18A039 All or Nothing by Jim Davies, 9/25/2018    


There are plenty of people just beyond the fringe of the freedom movement who like the idea of slashing government to a fraction of its present size and scope, but preserving enough of it to perform functions like defense. They're usually called Minarchists, and want a kind of caretaker or "night watchman" residue. What's not so common is that there are some who would cheerfully shovel the whole of it - Federal, State and local - into the garbage disposal except for some other, particular function that they favor.

The particlar one I encountered this month was that of guarding the environment, but it could have been any of them. That view is that the environment is just too important to leave to the mercies of profit seekers; it needs wise and benevolent experts to adjust the isotopes and compounds of oxygen in the outer layers of the Planet's atmosphere. Additionally, it's really tiresome for an individual to sue big polluters for damaging them with negative externalities, so let the government bear the burden and simply prohibit the identified conduct. That's a particularly poor one; if the damage alleged is not worth taking individual action, it can't be worth collective action either - or if it is, a class-action option is available.

It's not hard to imagine the tyranny that a residual but all-powerful EPA would produce; in decades to come we'd all be told what fuels to burn, if any, to what maximum temperatures to warm our homes, what journeys to take, with how much water to flush our toilets, what trees to fell on our own property, etc etc ad nauseam. But there's an even more sinister result yet, and it applies to whatever residual function might be chosen.

Instead of the EPA some might want to keep from the dumpster the function of money control - for is not the currency an essential element in out wellbeing? - surely one cannot trust it to venal bankers, to issue their own? Others would wish for Social Security not to be demolished, for society could hardly survive without government-guaranteed pensions and health care, could it? Others would name as the single surviving function of government that of road management, for reliable transportation undergirds the whole economy. Others yet might argue for education to be the surviving function, because a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Or, it might be for justice to remain under government control, for without justice there can be no peace.

Arguments can be made for - and certainly, against! - any of these and others, but there's one factor that affects any and all: preserving any one such function, on its own, is impossible anyway. Here's why.

1. It could never begin to happen. Imagine a voting process: a couple of hundred million all agree to dump all parts of government at every level except one - say, Social Security. Bizarre, maybe, that anyone should wish to pay twice the free-market going rate for retirement insurance - but then, as they say in Yorkshire, "There's nowt so queer as folk" and the SS has long been known as the "third rail" with which politicians mess at their peril. Nearly half a century of failure by the Libertarian Party tells us that voters (ie, believers in initiation of force by the State) will not vote to abolish government, and even if they did they would certainly not agree on a single function to be preserved; some would want one, others another, and so on. So, all of them (more or less) would be preserved.

Alternatively when a TOLFA-like process causes all government employees to quit, having become properly disgusted by its whole nature, there is no way those in the Social Security Administration (SSA) will find an exception. The Academy is already out there, and its principles are independent of specific State functions. So that process too could not possibly produce a single-survivor outcome, and there are no other ways to slash government that have yet been discovered.

2. Even if it did, it could not survive alone. As in #1, a magic wand would be required; but try to imagine the SSA as a shining edifice standing amidst the rubble of all other parts of government. How would it operate?

It would first hire staff, and therefore pay them. The money could come out of the "contributions" forcibly taken to provide the insurance benefits to the Geezer Class, for government can obtain funds in no other way; by definition, it is not a player in the marketplace.

Wherever property is taken by force there are victims seeking to avoid it, and therefore there must be a Department of Justice, or a bunch of tax cops and prosecutors and judges and prison guards for those who do so - who resist or ignore the edicts of the SSA. Those enforcers might all be bundled together as a single function, but now there are two.

The solo SSA will not be long tolerated without some kind of popular oversight, so its "contribution" and disbursement rates will need to be debated in advance by Representatives of the People, and therefore there must be some kind of parliament or congress, actually to make those laws. It may meet only a few times a year, and in premises nowhere near as grand as the US Capitol, but now we have a third function. To be generous, I'll not count as a fourth the administrative support it will need, in the shape of an electoral system.

But there we have it: a single preserved government function, necessarily becoming three. Survival alone is impossible.

Accordingly, don't let's get side-tracked by the idea of "freedom-but". It's all or nothing; government is alien to human nature and needs to be eliminated in total. The means are in place; if you, dear Reader, are not employing them, please start now.

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