Why The State Always Fails

This article will be separated into two parts.  I will start by directly answering three questions posed in Bill Schamlfeldt’s article, “Why Libertarianism Can Never Succeed.” [1]  The conclusion will be dedicated to why the state is the very antithesis of human prosperity and progress.


1. In the absence of regulation, if there is no penalty for violating the regulation, what motivation does Corporate America have to ensure the products they sell are safe?

The same motivation that predicated their existance in the first place: profit.  How would a company make money selling a faulty product that kills it’s consumer? Word of mouth alone would be devastating, not to mention legal disputes and the presence of the internet.    

It is also disingenuous to suggest that regulatory organizations could not exist without the government.[2]  In fact, I can argue that centralizing such powers has many degrees more potential for corruption and graft.[3] [4]

Bringing up the sale and consumption of cigarettes is a strawman.  Sure, smoking can lead to harmful side effects.  So can drinking alchoholic beverages, eating fast food, drinking sugary beverages, using recreational drugs, et cetera.  

Regulations and even attempts at prohibition have yet to succeed, and will never succeed in curbing human consumption of these products.  I will continue to channel the wisdom of Mises: there is no definitive moral or ethical character to the market.  The producer, in their drive for profit, will always be a reflection of their consumer.

2. In the absence of regulation, if there is no penalty for violating the regulation, what motivation does Corporate America have to create jobs here in America?   

I’ve already responded to the misleading concept of “jobs creation.”[5]

Again, profit is the only motivation neccessary for productive action.  The reason industry has fled the United States for foreign locales is the exorbitant cost to hire American labor.   This is brought about by unrealistic economic demands by Americans for the cheapest products and the most lucrative wages possible.  Such a “consumer” economy, driven by debt, is the ultimate utopian rat-race.  

The disingenuous nature of this question is the suggestion that federal regulation is a benign, detached and polite “motivation.”  All state action is compulsion; coercive, forced association.      

3. Show me one country in this history of mankind where your system of government has worked?  I can tell you where your system of government is currently in place — Somalia.  No strong central government.  Rules dictated by the local warlords and strongmen.  Again, human nature.  Survival of the strongest.

Somalia’s “system of government” is a mish-mash of several small, weak governments with various foreign backings and interests.  These include: the Transitional Federal Government, the Puntland Government, and the Galmudug Government.  There are also numerous clans, which had been the primary political force until Barre took power in 1969.  Also consider the foreign aid influencing the conflict: from the Islamic Courts Union and those associated factions, to the U.N. and United States (Ethiopia as well).  It is not so much an “anarchy” or “minimal state,” but rather a splintered warzone.  Those areas not actively contested (clan-controlled) are found to be quite stable, and their private “Xeer” law is worth mentioning.

As far as periods in history where human beings flourished without the guidance of an overbearing central government: the “Wild” West, Pennsylvania between 1684-1688,  the Rhode Island settlement of Shawomet (now Warwick) between 1642-1648, Ireland 650-1650 (Brehon Law), and Iceland until roughly 930. 

I mentioned this in my previous article, but your assertion that civil society and human interaction without government is an impossibility bears this question: What came first, the law or the government? Regulations and standards, or government? Mutual protection, or government? The division of labor, or government? Et cetera and ad nauseum.  

The referee argument distorts the reality of the interaction between an individual and the state.  You ignore the existence of the gun: the law-making powers, the monopoly on violence and coercion that a state bears in it’s every action both past and present.  Presenting sob stories of one person (or group) taking advantage of another is pandering to a totalitarian impulse.  Such things have and will always happen: the state has never prevented such from occurring.  In fact, the power of the state attracts the evil men it was created to protect the citizenry from.  

Your “new breed, prime directive” man is lifted directly from the Communist Manifesto.  


Statists, by and large, have the best of intentions.  Having an entity to assist us in our daily trials and tribulations is for them a great boon.  It is madness for the statist to conceive of any other situation.

But statists overlook a single, important truth about human nature that takes the wind out of their sails if they address it honestly.  Statism requires the belief that man can be “improved;” molded into a perfect, replaceable piece of a larger machine.  Human nature, for better and/or worse, cannot be changed.  Neither can humans and their actions be precisely calculated.  There have always been men and women who commit heinous acts.  Violence will never be written out of our genetic programming.  “Fairness” and “equality” are mental constructions of minds divorced from reality.  

The state is an insane attempt to calculate and command inherently chaotic humans and their innumerable individual interactions.  It’s provided services are discalibrated and disintegrated from the people it deigns to control.  The state’s values are forced upon people that have at best a marginal impact upon the process.  It’s rulings are inherently divisive and vicious.  It is antisocial and it is barbaric.  

History is rife with tales of states rising and falling.  I will concede that libertarian, stateless societies have yet to be openly-implemented in our modern day.  That said, statism in all forms have thus far achieved a perfect record of failure, with numerous indications the streak will continue.


Sources:

1: Nolan Chart: “Why Libertarianism Can Never Succeed” (Bill Schmalfeldt)
2: Underwriter’s Laboratory: “About Us”
3: Wall Street Journal: “Drug Chief at the FDA is Accused of Conflict” (Alicia Mundy)
4: Nolan Chart: “The Big Waste and Food Network” (Bill Gee)
5: Nolan Chart: “Job Creation” (Van Bryant, II)


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