Those who know me know that I've been a life-long libertarian, though my activism began in 2007 with the announcement of Ron Paul's run for the presidency. What I learned through the process was extremely valuable. The activities I engaged in and contributions made to his campaign were not.
by Nick Coons
(To clarify, this article is for those who have come to the realization that the state is not only unnecessary, but incompatible with freedom. For those who still hold the illusion that the state is some sort of necessary evil, then you have a few things to figure out before making your way through this article. And if you think the state is a necessary good, then you're on the wrong website entirely).
Libertarianism is the political philosophy that begins with the non-aggression principle, which is essentially that no person my initiate the use of force against another. While less aggression is better than more aggression, non-aggression is best of all. The state cannot exist without aggression. Interactions that don't involve aggression, or the threat of aggression, are not state-based interactions.
A common "minarchist" (limited government) position is that government could exist to provide for basic services, like police and courts, but they would be funded voluntarily instead of through aggression (taxation). The flaw in this argument is that if such an agency were to exist in this way, it would no longer be a government, it would simply be a business, as all businesses are funded through voluntary participation. Thus, the existence of the state necessitates the acceptance of aggression as a viable solution.
Ron Paul wants to "return to constitutional government" (which in practice lasted for all of about three years after ratification, but that's a different topic). He doesn't want to eliminate the state, he wants to reduce it. Thus, by his own statements, he does not support non-aggression, he supports less aggression. This would be like a woman whose husband beats her and suggesting that he should beat her less instead of not beating her at all.
While fewer beatings, err.. less government aggression is better, this doesn't work in practice. Slavery was not abolished because people preached that it could be reformed to be more gentle to the slaves; it was abolished because people understood that it was immoral and that the only solution was to abolish it. Supporting Ron Paul running for president, when he preaches not of abolishing the state, but reforming it, is a support of aggression as a solution to the problem of aggression. It's been tried by believers in "limited government" for over a century and with miserably failed results; that is, the state has grown by leaps and bounds in spite of their efforts.
The only solution is to continue to point out the evils of the state, that abolishing it is the only solution. People will only oppose evil when they feel sufficiently uncomfortable supporting it. And someone like Ron Paul running for president gives them the means to side-step their discomfort and continue supporting the state.
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