May the Force (NOT) Be With You

“Those who enter our country illegally and those who employ them disrespect the law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we cannot allow people to pour into the U.S. undetected, undocumented and unchecked.”

“I think a marriage is, as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman.”

“We have to send a clear message. Just because your child gets across the border doesn’t mean your child gets to stay.”

Who says these things? These quotes sure sound a lot like you-know-who, or most random Republicans for that matter. They were said, however, by two prominent progressives. The first quote is from President Barack Obama. The second and third quote are from Hillary Clinton. I offer these quotes as an example of how people change their positions on issues in regards to who is supporting them. Have you ever seen on television news or talk shows a segment where a reporter asks people on the street if they agree with a specific statement or proposed government policy, but where the reporter has intentionally switched the name of the politician responsible for the quote or policy? It’s the old quote-switcheroo! I find these segments grossly entertaining. Who doesn’t enjoy watching a liberal gush gleefully over something Trump said thinking they were Obama’s words, or a conservative denounce something Hillary said, but was really professed by Trump? The sweet irony is so delicious. What is more bitter, however, is my realization that Americans are so often focused not on the principles of a given issue, but instead on their love or hate for the person espousing said issue.

Unfortunately, so many Americans don’t always take the time to educate themselves on the issues that are pressing to our country. Their choices in the election booth often seem to boil down to a popularity contest, like in a high school election for class president. You hear people say things like: “I don’t know. I just feel I trust him more,” or “She holds herself better than him.” Are these superficialities anyway to decide the fate of our country? I think not!

Sometimes people are interested in politics and have educated themselves on the issues. A person may believe there are benefits to a minimum wage requirement and ask the government to mandate such a law. They may believe same-sex marriage is wrong and ask the government to ban it. Perhaps, they think big banks and oil companies are vital to our national interest and want government to bail them out or subsidize them. All to often, the advocacy of these ‘informed’ people for one given policy or another falls along clear partisan lines. Party loyalty first. (You can see this type of selective partisanship in how conservatives view President Trump. Imagine their indignation and pearl-clutching if Obama had five kids by three wives and bragged about fondling married women) This type of dedication to party lines, once again, allows people to be led astray by the aforementioned quote-switcheroos.

So, if we can’t trust ourselves to choose our belief on an issue whether through fear of cult-of-personality-worship or because it’s dictated by our major parties talking heads, how do we know how to decide what’s right? How do we rid ourselves of our subjectivity and instead embrace our objectivity? There is an objective way to view issues, any issue, a very cut and dry method which will ensure you always find yourself on the just side of any issue. All you have to do is ask yourself one question. Am I advocating the use of force?

The initiation of force, or coercion, is evil. It was true 10,000 years ago, when another might club you on the head to take your food. It is true today when a cop pins you to the ground and handcuffs you for smoking a joint. The hallmark of any advancing civilization is the march away from force and toward voluntary cooperation. The less initiation of force found in a society the more advanced it is. Now, you may say, there will always be some people forcing others: foreign invaders, gangs, muggers on the street, etc. You ask, how can I stay safe if I don’t also use force? Using force to stop force initiated by another is not evil, but just. This type of force is why people created government. It is our government’s armed forces that protect us against foreign invaders. If you are robbed, you don’t have to confront your robber yourself for the return of your property, you find a policeman. Defending your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is the proper function of government. We grant government a legal monopoly on the use of retaliatory force. It is its proper function. When your in the market for force, the government is where you go. All your other needs (food, clothing, shelter, love, etc.) can be better satisfied by the private sector.

So, if you go to your government representative and demand, say, free college, then you are asking the government to force others to provide it for you. You didn’t club another on the head to take their money for your needs, you asked the government to use their guns to take it for you.

You may believe helping the poor is a noble endeavor, and it is. Using your time and effort to persuade others to help the poor is laudable, but the instant you bring government into the matter you are forgoing persuasion and asking for guns to be brought in. I don’t care how noble your cause is. If you initiate the use of force to advance your cause, your cause is now evil.

I believe there is a huge disconnect on this subject of government force in the minds of many people who consider themselves caring, loving and peaceful. People who would never put a gun in someone else’s face (and in many cases, hate the idea of guns existing at all) do not hesitate to ask the government to do it in proxy. Likely, it’s because so much government force is hidden. Indeed, most people pay their taxes because they want to avoid the violence they know the government can bring to bear. Few people let the issue get to the point where they are dragged at gunpoint to prison.

The moment you ask the government to do something you are forgoing persuasion for force. The moment you ask the government to do something you are forgoing liberty for force. The moment you ask the government to do something you are forgoing volunteerism for force. Ask yourself, are my causes so weak that I am unable to persuade others and must turn to the use of force?

If you think drugs are bad, don’t do them and, by all means, feel free to persuade others not to. If you wish to feed and empower the poor, do it. I wish you nothing but luck. If you want socialism, voluntarily pool your money with a bunch of other workers, buy a factory and split the proceeds in anyway you all deem equitable (Good luck with that). If you want the bank that you’re president of to be bailed out of its bad investments, ask another bank for money. But, everyone please stop asking the government to use its guns to initiate force for whatever cause you deem just. Force itself turns perfectly good causes into evil ones. So the next time someone asks you what you think of a proposed policy for government, the question to ask yourself shouldn’t be: Who is proposing the policy, but rather, am I, in any way, advocating that another peaceful American be forced in any way?