Rhetoric of Statism is the Rhetoric of Force

StatismThe rhetoric of statism seeks to legitimize the use of force in social and economic affairs.  Indeed, this is the very essence of electoral politics, and is antithetical to freedom.  However, rhetoric often hides behind the very thing it seeks to destroy.  As the primaries approach, statism will continue to hide itself beneath the banner of freedom, fairness, and changes to the status quo.  Although unfulfilled promises and vote pandering heavily characterizes electoral politics in America, what buttresses the State is its ability to use force for some interest groups and against others.  Consequently, we must see that the central issue of our time is that a government that uses force at whim to do the bidding of interest groups and crony capitalism (I emphasize the term crony.  For a specific definition, see here.) is not representative; it is statist.  Limiting the government within the confines of the Constitution requires not just a change in the status quo, but will require stripping the State of its ability to use force at whim.

Proponents of the State will have you believe that they are acting in your best interests.  After all, this is the essence of representative government.  However, Reason magazine discusses the ideology behind the state that disintegrates much of the perceived difference between our representative government and tyrannical states from the past.

“Ideology in this context means something much deeper than what is usually meant. It does not refer to the approaches known as “conservatism” and “liberalism,” or the differences between those who want “big government” and those who want “limited government.” It refers rather to the deeper view that The State with its authority to threaten and wield violence is indispensable and intrinsically virtuous, as nothing else can be. Therefore it is not to be judged as we judge other people and institutions.”

Ever wonder why the issue of State power, specifically, never receives attention from the media at election time (or any other time)?  Whereas paying lip service to the “status quo” leaves the primary issue of force undefined, challenging state power as such brings force to the forefront of politics (which ironically is much of what politics has become: who can garner the most support from various interest groups to impose their will upon others).  Some may argue that the media is beginning to raise questions regarding the status quo and its perceived dangers, but those concerned more precisely with political liberty argue this is not enough.

Jeffrey Tucker, Founder of the Libertarian website and forum of liberty lovers Liberty.me, reminds Americans that opposing the status quo is not the same thing as opposing the State.  He reminds us that without challenging dogmatic statism, changing the status quo matters very little.

“The state power we oppose is not identical to the establishment we reject. You can overthrow the establishment and still be left with a gigantic machinery of legalized exploitation.”

StatismWhile Trump and Bernie Sanders claim to represent the interests of Americans, the former, as Tucker points out, has said absolutely nothing of diminishing the tendency to use force.  In fact, he has made bold proclamations to the opposite.  Take for instance this headline: Trump Will Force Apple “To Build Its Damn Computers and Things” In America.  The first question any rational player in our market system ought to ask themselves is how this will affect the price of iPhones?  A second, and more fundamental question is, if our government can do this, what else can they do ( or have they done already)?

Without getting off course, the issue at stake here is the power of the State to use force, and its implications (in this case, economic) on our lives.  So how is Bernie any different?  He is not.  Bernie Sanders’ entire campaign is saturated with rhetoric that claims to “represent” the interests in opposition to the status quo.  Yet, his tax plan aims to increase taxes on the wealthy, so non-producers can have free healthcare.  How will he do this?  The answer is that he will force some to pay higher taxes.  Once that door is opened too far, the government will have a blank check on who they raise taxes on next and how high they go.

I will leave you with a parting thought from Don Watkins and Yaron Brook, fellows of the Ayn Rand Institute and authors of Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government.  They take the issue of force and apply it to our very essence as free-thinking and independently producing beings.

“There is only one way someone can violate your rights: physical coercion.  The initiation of physical force is the only way others can stop you from pursuing your rational self-interest.  It is the only way someone can stop you  from acting on your judgment, from using the values you have earned to further your life and happiness…”

One can see that force is not compatible with freedom in the existential sense, nor is it possible in an economic sense where one’s application of force against another creates a zero-sum game.  Our candidates are campaigning for your freedom and a fair system, but their statist dogma, of which force underlies, destroys the platform from which they mount their attacks.  It is upon this realization that the America people ought to demand not a change to the status quo, but a nation absent of force in social and economic affairs.

 

P.S. What did Ayn Rand have to say regarding statism and the proper roles of government specifically.  Check out the answer via the Ayn Rand Lexicon.  This is a great reference work of her philosophy.  If you are like me and prefer hard copies of books, you can order a copy from the Ayn Rand Book Store.