Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 614, April 10, 2011

"Down With Power!"

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Civilized Government
by A.X. Perez

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

There is no such thing as a civilized government. There are civilized men who use government as a tool to maintain their civilization(s). There are no just laws. There are Just men who use the law to obtain justice.

Law and government are both force applied against men. In the hands of decent folk they are tools to protect the liberty and rights of people. In the hands of tyrants they are brutal weapons of oppression. Many who love freedom are so used to seeing them abused to oppress people that they have reached the conclusion that all government and all law are by definition oppressive and tyrannical.

It is true that decent and honest people can choose to resolve differences, divide duties, agree on payments, live up to the terms of contracts with out law or government twisting their arms. Some claim that there are those, perhaps a majority, who would act in an unjust and uncivilized manner without the restraints of law and government. Others argue that between the ability of people to forcibly defend themselves and the need to engage in trade in a market place where those known to be unjust would be banned from trade because no one would be damnfool enough to trade with them, just, civilized behavior can be assured.

I am inclined to believe that this free society and free market arrangement is the best way for men to deal justly with each other. Indeed, men of good will regularly sit down and reach arrangements without involving the government or the law. Even those who are lacking in good will frequently apply this voluntary approach because it is more profitable than involving the authorities. Unfortunately there are those whose moral and intellectual development is so stifled that only the threat of law and government seems to restrain them. Guess it's cheaper than the ammo bill we would run up keeping them in line.

For the time being we do have the law and government(s). Evil men try to control them and use them as tools of oppression. Even good people who get involved with law and government are corrupted by the pleasure of enforcing their will on other people if they are not careful.

When most folk are required to go unarmed too many of those who are allowed to carry weapons soon discover the pleasure of abusing the power they enjoy. Similarly, those who wield the law and government have power and the temptation to misuse it. Some say this must be controlled by constantly replacing the "bums" while others claim that the solution is to get rid of the government and law. or at least weaken them.

Those of you who have read my maunderings before know that I do not consider these approaches as mutually exclusive, but rather that freedom should be defended and tyranny destroyed using both. It's called the one two punch. You know which attack you can accomplish more engaging in. As for me, I am moody as a cat and reserve the right to switch between tactics.

Laws and governments are neither civilized or just. Men are. It is up to men to weaken and bind the law and government so that they are tools of justice and civilization, not ravening beasts trying to destroy justice and civilization.


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