Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I am NOT Anti-Government

I feel like I need to make my position here clear. Even though I have come to realize over time that I indeed fall within the extended anarchist ideological sphere, I am not anti-government. I am actually quite pro-government.

Government has many definitions, and dictionaries are terrible at capturing the underlying essence of a word as they often throw in elements from specific contexts in which the word might be used. The origin of the word 'government' comes from the Latin 'gubernare', meaning 'to steer'. At its essence, its most fundamental definition, government is a person, body, entity, or device which steers and guides a group or society. 'Anarchy' comes from the Greek 'ἀναρχία' (anarkhia), from ' ἀν-' (an-) meaning 'no, not' and 'ἀρχή' (arkhe) meaning 'ruler, power, authority'. Contrary to popular belief, it does not necessarily mean 'no government', but rather 'no rulers'. To rule, then, is to exercise power or force onto someone or something in order to impose your will on it.

When reduced to its essential concept, I'm not against government at all. I'm not even against big government. If anything, we need more government, more coordination, more cooperation, and more collaboration between people, communities, and organizations. We need people to come together, voluntarily, to solve problems, pool resources, discuss issues, and coordinate efforts to improve things. Government, like this, can be used to do great things. It can be used as a forum for people to pool ideas and effort together. It can be used to help settle disputes, without force when possible.

Where I have a problem is when that government, or any other entity, starts using force to shoehorn their agenda onto people without their consent. I am not anti-government, I am anti government by violence, fraud, and coercion. I am against a government which uses its power to control and dictate how its people live their lives without their consent, or steals their resources to use for its own purposes, by use of violence and threats. Even a benevolent government which genuinely tries to work for the good of its people, given the power to use violence as a means to its desired ends, will become corrupted over time until it descends into tyranny. Even a small, minimalistic government that depends on violence to carry out its functions will eventually devolve into an authoritarian menace. Guaranteed. History has proven over and over and over that when a person or group is allowed to use aggressive violence on others, that person or group will become corrupt and drunk on that power, no matter how seemingly benign, democratic, or noble that group seems to be.

You can have government without making that government into your ruler. You can have a functional, effective government without rule-by-violence. I'm not saying that such a government would be pacifistic: violence is completely justified when necessary for defense, and exercising it in defense of the rights, property, and lives of its constituents is not rule-by-violence. Such a government can still have teeth. But government must never become our master – it must always be our servant. It must never claim ownership over us, our property, or our rights – we must own and administrate it. It must never be allowed to exist in its own right, or govern its own right – it must exist by the continuing will of the people and govern with the consent of the governed. And it must always obey the boundaries of the Non-Aggression Principle.

So, when I speak out against this government, please don't think that I'm against government in any shape or form. I'm not. I speak out against this government because I am against rule-by-violence, and because I believe in the natural right to self-determination, which means our right to institute, alter, and dissolve whatever form of government or lack thereof we choose, so long as it does not embrace rule-by-violence. I believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people without coercion, oppression, and aggressive violence – not being forcibly dominated by rulers, which is irrefutably what we have now.

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