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Archive for May, 2012

Choosing the Golden Rule

Here is an excellent article from The Daily Bell that goes into great depth explaining why a government of cooperation is better than a government of coercion. He talks about the tendency of government-as-we-know-it to cause antagonism between people, to foster strife, and how the opposite, dealing with people according to the Golden Rule, fosters empathy and cooperation, even among people who have their differences (that would be all of us).

While the canton movement assumes that people have their differences, and that any particular territory would have multiple cantons that reflect these differences, it also assumes that these same cantons would work together for various causes that they share. This arrangement, of recognizing differences while at the same time looking for real commonality (as opposed to the horrid “bi-partisanship” that we hear so much about), can truly foster peace.

The Immorality of Coercion

[I am reposting this article which originally appeared here in December 2010 because I like it.]

Some people see government as a positive force in human society. Others see it as a necessary evil, something that has its flaws, but that we need nonetheless. Still others, myself included, see that there is a terrible flaw in government-as-we-know-it, government that is based on coercion.

That terrible and fatal flaw in coercive government comes from the very fact that it operates by coercion, because it is this basis that runs contrary to basic human rights, rights we have by nature and nature’s God. In stark contrast to government by coercion is the type of government described by the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes human nature and the inalienable rights that come from it, and the government by consent that naturally follows from those rights.

Any government that does not recognize human nature, and the rights that naturally flow from that nature, is thereby unnatural, and has the seed of its own destruction within it. This would not be so bad if it was only the government that was destroyed by this failure to understand human nature. The great and enduring tragedy, however, is that this fatal flaw in government by coercion results in the destruction of human society to a staggering extent, and the enormous human suffering that comes with it. Failure to properly perceive the flaw in government by coercion results in war, tyranny, and the inevitable destruction of the livelihood of millions of people, if not the direct destruction of the people themselves.

The people who see government by coercion as either beneficial to humanity or no more that a necessary evil look upon the evils that seem to come so easily from the hearts of their fellow men, evils that they see government protecting them from, and fail to recognize how much of this evil comes from a reaction against the inhumanity of government rather than the failings of human nature. When government is based on a proposition that coercion is a necessary and core element of government, that people must, in fact, be forced to do what is right (beyond what is required to protect life and property), it is the government itself that produces in its unhappy subjects violent reactions. It is impossible that government by coercion could fail to produce revulsion and violence in many of the people it oppresses. The human rights written on the hearts of every person will recognize the evil of repression that government inflicts, and will oppose it, consciously or otherwise.

What will save us from this calamity? We need to recognize the flaw that exists in government that does not operate on the basis of free human choice, on the true consent of all governed. We need to create the structures of human cooperation that can replace government by coercion with government by cooperation.

We are so far from this, it seems to me that it might take centuries more of human misery to recognize the truth of the inherent flaw within government by coercion, and to have the courage and conviction it will take to build governments based on cooperation and consent. That would be tragic.

The Blame Game

When things go wrong, we look to blame someone. Very rarely do we blame ourselves. It’s a natural tendency not to want to look bad in the eyes of other people, so we look around us for someone else to blame.

It is too easy to look at the political and economic disasters in the world today and blame politicians, pundits, and business leaders. But the fact is, they only do what any normal person (yes, the one looking back at you from the mirror) would do in the same situation. In general, we are no better or worse than those we would like to place the blame on for our present sad state.

In fact, it is precisely that person in the mirror than you should be blaming. We are not without the ability to make things better. But to even begin that task, we have to take responsibility for the way things are now, and also responsibility for finding ways to fix it. At that point, blame is pointless and useless. Instead, we need courage and fortitude. We need to encourage one another to resolve to do something, based on our best judgement of what would be most helpful. And then we need to do it.

Creating cantons is first of all taking personal responsibility for the way things are in the world right now, and resolving to do something about it.

Go to a mirror and take a look. The person you see there is really to blame for the way things are. That person is also key to making things better.

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