My politics are a bit... Different. Though I am happy enough to participate in the political process (for much the same reason that fish swim in water), the State has always seemed to me to be coercive at best and inherently illegitimate at worst.
Consider that even as fine a document as the United States Constitution is effectively a contract you never signed, but are nevertheless bound by; while the other party to the contract, the Federal government, consistently finds loopholes, bends, or simply ignores the restrictions supposedly set upon it by that same contract. While this behavior is often (but not always) more polite, less bloody and better-justified than that of, say, a ravaging barbarian horde or a Chicago crime mob, at the heart of it there is no difference: they will do as they please with your life, liberty and property -- and you'll just have to play along. Sure, you can object and the odds are a lot better for you under an honest government than against Visigoths or Capone's gang, but you're still most likely going to lose. There is an inherent problem in government of any sort: if it's big enough to get anything done, it's big enough to crush you.
Because of having reached this conclusion, I call myself an anarchist. Until somebody trots out a magic solution to keeping the individual safe from an entity that makes the laws, collects the taxes, operates the courts and runs the police forces, jails and gallows, the State -- any State -- is simply a collection of thugs with clubs who have learned to eat with silverware and say "please" and "thank you" while they steal from you. That they can do it under the color of law -- some "law" the dimwits, drunks and demagogues elected by a slim majority of your supposed peers have decided to enact -- is nothing more than a slick paint-job over bad Bondo.
Still, it's what we've got, and so I play along with this business of elections and campaigns, even lending a hand; given a set of very bad choices, I'll still opt for the least bad. (As others have pointed out, bad as a representative republic may be, every other system of government is worse)
How does this apply to "lines in the sand?" It's simple. As far as I'm concerned, all governments cross my "line" on Day One. But governments are not like a single baddie confronting one in an alley; you cannot simply shoot them when they try to do you harm. Life can become very inconvenient for you if you even try. So in another sense, I don't have a line in the sand at all. Government, it seems to me, is not a pack of wolves howling at your door, but a flood; and the question is not "How many wolves can you shoot?" but "How long can you stay afloat?"
This is the "anarchism" that leaves me sidelined in the "Three-Percenter" vs. "Prgamatist" debate: a sense that most of our arguments, heartfelt and well-reasoned though they are, come down to fleas arguing on the back of an elephant. Hey, as long as the beast doesn't go tryin' to scratch the itch, we'll be okay -- and if it does, which side you were on won't matter.
He Worked On A Starship
1 month ago