The Market is Best for Defense

Posted: August 21, 2009 by administrator in Uncategorized

soldierThe State, it is said, is the organization under which all of civilization rests. The bedrock of the establishment, the vehicle of the plutocrats, and the lawgiver to all society. Within it lie all the visions, dreams, plans, motivations, and the will of the Nation. There is nothing outside of its gaze, nothing beyond its line of sight. All legality, all civic affairs, all public issues… all are under the watchful eyes of the State. But what is the State? Can one define what separates it from every other organization in society?

The dictionary defines it as; the power or authority represented by a body of the people politically organized under one government, esp. and independent government, within a territory or territories having definite boundaries.

Now what does all this mean in plainer English? Very simply, a group of people given (in one form or another) power over a given territory, and the people within that territory. They are the sole authority over all affairs within the “Nation” (which is constituted by the advent of boundaries the State is confined to). All those with power over the State, and all the dealings concerning the State, is part of the body Politic. Politics, then, is defined as the actions taken by the State and its apparatus. As Mark Twain defined it: “Politics derives from two words… Poly: meaning ‘many’, and Tics: meaning ‘blood-sucking parasites’.”

Why is it that, in modern society, this invention has been so accepted, not only as legitimate, but as absolutely necessary, for life to function properly? The answer to that question later, but first, let me address what exactly the State is, and what separates it from every other organization in society.

Let us first imagine two separate companies. We will call one company ‘Stuff-Mart’ and the other ‘Things-R-Us’. Stuff-Mart, is in the business of providing their customers (those who wish to trade with them) with multiple, diverse products varying from cereal, to picture frames, to videos, to books, and even tube-socks. Things-R-Us is also in the line of supplying a range of different products, which closely resemble that of Stuff-Mart. And so, the two companies compete for customers, and their money, by attempting to service them better than their counterpart. They will lower prices, they will widen their territory, they will make better products, they will attain more diversity, they will speed up service, they will offer insurance, they will spiff up the look of their store, and on and on. They will each do anything to please their customer.

However, let’s assume Stuff-Mart is behind in funds. Things-R-Us is beating them in every way imaginable. They are getting more customers, opening more stores, offering more products, lowering prices, raising wages, and becoming ever more popular. Stuff-Mart is not very happy about its circumstance. Then let us say, for the sake of the analogy, that rather than lower their prices, offer more products, and reach out to customers, Stuff-Mart takes a different approach. If they cannot have what they want in a voluntary manner, they will take it by force.

Stuff-Mart then begins to take their funds through coercion. They hire men with guns who come to the customers’ door and demand payment. In return, the customer is forced to take the products they need and want. They cannot give their money, or support, to Things-R-Us… to do so would be considered treasonous. Stuff-Mart manages, then, to ensure their security and continued income by maintaining this violent method inside a given territory. The people living within that territory must accept the services and products of Stuff-Mart, or suffer the consequences of being put inside a cage, or being shot in the head. They must also continue payments, or suffer similar reactions.

Can you imagine the public outrage? There would be protests, there would be people tearing down Stuff-Mart buildings, their executives would be dragged through the streets (and likely hanged) for this sort of behavior. Never, in a million years, would people accept this form of criminal activity. Or would they?
Sure, when it comes to the service of providing products like food, clothing, and necessary tools of up-keep (along with objects of happiness and leisure), this type of activity is condemned, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But what of the service of defense?

Indeed, the service of defense (from aggression), is quite necessary in society. Unfortunately, unlike the real-life incarnations of “Stuff-Mart” and “Things-R-Us”, the service of defense is anything but competitive and voluntary. By the monopoly over the service of defense, all areas of society are easily controlled by one central authority. Who is this authority? What organization has so easily monopolized the service of defense in society, and used that power to lord it over the whole of a given territory?

Let me introduce you to the State.

What is the State? It is the organization of people that has monopolized the service of defense over a given territory, and extracts its funds through force. Every other organization in society receives its funds voluntarily. If I want a steak, I run to the market and buy it with my money. If I want a video, I go to the store and purchase it. The act of exchange and trade is an automatic interaction taken in a state of pure liberty. It is only natural that some people in society will have certain skills that others do not, or certain products that others do not. The act of trade and exchange is the inevitable reaction to this natural inequality. It is done on a purely voluntary, and mutually beneficial, basis. I want a steak far more than I want my money, which I received in exchange for my labor. The man selling the steak obviously valued my hard-earned money more than the steak he was offering to me. And so the market, in freedom, works to the advantage of everyone. No one is forced to accept a product or service against their will, their choice is central to their freedom in all areas of life. No one has their wealth and property taken by the threat of violence, in order to fund such debacles.

If a product, or service, is necessary in society, it will be provided by the market. As all of us learned in economics, the law of supply and demand will ensure everything needed, and wanted, will be made available. (It should be made clear at this point that economics is as much a science as any other, studying and calculating the behaviors of human beings in the same way physicists study and calculate the behavior of objects in motion. In other words, the law of supply and demand is as iron-clad as is the law of gravity) If a service necessitates force, and violence, to provide and gain funding for… it is neither necessary nor desired (except of course by those who use force to gain their living).

The act of gaining one’s wealth by force and coercion is quite parasitic. The action of exchanging one’s labor, property, or money for something else is instead mutually beneficial. (The act of gift and charity could also be calculated into the mix) The State, then, thrives as a parasite on society and the wealth it creates. Every other organization and individual gains its funds by mutual exchange or charity. Here we see another contrast of the State to every other social function.

The State must take by force, the State must monopolize its service over a given territory (and other services soon after). Sure, you have thieves and robbers in the private sector, but only the State, by its very existence, necessitates these actions.

Now I’m sure it can be agreed upon that Defense is a necessary and desirable service in society. However, there is hardly a service or product that is not necessary to human survival. Those that exist and are not necessary are certainly wanted by the public. If there is a scientific way to decide whether or not a certain service or product is necessary, the truly mind-boggling thing here is the statement that something necessary must be left to the State.

In fact the very logic that something “necessary” should be left to the State should follow that all services should be left to the State. To say the indispensable should be “protected” by the security of the State, while the unnecessary can be allowed on the insecure and unsafe free market is to reason that the State is superior to the market at providing the best services. If we are to accept this reasoning, then why not leave all services and products to the State? Why leave anything to the market if the State has the most secure and efficient means to provide it?

Yet it is reasoned, even by many Libertarians, that the necessary services should be left to the State. This sort of logic fails on every level. If you are one to argue that the State is best at providing services, then it would logically follow that the State should provide everything, as a matter of pragmatism. Yet, if you are one to argue that free markets are best at providing services and products to people, then it should follow that all services and products be left in to the market. To say only necessary services should be provided by the State is to give the State a masquerade of security and proficiency, and it is logically inconsistent to allow any services to be left on the market.

In fact, as one who believes the market is best at providing services and products (and most importantly is the only moral system of production and distribution), it only makes sense that all services should be market provided. If any services or products should be left to the State, it should be the unnecessary ones. Let the State provide paper, or picture frames, or remote controls. Even if they screw it up, and they will, at least it won’t be so destructive. It’s the vital things that should be left to the free market. Let the market provide defense, education, food, clothing, and shelter… keep the State as far away from these absolutely crucial services.

Justin Buell; August 2009

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