Him: Hmmm. I don’t know that comparing the
government to Al Capone is valid. Effectively, we agree to be governed. We
don’t agree to Al moving in.
Me: I never agreed to be governed. That’s a myth.
you asked to sign the Constitution?
Him: Ahhh. But there are alternatives for those
who feel that darn strongly about things.
Me: Sure, you can always move from Capone’s side
of town to Bugsy Malone’s side of town or what have you. Doesn’t change the
nature of the beast.
Him: Or you could be one of those wackos who
moves to an oil derrick and calls it “freeland” or something. Or moves into
the woods in a small shack.
Me: Except that, well, no you can’t. Not with
any real effect. You can hide in the attic when Capone’s thugs come around,
too. What does this have to do with discrediting the comparison?
Him: This “experiment,” according to
your own FAQ, has no
real effect, either. It’s meant to be beside the point. I suppose it boils
down to my fundamental problem with any “philosophy of resistance” — a viable alternative is never shown. Yours in particular at least
addresses the issue by saying that it’s beside the point.
Me: Yeah, I’m not interested in bringing in a
bunch of revolutionaries to give
Him: I don’t see a world ruled by mowhawked
war-resisters as being any better than the one I live in now.
Me: Unless people in general change their
attitudes toward freedom, responsibility and the like, we’d just go back to
having another band of assholes stealing our money and telling us how to
live. Best we can hope for is to reduce the size and power of government,
since it tends to concentrate the venal and wicked into its folds, and to try
to convince people of their own responsibility. A bunch of random dumbasses
spending their own money and doing their own idea of fun is almost always
going to be better than concentrating a bunch of politicians, giving them
money, and telling them to do something for the good of society.
Him: That, I more or less agree with.
Me: But I stand by my assertion that a
government is more-or-less the most pseudolegitimized and powerful organized
crime protection racket in any particular region. And that efforts to make
it qualitatively different or in fact legitimate / consensual are
philosophical 3-card Monte.
Him: Hmm. I’d argue that government is needed — it’s consensuality may be debated; but some form of government is
required for an organized society that does more than collect nuts and
berries and hunt mastadons and whatnot.
Me: I think that to have the sort of organized
society that we’re in, a government is necessary. But this is at least in
part because the society we’re in organized itself around a thriving
government. I think other forms of organized societies are possible that
don’t organize themselves that way. Government has got its fingers in
everything. You couldn’t just get rid of it tomorrow and expect everything
else to just go on as normal. But this isn’t a justification for government
so much as an acknowledgment of the depth of the addiction.
Him: Those require a quantum shift in human
understanding and behavior. I don’t think we’re going to get that at all.
Me: I don’t think the change has to be a sudden,
quantum leap. I think it can be gradual. If every time there’s a fork in
the road, we take the one marked “personal responsibility”
instead of the one marked “orders from the boss,” eventually over
time we’ll unlink the government from the various institutions and
occupations that make up our lives. Sure, this is as difficult and unlikely
as the utopian and revolutionary solutions, but it does at least give
something for a schmoe like myself to set myself to. A journey of a thousand
miles begins with a single step and all that…