Notes Book

De-Regulating Government

Remember when the telephone business was de-regulated. I don't know about you, but I think the results have been very good. My telephone bill takes much less of a bite out of my life and I am much more likely to make a long-distance call. Sure there are downsides. Telephone bills are more complicated to read and understand. We have had to look at a lot of ads for different phone services, but long-distance rates have fallen dramatically, and, it seems to me, service has improved. Now we have call waiting, call forwarding, personal 800 numbers, etc. Would this have happened under a state-controlled monopoly? I don't think so.

With the phone company, we had a natural course of action because of the situation. We broke the "baby bells" away from Ma Bell, and ended the monopoly on long-distance service.

Could we just take all the assets and liabilities of our government and divide them up between the Republicans, the Democrats, the Libertarians, the Greens, the Independents, etc, and end the monopoly on force.

Then instead of paying taxes, we could pay these organizations for services rendered. If we were dissatisfied with one organization, we could move to another, or decide to protect ourselves using our own resources.

Of course there would be a lot of problems. The first one is defense. Do we want a country with several armies? Would that lead to civil war?

Well we already had a civil war when we were only supposed to have one army. If we get a severe disagreement in the body politic, the army will split up and fight it out. That has happened in many countries around the world, not just the United States. If we had several armies all along, they could get used to working out differences with each other and at least have some practice in times of crisis. I think it goes without saying that if we were invaded, we would all work together to repel the invasion, and it might help to have more than one idea of how to defend the society.

What about the public roads? What would it be like if the freeway from one city to another was owned by the Republicans and road to the next city was owned by the Democrats? Would all roads become toll roads?

Well, if the Democratic road had expensive tolls and was full of potholes, people would start to go another way. The reputation of the democrats would suffer. They would have big incentives to have a good road. The more diffuse the ownership of the road, the less incentives the owners have to make it a good road.

What about laws and courts? If no one had a monopoly on force, how would courts enforce their decrees? Would we have anarchy and chaos?

Any competent historian would tell you that we are already headed directly for anarchy and chaos. No civilization has ever supported the level of taxation and incarceration we suffer for long without collapsing. Our leaders can control the process by making radical reforms, or they can be controlled by the process by suffering radical changes brought about by an enraged populace, but change is coming. We don't know exactly when, and we don't know exactly how, but we do know that the current situation is unstable. Empires fail, and the process us usually quite painful. We can avoid having barbarians invade our country by ceasing to be barbarians ourselves.

If the government didn't have a monopoly on force, then any court would have to rely on persuasion rather than coercion. If we had a system with a republican army and a democrat army, and some third and fourth party armies, they would need some method to resolve disputes other than armed conflict. Perhaps "court" is not the best name because it has been thoroughly polluted by our so called "legal system". I suppose there was a time when the term "criminal lawyer" was not redundant, but that was long ago.

Ideally, we could all just lay down our arms and get along. I don't believe anyone thinks that is going to happen anytime soon. The proposals outlined above may seem radical, but they are really on a modest step in the direction of a rational society. Surely there are better ways, and when I hear them, or think of them, I will support them.

Government and coercion have failed miserably all over the world in many different settings. We need another way. Statism fails because it does not have a logical basis that you could explain to a ten-year old. It's easy to explain rules of moral equivalency. What goes around comes around, but it's very difficult to explain why pot is a drug but booze is not. Why cops lie a lot and beat up people for some unknown reason. Why it's OK for the state to rob people, but it's not OK for people to rob each other. Why all men are created equal, but wealthy government and corporate officials are more equal that most, and a thousand other problems that stem from the evil root of a coercive philosophy.

We need to be able to raise children with faith in logic and reason, instead of incarcerating them in public schools which produce more generations of increasingly dysfunctional statists.

If you are mean to people, they will be mean to you if they can, and they may wait a long time for the chance, even generations. What goes around comes around, eventually. Do we really want to be putting this kind of hatred in the bank for our children and grandchildren. Military superiority is often a fleeting thing because supporting a large standing army is so costly, both economically and morally.

The truth will out. A whispered truth is more persuasive than a thousand shouted lies.

Freedom works. Private property works. Let's make these concepts the engines that run our society.