Looking to the Future: The End of Statism

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I have long ago felt that the arguments for statism have failed. You can see this because no one dare engage in an honest debate with an anti-statist such as myself. You can also see this because whenever a statist runs for office, they have to mask their statism. Take, for example, Obama’s pledge to lower taxes and cut spending, along with his promises to reduce our military presence in the world.

What is statism? It is the idea that the state, not the individual, is supreme in our society. It is the idea that change in our society can be initiated by government, or that even changeshould initiate with the government. It is the idea that the state has powers that the people do not have. It is the idea that people who work for the state are angels, while those who do not are not.

These ideas are exactly contrary to common sense. Individuals are the atomic ingredient of our society, and the entire purpose and origin of our society. The government is not the master of society, but its fearful servant, a creation with one purpose and one purpose alone, a guard dog who, if he snaps at the children, should be drug out into the street and shot.

The state has no power that the people do not relinquish it. What could the IRS do to collect taxes from someone who does not wish to pay? How can a man who refuses to be imprisoned by imprisoned? How can a man who refuses to be silenced be silenced? These things cannot happen. All interactions with the state are ultimately voluntary, even the criminal who stands before a judge and accepts his punishment or the man who seeks legal counsel to ensure that he doesn’t tread on any laws the state has arbitrarily invented. The state has no guns when the people do not hold them. The state has nothing unless the people give it.

People who work for the state are no better, and the argument can be made, may be generally worse, than the people who do not. The state attracts people of a certain mindset, and just like any successful company changes the attitudes and perspectives of its employees and clients, so to the state changes the people who work for it, to believe in the grand lie that the state is an entity at all, with powers that do not derive directly from the people.

The debate today is really, “Who should be the next president?” The options are not “a republican” and “Obama”, it is really “Mitt Romney”, “Ron Paul”, and “Someone Else.” Only those two candidates — Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — have distinguished themselves as capable of organizing enough voluntary support as to claim any type of right to the presidency.

The fundamental difference between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, or rather, their supporters, is that Mitt Romney fans believe the state should largely continue as it is, with minor adjustments, while Ron Paul supporters want radical change.

If it were possible, I would advocate radical change. However, I don’t think it is possible to get enough political support to do something as necessary and as impractical as abolishing the Fed.

What could happen, if the supporters of both candidates is smart, is that we can capture the vast majority of political support from America itself. A Ron Paul – Mitt Romney alliance would center around less state and more freedom. This message would carry the win, attracting both moderate and radical supporters. Reagan has already shown that the political will exists to support anti-state efforts. A Romney-Paul win would prove that it is possible every single time it is tried.

The debate then becomes one of degrees: how small, how quickly? Mitt Romney has changed organizations entrenched in their ways, and he will know how at least to change the culture enough so that the idea of radical change will be welcome. Ron Paul knows how to verbalize the radical changes that are needed. That is what we need more than anything else.

After a Romney-Paul win, control will pass from one anti-statist to another, provided we can redefine the political landscape as one of less radical abolition of statism with more radical abolition of statism. and give each their own political force to reckon with. Those who advocate more statism will only win when the anti-statists refuse to unite after contention. We must not make the error of spiting the good because of the better. That is, if it turns out a Romney-type candidate has the organization and popularity to win, then the Paul-type supporters must support him, and vice-versa! I am certainly willing to support a Ron Paul-type, if such a candidate were viable. (Ron Paul is not, but I don’t want his supporters to stop organizing themselves and supporting him!) Come 4, 8 years from now, the Ron Paul wing of the Republican Party may settle on an electable Ron Paul -type, perhaps even Rand Paul. Guess where my voice of support and my checks will go then?

If the moderate wing of the Republican Party finds such a candidate despicable, at least they will find him less despicable than the statist the democrats would put forward, and hold their noses and vote for him, the same way Ron Paul supporters will hold their nose and vote for a Romney.

No, we do not get exactly what we want, but our goals are broad. We want to see less government and more liberty. That’s the direction the vast majority of Americans want to move towards, and only the Romney-Paul alliance can provide it.

 

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2 Responses to “Looking to the Future: The End of Statism”

  1. The Observer Says:

    I do not mean to cherry pick little points out of your overall thesis here, particularly since it so well put together. I agree that abolishing the Federal Reserve as Dr. Paul promotes is very unlikely to happen, especially given that the greatest powerbrokers in the country from a monetary perspective have absolutely everything to gain from the unlimited credit and inflationist policies that the combination of central banking and fiat currency bring to the table. But I disagree that abolishing the Fed is impractical. In point of fact, commodity money and decentralized banking has been the practical answer for millennia whereas the converse is a relatively new concept, one borne of the last two hundred years or so. The alternative is historically far more practically implemented and, more importantly, sustained than the current status quo.

    One thing that is interesting to me is that for anyone concerned with limiting the government’s role to legitimate purposes and policies, heightening the free market and individual rights protection, and encouraging the prosperity of all at the confiscatory expense of none, eliminating this combination of central banking and fiat currency is the shortest, quickest, and most practical way of achieving this in one fell legislative swoop. We can dance around all of the issues individually – “should we go to war?,” “Should we not go to war?,” “Should we establish another welfare program?,” “Should we regulate this, that, or the other?,” etc. – or we could deprive the state of its funding for all unpopular/illegitimate programs and actions through hidden taxation (inflation), monetization of the debt, unlimited credit (which is a paradox of disastrous proportions), and manipulation of the economy through monetary policy. Without “cheap/free” credit and “fake” money, all government policies and programs must be realized through the willing sacrifice of its people’s real wealth, something that intuitively is not likely to yield highly unpopular or illegitimate justifications or overreaches.

    You may be interested in reading The Theory of Money and Credit by the famed Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises. If so, you can download a free PDF version from his institute, http://www.mises.org. In it, he discussed at great length statism (he refers to it by the French term, etatism) and how monetary, currency, economic, and legislative policies are influenced by and influence wealth in general and money in particular.

    I will say I completely agree that a Paul addition to whatever ticket will go a long way toward winning the general election. But an absence of Paul from any GOP ticket, especially if the marginalization by his competition continues, will virtually guarantee a loss in November I am quite convinced. No candidate has more fiercely loyal followers currently than Dr. Paul and if the Republican brain trust does not recognize this they will effectively alienate a significant portion of a base that they will not likely succeed without. I wish I would have read this post before I commented on your “Romney-Comment” post because I see you address the choosing of the “best available/electable” approach here, so to speak. My comment fits better here but that is how it goes, I guess. Good work.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Don’t think for a moment that Romney owes anything to any of the Republican “Brain Trust”. Romney is the sort of guy who sees what others do not see, and surrounds himself with people of the same kind.

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