The Case Against the Criminal State
The Case Against the Criminal State
Sat Feb 14 08:52:35 2004
The Case Against the Criminal State
by Jesse Ogden

Man is born free. As a rational-minded living and sentient being, he is born with inherent, inalienable, and inalterable natural rights, and a natural law that corresponds to man’s nature. Because man is a rational-minded, living creature, he strives for self-preservation. Accordingly, unprovoked and aggressive force against man is unethical and unjust, whether it is from an individual or a collective of individuals.

Because man’s inherent tendency is to master and control his own personal environment, he has the right to liberty, since his rational mind must try to determine what the best choices are for him. Man also has the right to justly acquired property, for his personal properties are the tools that he uses to build, maintain, and improve his free environment. Aggressive coercion may not be committed against man to enslave his liberty and plunder his property, whether it is an individual or organization of individuals committing the plunder. None of these natural rights are less important than the other, for they are all essential for a free mankind. These natural rights compose natural law, the inherent laws of man that know neither prejudice nor preference. There are no privileges that one or many may claim over others in regards to natural rights, whether their justification is religious, philanthropic, generous, or just outright greed.

Since governments are composed of men and instituted by men, they are subject to the laws that govern mankind. Statesmen are not divine priest-kings with more rights and authority than any "simpleton," for they are mere men. The fact that they comprise government makes not a whit of difference, for government is merely a collective force of individuals that shall ensure that aggressive forces are not infringing the rights of the people that it serves, whether they are internal or external. Force is government’s true nature, and that force may be used for ethical or unethical ends. Since government is essentially the use of collective force by men who have assumed a mantle of authority, bestowed upon them by the governed – whether there was true consent or not – they are not allowed to violate the rights of others, no matter what the claims of justification.

In a utopia of perfect men, there would be no concern about natural rights, for natural rights would be respected at every level. But as it stands, this is an imperfect world of theft, rape, greed, and murder, so in order to protect free individuals from coercion, these rights must be protected. By nature, that is government’s function, but government is made of the same kind of fallible men, just as privy to the allure of greed, theft, and fraud, just as much as any other individual. Thus is born what is known as the criminal state.

Despite the attempts of clever pundits and politicians to place the state at a level above the common individual, the state is just as susceptible to becoming a criminal state as an ordinary individual is to becoming a criminal. When the state murders, it becomes a murderer. When the state robs personal liberty, it is a slave master. When the state steals money and property, it is a thief. No amount of philanthropy and claims of justification can justify the violation of rights, since the ends can never unethically justify the means.

The moment the means become an unethical and unjust faculty, the ends have lost all justification. Just because one has the power to achieve certain ends does not give one the right to do as they please if the rights of others are being violated. Power is simply the ability, authority, and influence to achieve certain ends; there is no divine aura or any kind of ethical precedence that sets power above natural freedom. Power is fleeting and ever-changing, but liberty is eternal and a constant. Unbridled power is always a threat to natural rights, and the criminal state always craves more power.

In a just world, there would be punishment for criminal states. Alas, as it is, the criminal state is very rarely held accountable for its crimes, for its crimes cannot be tried. The criminal state will sooner usurp the powers of the people to seek restitution for crimes committed against them than to submit to the chains of restraint that would bind government down and prevent further crimes of the state. There is no incentive or reason for the state to submit if it can assert its power and resist. Thus, to expect the state and its associates to punish those within its own ranks is folly. Every so often, a scapegoat will be chosen to take the sacrificial fall, but governments, by and large, will get away with most crimes, and many times will garner public support in spite of its many transgressions.

What can be done about the criminal state if those with power cannot be trusted to deliver justice? That responsibility rests in the hands of the people. Since government is granted a monopoly on force, organized at the behest and consent of individuals to see that their rights are protected, it follows that the state can only maintain its legitimacy if it has the consent of those that are to be governed. Thus, power is retained by the individual and not by the state, and that the state merely acts out its power over the governed citizenry.

If a criminal state is to be punished, it cannot be done by the criminal state itself, but by the people. It is they who must put the state on trial, it is they who must comprise the prosecutions, and it is they who must see to it that justice is dealt accordingly. Washing hands of one’s own responsibility to partake in the defense of liberty, and having faith in the criminal state and its cronies to reform itself, is the first step to despotism. Liberty and natural rights can reign, but only when people are responsible for protecting their own freedom from a criminal state that knows only crime.

Some will object and believe that the state’s power is omnipotent and ever-reaching, but that is so only as far as the people allow it. When the governed start ignoring the actions of government, then it has lost its authority. When government has lost its authority, its abusive plunderers are reduced back to their true form. That is, an abusive statesman is nothing more than a petty thug consumed by power grabs and blind benevolence. Gone are their eloquent orations and their "for the greater good" crimes, and instead, they are revealed for the despicable criminals that they are!

So once more, the responsibility lies within each individual. When the criminal state can no longer bring terror and constraint upon its subjects, it will cease to exist, for the state’s existence hinges on mere smoke and mirrors. The state has no concrete existence or form, but is in reality only a consolidation of men who claim ultimate authority.

Man has been bullied, coerced, cajoled, forced, terrorized, robbed, enslaved, and lorded over by those who would try to walk the paths of superiority and indemnity ever since mankind’s beginning. History has borne to men very few beacons of freedom in which the state has been put in its place and chained by the bonding chains of restraint. Though mankind’s outlook has always been bleak, it is not the time to roll over and give in to this illusionary institution.

The future of mankind’s liberty has always looked bleak, but liberation must be attempted. This is not the attempt to institute new men to reign over mankind nor is it the attempt for great social upheaval; it is merely the struggle to be free from coercion, theft, and plunder. Almost all attempts for change have yielded only new rulers to take the place of the old, which is why the push for liberty must continue on.

Now is not the time for mournful surrender. Now is the time for vigilant struggle.

February 14, 2004

Jesse Ogden [send him mail] is a high school student in Michigan.

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