The Good Funding the EvilBy Larken Rose
May. 09, 2011
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Even if an individual is never personally victimized by "law enforcement," never has a run-in with the police, and sees little if any direct impact by "government" upon his day-to-day life, the myth of "authority" still has a dramatic impact, not only on his own life but also on how his existence affects the world around him. For example, the millions of compliant subjects who feel an obligation to surrender a portion of what they earn to the state, to pay their "fair share" of "taxes," continually fund all manner of endeavors and activities which those people would not otherwise fund--which almost no one would otherwise fund, and which therefore would not otherwise exist. By way of "taxes," those claiming to be "government" confiscate an almost incomprehensible amount of time and effort from millions of victims and convert it into fuel for the agenda of the ruling class. To wit, millions of people who oppose war are compelled to fund it via "taxation." The product of their time and effort is used to make possible something they morally oppose.
The same is true of state-controlled wealth redistribution programs (e.g., "welfare"), Ponzi schemes (e.g., "Social Security"), the so-called "war on drugs," and so on. Most of the programs of "government" would not exist if not for the belief among the general population in a moral obligation to pay one's "taxes." Even "government" programs purported to have noble goals-- such as protecting the public and helping the poor-- become bloated, inefficient and corrupt monstrosities, which almost no one would willingly support if there was no "law" requiring them to do so.
In addition to the waste, corruption, and destructive things which "government" does with the wealth it confiscates, there is also the less obvious issue of what the people would have done with their money otherwise. As "government" takes the wealth of the producers to serve its own purposes, it also deprives the producers of the ability to further their own goals. Someone who surrenders $1,000 in "taxes" to the ruling class may not only be funding a war he morally opposes, but he is also being deprived of the ability to put $1,000 into savings, or donate $1,000 to some charity he considers worthwhile, or pay someone $1,000 to do some landscaping work. So the damage done by the myth of "authority" is twofold: it forces people to fund things that they do not believe are good for themselves or society, while simultaneously preventing them from funding things that they do view as worthwhile. In other words, subservience to "authority" causes people to act in a manner which is, to one extent or another, directly opposed to their own priorities and values.
Even the people who imagine that their "tax" dollars are doing good by building roads, helping the poor, paying for police, and so on, would almost certainly not fund the "government" version of those services, at least not to the same degree, if they did not feel compelled-- by moral obligation and the threat of punishment-- to do so. Any private charity that had the inefficiency, corruption, and record of abuse that AFDC, HUD, Medicare, and other "government" programs have, would quickly lose all of its donors. Any private company as expensive, corrupt, and inefficient as "government" infrastructure programs would lose all of its customers. Any private protection service which was so often caught abusing, assaulting, and even killing unarmed, innocent people would have no customers. Any private company that claimed to be providing defense, but told its customers it needed a billion dollars every week to wage a prolonged war on the other side of the world, would have few, if any, contributors, including among those who now verbally support such military operations.
The feeling of obligation to pay "taxes" seems to be little hampered by the fact that "government" is notoriously wasteful and inefficient. While millions of "taxpayers" struggle to make ends meet while paying their "fair share" of "taxes," politicians waste millions on laughably silly projects--everything from studying cow farts, to building bridges to nowhere, to paying farmers to not grow certain crops, and so on, ad infinitum--and billions more are simply "lost," with no accounting of where they went. But much of what people make possible through payment of "taxes" is not just wasted but is quite destructive to society. The "war on drugs" is an obvious example. How many people would voluntarily donate to a private organization which had the stated goal of dragging millions of non-violent individuals away from their friends and families, to be put into cages? Even the many Americans who now recognize the "war on drugs" as a complete failure continue, via "taxes," to provide the funding which allows it to continue to destroy literally millions of lives.
Even the most vocal critics of the various abuses being perpetrated by the evergrowing police state are often among those making that abuse possible, by providing the funding for it. Whether the issue is blatant oppression, or corruption, or mere bungling bureaucratic inefficiency, everyone can point to at least a few things about "government" that do not meet with his approval. And yet, having been trained to obey "authority," he will continue to feel obligated to provide the funding which enables the same bungling, corrupt, oppressive "government" activities that he criticizes and opposes. Rarely does anyone notice the obvious inherent contradiction in feeling obligated to fund things that he thinks are bad.
Of course, people who work for non-authoritarian organizations can also be inefficient or corrupt, but when it comes to light what they are doing, their customers can simply stop funding them. That is the natural correction mechanism in human interaction, but it is completely defeated by the belief in "authority." How many people are there who are not currently being forced to fund some "government" program or activity that they morally oppose? Very few, if any. So why do those people keep funding things which they feel are destructive to society? Because "authority" tells them to, and because they believe that it is good to obey "authority." As a result, they continue to surrender the fruits of their labors to fuel the machine of oppression-- a machine which otherwise would not and could not exist.
"Governments" produce no wealth; what they spend they first must take from someone else. Every "government," including the most oppressive regimes in history, has been funded by the payment of "taxes" by loyal, productive subjects. Thanks to the belief in "authority," the wealth created by billions of people will continue to be used, not to serve the values and priorities of the people who worked to produce it, but to serve the agendas of those who, above all else, desire dominion over their fellow man. The Third Reich was made possible by millions of German "taxpayers" who felt an obligation to pay up. The Soviet empire was made possible by millions of people who felt an obligation to give to the state whatever it demanded. Every invading army, every conquering empire, has been constructed out of wealth that was taken from productive people. The destroyers have always been funded by the creators; the thieves have always been funded by the producers; through the belief in "authority," the agendas of the evil have always been funded by the efforts of the good. And this will continue, unless and until the most dangerous superstition is dismantled. When the producers no longer feel a moral obligation to fund the parasites and usurpers, the destroyers and controllers, tyranny will wither away, having been starved out of existence. Until then, good people will keep supplying the resources which the bad people need in order to carry out their destructive schemes.
[Reprinted from the Voluntaryist. Excerpt from THE MOST DANGEROUS SUPERSTITION by Larken Rose pp 87-92 (2011). Available from Box 653, Huntington, PA 19006 or amazon.com or by visiting http://www.larkenrose.com/store.html ]