The presumption behind all government is that men, absent the “fail safe” of forced compliance to moral behavior (which is a contradiction in terms, because force nullifies choice; and without choice there is no moral act) must necessarily act to exploit others because man’s–that is, the individual’s–root nature is base and mendacious. This assumption has many problems, not the least of which is that it does not explain how those in government get a moral pass on their own inherent depravity.
Further, it also implies and then forces a collective identity because all governments must exist for a “collective” or “common good”, which, being outside the natural context of the individual, must fundamentally be defined as an esoteric standard, available fully only to those in authority (governing officers, who are really a sort of a political priesthood) who claim to represent this Common Good as its messengers and ministers. However, the very fact that the collective good as a moral standard must elude the individual because of his inexorably and self-evidentiary singular existential and metaphysical context, means that the “common good”cannot possibly be manifest. Because of the singular nature of human existence, each person must decide for himself what is good or not, based upon a rational Standard of Good, which is the Individual, which means each person’s inexorable and absolute right to their ownership of Self. “Common good” must be forced upon the individual in object violation of their individuality, destroying them in favor of the new statist metaphysic: collectivism, as a function of the power (violence) of the State. This in turn undermines and eventually crumbles these governments which exist in service to “common good” because whether collectivists want to acknowledge it or not, without the individual, there is no public; there is no “common” society. Which means that there is no “common good”. Thus, all States founded upon such a moral standard are rooted in a contradiction which, beyond its label, can have absolutely no substance.
And there is no government which is not a function of collective identity, and thus “collective” or “common good”. Because such a government could only act and exist to serve the specific individual at any given moment. And there is nothing which can do that except the individual himself. In which case, it’s not a government, it’s free will; its cooperation; it’s voluntarism.
The root problem of government is that it necessarily implies that men, absent force, cannot be expected to make moral choices; and therefore there is no moral standard that doesn’t ultimately rest upon violent coercion. This destroys man at his root metaphysic. It means that man must be compelled to morality, which is the corollary of Truth, in spite of himself. That is, in spite of his nature. That is, in spite of his existence. Meaning man cannot successfully exist unless the very substance of that existence, his nature, is destroyed. Man must cease to exist in order that he may exist.
And it is upon this terrible contradiction that all governments are built.
The use of force to compel moral actions is an object contradiction in terms. Absent choice, morality is a nullified concept. And an outcome not based upon a free act of the will of the moral and self-aware agent is not a moral outcome. That which denies the individual his individuality–that is, his free agency–cannot be said to ultimately benefit any individual.
On the one hand, those who argue the necessity and efficacy of government will assert that men are by nature lacking virtue–“ineptitude and vices of men”, as von Mises once said–and therefore cannot be trusted to engage voluntarily into a moral sociopolitical system. And yet government, which is a collection of those very same men men, is somehow not naturally lacking virtue.
How does one square this circle? How do we resolve the contradiction that says that men need government because they lack fundamental virtue; and yet government is comprised of men? How is it mere paradox instead of rank fallacy that individuals won’t naturally choose good, but collections (the governors and the governed) of individuals will?
If it’s true that men, left to themselves, will necessarily dissolve into all manner of vice (murder, theft, deceit, and your basic general exploitation) then the last thing I would think makes sense is to give a minority of men the majority of violent, coercive power. You’d have to assume that those men could wield it righteously in order for good to be the rational outcome.
But of course as soon as you assume this you’ve undermined the fundamental moral (and metaphysical) argument for government in the first place:
That man left to himself, by nature (man qua man), will not act righteously.
Absent the foundational and absolute right to violence to compel behavior, there is no government in any capacity. This being the case, force against man is not really minimized, as some minarchists argue is the benefit of government, it is absolute.
I think we confuse the right of collective self-defense with the right to compel behavior by violence or threats of violence before any actual offense occurs.
The idea that there is no free market absent the ever-present threat of violence, which I submit is itself a form of violence, seems a contradiction in terms. How is man either free or moral if he acts out of fear of violating the State and not because he understands it is wrong to violate another man? The State is not the moral standard, the individual is.
And I’m not saying the state is evil. I’m saying that forced morality is a contradiction in terms. Which means the state is neither evil nor good. It’s impossible because it is a contradiction.
The moral do not need to be governed, for they are moral. The immoral will not, or cannot, recognize the State’s moral authority. This means that the only way for the State to “work” is if it threatens the first and neutralizes the second. And neither action equals freedom by any legitimate definition. So you merely get a State which exists for the sake of its own power; its own legal “right” to violence for the sake of violence.