Government = Force

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.  - George Washington

By Mike Cronin

To commemorate President’s Day, let’s use the above quote, allegedly from George Washington, as the genesis of a thought experiment. What if we replace the word “government” with the word “force” and ask what it is properly used for?

Is force a moral way to protect yourself from violence initiated by others?  I say yes.  Therefore, by extension, using government to deter violent attack, or to retaliate for the same, is proper.  The policing, defense, and intelligence functions of government are legitimate for this reason.

Is it moral to enforce contractual agreements and hold fraudsters accountable?  Again, I say yes, and again, I say the criminal justice functions of government are legitimate for this purpose.

Is it moral to use force to entertain people?  I say no.  Government funding for the arts is immoral in this context, not to mention absurd.

Is it proper to use force to educate people?  Once again: it is the wrong tool for the job.

Is it moral to use force to prevent you neighbor from viewing material you believe to be objectionable?  I say no. By extension, it is improper to rely on government to tell us what we can and cannot view (unless that material is produced by violating the rights of others, as in the case of child pornography).

How about using force to provide people a retirement check, health insurance, unemployment compensation, or other “entitlements?”

Or using force to provide subsidies, corporate bailouts, tax “credits,” and to manipulate the economy?

I could go on, but I think you see where I am going with this. If it is wrong for an individual to initiate the use of force against his or her neighbor directly, then it is just as wrong to employ the coercive power of government to commit the same crime by proxy.

Force is not only immoral to use outside of the context of protection from violence, fraud, or other violations of our rights, it is also manifestly the wrong tool for most jobs.  Using force to educate, or entertain, or to invent and deliver entitlements, is like using a sledgehammer to wash windows. The most likely outcome will be glass shards on the floor.  Yet even if you manage to avoid  shattering the glass, you still won’t get the windows clean.

That is the reason the Founders wrote the Constitution: to restrict the forcefulness of government to only those very few functions where force is the proper response, and to prevent its absurdly destructive employment against us in every other facet of life.

Weasel Words: Constitutional Rights

civil rights_header

By Mike Cronin

Have you noticed that the weasels telling us we have “rights” to a job, or an education, or healthcare – all things that can only be given to some at the expense of others, are quite often the same people that are trying to eliminate our inalienable rights? (You know – the rights the Founders tried to protect with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights?  The ones that don’t depend on taking time, money, or goods away from anyone?)

Consider: If you have a right to a job, then an employer is compelled by law to give some of his property, namely the position, to you. If you have a right to an education, the government has to first take money from your friends and neighbors to pay for it.  If you have a right to healthcare, then you have a license to demand time and effort from doctors, nurses, technicians, and pharmacists, and a warrant to seize medicines or medical equipment away from those who made them. If you have a right to not be offended, then you have the power to muzzle the free expression of others.

On the other hand, the rights the founders designed our government to protect do not require us to take away anything from our neighbors; they simply require that we leave each other alone.  They don’t preclude us helping others voluntarily; the don’t preclude private entities from influencing our charitable behavior; but they do not permit the government to use its coercive power to dictate whether or how our neighbors’ “generosity” is to be extracted and distributed.

When the weasels take from the most productive in order to give it to the least productive in the name of benevolence, the result is not universal prosperity, it is universal resentment.  The productive resent having the fruit of their labor confiscated (via income tax withholding, for example), and the recipients resent the productive for being able to “make it.”  Nobody prospers except the politicians, cronies, and bureaucrats doing the taking.

The weasels will use every rhetorical trick to convince us that we have Constitutional rights to this, that, or the other thing.  There is no such thing as a Constitutional right, because the Constitution doesn’t grant us our rights.  The Constitution isn’t the law we are supposed to obey; it’s the law the government is supposed to obey.  It doesn’t give us our rights; its purpose is to protect our rights from the government!

Four Branches of Dysfunction in US Government, Part IV


By Mike Cronin

In Part III, I argued that income taxation is theft, and that it turns the rest of us into thieves and slaves. I also argued for a national sales tax, such as the Fair Tax. Why would I make such an argument? Isn’t one form of taxation just like another?  Nope.

Income taxation is rotten for at least two reasons: 1. It is taken from you, before you ever see it, through the coercive power of government. That is theft, plain and simple.  2. Then, as if that’s not bad enough, income taxation penalizes productivity – the more you make, the more you pay; and it’s not even a simple percentage; it’s “progressive.” That means that not only do have to pay more because you made more, you have to pay a progressively larger percentage of your income as your income increases.  It is insane to want and need people to be productive on the one hand, while progressively penalizing them for that very productivity on the other.

To make a simple analogy: if you try to teach and encourage a puppy to go outside to do his business, then smack him every time he does, and smack him harder and more often as he gets more insistent to go out, how long do you think it will be before he quits trying and just goes on the floor? Especially if you then give him a treat when he does?  Everyone may pretend to be happy in such a house, but the price of that feigned happiness is to either have to continuously clean up dog waste, or to live in a progressively more filthy and stinking residence.

A national sales tax, like the Fair Tax, is based on consumption, not income. That means you pay in based only what you buy and use. If you consume more goods and services and government, you pay more; if you consume less goods and services and government, you pay less. You are in control of how much you pay, not the government. There is no force, no penalty for productivity, no byzantine regulations, no loopholes, no escape for illicit profits, and no more IRS.