Who does what to whom? Indeed, it is an interesting question to ponder.
Our daily lives are filled with numerous interactions. Mostly voluntary. We choose who to e-mail, who we talk to, and with whom we conduct economic transactions. We voluntarily choose who we date and marry. We voluntarily choose to start a business or to become an employee. The voluntary interactions in our lives are numerous and indefinite.
Likewise, in every voluntary interaction at least one other person voluntarily reciprocates. An e-mail and phone call is responded to voluntarily. A business transaction is concluded when two parties voluntarily enter into it for their mutual benefit. Our personal relationships happen because another person has agreed to go on a date or to willingly agree to become a husband or wife.
Contracts can be enforced or terminated due to failure of one party to fulfill their obligations. A spouse may freely choose to leave a marriage due to abuse. Correspondence and association between two people ends when one no longer voluntarily accedes to it.
Force and coercion are contradistinctions from voluntary interactions as they impede us from action or compel us to act against our own self-interests. One person cannot force or coerce another person to enter into a business transaction. One person cannot force or coerce another person into being friends with them, associating with them, or corresponding with them. One person cannot force or coerce another person into marriage or restrain them from leaving a marriage. One person cannot force or coerce another into sexual relations.
Jefferson defined rightful liberty as “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others”. Therefore, wrongful liberty is defined as “obstructed action against our will within limits drawn around us by the superior rights of others”. The use of force and coercion limits your voluntary interactions according to the will of another.
The term free market is a misnomer. Jeffrey Tucker describes it this way: “The free market is not a system. It is not a policy dictated by anyone in particular. It is not something that Washington implements. It does not exist in any legislation, law, bill, regulation, or book. It is what you get when people act on their own, entirely without central direction, and with their own property, and within human associations of their own creation and in their own interest. It is the beauty that emerges in absence of control.”
The “free market” is Jefferson’s rightful liberty. In a much grander sense and proportion society is simply a series of voluntary interactions where people exercise their rightful liberty.
The Constitution was ordained to establish a government with limited powers. The structure of government, the checks and balances, and the restrictions placed upon the federal government by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was done to ensure people could pursue happiness according to their voluntary choices and interactions. The Constitution does not restrict the people. The first principles of governance are elucidated in the Declaration by five self-evident truths.
Government uses laws to restrict the rightful liberty of the people. Government uses the law to force and coerce people to either act against or obstruct an individual’s will. Government uses force and coercion to exercise superior rights over the people. Government uses statutory laws, mandates, rules, and regulations — under the color of an impartial judiciary — to ensure total dominion over the people. Government centric preferences are the result. Which industries, technologies, businesses, and people succeed or fail depends upon the personal preferences of the ruling class. Government uses force to require people to buy products or services they do not want. Government limits choices based on outcomes they desire. Government decides who can own what and how much. Government restricts individuals from pursuing their own happiness if that conflicts with the governments’ ends.
Someone recently wrote, “We live under an attenuated form of Leninism – a government that exercises power without limit, resting directly on force, and unrestrained by laws.” The person went on to write, “there’s no rational case to be made for maintaining the pretense that the written Constitution is a significant impediment on the behavior of the people who rule us.”
It’s impossible to argue with that. In fact, I’d say it’s self-evident.
Let’s return to the original question. Who does what to whom?
If we accept and recognize the ruling class has no impediment on their behavior is there any meaningful purpose to our political system and system of governance? For all intents and purposes elections and politics is really about who does what to whom. Who is being elected to be put into a position of power to do what they want to whom they want. Given choices of free things or having to actually work to produce something, people vote for free things. People vote to put others into power, where there is no impediment on their behavior, to do whatever they want to others.
Jeffrey Tucker captured the essence of this when he wrote:
“The state in all times and all places wants a population of despairing, dreary, hopeless, and weighted-down people. Why? Because such people don’t do anything. They are predictable, categorizable, pliable, and essentially powerless. Such people offer no surprises, threaten no change, destabilize nothing. This is the ideal world that the bureaucrats, the plutocrats, and the technocrats desire. It makes their life easy and the path clear. Today is just yesterday and tomorrow – forever. This is the machine that the state wants to manage, a world of down-in-the-dumps and obedient citizens of the society they think they own.
In contrast, hope upsets the prevailing order. It sees things that don’t yet exist. It acts on a promise of a future different from today. It plays with the uncertainty of the future and dares imagine that ideals can become reality. Those who think this way are a threat to every regime. Why? Because people who think this way eventually come to act this way.
They resist. They rebel. They overthrow.
And yet look around: we see progress everywhere. What does this imply? It implies that non-compliance is the human norm. People cannot be forever pressed into a mold of the state’s making. The future will happen and it will be shaped by those who dare to break bad, dare to disagree, and dare to take the risk to overthrow what is in favor of what can be.”
A paradigm shift is long overdue. It is unacceptable that all political questions today are reduced to, “Who can do what to whom?” As Tucker described, non-compliance is the human norm. T.S. Eliot said “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” We must obliterate the mindset that voting is our own recourse. We must discard the idea that Washington D.C. will ever fix Washington D.C. We must look at alternate solutions to restore federalism and republicanism such as an Article V amendments convention, nullification, and the creation of new states to name a few. The people are the sovereigns and possess all political power. The people can create, alter, or abolish government whenever we believe government has become destructive to its ends and manifestly endangers our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Lastly, this means you can no longer sit idly and cast a vote every two or four years. The ruling class will still kick you even if you don’t dare to break bad, dare to disagree, or dare to to take a risk. If all you do is vote every couple years or so then you are part of the problem. Real change requires time, effort, and money alas today just becomes like yesterday and tomorrow — forever.