By Andrew Lepore | United States
Libertarians often advocate a wide range of policies, from limiting intervention overseas to the abolition of certain government programs. In many cases, opponents simply reply, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” If you haven’t triggered enough cognitive dissonance in a statist to blurt out that line, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Statists often resort to this appeal when a real argument does not exist. This phrase is the statist’s last line of defense when they have exhausted all else.
The Statist Logical Fallacy
This “argument” is in fact not an argument at all. it is neither moral nor utilitarian. It, in fact, is one of the worst things to say in a debate. Essentially, this line says that nobody should resist oppression. It implies that people should not try to overturn unjust laws, and instead should simply run away from the mob majority. A free society does not allow the mob majority to have such control in the first place, and this rhetoric brings us further away from a free society.
The fact of morality is that aggression is immoral. It simply does not matter what majority decided it was okay. It likewise does not matter what group has a monopoly of power in that area. No imaginary borders, no majority, no social contract, can make what is immoral, moral. Libertarians just want to live their lives free of coercion. Statists, on the other hand, seek to control. They are the ones who dictate to others how to live, who take part of the fruits of others’ labor and spend it how they please. Yet, they have the audacity to say that if someone doesn’t like it, they must leave. With the power-hungry iron fist of the state, they seek to rule the lives of fellow men. So, how are libertarians in the wrong for wanting to live and let live?
Refutations to Self-Exile
If confronted with such an absurd response by a likely nationalist, flag waving, Trump praising statist, who probably quotes the founding fathers when it suits them, point out that by their own principle the founders should have just left the colonies. Apparently, the founders were just crybabies for demanding freedom and fighting for it. They should have just left. it appears logical consistency is of little importance to the statist.
If confronted by a collectivist, when pointing out the evils of the state extorting half of your income, point out a quite similar situation that occurred in our history. By their own principle, abolitionists were just crybabies who should have left America if they didn’t like the enslavement of Africans. After all, the majority had said it was okay to own slaves. By this logic, the abolitionists were wrong even for advocating the end of slavery. Next, watch them backpedal.
This principle can be applied to any example of tyranny throughout history. If the Jews in Nazi Germany didn’t like what was going on, why didn’t they just leave? If those living in the Soviet Union didn’t want to starve, I guess they should have just left. Neither the state nor anybody else has the right to rule over others’ lives.
A Contradiction of Logic and Morality
Thus, it appears that the argument is a clear contradiction of logic and morality. Rather than simply walking away, fight for positive change in society. Disagreeing with an aspect of such a society does not mean that the society as a whole is not worth living in.
Tom Woods excellently states the fact that without a doubt, the moral burden in this case lies only on the state.
“Why should I leave? Why is the moral burden on me when in fact you’re the one with a gun to my head. Your the one who wishes to expropriate me then use the proceeds to fund drone strikes. It would seem to me that a healthy moral reckoning would have it that you would have to demonstrate your right to do that before I would have to demonstrate my right to sit here unmolested” – Tom E. Woods.
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