I Guess I’m a “Statist”.

Short one.

gulag.jpg

I get that accusation from time to time.  It seems to center on four things.

First:  I’ll sometimes talk about what law currently is, rather than what it should be (or shouldn’t be).  Basically, “these are the constraints we have to work under at the moment.” Since I’m not immediately dismissive of any unjust law, or, well, let’s be honest, of any law at all, and advocating ignoring/disobeying that law I apparently “support” it.

This, in some minds, makes me a “statist.”

Second, I think that some small amount of government with the coercive force that implies, properly managed is necessary in all but the smallest societies to maximize liberty.  I call this the “paradox of liberty” and have discussed it more here.

That, in some minds, makes me a “statist.”

Third, I believe that given the gargantua our government has already become, great care is needed in pruning it back.  It can’t be done quickly any more than it was quickly built to its size and intrusiveness.  Attempting to do so can cause hardship which will cause the populace to push back hard against the reductions leading to a redoubling of the growth and intrusiveness of government leaving us worse off than when we started.  I’ve discussed that before too, most recently here.

That, in some minds, makes me a “statist.”

Fourth, I believe in looking at achievable goals, not some pie-in-the-sky utopian dream.  Furthermore, I have to deal with the reality that there are other people out there with their own utopian dreams that they are trying to reach and that will affect what goals are actually achievable.  And sometimes that might mean I’m going to lose and the best I can hope for is to minimize the loss.  But since I don’t throw all practicality and achievability to the wind and stand on unadulterated “principle” regardless of whether it actually helps achieve anything or not is a crime in some eyes.  I have discussed that before too here.

That, in some minds, makes me a “statist.”

In short, I work toward an achievable approximation of my ideal which will fall short of perfection in this imperfect world filled with imperfect people.  That makes me a “statist.”

I can live with that.

5 thoughts on “I Guess I’m a “Statist”.”

  1. How about minarchist?
    Of course, those who call you a statist are mangling words, which is a sign of the times. My favorite is “anarchist”, which, according to the papers, is someone who advocates for state involvement in health care, welfare, policing of speech, and, often, control of the economy. So at least you’re not that.

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    1. “Minarchist” is a term I have used quite a bit. The prompting of this post, however, was my being chastised by someone because I didn’t buy into the no government at all, everything, every last thing, must be voluntary transactions. And, as no surprise at all, with my share of this over on the Book of Faces, someone came along trying to pin me into an “in principle” concession that if there were some way to get rid of that last bit of government… Only, without knowing how that were to be done, what society would look like before that final step, what exactly would be required for said final step, what the advantages and disadvantages would be (and there would be disadvantages–there always are), and how humanity would have to be changed to make it possible, I simply refused to speculate as to whether I would endorse it.

      It’s like people who point to some nonsense perpetual motion proposal and say “but what if it worked”? It doesn’t. And you’d have to change so much of what is known about physics to make it work that it would be impossible to even guess at all the “what ifs” that would come out of that.

      Likewise with that final “get rid of government.” So much would have to change about how human beings behave and interact that I can’t even guess if it would be a good thing or not. For example, the basic orneriness that makes some kind of government, some kind of minimal arrangement of laws necessary is also a rather important survival trait. What replaces it that can both remove the need for law and government and yet still promote species survival? I don’t know. And I don’t know how to bring about the change either, particularly since that same orneriness would itself lead to resistance against that change. It would have to be forced.

      Which strikes me as an odd way to end the need for force.

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      1. Magical Thinking.

        If you “just imagine strong enough”, it’ll come true.

        Along with “orneriness”, it’s part of human nature. 😦

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