In the discourse of statists, there is a group of phrases of which one or more tend to be present in nearly every argument. While this is not an exhaustive listing of that group, it does contain twenty-five of the most common phrases that statists use in their arguments. As propaganda has a tendency to be repetitive, some of these phrases contain the same logical fallacies, and will therefore have similar refutations. As such, the phrases are ordered so that earlier rebuttals also apply to some later phrases.
- “Our government”
“Our” is the possessive form of “we.” This phrase assumes that a collective exists and has ownership of the government, which is another collective. To exist is to have a concrete, particular form in physical reality. To say that abstract objects exist is to beg the question of where they exist, to which there is no answer because there is no empirically observable entity. To say that collectives exist is beg the question of what physical form they take, as all available physical forms are occupied by the individuals which are said to comprise the collective. Thus, there is no “we”; there is only you, I, and every other individual person. By the same token, the government does not exist; each person, each building, each gun, etc. exists. As such, the phrase “our government” is meaningless. Additionally, to own something is to have a right of exclusive control over it. Part and parcel of this right is the right to physically destroy that which one owns. As governments use force to stop citizens who attempt to physically destroy the state, the citizens are not the de facto owners of a government.
- “We are the government”
This phrase confuses society with government, which is as serious an error as confusing an entire human body with a malignant tumor growing inside of that body.
- “The social contract”
A valid contract must be presented honestly and agreed to voluntarily, without duress or fraud. The social contract does not meet this standard because the state will initiate the use of force against anyone who does not voluntarily enter into the social contract. The state is also not automatically dissolved when it fails to uphold its obligations under the social contract, so the presentation is dishonest if it even occurs at all. Therefore, the social contract cannot be considered a legitimate contract.
- “Our leader”
In the case of the state, we are not speaking of just any kind of leader, but a ruler. No one owns the ruler, and the ruler falsely claims to own those who are ruled, as the ruler claims a right to exclusive control over the ruled and has no logically defensible basis for doing so. Thus the leader is not “ours.”
- “The leader of the free world”
“The free world” does not exist; each individual person exists. Again, we are speaking of rulers rather than all types of leaders. Free people do not have rulers; they rule themselves.
- “You don’t have to like our leaders, but you should respect them”
Respect should be a response to virtue. Ordering the use of initiatory force against people to control them is not virtuous behavior, therefore it is unworthy of respect.
- “You don’t have to like the president, but you should respect the office of the presidency”
The office of the presidency, like any part of any government, is a violent criminal institution. Violent criminality is unworthy of respect.
- “Our military”
If the military is “ours,” then “we” should be able to exercise exclusive control over it. But “we” neither command the military nor have the freedom to destroy it. Thus it is not “ours”; it is a tool of the ruling classes used to make it very difficult for citizens to violently overthrow the government, provide a last line of defense for the state in the form of martial law should the citizens succeed in violently overthrowing the government, and present a deterrent to other rulers elsewhere in the world who might seek to take over the state and capture the tax base for themselves.
- “We need to make the world safe for democracy”
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on who gets eaten. This sort of behavior should not be made safe; it should be made dangerous by giving the sheep means to resist the wolves. Some will say that this is what a constitutional republic does, but this is false. A constitutional republic is three wolves and a sheep voting for a representative among them to decide who gets eaten. To claim that establishing a constitutional republic counters the negative aspects of democracy is to claim that simply by making a chocolate cake double-layered, one can magically turn it into something that is not chocolate.
- “You don’t have to like what the police/military are doing, but you should support them”
Again, respect should be a response to virtue. Just as ordering the use of initiatory force against people to control them is not virtuous behavior, carrying out said orders is also not virtuous. Therefore it is unworthy of respect.
- “The homeland/Our nation”
As only individuals are capable of action, only individuals may rightly own property. There is no such thing as public property; there is only privately owned property and property which has been stolen or otherwise interfered with by agents of the state. Thus, there is no homeland or nation because these require collective ownership.
- “National defense/security”
There is no such thing as national security apart from each individual person’s security because there is no such thing as a nation apart from each individual person.
- “It’s the law”
In a statist society, the laws are a collection of opinions written down by sociopaths who have managed to either win popularity contests or murder their competitors and enforced at gunpoint by thugs in costumes. The implication of the phrase “it’s the law” is that this state of affairs is both necessary and proper, rather than inherently illogical and immoral. Also implied is that the law is somehow sacrosanct and immutable, which is clearly false because the aforementioned sociopaths both frequently alter the laws and routinely disregard the laws they make for everyone else.
- “Voting is your voice in government”
This statement assumes that there is no voter fraud, that votes are counted correctly, that vote results cannot be altered by courts, and that politicians will do what voters tell them to do. Each of these assumptions has an unfulfilled burden of proof at best, and is demonstrably false on several occasions at worst.
- “Voting is a civic duty”
A legitimate duty can only come from a legitimate right or contract. There is no such right or contract that could create such a duty. In addition, there can be no legitimate duty to perform an immoral act. Voting is immoral because it helps to impose violent rulers upon peaceful people and gives the appearance of legitimacy to institutions which deserve none.
- “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain”
This is exactly wrong. People who do not vote are the only people who have a right to complain. Those who vote for people who win elections are endorsing politicians and their minions who will engage in activities under color of law that would be punished as crimes if you or I did them. Those who vote for people who lose elections may not be vicariously responsible for the crimes of state agents in the same degree, but participating in the system helps to create the appearance of legitimacy for that which is inherently illegitimate.
- “The public good/The good of society”
Society, or “the public,” does not exist. Each individual person exists. As such, there is no such thing as the public good or the good of society. There is only what is good for each individual person.
- “For the children”
Those who wield state power subject children to forced indoctrination that leaves them with few marketable skills and restrict the ability of suitable guardians to serve as their parents. They do not care about children as anything other than a means to shame and guilt people into handing over more liberty and property to the state.
- “Government is necessary”
This is a positive claim which carries a burden of proof. By itself, this is a claim asserted without logic or evidence and may therefore be dismissed without logic or evidence.
- “Anarchy is chaos”
The word “anarchy” comes from Greek αναρχος, meaning “without rulers,” or more accurately, “without beginning to take the lead.” It does not mean an absence of order, rules, or structure. The state, on the other hand, is chaos plus organization.
- “Taxes are the price for a civilized society”
This is exactly wrong. Taxes are the price for failing to create a civilized society based on voluntary solutions, and the degree of taxation corresponds to the degree of failure.
- “Paying taxes is a civic duty”
Taxation is immoral because it violates the non-aggression principle, private property rights, and freedom of association. There can be no legitimate duty to comply with immorality.
- “We owe it to ourselves”
This would make one both a creditor and a debtor in the same transaction. This is a contradiction, therefore it is false.
- “We’re going to hold them accountable”
This is contrary to the nature of the state. The state apparatus allows some people to do what is ordinarily forbidden for anyone to do. Thus, the objective is to avoid responsibility for the commission of crimes. Avoiding responsibility is the opposite of being held accountable.
- “Who will build the roads?”
If we free the slaves, who will pick the cotton? It does not matter. What matters is that slavery is morally indefensible. So it is with government and who will provide services in its absence. Also, it is not necessary to know the correct answer to a question in order to know that a particular answer is incorrect. And who will build the death camps? The state also provides intolerable disservices which would almost certainly not occur in its absence.
Copyright © Matthew Reece. All Rights Reserved.
This article, published with permission, originally appeared here.