Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Can you communicate with a statist?

How can you communicate with someone who is so deeply mired in statist thinking that you are hardly speaking the same language?

Recently I got into a discussion with a guy whose vocabulary revolved around words like "system", "punishment", "enforcement", and so forth; he couldn't even think beyond those concepts. To him, everyone needs to be forced into "a system", and directed.  If government isn't doing it, it isn't getting done.  To him, individuals are nothing more than atoms of the collective.  And yet, this person would probably get really angry if it were pointed out that he is a collectivist.

I do not need to be coerced into being a part of a "system", nor do I want anyone else to be forced in, either.  If it is a good system and suits my wishes and needs at the moment, I will join willingly- as long as I can opt out at as soon as my wishes and needs are no longer being met.

And, I don't need anyone directing me.  Nor do I want anyone else to be directed.  I'll gladly take my chances with other free individuals.

It comes down to this: "The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." ~ Robert A. Heinlein

And that common thread of history, the question that never changes: shall man control his own life or shall others control him?*

I don't want or need to be controlled or "directed" and I have no need of that for anyone else.  I know this from real world experience.  No amount of statist meme parroting can change reality, nor can it make me fear other people enough to want to have them "governed" on my behalf or "for their own good".

That means there is a gulf between me and the statist that there may be no way to bridge.  We just see the world too differently- he with suspicion and fear, and me with "trust, but verify".


*I wanted to use this quote, but I have been told it isn't "real".  “The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." ~ Thomas Jefferson.
Well, "real" or not, someone said it, because there it is.  And it's true no matter who said it or didn't say it.



  1. Like a good many quotations of the founders of the USG the actual provenance of the saying is hard to pin down. This inconvenient fact should not be allowed to detract from the larger point that the phrase illustrates. I would just leave it anonymous (e.g.: "a wise man once said" or "as Geo. Washington was reputed to have said") and let the insight speak for itself rather than get diverted from the main argument you're trying to make with nitpicking back and forth over sources. How I see it anyhow.

  2. Can just say, "As it's been put before,...." without giving attribution.

    As you say, someone said it. Just because we don't know who doesn't make it any less valid. Leaving it unattributed avoids the charge of "Appeal To Authority".

    To the issue at hand, "Can a Stateist and Non-Statist talk", I must sadly say No.

    There is in the statist mind that there MUST be an arbitrary authority. An institution to "control", to "order", to "ensure". It does not matter that history has demonstrated that all these are false hopes, that the more powerful the authority the more chaos and insecurity the people must deal with.

    For example, in the most authoritarian state on the planet right now, North Korea, the people are under constant threat of being dragged off to "we don't know where" for any violation of the rules. That's chaos! Unknown, unpredictable enforcement of impossible numbers of arbitrary rules.

    When the non-statist says, "people organize themselves to do X", the statist will assert, "but if they don't, then X won't happen and it must, so there has to be an authority to make sure it happens."

    Sadly, these two positions are irreconcilable, and the one side simply cannot comprehend the other.

  3. And, Curt, when you compare the two positions it is obvious that the statists are Utopian and not seeing reality. That's why when it is pointed out to them they get really mad; they want to place that claim on those of us who see through their delusions, but it doesn't hold up.

  4. I'm 77. As I see it, I've been soundly ensconced in "libertarianism" (the more developed "ism" being anarchy) for, oh, maybe 25 years. Perhaps 30. Time flies when you're gettin' old and havin' fun.

    Prior to that I tried to be first a Democrat (a teacher, member of NEA [National Education Association]; and TSEA [Texas State Education Association]. Both "parent" and "child" organizations are now UN-apologetically teachers' unions. In my teaching days state employees were not allowed to have or join or be members of "unions" -- but they served as such regardless of such obfuscation. All government dictum amounts to obfuscation).

    Second and much later I tried to be a right-wing Republican, member of John Birch and the whole nine yards. That was as a businessman, and it only made sense to be right wing. Government goodies came from the right if you wanted to sabotage competitors and enjoy marketing privilege. But you were duty-bound to not phrase it in that crass manner. Right wing was just, well, just...right.

    It wasn't until recently -- and, now reading your essay and the comments -- that I came to admit to myself that I have NEVER been what most would consider a "good communicator". To be more honest and frank, I do not have a collectivist bone in my body (or collectivist word in my vernacular). I believe I was born that way. If so, I'm glad -- but I don't know why.

    Because it's often quite uncomfortable to be standing out in left field and to feel so alienated from everyone you believe you "should" be in a "...hail-fellow-well-met..." relationship with. They have their camaraderie, and I'm not a part of it.

    I think I drank for many years without knowing the source of that ongoing, chronic discomfort I felt with family, with friends, with colleagues. I had to have a medication to numb that pain, and the medicine was alcohol. It worked. I had no way to verbalize the source of that discomfort, so I "medicated".

    It came from being non-collectivist in a collectivist world.

    So now, guys and gals, I've said to you something I've never said in my almost half-century at AA -- probably the most libertarian organization of which I'm aware. Because you understand this phenomenon that I perceive "they" do not.



  5. I might add to Curt's point the problem is not only that "the statist will assert, "but if they don't, then X won't happen and it must, so there has to be an authority to make sure it happens."" But the statist will organize enough other like minded statists and use deadly force to coerce others to be part of the "system" even if those others simply wish to be left alone and not interfere or interact with the statist at any point. Because there are people who always want to control others (especially for our own "good" as if someone else can decide what is "good" for me) those who desire real freedom eventually get rounded up and sent off it seems.

  6. That's the disadvantage that the good guys have, zOrv- the bad guys pretend it's "good" if they kill "us" for not going along, while voluntaryists can't pretend it would be OK to turn the tables. But in self defense...

  7. It drives me insane! These "statists" have a babysitter complex. They can't do anything for themselves and expect everything to be thought of and completed for them.

  8. Kent, you are mostly right, statists and non-statists cannot communicate in any meaningful way (with a few exceptions). However, they can get a divorce:

  9. Paul, That was a good one!

    I have been also discussing the same issues as above with a guy at my other blog. I think he's one of those who may eventually get it- but probably only after years of fermentation in his mind- so chances are I'll never know.