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Anarchic Order
Spintech Magazine ^ | January 4, 2002 | Paul Hein, M.D.

Posted on 01/14/2002 6:38:35 AM PST by SteamshipTime

I believe it was Chesterton who remarked that Christianity had not failed; it had not been tried. And Ayn Rand described capitalism as the unknown ideal. I would like to suggest, in a similar vein, that anarchy has been tried, is being tried and is a universal success, but remains an unknown ideal. I’ll explain.

Anarchy, I must point out, is not synonymous, at least in my mind, with bomb-throwing lunatics, or rioting in the streets. It is as placid as a pond, as peaceful as a park. There is nothing chaotic about it. It is certainly not the absence of government, but only of government imposed by strangers. The anarchist governs himself, based upon principles found to be enduring and valuable: the Ten Commandments, for example. Anarchy has been the basis of society, long prior to the existence of government.

Does your family have bylaws? Are there regular elections, or meetings for the sake of writing new laws to cope with new problems? Do family members regularly charge one another with violations of the law, and demand justice, as meted out by strangers? Not in my family.

Family members may disagree, of course, but these disagreements are worked out and eventually settled without recourse to written statutes or judges. No lawyers are necessary. God’s law, we have been taught, is written on our hearts. We don’t need to quibble about the precise meaning of words in laws because we all know, instinctively, what is right and fair, and what isn’t. It is only when we leave the family that we encounter the world of legalisms.

As a physician, I am on the staff of several hospitals. All have staff bylaws. These are bulky multi-page documents, intended to deal with any and every circumstance surrounding a physician’s staff privileges. Before being accepted on the staff, you must sign the bylaws and agree to abide by them. Indeed, one hospital even affixes to its signature-line the jurat that the signer will be bound not only by these bylaws, but by any additions that may be made in the future.

Astonishingly, this absurdity seems to provoke little reaction from the doctors. Perhaps that is because they realize that the bylaws don’t mean anything anyway, but exist mainly to provide the hospital with justification for acting against a particular physician if his actions might be considered dangerous to the hospital. Strangers from hospital-accreditation, who, ultimately, control the purse strings, require them.

The laws of your local community, not to mention state and federal governments, are sufficiently numerous and complex that you cannot possibly know them, although ignorance of the law – an excellent excuse for any alleged lawbreaker—is considered no excuse by the lawmakers, who may profit from infractions. You manage your day to day activities quite nicely without reference to these countless regulations. Indeed, were you to consider them prior to acting, you would be reduced to inactivity; they would overwhelm you.

In fact, the innumerable laws which are said to apply to all of us are out of our thoughts. That undeniable fact is, in itself, an excellent argument for anarchy. We have government, with its innumerable laws, but we function as though we didn’t, because otherwise we’d spend more time pouring over the statute-books, and haggling over definitions, than doing our work.

Moreover, the government itself, though passing new laws with alacrity, pays little attention to them, at least where its self-interest is concerned. It does what it thinks it must do, and if its actions are prohibited by the laws, it ignores them. The proof of this is all around us. To wit: "No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender for debt."

That constitutional provision would virtually eradicate our economic problems; the government not only ignores it, but violates it. Actions not specifically permitted to government by the constitution are denied it. Nearly all of the government’s actions are, by this constitutional standard, unconstitutional. Does anyone in Washington care? Do most Americans?

The written laws are tools to be used, when it is considered desirable to do so, against individuals and corporations, except the federal corporation, which ignores any laws it finds oppressive.

What keeps society together are not the myriad laws imposed by government, to be applied as needed; it is the law written on our hearts. The shootings at schools around the country have undoubtedly stimulated a new outpouring of laws, but there are already numerous laws prohibiting shootings at schools, or anywhere else. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is the relevant law, and it’s already written, though not taught. Indeed, it is forbidden to be taught in many schools. Therein lies the problem!

There is freedom in the law, we are told, but that is only true if it is God’s law, not that of some strangers who call themselves government. Those laws bring slavery. Indeed, that may be their purpose.

Paul Hein, an ophthalmologist, is author of All Work and No Pay. His column, "Hein-sight," usually runs on alternate Fridays in Spintech.

TOPICS: Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: libertarians
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To: Architect
von Mises, in his “Socialism”, proves that even in a perfect world, The State is incapable of performing the objectives which we set out for it. This is because it has no way to measure the progress of its endeavors. There is no yardstick by which we can judge progress so it engages in movement for the sake of movement. This we call bureaucratic waste. This in itself is unacceptable – but the truth is far worse.

Nonsense. If we set limited, well-defined objectives for the state we can determine whether those objectives are being met satisfactorily. Those who expect government to provide a paradise on earth are bound to be disappointed; but I am not one of those. (By the way, I was not aware than von Mises was an anarchist; would he have accepted the label?)

People are not perfect. They have foibles and weaknesses. The State, by its very nature is evil.It is not a reflection of the Public but rather a perverse and distorted amplification of the Public's worse tendencies.

You remind me of the gun-grabbers who say that a gun by its very nature is evil. Guns are tools; they are neither good or bad unless used for good or bad purposes. Likewise, any human organization may be used for good or ill. The state is evil when it does evil.

Here’s a definition of a state for you: a State is an agency that exists for the distribution of stolen goods to politically favored groups. It takes money from the productive through taxes and distributes it to groups that are well connected. Since it rests on a foundation of theft, it necessarily is corrupt. All its actions serve to increase the amount of theft and create new groups of parasites to live off that theft.

Your definition is, of course, a caricature. (Who says that a government has to tax?) Nor does it apply to governments alone: individuals and non-governmental groups are perfectly capable of theft.

The primary mechanism that the State uses to incite one man against his fellow is War. In fact, the only thing the State is capable of is war and destruction. Nock said that war is the health of the State. At each war, the State increases its power and pushes the individual under its control a bit further. WWI brought the Income Tax. WWII turned it from a class tax into a mass tax. The power of the State increases. The freedom of the people declines.

The state did not create war; it might be more accurate to say that war created the state. You said as much yourself when you admitted that there are no anarchies because they have be conquered. That admission makes the rest of your argument pointless: why bother with an arrangement that cannot survive in the real world?

151 posted on 01/14/2002 7:05:58 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Architect
It certainly wasn't my intent, but I can see what you mean. It is true, but it's not me that's contradictory. It is what is happening versus what was intended by the constitution. "should" is a reference to ideal. "Have become.." is an observation. They contradict each other, yes.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the answer to the problem. I appreciate you pointing that out.

152 posted on 01/14/2002 7:14:19 PM PST by sayfer bullets
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To: Architect
A market is not people. It is the mechanism which a self-ordering system uses choosing between options. It does not require people to operate. . . .

This is a truly astonishing statement. Markets operating without people? How is that possible? (And what would be the point?)

153 posted on 01/14/2002 7:18:07 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Architect
Pearl Harbor could never happen in today’s world. They would have spotted the fleet the second it left Tokyo Harbor.

On 11 September 2001, the terrorists managed to attack without a fleet.

More to the point, it is possible to make yourself an extremely unattractive target for relatively little money. The doctrine of MAD works. Combine it a Swiss-style defensive military and no one is going to attack.

I agree, and I think the Founders would agree too. However, note that MAD depends on nuclear weapons, which were the product of a modern state. It is doubtful that a private firm would have been able to carry out the Manhatten project.

154 posted on 01/14/2002 7:30:26 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Aurelius
But the discussion here is about governments in general, not the U.S. government in particular, which, historically at least, has been less bad than most governments. But the fact that the world average annual govermental murder rate for the 20th century is 6 times the historical criminal homicide rate in the U.S. is less than a sterling endorsement of government in general.

It is pointless to talk about governments in general. None of us has to deal with government in general, but with a particular government. The details are important. Why has the U.S. government been less bad than most? What can we learn from that?

155 posted on 01/14/2002 7:44:21 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Logophile
I'm leaving on a business trip and I'm afraid that I do not have the time to continue. I'll be back on the weekend. It in the meantime, thanks for the conversation. It's been fun.
156 posted on 01/15/2002 12:59:59 AM PST by Architect
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To: Ridin' Shotgun
but we were warned that our government would only work for a 'moral' people and that certainly doesn't describe US any more, does it? While most individuals seem to still have some morality, it's being beat back by those with power. We are rotting from the head down. There is nothing wrong with our Republic that can't be fixed. A lot is said about how our forefathers couldn't have known this or that would happen, blah blah....But I think they were true visionaries, they knew and wrote of the sort of entanglements we the people had to watch for in order to preserve this union, but they also state pretty clearly, it's up the the people. I think it's obvious the peolple have been way too lazy for too many decades. Blackbird.
157 posted on 01/15/2002 1:06:30 AM PST by BlackbirdSST
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To: BlackbirdSST
Sorry I didn't get back to you on this last night. Got interrupted by life.

I think it's obvious the peolple have been way too lazy for too many decades. Blackbird.

I agree that we've become lazy, but I don't know that I'd go so far as to say 'most'individuals still have some morality. There's virtually no one left who doesn't do things that they themselves deem to be immoral, if you only consider that they go on paying taxes that buys things they find morally reprehensible. In just that one small item, we have been completely 'rotted' by those at the rotten head. And even though this tax is still 'voluntary', people keep right on paying it (knowing its wrong) because they don't have the faith and strength of their fathers to rebel against it. If 'most' didn't go along with it, it couldn't be rammed down the throats of the few who would stand against it.

You say there's nothing wrong with the Republic that can't be fixed and that its up to the people. I agree. I just don't have your faith that even a small percentage of the people will ever rise up and flatly refuse to adhere to the gazillions of unlawful laws that have deposed the Republic and replaced it with mobocracy. In today's world, 'most' don't even recognise the fact that so many of these laws ARE unlawful.

158 posted on 01/15/2002 5:43:23 AM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Logophile
"It is pointless to talk about governments in general."

That may be, but nevertheless up to this point the thread has dealt mainly with government in general, the principle of government, not particular governments.

159 posted on 01/15/2002 7:24:05 AM PST by Aurelius
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To: Architect
I'm leaving on a business trip and I'm afraid that I do not have the time to continue. I'll be back on the weekend. It in the meantime, thanks for the conversation. It's been fun.

Yes, I should be working too. Have a good trip.

160 posted on 01/15/2002 10:03:10 AM PST by Logophile
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To: ctdonath2
he does not experience the street-level crime of the anonymous thugs robbing & slaying

Good description of the government, by the way.


161 posted on 01/15/2002 4:35:26 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Logophile
"...the state is an anti-social organization, originating in conquest and concerned only with confiscating production.... There are two ways of making a living, Nock explained. One is the economic means, the other the political means. The first consists of the application of human effort to raw materials so as to bring into being things that people want; the second is the confiscation of the rightful property of others....

"The state is that group of people, who having got hold of the machinery of compulsion, legally or otherwise, use it to better their circumstances; that is the political means." Nock would hasten to explain that the state consists not only of politicians, but also those who make use of the politicians for their own ends; that would include those we call pressure groups, lobbyists and all who wangle special privileges out of the politicians. All the injustices that plague "advanced" societies, he maintained, are traceable to the workings of the state organizations that attach themselves to these societies."


162 posted on 01/16/2002 8:00:32 AM PST by Aurelius
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