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InvisibleEvolving
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We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen!
    #2695488 - 05/18/04 12:19 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen!
by Gene Callahan - May 18, 2004

I have noticed that people often attempt to justify the existence of the State by bringing up some place or some activity where there was little or no government at work and pointing out that, at some point, something bad happened. For example, in reviewing The Outlaw Sea by William Langewiesche, in Sunday's (5/16/2004) NY Times, Nathaniel Philbrick offers a couple of examples of such "reasoning." He describes the sea as a zone of "anarchy" with "almost no regulation" by governments. Then he describes two severe mishaps suffered by ocean-going vessels, one of which "released 26,000 tons of molasses into the Bay of Biscay." (Can you imagine how much trouble those fish had getting their mouths unstuck?) "There you are," the reader is clearly supposed to conclude, "not enough government involvement, and next thing you know, something bad happened."

One of the incidents cited by Philbrick occurred in 1994, the other in 2001. I suppose the reader should be imagining that they were two of the, oh, ten or twenty ships to venture out to sea during that period. And surely, while absorbing Philbrick's sage lesson, he is not supposed to think of transportation by motor vehicle, an arena where the government builds and maintains the roads, regulates the construction of the vehicles, licenses the operators, creates tomes of laws as to how the activity is to be conducted, and sends out swarms of its agents to ensure its dictates are followed, but that is characterized by daily carnage, horrible traffic snarls, terrible road conditions, and frequent, unanticipated delays costing travelers many hours.

Philbrick also warns of "the notion that terrorists are learning to exploit the opportunities offered by the sea." In 2001, he mentions, it was suspected "that a ship containing a large chemical bomb was on its way to London." Nothing happened and no such ship was tracked down, so here we have a case where there was not enough government involvement, and something bad might have happened.  Again, I assume we aren't supposed to recall that when something really, really bad did happen, it involved the extensively regulated airline industry.

But Philbrick is hardly alone in forwarding such arguments. When I mentioned to a friend of mine that I am an anarchist, he brought up the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911, which killed 146 women: not enough government, and something bad happened.  Certainly it was a horrible event, making any of the tragedies caused by governments, such as the Armenian genocide, the Ukrainian famine, the rape of Nanking, the Bataan death march, the Holocaust, the fire-bombing of Dresden, the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Vietnam War, and the killing fields of Cambodia, pale in comparison. The logic is flawless: when a private business accidentally kills 146 people, we need to increase the power of the government, an entity that deliberately kills millions.

I have sometimes encountered a variation on the "something bad might happen" argument that is even more puzzling than the standard form: the government was involved in some events, and something bad happened, so we need the government or else that bad thing might happen.  You might think that no one could even formulate such an obvious absurdity, so I will give you two real examples.

The first one came up when a friend of mine mentioned that he was skeptical that the American entry into World War II was justified. The person to whom he said that sputtered in response: "And what? We were supposed to just let six million Jews die?" My friend was stopped dead in his tracks, utterly unable to grapple with a line of reasoning that seemed to run: "The US government entered World War II, and six million Jews died, so the US government had to enter the war, or else six million Jews would have died, who did die anyway."

Similarly, when I told a person with whom I was conversing that I believe government is unnecessary, he asked me, "Well, would you rather have governments or terrorists?" He really seemed to believe he had presented me with a stark alternative: do away with government, as I was suggesting, and we'll have a world where people fly airplanes into skyscrapers, bring down large buildings with car bombs, and strap explosives to their bodies, then blow themselves up on a bus, killing scores of innocent passengers. Jeez, when you put it that way, I guess we'd really better keep government around, so we can live in a nice, safe world where none of those things ever happen.

The fact that otherwise intelligent people put forward such nonsense demonstrates just how thoroughly the State has done its job of brainwashing ? oops, I mean educating ? its subjects as to the dire consequences they will face should they try getting along without it.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineMetaShroom
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Evolving]
    #2695662 - 05/18/04 01:21 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Great article :thumbup:


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Evolving]
    #2695772 - 05/18/04 01:50 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I remember one thing we were taught in my archaeology class is that the state has a vested interest in making people believe that they cannot live without the state.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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OfflineTao
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Evolving]
    #2696109 - 05/18/04 03:10 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Bad logic :thumbdown:

The state has dominion within its boundaries in order to try to prevent its citizens from infringing on each other's rights. If and when those rights are infringed upon, the state tries to deal out justice in order to discourage future occurences. 

In international relations, there is no international governing body (i doubt i have to argue why the UN is not a true one).  Thus, its a state of anarchy and thus you get almost every single atrocity between nations that you listed (the only other atrocities I can think of that went unpunished are ones in non-democratic countries, which i think most people agree are bad and lead to atrocities on its own people)


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen! [Re: Evolving]
    #2696158 - 05/18/04 03:17 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Without effective organistation bad things probabaly will happen, especially when large groups of people exist together with similar sets of goals. However, over organisation probabaly has a detrimental effect as does under organisation. How to strike the happy medium? Thats the pronblem.


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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Anonymous

Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: GazzBut]
    #2696208 - 05/18/04 03:23 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

people will organize themselves as best as possible when the government ensures that their relationships and transactions remain free from force.


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OfflineMetaShroom
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Tao]
    #2696209 - 05/18/04 03:23 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

TaoTeChing said:
Bad logic :thumbdown:

The state has dominion within its boundaries in order to try to prevent its citizens from infringing on each other's rights. If and when those rights are infringed upon, the state tries to deal out justice in order to discourage future occurences. 





But thats the point of the article - the state utterly fails to do what it is supposed to, and creates further negative consequences through it's failings.

Quote:


In international relations, there is no international governing body (i doubt i have to argue why the UN is not a true one). Thus, its a state of anarchy and thus you get almost every single atrocity between nations that you listed (the only other atrocities I can think of that went unpunished are ones in non-democratic countries, which i think most people agree are bad and lead to atrocities on its own people)




Anarchy means absence of government, not the absence of a government of governments.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: ]
    #2696364 - 05/18/04 03:54 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

when the government ensures that their relationships and transactions remain free from force.




But how do we stop the clever and the greedy taking advantage? Lets not pretend that isnt a problem eh?


--------------------
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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: GazzBut]
    #2696378 - 05/18/04 03:57 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

GazzBut said:
But how do we stop the clever and the greedy taking advantage?



By keeping government and economy separate, except in cases where the clever and greedy initiate force against others.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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OfflineMetaShroom
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: GazzBut]
    #2696399 - 05/18/04 04:03 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

GazzBut said:
But how do we stop the clever and the greedy taking advantage? Lets not pretend that isnt a problem eh?




It is a big problem in our current society, however in a stateless society where greed is not rewarded as it is now, it would be less of a problem.


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Anonymous

Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: GazzBut]
    #2696662 - 05/18/04 04:41 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

But how do we stop the clever and the greedy taking advantage? Lets not pretend that isnt a problem eh?

what do you mean by that?


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OfflineFrankieJustTrypt
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Tao]
    #2696725 - 05/18/04 04:48 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

The state has dominion within its boundaries in order to try to prevent its citizens from infringing on each other's rights. If and when those rights are infringed upon, the state tries to deal out justice in order to discourage future occurences.

There are already, and have been, natural consequences for infringing others rights. This is good public relations spin to justify monopolization of force.


--------------------
If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.


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Anonymous

Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2696739 - 05/18/04 04:51 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

natural consequences?


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InvisibleEvolving
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: GazzBut]
    #2696811 - 05/18/04 05:00 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

How do we keep the clever, greedy, power seekers, those with bad judgement, and/or the just plain nuts from wielding powers through the state apparatus? This is a very important question, realizing that the state grants its power holders a legal monopoly on the initiation of force and is of the nature that those holding it's power will tend to try increasing the power controlled through it.

Democracy? Ever read Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds or any newspapers reports describing the madness of group actions or do you watch the nightly news?

A Republic? The tool of demagogues.

Communism? Take a look at history.

Even when we replace all the players in the state structure, we are still left with the psychological elevation and seduction of it's power. History shows that once people feel the intoxication of such power, they are not very likely to give it up without objections, oftentimes of an extreme or even violent nature.

Maybe, just maybe, the only sure way is to remove and keep as much power out of the hands of the state as possible. Carried to it's logical conclusion, this would mean the dissolution of the state.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineFrankieJustTrypt
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: ]
    #2697032 - 05/18/04 05:29 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

What would you do if someone stole your bread? (For whatever reason you want)


--------------------
If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Evolving]
    #2697135 - 05/18/04 05:41 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Democracy? Ever read Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds or any newspapers reports describing the madness of group actions or do you watch the nightly news?






Nice try but democracy and mob psychology are not comparable. The madness of crowds you talk about happens in an instant and more than likely is mostly caused by the physical proximity of the participants. I dont know of any mob psychology occuring over a prolonged period of time where the participants are non local, do you?

a question for you: we dissolve the state...so what? people will still form into groups, it is our nature. How do we stop the clever and the greedy from taking advantage?


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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Anonymous

Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2697195 - 05/18/04 05:48 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

What would you do if someone stole your bread?

what do you mean?

maybe i'd try to get it back.

there is not a sufficient "natural" deterrent against those who would initiate force. if there was, politics would be a moot point. government would not exist.


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InvisibleEvolving
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Re: We Need the State? Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: GazzBut]
    #2697447 - 05/18/04 06:16 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

GazzBut said:
Nice try but democracy and mob psychology are not comparable.



Democracy can be an exercise in mob psychology, what do you think advertising for political campaigns works on many times? Do you think propaganda makes no use of mob psychology?

Quote:

The madness of crowds you talk about happens in an instant and more than likely is mostly caused by the physical proximity of the participants.



Not so, read about Tulip Mania and The South Sea Bubble.

Quote:

I dont know of any mob psychology occuring over a prolonged period of time where the participants are non local, do you?



See above and from more recent history, consider the rise of Adolph Hitler, consider the 'dot com bubble' and consider the popular political support for the war in Iraq.

Quote:

a question for you: we dissolve the state...so what? people will still form into groups, it is our nature. How do we stop the clever and the greedy from taking advantage?



The point is not that greed and power lust of the clever will cease to exist, but that the state allows greed and power to take on dimensions dwarfing anything ever experienced in the private sector. The largest mass murders in history were and are carried out by STATES. The greatest thefts in history were and are carried out by STATES. The sorry part is that states and the underlying philosophies used to justify their inhumanity are quite often forgiven because of stated motivations, whereas the accidents of private actors receive full condemnation, even though more often than not there is no intent to harm anyone. In other words, there is a blatant double standard. Those who claim their actions are for some 'greater good' such as 'society' or the nation are given almost carte blanche for horrendous results from intentional though 'misguided' actions, while those whose actions are for a profit and unintentionally harm others are considered by many to be the greater evil. This makes no sense.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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InvisibleCJay
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Re: We Need the State… Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: Evolving]
    #2697569 - 05/18/04 06:35 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

the state is an absolute waste of time. It is community which binds people, and in a community undivided by the state and a world divided into states community could flourish.
Legalise nature in all it's forms. Allow people to be free. Alow ideas to be free. Unmanipulated by the meglomaniacs we would soon come into flight like eagles on the wing.

oh and if someone took my bread, well I'd fugheddabahdit

heh heh


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: We Need the State… Otherwise, Something Bad Might Happen [Re: CJay]
    #2697617 - 05/18/04 06:42 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

oh and if someone took my bread, well I'd fugheddabahdit



You'd be pretty fucking hungry then. Even if the thief didn't come back, his friends and anyone else who heard some pussy was allowing his bread to be stolen would come looking for you.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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