How to convert a Statist
I’ve had good luck with converting Statists into non-Statists and I think I can write a little primer on it. Before I lay it out below, keep in mind this very important observation – Statists have been subjected to decades of brainwashing to believe what they do. They attend schools where the questions, “Are you intelligent” and “Can you regurgitate what I tell you” are synonym questions. Breaking this conditioning is a lot like getting someone hooked on smoking. At first they hate it, then they get used to it, and finally they like it. Because of this, you will not be able to stand on a street corner and free peoples’ minds en masse. You will have to work with people you are around a lot, and it will take a while.
Step One: Know thy adversary
The first, and most important, thing to realize is that Statists share the Hobbesian view of mankind. This is the view of mankind put forth by Hobbes in his book “Leviathan”. If you can, you should read the first half of this book. If not, read this. Read it, and understand that Hobbes was wrong. Hobbes makes the assumption that given a choice between peaceful trade and murderous theft, the average person prefers murder and theft. Hobbes was a Calvanist that lived the vast majority of his life in the English court, surrounded by murderers (generals and kings). Of course he felt this way – it was all he knew. He never lived as a common person, or even spent any time with a common person. He was writing about something for which he had no knowledge. However, his views are the very core of the Statist position.
Disproving Hobbes –
… is surprisingly easy. First, point out to your Statist company that no gov’t program forced you to meet up. Point out that you are not discussing screwing anyone over or violently taking over anything. Therefore, Hobbes was wrong. People get together because people enjoy the company of other people. Human beings are pack animals – we like to be social. Therefore, we do not need to be forced to get along – we do it naturally.
How mankind really is –
Two things describe humanity well – they are like electricity and they are like dogs. People are like dogs in that they like to form groups and in these groups there is usually some sort of pecking order that can change depending on various situations and so forth. People are like electricity in that they prefer the path of least resistance to get the things they want and to accomplish their goals. Sometimes these two things work in unison, and that is great, and sometimes they work against each other, and that sucks.
Rules vs. Rulers
“Aha!” Your Statist friends will say. “There is a reason to have a gov’t! Sometimes people hurt each other because that is easier than peacefully getting what they want. Thus, we need a gov’t to make hostility too costly to be used.”
At this point, you will plant the seed that will one day sprout freedom and make it so that their love of Statism dies.
RULES are what are important –
Yes, we need rules of engagement for dealing with each other. There are bad people out there. There always will be. We need a way of making it so that dealing with bad people is ok and not to be feared. This is why we have rules. We really only need two rules – The Non-Aggression Principle and Property Rights. Property Rights is a heavily loaded term. Please be sure that you are referring to where people own everything and there is no such thing as “publicly owned” anything.
RULERS are not important –
“But who will enforce those rules if you don’t have a gov’t to do it? Anyways, once someone begins to regularly enforce those rules, isn’t that a gov’t?” is the conclusion your friends will invariably jump to.
First of all – point out that the rules we have now are not enforced. How many bankers went to jail for the financial catastrophe? One – some Indian guy that nobody has ever heard of. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs? He’s free. John Corzine of Golman Sachs and MF Global? He’s free. The gov’t only selectively enforces laws, which means that it doesn’t enforce laws.
But to the question – with no gov’t, how do you have courts? Wouldn’t everyone just start shooting each other since there would be no peaceful way to resolve conflicts, such as what courts are purported to do? This is the core fear that keeps a Statist a Statist in the face of all the gov’t failure we see before us.
The answer that will eventually turn that light on:
We live in a new age with the internet. We already rate products online. We can rate people too. If we decide to go into a contract with someone and there are no courts, what do we do? I can’t predict the future, but here’s what I would do:
- Pick a friend to be my arbitrator.
- Other guy picks a friend to be his arbitrator.
- The arbitrators pick a third arbitrator as a tie-breaker.
- All three arbitrators sign off on the contract.
- In the event of a dispute, they hear the case from both myself and the person I contracted with.
- Arbitrators decide and then both I and the person I had a dispute with rate the arbitrators.
- I rate the person I had a dispute with. He rates me.
- Other people that decide to contract with me or him can see that we had a dispute, why we had it, what happened, who ruled over it, etc.
- Other people will decide whether to do business with either me or him depending on the results.
- Other people will choose their arbitrator depending on the ratings of each.
That’s how I would do it. No gov’t needed! At the very worst – it would be only as bad as what we have now.
“But what if the other guy doesn’t pay the fine or whatever the judgement was against him? How do you punish him without a gov’t?” Your Statist friends will rebuttal.
The fine affects only my pocketbook if I win and he pays. If he doesn’t pay, then the whole world can see what a douchebag this guy is. He will be ostracized. He will have a very hard time finding work. People won’t want to contract with him to do work for him. He’ll find it hard to be a member of society without people always whispering behind his back, asking if he’s currently trying to screw them over. He’ll have to work harder to rebuild his reputation. He’ll do that work too, because he’s a human being and wants to be part of the human “pack”.
Also note that a gov’t would not rise out of this. There would be literally millions of “courts”. Sure, some arbitrators would become preferred, but they can’t hear all cases. They’ll become very expensive as demand for them goes up. An arbitrator that gets bought off will have bad reviews and won’t get used much. In the beginning, things would be fairly rough (as with any new idea), but with use this process would smooth out. Certainly, today we don’t worry about ratings on products when the product is popular and there are hundreds or thousands of ratings.
As you go through this process, you will see impossible scenario arguments tossed at you that would never happen in the real world – denounce the scenario immediately and ask if they can come up with something more realistic. You will see blind adherance to Hobbes’ views, no matter how you show that people really do like each other and want to be around each other because we all get direct enjoyment out of each other’s company – keep disproving Hobbes. You will see blind terror creep into people’s eyes at the thought of no gov’t there to “save us all” from bad people – point out that the gov’t doesn’t save them currently. They will jump to one extreme of human behavior to another, but ardently avoid the vast majority – keep them focused on the majority and allow that the extremes will be dealt with at least as well as they are now with the court system mentioned above. The people you talk to will continually forget that you are assuming the Non-Aggression Principle is something that everyone will want and will follow. They will forget, because deep down, their knee-jerk assumption they will make of you is that you are all for murder, rape, fraud, theft, etc – this is a product of all that mental conditioning – reiterate the benefits of the Non-Aggression Principle. As that mental conditioning breaks down, they’ll slowly recognize that they can affect the social environment around themselves, and then they’ll stop being Statists.