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Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is the State?

Some comments deserve their own separate post. I'm trying to get better at answering "Please write a post on this, FSK!" comments.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Common FSK Topics":

I'd like to see you write about why you think the state exists. What fundamentally causes a state, and why does 99% of the population praise it's function (ya, they argue over what it should do, but almost everyone believes that it is necessary).

This is the result of a massive brainwashing campaign. Originally, governments were established by conquest rather than unanimous consent of the governed. Over time, the ruling class cemented their authority by brainwashing people to believe "We need a government!" There was a government for all of recorded history, so there's no evidence of what life was like before the invention of government. By the time recorded history starts, the conquerors had already cemented their control and brainwashing.

Public schooling plays a role. Brainwashing by your parents also plays a role. Your parents think they're teaching you "Be a good citizen!" but they're really teaching you "Be a good slave!" It wouldn't be possible to pro-State brainwash children without the consent of the parents. In the present, homeschooling is economically difficult for most parents. Pro-State brainwashing isn't just "Taxation is not theft!", but a whole collection of subconscious attitudes.

(Some of my thoughts...)

We will never have an anarchist society unless people start believing that we do not need to coerce people into behaving. I believe agorism is the best way to bring about the downfall of the existing state, but if people don't believe that coercion is immoral, then I don't think agorism can get enough steam to actually topple the state.

It's a positive feedback thing. Once you have successful practical agorists, then it's easier to convince other people and get them to go along. Agorism needs to move from a theoretical exercise to actual working agorists. A scientific theory is useless if it provides no practical benefits.

If you say "Work as an agorist, and this is the tangible benefit!", then it's very easy to convince someone to go along.

Right now, I'm spending 100% of my free market efforts on "raise awareness". At some later time, I'll start on "actual practical agorism". I won't cease my "raise awareness" efforts, especially if my "raise awareness" efforts are profitable (such as AdSense; I'm going to try others). I also need to work on "raise awareness" as a means for "attract customers", when I do have an agorist business. At some point, I'll have enough agorist or self-employed on-the-books income that I won't need a wage slave job. If necessary, I can declare some of my agorist income and pay tax on it.

For example, I need to pay property taxes via check. If I paid by cash, that would be suspicious and raise a red flag in the State spying engine. If I owe $5k in property taxes, I should make sure I have about $15k-$20k of wage slave income, so I can pay the property tax.

When you start talking about coercion as being immoral, you add tons of other problems that people have to deal with. The idea of coercion as being a good thing runs through every foundation of society: the family, the state, and religion. Getting someone to say "ya, taxes are immoral, I'm an anarchist" is one thing, but getting them to believe that forcing someone to do anything is immoral is quite another. I think there are two fronts to the war, the philosophical(coercion is immoral) and the utilitarian (how anarchism would work/agorism). I see you focused more on the utilitarian side, and would like to at least hear some stuff on philosophy side, and how you think we can win on that end.
I do both philosophy and utilitarian. Right now, I'm performing 100% philosophy, because I don't have an actual agorist business! I've progressed beyond "The State sucks!" I'm much more interested in "So what are you going to do about it?" I don't discuss "The State sucks!" much anymore, because I consider that proven. The pro-State troll arguments seem ridiculously frivolous and barely worth mentioning.

People think of coercion as "How do I stop someone who breaks into my house and steals stuff?" or "What if someone murders/assaults me?" This type of coercion is valid. Even if a free market, obvious crimes will be investigated. In the present, the State *ENCOURAGES* obvious crime. If the monopolistic State police cannot or will not investigate a crime, the victim is SOL. In the present, monopolistic State police try to catch the criminal. There is no obligation for monopolistic State police to pay restitution to the victim, for failing to protect them.

In a free market, competing police forces would be very interested in having a high "criminals get caught" rate. If necessary, they would convince their customers to install security cameras in their residence. Would I install a security camera in my residence if it meant I get a discount on police protection? Yes. In a free market, the police would take precautions like "camera footage is only used in the event of a crime"; any police agency that violated the trust of a customer would lose its business. In the present, no rational person would allow the police to install a security camera in their home, because you can be practically certain that the information would be used against you. State police have an unaccountable monopoly, so people are distrustful when giving them information.

In the present, sometimes State employees commit crimes, such as a policeman who murders someone while conducting a no-knock raid; such a policeman rarely gets worse negative consequences than a slap on the wrist. When a State employee commits a crime, they are typically protected by sovereign immunity. This encourages crime by State employees.

Some people think of coercion as "How can I stop my neighbor from getting an abortion?" or "How can I stop my neighbor from smoking marijuana?" If your neighbor's activity does not injure you, then you don't have a right to stop him. Most people agree with this in principle, but they never hear it explicitly stated like that.

The main evil of the State is the subtle crimes it encourages. What right do the President and Congress have to steal trillions of dollars and spend it on war? I have a valid claim, because some of that money was stolen from me. What right do the President and Congress and the Federal Reserve have to steal from me by inflation and give the proceeds to a handful of insiders? What right does the State have to impose regulations that make it hard for me to start a business?

The vast majority of Americans disapproved of the massive financial industry bailout. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the bailout, leaving the average American SOL. Financial industry insiders print new money, and spend some of that money on lobbyists! It's a profitable arrangement for the bankers, the lobbyists, and the Congressmen! The vast majority of Americans disapproved of the Iraq war. In 2006, Democrats got a majority in Congress running on a platform of "The Iraq War is bad!", but once in control they did nothing to stop it. If members of both major parties support a bad law, then the average American has no recourse. For most such laws, the average American has been brainwashed to believe that these bad laws are beneficial.

People see the positive things that the State does, such as roads and schools (brainwashing centers) and police. However, all those things could be provided cheaper and better in a free market. People say "Without government, who would build the roads!" The reality is that only a very tiny percentage of the taxes I pay are used for actually building roads. Only a very tiny percentage of the taxes I pay are used for *LEGITIMATE* police services. (The "War on Drugs" is not a valid use of policemen.) If people didn't have to spend thousands of dollars on taxes for schools, there would be free market alternatives. With high taxes for public schools, private schools are only available for the wealthy.

Perhaps you should talk about coercion being immoral, if you assert that. And I'm not talking about just a gun pointed at someone, but all the interactions we have with people on a non voluntary basis.

There's indirect coercion. You might say "I have a voluntary relationship with my employer!", but State restriction of the market severely limits available employment prospects. Your relationship is superficially voluntary. It's really involuntary, due to huge State distortion of the market. The rules of the economic system are biased against workers and in favor of employers.

I would include such things as being passive aggressive to my wife to get her to do something, or yelling at my kids to get them to clean their room as coercion, and immoral/abusive.

Passive aggressive behavior is a symptom of pro-State brainwashing. If people weren't pro-State brainwashed, passive aggressive behavior is unnecessary.

Passive aggressive behavior has its origins in chattel slavery. The master has the slave literally in chains. However, the slave is still human. Via passive aggressive behavior, the slave controls the master. The slave will do just enough work to avoid being beaten. Similarly, in many wage slave corporate jobs, the wage slave does just enough work to avoid getting fired or reprimanded. In many wage slave jobs, a really productive worker is seen as a threat, because he makes the others look bad!

When you're in a situation where you're forced to do something, either via State violence or via your own pro-State brainwashing, you respond with passive aggressive behavior. For example, once I realized that the Rails Advocate's job was hopeless, I passive-aggressively stopped trying, instead of explicitly quitting.

All evil aspects of the State have their origins in chattel slavery. In modern society, the chains are more subtle, but they are still there. The most evil chains are the income tax, Federal Reserve, and government regulations. You only see the direct State violence if you violate one of these chains. For this reason, State police are evil. They blindly obey the orders that enforce the chains of the State.

Only 1%-2% of the population works as policemen. For this reason, even enlightening 50% of the population is insufficient, if they don't take direct agorist action. You would still need to enlighten the policemen, who are intentionally chosen to be stupid. Prospective policemen are given an intelligence test. If they score too highly, they are denied the job! The role of a policeman is to blindly enforce the will of the State. If productive workers stop supporting the police via taxes, then free market alternatives will emerge.

State police only harass a small fraction of the population at a time. This makes it practical for the State to spend vast resources pursuing the minority who evade the rules. Besides, who knows what's the true risk of an intelligent agorist? There's no data. If I started a "tax resister insurance" business, then I'd have better data.

State violence prevents you from saying "**** you!" to your wife and leaving her. State-licensed marriage is a *PERMANENT* contract and not a term contract, with artificially high overheads for changing your mind. If you made a bad decision and your wife is a *****, you can't say "**** you!" to your wife and find another partner. State violence, and your own pro-State brainwashing, makes you bound too much to your wife. Then, you resolve disagreements with passive aggressive behavior.

Similarly, your children resent that you are subconsciously pro-State brainwashing them. You get verbally or physically abusive to brainwash them, and they respond with passive aggressive behavior. It is valid to physically or emotionally train your kids to behave correctly, provided you do it in a true "Dog Whisperer pack leader" style.

Most people (especially those who assert the state is moral), will also assert that coercion, unless actually physically violent, is moral. Spanking my child is deemed moral, or giving my wife the cold shoulder is moral, or yelling at my employees at work is moral.

It is correct to discipline your children, until they're old enough to be on their own. If you're a true pack leader, you should be able to do this easily. For example, if your child tries to run into the street without looking, you *SHOULD* physically restrain them.

With your wife, you should be free to say "You're being unreasonable. I'm finding another partner." If you would never say this, no matter what, then what incentive is there for your wife to behave reasonably?

Working in a wage slave job is another issue. It's the Agent-Principal problem. If you're a typical wage slave middle manager, you're responsible but not the owner. If you were 100% owner in a free market, you're free to say "You're fired!" if an employee is being unreasonable. Your own personal interests are not aligned with those of your employees, or those of your boss or the shareholders or the customers. This is the inherent problem of all corporations. If you're such a brilliant manager, you can't say "**** this!" and start your own business, due to State restriction of the market. You can't say "**** this, I quit!" if your boss is being unreasonable, because finding another job as a middle manager is hard.

If we believe these tactics are moral, there is a zero chance of any anarchist/agorist strategy working.

These tactics are only used in the context of a corrupt system. In a real free market, you would not see as much passive aggressive or abusive behavior.

State violence makes it hard for you to divorce your wife. This leads to abusive behavior.

You have already been pro-State brainwashed. You are subconsciously pro-State brainwashing your children. They sense this and resist, leading to conflict. You can teach/correct your children without being abusive. For training children (or adults), the best behavior is the "Dog Whisperer" approach. If someone does something wrong, you *IMMEDIATELY* correct them, but then never mention it again unless they repeat the behavior. Delayed negative feedback is a mind control technique.

For example, if you're arrested for tax evasion, it's delayed negative feedback. You aren't immediately arrested when you perform work without paying taxes on the value of the work. Delayed negative feedback causes people to continually fear negative feedback. For example, I don't know if the "murder squad" is going to pay me another visit or not. This causes me to be more apprehensive than I would be otherwise.

Conflict at work is entirely due to the State-induced artificial nature of the manager/employee relationship. Neither you nor your employees are owners of the business. You and your employees can't easily say "**** this!" and start your own competing business.

People fall into abuser/abused relationship so naturally, and think that's a good thing, so the idea of chucking the state makes no sense.

This is only true for people who have been pro-State brainwashed. The parasitic personality type takes the abuser role. The productive worker takes the abused role. Due to pro-State brainwashing, most relationships you see have an abuser and an abusee. Once you crack your pro-State brainwashing, it's easier to relate to others as equals.

However, most parasite types are looking for someone to abuse, so forming a relationship with a parasite is pointless/impossible. Most productive types are already bound to another parasite. When I approach them, their attached parasite will say "*DANGER*!!! FSK IS EVIL!!" For example, most single women travel in pairs, a parasite and a productive type. I can't flirt with the productive member, because the parasite will be threatened.

You might as well tell them god doesn't exist (if they are religious), or that yelling at their kid is wrong.

The God of Absolute Unopposable Evil may be real. People would be more offended if you told them "The God of Christianity is actually a special case of the God of Absolute Unopposable Evil!" (I should do a post on alien religion.)

So I have some of my own thoughts, I'd like to hear some of your commentary on that subject. :)
There are some common false arguments cited against free markets over and over again. For example, "People are intrinsically evil/Statist/collectivist. Therefore, a government is needed."

My first retort to that is "If people are intrinsically stupid, then I guess I'll have to start my own species and let the inferior life forms die!" Most currently living humans should be convertible to free market thinking. The smartest humans should discover the truth first, and then figure out a way to start an agorist free market economy and start helping others.

It's hard to determine what "natural human behavior" is, because pro-State brainwashing is so pervasive. You can't predict how someone who hasn't been subjected to pro-State brainwashing would think.

Paradoxically, thousands of years of pro-State brainwashing may have accelerated the evolution of human intelligence. The details of pro-State brainwashing are *VERY COMPLICATED*. It takes a certain level of intelligence to remember various contradictory beliefs and keep your lies consistent with those around you. The members of the productive worker class are under continuous pressure to improve efficiency, so that the parasite class may leech more. However, whether a person adopts a productive or parasitic personality may be a result of conditioning, rather than an intrinsic property of the individual. In a true free market, there would be no value in the parasitic personality and it would disappear.

The reason you have the split among productive workers and parasites is that the parasites try to keep the productive workers emotionally weak. By keeping productive workers emotionally weak, that makes it easier for the parasites to maintain control. If a productive worker has a disagreement with a parasite, the parasite will *ALWAYS* say "It's the productive worker's fault!", and emotionally manipulate the productive worker into believing it. The productive workers have been told all their life by the parasites, who are in charge, that they are weak, so the productive workers believe that they are weak.

In the USA, the parasitic type is held as the ideal, and not the productive worker type.

When an anarchist says "The State is evil!", that is itself a fnord. The State is not just government itself. It's a State of mind that allows government to exist in the first place. This is literally The Matrix. If you mention to the average person "Taxation is theft! A really free market with no monopolistic government would be superior.", they'll respond "You're a fruitcake!"

You only see The Matrix when you poke it and question the rules! People are encouraged to "Report suspicious activity to the police!" If you go around saying "Taxation is theft!", that's suspicious activity that should be reported to the police!

The State is not just government. It's a collection of brainwashing techniques. A productive worker is expected to react in a certain way when a parasitic worker confronts him. In most/all corporations, the parasites are pulling the strings. If you give indications that you're a productive worker who can't be abused by parasites, then the parasites will cooperate to eliminate you! There's nothing that inspires cooperation among parasites more than a productive worker who can see through their scam!

If you look at most human relationships, one person has the parasitic personality type and the other has the productive worker personality type. It isn't about raw technical skill, although more intelligent people tend to have the productive worker personality. If you have the parasitic personality type, or the totally brainwashed wage slave type, that limits how intelligent you can be, because you're constrained by your false beliefs. You can be a professor of Mathematics at a university and still have the parasitic personality type.

If I attempt to start an agorist business, but have no trading partners, I can't accomplish anything. If I help raise the awareness of others, but never start an actual agorist business, then I'm accomplishing anything either. Both strategies must be pursued simultaneously.

For this reason, I'm leaning towards "FSK should attempt blatant-in-public agorism, to raise awareness and also attract customers." If I'm practicing blatant-in-public agorism, I'd be a tempting target for State enforcers. However, if I argue my position clearly, then State enforcers would also know that I'd be a tough victim who wouldn't play along with the scam. State enforcers might choose to ignore me over less difficult targets. If the State wastes $1M+ pursuing me in a high-profile tax evasion trial, and then I'm acquitted, that could make the bad guys look really foolish.

Does this answer your question? Let me know if you want further clarification.


Anonymous said...

I don't see how free market could be compatible with anarchism. Personal property rights themselves seem to cause an existence of hierarchy.

Private property and so-called "human rights" are just a way for the ruling class to be protected from the proletariat.

As for crime, the majority of crimes are caused by class struggle rooting in capitalist oppression. They simply wouldn't exist in an egalitarian state.

> People say "Without government, who
> would build the roads!"

That's that kind of bullshit representative democracy brainwashes people into thinking. Instead of acting they have to depend on an authority figure to provide services for them. Indeed, building a road on public property without government approval would be a crime by itself.

Maybe you could write a post on media bias and self-censorship (i.e. the propaganda model) in western societies?

> In a true free market, there would
> be no value in the parasitic
> personality and it would disappear.

Yes there would, it's an intrinsic property of a money-based economy and private property rights. Only in an egalitarian, Marxist society social classes could disappear.

As long as money and private property exist, there would be people gaming the system to accumulate wealth without contributing anything positive to society, as the upper classes do now. Owning the means of production is one method.

Anonymous said...

"If you say "Work as an agorist, and this is the tangible benefit!", then it's very easy to convince someone to go along."

So, your position is that people don't see enough incentive to be moral? Your job as an agorist is then to say "see, it works!" and then they'll fall in line? I think that's naive, and it lets them off the hook too easily.

I can excuse someone's statism to some extent while they remain ignorant of the moral outrage of interfering with peaceful men's pursuits. But once they see the immorality, if they still support statism, they are vicious, evil monsters not worth spending any effort convincing, they need shunning at best.

When good men routinely shun wicked men, then we'll see some change. Agorism isn't going to make a bit of difference.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post.

robert30062 said...

You made an observation last year about how it seemed as though Obama and his associates knew he was going to be president before the election even took place. I was just watching The Colbert Report and John Podesta was the invited guest. He was mentioning his role as director of the transition team and actually said "Last summer, when Obama asked me to run the transition team....." in one sentence. Last summer??? Last time I checked, the election is the first Tuesday in November. Obama is heralded by the press as some great messiah of change while, as usual, the real domestic and foreign policies of the corporate/bank cartel/political government of the United States stay the same and continue without interruption in operational terms. The US "Embassy" in Baghdad is the size of 110 football fields and has cost close to 80 billion dollars to build. The truth is the masters of the world never intend to leave Iraq, so far as their control of the flow and price of energy in the country is concerned and whatever it requires, by force, to maintain it. The only argument the so-called "left" has had during the entire Iraq war has been its execution or timing, or "the way it was managed", hauntingly familiar to the arguments made by the Camelot knights of the Kennedy Democrat era. Now we have Kerry, Clinton, or some other "dove" assuming disconsolate looks on their faces as they pontificate about maintaining a moral authority, all while their 2003 votes in the house and senate helped paved the way for the killing and/or maiming of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children. Obama and his team have already stepped up their bellicose rhetoric about Afghanistan, the so-called "real front in the war on terror", to the gleeful reception of many rank and file Democrats who are so sure that we have it right on this one. The truth is both the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were all part of the plan to control the TAPI(Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) Pipeline far into the 21st century and beyond, or so long as fossil fuels are relevant as a means of imperial control. The main reason there is somewhat less violence in Iraq now is because most of the population has now fled the country into Syria, Jordan and Iran. The people who remain are either the few who value money (our bribes) over the security of their homeland who in turn do our bidding in the "Iraqi Government", those who have just accepted our occupation many of whom will end up working in some periphery of the military bases and Embassy(I can already see the young Iraqi women working as whores for some local GIs and government contractors in bars in the not so distant future), or those who refuse to comply or take our bribes and resist, through whatever means necessary, the horrific forces of imperial greed. Oh yeah, those guys are called the "Terrorists". Somalia has crumbled into complete chaos and has worsened markedly since the CIA-backed government collapsed in 2006 and the US military interventions that have followed. The cruise ship hijacking media coverage was a fnord (to use your word) for: "We have to go get those kidnapping, murdering Somali bastards!" This follows the usual formula of media coverage concerning military deployment which is, if it requires more than covert ops, we have to plant the seed of justification for US soldiers dying in the minds of the citizens through the demonization of the "enemy" and the galvanization of our cause, concealing whatever imperial machination it may happen to truly be. So here we are, with the Obama administration dutifully following the same standards of invasion, repression, oppression, and violence while the whole world rejoices the inevitable salvation that will be his presidency. What scares me the most FSK is that while the policies are the same, Mr. Obama is remarkably more effective than many presidents in history at influencing, through his oratory, the people of this country who may in turn and unwittingly grant him real powers of control that Bush would have reveled, had he had the ability to achieve them. What's more, what will be the result of such an advancement of power for our "savior"?


fritz said...

Wow,,holy crap,Robert just said a mouth full ,,You can always find something interesting on FSK'S blog..

Get em tiger!!!!


Anonymous said...

Some of the points you make, especially that lots of our current culture is still part of the time when many humans were domesticated chattels of the minority, seem reasonable, but the consequence that the state is evil and can be dispensed with do not follow.

The state is just a big-size housing association, and those are regrettably necessary, with all the corruption, bullying and other bad things that happen in a typical housing association.

Humans are social animals, and they create groupings and hierarchies and "politics"; and these are necessary evils, and perfection is not attainable.

The solution is always and only vigilance. There is no automatic regime that guarantees the best outcome, be it anarchism, libertarianism or whatever.

People have to pay their dues, and take their chances with the various levels of "housing association", and engage and fight and play "politics". There is no free lunch.

Anonymous said...

"Originally, governments were established by conquest rather than unanimous consent of the governed."

How can you be so sure that after an agorist revolution your country can survive without a standing army?

I agree that a country full of armed free men can pull out a massive defense but is it enough against the next imperial state? The country will be less vulnerable without a government but it still depends on infastructure that can be bombed (roads, markets, courthouses..). A country without any natural resources or pipelines will be safest.

"There was a government for all of recorded history, so there's no evidence of what life was like before the invention of government."
This is not entirely true, we have many records of peoples before they were conquered, even if they are biased. For example the native americans. I am not saying these give a good indication of what to expect in the future.

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