Who Owns You?

The issue comes down to whether the individual is viewed as a private person or as public property: the former has no obligation to the community to be or stay healthy; the latter does.

Virtually everything the Founding Fathers sought to achieve by separating church and state has been undone by the apostles of modern medicine, whose zeal for creating a therapeutic state has remained unopposed by politicians, priests, professionals, journalists, civil libertarians, and the public.

–Thomas Szasz

Many people have legitimate complaints against the Food and Drug Administration. For example, during its long history, the FDA has delayed the marketing of badly needed drugs and medical devices, leading to unnecessary pain and death. Excessive bureaucratic requirements for testing have made drugs more expensive than they would have been otherwise. And, as I’ve detailed elsewhere, its regulation of tobacco and nicotine interferes with people’s enjoyment of those products.

I want to suggest, however, such isolated complaints fail to go to the heart of the matter. The problem is not this or that regulation. Nor is the problem even the FDA itself. The root problem is the government’s claim to jurisdiction over so-called “public health.” In the United States, once Congress assumed this power and created myriad regulatory agencies to exercise it, the door was opened to the kinds of mischief that Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) placed under the label “the Therapeutic State.” All manner of interference with individual freedom can be and has been presented in the name of safeguarding public health. It’s a Pandora’s box.

The ultimate question is: who owns you? The answer will determine who is to be in charge of health.

The courts have routinely affirmed that the government has a “substantial interest” in the “health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.” In other words, citizens are public property. It’s time that this currently uncontroversial premise was questioned.

The modern state’s “substantial interest” in the physical and mental welfare of its citizens is an echo of the pre-liberal era, when the sovereign was seen in part as the father and custodian of the physical and spiritual welfare of his subjects. Paternalism served the interests of the sovereign, of course: he needed healthy taxpayers and soldiers. But the relationship was bigger than that.

The liberal revolutions of the 18th century did not fully push aside that model of governance, and many vestiges of the old regime have remained. Whatever the rationalization, whatever the ostensible basis of authority, the state was (and is) about taboos and social control. Of course, the form changed — church and state have been more or less separated — but in many ways the substance has been unchanged. The power of state-related clergymen was succeeded by the power of state-related medical men (including psychiatrists) and putative scientists. As the theological state receded, the therapeutic state advanced. Illness (including so-called mental illness) came to play the role in public policy that sin once played. Health stands in public life where salvation once stood. Treatment is the modern way of redemption. The burning of witches was succeeded by, for example, the confinement in madhouses of people who had committed no crimes. Electroshock and lobotomy replaced the rack and thumbscrew. The pattern repeated itself in the United States; state governments involved themselves in public health from an early date, followed by the federal government. Drug dealers and users became the modern scapegoats who had to be cast out (imprisoned) to protect the public’s health, although drugs entered people’s bodies by volitional acts. (On the resemblance between the theological and therapeutic states, see the works of Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist who made a career demonstrating the unappreciated parallels. Links to many articles are here.)

In the modern age, Szasz wrote, “To resolve human problems [e.g., “bad habits”], all we need to do is define them as the symptoms of diseases and, presto, they become maladies remediable by medical measures” — more precisely, political-medical measures. Doctors, having been deputized by the state, wield power they could have not obtained otherwise. (The head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, is a physician.) Thus we have (to use another phrase from Szasz, “the medicalization of everyday life.” For example, any disapproved behavior that anyone engages in repeatedly is branded an “addiction,” which is in turn defined as a disease, as though calling behavior, which has reasons not causes, a disease were not a category mistake. Never mind that metaphorical, or mythical, diseases are not real diseases. (Are substances or people habit-forming?) To say that an ascribed disease is a myth is not to deny the behavior or even to deny that the behavior may a problem for either the actor or the people around him. As the philosopher Gilbert Ryle wrote, “A myth is, of course, not a fairy story. It is the presentation of facts belonging to one category in the idioms belonging to another. To explode a myth is accordingly not to deny the facts but to re-allocate them.”)

It is in this light that we should view the FDA and other government medical and scientific entities. They are part of a massive apparatus of social control, making their personnel agents of social control, not truth-seeking. Whether the FDA, for example, is a friend of industry or an adversary (at different times it’s been both), the public is ill-served precisely because the right of individual self-determination in a free market, including tort- and fraud-redress procedures, is undermined by prohibitions and restrictions. It is also ill-served by the monopolistic effects of centralized political authority over science and medicine. (On the FDA’s growth, see this.) Free competition is the universal solvent because facts emerge through rivalrous activity, both economic and intellectual.

Many people don’t see things that way, of course, and so government has increasingly controlled people’s choices with respect to health and science. On the basis of the fiction that the free market has failed in these realms — when has it actually been tried? — politicians, bureaucrats, and deputized practitioners have gained power. A gain in political power, Albert Jay Nock taught us, necessarily means a loss in “social power,” that is, self-control by individuals and their voluntary associations (including families). If self-control is denied in one area of life, we should not be surprised to see it fade from other areas of life. Today, the battle cry is “Medicare for all!” But if “the public” (the state) is to pay for everyone’s medical care collectively, won’t the public’s putative representatives want to impose restrictions on individuals’ risky behavior if for no other reason than to minimize the hit to the government’s budget? What then becomes of what’s left of individual freedom?

The coercion exercised by the government-medical complex is routinely defended as being for people’s own good: in this view, they are compelled to do only what they really wish to do but cannot because of addiction, mental illness, etc. To Szasz, this is “the authoritarian, religious-paternalistic outlook on life,” to which he responded: “I maintain that the only means we possess for ascertaining that a man wants to [for example] stop smoking more than he wants to enjoy smoking is by observing whether he stops or continues to smoke. Moreover, it is irresponsible for moral theorists to ignore that coercive sanctions aimed at protecting people from themselves are not only unenforceable but create black markets and horrifying legal abuse.”

Szasz added: “The issue comes down to whether the individual is viewed as a private person or as public property: the former has no obligation to the community to be or stay healthy; the latter does.”

We know how the “public health” lobby views the matter. When it panics over how much smokers “cost the economy” in lost productivity (through sick days and shorter lives), the lobby is proclaiming that Americans are indeed public property. How dare they enjoy themselves and risk their health at the expense of the economy, the people, the nation? (The Nazis and Bolsheviks followed this idea all the way.) In contrast, quaint classical liberals believe “the economy” — that is, the institutional framework for free exchange — exists to serve people. When the “public health” lobby advocates coercion for a person’s own good, in reality it does not speak of treatment and cure but of assault and battery — and perhaps torture. A medical relationship without consent is like a sexual relationship without consent. But few people understand that.

Perhaps sensing the flaw in the case for coercion based on preventing harm to self, much medical coercion is offered in the name of protecting others. There is a grain of truth here, of course. People can carry deadly communicable diseases. (Whether the state’s centralized bureaucracy is needed or competent to deal with this is another question.) But as the public-choice thinkers point out, state officials won’t be satisfied with such a narrow mission as protecting people from such diseases. Public-health jobs will tend to attract people dedicated to reforming other people’s “vices.” Inevitably, they will push the boundaries to acquire more power, money, staff, and prestige — all dedicated to breaking our “bad habits.” The alleged threat from second-hand smoke is in no way analogous to the immediate threat from a communicable disease. The former can easily be dealt with through contract and other voluntary arrangements but that doesn’t stop the public-health zealots from working to outlaw smoking in bars, restaurants, and even tobacco shops.

But what about the children? In a free society, families are responsible for raising children to be autonomous adults. Of course, this does not always happen, part of the reason being the government’s own obstacles, such as rotten schools for low-income kids. At any rate, history makes clear that government crusades, say to keep adolescents from doing “adult” things — such as drinking, smoking, and now vaping — only adds to their allure and has horrendous unintended consequences. Fruit is harder to resist when it is forbidden. Meanwhile, adults find themselves harassed — in the name of protecting the children — as they go about enjoying themselves.

Would life be perfect if “public health” were left to free and consenting adults in the free market? No, of course not. But a real-world free society should not be compared to an unreal and unrealizable utopia of all-wise, all-knowing, and all-good “public servants” who have only your health and welfare in mind. Rather, it should be compared to the real world of fallible, morally flawed, egotistical, self-serving, and centralized politicians and bureaucrats whose worldview is one where they give orders and you obey. Markets — which is to say, people in both profit-seeking and non-profit capacities — are capable of producing reliable consumer information and guidance, not to mention certifying the quality of products. They do it every day. Governments, after all, are comprised of nothing but human beings.

“Those who would give up essential liberty,” Benjamin Franklin might have said, “to purchase a little temporary health, deserve neither liberty nor health.”

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The FDA’s Assault on Tobacco Consumers, Part 3

Early one morning last December, Jeff Gracik was heading to his southern California home garage-workshop where he makes his living when he heard a loud, hurried knock on his front door. Thinking it might be a rushed UPS driver, he quickly opened the door. But it wasn’t UPS. Standing on his doorstep were three badge-flashing inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They had come to inspect Jeff’s business.

Just what is Jeff’s business? Does he produce food? No. Does he produce drugs? No again. So why the unannounced visit by FDA inspectors?

Jeff makes pipes for tobacco pipe smokers. He doesn’t make tobacco, mind you, which (alas) Congress empowered the FDA to control, but pipes, most of which are made from wood (most commonly briar, but other varieties too), materials such as acrylic and vulcanized rubber for the mouthpieces, and wood stains, which Jeff buys but does not make.

In its wisdom, the FDA has deemed pipes “tobacco products,” a category of things it regulates under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) of 2009. Forgive the bureaucratese I’m about to shovel your way, but an FDA document states (pp. 257-58):

“The definition of ‘tobacco product’ … includes all components, parts, and accessories of tobacco products (except for raw materials other than tobacco used in manufacturing a component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product). FDA interprets components and parts of a tobacco product to include any assembly of materials intended or reasonably expected: 1) to alter or affect the tobacco product’s performance, composition, constituents or characteristics; or 2) to be used with or for the human consumption of a tobacco product. Both e-cigarettes and pipes meet this definition.”

You may find it odd that the FDA chooses not to regulate lighters, matches, ashtrays, humidors, and the like, but it has its reason: it deems such things to be accessories, not components and parts. Accessories, the FDA says, “do not contain tobacco, are not derived from tobacco, and do not affect or alter the performance, composition, constituents, or characteristics of a tobacco product.” Since pipes do those things, they are deemed regulated components rather than unregulated accessories.

Who knew the FDA personnel had the wisdom to make such fine distinctions?

Note the first word I emphasized a couple of paragraphs earlier: interprets. The FDA admits it has no explicit statutory authority to regulate things not made or derived from tobacco even if they can be used to consume tobacco. Did the members of Congress who wrote and voted for the TCA (which amended the FD&C) deem non-tobacco products such as wooden pipes to be tobacco products? It appears not. The legislation states that the “term ‘tobacco product’ means any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product (except for raw materials other than tobacco used in manufacturing a component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product).”

The word including would seem to limit the covered components, parts, and accessories to things “made or derived from tobacco,” of which the briar root Jeff Gracik uses is not an example. Briar comes from the root of the flowering plant called Erica Arborea, or tree heath.

To reinforce my point, note that the word pipe appears in the TCA only as a qualifier for the word tobacco. The statute’s authors wanted to assure that tobacco is understood to include pipe tobacco and not just cigars and cigarettes. But the legislation contains not one single reference to pipes per se. So Congress apparently did not intend to authorize the FDA to control anything other than tobacco or things derived from it, even things that are likely to be used to consume tobacco.

But no matter. The FDA has assumed the power to deem non-A to be A. Logic and common sense be damned.

At any rate, three FDA inspectors (two of them trainees) turned up unannounced at Jeff Gracik’s door to say that they had the authority under the TCA to enter his premises — right then — and inspect his home workshop. Actually, he had “consented” to inspections once every two years when he registered with the FDA as a pipe maker. Jeff had learned earlier that under the law, retailers could not sell his pipes unless he was registered, so he allowed a retailer to register him, saving him the trouble of doing the paperwork himself. He had no choice: he earns his living as a full-time pipe maker and wants to keep doing so.

Jeff, who is 39, started making pipes in 2003. He sold his first one a year later and has since built a sterling reputation among pipe collectors. He makes 100 to 125 pipes a year — which sell for $800 to $3,000 apiece — under the name J. Alan Pipes. Jeff is an artisan; he makes pipes one at a time by hand. Each is unique, a thing of beauty, a dazzling collaboration of nature and human being. He and brother Jeremy have a second, lower-priced line of partially machine-made pipes under the name Alan Brothers.

Needless to say, Jeff was unaccustomed to having federal agents traipsing around his workshop. “I was so shocked,” he told me. He said the inspectors were friendly but firm — and apparently unsure what they were supposed to be doing. This might have been their first venture into unknown territory. (Other pipe makers are being similarly visited.) The inspectors started asking questions “most of which were not really relevant to pipe making. Things like: tell us about all the materials you use. Tell us about where they’re from. Do you have receipts for where they’re from? We need the names for all the distributors for all your materials. We need to know exactly the ingredients with which they’re treated; so, for instance, briar, how is it treated? Of course, I’m an artisan. I don’t have those kinds of records.”

That was just the beginning. “They had me demonstrate how to make a pipe. So I had to take a block of briar and chuck it in my lathe…. And as the day went on, they became more and more interested in what I was doing.” He said some of their questions suggested they were interested in the potential toxicity of materials and ingredient, but that’s as far as that went. They tested no materials or stains and took no sample with them. Jeff was not told to submit anything for approval.

The visit lasted six and a half hours, as if this small businessman had nothing better to do than entertain a group of FDA inspectors. “I got nothing done that day,” he said.

“They wanted to see written procedures,” he explained. “How do you do A to Z?” He told them that as a craftsman and unlike a factory, he has no written procedures. As the hours went by he sensed he was almost gaining sympathy from the inspectors.

Jeff said he did his best to comply with all requests, including requests for documents going back to 2006. “If they shut me down because I failed to answer a question to their satisfaction,” he said, “then my kids don’t eat and we foreclose on our house.”

For the record, the TCA states that regulations “shall not impose requirements unduly burdensome to a tobacco product manufacturer or importer, taking into account the cost of complying with such requirements and the need for the protection of the public health ….” Decide for yourself if the FDA obeys that prohibition.

The FDA and those who support government control will point out that even though pipes are not made from tobacco, they are used to consume tobacco. That’s true. But Gracik points out that some people who buy his pipes, which can be as beautiful as any work of art, are collectors who don’t smoke. (Interestingly, his grandmother’s first cousin was Andy Warhol.)

It’s hard to say how many pipe makers we have in America. People connected with the industry and hobby estimate the number of full-timers at 25 to 30, with a few hundred more who make and sell pipes part-time. Jeff is afraid that the thicket of rules could persuade many of them to “throw in the towel.” He says: “It scared the hell out of a lot of pipe makers when we found out we were under this kind of scrutiny.”

The pipe makers certainly could use a trade association to protect them. But Gracik says they are, unsurprisingly, individualists and so discussions about forming an association have gotten nowhere.

So the FDA harasses — even if it’s with a smile — small-scale artisans who scratch out livings working by hand with wood and other harmless materials. To what end? It’s all part of a larger puritanical campaign to harass peaceful Americans who enjoy consuming tobacco via cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco and using non-tobacco nicotine e-cigarettes.

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits,” Mark Twain said.

Using tobacco is not risk-free, of course, but most things in life are not risk-free. In the real world, risk can be managed and minimized but never eliminated, and in a free society, individuals have the right to decide for themselves how to go about doing it.

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By Excluding The Good Guys

One of the justifications most commonly used by borderists for property rights-violating, violent government “border security”, including theft-funded walls and such, is that it will make it harder for people to cross, and any “friction” applied to the process will reduce the total numbers of people crossing. As a result, they claim to believe this will reduce the total number of bad guys getting into America.

Theirs is a faulty argument.

As can be plainly demonstrated with drug prohibition.

Prohibition makes it harder and more dangerous to make and sell politically incorrect drugs. A clear result is that it severely restricts the number of honest “mom and pop” stores entering the drug market. This leaves the market (and yes, there is a market) open for the worst of the bad guys to be the main sellers and producers.

This is not an unforeseeable surprise. It is an inevitable result of adding “friction” to the drug market: more aggression and theft, more fraud and quality problems, and higher prices.

If border security makes it harder, in a similar way, for everyone who wants to get to America, won’t it ensure that mainly bad guys, who are desperate enough to take the risks, will cross into America?

I think it does.

Who’s going to have the stamina to try harder? The beaten down dad who just wants to get his kids to a safer, more prosperous place? Or the life-long archator who doesn’t care who he stomps to get where he wants to go?

You can’t reasonably justify more statism by pointing to the results of current statism.

Let people exercise their right of association, and protect their property rights (and band together to voluntarily, in unanimous consent, protect the property rights of others, including the property stolen by “taxation”) and the “problem” will shrivel away.

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Immoral Walls and Dishonest Manipulation

Sarcasm only works for me when you don’t demonstrate dishonesty while attempting it.

I listen to Scott Adams’ “periscopes” to keep an eye on what some of those on the pro-government side are thinking. He’s right about half the time– when he isn’t in his pro-government box, unable to see beyond its horizon. But sometimes it amazes me how dishonestly he frames an issue. I wonder if others notice.

Of course, since he is a trained hypnotist, it may be intentional on his part; an attempt to manipulate the opinions of his listeners. I don’t criticize him for that– it’s what I hope to do with my blog. But I hope to do it honestly, without deception. I am not trying to be sneaky about it.

A day or so ago he was mocking Nancy Pelosi’s absurd contention that “walls are immoral“.

I agree conditionally; walls are not, in and of themselves, immoral. Unless your particular morality is somehow anti-wall, which I seriously doubt. Morals being what they are (“situational ethics”) I can see how someone might have a set of morals which doesn’t allow for walls, but it’s not likely. It’s more likely to be political posturing.

The real question is whether or not walls are ethical. For simply being walls. The answer is: walls are ethically neutral.

You can almost always use your own money/resources to wall off your own property from adjacent property without any ethical problem.

Or you can help wall off “collective property” in the very rare cases where you have part-ownership in some actual collective property and there is unanimous consent to build and fund the wall.

There is an ethical problem if you wall off property which doesn’t belong to you, or if you force others to pay for a wall they don’t want to pay for.

If you wall off a neighbor’s property a few doors down, you have unethically built a wall.

If you force someone to help pay for a wall around your own property, you have unethically built a wall.

You could say those particular walls, under those circumstances, are unethical walls. Probably even immoral walls.

“Government land”– dishonestly referred to as “public land” in the same way kinderprisons are called “public schools”– is not yours to wall off. It isn’t true “collective property”, and there is not unanimous consent. Nor does it really belong to the government. Everything government claims it either stole from the rightful owner or bought (and maintains) with stolen or counterfeited money. A thief does not own the stolen goods he possesses, so government can not rightfully own anything. Any wall financed with stolen money is not an ethical wall.

A “border” wall fails on both accounts. No matter how “necessary” you believe it to be. It can not be done ethically under government.

You can sarcastically mock the truth, but the truth doesn’t change to suit your wishes. Not even if you are a president or Scott Adams.

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On Capitalism III

Noam Chomsky and other left anarchist types criticize capitalism and wage labor by arguing that workers can’t give valid consent because their alternative to working is starvation. Nevermind that employers are not the force creating the prospect of starvation (that’s Mother Nature’s doing), but doesn’t this criticism apply equally to every other arrangement? Can workers in a commune or syndicate give consent if their alternative to working is also starvation? It seems to me that everyone’s alternative to either working or leeching is starvation. As such, decrying wage labor because of less than desirable alternatives that exist for everyone is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. And before you say that capitalists are just leeching off of workers, do your homework on the roles of capitalists and entrepreneurs in the economy. You might be surprised by what you find. And that’s today’s two cents.

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A Crippling Lack of Imagination and Problem Solving

Here’s one of those (thankfully, rare) long reply posts. Someone had a problem with me not liking socialism/government and responded with a request for answers (link). So I did what I could.

“…paint me a REALISTIC portrait of a world without government

I’d love to, but I can no more do that than the first bully who proposed governing others could have painted the skeptics a realistic portrait of what today’s world would look like with governments. I’m OK with not being psychic and having some unknowns.

I do not believe that humans are designed to operate well in such environments.

And yet, we do. I don’t need anyone governing me, and I seriously doubt you need anyone governing you. You know the best course for your own life… or at least many orders of magnitude better than what some bureaucrat believes is the best for you.

“Though, historically, that ‘government’ might have been a tribal leader, we have always had government.

Only if you believe leaders equal government. I don’t. Leaders can lead without theft and aggression. If I choose to follow someone without them threatening me, I’m not being governed. If I can stop following that person without being attacked, ostracized, or murdered, then he’s not governing. The difference is consent. I do not consent to be governed, but I have consented to follow someone for a specific, limited purpose several times in my life.

[The other anarchist’s] argument always seemed to boil down to ‘the people’ will spontaneously reward good actors and punish evil doers.

Do you continue to do business with someone who cheats you or sells you poisoned food? Or, would you go elsewhere and tell people what the bad actor did to you? Would you go do business with someone you had been warned about?

Though the mechanism for knowing who was good (and the intrinsic generosity of The People) was never established.

So how do you know who to v*te for if you can’t know who is good? Or does that not matter in making your choice?

How do charities survive even when they have to compete with forced support of government “welfare” sucking up the available money? Even people who support welfare programs do it because they are generous; just misguided into believing they can be generous with stuff which doesn’t belong to them. Sounds like evidence that people are intrinsically generous.

Conversely, a boycott only works when you know who is actually responsible (for example, how do you know who littered their trash in front of your house?) and have the capacity to punish them (if I sell widgets to another community – you have no ability to boycott me).”

You don’t have to be certain to shun someone (boycott). Because I’m not initiating force nor violating their property rights, I’m not harming them if I’m mistaken. And it is easy to change course if I discover I’m wrong about who did what.

My next door neighbors litter and throw it into my yard. I haven’t actually seen them (almost!), but the circumstantial evidence is good enough that I shun them. I’m not harming them by shunning them.

I’m not interested in punishing anyone. Self defense and defense of property from an immediate threat, yes, but punishment after the fact. No. I’m not into revenge.

And, if a bad guy is selling his widgets in another community I will tell his potential customers in that community why I am boycotting/shunning him. After that, it is up to them. The internet is a good tool for following bad guys around. In fact, it would be better without governments getting in the way and protecting bad guys from the rightful consequences of their behavior.

I find neither to be credible without an overarching government invested with the power to investigate and punish.

Why do you believe only a government can do that? Why can’t a voluntarily funded, ad hoc group do what you want? If I want to investigate something, and don’t feel capable of doing so myself, I will hire someone to do it for me and when the job is done I can stop paying them. I don’t expect you to be on the hook in perpetuity for something I may never need. And, again, I have no interest in punishing anyone. Do what you want, but not on my behalf.

Further, I do not find it credible that The People will willingly donate sufficient amounts to create public works such as large-scale infrastructure projects.

So you’re saying those things aren’t necessary. Because if they are necessary, and people don’t have the option of robbing their neighbors to pay for it, they’ll chip in or do without. If they are still not willing to fund it, it needs to die.

Nor do I believe that people will factor in their own externalities (oh, yea, I polluted the river, but my portion was only a little bit, and anyway, it’s a problem for those downstream)

When those downstream can seek restitution for your portion of the damage you’ve caused them, you might change your mind. And, in such a society, the tools to discover who added what to a stream will improve– just because of the potential for profit.

Even in the current situation where government protects people from the real consequences of their bad behavior, I do my very best to avoid letting trash blow out of my car on a windy day (which is most days around here) just because that’s not what I want to do to my surroundings. And I pick up massive amounts of litter tossed by those who are less responsible– without asking government to punish them.

Lastly, I ask, how does this society defend itself against an organized aggressor? For example, if the US breaks up into anarchist (or extreme libertarian) communities, what stops the Canadians from taking over?”

What would the Canadians “take over” if there is no government to surrender to them? As it is, all they have to do is make the government surrender and they’ve taken over They can move into the offices, use the “public” records, and easily become the new tyrant. Without a central “authority” to replace it would be much harder. You’d basically have to get each individual to surrender, one at a time. And for what? People who are not brainwashed into paying “taxes” aren’t going to suddenly believe “taxation” is legitimate. They won’t suddenly believe and respect the counterfeit “laws” which the new ruler would try to impose. Plus, they would recognize they have a natural human right (and obligation) to kill– in defense– every government employee they encounter. The only reason people are too scared to do so now is that the “society” around them has been fooled into calling government something other than what it is.

Surely, The People of Bozeman Montana cannot stand up to the Canadian Army. Would it be expected that other city-states would come to its aid?

Again, I doubt they’d ever have to since there would be nothing for Canada to gain, but just hypothetically– I wouldn’t count on city-states, because we are talking about a free society, not a government-infested one. Would individuals come to their aid? Why wouldn’t anyone? Lots of people still sign up for the military without being forced to because they want the excitement of being allowed to shoot people (“the enemy”). I don’t expect that to change.

What makes you think that The People of Tuscaloosa are going to stick their necks out for them?

What makes you think none of them would? The old ads in Soldier of Fortune tell a different story.

And, even banded together, they won’t have the large-scale military to develop and produce tanks and jets and whatnot.

You think all those things will just go away? No one would collect and maintain them in the absence of government? And without a BATFE and other gangs forbidding weapon development, those big scale things might be obsolete soon anyway. In fact, I’d bet on it.

“It would be (roughly) equivalent to the US Army verse the Native Americans – sure they put up a good fight, but the outcome was inevitable.”

Except that the Natives had no concept of the types of weapons (and diseases) the army was using against them. No way to buy or manufacture or invent. Do you think the people of Bozeman would share that disadvantage? I don’t.

Perhaps you can paint the picture better?

I can try, but I’ve discovered over the years that government extremists won’t listen. They want to know exactly how every detail will work out in a free society, with no doubt whatsoever. Something they can’t even do in defense of their own position. What I see in every single case is an astounding lack of ability to think outside their box– lack of imagination and lack of problem-solving skills. But, occasionally I’ll give it a shot, anyway. Just for kicks.

To be sure, it would be nice to live in a world where a crazed orange man does not have access to nuclear weapons and influence over the economy.”

I wouldn’t want anyone having that kind of illegitimate power.

And, sure, the government sucks at its job…

Maybe you are mistaken as to what government sees as its job. I don’t think the “job” is legitimate, but I think government does it well. Like the Mafia.

“…as Mr. Twain said, it is the worst option except for all the others.

That’s the same thing everyone has said about their favorite flavor of government (if Twain actually even said it). It’s a great way to make people give up on looking for a better way. “Sure he beats you, controls you, and sometimes rapes you. He’s the worst husband… except for all the others.” Yeah, that doesn’t work either.

__

Of course then he goes into a long dissertation about how horrible and self-centered people are, not realizing he is negating his own argument. Who does he imagine any government would be made up of? Angels or the people he hates and distrusts?

And another guy describes how nasty people are when they’ve been brainwashed by government, believing this shows how essential government is.

And they get upset when I doubt their intelligence…

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