Politics: A De-Civilizing Human Activity
By Chris Rossini
There are various ways to get the things that you want in life. The best is the peaceful and voluntary way. We're all very familiar with this method, as it is embodied in the marketplace. We all know what it's like to take our property (oftentimes money that we've earned serving our fellow man) to another person so that we can trade it for their property. No guns, no coercion, no force.
If there are differences of opinion, we have the freedom not to transact. For example, if you do not like Bob's Burgers because you think the burgers taste horrible, you don't go there. Maybe you hate the clientele that patronizes the place, or maybe even the people that work there. Whatever your reason, you can decide at any moment never to step foot or transact with Bob's Burgers for as long as you live. No guns, no coercion, no force.
So we're all familiar with the magnificence of the marketplace. It's the side of life that sustains us, offers opportunities to achieve prosperity by serving others, and solves life's most challenging problems.
Then there is the political way to get what you want in this world. This is the dark side of life, for it involves violence and force. This force is concentrated in a group of people (who call themselves 'government') and who have been granted an actual monopoly to use violence legally.
With politics, peace and voluntary transactions take a backseat.
Unfortunately, far too many people believe in this dark side of attaining your ends. You almost can't fault people though. After all, propaganda surrounds us from the moment we become toddlers. The propaganda makes politics appear to be admirable, acceptable, and inevitable to our existence.
Of course, politics is completely man-made and a choice, but the propaganda is so all encompassing that most would never even consider life without it.
Here's a recent little piece of propaganda from yesterday's Washington Post. Columnist E.J. Dionne tries put a glowing spin on the dark side of life:
Politics...is about reconciling sharply differing interests and people with fundamentally different goals and worldviews. As Bernard Crick argued in his classic book “In Defense of Politics,” democratic politics is “a great and civilizing human activity” because it’s the way in which we seek to resolve our disputes without resorting to violence.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
Differing "interests" are a constant in life. We want things and everyone around us wants things as well. In a world with scarce resources, such as ours, some people must forgo having some of the things that they want at any given moment.
If this were the Garden of Eden, perhaps we could have all of our wishes satisfied at all times. But on this Earthly existence we must pick and choose. Some desires will be satisfied, and some will not.
We know that in the marketplace, we can satisfy desires based on our own choosing. Those we interact with do the exact same thing. Everyone is better off since we never make decisions that we think will make us worse off compared to the alternatives.
Politics turns this upside down. If you want something, maybe the government (that can legally use force) can get it for you.
Government inherently has nothing of its own. It does not create. It does not produce. In order to give you something, it must first forcefully take it from someone else.
The Washington Post will tell you that this is "a great civilizing human activity". Well, the truth of the matter is that politics is a "de-civilizing" human activity. Stealing from someone else (via the government) is not civilized behavior. It's barbaric.
Why are people attracted to barbarism like moths to a lightbulb? Well, it's much easier to get something for nothing. It's much easier to get a government "benefit" rather than producing something of value for others. As humans, we're very attracted to the easy way. Leisure is more attractive than labor.
The Washington Post is wrong to tell us that politics is a way to "resolve our disputes without resorting to violence".
It's the exact opposite! Politics is violence by proxy.
Naturally, once word gets out that you can use a third-party (i.e., government) to get the things that you want, people rush to it like it's a Black Friday extravaganza.
The result? Chaos and the absolute worst that humanity has to offer.
Politics is the great de-civilizer. Let's shrink it, starve it, and ultimately rid ourselves of it.
Let's interact with each other like human beings for a change.
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