As a Libertarian leaning individual, I have an issue with authority. I believe in the sovereignty of the individual over that of the group. We as individuals might be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good, but instinctively we balk at the idea of the choice being removed. It is a good thing when we voluntarily choose to give up something for the benefit of others; it is evil when that same outcome is the result of force. This is the basic element of individual rights that rails against any form of statism.
Unfortunately, this idea is much like communism in that it can never work in the real world. It sounds great to imagine a world where people come together voluntarily and make decisions peacefully and we never come up with anything that takes away freedom of choice. The sad truth is that this world can never be, not because the idea itself is faulty, but because human beings are. As long as there are other people who have their own desires that conflict with our own, any serious form of anarchy is doomed to failure.
The reason for this is quite simple: human beings want power and control. Most of us simply want power and control over our own lives, and if that were universally true then government would be unnecessary. We would simply get together and decide what we want to sacrifice for the good of the community and then go back to living our lives the way we want. Where we run into trouble is that there is a certain portion of the population who isn’t satisfied with just having power over their own lives; they want to control yours as well.
Sometimes this is simply the result of people believing that you are not intelligent enough to make your own decisions and live with the consequences. People who consider themselves as having a higher than average intelligence typically look at the rest of humanity and roll their eyes. When they start getting active in the community, they start out by giving their opinion, and then when nothing changes they become ever more forceful until they get their way. The sad truth about intelligence is that sometimes the side effect is arrogance, and the wisdom of the past is replaced by the half-baked dreams of people too smart for their own good.
The more sinister side of this issue, however, is the very small portion of human beings who actively seek out power for their own satisfaction. The ability to tell people what to do can be an intoxicating experience, and the more influence one has to make their desires become a reality, the further down the dark path we tend to go. Power can be very addicting, and we’ve seen over and over throughout history that people rarely give up that power on their own. Once they’re in position, it takes moving mountains to get them out…or their death.
It is important to understand these dynamics when it comes to developing a system of government that provides maximum liberty for the most number of people. When we disregard human nature in favor of an ideological goal, the checks that are necessary to keep evil people from getting too much power end up falling by the wayside. The dream of global peace simply isn’t meant to be, not because most people don’t want it but because enough people want to have control that the rest of us must violently resist being overcome by them.
This is why pure Libertarianism or anarchy can never be a real thing. These forms of government stress individualism, which we all believe in to some degree, but individualism makes us weak against large groups of coordinated people. At some point, it is required for each of us to band together with like minded people to push back against those who wish us harm or desire control over us. No one wants to have to do this, but human nature requires it.
Regardless of whether or not you are spiritual, evil is an objective fact. There are certain things that every human being on the planet would object to if it happened to them, and there are plenty of people out in the world willing to commit those acts. As long as this remains the truth of our existence, we can never have the idyllic forms of living that we all dream about. Struggle will always be present; perhaps not to survive against nature, but most certainly to survive against the tide of power hungry people yearning for control.
How do you feel about government? How far should we go in pulling back on its control? Is it possible to get to a place where we can be left to live our own lives with no interference from others? These are questions we need to seriously reflect on if we are to find a way forward that provides the greatest peace to the highest number of people. The right answer can propel us into the future; the wrong one can tear everything down.
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