Thursday, April 07, 2011

All Politics is cheating

(Please read the note at the bottom)

Nobody likes a cheater. We prefer that other people live up to their agreements; usually even when we have already broken our end of the deal. But many people don't recognize that using government to get your way is cheating.

There are only two ways to get something done between two or more people. You can convince the other person to go along and cooperate for your mutual benefit. This is referred to as the "economic method". Or you can force them to go along against their will, regardless of whether or not it is in their best interest. This is called the "political method". If others agree in going along with you, there is no excuse to govern them; if they do not, many people think it's OK to skip straight to the "forcing them" step rather than continuing the attempt to convince them.

"Forcing them" can be a legitimate action IF the other person is attacking the innocent or stealing. A libertarian recognizes this as a legitimate use of force since force was already initiated by the other person. If the other person is neither attacking nor stealing, then resorting to force makes you the one in the wrong. Even worse, if your actions consist of aggression or theft, while their actions are merely intended to resist your abuse, then you are doubly wrong.

Bringing this down to the local level, what is the solution to this area's water issues? Does it involve working together in a consensual manner to work out a solution? Or does it involve using confiscated money (and other property) and imposed laws, with their inevitable enforcement, to force everyone into a "one size fits all and everyone pays, regardless" box? If no one is allowed to opt out, it is not consensual. Stirring up another hornet's nest, what about "blight"? Do you try to convince or do you simply violate the other person's property rights because you don't like the way they choose to use their own property? If you think you must resort to the government solution in either case, you are cheating.

Not every problem has a solution. That is just reality. Of those problems which can be solved, some have a solution that isn't implemented because of the eager willingness to resort to the political method instead of doing the hard work of thinking and finding a consensual solution. After all, if you believe you can simply grab the magic wand of "the law" at the first sign of an impasse, you are less likely to keep thinking and working toward a real solution. Sure you can "get things done" by cheating, but at what cost?


(This was to have been my Clovis News Journal column for this week, but was rejected by the publisher because he says not all politics is cheating. In saying this, he gave me the idea for my headline.

This difficulty I keep having prompted me to ask the editor for some clarification. I asked if my columns are supposed to represent my opinion, or the editorial opinion of the Clovis News Journal. If my column is representing the editorial opinion of the paper, then I can totally understand why I have so many problems getting published (and I probably should be paid more), but if it is supposed to represent my personal opinion, then I don't get it. Surely the other columns that get published express opinions that are not in line with the paper's editorial positions- at least it seems that is the case to me when I read them. In any case, the editor answered that the columns are supposed to represent my opinion only. So how do they justify rejecting my columns on that basis?

Since this means I am out my pay for this week, please donate to help me make up the shortfall, or buy some stuff from me.)

Time's Up flags available!

(I'm pinning this post to the top for a little while, so scroll down to see new stuff.)

Once again I have some Time's Up flags to sell. See details here: Dull 'Hawk's Shop