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Civilization exists in spite of government

link Kent McManigal

Local columnist

Power, organization and direction. Many people seem to feel these are good attributes to always be encouraged, but they miss the destructive potential these same qualities possess in many situations.

Think of tornadoes, for example.

Tornadoes have plenty of power, organization and direction, but are lacking both wisdom and ethics based on the fundamental principle of never harming the innocent or their property.

The same can be said for the state. Running roughshod over people and their property, without their explicit consent, no matter what force is doing it, is never good.

When people face the choice of whether or not to join a powerful, organized and directed force — and choose to do it without an absolute commitment to never use that force to violate the rightful liberty of any other person — they are worse than a tornado. While the tornado is a mindless, amoral force of nature, the person has consciously chosen to be actively promoting evil.

As Albert Jay Nock pointed out in “Our Enemy, the State,” the aforementioned state — what many people equate with government — is the polar opposite of society. The two sit on opposite sides of a delicate balance and are mutually exclusive.

The more of a state you tolerate, the less of your society survives. Society and civilization don’t exist because of the state, but in spite of it.

States are estimated to have killed more than 170 million non-military individuals in the 20th Century alone — and that’s the low-end estimate. Just imagine how many tornadoes it would take to equal government’s body count. It’s a legacy of death and destruction no other group of terrorists or individual murderers could ever dream of approaching, even if they all managed to have free reign with little chance of being stopped.

That kind of destruction requires the power, organization, and direction of states. And it’s not civilized.

All states have power; too much of it by any rational measure. They are organized — against individual liberty. And they have direction — even if some parts appear to be pulling against other parts, the main thrust is always toward more power and more organization for the state, and toward unifying the direction of the pull.

Individuals must choose to never, under any pretext or justified by any job, use force against those who are not physically attacking them nor violating their property, in order to make power, organization, and direction work for good. It makes all the difference in the world, and is something anyone can choose.

Just because tornadoes have always existed, and probably always will, it is no reason to embrace them, defend them, or try to unleash more.

Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at:

[email protected]

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