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Fallacy #1: We are the State and the State is Us
It’s not the state that is taxing you and coercing you; in a democracy “the state is us“, so we’re doing it to ourselves.
Since outright slavery has been discredited, “democracy” is the only remaining rationale for state compulsion that most people will accept. Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderfully submissive slaves.
Also, if “we” are the government, then why would it be a sin to stop paying taxes? Am I required to pay myself?
—Gary Wingrove II
A good reductio ad absurdum for the false premise that “the state is us” is that since Hitler was elected, and Jewish people were part of the population that elected him, they weren’t murdered in the concentration camps, but rather committed suicide, since they were the state.
More fundamentally, however, the fallacy rests on the false premise that Voting Is Consent and that infringement of individual rights (to life, liberty, and property) is justified if a majority wills it. But individual rights do not come from states or majorities, but are a property of individual self-ownership.
Fallacy #2: Existence is Implicit Consent to be Ruled
Statists assert that because you live somewhere (or have a birth certificate, or citizenship, or paid taxes at one point, have a driver’s license, have driven on state-owned roads, etc.), you have agreed to an implicit, unwritten contract to follow the state’s laws and pay whatever taxes they demand.
E.g., “[O]ur government was here before you. You may not have signed up but your parents signed you up. It’s called a birth certificate and it says you’re a citizen of this country and with that title comes all the financial and legal obligations and responsibilities.”
A contract requires two parties; it is not a unilateral instrument.
Furthermore, it requires a meeting of the minds (effectively, both parties understand what they’re agreeing to), clear terms, actual agreement, and exchange of considerations (you don’t need a contract to give a gift).
Old papers signed by the dead are not contracts binding on the living. You can’t sign a contract for other people (without their explicit permission, e.g., power of attorney).
To the assertion that a birth certificate is such a contract (agreement), I point out that one person may not sign a contract for another. A parent may act as guardian, and act on a child’s behalf, but that still does not entitle them to make promises and enter into obligations for that person.
A constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper that people running government “agree” to abide by. It is not an agreement with the “citizens” (or should I say “subjects”) of the government. It is a unilateral set of edicts.
An excellent illustration of this principle of the tyrant goes like this:
A Wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf’s right to eat him.
He thus addressed him: “Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.”
“Indeed,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, “I was not then born.”
Then said the Wolf, “You feed in my pasture.”
“No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.”
Again said the Wolf, “You drink of my well.”
“No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.”
Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.”
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
-The Wolf and the Lamb, Aesop’s Fables
Fallacy #3: Government is the product of The Social Contract
Everyone has agreed to The Social Contract™, which gives the state the right to control people “for the greater good” (or insert other excuse), taxing them and forcing them to follow laws.
The “social contract” has the same problems as any magic contract; it is better referred to as “the state-imposed burden”. It is not a contract (no definition, no agreement), but a burden (justifies arbitrary harm), and it is imposed by force, rather than being voluntary or to any degree “social”.
If the argument is made that statism is moral and justifiable because of a “social contract”, the implication is that the “social contract” is a valid form of contract. If “social contracts” are valid. Then any “social contracts” made by any persons must be valid. Remember, there is no special pleading for the state.
Therefore, a business like Walmart, could simply ship $500.00 worth of groceries and other goods to your house every month without your consent, and proceed to bill you. If you disputed this, they could then tell you that if you didn’t like it, you were free to move out of your neighborhood.
In accordance with social contract logic, I would simply create my own social contract with the government itself whereby I “tax” the government for the services I provide in the economy that they benefit from, in an amount that is equal to what they have “taxed” me. What would be the difference between these 2 social contracts? Nothing, except of course, that the state has far more violence with which to enforce their “social contract” then I do. That, of course, is the root of the matter. It’s might makes right. Pay or you get shot.
Paul Rosenberg of Casey Research writes, “is this the “social contract” legitimate? Let’s examine some crucial aspects of contracts:
In order to agree to a contract, one must be competent. You cannot, for example, make a contract with a hungry five-year-old, trading a few candy bars for a third of the child’s lifetime earnings. The child is not competent and any such agreement is rightly considered invalid.
The social contract, however, is held to be binding upon us from birth. How is that possible? Can an infant do what a five-year-old or even a twelve-year-old cannot?
Verdict: The social contract fails.
A contract must be agreed to. I was never given a choice to sign or reject such an agreement, and I doubt that you were either. There can be no contract at all without a voluntary agreement. (See the next point below for the standard objection.)
Verdict: The social contract fails.
A contract must be agreed to “without duress.” That is, without a threat of harm.
The standard objection to my “agreement” point above is that people agree to the social contract by their actions: If you use anything provided by a government, you automatically agree to the entire social contract. That line of argument fails in several ways (entrapment for starters, followed by being informed), but the largest issue in my mind is that of duress.
To get out of the social contract, we are told, we must leave the ruler’s territory. That places the ruler’s rights above our own as a starting point, which voids any semblance of “equal justice.” But I’ll pass up that discussion for today.
Leaving the ruler’s territory means spending large amounts of money, a tremendous amount of time to make arrangements, leaving our jobs behind, leaving all our friends behind, and leaving our entire families behind.
In other words, we can only escape the social contract by undertaking difficult, expensive, and heartbreaking actions.
Imagine a Fuller Brush salesman coming to your door and offering you an assortment of brushes for thirty dollars. Then, when you politely decline, he pulls out a gun and says “No! If you don’t want the deal, you have to abandon your house. Either pay me or leave.”
Is this salesman’s demand criminal? If so, the social contract is criminal as well. Both seek to secure agreements by using duress.
Verdict: The social contract fails, both legally and on grounds of cruelty.
Undue influence involves “one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person.”
Clearly, this applies to the social contract. First, we are compelled to attend schools run by the “other party” to the contract. These institutions teach us that the social contract is the way of the world and that any competing ideas would be crazy. And we are held in their classrooms five or more hours per day, beginning at five-years-old and running until adulthood. (If nothing else, consider the daily “Pledge of Allegiance” and try to count the number of times you were made to recite it.)
On top of that, the “other party” employs legions of armed men and authorizes them to violently subdue those who oppose them and their rules.
If these things are not undue influence, then nothing is. You can’t indoctrinate the other party, hold a sword to his throat, force him to sign, and still call it a contract.
Verdict: The social contract fails.
Mutuality of obligation
With no “mutuality of obligation,” there can be no contract. If the other side of the contract is not meeting their obligations, there must be recourse.
After the US government failed to protect New Yorkers on 9/11, all eight million of them should have been entitled to a refund. Clearly the other side of the deal failed to meet their obligations. (That, of course, didn’t happen: the loss of their rights only got worse.)
And then we have the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which removes all the most serious consequences from the other side of the deal.
There is no mutuality of obligation in the social contract. Therefore, it’s not a contract.
Verdict: The social contract fails.
I could go on, but I think my point is made. I have cited five clear violations of contract law and alluded to several others. If even one of these is valid, the “social contract” is invalid.
If the terms of a contract are uncertain or incomplete, it’s no contract at all. And for one party to continue to seize the goods of the other, claiming a contractual right to do so, is criminal fraud.”
Fallacy #4: Law cannot exist without the State
“Without government, there would be chaos! We must have rule of law!”
“Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law.”
The problem is that the people are taught that when violence has been made “legal” and is committed by “authority,” it changes from immoral violence into righteous “law enforcement.” The fundamental premise upon which all “government” rests is the idea that what would be morally wrong for the average person to do can be morally right when done by agents of “authority,” implying that the standards of moral behavior which apply to human beings do not apply to agents of “government” (again, hinting that the thing called “government” is superhuman). Inherently righteous force, which most people generally agree is limited to defensive force, does not require any “law” or special “authority” to make it valid. The only thing that “law” and “government” are needed for is to attempt to legitimize immoral force And that is exactly what “government” adds, and the only thing it adds, to society: more inherently unjust violence. No one who understands this simple truth would ever claim that “government” is essential to human civilization.
—Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition
No intelligent anarchist argues that the sudden and catastrophic implosion of the state will result in a peaceful, self-regulating society. We’ve lived through centuries of the process by which centralized territorial states suppressed bottom-up, self-organized alternatives, and caused civil society to atrophy. Under such circumstances, when the state suddenly disappears, the result is likely to be a power vacuum with nothing ready to take its place, and the proliferation of all sorts of social pathologies.
What most of us want to do is reverse this centuries-long process by building alternative social institutions, organized on a voluntary cooperative basis, to supplant the state. We can describe this as devolving or submerging the state into the social body. So it would make far more sense to look at a stateless or near-stateless society that’s been that way for a long time, under comparatively stable conditions, and the institutions by which people peacefully govern their lives.”
— Kevin Carson
Government is a negative upon the rule of law (and on capitalism) exactly because it does not enforce contracts, prohibits/regulates voluntary exchange and infringes upon property rights.
If people could resolve their disputes privately (as Christ hoped his disciples would), there would be no need for dispute resolution and arbitration from which laws are promulgated. The curse of the law represents our own unwillingness to personally resolve disputes privately, thus subjugating ourselves to a third party’s determination for resolution. Law is nothing more than abnegation of personal responsibility between two parties to resolve disputes.
Fallacy #5: Monopoly Law guarantees Objectivity and Order
The argument suggest that unless the production of law and order is monopolized by the State, then relativism and disorder will prevail, or be it, morality will lose its objectivity. The assumption is that who ever is in charge must decide right and wrong because it is not inherent in nature.
When Christ stood before Pilate, he was asked, “Art thou a King?” Jesus responded, “Know ye this of yourself or have others told it to thee?” Pilate responded, “Am I a Jew?” Jesus explains the type of kingdom he has come to establish and all who hear his voice also heareth truth. Pilate, being an expert in legal reasoning, states, “What is truth?” (John 18:33-40) Pilate’s belief that the truth is relative (subjective) is failure to believe that the right and wrong are independent of the lawgiver or that right and wrong exist in objective reality waiting to be discovered and not decreed.
Jesus is challenging the omniscience of Pilate and, therefore, his ability to judge as magistrate. Pilate asks Christ to confirm or deny the charges which have been brought against him, not by Pilate, but by the Jews. Christ states that he is a king and that he has established his kingdom, but it is not like the kingdoms of the world. Had it been like the kingdoms of the world, as he stated to Peter, he would call down his angels and command his disciples to fight on his behalf. The Kingdom of God is not a kingdom of coercion, retaliation or violence. Jesus informs Pilate that were Pilate to look at the church which Jesus has established, the gospel which Jesus has preached and the life Jesus has led, then Pilate would have known the falseness of the charges against him. There should be no need for Jesus to clarify or explain himself. Pilate’s legal reasoning about the relevance of truth admits that judicial preponderance is hardly impartial and often politically motivated. Pilate’s actions will soon speak for themselves. “Truth” is whatever the magistrate says it is based on a personal interpretation of the evidence and of testimony presented before him. Pilate does declares Jesus innocent, but condemns him anyway by succumbing to the pressures of the mob. Not only does Pilate admit that a preponderance of evidence lacks objectivity and impartiality but shows that human law is politically motivated.
Human law is inherently political. Those who legislate are corrupt and legislate for their own political benefit or for that special interest group from which one benefits. The Rule of Law under which we live is the product of political forces rather than the embodiment of justice. The people who serve as judges influence the way law is interpreted. The Rule of Law is not, therefore, a body of definite, politically neutral rules amenable to an impartial application which all citizens have a moral obligation to enforce. The Rule of Law is a myth. We do not live in a society where all are governed by neutral rules that are objectively applied by impartial judges. There is no such thing. To claim that we are ruled by law and not by people is to commit the fallacy of legal reasoning. The truth is that the law is interpreted arbitrarily.
The legal world is comprised of contradictory rules. Legal arguments are available to all competing hypotheses. The assumption that there is a unique, correct resolution, which serves empirical investigations is called the fallacy of legal reasoning. It leads one astray when dealing with legal matters. The law is not moral justice, it is a game of chance. The fallacy of legal reasoning is most often committed by moralists who assume that under the law there is a uniquely correct resolution in each case and that the outcome is “God’s will.” Those found guilty by the law are often condemned by these moralists as sinners who deserve what they get when the truth is they were found guilty by a judge who interpreted the law in a way that allowed for a political conviction. Luck of the draw was not on the side of the defense, rather the prosecution. Because the law is made up of contradictory rules and often written in vague language, the law generates any conclusion. The conclusion generated is the one most congruent with the presiding judge’s antecedent, underlying political beliefs. Legal conclusions are never determined by law, rather always by the normative assumptions of the decision-maker. It should be noted that the degree to which the law is indeterminate based solely on the existence of contradictory rules and the normative predispositions of decision-makers is vastly understated. The degree to which the law is indeterminate is multiplied by the vague and general language of the laws themselves as well as the rules and principles governing their interpretation.
Since there is no such thing as the Rule of Law, we ask ourselves if a flexible law is a bad thing? The law is a monopoly product of the State. As long as it is a product of the State, it must remain indeterminate if it is to serve its purpose and apply to all members of society. If law were determinate, all injustices would be suffered by all those who did not agree with the prevailing politics of the legislators. By rendering the law indeterminate and flexible, all political camps equally run the chance of suffering injustice at the ruling of a decision-maker whose politics is not one’s own. All equally suffer under the lawlessness of the law. There is no doubt that a determinate law is preferred and that is the one which reflects our own politics. But this cannot be where law is a monopoly product. It must remain flexible and, therefore, a game of chance, rather than a determinate injustice upon some in order to benefit others.
Therefore, the Rule of Law must be opposed while it is yet a monopoly product of the State, until the flexible government of people is preserved by a critical mass of support for a plurality of determinate laws as embodied in voluntary and private institutions. The Rule of Law cannot justly prevail in any other way. Justice prevails in a private setting where private institutions compete for and reflect the diversity of moral predispositions in a society. Until the free exercise of conscience is preserved, we continue in a game of chance, with vague laws that reflect corrupt political motives and politically charged interpretations by judges who have legal license to rule according to their own personal dispositions. As long as law is a monopoly product, it is the arbitrariness of law and a judge’s interpretation of it or it is the dungeon and the rack for mere difference of belief with mainstream society. Arbitrary injustice for all through flexibility in the law or injustice for the many through determinacy. The third option is allowing people to organize themselves in private institutions according to their respective beliefs while respecting the sovereignty of each institution to discipline its members according to the voluntary covenants or contracts into which its members have entered.