"…consider again what the term u2018market' can refer to. Once we descend from the academic world of idealized types to the real world of human experience in which action is always subject to some form of regulation, the only useful conception of the market would be one that referred to the realm of human activity free from political regulation. This would mean that the market is correctly understood not as the realm of unregulated voluntary transactions, but as the realm of voluntary transactions subject to the regulation of ethics, custom, and spontaneously evolved law."
~ John Hasnas, "The Privatization Depoliticization of Law"
I have concluded something very important recently. (OK, so maybe not very important, but mildly interesting anyway!) I just don't care about a lot of stuff that used to really excite me. For instance, I don't care:
- That Karl Rove resigned;
- That Alberto Gonzales resigned;
- That they haven't caught Osama bin Laden yet;
- Who gets selected for the Supreme Court;
- If George Bush (or any other President) gets impeached;
- Who gets elected President of the United States.
(Disclaimer: I think Ron Paul is a fine human being and a man of honor. I can say that without ever meeting him, due specifically to his great commentary on LRC and the type of principled people who rally to his support. I sincerely hope that his candidacy provides a platform from which a thousand ships of libertarian truth are launched. I actually get a rush of pride when I see him "school" losers like Jailiani about, well, anything. That said, I still don't care about the presidency itself.)
Now, where were we?
Why don't I care about the things I list? I could take each of these separately, and I will embellish on a few of my reasons, but basically it comes down to this. I'm an anarchist.
Sometimes we like to refine this description with terms like anarcho-capitalist, and that's accurate as well, but let us be clear. I don't want a better government; I want no coercive political government. I don't want a more efficient TSA; I want no (publicly funded) TSA. I don't want a better FDA; I want no FDA. I don't want policemen who only stop every third brother caught DWB (driving while black); I want to be able to switch providers when the security service "hired" with my tax money wastes it while simultaneously shooting at people like me. Before anyone jumps to a conclusion and pulls a muscle, let me clear something else up. Does all this mean that I want no rules in my life? Why of course not.
As Hasnas lays out in marvelous detail in the paper linked above, civilization has always existed with rules or laws, as some may designate them. A peaceful life and the pleasant interactions between human beings have always been and will always be based upon some understanding of what is ethical and what is not. Furthermore, some of these rules will not be derived from consent. I'm cool with that. Ostrowski's wonderful working paper provides what I think is the most useful definition of self-government with:
Self-government — no state with final authority; each person governs himself or herself; disputes among people are resolved by private courts and arbitrators; resort to private courts is encouraged by self-interest, social pressure, boycott, ostracism and market forces such as the denial of insurance and of access to real estate to those with a history of improper self-help.
When I say anarchy, this definition describes what it is that I mean. Furthermore, I'd assert that this is what most anarchists mean. But anyway, what all this leads up to is my reasons for not caring about any of the listed items.
Why I Don't Care That Rove Resigned
Rove was a worker. He is, at best, a symptom. Let's assume, for a minute, that he's the best in the history of time at what he does. Let us further assume that "what he does" is get people elected to public office. I already said I don't want public offices. Public office — like the State generally — allows evil to find flower. It allows an individual to off-load the costs of any personal desire onto those he almost never has to face while they simultaneously pay for his acts. He plays; they pay. Until we can fire all of them, having one here and there quit of their own accord, and likely just slither to some other cold, dank cavern under the public trough, is applying a Band-Aid to an arterial gusher.
Why I Don't Care That Gonzales Resigned
Gonzales is simply the latest in a long, long, long line of lying, make-up-the-law-as-we-go people who Bush apparently has on speed dial. How many comically unqualified people of, at best, questionable morals does Bush have in his trick bag? (Bootsy Collins used to sing about having a "ghostly haberdashery" from which his funk would spring. Bush has a ghastly haberdashery. You can fill in the rest.) At what point do we stop thinking, "Okay, that's as low as he can go"? In the limbo game of cronyism, George W. Bush is a Jedi master! I can virtually assure you that if anyone can find someone whose behavior will have us waxing nostalgic about the "good old days" when we only had to worry about Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, it is this president.
Why I Don't Care That They Haven't Caught bin Laden Yet
There are plenty of people out there reared under oppressive regimes; those are the regimes that reliably produce bin-Laden types (suggestible, wacko, and passionate). Those regimes are kept in power largely because: (a) the US pays them directly; (b) the US sets a bad example by not being a truly free country itself; and, (c) the US generally intermeddles violently in other peoples' affairs.
Hence, as long as the US intermeddles violently, is powerful enough at home to do so, and is economically big enough to be G-7, the US is going to continue producing bin Ladens around the world, but especially from the Middle East. Just as the US war on (some) drugs makes inner-city families unsafe, even though it’s drug gangs who actually do the shooting, so too does US foreign policy create the bin Ladens. Without the policies, almost nobody would be motivated to become a bin Laden.
Killing bin Laden would remove from the world a piece of filth the US created, while the very act of getting him would make him even more powerful, having made him a martyr. Hell, that’s why we went ahead and captured Hussein – nobody in the Middle East liked him, so we could afford the negative PR, while taking out a piece of trash we dropped on our way to shop for oil.
Why I Don't Care Who Gets Selected To the Supreme Court
The fact that people care about who is on the Supreme Court, when the documents that originally set it up supposedly removed all the political motivations from the job, tells you all you need to know. If the ostensible highest court in the land is influenced by politics and judicial activism, doesn't that point to a rather obvious conclusion? If the ability to externalize that which drives behavior makes term-limited politicians subject to evil, doesn't it follow that a politician who is appointed for life might succumb to similar influences? Seriously, if the system worked, one could pick names for the SCOTUS out of a hat. The confirmation hearings would last about as long as an anti-Bush protestor at one of those town meetings. Instead we get some version of Jerry Springer meets the Oprah Winfrey Show every time someone is confirmed.
One other anecdote before I move on. When I was in college, oh several hundred years ago, I remember getting all worried about who Ronald RayGun would appoint. My liberal buddies and I spared no emotional expense lamenting the certain fall of civilization. I don't remember clearly, but I think some tears may have been shed during a candle-light vigil or something similar. (Nobody knows the trouble I seen!) Years later, it is with great irony that I notice that Reagan's appointee — Sandra Day O'Connor — was admired by liberals, while they simultaneously worried who Bush would appoint in her place! You cannot make this stuff up.
Why I Don't Care If Bush (Or Anyone Else) Gets Impeached
Impeachments are all about the show. They can only be about the show, since politics is only about the show. Did Clinton really get impeached for lying about what he did with Monica Lewinsky? Stop laughing. That's a serious question. Really, was that it? (I am rather disappointed that Monica's HBO show didn't last though.) Did somebody spend $50 million investigating the Slick One only to come up with his tendency to step out on his wife? I figure there were at least three or four blind gas station attendants back in Arkansas who could have named names and offered expert testimony if that was the objective.
More importantly, if we impeach Bush now, nearing the end of his presidency, what is the up-shot? Would it allow all to conclude that his presidency was a failure? Not for nothing, but there are about half a million dead Iraqi men, women, and children who are already able testimony to that fact. Would it be to send him on his way in disgrace? I'll never be mistaken for a political analyst, but if watching "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" on Letterman hasn't already done that, nothing will. No, I don't care. Government doesn't work. It never did. Bush didn't break it. He just raised the smirk to high art while beating good government to within an inch of its miserable life.
There isn't much else left to say. By this point in my career at LRC, it should be pretty clear that I have an awesomely low opinion of the State and all that surrounds it. I'd rather not waste any time getting riled up about any of the lunacy that acts as the dressing to the turkey dinner that is US politics. Which political party is serving the cranberry sauce is simply a detail.
In other news, the NFL season is almost here. Now that's reason to celebrate!
Wilt Alston [send him mail] lives in Rochester, NY, with his wife and three children. When he's not training for a marathon or furthering his part-time study of libertarian philosophy, he works as a principal research scientist in transportation safety, focusing primarily on the safety of subway and freight train control systems.