Why Not Freedom of All Persons Everywhere Now?
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: Changing
to a Silver Economy
Why donít Egyptians
seize the moment and create freedom for themselves Ė their Persons
Ė now? By freedom for Persons, I donít mean democracy or a so-called
free society or a society under some government, be it democratic
or democratic-socialist or theocratic or autocratic or whatever.
I donít mean elections, coalitions, parties, votes, leaders, taxes,
and so on. I mean freedom of each and every person.
And I do not
mean to single out Egyptians. I raise the same question for Americans.
Why not freedom for all Americans now? Why not freedom for any People
start to have their voices heard throughout the world, we are hearing
what individual persons are thinking and assuming. We are given
help in discovering why Egyptians and Americans and Chinese and
Russians and all Peoples in the world are not creating freedom for
their Persons now.
the following Reuters
report has some grains of accuracy to it:
unorganized, the protests against Mubarak are gradually coalescing
into a loose reformist movement encompassing many sections of
The words "reformist
movement" mean that the idea that is spreading or forming among
"many sections" is to reform the government. They would
keep the State but alter it. This wonít produce freedom of all Persons.
Iím not denigrating
what Egyptians are doing. Not at all. Iím not criticizing or judging
them. They want to get rid of Mubarak. I am certain they will succeed.
I am taking the opportunity provided by what they are doing to understand
better, if I can, why, even if Mubarak goes, choices are flowing
in some directions, toward maintenance of the State, and not others,
to freedom of Persons. There are lessons to be learned here that
are widely applicable throughout the world.
is broader. The possibility of eliminating the State is present
in every land. The masses can accomplish this at any time. We the
People can accomplish this whenever enough of us decide to. Enough
of us havenít. Since Egyptians and any People are always
on the cusp of eliminating the State altogether, we have to ask
why they donít do so. Why donít Americans get rid of their State?
The same Reuters
article quotes one person:
are calling for the overthrow of the regime. We have one goal,
and that is to remove Hosni, nothing else. Our politicians need
to step in and form coalitions and committees to propose a new
administration,í said Ahmed Abdelmoneim, 25, a computer engineer."
may or may not be typical of many other persons in Egypt. It sounds
as if it could be typical. This is, after all, the same kind of
thinking that goes on in America at every election and in between
elections. Most everyone is after changing the government or changing
its policies. Theyíre not after eliminating the government and State
We then hear
in this article about another group, one which may form a type of
voluntary society within Egypt, namely, the Muslim Brotherhood.
I do not know for sure if it is entirely independent of the State
or if it has links to the government, but we read that Mubarak banned
it from politics. The important thing, from my perspective here,
is the political view that Reuters attributes to this group:
will come after Mubarak if he steps down is not so clear. Egypt's
opposition has been fragmented and weakened under Mubarak. The
Muslim Brotherhood has the biggest grassroots network with its
health and other social charity projects.
group, banned from politics under Mubarak, says it wants an Islamic,
pluralistic and democratic state."
This is probably
reasonably accurate. It is probably the case that the Muslim Brotherhood
is not after freedom of all Persons. It is after a "pluralistic
and democratic state." It is after politics as usual, i.e.,
a State. This is despite the fact that it is a "grassroots
network" that carries out some functions ordinarily associated
with democratic (or democratic/socialist) governments.
this conclusion is a quote from a person who is a member of the
revolution won't accept Omar Suleiman, even for a transitional
period. We went a new democratic leader,í said Mohamed Saber,
a member of the Muslim Brotherhood."
We then hear
from another voice, namely, a lawyer:
country has many people capable of being president,í said Essam
Kamel, 48, a lawyer, although he said he did not want Nobel Peace
Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who has said he was ready to
take on a role in the transition.
Kamel added: ĎWe are Muslims, but we don't need an Islamic government.í"
underscores the same assumption: There is to be a State. There will
be a transition to a different kind of State perhaps, but a State
nonetheless. Kamel alludes to those who may want an Islamic government,
such as in Iran. That group also wants a State.
who comments on this article speaks up for the pro-Mubarak contingent:
are not the majority! The majority approves Mubarak but their
voices are not heard! The protesters are just more vocal activists,
that is it."
In sum, no
one is quoted as wanting no State at all. The different groups cited
here are all talking about an Egyptian government. It will be perhaps
a different government, or if the pro-Mubarak contingent wins out,
generally the same kind of government, but it will still be a government.
If there are
anti-State voices, they have not made it into this press release.
Why do people
think only of maintaining the State in one form or another? Why
is it that after such a poor experience with their State, they donít
assign it to the trash heap of history? What is holding back the
concept that people can live without the State and live better without
If I raise
the possibility of living without a State to anyone, American or
Egyptian, the odds strongly favor that they will look upon it as
a crazy idea. I may elicit a condescending smile while they think
to themselves that Michaelís a nice guy but he has a screw or two
loose when it comes to politics.
I believe that
most people cannot see beyond the status quo. They have been taught
to accept it. It is very possible to accept slavery or various degrees
of enslavement and not even know it. People accept death and taxes.
If we push
them further in their thinking, they raise many objections. Who
will make the laws? Who will run the army? Who will be our leader?
Who will aid the old, the disabled, the sick, and the widows? Who
will help in emergencies? Who will take care that our neighbors
across the border do not invade us? Who will negotiate with them?
Who will police us and stop the bad guys from looting the good guys?
Who will protect us?
suspect that if we push Egyptians, Brazilians, Russians, Chinese,
Americans, or any People, we will run up against the same kinds
of questions. Who is going to do what the governments now do? Even
if they do these things unbelievably badly or not at all, we are
going to meet with the firmly-held assumption that the State is
a necessary thing.
Why do people
accept the status quo of poor government? The masses vastly outnumber
those in government. Egyptians could dismantle government entirely
if they chose to. They are in a position today to do exactly that,
but they wonít. Why not?
does not exhaust the reactions to life without government. There
are many other reactions, including those who think that an elite
exists who are better equipped to rule the many, and those who want
a State for pecuniary reasons, and those who like to rule, and those
who want a powerful State that we can hail and that will rule the
But I believe
that most folks are simply apprehensive. My guess is that most people
have an uneasy feeling about an uncertain future without government.
Not fear, but apprehension. In finance, the concept akin to this
is risk-aversion. This apprehension includes distrust of other people.
To raise oneís
comfort level so as to conquer that apprehension takes education
and familiarity, so that one can well-imagine a different future.
This reduces the risk. One eliminates from oneís mind the possibility
of the unrealistically bad outcomes that one at first imagines.
To gain familiarity
with living without the State, one may look at the many examples
where we live without the State very nicely and comfortably. Alternatively,
one may consider the logical aspects of life with and without a
State so as to become persuaded that life without a State is not
only feasible but a worthwhile goal and better than life with a
is rational, or at least it is a normal reaction. Apprehension is
conquerable, however. As people learn to supply for themselves the
things that government provides, the apprehension will diminish.
Building up private self-help networks, the private economy, and
private means of security is what is meant by supplying things for
If people possess
irrational and deep-seated desires to be ruled or led by leaders
who tell them what to do, this is not the same as apprehension.
This, if it is the reason why people demand government, is much
more difficult to overcome than apprehension. I donít believe this,
however. Iíve never met large numbers of people that willingly would
let themselves be pushed around by me or anyone else. If government
pushes us around and people take it, itís for other reasons. I am
saying that they see no alternative that carries a low enough risk.
Once a government
has a foothold and a place among a people, it has many tools to
maintain itself and grow its power. It can use economic and other
inducements. It can use force and repression. It can use spying
and propaganda. After awhile, even if people believe that theyíd
be better off without the State, they canít see a way to rid themselves
of it. When that happens and the State becomes a Gordian knot, it
has to be cut. The people in the Soviet Union cut the knot. The
people in Egypt are doing some cutting of their own. The existing
reality of life under these States becomes so bad that at least
some of the apprehensions pale in significance compared to the potential
gains. When one is starving and unemployed, these take priority.
However, they donít usually lead so far as to eliminate the government
as an explanation for peopleís political conservatism, I suspect
that lack of imagination is an important reason. Most people simply
do not think outside the box they are in. Before one can have apprehensions
of life without a State, one must think about that alternative.
Most people donít even get that far. They simply accept some version
of the status quo. But like apprehension of life without a State,
the failure even to imagine life without a State can be overcome.
Education and exposure to the ideas helps accomplish that. It introduces
bottom line is that there are two main reasons why we do not have
freedom for all Persons now and everywhere. These are that most
people do not even think of the possibility of life without the
State and its government, and those who do think about this possibility
reject it because of a number of apprehensions.
I believe that
the Egyptians will construct some sort of alternative government
for themselves, and my prayers go with them that it be a government
shorn of as many powers as possible that are or can be turned against
Egyptians as Persons. I think that Americans and Peoples in all
lands are not in that different a position than the Egyptians who
are on the streets protesting, even if we havenít taken to the streets.
We are at a point where we are getting much closer to altering our
relations with our State and government. We in America would also
do well to be thinking about and constructing for ourselves alternatives
to our existing State and government.
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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