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.
When were 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
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 mohawked
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
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 mastodons 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…