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Murray Rothbard and "we the people."

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    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    "The State is almost universally considered an institution of social service. Some theorists venerate the State as the apotheosis of society; others regard it as an amiable, though often inefficient, organization for achieving social ends; but almost all regard it as a necessary means for achieving the goals of mankind, a means to be ranged against the "private sector" and often winning in this competition of resources. With the rise of democracy, the identification of the State with society has been redoubled, until it is common to hear sentiments expressed which violate virtually every tenet of reason and common sense such as, "we are the government." The useful collective term "we" has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life. If "we are the government," then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also "voluntary" on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that "we owe it to ourselves"; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is "doing it to himself" and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have "committed suicide," since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree."

    I know this is a bit of reading, but it makes an excellent point about the way language can enlarge, or, in some cases, restrict a debate.  Saying we is actually quite absurd.  I am guilty of this as much as anyone else, but I can't in good conscience describe the government as "we" anymore.  There is no magical process in democracy that appears once "the people have spoken" that turns all government actions into "collective" actions, as if, even without my consent, I am still a part of the collective action.  What of the Republicans who disagree with federal spending on social programs, or Democrats who disagree with drone strikes?  These people aren't magically "acting together" when the government does these things.

    What say you?


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      Brenda Durhamposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I see the point,  but he's also making this more confusing for everyone.

      We are indeed supposed to be the Government.

      However, he's right that some people are gonna be left out of that whole,  either willingly or unwillingly.

      One problem with the whole scenario is a teeny little fact that a lot of people keep missing----America isn't supposed to be a democracy without qualification.    America was meant to be a Republic----meaning, in this case, a Nation based on a set of specific standards/laws,  some of which can have varying ways of being implemented (not interpreted, but implemented),   and then from THAT SET of Laws we're supposed to go by majority vote ("democracy").    So,  we're supposed to be a Republic with democratic implementation of the basic laws  (not necessarily Democratic as in the Democrat Party,  but "democratically",  as in the will of the majority that's voted upon or imposed by the majority of those who wish to be a part of deciding how to implement those laws;  or we can call it a Republican democracy,  or a democratic Republic.

      As long as the basic set of initial standards aren't veered from,  there's no real problem;  whatever laws one person or one group don't agree with partly will not be harmful to either their conscience nor the consciences of America as a whole.

      The problem today with such a far Left Administration is that that Administration has tried to change our original set of Laws, denying the values set forth there, and so yes I agree that it's looking like "we" are no longer the Government.   Scary stuff actually.    The only way to correct that is to oust the Administration that's twisted our Constitution for its own political/monetary/personal benefit and reclaim what is rightfully ours as a whole.

      A bit thought-provoking and thought-consuming,  but it's just as easy to understand as the concept in the article above, and much more accurate, and provides what's missing from the thesis----a way to right the wrongs and to stop the downhill slide.  The writer of that has taken his thoughts way too far and elaborated himself into confusion and unconscienable unfixable conclusions.   
      At least, that's what I get from the parts that you've posted.
      I'm gonna try to read the whole article in a minute (well, try in a minute to start reading the whole article which will take lotsa minutes as you so aptly pointed out! ha)  and see if I can tell what his ultimate point(s) are...........

  2. innersmiff profile image86
    innersmiffposted 3 years ago

    This is exactly the point I was trying to make in my thread about compulsory education, but not quite as elegantly as Rothbard does, obviously. Is there is a distinction to be made between 'representational' and 'non-representational' acts done by the state?

    How can a police state be considered legitimate on the basis that the country is 'democratic'  and a government mass murder not? Any distinction has to be arbitrary.

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    Brenda Durhamposted 3 years ago

    haha okay I'm almost down to the pic that says the Rothbard Book Collection.....
    as though anyone's interested!  ha.
    So right, this is one loooong article.   And the author could've chosen some words and sentences that make it flow easier and is immediately more understandable.   I'm no dummy,  but I have no problem sayin' most paragraphs aren't an easy read.
    But he's made some good points.
    I'll have to finish it later.

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      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Yeah.  I mean, being a "great writer" isn't necessarily the same as having great ideas.  There are people who can 'write" that I don't find to be very intelligent.

      But writing is also pretty subjective tongue.

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    Brenda Durhamposted 3 years ago

    Okay......I disagree with the first part of this quote,  as in......we SHOULD be "the government".
    But I agree with the rest of it.

    "We must, therefore, emphasize that "we" are not the government; the government is not "us." The government does not in any accurate sense "represent" the majority of the people.[1] But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority.[2] No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that "we are all part of one another," must be permitted to obscure this basic fact."