Disclaimer: This was written before I made the full conversion to anarcho-capitalism
I wonder if the reason government is so popular is because fundamentally, people are afraid to face the fact that they are truly alone. One thing government promises is to take care of the individual, a warm net of protection, and people feel that they are entitled to this protection from government. It is very similar to religion, and I believe Statism (the belief in use of government) is a religion. As children, people self identify with their parents, and use their parents as a safety net and a provider as well as a caretaker. As children grow older they are supposed to become the strongest versions of themselves by learning to become an individual, which means being free. According to Rollo May’s definition of freedom:
“Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves. Freedom is the other side of consciousness of self: if we were not able to be aware of ourselves, we would be pushed along by instinct or the automatic march of history, like bees or mastodons. But by our power to be conscious of ourselves, we can call to mind how we acted yesterday, or last month, and by learning from these actions we can influence, ever so little, how we act today. And we can picture in imagination some situation tomorrow- say Directors meeting- and by turning over in fantasy different alternatives for acting, we can pick the one that will do us best.”
In other words, this means that the environment for freedom is one in which the individual has the greatest capacity to grow oneself, to create a concrete foundation for morals and ethics.
Religion is often a substitute for those who cannot obtain these virtues themselves. One might look to religion for guidance and faith, if they put faith in and are “good”, they are entitled to receive reparations later for their sacrifice. Because they have denied themselves their true feelings and desires they feel entitled to something. They also want their religious deity to be strong and able-bodied to support them. As an example, recently their was a statue of Jesus wrapped in blankets on the steps of a church, a woman passing by called the police on the supposedly homeless man only to find out that it is a statue of Jesus. Anxious and surprised she stated the statue of Jesus should not be one of vulnerability and weakness, but one of power and strength, she claimed she needed a god that could take care of her. I believe this is all done to avoid the terrifying conclusion that we are all alone in our bodies.
The government, in essence, is god, to many people. People are indentured servants to the awesome power of government, because they have sacrificed so much of themselves to this institution of force, they believe they are entitled to receive something from it. And when they don’t, they feel that they have been gipped. For they have given up their sons to war, the fruits of their labor to bureaucrats, their privacy for a sense security, their power to brutes and politicians. They have given everything they have to government, they have also let government lead them and assign them virtues without creating their own. They have given their personal sovereignty over to government. They have given up their freedom, their ability to grow and reason within their own autonomous ability – for slavery.
Why would we continue to support a violent institution, government, which doesn’t enforce its rule by arbitration or compassion, but instead by force?
I believe it might have to do with the fact that deep down, we are all alone. We are the only thing we truly know for sure, and even then we only know so much. People who rely on their parents don’t have to realize this, to them they are their parents. They rely on the tribe to hand them down their beliefs and their values instead of creating their own. When the need finally arises in oneself to create their own personal foundation, that’s when rebellion sets in.
I am not an anarchist, I believe that force is necessary to assert laws that require force: don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t commit fraud, don’t kidnap. But the hypocrisy of having a government that does all these things is dangerous. The government commits mass murder by going to war, the government commits fraud by lying about legislation, the government steals money from one person and gives it to another and calls it “taxes”, the government kidnaps someone and throws them in jail for smoking weed or not paying taxes.
Government truly is a religion, how can we give up so much of ourselves for if it wasn’t for faith? Government is holding back humanity from truly expressing itself and acting voluntarily without the use of force. If an idea is so good, it shouldn’t require violence to enforce. That is why you are reading this right now, because I didn’t force you to, because you think my words have value. Your viewing these words on a screen you probably weren’t forced to buy, on a social network with people who you probably interact voluntarily on a daily basis. Then why, would we need government, an institution that operates solely by force, to create the world we wish to live in?