Good Reasons to Support the State

Sure, I rant about how much I dislike the state. I’m pretty consistent in my belief that power corrupts, and the best way to limit corruption is to limit the concentration of power. The more power is distributed, the less room there is for the corrupt, crony crapitalism we have today.

However, sometimes someone might have a good reason to want to support the state. The state can provide a lot of power, and can be used to do things that would be nearly impossible on a personal scale. Lets go into some examples are the state can be truly useful.

Can you really compete against people who were born with everything given to them on a silver platter?

All of us have insecurities. Its simply part of the human condition, so who can blame you when you look at someone who is successful and think, “How can I compete with that?” Maybe you aren’t attractive, you’ve come to terms with the fact that you are of average intelligence, have a merely average drive to succeed, and just aren’t going to make those big bucks. You are just an average person, and in this world, average just isn’t enough. Your parents aren’t rich, it takes too much money to start a business and no one is going to give a nobody the capital to make it happen.

The best you can hope for is maybe an average wife, a couple of bland kids and let the cycle continue for another rotation. Seems pointless, there is such a thing as the good life — you can see it in other people. But you won’t ever have it. Its just not in the cards for you.

The state can help, it can take a little bit away from those successful people, maybe give a little to you, and their lives will be brought down just a little bit and your life won’t seem so bad in comparison. Its only fair, after all, why should all the success and happiness be concentrated in so few who might have done little to earn it?

You have too many personal responsibilities on your plate already and not enough time to live your own life

Your parents are getting old. Your brother is having hard times. You’ve managed “alright” so that makes this your problem as the responsible one. But you have your own life to live, you were responsible, studied hard and got a decent job to support your lifestyle, why should you be the one who has to take care of these people? You did your part not to be a burden, after all.

Enter the state. Your parents can be taken care of by healthcare, and your brother can go on welfare. Now you can go on and just live your own life without being overly inconvenienced. You wish them the best, of course, and if they really need help, naturally you’ll be there. But who has the time to take care of all these people day in and day out. You did your part, its your right to live your own life the way that you want to without these burdens. You were responsible and took care of yourself already.

Its easier to just let someone else do it all, so why not let them?

There is just so much involved in getting things done! Even in your own every day life, there are so many demands on your time and energy. Who can keep up with it all? Someone has to maintain the roads, keep the power going, manage pensions, keep the buses running, enforce the laws, clean up the streets, remove the garbage, put up traffic signs, remove the snow, make sure it doesn’t cause a flood when the snow melts, etc.

If you had to be involved with organizing all of this in your fleeting moments of free time, how would you ever have time to enjoy life or raise your family? Is it so unreasonable to pay the state some taxes can they can just do all of this for you?

Society and Culture need to be protected

Lets face it, Libertarians don’t have the means to do what needs to be done. They are just comfortable with at least a certain level of chaos. They rarely care what kind of people are around them, so long as they aren’t directly bothered by them, and they have no respect for society and culture. They don’t care if their children won’t grow up in the same culture that you were blessed to have. They don’t care about traditional values.

A nation is its people, and a nation that just lets anyone in is going to lose the fabric that binds it. Traditions exist for a reason: they are time tested values that held people together. Not everyone fits in, and there is no “one size fits all” for a healthy society. Society works because for the most part, we are all walking in the same direction. People who don’t want to do that shouldn’t be welcomed, if they want to benefit from all the great things society offers, they should be willing to participate in its customs.

We need the state to protect all of this wonderful stuff we have, so that our future generations can enjoy all the benefits that we had. We can be honest, not everyone belongs in every society, and not every lifestyle fits in.

Read between the lines.

Picking a Fight with Almost Everyone

People talk about “the Left” and “the Right”. Then they shove Libertarians into “the Right” but I think this is a great error, and something that Libertarians should not put up with, as neither side has any interest in freedom or independence, regardless of what they might say.

Here is the fact of the matter, there is Left, Right and Libertarian. They all push and pull in different directions. What throws people in regards to Libertarianism being on the Right is purely the rhetoric of the Right, but almost never their actions.

Let me attack these particular groups in more detail.

Why I Hate the Left

The Left stands primarily for collectivism, but are actually very exclusive about who gets to be in the collective. They want a specific type of person, with a very specific set of beliefs, and become outraged at the slightest variation of opinion. They claim its for the benefit of everyone, but it invariably is for the benefit of a certain few, and at great cost for everyone else.

Speaking of the USA here, the Left has been historically the prime movers for racism. Behind most laws, most restrictions, the most cases of great injustice — we find the Left. These weren’t the right kind of people for their collective. At the end of the day, all the high talk of morals was a sham to push their political agenda, and people are meant to be used, not empowered, as the very core of collectivism is removal of individual empowerment.

Lets use another example, LGBT people. The Left has been wooing the LGBT community for decades now, but it could not be more clear that they are in fact, merely using them as they do. When the hot items of the day such topics as acceptance, an end to violence against LGBT people and gay marriage, the left was eager to accept the idea that being LGBT was something that someone was simply born like. A person was born LGBT, and that was just the way they were, so prejudice against someones immutable characteristics was morally bankrupt. A statement I find nothing to argue against.

However, when Post Modernism took hold and that became the new path to political power, the previous opinions on the nature of LGBT people was immediately dropped: Now the statement is that everything is merely subjective opinion, even something as basic as gender, and that even ones sex was merely a social construct. This immediately puts being LGBT back into being a choice — exactly where the Right said they always were, and vulnerable to the same persecution they were in the past. They claimed to follow the science when it was convenient, but when it wasn’t, they dismissed it entirely as nothing more than empty subjective truth.

The mainstream Left movements have no problem throwing LGBT people under the bus for political gain. Again, the theme is clear: The Left views people as objects to be used to gain power, and that’s it. They are perfectly happy to say or do anything in that goal, and nothing they say can be trusted.

Why I Hate the Right

The Right primarily seeks stability, which is in itself not a terribly offensive goal. The problem is much the same as the Left, however, in that they are perfectly happy to see people sacrificed for that imagined stability. More then that, they are naturally resistant to any kind of change of the status quo, even when that change is clearly modernization and improvement. In fact, “modernization” as a concept is something they are frequently hostile too — they have no interest in expanding who gets to be part of their vision.

Lets use the LGBT community as an example again. The Right resisted acceptance, marriage and continue to look the other way on violence against LGBT persons because this was an alteration to the status quo, and looks differently from their idea vision of society, which seems to boil down to 1950’s America.

To this day, they uphold 1950’s America as the pinnacle of American society and just look the other way on that fact that LGBT people are treated horribly based upon nothing at all but prejudice. When it became fairly clear that LGBT people were indeed, simply born the way they are, they still reject it out of hand. A common theme with both types of people is that science is great when it supports their opinions, but can simply be disregarded when it doesn’t suit their purpose. Both sides claim to be on the side of science, but neither has any actual interest in the truth.

The justification for suppression of LGBT is simply that in their minds, things were fine the way they were, and since they were not LGBT, what did it matter that some people had to be sacrificed for the greater good? The Right does not care about the individual any more than the Left does. They have their own vision of the perfect utopia, and people who don’t fit in that ideal world can simply be discarded.

Not all that different from the Left, when it comes down to it, the difference is mainly in the details, and who gets sacrificed. In either case, there is a certain type of person who is acceptable, and certain types of people who are undesirables.

Why I Hate My Fellow Libertarians

I bet a lot of people didn’t guess this particular heading was going to happen. But I most certainly do have reason to be frustrated with other Libertarians.

Firstly, Libertarians joke they have plans to take over the world, and then leave you alone. Humorous, but contains not much truth. Libertarians have no plans at all. They simply imagine that they might just magically get their way, some day, and then we’ll see just how great everything will be when the oppressive crush of the government is out of the way. How this is to be achieved, they haven’t the faintest idea, and simply dismiss the question when it comes up. More than this, they simply turn a blind eye to a core belief in their own system: People really aren’t made equal, and some people really can’t manage on their own.

They are prone to being intensely smug about their own abilities, and — I’m sure this will sound familiar by now — are quite willing to sacrifice people who need help for their vision of utopia. In this case, the undesirables are the people who are not naturally capable, the people who need help to make their way in this world. Those people can fall by the wayside, they are irrelevant to the Market, after all.

When criticism of this particularly callous view is brought up, they act as if the only alternative is some kind of Socialism and the great evil of government. The smallest amount of organization of any kind, regardless of scope, its viewed as the creation of a slippery slope which will inevitably lead back to government and then back to square one.

Put bluntly, Libertarians as a whole are self obsessed and have no interest in anyone else, and cannot seem to figure out why this is view is unpopular, and why their beliefs generally remain in the fringes. To them, who cares if someone can’t make it on their own, they would have contributed little to the Market after all, and if you don’t contribute, you don’t have value.

Everyone Sucks

All three major ideologies fail on moral grounds: all three are willing to sacrifice people for what are ultimately nothing more than banal selfish reasons. The Left and Right are happy to sacrifice people who don’t fit their mold, and the Libertarians are simply content with the Law of the Jungle.

All three attack one another with valid criticisms, and all three fail to address any of them. They simply hand-wave them away as unimportant minutia. The Left’s drive for power, the Rights obsession with tradition, and the Libertarians callous behaviour.

To put a finer point on it, until we have a system that doesn’t embrace the sacrifice of people, none of these systems are particularly appealing, and most of them simply regress back into the same Authoritarian regimes we’ve always had.

Things I agree Socialists about

Well, as strange as it sounds there is actually a lot of things I agree with Socialists on. First, “Big Corporations are often bad” and second, “Inequality is a problem”. I’ll talk about each in turn.

So I agree that big corporations are often bad. I very aggressively dislike Google, Twitter, Facebook, I’m distrustful of Amazon, I’m more than a little suspicious of the big oil companies and anyone associated with the Military Industrial Complex. Slightly off topic, but Libertarians in general tend to be strongly anti-war as well, although this might be more well known. I mean there is always a lot of hard ethical questions when it comes to genuinely bad governments abusing or murdering citizens and when intervention might be the correct ethical choice but as a default stance is fair to say that Libertarians in general do not like frivolous war mongering. If you define the Left as leaning towards collectivism, and the Right as leaning towards heirarchy, then I am equally hostile to both, but you wouldn’t call me a centrist either since I don’t occupy any space that many would call moderate.

But to go back to the topic of big corporations, you have to understand what the prime interest of Libertarians in general is that is that I don’t want to be coerced or pressured into doing something that I object to. Now, this would also apply to corporations. The root of all of it is precisely that I aim to do what I please so long as I’m not inflicting harm on anyone, provided of course, a reasonable definition of harm. It doesn’t matter who would attempt to coerce me, I’m just not interested in it happening. The same criticism I have of government I would pose identically to big corporations as well. Essentially, “stay out of my way”.

The primary focus is usually directed at the government because it is generally the government that is the gatekeeper of harm, and violence in particular. Robert Heinlein said very accurately “Violence, the supreme authority from which all others are derived”. Therefore who has the ability to commit violence has the authority. The saying “knowledge is power” is true only sofar as that knowledge can be transmuted into violence.

Corporations on the other hand, rarely have much in the way of violence. Which is why they get less “air time” than government. Also, they simply have less power to influence me. I can, at least some of the time, opt out of business with a corporation but I never, ever have the ability to opt out of government. But to go on, I think a huge part of the corruption of Capitalism is that there is a government that can be influenced, or people within that government that can be outright purchased. My proposal at least in this regard is that the more limited the government the less ability it has to sell out.

A brief note, I did just say “the corruption of Capitalism”, and I think that may have got the attention of many Socialists as well — yes I do agree that Capitalism has a weakness when it comes to possiblity of corruption. So when you talk about how things should work you need to invent a way to limit that weakness — some would suggest removing Capitalism entirely but I think that’s beyond the scope of this discussion and certainly we have historical examples of that happening. So let me leave that for another time and focus on making Capitalism more robust in its implementations. Socialists have their theories on how best to do that, my theory is limiting their influence on government. Because Corporations rarely if ever have any ability to project significant physical violence their actual authority will always be limited. I would ask Socialists, “Where do you draw the line on when a business is too powerful?” because I don’t know either. The definition would have to be legal in nature, and extremely precise. Should this be defined, we might agree on it, where we go from there likely would likely vary. But common ground shouldn’t be overlooked when it is found.

I want you to be honest here, when the silicon valley Big companies came for someone, it wasn’t Socialists or Communists. It was anyone who could be even vaguely defined as right-wing. If you are really being truthful, you don’t actually think that everyone on the right is a Nazi do you? Do I seem like a Nazi? My dislike of hierarchy, my belief in the individual as the broadest possible metic, and my distaste for government violence should all disquality me almost by definition. So if anyone should have a problem with big corporations its the very people who’ve mostly been attacked by then, and it isn’t you, at least so far as the silicon valley corporations go.

So lets go on to inequality. Wikipedia states that in 2007, the top 20% of the wealthiest had 80% of the total wealth. You can cut these statistics down a bit and note that the top 1% has 35% of the wealth. Let me be clear, this is very bad, and this has severe consequences. I think that we agree on this outright. That level of wealth inequality is a source of massive societal problems, whether the method that allowed this distribution to happen was ethically legitimate (ie, not theft) or not.

I think my problem here is that finding a palataple solution. I think, that is to say in my opinion we’ve experimented sufficiently with forced wealth redistribution enough to know that its a suboptimal. I know that’s likely a point of contention, but I believe that we have enough historical data on the subject to know its consequences — although it should be noted that there are degrees of wealth redistribution even within places such as the USA. I don’t know at the moment whether the effects, economic and societal, are linear with the level of wealth redistribution.

Here is a concrete, absolute fact of Capitalism, it has reduced worldwide poverty more than anything else ever has. So through the effects of Capitalism there are less and less people living in extreme poverty at rates that are higher than ever before in human history, and the rate is increasing. However, at the exact same time the gap between the poorest and richest groups is also increasing. Now, the higher the gap the greater the tension in society. The magic trick would to somehow keep the ability to pull people out of poverty but reduce the gap between the levels without damaging Capitalisms positive effect on overall poverty. I think a lot of the time when people attack Capitalism they are thinking primarily of the wealth gap, which is a fair critism that does need to be addressed somehow.

This a practical problem, however, because actually pulling wealth away from the wealthy is difficult because the wealthy are best at retaining wealth, that is, they have the actual means to move around or hide money, they can choose where on the planet to live, etc. Then there is the fact that high taxation has a strong negative effect on success on a business. Now I know this from experience that taxation makes running a small business very difficult, it limits your income, it limits your customers ability to purchase your goods or services, it is an extreme challenge to operate under high taxation. Let me briefly talk some numbers here, about half of Canadians work for small businesses, where a small business is defined as 5 to 100 employees, with 41 percent of small business having less than 20 employees.

So here is the problem, only about 1 in 10 small business actually become successful, yet they are a absolutely critical component of a wealth. I’m going to suggest that anything that makes this more challenging is going to have a strong negative effect on wealth generation. Keep in mind here these are small businesses, they can’t hide their money overseas, they can’t move their operations to more tax friendly locations. Just like the middle class bears the burden of overall taxation, the small business suffers the most from taxation. “Tax the rich” is a strategy that has never worked because the rich are too mobile to say nothing of their political influence.

So the challenge of inequality is to somehow enable small businesses to succeed and grow, and thus employ more people, but somehow narrow the wealth gap. Placing some kind of limit of someones wealth will just be worked around and evaded, having the state steal ownership has drastic and highly negative effects on that business and generally destroys its profitability, unions have their own sets of problems once they get to certain sizes they essentially become businesses themselves with all the faults and problems of anything else, they also drive up prices and damage ability to be competative. Remember there is a balance here between income and price, if prices go up at the same rate as your income then you’ve effectively made no progress at all. Not to put to fine a point on it, but economics is complicated.

I agree that the wealth gap cannot be ignored indefinitely. At some point it will become unmanagable and things will turn ugly, perhaps even to very literal class warfare. Definitely not something we want to see. So look, my disagreement with Socialists on this topic isn’t that the wealth gap isn’t a problem, its in implementation, I don’t think that wealth redistruction is practical solution even if I didn’t have major ethical issues with the process. So I’m going to leave that here, because I don’t have a solution either, in this case I know more about what doesn’t work than what does.

Real quickly, the last point is just about socialist effects on wealth, some quick charts for those who point to European semi-socialist economies as examples of successful wealth redistribution. Please do note that these are still capitalist economies, but with greater levels of wealth redistribution. This is 2016 data. There is a huge difference here.

So as a final comment, I think that most socialists and I are talking about the same problems, but we are just discussing different solutions. No one on the right is saying poverty is good, no one is saying the wealth gap is good. I think you’ll find very, very few people actually like or support big businesses that have more political influence than the voters. Theses are problems that are absolutely on the forefront of our philosophies. And hey, if you guys manage to figure out some kind of solution be sure to share it with us.