Living, as we do, under regimes of internal coercion and aggression much of which we have grown up with and adapted to, it can be difficult to first, shake off the fetters theoretically and conceptually. Second, to imagine community in its fullness. Third, to pursue non-aggression and voluntary association in a state of aggression and coercion. But so we embark.
Images are much use. I leave you with one today. We are lured (and we must take responsibility for any choosing to follow the lure) into a bickering and infighting that most effectively strengthens the power of coercion and aggression. He in the USA the sides are called “Republican” and “Democrat”. While there are meaningful differences between the parties, it has not mattered over the past century. The chart below shows you that irrespective of party aggression and coercion have grown. The state, guided by either party, has increased the amount of the property of what are normally called citizens through aggression and coercion.
Note that the chart begins in 1792 and ends in 2018. That means that we do not see the recent federal largesse related to what is euphemistically called “stimulus”. You see the spike in the 2008/2009 financial crisis. What you do not see is how Leviathan has recently grown. To provide some sense of more recent coercive aggression take a look at the recent addition to the money supply. Coercive aggression? Yes. Unless you or I voluntarily agreed to fiat money printing that amounts to debt added to the burden of the only individuals who can pay it–citizens. I did not consent.
Finally, another image. An increase in “entitlements” (welfare broadly construed as pensions, social security, healthcare) relative to GDP. GDP is a nice measure of overall productivity. The increase in government provision relative to GDP amounts to an involuntary confiscation and use of the productivity of the citizens.
A barrage of images. All with the common theme that something is growing. What is growing is coercion and aggression. It does not bode well for he who has a body and the right to choose what to do with it or with whom he associates.
Parents employ coercion. It must be that the citizen is growing younger and more infantile given the increase in coercion exercised over him throughout the 20th century. Is that how those who occupy government think of us? How have they escaped the supposed growing youthfulness of the citizen and found themselves with the sagacity to manage well what they have asserted control over?
How pervasive is the coercive branch becoming? Far more integrated into every aspect of life than you or I can imagine. An example from recent memory. I know a man who has been engaged in the sale and purchase of property (trade of some property for others). In particular, he was seeking to sell one house and buy another. He hired a real-estate agent. In their initial conversation the man asked about the percentage of single-parent homes in one district or another. A relevant question, the man thought, for deciding who he would associate with or who his children would associate with. The man was told bluntly by the real-estate agent, “We cannot discuss demographics.” Huh? The person who is hired to aid in the prudence of a trade is barred by regulative agencies from freely discussing matters that would make the transaction more or less advantageous to the trader? This is a sign.
It happened again later. The loan officer demanded the details of the checking and savings accounts of he who wanted a loan for the new purchase. The man’s mother had recently passed away. He had received a small inheritance from the sale of her remaining property. He had, recently, deposited this into his account. He was required to furnish a letter of explanation to the loan officer explaining where this otherwise unknown sum of money, unattached to any verifiable employment, had come from. What? Was he guilty of something? Was it a crime to deposit cash from unverified sources if unexplainable? When the man inquired with the loan officer he was told that the new regulations had been imposed on the housing loan market after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. In other words, in trade for bailing out the banks who had been guilty, the government had demanded an increase in its oversight and regulation which had been passed down to the details of the decisions made by an otherwise innocent citizen. This is a sign.
The Leviathan that surrounds, that lives off its host parasitically, grows, it has been growing, if history is any indication, the trend is increase in size. Parasites always die once they exhaust their hosts. This is the predictable end of any kind of aggression and coercion.
To deal with the Puritanical Libertarian over the coming days is to deal with one who is trying, alone, to shake off the cobwebs and figure out where he really is and what is really happening. He promises not certainty. None of what he says is to be taken as anything other than his best effort to see clearly. What he sees is not pretty. Look at the charts again. What do you see? What the Puritanical Libertarian sees is the growth of aggression and coercion. For this he mourns.