no third solution

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The Benevolent Invader

April 15th, 2008

Imagine a country on the precipice of War.

The invading nation is ruled by a Benevolent Dictator, whose purpose (albeit, self-destructing in the long-run) is solely to give people a government better and more free than the one under which they currently reside. Assume for the sake of argument that “better” can be objectively defined and measured. The Benevolent Dictator promises not to take any man as his own, lest that man be competent and willing, and that furthermore he says that the only manner in which you will be more free under his reign, is that you will have the ability to leave his fiefdom at your leisure. In all other spheres, the new Boss is the same as the old Boss. Therefore, the Benevolent Dictator provides a government only marginally more free than the one in which the people of the country about to be invaded currently live.

Would a State presume to “defend” its citizens against this invasion, the sole purpose of which is to make them a part of a better State? And if so, what is this but the absolute deprivation of freedom? A State acting in its citizens’ interest would not force them, under penalty of law, to finance a national defense aimed at preventing them from exercising their liberty. It follows then, that, the State can no longer be acting in defense of its citizens, nor in their interest because a State acting in their interest would permit their the freedom, if they so chose.

Sometimes, its argued ad hominem that those who oppose the State are simply trying to leech its benefits without contributing their fair share, however calculated. But those of us in opposition are the most ardent detractors of State programs, whether they be schools, drug wars, empire-building, or zoning laws! To benefit, economically speaking, is to gain more than one has lost. Therefore, if it is one’s intent to benefit from the State, then clearly in accounting terms, he aims to get back more than he put in. By the law of identity (A is A), then, the people who are truly trying to leech the “benefits” of the State are those who do not consciously reject its authority!

Another argument might be that most governments in their ideal forms, allege that they’re doing this very thing, and that none of the others can be trusted. Well, why do “they” get to decide? Ultimately the choice must be to the individual, and since, if the individuals thought they were better off under the current regime, then that regime would have nothing to fear. If, on the other hand, they feel they’d be better off with the Benevolent Dictator, then clearly the current regime has failed.

Since all States purport to be acting in the interest of their citizens (leaving aside those States without pretense), what better way to test that thesis, than to ask for permission to determine one’s own interest? And since determining one’s own interest is clearly in one’s own interest (at the very least, it is not the antithesis thereof), the State ought let him do just that! Recall, that the Benevolent Dictator is offering only one less infringement upon his liberty than he currently suffers. Now, if the State won’t permit him this choice, the choice of one more freedom, it is proof by counterexample that a government willing to thus “defend”, is in fact preventing you from being free.

“Balderdash!” some might contest, “There is no Benevolent Dictator invading our country! Your argument is a straw-man!”

I disagree. Perhaps the government one would choose is one of his own sovereignty. That’s the type that I’d choose. The State ought applaud this choice you exercise, since you’re making no demands upon them, nor any threats towards their agents or constituents. We aren’t threatening a war to give everyone this choice (a war that the Benevolent Dictator might well win!), we’re just asking for your own freedom, without the bombs and the guns.

If one is not free to choose which government one might prefer, even one of his own creation, then certainly we cannot say that anyone is free to choose the government currently claiming dominion over him, and we can summarily defenestrate the whole “consent” argument.

no third solution

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