God and Government

I am presently reading Everyday Anarchy by Stefan Molyneux. There is one passage I’d like to quote.

Darwin looked at the question, “Where did life come from?” and only came up with his

famous answer because he was willing to admit that he did not know – but that existing religious “answers” were invalid. Theologians, on the other hand, claim to “answer” the same question with: “God made life,” which as mentioned above, on closer examination, always turns out to be an exact synonym for: “I do not know.” To say, “God did it,” is to say that some unknowable being performed some incomprehensible action in a completely mysterious manner for some never-to-be-discovered end.

In other words: “I haven’t a clue.”

In the same way, when faced with challenges of social organization such as collective selfdefense, roads, pollution and so on, the anarchist is perfectly content to say, “I do not know how this problem will be solved.” As a corollary, however, the anarchist is also perfectly certain that the pseudo-answer of “the government will do it” is a total non-answer – in fact, it is an anti-answer, in that it provides the illusion of an answer where one does not in fact exist. To an anarchist, saying “the government will solve the problem,” has as much credibility as telling a biologist – usually with grating condescension – “God created life.” Inboth cases, the problem of infinite regression is blindly ignored – if that which exists must have been created by a God, the God which exists must have been created by another God, and so on. In the same way, if human beings are in general too irrational and selfish to work out the challenges of social organization in a productive and positive manner, then they are far too irrational and selfish to be given the monopolistic violence of state power, or vote for their leaders.

When people are unable to determine the causes of natural phenomena, they often use God as an answer. “Why does life exist?” “Why is the Solar System the way it is?” “Why does it rain?” “Why was there an earthquake?” If the answer was beyond the scope of scientific explanation at the time, people would tend to say that “God(s) is(are) responsible.” In other words, they would make up an answer instead of simply saying, “I don’t know”

Likewise, when anarchists are asked about the world of tomorrow, and admit that they don’t know, statists tend to view this as a reasonable reason for government to exist. Imperfect people through voluntary action and interaction do not posses the capability of organizing society. Yet the state, which is composed of imperfect people, and entirely depends on involuntary action, does.

The fact that someone doesn’t know, in fact, that no one can no how society would develop and best be “run”, leads statists to conclude that the government is necessary. But how, exactly, does the government know these things? How does the government know how to construct roads, or how to best distribute health care?

Indeed, there are specialists, engineers, scientists that work for the state, but would they not exist in a free market as well? Would these alleged experts vanish if the government were abolished? Would they be less knowledgeable about the future if they were employed by a private party? What hidden knowledge or power does the state posses that free individuals are incapable of utilizing?

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