Category: Opinion

Opinion

The Free Market is a Better Alternative to Government

By Josh Hughes | United States

Most libertarians believe that, to an extent, the “free market” is superior to the government. But is this really true? Can private enterprises and consumers completely and voluntarily fund the services that are enjoyed today? If so, are they capable of producing such services at a more efficient and cost-effective rate? The answer, in theory, is always yes.

Can the Market Do Everything That Government Can?

Think of any service that is offered by the government. There are dozens, ranging from something as simple as the post office and sanitation services, to more complex and serious things such as domestic and foreign defense. Simple, everyday tasks that people are accustomed to being carried out by government employees can just as easily be done in the private sector. Private schools, for example, perform the same job as public schools but are done through completely voluntary means. In many instances, the quality of education is higher as well.

But some services just can’t be provided by the free market, right? Many cite defense and legal dilemmas as areas that need government control or interference. This simply just is never necessary. An example that many are fond of is illustrated by Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. in his anarcho-capitalist manifesto, Against the State. In it, one is asked to consider for a moment that shoes have been provided to children until the age of 18 by the government for as long as anyone can remember. Since society has become so used to this, and the market has never had the ability to compete, one naturally finds it foolish to question the government’s provision here. It can be assumed that many people would actually become quite defensive when the question of “Can the market do it better?” arises.

This is the case with every single service society enjoys. People don’t consider how the market and private individuals can better provide a service because it’s never been attempted.

“But Who Will Build the Roads?”

This is a challenge often brought up when taxation or government abolition is brought up. The answer is simple. The same individuals that politicians contract will build the roads. Your neighbors and peers who are civil engineers and construction workers will still build the roads. “But who will pay for it?” Private citizens will still fund the projects, just as they already do now. Instead of the violent coercion the government forces, however, it will be in the form of voluntary transactions such as tolls or user fees. Domestic defense will still be provided by private individuals, except now instead of an all-powerful police force, it will be a subscription to a privately regulated enterprise. This is true for everything. It will all be paid for and provided by the same individuals that pay for and provide it now, only this time it will be done voluntarily in the form of subscriptions, user fees, and tolls. No more will you be forced to give your hard-earned money to an agency of men in Washington, D.C. that decide where they feel it will be best spent. In the ideal society, you the individual know where to spend your money best.

Other Counterarguments

Extortion/Monopolies

Another question often raised is “What happens when a company establishes a monopoly over a service, then proceeds to extort its users?” This is a very tough, but solvable, dilemma. An answer would be responsibility of the market. Individuals must not be put in the situation where they can be exploited and must provide competing services themselves. If this is unavailable, then the market must pressure the monopoly and force them to either break up or not extort consumers by refusing the monopoly and its workers service. The market will always regulate itself.

Discrimination

“What happens when a business decides to discriminate against a group of people, whether on the basis of race, religion, gender, or orientation?” In this instance, individuals and the market will again regulate itself. Minorities are more empowered today than they have ever been before. Through advances in technology, avenues such as social media and sites like Yelp will spread the decisions of businesses. Say, for example, a restaurant refuses service to an African-American woman because of her race. She can then go to Instagram or Twitter and share her experience, where it can then be seen by thousands of people. The business will suffer the consequences, as now people will refuse to go there and instead opt to go to a restaurant that serves all people.

Environment

Another main issue is environmental regulations. The EPA currently sets the standards for businesses to follow when it comes to regulations, but without a government, who will do that for us? Again, the answer is the market. Similar to the case of monopolies, other businesses and individuals will set sanctions against or boycott companies that practice in ways that are detrimental to the environment. This pressure will force the companies to change their ways or to shut down.

The Market Will Prevail

If you’ve paid attention, you have noticed that the same phrase has been repeated many times. “The free market will solve the issue.” This is the main philosophy behind most libertarian thought. The free market will solve any and every issue, and can better perform every service offered by the government. The untouched market has competition whereas the government is a monopoly. The market has drive and incentives while the government is lazy and incompetent. The market is voluntary and free, a stark contrast against the government who is coercive and aggressive. The market can and will solve every problem presented to society without the need of the government.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

Does the Government Actually Keep You Safe?

By Manuel Martin | United States

Government is commonly believed necessary to restrain men with conquering ambitions. However, the state is the essential mechanism which men use to execute said ambitions. Think you’re free? Try building a house without paying extortion money first via permit fees. Try keeping your income, for that matter. The state will quickly send men with guns to secure your compliance and your income. Don’t like going to war to kill? Now, you’re a “draft dodger” and will go into a cage for your crime of non-murder.

The discomforting truth is governments don’t keep you safe. On the contrary, one’s obedience to the government directly threatens your safety and security. How many millions of human beings have died because of society’s willingness to follow murderous orders? How many more need to perish before something changes? Individuals must come to realize that governments alone have promoted and funded mass murder, spinning it into the socially acceptable jargon of “war”.

Politicians brand mass murder “war” to hide reality. The state does not keep you safe; it divides the world into lethal, warring tribes. The government has marketed their murders so well that countless young men across the world line up to take part. With the soothing excuse of democracy, these groups have slaughtered, mutilated and starved hundreds of millions. Politicians will always use war to enslave the masses so long as the masses accept their legitimacy.

We live in a terrifying, fantasy-like dichotomy. In order to secure our safety from people with power, we elect people to positions of power. Then, these people use their positions to monopolize violence, plunder resources, and start wars, often to the great disbelief of the nominally peaceful citizen. Finally, the people in power boldly assert they are necessary to prevent war, and people buy it. Is it really surprising that politicians, who we elect to maintain order and safety, create wars? When the wars threaten order and safety, there is a greater demand for the politician to restore order and safety.

Politicians use the money they steal (tax) from you to fund aggressions that put your life in danger. You are supplying the funds for the wars you fear! Humanity directly takes those who desire control and gives them million-man armies and warships. This is painful to think about, and one of the most regressive ideas in human history.

If one person should not have access to instruments of mass destruction, it is the politician. Politicians campaign on the promise of using the state’s gun to control society. One should never give guns and armies to a person who wishes to use them to control humanity.

If you want peace, and I think nearly all do, the first step is to not give guns to politicians; they are the very individuals who promise to use them against you.

Our culture needs to evolve past this regressive idea of electing politicians for protection. Government-created wars and famines purposefully murdered over 262,000,000 in the 20th century alone. How many individuals did free market actors like Walmart, Chevron, Ford or Microsoft kill in that time? I’m going to guess: around 262,000,000 fewer.

To be safe, we must rid our culture of government, taking the power away from those who move men like chess pieces on a board covered in blood and bombs.

Politicians and their hired guns can’t keep you safe. The government simply cannot prevent a person from walking out of their house and committing murder. The state cannot stop someone who suddenly snaps, points their vehicle to the sidewalk and murders innocents.

The best defense you have against another human being is that his or her ethics and culture have taught him or her to act peacefully. A culture that reinforces the use of persuasion over coercion in all aspects of life will be far more peaceful than a culture that uses violence (taxes) to prevent violence.

Without a doubt, we need to end government and usher in a culture of persuasion over coercion. In this new culture, freedom and self-determination unite all in pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. Already, we are halfway there; the overwhelming majority of Americans currently use persuasion in their everyday lives. How many people walk into Starbucks, point a gun at the barista and coerce them for some coffee? Almost no one does, because our culture will not reward this form of violence with happiness and abundance. Unfortunately, it still does reward the same violence when the perpetrator represents the flag.

Free market interactions promote peace and prosperity, as everyone must interact voluntarily to maintain productive and beneficial relationships.  The government, on the other hand, is the systematization of mass coercion. They enforce every tax, fee, regulation and law with the implicit threat and ultimate use of violence.

Many state officials use disruptive coercion backed by gun violence as the basis for human interactions. Outside of government, though, the vast majority use peaceful, voluntary interactions as the foundation for relations. Government is a cancer: stagnating mankind’s ability to live in peace and prosperity.

So long as the state exists, humanity will divide into factions and war to exercise power. Forever disturbing peace and prosperity, they will use the power of the state to coerce the masses. I want to end government because I’m a true progressive. It is time, at last, to move our culture towards more voluntary interactions, not fewer. By doing so, we may finally progress as humans and expand the human experience, seeking peace. Attempting to centralize human autonomy away from the individual and into the hand of distant politicians is the most regressive policy imaginable.

Lives and prosperity are going to waste because the ability to control lives is at stake. If you want peace, reality demands that you end coercive societal structures like government. Government is orderly subjugation enforced by violence; safety, harmony and prosperity cannot spring from violence.

Democratic government is that great hypocrisy of history. Attempting to prevent pilferage by organizing plunder, secure justice by monopolizing inequality, and establish peace by promoting division, it thus has no place in a peaceful, just society.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

A Good Patriot Is Nothing More than a Good Killer

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

A man stands tall, clothed in a faded T-shirt bearing an American flag. With each beer he downs, the less he realizes that his garb violates U.S. flag code. Because he loves the beacon of independence and freedom that is the United States of America, the good patriot vehemently supports the troops and parrots the national anthem.

All of a sudden, a record scratches, and the screen freezes. You may be wondering how he got here. More importantly, you may want to know the implications of this terrible position. Ultimately, as a good patriot, it is the job of that man to die or even kill for his country at the whim of its leaders. Patriotism, both in the abstract and applied to the United States, leaves much to be desired.

Patriotism and the Good Patriot

Patriotism, on the surface, is a love for one’s country. Upon first consideration, this may appear to be an admirable quality, or even one to strive for. However, further inspection reveals that unyielding love has no place on the national stage.

In defense of patriotism, several key arguments exist. First, many, such as Leonard Niemand in his essay, “Defending the American Patriot”, claim that the United States offers preferable condition to any other place in the world. Thus, we owe some sort of reverence and gratitude due to our favorable birthright. Arguably, this is true. Yet, there is nothing that this suggests that there is any gratitude necessary.

The Best Option Available

As a parallel matter, consider the following hypothetical. Two friends walk down an alleyway, and all of a sudden, a third man approaches with a gun. One of the two victims tries to flee, and he shoots him down. But, the other man willingly gives him $1000, so the killer simply walks away from the situation, now $1000 richer. By the logic of the good patriot, the living victim should bow towards the murderer, singing great praise and kissing his boots. After all, out of every possible outcome, he got the one with the most freedom! Clearly, this logic does not hold true, as when a man kills a friend and steals from a survivor, praise is simply not an acceptable reaction. Why not? Essentially, because the lesser of evils is still evil. An option being the best available does not mean it is right or just.

Does this principle work any differently with the idea of patriotism? Not in any meaningful sense, anyway. The United States government, with every law it passes, threatens to kill those who disobey. They often imprison the survivors and steal from even those not guilty of any fines on a daily basis via taxation. Time and time again, bombs fly overseas and strike innocent children while even the most dovish politicians merely fiddle slightly with the military budget. The United States is not a beacon of freedom, and should not be treated as such. Though it may oppress less than North Korea or Russia, it is not without deep, inherent flaws.

Unfortunately, every country acts in most, if not all, of the same coercive ways. Given this frightful reality, it is entirely unrealistic to propose that anybody should show love for their own brand of murder.

A Lack of Choice

It is also worth noting the simple fact that in the history of humanity, not a single individual has ever chosen where they were born. So, what reason is there to feel pride in a particular region? States, ultimately, are nothing more than lines in the dirt that the government uses to control the people. They are nothing more than an abstract set of norms that groups coincidentally share. This brings me to, without a doubt, the most dangerous element of patriotism: the willingness to kill and die for such an abstract idea.

The Familial Discrepancy

When a man loves his wife, and she loves him, they are creating meaning. Many, including Niemand, claim that there is a parallel between familial love and patriotism. But in their situation, they are not creating any inherent competition or negativity towards others. The personal sphere is not inherently a violent one. Hence, it is safe to say one can love their spouse without having any dislike for anyone else in the world. The same, though, is not true for a country. The good patriot, in this sense, becomes a good killer, as the good patriot loves and supports his country over all others. The underlying issue is that the political sphere is inherently violent.

When one country receives favorable treatment, another receives unfavorable treatment. This is nearly always true in times of peace, and inherent in times of war. When a country goes to war, the good patriot is willing to go fight the good fight, or at the very least, show strong support the troops back at home. Why should the individual give up his life for an abstraction that mistreats them? And worse, why should the individual kill others who are only guilty of wearing the wrong color on the battlefield? Beneath the guise of national superiority, each human being is equal. Thus, every death on the battlefield is no better than a murder, and the good patriot that supports the country when it acts is no better than a good killer.

Treatment of Oppressors

In every other realm of life, when a victim treats his or her oppressor well, we aptly deem this as a dangerous mental hurdle to get over. Why, then, do we ignore this in the realm of the country and patriotism? The state asks much and gives much, but what does it not give? Choice and free will. There is no legitimate reason to feel an obligation or emotion, as a free adult, to an organization that robs the fundamental right to self-ownership.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

John Legend’s “Free America” Is Helping Addicts

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

The United States currently has 5% of the world’s population, yet has over 25% of all incarcerated individuals. These numbers are shocking: how can a country that claims the be the bastion of freedom imprison so many of its own citizens? The answer is that the United States currently punishes people for their addictions. In 2016 alone, police arrested 1,249,025 people for drug possession.

Continue reading “John Legend’s “Free America” Is Helping Addicts”

President Trump’s Dangerous War on the Media

By Josh Hughes | United States

By now, just about every American has heard the president’s favorite line, “Fake news,” many times. Yes, the divisive rhetoric, which he mainly directs at traditionally “left-wing” news outlets such as CNN, the Washington Post, MSNBC, and others, has become an everyday phrase.

Yelled vehemently by Trump’s supporters at rallies or at journalists, said as a joke between friends, or used as a new slang of declaring something as untrue, you name it: this mantra has become something of a pop culture expression. What implications does this have on America? As it turns out, they are mostly negative.

Trump’s Media War: Part “n”

On Monday, Trump told a reporter from ABC, Cecilia Vega, that it’s okay she wasn’t thinking because she “never thinks.” On August 30, Trump tweeted that the Press was the “enemy of the people.” He has, as previously stated, said the phrase “fake news” countless times. These are just a few of many examples. The more Trump makes these comments, the more he desensitizes the American people.

The Main Issue

While some claim they don’t care about or even support the President’s rhetoric, they often fail to realize how drastic this is. There are people who devote their entire lives to giving reports and analyzing key issues. To write an entire group off as “fake” is not only disrespectful, it’s frightening.

Through normalizing the disregard of every report that goes against him, Trump is trying to pit the people against the media. Repeating the phrase “fake news” has a strong cognitive effect, and eventually, those who hear it will believe it. Scientists recently dubbed this idea “The Illusory Truth Effect.” Basically, it states that when people hear a lie enough, even when they are knowledgeable about a particular subject, they will begin to believe it to be true. Of course, it is true that news sources, including the ones above, do show bias. Some display this considerably more than others. However, dismissing entire organizations, or worse, the industry as a whole, as fake sets a dangerous precedent.

Possible Repercussions

Like it or not, the President of the United States is the most powerful person on the planet. Without a doubt, the things the president says carry a lot of weight. Thus, his constant, deliberate attacks on the media can pit tons of people against each other.

In extreme cases, this division can actually lead to incidents of violence. One such case of this occurred after Trump’s August 30th “enemy of the people” remark. Just hours later, police arrested a man for making threatening phone calls to the Boston Globe. Due to the tense divisions and mob mentality, this man threatened to kill every last one of them for their criticism of the President. Of course, this man’s actions are solely his responsibility, and neither Trump nor the Globe is at fault. Nonetheless, it is clear that this environment stirs up major controversy and even violence.

President Trump is playing a dangerous game. Nobody truly knows the final goal of these endless attacks, but there are a number of possibilities. First of all, he may be attempting to become more immune to criticism. If enough banter from the president will lower the popularity of major opposing news outlets, Trump can control his image by attacking outlets he opposes and praising those he supports. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but in the days of massive mob mentality centered around the media, is far from an impossibility.

How America Can Avoid This

There is bias everywhere. That is an undeniable fact. The best way for people to not get trapped in this situation is to not listen to a lone side. There are times when both the media and the president will lie. It is important to fact-check and gain information from diverse sources. Also, it is essential to know when and how to question media and other suppliers of information. A free press is a precious American right; allowing the president to attack it is unacceptable. All citizens, in search of a better world and country, should strongly oppose this media war.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source