The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems

Atanu Dey | Nov 22, 2012

'The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.'Ron Paul is retiring after serving in the US Congress for 23 years over a 36 year period. There’s a striking line in his farewell speech he gave on Nov 14th to the US Congress. “The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.” It strikes me as the crux of practically all of humanity’s problems, not just political problems. All the manifest problems that we collectively face involve the immoral use of force or coercion. Look and you will find what lies beneath any problem is clearly an instance of someone or some organisation using force to take what is not given freely.

The US is a striking example of how freedom promotes comprehensive prosperity, and increasingly unfortunately so, an example of how a steady erosion of freedom can eradicate prosperity.

This year Ron Paul made his last and final attempt at getting the Republican nomination as the Presidential candidate. I am really sorry that he did not get it. I am sorry the American voters did not elect someone who stands for human freedom and who understands that human freedom is central to human development.

Ron Paul is not popular. He is a just another voice in the wilderness. I am afraid that not enough people are listening to what he has to say. All that his speech evoked was a bit of half-hearted applause. We need to pay attention to someone who understands the problem that not only the US but all of humanity faces — the immoral use of force.

I listened to Ron Paul’s speech with an ache in the heart. He was not just addressing the US Congress. His message is for all of us, not just Americans. Listening to his speech, I kept wondering how anyone can keep fighting what appears to be a losing battle. Great conviction must evoke great effort.

Here are some excerpts from the transcript of his speech (which you can find here on his website.)

Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced. Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats. This replaces the           confidence in a free society. Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they, armed with arbitrary Government power, can bring about   fairness, while facilitating wealth production. This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty. It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.

I think there is widespread ignorance among the public regarding how wealth is produced. Politicians cynically exploit that public ignorance for their own benefit.

At one point, among a set of questions he poses, he asks, “Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?” As I put it, choosing between the Republicans and the Democrats is a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Supporters of all Government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them. Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify Government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty. This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions. The results are always negative.

Every political party and every Government India has had since 1947 has as its avowed goal the eradication of poverty – a humanitarian goal. And they have used that excuse to take away freedom from the public. The irony is that it is lack of freedom that is the cause of poverty.

Governments have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in a nation. But we should be careful not to confuse “legitimate” and “moral.”

The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organisations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse Government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialise. The new problems created require even more Government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalising Government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.

All large-scale violence is always done by the Government. When was the last time that any bunch of citizens initiated any war?

Restraining aggressive behaviour is one thing, but legalising a Government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society. Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream. We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000. Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.

Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should Government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.

A nanny state is just the most benevolent-appearing face of the Government. It just appears that way but even when it is benevolent, it uses force – and that is immoral.

Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by Government. It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.

To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. Granting to Government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

As the old adage goes, people deserve the Government they get.

I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.

Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.

The problem of people not appreciating the importance of freedom and the immorality of force is universal. Especially in India, we need to understand that.

Go read the transcript and/or download the mp3 of Ron Paul’s speech.


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ABOUT AUTHOR

Atanu Dey

Atanu Dey is an economist. He blogs on India's Development at deeshaa.org.