the voluntary state
A New Political Concept
 
 

THESE pages propose The Voluntary State.  This would involve a change in strongly held beliefs more than a change in the practical political  procedure.


Let us begin:  There are two givens of the life we human beings have in common.  They operate  whether  we  understand  them  or  not.


The first given involves the nature of government, the  other  the  nature  of  man.


The nature of government is that it is never benign.  The nature of man is that he is a creature  of  self-chosen  purpose. 


The failure to understand these two givens underlies man’s historic inability to find the way  to  control  his  government.


First, about government :  government is a creature of man.  But before we talk about government,  we  need  to  address  those  who    say  they  want  anarchy.


Anarchy is the absence of all government, so that any effort at defense against murder and theft must be provided by private means.  Without government, anyone can hire people to do his bidding, with good purpose or bad, and thus can mount a challenge to anyone disagreeing with him.  Others can do likewise.  It is  apparent  that,  as  a  consequence,  might would  make  right.


There  is  no  substitute  for  government that   is  not  worse  than  government.


So our purpose here is not to eliminate government,   but   to   propose   the   means   for man  to  control  his  government  _  for  the  first  time  in  history.   Let  us  return  to  our  initial characterization   of   government,   which   was   that   it   is   never   benign.


Why is this?  To the heart of the matter : government  is  an  enforcement  agency. 


But government is necessary to man, so, the question  must  be,  Why?   The  question  needs     to     be    asked,    in    the     universal and in  the timeless sense, simply _ What is the  purpose of government?  The answer is,  everywhere and always,  no  matter  the  kind  of  government,  there  is  a  need  to  protect  the  populace  from  the  everyday,  everywhere,  kind  of crime, as   well   as   attack   by   outside   enemies.


The most damaging kinds of crime are inflation,  and  war  caused  by  those  who  control the government.  No one is allowed, by most governments, to ask questions about these larger crimes  against  humanity.   But  the  petty  kind of  crime  needs  to  be  controlled  daily,  or  life  in  a  society  cannot  proceed.


The  purpose  of  any  government,  then,   is protection:  the  maintenance  of  order  internally and defense against enemies externally.  These functions must be seen by the populace to be performed,  even  if  the  government  is,  in  fact,  corrupt.


In the developed democracies, the obvious demands of the people are codified by the legislatures,  and  the  executive  is  there  to  enforce  these  codified  wishes  of  the  voters.  Government  is  then  fulfilling  its  generally  seen  purpose.  


   It is the executive function that most people  think   of   as   government,    because   it   is   the  one  that  is  authorized  to  use  force  to  get compliance.  Its purpose is to enforce the wishes  of  the  voters.   It  is  the  police  of  the  voters.


Force  is  the  ugly  part  of  the  process  of government.  The word enforce is the key.  Whatever  the  particular  demands  or  wishes  of the    voters, it is their enforcement that makes


a government a government.  So enforcement, alone, is the purpose of a government, and enforcement  means  the  use  of  force.


We are ready now for the proper definition of government, which is, a monopoly of organized forceThat is why we can say that government is never benign.  Government has only  one  tool,  force  _  it  has  no  other  means.  It can be authorized to fulfill almost any function,  but  it  can  perform  these  functions  in  only  one  way, which  is  through  force or  the  credible  threat  of  force.


This  is  the  way  government  carries  out    the  purposes  it  is  given  by  the  people.


But  when  a  government  is  divided  into  three   parts,   as   it   is   in   the   United   States,  it  becomes  three  separate  sources  of  force.  It is, then, not a monopoly of force, and it is, therefore,  not   a   true  government,   but    three  competing  quasi-governments. 


The  divisions  do  not  agree,  and  cannot set  and  carry  out  policy  effectively.  There  is no  place  for  the  voter  to  locate  responsibility.


Corruption spreads in the competition for voters, or for hegemony of one over the other branches.  A government cannot be controlled until  there  is  a  monopoly  operating  body  to be  controlled.

Once we understand that government must be a     monopoly of force, we are ready  to  see  how   man   must  proceed   if   he   is   to  control  his  government.


The first step for the United States would be to address the inadequacy of the tripartite structure to limit government power.  It has taken more than two hundred years _ a short  time  in  history  _  for  the  consequences of  this  three-way  division  to  become evident, for people to see that the government  is  not  functioning  and  to  lose  confidence  in  it.

   We  need  to  give  up  our  belief  that dividing  government  power  is  enough  to  limit  that  power,  because  it  is  based  on  a  wrong  understanding  of  the  nature  of  government.   Government  power  will  be  limited  only  when  its  control  is  in  the  hands  of  the  citizens.

We started with the two premises that government is      never     benign,     and    that    man    is  a  creature  of  self-chosen  purpose.


Having considered the first given, the nature of government, we are ready for the other  given  of  the  life  we  human  beings have  in  common,  the  nature  of  man.

What  do  we  mean  by  saying  that  man  is a creature of self-chosen purpose?  That man has animal needs is clear to all.  It is no less clear that  man  is  more  than  an  animal.

What is that more?  We will be speaking here  about  neither  his  soul,  which  most  of us believe he has, nor about his mind, as distinguished   from   his   physical   brain.    Doctors can dissect his brain, but they cannot find his mind, still less understand what  it  is.   If,  then,  we  speak  here  of  neither  his  soul  nor  his mind,  what  do  we  mean  when we  say  that  man  is  a  creature  of  self-chosen  purpose?

We mean that his free will allows him purpose,   the  most  important  quality  of  man.


Then  let  us  consider  man  apart  from        his participation in government or even his relationship with other men, man as a solitary person.


We need to begin with an appreciation of the  part  that  purpose  plays  in  his  life.


A man does nothing without a purpose, literally    nothing.       His    muscles    do    not    move without  direction  from  his  mind  _  his  whole body  is  powerless,  not  a  finger  stirs.   His  mind,  in  turn,  gives  no  directions  until it determines  a  purpose.   How  does  it  determine  its  purpose?


This  is  probably  the  most  mysterious  and  important  thing  about  man.


To start : the purpose is self-chosen.  The mind  does  not  accept  purpose  from  outside the will of the person.  Why the will of the person involved decides  as  it  does  is  not  a  matter  to  which  we  are  privy.


However,  unless  we  appreciate  the  all-importance  of  man’s  self-chosen purpose,  we do  not  understand  the  nature  of  man.   If  we do     not      understand     the      nature      of      man,        we     can  not  understand,  fully,  the  two  givens  necessary  to  self-government.


Let   us  take  the  commonest  example.   If his      purpose    is    to    eat,   a     man     must    go     through  a complicated series of directions determined by his mind.  These have to do with : Is he hungry?     Does   he   want   to   eat   the   particular food  at hand? How is he going to get it into his mouth?  Every movement of every muscle involved in lifting the food  and  putting  it  into  his  mouth,  a  very complicated series of movements to guide it accurately into a mouth that he cannot see, requires a series of coordinated directions from  his  mind.


All of this is necessary to fulfill his self-chosen  purpose  to  eat  one  bite  of  food.


This  begins  to  show  us  how  incredibly complicated are all the movements a man makes to fulfill his self-chosen  purposes. It begins  to  reveal     how   this     same    mechanism  of  choosing, and then directing the fulfillment of his choice, moves from the simple, almost automatic   movements   of     eating,    to    all    of    his  purposes for that day, to the big  motivating  purposes  of   his  whole  life.

 

Now,  if  individual  man  becomes  the deciding  factor  in  self-government,  then  his  self-chosen  purpose  could  include  the  control  of his government so that he, together with other men, would truly have self-government.   His self-chosen purpose and the self-chosen purposes of  the  other  men  would  combine  in  a  shared undertaking  to  control  their  government.    How  could  this  be  done?


Men, having individual free wills, would have used their wills, through their votes, to  combine  their  purposes.


                                     

 

Chapter 3

OUR TWO GIVENS