I’m not above smiling as I watch my enemies attack each other. The Congressional squabbling over turning a bad healthcare system into a worse healthcare system was really entertaining. And now politicians are being threatened with violence.
But the show might not stay entertaining.
This rage over healthcare isn’t just a lot of people deciding that one more government power-grab and corporate handout is the last straw. It isn’t just racist-motivated suspicion of Obama. And it isn’t just right-wingers thinking that money the government takes should only be spent on hurting people. It is unfortunately a mishmash of libertarian and authoritarian, grassroots and astroturf, economic reasoning and nationalist mythology.
Consistent libertarian thought offers a clear path out of the conflicts that occur when people struggle to rule over each other.
Governments, or factions within governments, fight over who, what, and where they are to exert their authority. When these turf battles get serious, words like “war” are used.
To keep people interested in their internal turf wars, politicians try to domesticate popular anger and cultivate it for use against their rivals. Should this spin out of their control, it could be very dangerous for them. Because many individuals that the state rules over feel a commonality with one section of the ruling class, they are a danger to those of us who do not wish to be ruled, and a clear message of freedom needs to be heard.
Exposure to consistent libertarian thought and action can turn potential enemies into potential allies. If they desire to maximize individual liberty, and they are willing to act upon it, we can work together.
To maximize liberty, freedom must be limited no more than needed to keep an individual from infringing on another individual’s equal freedom. All interactions, from the most intimate to the most elaborate, must be based in consent. That means no empires, no border cops, no taxation, no drug war, no coercive monopolies, and no forcing people to buy insurance.
Government is inherently opposed to consent. If legal repercussions await those who opt out, they aren’t really consenting when they obey orders. They are just acquiescing, capitulating, submitting – or deceiving.
Anarchy displaces government and replaces rulers with respect for individual choice, solidarity, mutual aid, and consensual trade. Anarchists solve problems by treating people as autonomous individuals they would like to see flourish, not at resources they would like to use for power.
Center for a Stateless Society correspondent Kevin Carson recently published a thorough study on how bottom-up consensual solutions can solve the crisis of artificial scarcity in health care. Unlike authoritarian plans, which are superficial rearrangements generally written by those who are a major part of the problem, Carson seeks out the roots of the problem and finds ways that people can participate in changing them. You can find Carson’s study online at c4ss.org/content/2088.
Consent makes for superior social and economic relations than authority. When enough people practice anarchy, acting consistently with libertarian principles, then no aspiring ruler can put them into chains.