Government Is Better (For Some)

February 10th, 2014   Submitted by Aaron Bachman


It’s a mistake that I’ve caught myself making a number of times. I’ve watched other anarchists make it repeatedly. Despite what the majority of anti-government materials claim, not everyone benefits when governments are removed from the equation. There are a number of people that benefit from the existence of a government. Not everyone’s life will be improved by anarchy. The people benefiting aren’t always the obvious suspects though. Anarchists often assume that their economic models or theoretical outlooks make up for everything that every individual might lose, but it’s just not true. This is a factor that needs to be considered before there can be any practical discussion about achieving a peaceful voluntary society.

The people that benefit most from government are the obvious suspects that I’m sure you’re already familiar with.

Politicians get the power to use violence without their victims retaliating. The vast majority of government employees earn significantly more than any similar free market position would pay. Arguing that societal changes will make up for that loss of income is impossible. There is no way to prove that a lazy administrator making $100,000 a year will end up in a better position when government is removed. Change just puts these entitled employees at risk of losing out.

Large businesses get the power to buy the use of government violence for their own privilege. Things like bankruptcy, limited liability, bailouts, and regulation capture allow them to have more power than the free market would ever allow. Very few people feel bad about taking away these advantages, but those who benefit most are very powerful opponents to have. The benefits go even deeper into society though.

What about welfare recipients?

When a person asks “who will take care of the poor?” it’s easy to argue that they’ll all be taken care of somewhat. History has shown that people weren’t dying in the streets in freer markets. It’s not as easy to prove that they’ll receive as much free stuff as they do now. Sure, charities can offer a poor person some money to buy food, but will they be willing to pay enough to establish a permanent dependant class the way the government does? No reasonable charity would be handing out welfare indefinitely.

Government doesn’t care if you try to get out of poverty. Government just needs you to fill out some simple forms. This system entraps some people in poverty, because it’s easier than working for a living.

The people trying to escape poverty may benefit from the government being out of the way, but not everyone on welfare wants to escape. I’m sure you’ve heard a few stories in your life. I had a former co-worker who left a higher paying job because he made more money working less with government benefits. He knew that he was sacrificing opportunities, but he didn’t really want to work. When I lived in a more poverty stricken area, I had landlords who were surprised I even had a job. This is a level of “charity” that would not be replaced in the free market. The men and women that are happy to live at the expense of others would lose out without government.

That may look like a positive for the rest of the world, but these men and women will fight to hold onto these entitlements.

The United States government is committing suicide. Its debt is at such absurd levels that there is no reasonable person who believes it will last significantly longer. Every year the problem becomes more inevitable. It’s easy to watch the government collapsing it’s own empire with a bit of a hopeful eye. It might even give you hope that you could live to see a day without this mess. But the collapse of this government would not be positive.

The people benefiting from government will end up suffering immensely. The politicians may even lose their heads. The business people may need to go into hiding. The government employees will be unemployed, and significantly under-qualified for their lifestyle. Many welfare recipients will be struggling to make ends meet. This could cause a chain reaction where everyone is made to suffer from the collapse in some way or another. Worst of all, there is no reason to believe these people won’t make the same mistake again. A new government, or many smaller governments could come to power in no time at all.

The idea that government would resurface should make any anarchy-minded individual uncomfortable. If ending government doesn’t bring anarchy, what would?

We’ve got to build something better than violence. New innovations must make violence obsolete for the average individual.

Bitcoins work better than violence. They offer an alternative to the Federal Reserve system that allows governments to steal billions of dollars in an instant. This alternative only took off because it was so much better that it couldn’t be ignored. It’s fast. It’s relatively easy. It’s potentially anonymous. It’s just better money.

Camera’s work better than violence. They allow people to see things that are happening thousands of miles away. Government’s (and people) suddenly have to keep their unpopular activities hidden out of fear of getting caught. Cameras have made the world seem smaller, and people feel more connected. Camera’s offer an alternative to listening to hearsay about the rest of the world. They let you see the world for yourself.

The internet works better than violence. People can now communicate with other people anywhere in the world in an instant. Governments can’t just change the narrative anymore. Government can’t do anything to stop an idea from spreading. Remember Egypt? If they take down our internet, we take down their government.

All of these technologies do more to permanently end the government than all the lectures and articles in the world. The key to liberty isn’t in attacking, or even celebrating the death of government. It’s creating a better alternative that no one can deny is the future.

Most economic arguments for the free market account for the aggregate of society. It’s easy to prove that free markets benefit the average person, but the models do not prove anything about any particular individual. Removing government does not benefit everyone. It just levels the playing field. People on the high ground don’t want that.

Discussing anarchism, anarcho-capitalism, voluntaryism, or libertarianism, in any other way is incorrect at best, and manipulative at worst. These ideas live on their own merits. There is no need to argue that everyone benefits from the removal of certain government programs. Horse drawn carriage makers hated cars. Some people hate freedom. Making false claims about liberty cheapens any attempt to make a serious argument.

21 Responses to “Government Is Better (For Some)”

  1. Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

    It’s great to see a macro view of reality presented. While each of us may take steps to increase our own liberty there are those few who benefit from Deus Ex Machina.

    I know some teachers that are dumbfounded as to how to support themselves once the district and unions no longer need them. Calling on the government for support is as easy as “slippin’ a few bucks out of mom’s purse” to them. It’s all they know.

    The last time I did the math, if 100% of tax revenue went just to salaries and benefits of government workers, it takes 25 private sector jobs to support each public sector employee – before a dime is spent on anything else.

    The Boot-Strap Expat

  2. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    This is why I don’t waste time trying to teach anarcho-capitalism to the parasite class. They’re not interested.

    The only ones who would be interested in more freedom and justice are those currently getting squashed by the system.

    • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

      Don’t pass up an opportunity to tell such parasites that the trans-generational crime spree is coming to an end. In other words: don’t inform to reform, but rather aim to shame.

  3. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Force and coercion is immoral even if it benefits some or even many. If a person is not willing to accept the moral argument they don’t really support liberty. Some might support some degree of liberty such as some economic freedom based on the inefficiency and failure of government involved in something compared to the more efficient market. However the true utilitarian view is the moral bases for supporting liberty. It is utilitarian because it actually will benefit the greatest number but even if did not what is moral is right. The moral argument is the argument that is important and the right one.

    The true World’s Smallest political Quiz:

    Question: Should goods and/or services be offered at gun point or by force?

    Answer: Yes or No.

    That’s it. That is the only question necessary to determine if one supports liberty or not.

    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

      Moral arguments are based on value judgements. There is no such thing as “true” utilitarianism because because criteria vary. Whether or not something is beneficial is again a value judgement.

      • Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

        That’s what they said on Donner’s Pass.

        There are no absolutes.

        the Boot-Strap Expat

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          Exactly in prepare and survivalist circles this idea expressed with the phrase “In survival there are no guarantees”

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        In the long run what is good for each individual is good for the mass of individuals. Freedom is utilitarian. Moral arguments are the best arguments. Moral arguments get to the heart of the matter and are what really counts.

        ” Judge and prepare to be judged.”

        – Ayn Rand

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          Moral arguments specifically avoid the heart of the matter. There are tons of value judgements in this paragraph itself.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        There are value judgments that are universal.

  4. “Anarchists often assume that their economic models or theoretical outlooks make up for everything that every individual might lose, but it’s just not true.” ~Aaron Bachman

    I agree 100%. Man does not behave like homo-economicus. There are opportunity costs to giving up violence which must be acknowledged.

    Sadly, I think you need to include more than just politicians in your analysis.

  5. Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

    AnCap analysis seem to lack thoroughness consistently. I’ve been guilty of the same thing.

  6. Neo VendettaNo Gravatar says:

    This is kinda what i what i also have asked my self.
    I as a hard working man will benefied as the governments fall but who will take care of me when somthing criples me?
    a charity organisation will maybe provide me food water and shelter but for how long?
    And in case medical treatment is needed who will pay those costs?
    again a charity organisation could pay som of these costs but how much?
    in a free market or voluntary society nobody is forced to pay these charity organisations.
    that is the whole idea behind it everthing you need and/or want is for sale and nobodey is forcing you to buy it.
    but with nobodey forcing you to pay for the charity how can the charity organisation be asured they collect enough money to help all the needy people that knock at theire door?
    My opinion is we have to fix that problem first before building an ancap society!

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Umm, insurance? Or savings?

      • Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

        Savings you pull outta your pocket.

        Insurance you have to beg for.

        “Cola nut? Un-Cola nut?”
        “Can you choose wisely?”

        • Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

          Plus, you have options with savings, while insurance has to be “approved” by others on how it’s used.

          You can spend your savings anyway you choose.

          Consider this –

          As of a decade ago, family Health Care coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield cost about $1200/month for a “family” whether that “family” was 2 or 27. (employer + employee contribution)

          Do the Math:

          $1200/month – typical cost of Health insurance for a “family” that includes both employer and employee contributions (as of ten years ago, the last time I had third party health care). $259,000.00 is what you will spend for this insurance over 18 years. If your family consumes 90% of that amount for health care over the course of 18 years, you’re buying insurance you don’t even need.

          But wait! We aren’t done with your costs – Deductibles and co-pays! You’re paying $14,400 a year for the privilege of paying most of your medical costs anyway, and at the highest price! Care providers charge more for insurance covered services because of all the administration involved in submitting claims and getting paid. And they may have to wait six months to get paid by Health Insurers.

          While those of us who pay cash receive 30-40% discounts from doctors and hospitals.

          “But what about catastrophic situations?” The fact is that even with the best health care insurance available, a catastrophic illness or accident will bankrupt you, they simply do not cover all the costs. 60% of all bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical expenses.

          Do you really think the government will perform better?

          Does government do anything well?