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2007-07-24

One world government?

If the state is such a good thing, why don't we just have one of them? For the entire world.

When I was younger, I accepted all the good things people told me states were responsible for. Civilization would be impossible without them. States were the only way people could be protected. States provided needed services that couldn't be obtained in any other way, such as roads, schools, and certification of income tax preparation experts. Through democracy, states permitted completely diverse groups of people to peacefully coexist and cooperate and form civilization, in a way that would be impossible without a government. And through federalism local groups of people could have their own local government but still share the benefits of a common state.

So why in the world did the earth have many nations? Obviously the best thing in the world would be for every existing nation in the world to become a state in the United States. And then we'd all live happily ever after, or so I naively thought.

The reality is that the state is pretty much only a good thing when it is protecting us from the next level up, and/or the rest of the world. Increasing centralization wrecks the structures that man creates through the voluntary association of the free market. And unfortunately our trend is toward increasing centralization of everything. Apparently a lot of people still believe what I believed as a boy. I wonder why those same people still want nations to retain their sovereignty? If their logic is true, they should accept that one government would be good for everybody.

In the early united states, education was the private decision of each household. Near universal literacy prevailed. Then education was assumed by the community, then the state, and now finally the federal government (a federal government legally prohibited from doing so by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). It's only gotten worse, but at each stage flaws in the system have been used as justification for fixing things at the next higher level. Somehow making only one decision instead of fifty is supposed to magically work better. Somehow federal government is a magic realm where people can solve problems they can't solve in states. Somehow state government is a magic realm where people can solve problems they can't solve in cities or counties. Somehow government in general is a magic realm where people can solve problems they can't solve on the free market. Remember the big lie: the risk of leaving this up to people we don't control is too great.

Health care tells the same story as education, and so do a thousand other issues.

Morally, why should people in New York have the right to tell people in Kansas what to do? Why should people in Houston have the right to tell people in Dallas what to do? Why should people on the north side of Boston have the right to tell people on the south side of Boston what to do? Why should a household in Denver, Colorado have the right to tell the household living next door to them what to do? The answer is that they don't, and in fact when they do the economy produces less than it would have if left alone.

Somehow people can see that it wouldn't do to have people in China telling America what to do. Somehow they can even see that it wouldn't do to have people in England telling America what to do. Why then don't they follow that logic through to its obvious conclusion: any such institution which compels people to obey it, rather than protecting those who voluntarily join it, is immoral and damaging? If it's a bad idea for America to give up its sovereignty to a one world government, it's a bad idea Wyoming to give up its sovereignty to Washington, D.C., and it's a bad idea for Muncie, Indiana to give up its sovereignty to Indianapolis, Indiana, and it's a bad idea for the household on the north side of town to give up its sovereignty to city hall.

An institution that protects us from possible violation of our rights by other people, including by other people in institutions called states, is a good thing. In fact, it is so much of a good thing that I think we should have several of them, competing with each other, and you should choose which one you want to belong to (hire), or several if you choose and they are still willing to serve you under such an arrangment.

But compelling other people to be a member of your institution is wrong. Compelling your children to be a member of your institution after they are grown and emancipated (and even after you are dead) is wrong. The Americans of 1789 created an institution to protect their rights. (They had earlier declared their right to do this in 1776. Interestingly enough, at the same time they declared the rights of man to abolish such institutions and replace them with new ones that they thought would better secure their rights.) But creating this government in 1789 didn't obligate people who were born after 1889 to keep the agreement. (Especially since it's now conveniently reinterpreted and ignored.)

Right now the basic message defining our system of government is: "I can't protect myself from violation of my rights unless I violate your rights and compel you to help me." The reality is that individuals can protect their rights, and when they can't they can band together voluntarily in many ways to do so. The household that perceives some benefit to a local rights protecting organization can join it voluntarily, just as the household that perceives some benefit to shopping at the grocery store can shop there voluntarily.

2 comments:

A.B. Dada said...

The biggest push to a more encompassing government starts with fear. When people are scared, they're more willing to give up liberty in exchange for the presumption that losing liberty will reduce fear. In the long run, reducing personal liberty will create more fear, as the programs set up make life even more difficult. The problem is that we are not very consistent in looking backwards at how life was before certain policies, and governments, affected our lives to this day.

It was Christ who absolved us of the need to relinquish our individuality to a group mentality. I don't necessarily agree with many of the Apostles' views on society being pertinent today (because of my "heretic" views on the timing of Revelation). Christ, to me, was a pure individualistic in so many ways, endowing individuals with the knowledge that there is nothing for them to fear, and that they had the power to help others through pure charity via love.

It is one of the big reasons why I fear the organized Church so much. The people I meet most in organized temples of faith tend to be those who are most fearful, not necessarily those who are most willing to serve others.

Yet it is the Church (the entire Body) that has been given an amazing goal -- to spread the Word of Love to others individually, one at a time, to show everyone that we have nothing to fear. Why is it that the Body can be the most fear-inspiring group, pushing people to seek out more government instead of more freedom?

voice said...

The biggest push to a more encompassing government starts with fear.

Yes, that's what I said the day before about the "big lie": the risk just isn't worth it. We're afraid what would happen if we didn't have that magic source of orderliness, government, to make sure that freedom doesn't hurt itself, and capitalism is saved from itself.