I have a simple question for my dear readers. Where does the U.S. government’s legitimacy and power come from? Does it come from some pretty handwritten documents that date back to the 18th century? To quote the preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
According to the Constitution, power originates from the people — individual citizens.
Let’s look at another formative document, the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”
Again, we see a reference to “Right of the People,” which implies individual citizens, not documents or any other device made by man. I assume most people would agree with me that political power originates from the people, and that power is then delegated through the electoral process to politicians. Politicians don’t have any power on their own, at least not legitimately. Politicians can only exercise power that has been delegated to them by the people they rule. The people have the power, not the politicians.
So if political power originates from the people, can the people chose to grant politicians power that they themselves do not have?
Allow me to provide you some examples of what I’m referring to. Virtually no one would deny that I have a right to defend myself from a violent attacker, even up to the point of killing my attacker in order to stop him from killing me. Thus, it seems justified that I could endow another citizen with that same power to protect my life under the same circumstances. It also seems to me that no one would question my right to stop an armed robbery in progress, and arrest or detain the people who are committing that robbery. The fact that I’m not a cop has no bearing on my “right” to stop the theft or make an arrest. Thus, it seems reasonable that I could delegate that same power to another citizen under the same circumstances.
By now, I assume most of you are squirming in your chairs, as it has become clear to you where I’m going with this line of reasoning and logic. That uncomfortable feeling is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, which is the state of holding two or more conflicting beliefs. You want to believe that power originates from the people, but if that were really the case, clearly the state wouldn’t be able to do 99% of the things it presently engages in. Your subconscious has recognized the illegitimacy of the state, yet decades of cultural conditioning have suppressed it. Thus, the uncomfortable feeling you are getting right now. You may even be outright mad at me for even bringing this subject up. Most people don’t like to face cognitive dissonance. It’s not a very pleasant thing to confront. But we must, and we shall, for our futures depend on it.
The fact of the matter is, any state that assumes an iota of power greater than the people it rules, is by any logical standard, illegitimate. If you can’t steal from your neighbors or benefit at their expense, neither can the state. If you can’t dictate how a businessman runs his business, neither can the state. If you can’t invade a foreign country, neither can the state. If you can’t raid your neighbor’s hemp fields, neither can the state. If you can’t debase the currency to fund your retirement, neither can the state — at least not legitimately. Obviously, the state is engaging in all those things, which to me is a big problem.
I tell you this now as food for thought. This state will fail and fade into the long night, as have multitudes of other previously unsustainable structures of government that have dotted the Earth since time immemorial. Empires such as the Egyptians, the Romans, the British and on into the present day, have all failed. They failed because the natural laws of the universe are in conflict with mass theft, currency debasement, violent wars, wealth redistribution, cronyism, “regulatory” controls, and all the rest.
The universe only allows prosperity when people cooperate peacefully with one another. The state is anything but peaceful. Every dictate, down the lowliest parking ticket, is ultimately enforced at the point of gun. The state takes great pains to hide the gun in the room, but it’s there; waiting for the moment someone refuses to pay that ticket, waiting for the moment someone refuses to stop selling illegal dried vegetable matter, waiting for the moment someone refuses to pony up their savings to fuel the welfare/warfare state.
We are responsible for buying our own clothes, shoes, food, beauty products, computers, houses and every other necessity of life. It seems reasonable to me that we should also be responsible for voluntarily paying for our own security and justice systems as well. When the state has control of the money, when the state has control of justice, when the state has control of our wallets, it will eventually turn against the very citizens it supposedly protects, just as all monopolies do. Only through voluntarism, equality of power and competition can the human condition be improved.
Anarcho-capitalism is the only sustainable structure of governance, because it is the only pure system of voluntary cooperation that does not grant illegitimate power to a political class. It is the only system that prevents monopolies of currency, security and justice from forming. We have anti-trust laws in this country that supposedly protect us from evil villains like Standard Oil, well perhaps it’s time we applied those anti-trust laws to our political, justice and currency systems.