How does a small group (a) maintain coercive control over a much larger group (b)?
First, there is public opinion. (a) cannot treat (b) uniformly. (a) must decipher within (b) sub-classes. If (a) can create animosity or division between sub-classes in (b), we will call them (b1), (b2) and (b3), then (a) can divide the strength of (b). And this is not hard. Life is hard. Thus, (a) has an advantage that is hard to eliminate. The human animal seeks rest naturally and to avoid what is hard, and so to the degree that (a) can identify a minority in (b), let’s call it (b1), that is generative of surplus but small in number, (a) can attack, confiscate, pocket some and redistribute the spoils to the much larger subset of (b), let’s call it (b3), which improves the opinion of (b3) regarding (a) greatly even while ruining the opinion of (a) with (b1).
Other wheels are now set in motion. (a), by instantiating initiated aggression against (b1) has altered the landscape. (a) has reduced the incentive to pursue (b1) status which has reduced its own spoils system. (a) has, in addition, increased the incentive of members in the middle (b2) who are through a million daily choices deciding whether to move in one direction or another. The incentive either to remain in (b3) or move to (b3) has been increased. In addition, the instantiation of initiated aggression has advertised it as a way. If (a) is smart they will open some positions and take applications. In fact they might even set up a system by which members of (b) have a say in who gets to join initiated aggression, thus solidifying the perceived legitimacy of initiated aggression even while giving off the illusion of power to (b). This some call democracy.
Members of any sub-class of (b) now face the temptation to pursue position in (a), and they do. These are often called public-private partnerships. They are conducive to the suppression of competition from weaker members in (b) through the formation of coercively established (not market driven) monopoly.
One of the additional advantages that (a) offers to (b), though remember that it is a large sub-class of (b) for whom life is hard that (a) offers by taking from (b1 and b2) (b2 has been added given the “necessity” of doing more good. Who would not want (a) to do more good? “We couldn’t have foreseen that it would be so costly to do so much good, but…” says (a).)) is the care of the children of (b). What happens is that (a) has relieved the member of (b) of its most sacred obligation, to care for the minds of its next generation, and offered them to those who initiated aggression. (a) makes sure that by the time they exit the educational system they have been taught about the evil of freedom, the importance of sharing, that the cause of any prosperity is greed, and most importantly, that initiated aggression is the proper response to individuals who do not want to play with you. The young exit that system convinced that coercion is good in order to do good, that liberty is scary (because individuals might initiate aggression…but…), and that freedom of association is worst of all. The latter is most important since with freedom of association individuals might reject (a) and set up their own competitor. But (a) cannot allow this. Initiated aggression would lose its perceived legitimacy and necessity.
Now, the looting of the individual is an accepted way. It is even such that to speak out against the looting is to be shamed and outcast. Only the crazy eccentric would speak out about the explicit confiscation of roughly 40% of his productivity (I am adding federal, state, city, sales taxes, social security) with the addition of the subtle sucking of what he is able to store away through inflationary devaluation of the currency that (a) has placed themselves in charge of.
(a) loves to point at Hitler or Mussolini. Less often Stalin. Never Woodrow Wilson. But, the latter, with PhD in hand, and confidence in his expertise, oversaw the creation of the income tax and the Federal Reserve. Two of the most powerful forms of initiated aggression that prior generations would have not believed are now accepted as “necessary” which is taken as a synonym for “good”.
(a) parasitically lives off its host (b). As it sucks more of its productivity it both disincentivizes productivity and thereby decreases what it has to loot, live off of and redistribute, and it incentivizes at the same time dependency on it by which it gestures at (b1) all the more urgently as the cause of all the trouble.
And so, it rings in my ears, “what should members of (b) who neither want to join (a) nor want to succumb to the temptation of joining (b3) but cannot count themselves members of (b1) do?”
First, and most important? pursue virtue and righteousness–prudence, courage, temperance, justice will do.
Second, look for trusted association. Time is both of the essence and the building of real trust takes time. We are pack animals and suffer in our aloneness. It is critical that you and I find the like-minded. They are the virtuous who abstain from initiated aggression and seek to avoid association with it. Trusted association is most precious in the husband or wife. The live-with-forever friend is the best. It is a treasure worth far more than gold. After that, where is the social club for those against initiated aggression and interested in virtue?
Third, we are not offered a choice of when we live and the trajectory of that time. We live in a strange time of great comfort and great instability. The comfort is most apparent. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel! The instability is hard to see. They keep printing dollars and changing the colors on the screen as injections to the addicted. You and I must live as if the instability created through vast amounts of initiated aggression is more real and substantive than the drug induced comfort of fiat currency and screen distraction. Ok, to the point. Work. Save. Convert the value of your work into forms that are more difficult to confiscate. Nothing is totally secure. But there are more and less secure forms of the preservation of prosperity, and it is worth adjusting to the reality of the devaluing of currency now rather than later.
Work, save, convert. Work, save, convert.