Liberty is Better Than Servitude, Always By Kent McManigal

“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery”

-Thomas Jefferson

A majority of people seem to believe I must have had a “conversion experience”, a traumatic encounter with some agent of The State, such as an arrest for violating some governmental rule, to have become as skeptical and outright opposed as I am of the legitimacy of all forms of The State.

This belief seems strange to me.  Must you see your best friend murdered before you hate murder?  How hard must you contemplate rape before realizing it is wrong?

Probably some people came to libertarianism in its most radical form because of an event of this nature.  More people undoubtedly will in the future, while some will always feel they deserve anything done to them by The State and will never lose their patriotic [sic] fervor no matter how much it harms them and their loved ones.

In my case, however, there was no horrible event to make me dislike the externally-imposed form of coercion commonly known as “government”. It was simply a lifetime of observation and an inner need for peeling away the inconsistencies I discover. The more I saw and the more I learned the less I bought into the lie that government was “necessary” or “good”.

I began to see that every excuse for having “government” was based upon a trained helplessness, and every justification for The State necessarily ignored both solutions that were known and within reach, and the demonstrable harm that comes from relying upon coercion to get your way, rather than working toward unanimous consent.  I also saw the damage done to individuals on the basis of a majority vote, or society’s wishes.

Yes, there were influential people who taught me to think for myself, and one of them was probably, secretly, similar in his outlook to my current view.  For example, he once mentioned, in passing, that no one should ever accept a plea bargain (which are not Constitutional to begin with- for those concerned over such trivialities) since this would bring the courts to a stand-still and encourage The State to stop enforcing laws against things that are not government’s business in the first place, those “mala prohibitum” acts, and focus on the real “mala in se” crimes.  You know- the real laws which are based upon the recognition that it is wrong to initiate force, to damage other people’s property, or to steal.

My anarchist outlook was a slow and steady progression from being a child who knew wrong when he saw it, to being an adult who recognizes that there can be no double standards where behavior is concerned.  That isn’t to say that a future traumatic encounter couldn’t make me feel my convictions in a deeper and even more personal way.  Let’s hope to never find out.

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