Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Tragedy of Political Government (Carl Watner)

This classic essay by Carl Watner is a short but powerful indictment against the gang of thugs known as "government," and is well worth the read:

"What is tragic about political government?" you might ask. Let us return to that question once we have examined the nature of political government and the State. In order to distinguish between government and other institutions in society we must look at the ways human behavior can be organized and human needs and desires satisfied. There are only two ways: peacefully or coercively. There are no other alternatives. If people rely on peaceful cooperation, they must necessarily offer products or services for which other people are willing to trade. If people use coercion or fraud, we call it obtaining goods or services under false pretenses, robbery, or larceny. However we label it, the basic contrast remains the same: one relies on voluntaryism or one relies on force.

A stranger knocks at your door and, upon opening it, he requests money He represents the March of Dimes, and is asking for donations to support its activities. Unless you feel generous, you dismiss him. You have no particular obligation to support his cause, and the fact is you have already contributed to other charities, such as the United Way. Unless the stranger is a blatant thief, he leaves. He doesn't deal with you by using force, or its threat, to collect the money he is soliciting.

Compare this to what happens every April 15th in the United States. Granted, most "good citizens" send in their tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS does not need to send out a representative to collect the tax; and if there is any need to do so, he generally needn't carry a gun or make any direct display of force.

Why don't people dismiss the IRS in the same manner as they would the solicitor who is collecting for a private cause?

Read the rest, and also see Mr. Watner's interesting perspective on the Whiskey Rebellion that was posted today by Wendy McElroy

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