Sunday, January 24, 2010

Follow the Force

You can’t make me.

Do you remember that saucy retort from childhood? Okay.  Maybe that was just me.  But I don’t think my early use of that particular expression is why I’ve held firm to that idea into adulthood.  In fact, the more I’m able to articulate why it is so, the more I hope to be able to persuade you of the same. 

Persuasion

There is no person or group that can force me to behave in a certain way, force me to spend my money on things I don’t want, force me to trade what I value for something of lesser value, force me to contribute to their bottom line or force me to adopt their philosophy. Even my family and friends must persuade me to act differently by either showing me the folly of my ways, or identifying the benefit of altering my actions.  If, by choosing to remain associated with a person or group, I end up giving up or compromising on certain things that I do consider to be in my own best interest, then that was my choice, which I should revisit quite often and change as required. As required by me.

No company, corporation, or any group of people can force you to act unless they violate your individual rights in the process.  How would this be possible? Unless they physically restrain you, or convince you through fraudulent means that a certain action will serve your best interest, violating your rights in both cases, you continue to be free to use your own mind to judge and act accordingly. This in no way implies that all choices are easy or enjoyable, simple or cheap.  But when dealing with all people and all groups, the choice remains yours, except in one case:  when dealing with the government.

Use of Force

It is the threat of physical restraint, jail, the ultimate disabling of man’s ability to use his mind in pursuit of his own best interests, which forces him to act in ways contrary to his own best interest.  No person, company, corporation, union, or religion can legally restrain you from acting in your own best interest.  This is precisely why a proper government has the legitimate use of force: to secure and protect your right to act in your own best interest.  In a country that recognizes individual rights, if you choose to violate someone’s rights, you choose to surrender some commensurate portion of your own.

However, when the government has mandated how you must act, you are no longer free to make your own decisions.  You must comply with regulations, which may or may not be in accordance with what you’ve judged to be in your own best interest, or potentially lose the ability to act in your own best interests – in all aspects of your life. Break the law, go to jail.  This is the essence of the force of government.

Thought Control

Now you might ask, how can anyone, even the government, force you think in a certain way?

They can’t. 

However, it is notable that government, with its unlimited source of compulsory collective finance, mandated institutions of public training for the impressionable young, and violently energetic use of regulatory force, has a distinct advantage regarding the use of persuasive tactics.  And yet, only ignorance or evasion of the fact that freedom means freedom from force to act on your own best judgment, allows one to dismiss the evidence and discount the sole purpose of a proper government.

Follow the Force

As I hope I’ve demonstrated, I can’t make you think about this; but, if you want to understand the difference between a proper government and a bad government, follow the force. 

2 comments:

Beth said...

I can't count how many times I have read an explanation on this topic, or attempted to write one, but your formulation kept it fresh for me. Thank you.

Lynne said...

Thanks for the comment, Beth. As you know, I attempt to write so I can better understand the subject with an eye toward having a more persuasive argument going forward. There is a lot I missed (or had to restrain myself from delving into) in order to keep it about basic principles.

An interesting idea (well I thought it was interesting) occured to me as I wrote this post. I thought that Justice Kennedy, whose quote I posted the other day, would have been more accurate had he said, "it uses censorship in an attempt to control thought."