I have a problem. It’s a touchy subject and hard to bring up. I’ve spoken to several people about how best to talk about this, and this letter is my best attempt. Something you’re doing is really hurting my family and me. I’m really hoping you’ll hear me out and try to be as objective as you can. Hopefully we can come to an agreement about the best solution to this problem.
First, I want you to know that I have been in your position. I used to think a lot like you do! I went through public school and the entire time, we were trained to be patriotic, to love our country and to revere the leaders of the country. Every morning, we stood and listened to our country’s nation anthem (O Canada in my case) which proclaimed proudly that our land was free and called on God to keep it that way.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
When we came of age, a lot of pressure was put on us to vote in elections and that not doing so was unpatriotic and irresponsible. We were taught to be thankful for the laws of the land as they kept us safe. We were told these laws were necessary and it was at least implied, if not outright stated, that people would become dangerous and violent if these laws weren’t in place. We were taught that the police officers were our friends and that if we didn’t do anything wrong, we shouldn’t be nervous around them. We were taught that to go to war for your country was a noble thing to do, and that, if you died, you died with honour.
My parents were raised in very similar environments. Since they believed what they were taught, they taught the same concepts to us.
My point is that, to believe what you believe is perfectly understandable, especially considering the amount of work put in to teaching you to believe it. I do not fault you at all for having accepted these concepts up to this point, but living a certain way simply because you were taught to live it that way is not good enough. Each individual is free to decide their own beliefs. We must take the information we have and try to evaluate it objectively. This proves incredibly challenging for those who have already spent so long, even their entire lives, believing a certain way. It wasn’t until I undertook this challenge myself that I came to learn the, now incredibly obvious truth, about the flaws in how every country of the world is run.
I know you are not a bad person, and you act based on what you believe is best. I simply have to express to you that what you are doing is very harmful and dangerous. I know that it’s very hard to hear and even harder to believe, but I’m not asking you to trust me. I’m simply asking you to listen.
Lets say that things got really bad politically. Somehow, our country came under the power of an evil tyrannical dictator who didn’t care about the citizens and only cared about taking their money giving it to himself and his friends. The people in the country have become incredibly poor. Even state held funds are running low. Anyone who stands up to the dictator are kidnapped, publicly beaten or even killed. His law enforcement evoke feelings of terror wherever they go. It’s just the worst you can imagine. Now, I am certain that you and I would both agree, this is a horrible situation, and must be stopped at any expense. What do you think should happen?
In nearly every part of the world where a government quickly falls, the immediate reaction is to put another up in it’s place, with the hopes that they will be different.
Let’s imagine that we did that. You and I manage to overthrow this evil tyrant. He and his cronies are gone for good! Fortunately, you are elected to be the supreme leader of the people by a majority vote. How perfect is that! You’re a good person and would not want to do bad things to people. You would only want to do things to help better the world. People are excited that you are now going to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Now, how are you going to do that?
Let’s pick a goal. How about food. People need food. Let’s give food to all those who don’t have any. This should make the people very happy and praise your generosity!
K, where is this food? You don’t have enough food to feed these people? Where do we get it? Grow it? We have no fields or tools or skilled workers, and no money to pay for those things. You also need money to be able to provide for yourself and your family. I’ll need some money too! You know… as your trusted adviser! 😉 So we need money first. Makes perfect sense!
…Where do we get money from? I guess we could ask the people to give us money. That would be OK, right? Ya, lets ask them for money to buy food for poor people! How could anyone turn us down?!
Uh, there’s a bit of a problem. A lot of people willingly gave us money, but some said that they could get the food to the poor more efficiently than you, since you have to pay yourself and your people out of the money you collect. Some said that they just didn’t want to give you their money because they didn’t believe you. Some were just rude and said no! What are we going to do about that? I mean, if we are just going to let people do what they want, then what’s the point of a ruler!? I think we’re going to have to set consequences for not donating money.
So to get money to pay for the poor to have food, we’ll make it mandatory that everyone pays a certain amount. It’s perfect. This way, we can set the amount to cover whatever expenses we incur while doing this great work! If people are unwilling to voluntarily pay it, we simply go and take it from them.
Uh… we still have a bit of a problem. Some people aren’t paying the mandatory fee. I took it upon myself to go collect the fees from them and they still said no! In accordance with the rules, I proceeded to take their money. Can you believe that they actually tried to stop me!? One of them pushed me down and it hurt!
Alright, I think we have no choice but to resort to more drastic measures. We have to have that money or we can’t feed the poor. We need some tough guys. Some mercenaries. Let’s hire them on as a full time team. Their job will be to collect the money from the people who refuse to pay it. They’ll be instructed not to hurt anyone. They are simply there to make sure the money is collected. If they can’t collect the money from someone, they are to put that someone in a cage until they pay.
This seems to work well. Many people are worried about being caged up and are starting to pay their fair share.
Oh boy… I spoke too soon. While trying to kidnap one of those horrible people who won’t pay our fee, one of our mercenaries was injured and the criminal ran away! If people think they can get away with whatever they want and that hurting our mercenaries is OK, then we would have rampant chaos and mayhem! I think we need to say that resisting kidnapping can result in the use of deadly force. It’s only fair that we allow our officers to protect themselves.
I seem to have noticed another problem. The mandatory fees are no longer enough to cover all our expenses, and pay for the mercenaries, AND pay for the food for the hungry. We even have to provide for those that we’ve caged up for being disobedient. We’ll have to increase the amount of money required to be paid by the people.
People weren’t happy about the fee increase, but finally, we have the money we need to buy food for the hungry. We’ve set up several locations where people who have very little can go to get money and food. There is a bit of a screening process to make sure that we don’t get anyone trying to pretend to be unemployed. We took over the banks so that we have access to their bank accounts. This way, we know if anyone is lying. This also really helps us collect the fees from people. We’ve set up a computer system that stores information on every single person in the country, so that we can log important information about them. For instance, we can make notes about who is using the food and money stations, or who has previously refused to pay us and who we need to keep an eye on in case they decide to stop paying us.
Very interesting. I don’t know what’s going wrong, but it seems that unemployment is increasing. We are having a lot more people visiting our food and money stations, but not as many people paying the mandatory fees. Did they just become too lazy to work? Maybe they can’t afford to pay their fees and pay for food? We need people to work to make money so that we can collect fees.
Oh, good news! A very wealthy business owner just made a great suggestion. He said that if we can give him and some of his executives a discount on the fees, he could start up business in our country and bring some employees with him! That would mean more money coming in again. It’s perfect. I think this business owner will be a great friend of ours. He’s agreed to pay all his employees a minimum amount, so to make sure everyone is getting well paid, we should make it so all businesses have to pay their employees a minimum amount.
Wow, a lot of companies just went out of business. People are poor again, and not many other companies want to come here or start up here. It would seem that only you and I and the people close to us are doing alright. Everyone else seems to be struggling…
Oh my goodness…
See what we did? We were only trying to help. You’re not trying to be a tyrant, yet look at what you had to become to do what you initially thought would be a good thing. Since you have no income as a full time ruler, you have to collect money from the people. If people don’t agree with you, you have to steal it. If people don’t like you stealing it, they are imprisoned. If people resist being imprisoned, they are killed. You very quickly went from trying to save the world, to being responsible for theft, violence, and murder.
Seriously consider what we just went through. From a third party’s perspective, the leader you became, and the evil dictator you replaced were the exact same. Perhaps the evil dictator wasn’t as evil as we originally thought? It would seem that it was simply a result of him pursuing a charitable, but unattainable ideal. You were even elected by the majority of the people! You had no other motive except to help people, and the people themselves decided to put you in charge. They thought that you would be better than the previous tyrant, but you had to repeat the pattern because there was no other way to accomplish your goals as a ruler of a country. Imagine how bad things would have been if your intentions weren’t completely honourable!
Obviously, this is a single scenario, and there are certainly other solutions than the ones I laid out, but I promise you that any scenario which doesn’t completely rely on voluntary cooperation will result in theft, violence, and death. In scenarios where voluntary cooperation was implemented, why would we need a ruler? Why wouldn’t people simply work together voluntarily?
In real life, you’re not anything like an evil dictator. I hope you now see, or at least are considering the possibility, that there is no way to be a ruler without doing evil things. Being elected or inheriting leadership is irrelevant.
Don’t worry. I’m not concerned about you becoming an evil supreme overlord. If the above story was compared to real life, you wouldn’t be the dictator. You would have been one of the excited people who believed the dictator would be able to make a difference. That this dictator would be different from the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that. That all that was needed was for a good person, or good people to be in charge.
I want to take a minute here because I suspect that by this point, I may have stirred up some anger, and I do not want that! I want to hear your concerns and I want to do my best to address them. Remember, these are simply ideas. They do not belong to anyone. Believing in something does not mean that you are that belief. You are you no matter what you believe. As an intelligent individual, it should be very important to you that the information you believe is true, whether it’s hard to accept or not. Just keep in mind that I do care about what happens to you too. We may not even talk that much, if at all. In fact, I may not even know you, but simply as a human being, I wish freedom, happiness, and prosperity for you. None of this should be taken as an attack on you.
One of the first concerns I would expect to hear, and I believe was one of my first objections was, “We need laws to keep people from being bad”. It would be naive of anyone to say that people are always good all the time. People are capable of evil, and a few people choose to act on that. I agree that we need to address this problem of “bad people”. We need to define what we consider bad though. It would have to be something that is universally agreed on, and even common knowledge that people would easily understand. No grey area stuff. Let’s say that anyone is a bad person if they hamper another person’s ability to live. That would basically include any threat to a person’s life, their freedom, and their property.
So killing someone is an obvious example of the destruction of life. Murderers are bad. The only situation where this would be acceptable would be when defending yourself from a bad person who is attempting to be bad to you.
Rape is an extreme example of violating a person’s freedom. There is no scenario where it is acceptable. Freedom is an integral part of life. Without freedom, the life you are living is not your life. During the act of rape, the victim is deprived control of their life. For at least that amount of time, they are not the one living. This doesn’t even include the emotional and psychological trauma that will be with them after it’s over. They are scarred, and their life will be a little less their own to live until they are able to fully heal.
Theft violates the right to property. Any possession a person has would have taken some part of their life to acquire. The amount of time or work it took is irrelevant. To steal a possession of someone else is to steal the part of their life that they used to acquire it.
Things like a person’s sexuality, religion, race, gender, alcohol/drug use, or anything else that doesn’t affect an unwilling participant, can not be consider a trait exclusive to a bad person. A good person is just as likely to have these traits. These things do not result in a victim, so why should we force people to stop doing things, just because we disagree with them? I’m sure we do things that other people would disagree with too! We would ask that they respect who we are and the choices we make. How could we refuse them the same courtesy?
I want you to do whatever you want, and I ask that you let me do the same.
Quick imagination time. You’re a criminal now. You are planning a home invasion and you have a gun. You are going to break into the home of a rich person, take their stuff, and get out as soon as possible. Consider the outcome of this in today’s legal structure, compared to that of a free world. In a free world, there are no gun laws. Any responsible person would and should own a gun, simply to protect their family and themselves from harm. In today’s world, owning a gun is incredibly regulated, making it so inconvenient that the majority of people don’t own a gun. The current stigma attached to gun ownership is that you must be a bad person if you own a gun. In which world would you rather commit the crime? Would you rather risk going to jail, assuming the police can catch you? Or would you rather risk dying, because those in the home you are about to invade are allowed to defend themselves? Personally, I’d rather do time than die for a crime.
Did you know that, in the last 200 years or so, there have been at least 400,000,000 deaths that have been attributed to various governments of the world? That’s an average of 2 million deaths per year! And that number was the lowest estimate I found. That includes wars, genocides, prison camps, and even famines that were the direct result of government policies. More realistic estimates look to be 2-3 times that number, closer to 1,000,000,000. Those are all murders committed by government: the body of power that is supposed to be stopping murder. We’re not talking about those other “evil” governments. This is a worldwide statistic and includes countries like Canada and the USA right along with China and Cambodia. Of course, there still are murders happening now by regular citizens, even with all the laws and police. Government has not reduced crime, but have claimed a monopoly on it.
I beg of you to investigate this yourself. The scientific and mathematical minds are the ones who will hypothesize a pattern and, in order to prove it’s validity, must try everything they can to prove it wrong. If they are able to prove it right and are unable to prove it wrong, then there is an extreme likelihood that they are on to something. Search the internet and you will find vast amounts of information about problems like police brutality, horrific slaughters in the name of government, the pattern of promises and failure to deliver that all politicians commit, the rise and fall of dictators, and many other things that show that governments, even with noble goals, cause far more harm than good. Try to prove your current opinion wrong. If you can’t, then you come out of this with even more knowledge than you had before.
Don’t let me or anyone else dictate to you what you should or should not believe, but please keep in mind that, by supporting government with your money and your votes, you are endorsing the theft and use of violence against me and my family. Again, I beg you to evaluate the real results of your actions, and how it affects those you care about and even those you do not know. If you want to be subject to a set of laws created by a committee, then I encourage you to do so! I simply ask that you do not force others to.
I want you to do whatever you want, and I ask that you let me do the same.
Your freedom loving friend!