Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reluctant statists

Last week's blog post on "The good intentions of statists" got an unexpected reaction. Statists were upset at being recognized as statists!

I understand that people who "only" want a tiny amount of government imposed on someone are not as bad as those who want "cradle to (early) grave" controls placed on everyone who isn't them- and don't want to be associated with those MegaStatists in any way. I understand there are a great many different ways even that tiny amount of government could be applied. It's why I tried to explain that I believe most statists are of the minor variety, and that they aren't evil; just misguided.

But I am mystified that they would be upset that they are recognized for what they are.

I am an anarchist. It wouldn't make sense for me to be upset at being called an anarchist unless I believed I am wrong, and that some tiny amount of government is actually right, necessary, and good. I don't, and I am OK at being called an anarchist or voluntaryist or whatever you want to call it.

If being recognized as a statist because you want any amount of governing imposed on anyone, anywhere at any time bothers you, perhaps you need to examine your premises. You may just need to turn your back on that last vestige of statism in order to get to where you instinctively know you need to be.

Or, embrace the label of statist and make your point.

Think about it.



  1. "Statist" is pejorative. It's no wonder some react negatively at being so labeled.

    None of us got here from birth. Well, at least I didn't. I was an avid Barry Goldwater enthusiast in 1964, and traversed the streets and highways of Texas to get him "elected" as grand wizard of the klan. I believed at the time that Goldwater would have been a "better" grand wizard than Johnson turned out to be, and was devastated when Johnson trounced him.

    Working with Karl Hess helped to get me off the statist podium. But I still had a long way to go even after Karl died. Lots of people helped me along the way -- just like you're helping many future anarchists today with your blogs and your editorials in the newspapers.

    So before getting too worked up at the slowness of some of us to see the light of day, please just keep plugging away one blog and one piece at a time. You do good work. Take credit for that.

    The Ron Paul enthusiasts are just one step away from us. Give 'em encouragement. (I've got to say that, because some of my kids are still clinging to Dr. Paul's shirt tails).


  2. "'Statist' is pejorative."
    Shouldn't be, unless they know deep-down they are wrong. It's just a value-neutral statement of the facts: you "believe in" government, you are statist. It doesn't even necessarily say whether you believe "government" is good or bad- just that you believe it is a legitimate human pursuit.

    At one time I was a statist. I'm glad those days are behind me. I thought most "government" was bad, but I thought it was possible to have a good government, and I didn't even question whether the whole notion was legitimate or not. "You gotta have someone running things- just make sure they do it right!"

    Some people might feel "anarchist" is "pejorative"- but since I have concluded it is the only sensible position, if someone calls me an anarchist, I'll agree.

  3. I'd like to add one more dimension. Most "mini-statists" simply haven't been able to see through the maze of government propaganda instilled into their heads since they were babies.

    It's a major (but planned) incongruity when you think about it. In government ("public" ha ha) schools we were taught that monopolies were bad. That was absolutely correct. Without competition any and all entities are inept and inefficient. If I don't work hard as a trucker to move freight faster and at a fair price there are plenty of other truckers waiting to take my customers away from me.

    We learned that the fat cats just keep getting fatter at the expense of the poor, hard-working laborers out in that evil "laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog" marketplace. We came to believe it was essential that agents grouped into that abstraction called government provide oversight and authority so the free market can work to the benefit of all.

    The result, of course, is a lack of freedom in any market. Monopolies such as banking can only come into being with the influence of government.

    It wasn't until I was grey around the temples that I came to see what should have been obvious when I was in first grade: human government systems are the prime example of monopoly -- the largest monopolies on the planet. Monopoly upon violence is what keeps the world in a state of perpetual war.

    The enormity of the truth is incredible.


  4. Correction (sorry): in the first imbedded link above I was trying to link to this article.

    I urge you younger guys and gals: don't get old. :-|


  5. Yeah, that..."Don't get old!" OTOH, what's the alternative? Good stuff, Samuel. There CAN be a free-market or voluntary monopoly, as it could be beneficial to all parties. But as you intimate, it could never get out of hand, else its monopoly would be broken. I believe Alcoa with aluminum ingots was one example, once. But of course, the seller is never satisfied with such good fortune that will inevitably end, and looks to the guns of Govco to keep it that way forever and ever.

    I agree with Kent about "statist"---if that's what you believe, then why not admit it? The rest is just about matters of degree. I've never once called myself an "anarchist," because it looks meaningless to me. Not governed by ANYTHING? That strikes me as preposterous...we're each governed by precisely the same thing, our own minds. I understand that most people mean "not governed by others," but once you start bringing in unstated imaginations, you gotta bring 'em all in, like the fantasized chaos and disorder that will supposedly ensue. So I leave it alone. I can live with "voluntarist" or "consensualist," but even then not as some political proposition...only as a statement of obvious fact.

    I figure my name is sufficient identification and labelling. To me, socially or politically speaking, that's the whole point in the first place.

  6. I think you've got it, Kent. Once, years ago, I heard a lady call in to a talk show and complain about being called an unpleasant name simply because she was a hundred pounds overweight. It dawned on me that I'm a bearded, long haired, old hippy, as well as being an opinionated redneck an atheist and an anarchist, so being called only one of those terms is acceptable if it's accurate.

    1. Now, see, you sound like someone I'd enjoy hanging out with for a while. One person's "insult" could be another person's recommendation.

      Not long after my column started appearing in the paper, a woman who was upset about what I had to say wrote me an email. In between "Why do you hate America" type comments, questioning my parentage, and telling me to go back where I came from (particularly amusing, considering I had), she flipped complained about my appearance in the newspaper picture, calling me "unkept" [sic]. Of all the things she flung at me, that one hurt the least.