government.” It is a sociological study of societies that existed without government, from many different eras of human organization. The concept of government is defined and it is shown how people have lived without it.

    Government is not an evolution. It is a devolution. It is a corruption of morality in the name of dominance and hierarchy. Once we take down government, humans will once again live in relative peace, instead of the state of war we live in today.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..US government attacks privacy worse than most of the world, according to rankings.

  12. I’m sorry, but self-rule is a form of government. Self-rule is not an amorphous karmic philosophy that will naturally occur as soon as mean old men get out of the way.

    “Philathropism” is a philosophic gesture, which perhaps defines your point much more than the “rejection” of government. There have to be “checks and balances” that protect self-rule, because of the corruption of human nature. Therefore, self-rule must be enforceable, even if everyone desires self-rule, because humans will at some point deny someone else’s own self-rule to gain something for his own self. To deny this is truly delusional, as history and experience provides.

    The place of true self-rule will be heaven, not Mars, lol. 😛

    I love discussions like these– much better than talking about Pampers diapers or the latest PTA meeting.

    See ya at the flagpole. 😎

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  13. No, self-rule is not a form of government, unless you completely redefine “government.” The technical definition of government is a monopoly of force on a given territory. There is nothing in self-rule that even approaches this definition.

    Whatever you call it, self-rule is what we’re in favour of, not government.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..US government attacks privacy worse than most of the world, according to rankings.

  14. Wow, reminds me of Citizen Genet.

    Francois, you said: “Once we take down government…” what if OUR self-rule says we do NOT want government taken down? See what I mean! You become our tyrants, and what’s worse, you think you impose your tyranny on us for our own good! Hypocrite!

    What illogical, ridiculous, nonsensical blather!

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  15. Wow, are you an idiot or what?

    “Francois, you said: “Once we take down government…” what if OUR self-rule says we do NOT want government taken down?”

    You’re trying to create a contradiction. Self-rule cannot by definition include government, because government is the opposite of self-rule: it is other-rule. How can self-rule include other-rule?

    “See what I mean! You become our tyrants, and what’s worse, you think you impose your tyranny on us for our own good!”

    We’re not imposing ANYTHING on you for your own good, we don’t even believe in “imposing things for your own good.” If you don’t want Anarchy, then you are free to try to convince others to start another government. We just want statists like you to LEAVE PEACEFUL PEOPLE ALONE AND STOP TRYING TO EXTORT/KIDNAP/KILL THEM.

    How is that so hard to understand, statist?

    “Hypocrite!”

    If you want to call the desire to stop coercion “hypocrisy,” then YOU are also a hypocrite, because I am sure there is plenty of coercion YOU also want to stop!

    If being a good person means, in your eyes, to be a hypocrite, then I am a proud hypocrite.

    Thank you for your twisted badge of honour!

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..US government attacks privacy worse than most of the world, according to rankings.

  16. I’m sorry, but self-rule is a form of government.

    Not by any definition I can find. Could you provide a source for this definition?

    Self-rule is not an amorphous karmic philosophy that will naturally occur as soon as mean old men get out of the way.

    Of course not. We must be educated towards it. That’s the entire point of the post itself.

    There have to be “checks and balances” that protect self-rule, because of the corruption of human nature. Therefore, self-rule must be enforceable, even if everyone desires self-rule, because humans will at some point deny someone else’s own self-rule to gain something for his own self. To deny this is truly delusional, as history and experience provides.

    Sorry, but this is where you, and most people, are deluded. There is much historical evidence of humans getting along under self-rule. Several examples have been pointed out in this very thread. You have simply chosen to ignore them.

    {intentionally skipping references to heaven as God has no place in this discussion unless he’s willing to log-on and leave a comment Himself}

    what if OUR self-rule says we do NOT want government taken down? See what I mean! You become our tyrants, and what’s worse, you think you impose your tyranny on us for our own good! Hypocrite!

    You’re falsely insisting on an either/or paradigm that simply doesn’t exist. In the anarchist world you would be free to live under whatever governmental system you choose. What you are NOT free to do is force your government on the unwilling. That is what is happening now. We are all forced to follow the dictates of government and given no choice in the matter.

    Allow me my freedom FROM government and I’ll gladly leave you to be as oppressed as you wish.

    I love discussions like these– much better than talking about Pampers diapers or the latest PTA meeting.

    As do I! The possibility of just such a conversation is what keeps me blogging.

  17. People, people, there’s no need for name calling. In fact, I’ve already written a post on that very subject which is scheduled to publish on Saturday.

    We’ve got a good debate going here, let’s not ruin it with random insults.

  18. So much for children playing peacefully in the sandbox.

    LOL!

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  19. Yes, it’s a shame you had to start throwing around insults and ruin the conversation, Mrs. Mecomber. I was starting to think you were a lady.

    Alas, you are still free to “play” as you see fit. There will be enforcement of arbitrary rules here, just a request for civility.

  20. 🙁 🙁 Oh boo hoo I ruined everything!

    I wasn’t throwing insults! They were statements of fact! 🙂

    I’m baffled tho– rules for conduct when discussing anarchy?

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..A Lesson About Denial

  21. Hypocrite is an insult. And it’s far from fact. It was disproven by two people in mere seconds.

    Perhaps you’re having a problem following the conversation. There were no “rules of conduct” laid out anywhere, just a request for civility.

    Here’s another request…

    Instead of sniping, one liners, and reframing your comments on your own blog, how about answering the questions you’ve ignored on this one?

    – Where do you get this definition of government?
    – Where’s your evidence that man cannot get along without rules?
    – How is my living without government imposing anything on you?
    – Would you or would you not agree that Mars is in a state of anarchy?

  22. Anarchy is not an excuse to insult people and twist terms. In fact, it is the statists who insult and twist terms all the time, and you provided another example of this on this thread.

    The fact is, because people like me and Aahz promote non-coercion and non-violence, we get threatened of violence and worse. So you calling us hypocrites, that’s nothing compared to stuff I’ve seen. But you have no reason to say it and you said it without provocation. You started attacking us first.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..US government attacks privacy worse than most of the world, according to rankings.

  23. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mrs. Mecomber is going to be returning to this conversation. She decided to take the fight to her home turf instead. Hopefully she’ll return for future discussions, though.

  24. What a coward. She should be covered with shame for her actions.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..CONSCIENCE CANADA