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Monday, February 28, 2011

Minarchsim And What It Means To You, Part I

To the extent that I am a pragmatic Libertarian, I follow the minarchism school of thought. A hardline Libertarian could best be described as an anarchist, folks like Ted Kacyn, Kaczi, Kazcynski, the Una-Bomber, who don't believe in any state or property rights for any person. In the real world, this is an outdated Enlightment dream that is both pretty much unsafe and unrealistic.

A minarchistic approach could be paralleled to your pet dog. Yup, you don't need to go to school for years to learn philosophy, rhetoric, political science or even history (although we'd all be better off if you did). All you have to do is think about Fido.

Dogs have all the tools necessary for survival without being some guy's best friend. Back in the day, dogs were running around doing their thing, killing other feral beasts and living the good life. They had packs and all for protection, but quite frankly if you (in your Fido form) acted up, you were either sent away to the proverbial farm or eaten.

Then dogs found out that humans had a pretty good thing going. They had fire, nice cooked food with all of the gristle and bone bits removed for ease of digestion. Plus humans could protect them from, well, other dog packs, and probably sabre-toothed tigers. Humans also liked the way dogs protected them by being aware of the sounds and smells of approaching predators with their super-smell and super-hear senses, plus they now had someone to blame their farts on around the campfire. So they gave them more food and other things dogs like.

Well the rest is history.

Now my two idiot dogs just lay around the house. In fact, one of them, by my calculation, sleeps 22 hours a day. They get exercise when I tell them to walk or fetch or whatever I am in the mood for at the time. They eat when it is convenient for me (or my significant other who actually feeds them most of the time, unless she tells our kid to do it). But in order for them to eat, one of us has to be home and we actually have to have dog food around somewhere. Then they get to go relieve themselves at my whim, or at least when the scratching on the back door has annoyed me enough to get up and put them out. And God forbid the idiot dog next door starts barking and all of my dogs' natural instincts tell them to go kill the little pain in the ass. They can't, because as much as I want them to do it I have to live within the rules of the land where that kind of thing is frowned upon. Plus the people I live with (all female) would be awfully pissed.

Simply put, my two dogs, and your dogs too, have given up all, I mean all, no seriously ALL of their freedoms for two squares, a doggie bed and a nice yard to crap in. They think they're happy but have you ever watched a dog dream and wonder what he was dreaming about? Probably freedom.

People are the same way. Every time we ask someone to take care of us in some way, we give up a little freedom. Think about your kids. If you are doing your job as a parent, your middle schooler has like, omg, no freedom at all even if Jeremy and his friends are going to the mall Friday night to terrorize the old people. You could make junior stay home, and in fact, I wish you would. But I digress.

The question is how much freedom do we give away? Personally I'm okay with drunk driving laws if it means I can have a reasonable expectation of making it home alive from my favorite watering hole. Minarchism. I am not okay with some faceless beauracrat who has no idea what makes me tick, telling me what light bulbs to screw into my reading lamp. Especially if the light bulb the pointy-headed government dude wants me to use contains mercury which will poison all those fish I want to catch after I get a permit to catch them.

Not all laws are bad, but in this day and age, most of them are at the very least redundant, and it seems that anymore the new ones all have political agendas attached to them. Not all government is bad, but most of it is bloated and corrupt and filled with people who are as incompetent as the guy in the cubicle next to you who spends all day searching eBay for hand-painted miniature wooden shoes from Holland.

I for one would rather use my God-given talents and intellect to fully explore the whole point of this being alive thing. And every time one of the myriad governments in charge of me "protects" me, those talents and my intellect die a little.

That is the tragedy of choice.

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