Friday, March 12, 2010

Defend the State, Defend Socialism

The state is an institution of government that receives wide-spread support among all sorts of political philosophies. The difference, however, is that different political philosophies support different sizes and scopes of the state. A few examples: your typical "conservative" favors using the state for military and national defense, as well as enforcing morality among the people; your typical "liberal" (in the modern sense) favors using the state to regulate the economy and provide social services; even your typical "libertarian" who is generally opposed to the state in favor of liberty will support using the state in a limited, defense and crime prevention capacity. As I will argue here, so long as the state can collect funds by force to pay for national defense and crime prevention, it can collect funds by force to pay for anything, and so long as the state can legitimately enforce it's monopoly of the defense and justice services, so too can it enforce a monopoly of any service.

Taxes

One of the primary characteristics, though not a required characteristic, of the state is its ability to tax. Taxes are necessarily collected by force, for if force were unneeded for the collection of such funds, they would not be taxes, but voluntary fees. Why must taxes be collected by force? Because not everyone consents to the government taking their money. Again, if they did, the funds would merely be voluntarily-paid fees. The various political philosophies I briefly outlined above all support the state's ability to tax. They just disagree on how those taxes are to be used. The flaw in their arguments, however, is that if the state can tax to pay for national defense, then it can tax to pay for social services, such as food stamps and medical-care. Why?

Funded by Coercion

The typical argument in favor of using taxes for national defense (to pay for an army) is that the people have the inherent right to defend themselves and others. Therefore, they can delegate that authority to others. What is overlooked is that the people also have the inherent right to "feed" and "fix" themselves and others. Using the same logic that justifies using taxes for national defense, the people can legitimately delegate the authority to feed and fix themselves to others. In other words, if funds can be collected by the state by force to provide national defense, then it can also collect funds by force to provide food stamps and medical-care. An argument for using taxes for national defense is also an argument for using taxes for social services. Let us now turn to my second point.

Monopolized Services

Another primary characteristic of the state, this one required to qualify as a state, is its monopoly of the services of defense and justice. Defense and justice are the only legitimate uses of force according to the non-aggression principle. Within the state's territory, it only permits itself to provide defense and administer justice for the people. If enforcing this monopoly of the services of defense and justice is justified, then the state is justified in enforcing a monopoly of any service. These services could include anything that the people can provide themselves (see my first point), such as grocery and medical-care services. In other words, if the state's enforcement of it's monopoly on the services of defense and justice is justified, and if it were to enforce a monopoly of the grocery and medical-care services, then that too would be justified.

Defending Socialism

Let me put this in other, more offensive terms. Socialism is a political philosophy whose goal is the equal distribution of wealth, and its vehicle the state. It seeks to accomplish this by having the state own the means of production. (This usually includes monopolizing the means of production.) Any good or service produced by the state is a "socialized" good or service. Education produced by the state is socialized education. Roads produced by the state are socialized roads. Likewise, defense and justice provided by the state are socialized defense and justice. If the state is justified in socializing education, roads, and defense and justice, then it is justified in socializing the production of any good or service.

Conclusion

Before anyone thinks I'm defending the state, let it be known that I am not. In fact, I am attacking it. I have used the foregoing logical deduction to demonstrate the fallacy in the various arguments in favor of the state, of any size and scope. It is a matter of logical consistency that in defending the supposed justified actions of the state, one is defending all actions of the state under the two characteristics explored: using taxation to do what the people already have the right do (defend, feed, and fix themselves), and/or monopolizing those services. It is my political philosophy that the state is not justified in either collecting funds by force, taxation, nor in monopolizing the services of defense and justice within it's territory. Socialism in any degree is unjust and always fails. To allow any good or service to be socialized is a concession that Socialism is justified. This must be fought against if we are to have genuine liberty.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Anonymous said...

Fu*k Caesar!

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