About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Help Me Change The Lexicon: Government = Parasite

As of this moment I will no longer use the word "government" in this blog. In all future posts I will substitute the word "parasite" instead. I invite all bloggers who value individual liberty to follow suit.


The answer is obvious. The relationship between individual citizens and the elitists who rule us from Washington, D.C., our respective state capitols, county seats and city halls is identical to the relationship between host and parasite.

Imagine a group of like-minded individuals who want to live peacefully and cooperatively on their own in some far off corner of, say for example, the Alaskan wilderness. Imagine these individuals purchased the property on which they intend to settle. Imagine further that they wish to secede in every sense from the nation-state known as the United States of America. By "secede" I mean sever all ties: renounce their citizenship; refuse all local, state and federal "services;" and disavow all local, state and federal law enforcement and legal jurisdictional ties. In short, imagine this group of individuals wants to cooperate without parasitic interference by anyone.

Would such a thing be possible?

I think the obvious answer is no.

Parasites at all political levels would probably claim jurisdiction over this group of settlers and refuse to allow them to live freely without intervention. But why?

"Because you're skipping out on your obligations," the elitists might accuse the settlers, "obligations to your fellow citizens like pending tax liabilities, pending legal actions, lawsuits, etc. etc. etc.

So let's imagine our intrepid group of individual cooperators pay off all imaginable and legitimate outstanding debts to their former American countrymen.

It's a sure bet that the elitists in Washington would still intervene, i.e., they would predictably use force to prevent this group of individual cooperators from severing, existing political ties.

But why? A group of individual cooperators living free in the Alaskan wilderness presents no danger to any other American, no burden to anyone. So why would Washington interfere?

Because the parasites in power do not want to lose that power. They must hold sway over their individual hosts in order to feed off them. Without this parasitic sustenance they will suffer or perish.

Individuals cooperate in society to attain ends they share in common. Cooperative action is mutuality of purpose. How does a society of cooperative individuals morph over time into a colony of parasites and hosts?

The short answer is by means of lies and coercion. Cooperative action in society is a long and complicated process which is dependent upon mutual trust, i.e., a mutual agreement among all cooperating individuals to avoid certain anti-cooperative actions in order to attain ends shared in common. This mutual agreement to avoid proscribed anti-cooperative actions like murder and theft implies that cooperative action is voluntary.

For example, trade is a rudimentary form of cooperative action. Two traders agree to voluntarily exchange goods or services they each value differently. Peaceable, voluntary exchange is the means; mutual satisfaction is the common end sought. However, mutual satisfaction is impossible if, once the goods or services are exchanged, the traders may murder each other or employ force or coercion in order to steal back what has been traded.

It follows, then, that cooperation and coercion are incompatible and contradictory actions. Yet, in American society cooperation and coercion exist side by side. How can this be?

Successful cooperative action in society, i.e., institutionalized cooperation, requires some means of institutionalized justice. Men are not angels. Murderers and thieves exist and some may masquerade as cooperators. If these murderous and thieving masqueraders go unchecked, the institutionalized cooperative society will quickly crack up. Why? Because cooperative action in society rests upon a foundation of trust. Once that foundation is broken, cooperative action cracks and crumbles.

The advantage of institutionalizing cooperative action in society is that members of that society do not have to vet their trading partners prior to each exchange. Therefore, exchange is vastly expanded and facilitated because all members of the institutionalized, cooperative society are assumed to be trustworthy. This is accomplished by establishing, by mutual agreement, an institutional means of enforcing the societal prohibition against murder and theft. That is, cooperative partners empower certain, trustworthy members of their society to act as an authority that will enforce prohibitions against murder and theft, and that will penalize and punish murderers and thieves.

A society ceases to be a cooperative society when the individuals empowered to enforce prohibitions against murder and theft use their power illegitimately to enforce and coerce other proscriptive and prescriptive individual actions which have not been mutually agreed upon. The empowered individuals and their sycophants become parasites who attain their sustenance by preying on other cooperators -- their "hosts" -- by means of lies and coercion. These parasites lie that their unauthorized, coercive actions are in the best interests of all cooperators. They coerce those cooperators who object to their parasitic actions. This coercion assumes the veil of legitimized murder and theft ostensibly committed in and for the "common good."

As a consequence of parasitic lies and coercion, a society gradually develops wherein a large segment of formerly cooperative individuals sanction the anti-cooperative actions of the parasites. As a consequence of this sanction, the segment of true and legitimate cooperators are coerced into accepting their role as hosts. So long as the parasites do not make the attainment of mutual ends totally impossible, these legitimate cooperators tolerate the parasites. They consider the parasite's feeding on them as the price they pay to attain the cooperative ends they seek.

However, since it is an undeniable truth that cooperative action is and must be voluntary, and since it is also true that cooperation and coercion are incompatible and contradictory actions, the cooperative society which has been infected by parasitic action cannot survive for long. It must and will crack up as soon as the true and legitimate cooperators turned hosts have had enough.

This is the tipping point at which we find ourselves in American society today. The mutually agreed upon, cooperative pact of hundreds of years ago, which sanctified private property and which outlawed murder and theft, has been broken. Our once vast, cooperative society has been divided by sanctimonious, deceitful and increasingly brutal parasites who will stop at nothing to ensure that their supply of hosts is plentiful and uninterrupted.

The black truth is, however, that it is this very parasitic feeding frenzy, accompanied by patriotic music and tints of red, white and blue that will, in the end, inexorably lead not only to the destruction of the parasites but also, at the same time, to the destruction of our once cooperative society.

It is for this reason that I implore all honest men of good will to help save our cooperative society by calling a spade a spade. The elitists in power in Washington are not our guardian angels protecting us from all manner of enemies foreign, domestic and environmental.

These elitist and all-powerful politicians are simply and purely parasites who are slowly but surely eating away our substance. Perhaps labeling them as what they are will somehow allow us to collectively shake them loose from us once and for all.       

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