What Do You Mean, "We"?

All too often I hear: "If we had only followed the Founders, everything would be just fine now," or "We weren't vigilant enough to maintain our liberties, so we've got what we deserve." Usually these lines are delivered by self-proclaimed, complacent authorities on human nature, and I can t understand how they can deliver such a damning sentence and still transparently absolve themselves from the guilt and responsibility just assigned to the amorphous, all-inclusive we. What disturbs me further is that it's not just the comfortable "authorities" who proclaim this fallacy: it's a common assumption even among the writers I respect most.

Be that as it may, I'm tired of being blamed for every ill the pathetic, obese U.S. bureaucracy suffers. I am not responsible for the downfall of the Great American Experiment. Even though I grew up on a farm, I didn't unlock the barn door and let leviathan out. Did you? Didn t think so. I have vigilantly watched as powerful men backed by a monopoly on force, set events in motion contrary to liberty not to mention my wishes. Long before my time, the power to impact these actions slipped far beyond my grasp.

I would posit that good, ordinary folk, like myself or people you know, (who according to our armchair authority "don't do enough to fight tyranny and oppression"), do not bear responsibility for leviathan's incredible power. Do you feel personally responsible for leviathan? I sure don't. Ask your friends I don't think they'll fess up. Laying blame on the backs of "we" is terribly convenient, but shares logical inconsistencies with "public property": if everybody owns it, then nobody s actually responsible for it. It's a well-worn armchair indictment handed down by tame, well-fed conservatives; as well as some not-so-tame intellectuals.

Problem is, our conservative is saying the dead man's responsible for his own murder. Rational, logical people know the criminal carries the blame, for he is responsible for his actions. Hopefully there are sufficient deterrents in place, making aggression far too costly. Yes, victims can put themselves in dangerous circumstances, but the very nature of man, the inalienable existence of his will, award the predator's choices, and responsibility therefor, to the predator alone.

We all know the predatory types who rise to the top of the pond: those evil and conniving men who have always achieved positions of power; or that uniquely 20th century breed of earnestly and unintentionally evil,; ignorant, grassroots candidates who gain power through good intentions and emotional appeals "for the children". Each of these aggressors holds responsibility for the evil they wreak, along with those few powerful good men who fell to accomplice status through cowardice. And this evil goes back a very, very long time as has already been prolifically demonstrated. (A search for "Lincoln" and the "War of Northern Aggression" should yield plenty of evidence.)

So, if the "we" responsible for our current slave state is actually the unscrupulous power-hungry, what option remains to those of us who wish to carry on our business unmolested? Let me share with you the only logical conclusion considerable thought has produced. I believe seizing power is under-priced. There have always been structures in which the evil, plotting, conniving men can climb to incredible power, despite the best efforts of good men even if those men happen to have names like Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Madison, et al. Once power over others is awarded to any man, the power-hungry will congregate like hyenas, scratching each others backs and going for each others throats. Whether the structure carries imperialistic, theological, limited, totalitarian, or even capitalistic earmarks makes no difference. History has shown, not that good men aren't willing or worthy to maintain their own freedom, but that evil men are willing and capable of perverting any power structure to their own ends. Those who wish to live and let live should be free from the hyenas aggression or at least the hyenas shouldn t be awarded monopolistic force and judicial fiat.

So, if any and all state superstructures are, by their very nature, simply ladders for the rats and weasels to scamper to power; and every "moderate" alternative will degenerate into a tyranny by tyrant or majority, (as demonstrated by Rothbard in The Ethics of Liberty); there seems to remain but one reasonable course of action. Abolish the government. Exile the whole lot to Antarctica, and leave the rest of us free from those won't keep their noses or their bombs and teargas to themselves.

May 26, 2001