Various thoughts; Part 4 – The challenge
Someone decided to respond to my previous post. There were a few comments, but at least one voice wasn’t trying so much to create a meeting of the minds but rather to state his opposition to my way of thinking. At least that’s how it started. How it continued turned into something quite beautiful. Hopefully the start of new friendship or positive relationship online.
The good thing about disagreement is that it can challenge one to think about one’s position. It’s important for me to do this or else I can just get comfortable, and just accept what I think because I’ve held that view for some time. And as this series is called “various thoughts”, it makes sense to try the rethink here.
Please note, I’m not doing this to continue the conversation with the person who disagreed with me, or to simply respond to him. This is me considering these things for myself.
So, what points should I think about?
“Your anti-statist views are largely based on emotion.”
Now first a little thing. The reason I prefer the term “antiestablishmentarian” rather than “anti-statist” is that “anti-statist” looks like I’m against statists whereas my views are actually “anti-state”, against that establishment, hence “antiestablishmentarian”. Just a little thing.
Now, how do I know if my view is mainly based on emotion? Not sure. If I take away my hostility to the government, would I love it, respect it, wish to support it while trying to alter it to my own morality, the seven laws?
I thought it over again and again. But I just don’t see to not to hold modern governments as opposers to God’s laws, to God and his laws. Is that emotion or principle? It seems like principle to me.
Also, personally, I can’t see how politicians get authority. They’re humans, like me. They don’t have a different nature. Individuals don’t have the power or “right” to tax others, to force them to pay them under threat of force for services unrequested, or demand obedience from others because one says so. So if individuals don’t have that “right”, there’s no way a bunch of them can give what they don’t have to a certain group. Is that emotion or principle? I don’t see the emotion, only the principle of “from nothing, nothing comes.”
That’s part of what makes atheism stupid.
Anyway, some say God gave the authority to rulers. But factually, that is untrue as can be seen in so-called “democratic elections”. That’s where a bunch of individuals who have no such authority delegate that non-existent authority to a certain person or group. That wasn’t God directly and explicitly giving authority; it was a bunch of people with no such authority.
Or maybe people, who generally reject the one true God, take this authority that he created, and give it to whomever they like however they like in different countries and eras. But then it would have to be clearly shown that God created such a thing as authority, something so amorphous and flexible that any manner of dictator and tyrant, good or evil, as long as something called “the people” accept it, could wield it and whatever they say goes.
The term, “the people”, does not have a clear meaning. It doesn’t mean all the individuals in a certain group. It doesn’t mean the majority as can be seen in how meaningless “we, the people” meant in the constitution of collectivist America when the vast majority of the place did not have a say in its formulation or initial imposition. Again, it’s another nebulous term used to justify what the individual using it wants to hold to.
Also, there’s the fundamental lie in the term “representative.”. What does it mean “to represent”? It means to act in my place, to be my delegate and spokesperson with my interests at the forefront. To be my delegate, that person can only use what I have and what I give them. How can a stranger to me represent me? How can someone who doesn’t know my interest be my spokesman? In fact, how can an individual truly represent a whole group of millions? Realistically, he cannot. I don’t have the ability to tax others, so where does this “representative” get the right to demand the fruits of another man’s labour, much less my own? If I’m against the government and political means, then how can an avowed servant to what I oppose represent me? How can a person who rejects the seven laws represent me?
The fact is that I have no political representative. There is no evidence that I personally have delegated anyone to be my political representative. The fact that I say “I have no political representative” means I have no such representative. And if someone else come along and forces such a thing upon me, it will only prove that he is not my representative because I have no voice or consent to such a thing.
Where’s the emotion? To me, apart from that which the Owner of the world has clearly delineated, as he has a claim to control what he made, there’s no real foundation to government. And when the institution opposes God’s law, it has no moral foundation to say God authorised me to do x.
Personally, I can’t see the emotion my stance is based on. My reasoning may be fallacious, but emotion-based? I don’t think so.
“I’m not forcing my views on someone by voting …”
This logic is the same as saying this: “I helped choose your assassin. But I’m not putting your life in danger. I’m not the one who killed you.”
Let me explain.
Government is a monopoly of legitimised aggression in a certain territory. To me, morally, the government is a criminal gang. It is nothing more and nothing less. It’s a mafia getting protection money from its victims (taxation), making threats that is backed up by the force of its goons (laws), and pushing out the competition through whatever means necessary (corporatism, cronyism, public services, etc). Its (visible) head honcho is the prime politician, whatever you choose to call that person, prime minister, president, chief parasite, whatever.
What then is the willing vote? What, in effect, does it mean to vote? It’s a person’s action to step out and say who they want to force their will on others or who will fill positions in the aggressive organisation. It’s a person’s action that supports the legitimacy of the aggression and the organisation, which, these days, is normally against parts of the seven laws and against parts of morality. It’s also support of a “might makes right” political system, which democracy is. The might of the numbers determines what view will be (en)forced on people as the right.
Think about the moral soul that just wants to make sure unborn babies are not killed, and so they vote for a political candidate or party. More often than not, if not every time, if by some miracle that this candidate doesn’t ultimately lie, that candidate will protect one or a few principles while despising the rest. For example, babies are saved from many abortions (not all, because, as the top down approach is being used and the grass-roots, educational approach is more or less impossible in this society, “black market” abortions will still continue), but that party will most likely ignore most of the laws about forbidden sexual partners, or, and especially, the prohibition against idolatry. In this political and multi-cultural and God-rejecting environment, part of the seven laws will inevitably be trashed. But the vote for one law, the abortion law, or even a good portion of the seven laws, is always a vote for the abolition and undermining of the others.
As I’ve said before, voting for the lesser of two evils tricks good people into choosing evil.
That’s the sort of irresponsible thinking, that a vote has nothing to do with imposition and aggression, that comes from an anonymous voting system. Voters are made to seem like they are not responsible for the crap their politician does. If a person who is supposed to uphold the seven laws supports a party that will reject some of the laws, as well as doing many other despicable things, then isn’t that person also complicit in the evil? I’m not talking about the person who is coerced into funding the state, as he is not responsible any more than a victim of a robbery is responsible for supporting the robber. But the one who willingly goes out and gives that voice of support … Although a vote in numerically insignificant, making no real numerical difference in the outcome of politics, since both the seven laws and human decency shouts out about the importance of personal and individual responsibility for one’s actions, the act itself, at least in my eyes, becomes very questionable.
Let me be blunt. A government is a monopoly on legitimised coercion and aggression in a certain territory. To support it is to support the coercion and aggression. As even a statist admitted, apparently George Washington,
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.”
[Aside: I will admit that he wrote it could be used responsibly. It’s my personal conclusion, and I believe there are facts to back this up, that its destruction and harm greatly outweighs its “responsible use.” As I’ve said before, voting is an irresponsible system where voters hide their identity, so the chance of responsible action when irresponsibility lies close to, if not at, its roots is frighteningly small.]
Government is force. Therefore, a vote is about forcing your view on others.
“[Some injustice] could be changed with political action.”
I wanted to bring up this point against my view even though I’ve partly dealt with it already. Political action in the form of voting, for an individual doing the voting, is numerically insignificant. It is practically worthless. And, because voting in this current system is always linked to the undermining of the seven laws, where it comes to personal responsibility, it is generally detrimental. So there is no significant benefit in doing it. Thoughts of shrinking the corruption, shrinking the system or tyranny, or turning the head of the beast in your favoured direction, even if it be towards the seven laws, is always laboured with that fact.
So what other political action is there? Well few people are in significant positions in wealthy corporations, so there’s little chance of bribing politicians to make laws in your favour. Writing to one of the lesser, more local members of the government mafia? Protesting? Civil disobedience? Each of these may plant seeds in the common man, but apart from education, and a change of heart in a significant portion of the “common man,” I personally see little benefit in pleading to the aggressive monopoly.
“By their nature, any court system will be coercive.”
“The anti-government position is intrinsically incompatible with the command to establish courts.”
Now this is the challenge I must face. I have to ask myself whether this is true.
Let me look at the latter argument first, that an anti-government stance, such as what I hold, is intrinsically compatible with the command to establish courts. Is this true?
Now if the core command was to obey and respect government, I would be in trouble. If the law was called “Government” as opposed to “Civil laws” or “Justice” or “Equity” or “Courts”, then I would be in trouble. But what is interesting is that the command is called a lot of other things, but not government. If the command was centred on respect for government, then yes, my anti-government stance would intrinsically be incompatible with the command.
The main thing is this: if there were a clear and explicit, majority position, detail in the laws to “establish courts” that a person must respect and support the government, then, and only then, would my anti-government stance be intrinsically incompatible with that law. There is no such detail. In the Talmud’s discussion on the law of Justice in tractate Sanhedrin, government isn’t even mentioned. Neither is it mentioned at all in Rambam’s summary of the law in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings. Let me just check Ramban as well … Nope, not there either.
BUT … But, let me ponder this further. What if a ruler creates the courts? What if, just as police are part of government, then so are courts part of the government? How are they part of the government? They are the enforcers of the dictates of the politicians, the ruling class. In fact, I’m sure that courts would be considered government buildings. I remember some issues I had with the local government, they would have me sent to either a court or some judging solicitor.
So for me to say I’m anti-government, that would seem to include courts.
Woah, that’s heavy. Am I anti-courts?
But then I started that by saying “What if a ruler creates the courts?” I’ve lived with the government system all my life. It’s what I was born into and it has had a stranglehold over me since birth, being educated in public school, only really thinking about these topics almost 4 decades after the government has entrenched itself in my life. But I don’t believe governments have always existed. The first unit of humanity was the individual and then it was the family. Before someone, a human being, said “I own you”there was the family. Maybe the family then became a tribe. But judgement and conflict resolution was still needed. And decisions had to be made by the person deemed to be the wise, with sufficient experience and integrity.
But I didn’t live in that land or time. I live in the time of the institutional overlord, where he’s/it’s made sure to indoctrinate the world into shoving law and government together until it can’t be seen any differently easily.
Anyway, since I don’t believe a court is necessarily a product of government, then I’m not anti-court or anti-justice.
Where was I? I think that’s enough waffling. Let me deal with the statements more directly.
So the claim that courts are, by definition or by necessity, coercive, I agree with. I don’t have a problem with that. A court is, by definition, supposed to be a place where justice is administered. So it would have to enforce those decisions using enforcement. As enforcement is a synonym of coercion, as it is forcing the decision of the judge into reality, then a court must, at times, be a place of coercion.
But to the claim that my anti-government stance is intrinsically incompatible with the “command to establish courts,” that requires a lot more thought. I know that “establishing courts” is actually just a part of the command of Justice. But a court is supposed to be a place where justice is dispensed. That, in and of itself, doesn’t need a government. But it all depends on the understanding of the command, and, unfortunately, the command of Justice seems to be vague in some parts. As I’ve said before, government or kingship or some tyrant or another, justice wouldn’t have been dispensed by a government.
But the question is not whether a court is coercive, because any means of punishment or enforcement, which is part of justice, is coercive. The coercion I despise from government isn’t about justice, arbitration between disputing parties, guarding divine law. A government is not a court; they are not equivalent things. A government is just a bunch of people that expect to be obeyed simply because they said something, and will use the intimidation and aggression of armed mercenaries or armed devotees to force compliance. They solved no dispute, they didn’t wisely decide a case. It’s just “we made a threat (law), now do it.” This is not the elders, the wise, a gathering of those respected people with integrity and virtue. It’s simply the (popular) dictator.
Maybe it’s the fact that the courts nowadays are so linked to government that makes its judges more tyrants than wise men and women.
Or maybe, just maybe, courts are government, or so intrinsically linked to government that for me to hate or oppose government is to hate and oppose courts too. Maybe. I’ve not reached that conclusion yet. I’m not saying I’ve learnt it all yet. If I’ve missed something, then I hope I learn it before it’s too late. Maybe this blogpost is part of my process or maybe it’ll be a help to someone else.
But let me be blunt. If a government or court does stuff against the seven laws, then I’ll oppose it. How can I be expected to do anything else?
“Your view that all governments are illegitimate is illusory and unjustified. You hold onto an idealism.”
What makes a government legitimate? Some say that as long as a people accept it, then it’s legitimate. If that’s the standard, then who am I to argue? But as I’ve said before “the people” is a vague term to the point of being meaningless to me. So let’s imagine that the vast majority of individuals in a place accept a government that rejects the seven laws in part … wait there, that’s the situation I’m in now. The government’s relation to the seven laws is totally irrelevant. It’s just about that portion of the people’s acceptance. So if that’s the litmus test of “legitimacy,” then I can’t dispute it.
But is there a law, a moral principle that says I must listen to or obey to it? I know of no such principle. Except for avoiding its aggression, to me personally, it has no legitimacy, no authority over me. I must obey it to sustain society? I’ve heard that argument, that my disobedience or lack of respect that destabilise things, cause things to go in the opposite direction to “settling the earth.”
Yeah, not impressed. Not a compelling or powerful argument. Considering how much the government has destroyed and killed and stolen and undermined the seven laws, to be concerned with the disrespect an individual has for the beast lacks firm principles. And those issues I have with government aren’t illusory or unjustified. Shrugging off any claim of government over me because of those issues is not illusory or unjustified. I won’t place my life in the paws of such an evil thing!
I’m not sure what is idealistic about such a position. It’s a highly personal view. I don’t like to push my view on others. I’m not saying I have a master plan for the world. I’m not saying the world should think like me. This is my personal position. If atheism was a person, I would shoot it in the head if I could. I’d do the same to government since it has done a lot more crimes than what atheism has. And it’s more of a physical and financial threat to me and my family than atheism. In fact, it has interfered in my life much more than atheism.
But if everyone did adopt my view of government, how would that be idealistic? It’s not utopian. I’m not expecting humanity’s usual behaviours to change. There’s still be injustice and pain and evil people. Maybe without government to strip the individual of the means to protect oneself, an aggressor may think twice before attacking, assaulting or robbing. Or maybe the rabbis fears will come true and men will eat each others, even though the government has done a great job of doing a similar thing of devouring and impoverishing lives.
Honestly, I don’t care. It’s all hypothetical. For now, it’s just a personal view.