Thursday, April 20, 2006

Stateless Prisons

Containing Danger without Enslaving Citizens
By Stefan Molyneux, MA
Host, Freedomain Radio -

One of the great challenges of anarchistic philosophy is the challenge of prisons, or the physical restraint of violent criminals. I have dealt with this topic once before, but I am still receiving numerous requests for clarifications on how a stateless society might deal with violent criminals. So - let us examine the punitive mechanisms that might exist in the absence of a coercive state system.

Firstly, we can assume that in the absence of a state, private protection agencies (called here DROs, for Dispute Resolution Organizations) will necessarily band together to deny the advantages of a modern economic life to those individuals who egregiously harm their fellow citizens. Such necessities as bank accounts, credit, transportation, lodging, food and so on, can all be withheld from those who have been proven to have committed violent crimes. Also, in a stateless society, since there is no such thing as ‘public’ property, violent criminals would have a tough time getting anywhere, since roads, parks, forests and so on would all be owned privately. Anybody providing aid or comfort to a person convicted of a violent crime would face a withdrawal of services and protections from their own DRO, and so would avoid giving such help.

However, this solution alone has not been sufficient for some people, who still feel that sociopathic and violent criminals need to be physically restrained or imprisoned for society to be safe.

First of all, before tackling this issue, I would like to point out that if the problem of violent sociopaths is very extensive, then surely any moral justifications for the existence of a state become that much more untenable. If society literally swarms with evil people, then those evil people will surely overwhelm the state, the police, and the military, and prey upon legally disarmed citizens to their hearts content. If, however, there are very few evil people, then we surely do not need a state to protect us from such a tiny problem. In other words, if there are a lot of evil people, we cannot have a state - and if there are few evil people, then we do not need a state.

However, let us imagine what happens to a rapist in a stateless society. All general DRO contracts will include ‘rape protection’, since DROs will want to avoid incurring the medical, psychological and income costs of a rape for one of their own customers. Part of ‘rape protection’ will be the provision of significant financial restitution to a rape victim. (Women who can’t afford ‘rape protection’ will be subsidized by charities - or lawyers will represent them pro bono in return for a cut of the restitution.)

If a woman gets raped, she then applies to her DRO for restitution. The DRO then finds her rapist - using the most advanced forensic techniques available - and sends an agent to knock on his door.

“Good morning, sir,” the agent will say. “You have been charged with rape, and I'm here to inform you of your options. We wish to make this process as painless and non-intrusive as possible for you, and so will schedule a trial at the time of your earliest convenience. If you do not attend this trial, or testify falsely, or attempt to flee, we shall apply significant sanctions against you, which are outlined in your existing DRO contract. Our agreement with your bank allows us to freeze your assets - except for basic living and legal expenses - the moment that you are charged with a violent crime. We also have agreements with airlines, road, bus and train companies to prevent you from leaving town until this matter is resolved.

“You can represent yourself in this trial, choose from one of our lawyers, or we will pay for any lawyer you prefer, at standard rates. Also, as per our existing contract, we are to be allowed access to your home for purposes of investigation. You are free to deny us this access, of course, but then we shall assume that you are guilty of the crime, and will apply all the sanctions allowed to us by contract.

“If you are found to be innocent of this crime, we will pay you the sum of twenty thousand dollars, to be funded by the woman who has charged you with rape. We will also offer free psychological counseling for you, in order to help you avoid such accusers in the future.”

The trial will commence, and will return a verdict in due course.

If the man is found guilty, he will receive another visit from his DRO representative.

“Good afternoon, sir,” the agent will say. “You have been found guilty of rape, and I'm here to inform you of your punishment. We have a reciprocal agreement with your bank, which has now closed down your accounts, and transferred the money to us. We will be deducting double the costs of our investigation and trial from your funds, and will also be transferring half a million dollars to the woman you have raped. We also have reciprocal agreements with the companies that provide water and electricity to your house, and those will now be cut off. Furthermore, no gas station will sell you gasoline, and no train station, airline or bus company will sell you a ticket. We have made arrangements with all of the local grocery stores to deny you service, either in person or online. If you set foot on the street outside your house, which is owned privately, you will be physically removed for trespassing.

“Of course, you have the right to appeal this sentence, and if you successfully appeal, we would transfer our costs to the woman who has accused you of rape, and pay you well for the inconvenience we have caused you. If, however, your appeal fails, all additional costs will be added to your debt.

“I can tell you openly that if you choose to stay in your house, you will be unable to survive very long. You will run out food and water very quickly. You can attempt to escape your own house, of course, leaving all of your possessions, and try to make it to some wilderness area. If you do successfully escape, be aware that you are now entered into a central registry, and no reputable DRO will ever represent you. Furthermore, all DROs which have reciprocal agreements with us - which is the vast majority of them - will withdraw services from their own customers if those customers provide you with any goods or services. You will never be able to open a bank account, use centralized currency, carry a credit card, own a car, buy gas, use a road, use any other form of transportation - and gaining food, water and lodging will be a constant nightmare for you. You will spend your entire life running, hiding and begging, and will never find peace, solace or comfort in any place.

“However, there is an option. If you come with me, we will take you to a place of work for a period of five years. During that time, you will be working for us in a capacity which will be determined by your skills. If you do not have any viable skills, we will train you. Your wages will go to us, and we will deduct the costs of your incarceration, as well as any of the costs I outlined above which are not covered by your existing funds. A small amount of your wages will be set aside to help get you started after your release.

“During your stay with us, we will help you, because we do not want to have to go through all of this again with you in the future. You will take courses on ethics. You will take courses on anger management. You will take psychological counseling. You will emerge from your incarceration a far better person. And when you do emerge, all of your full rights will be restored, and you will be able to fully participate once more in the economic and social life of society.

“You have a choice now, and I want you to understand the full ramifications of that choice. If you come with me now, this is the best offer that I can give you. If you decide to stay in your house, and later change your mind, the penalties will be far greater. If you escape, and later change your mind, the penalties will be far greater still. In our experience, 99.99% of people who either run or stay end up changing their minds, and end up that much worse off. The remaining 0.01? Oh, they commit suicide.

“The choice is now yours. Do the right thing. Do the wise thing. Come with me now.”

Can we really imagine that anyone would choose to stay in their own house and die of thirst, unable to even flush their toilet? Can we imagine that anyone would choose a life of perpetual running and hiding and begging? Even if the rapist had no interest in becoming a better person, surely the cost/benefit of the options outlined above would convince him!

There will always be a small number of truly evil or insane people within society. There are far, far better ways of dealing with them than our existing system of dehumanizing, brutal and destructive state gulags, which generally serve only to expand their criminal skills and contacts. Also, it is important to remember that the existing state prisons have barely any evil or insane people in them! The vast majority of those in jail are nonviolent offenders, enslaved and in chains because they used recreational drugs, or gambled, or went to a prostitute, or didn't pay all their taxes, or other such innocuous nonsense – or turned to crime because state ‘vice’ prohibitions made crime so profitable!

Our choice, then, is between a system which removes the tiny minority of evil people from society, rehabilitates them if possible, and makes them work productively to support their own confinement - or a state system which spends most of its time and energies enslaving innocent people, while letting the evil and insane roam free.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Free Society and the Ethics Of Emergencies

By Stefan Molyneux, MA
Host, Freedomain Radio –

A free society is by its very nature based on negative rights – i.e., thou shalt not rather than thou shalt. One common opposition to these negative rights is the ‘saving strangers’ scenario often advanced by statists.

In this moral parable, an onlooker sees a man who is drowning, and has to decide whether to dive in and save him or not. If this onlooker calmly watches the man drown, this is generally considered to be a very bad thing, and creates a first instance of a ‘positive right’ which claims that the onlooker is morally obligated to do something to save the drowning man. Behold, sayeth the statist – here we have an example of a positive right!

From this ‘thin edge of the wedge’ are created a plethora of positive rights such as forced taxation, the welfare state, the right to a job and health care, and all of the other convoluted and destructive messes of modern state programs.

Thus it is probably worth spending a few minutes discussing how the ‘Saving Strangers Scenario’ (SSS) would play out in a truly free society – i.e., a society without a centralized and coercive government.

Objection #1: Priorities, priorities, priorities…
Surely, as taxation and regulation climb into the stratosphere, as the brutality of Western foreign policy reaches a new low, and as the national debt (and large parts of the Middle East) explode – surely, there are slightly more important ethical issues to discuss then how we should deal with a theoretical drowning man that we will almost certainly never encounter. I have never run into an SSS in my life – and don’t know anyone who ever has – thus I would like to suggest that we turn our attention to more immediate moral matters. Given the current state of affairs, focusing on this issue is like being trapped in a burning building and worrying about being hit by a meteor. Thus, if people ask us to spend an inordinate amount of time on this issue, we may, I think, politely decline.

Objection #2: General Human Kindness
Whenever I stop my car to ask for directions, I am generally optimistic that people are going to do their best to try and help me, based on the fact that most people are very kind. I often read news reports about strangers helping other strangers out of difficult situations – sometimes even in the face of excessive personal risk. I have never once read a news article describing an easily-preventable death which occurred among a crowd of able onlookers who did nothing to stop it. (I have occasionally read of people deciding against interrupting a mugging, but I find that hard to condemn, since risking injury or death for merely material possessions seems rather unwise!)

Thus, the SSS seems a rather artificial argument, based on the probabilities of occurrence and the kindness of the average person. Certainly as a justification for the existence of a centralized state it seems particularly flimsy!

Objection #3: Show Me The Money!
Obviously, for the SSS to be solvable at all, someone has to be willing to dive in and save the drowning man. Given that in this scenario, the cold and sociopathic onlooker is usually considered to be a real risk, it seems hard to understand exactly what the alternatives would be. If people in general do not care about the dangers that other people are experiencing, then it makes no sense to create a universal monopoly of force which is supposed to ‘take care’ of those in danger – precisely because those ‘cold and sociopathic’ people will run state programs as well!

If people do care, then the only other possible reason that they would not intervene is because they would not gain materially by doing so. In other words, people will act if, like policeman and firemen, they would be well paid to intervene in the SSS scenario.

If payment is the issue, a free society solves it very nicely! Obviously, a company which owns a beach would lose business if its customers kept drowning. Thus this company would doubtless hire lifeguards and string buoys and warn of riptides and restrict swimming during dangerous times and so on. Thus it would be very unlikely that anyone would be allowed to drown without at least some company representative trying to save them! (As far as monetary rewards go, the beach owner would simply pay a bonus to anyone who saved a customer, just as banks pay a bonus to any teller involved in a bank robbery.)

All right, but what about a man hiking in the wilderness who spies a woman drowning and there is no one else around to save her? And what if the only possible incentive he would respond to would be monetary rewards? And what if he (for some strange reason) did not think that the woman would ever pay him any money for saving her life? Would he just then let her drown? Is that why we have a government?

Well, as I have mentioned in my previous articles, in the absence of the state, Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs) will spring up to mediate altercations between people and to ensure their safety. Just about everybody in a free society would be represented by some form of DRO – including the woman drowning in some remote mountain stream with a cold-blooded man standing by who only will only save her if he is rewarded financially!

Now, if the woman does drown, then her DRO is out a lot of money – death benefits, loss of future customer revenue, and so on. Thus it seems likely that DROs will be more than happy to pay good money to anyone who saves one of their customers from death, injury, or even fraud!

In this way, even the extreme (and frankly ridiculous) situation outlined above will be neatly solved in a free society. Thus there is no practical reason why the SSS should ever be the basis of an argument for positive rights – and thus one more support for the moral justification for government can be gently removed!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Predatory Escalation of ‘Immigration Policies’

Problems and Solutions

By Stefan Molyneux, MA

Host, Freedomain Radio –

The current controversy over immigration obscures – as most current controversies do – the depth and scale of the moral problem that is ‘immigration control’.

Even the word ‘immigration’ is specious, since what is merely being described is ‘moving’. Moving from New York to Houston requires no permission from the government – moving from Toronto to Buffalo does. The difference? Artificial boundaries of course – the territory marked out by one gang of predatory politicians versus another.

Can you imagine that, if you wanted to move from NY to Houston, you had to spend months or years on paperwork to wait for some official to give you the arbitrary thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Can you imagine having to spend thousands of dollars on ‘moving lawyers’ and having to completely re-prove your profession credentials and not being allowed to work for the first few months or years in Houston? Wouldn’t that be strange, maddening, ridiculous and wasteful beyond words?

And what gives one man the right to say to another man: thou shalt/shalt not live here? Is this a universal human right? Can I assert it as well? If not, why do politicians claim moral rights that directly oppose my rights? How can that be justified? How can a country composed almost entirely of immigrants dare to claim the moral right to close the gate to newcomers?

Of course, the primary culprit/excuse is the assortment of State programs which illegal immigrants can ‘take advantage’ of; such as welfare, Medicaid, public education and so on. In a free society, people have nothing to fear from immigrants, who must work or rely on private charity to survive, and who bring all the enormous needs inherent in those starting over in life: a house, education, furniture etc. The resultant increase in the demand for goods and services only helps stimulate the economy.

But, since government controls always leads to more government controls, we get immigration fascism nicely bundled with income redistribution programs.

Sadly, none of this is ever mentioned in contemporary debates, which always focus on the degree of immigration laws required, not whether they should exist or not at all. Current proposed legislation on Capitol Hill would instantly turn 12 million ‘undocumented Americans’ (quite a contradiction!) into felons. Also, priests, nuns, health care and social workers would be forbidden to help these poor souls. Being a ‘good Samaritan’ may just become illegal.

Why is all this occurring? In my opinion, for a number of reasons. Governments always need a crisis to expand their powers, and terrorists are proving uncooperative. So what’s next? Well, the ‘immigration crisis’ will enfold just like all other state ‘crises’, with all the same completely predictable results.

Step One: Crisis Creation

This has already been achieved. The Bush administration has kept this pot nicely bubbling on the back burner for years. Now is the time. ‘Seal the borders’ becomes the cry, and the Constitution shrivels just that little bit more, taking one of its final steps in its journey towards becoming an empty historical artifact.

Step Two: The ‘Mercy’ Compromise (aka preparation for escalation)

After sufficient protests, the government will ‘take a step back’ and offer some combination of warning and amnesty. The legislation will give 6-18 months advance warning, and those already here will be offered an amnesty of some sort.

Step Three: Inevitable Escalation

Naturally, as soon as talk of deferment and amnesty starts in earnest, there will be a massive stampede into the US. Just about anyone who has ever even contemplated immigration will be jolted into action, to get into the promised land before the steel door comes crashing down. Not only may they get the offered benefits, but if they get in before the gate comes down, they will face far less competition in the future from others like them. The existing ‘underground network’ of human movement will expand mightily to accommodate the new influx, which will be important later.

Step Four: Inevitable Backlash

As the stampede begins, the ‘immigration problem’ suddenly becomes an acute crisis. Endless footage of the stampede is run on TV. Frightening statistics are trotted out.

Ominous ‘doom music’ plays to shots of squalid immigrant living conditions. Many children and old people will be shown, with endless dire warnings about how their needs will ‘stretch the fabric of the social safety net to breaking point’. Angry and unemployed immigrant youth will be shown loafing around or doing nasty deeds. The police will start raiding immigrant enclaves. There will be some resistance. Cars will be burned. A cop will get injured by some cornered and desperate person. Patience runs out. Calls to action are made! Finally – presto! – fully worked-out legislation magically appears, just as in the Patriot Act – probably called the ‘Welcome Mat Act’ (WMA).

Step Five: Carding

The WMA legislation will require the creation of a massive new bureaucracy – and will set conditions under which the army can be stationed along the border, which will be quickly achieved. National ID cards will come into being – deferred for two or three years, just so no one gets too excited in the moment. All of this will be regretful but sadly necessary, in order to preserve the ‘strength of the Union’.

Step Six: ‘Progress’

As soon as these measures are implemented, there will be a magical ‘reduction’ in the prevalence (read: reporting) of illegal immigration. “You see?” the president will crow. “It’s working beautifully.” It will all be a lie of course. Making a genuinely-desired freedom illegal just drives it further underground, out of sight of the authorities.

Step Seven: Corruption

Ahh, the sweet smell of unmarked bills in small denominations! After the ‘official front gate’ comes down, the ‘side gate of corruption’ opens for business in earnest. Border cops will be bribed, politicians will take campaign donations from minority groups demanding preferential exceptions, the army will be led astray, and a whole complicated and convoluted set of rules (and how to break them) will be created, so that lawyers can take a break from suing corporations and start making money from those who want in.

Step Eight: The ‘Bypass’

The vast expansion of the ‘underground network’ of human movement created in Step 3 really comes into play here. A whole economic class will now exist for the sole purpose of getting people into the US by hook or by crook. (For historical examples of this, see the Mafia and Prohibition, or any modern gang and the ‘war on drugs’.) Honest potential immigrants will hesitate to get involved with such people – but sociopaths and criminals will already know them! The quality of those coming into the country takes just a bit of a nose-dive. Due to biased reporting and government statistics, the reputation of honest immigrants goes down with them.

Step Nine: The Forgeries

National ID cards will be forged as fast as printing presses can run them off. Those who are illegally in the country will just say ‘Oh, I forgot to have my card on me’, and promise to come by the cop shop the next day. Right. Thus the penalties for failing to produce an ID card on demand will escalate. This will hit native citizens hard and continually. The police will get financially addicted to fining citizens, and will pursue missing ID cards far more assiduously than any real criminals. The forged cards will be indistinguishable from the real cards (since corruption will escalate directly into the office of whoever is producing the cards, just as with Canadian passports), and so further identification steps will be required. Cops with retinal scan equipment anyone? This will all escalate into increased bribery and corruption opportunities. The lowered police attention towards violent crime will only escalate it – creating more justification for increased government powers and additional taxation.

Step Ten: The Expansion

At first, police ‘sweeps’ will be focused on particular ethnic groups. However, very quickly the ‘PC vulture’ will swoop down to feast on the rotting common sense of a dying society. Outcries against ‘unfair targeting’ will cause intense political pressure, which will result in senseless sweeps of Chinese and Scottish neighborhoods. Fines and corruption increase. The ‘cat and mouse’ game escalates to deadly levels. As the penalties for non-compliance increase, the desperation of those ‘caught in the net’ will increase. Policemen will start getting attacked, and will both escalate their use of ‘first force’ and also withdraw from dangerous neighborhoods, leaving entire sections of society with neither police ‘protection’ nor legal alternatives.

Sound grim? Well, remember this: it’s only inevitable if we think it is. Just as in opposing slavery, when the solution was not opposing each slave-owner, but the institution of slavery itself, we must oppose not this or that state program, but the very concept of the state itself. (For more information on ways to approach this, please visit my podcast site at

We must start to talk openly about viable alternatives to this ghastly coercive social monopoly called the state – for just as surely it can control immigration, it can exile our own freedom.

Monday, April 03, 2006


A commonly-heard response to criticisms of existing state policies – or, heaven forbid, the existence of the state itself! – is the demand that the person criticizing either drop his objection, or leave the country.

(A third option is sometimes given, which is the option of working to reform the existing state system, however, the likelihood of achieving that end is so remote that it is perhaps only a slightly more eloquent way of telling someone to just shut up!)

The idea that the two main options for the political critic is to either accept the rule of the state he lives under, or quit the country, is an old and durable one. Obviously, it is not the most intellectual or sophisticated of arguments, but it has achieved surprising longevity, despite its blatant lack of logic.

Central to the ‘exile alternative’, of course, is the belief that the government somehow ‘owns’ the country, and all the resources within it, much as a landlord owns an apartment building and all the apartments within it. In order to live in a condominium building, you have to respect the condo board and its rules – and so, in order to live in the United States, say, you have to respect the government and its rules.

Now this is a rather startling bit of totalitarian thinking, which even Mussolini would have hesitated to put forward so baldly. (Although Stalin would probably have been quite comfortable with it!) The idea that the government ‘owns’ all property, and sort of ‘leases’ it out to private citizens on the condition of uncritical obedience is astoundingly fascistic. When my wife and I signed the mortgage to purchase our house, we did not notice that George Bush had cosigned, and had ownership rights that superseded our own.

Furthermore, it is hard to imagine how just living in a country creates any form of implicit contract with the government. Implicit contracts are by their very nature unjust –and how do we know this? Because private citizens are not allowed to create and enforce implicit contracts. I can't say to my neighbor that his decision to live in his house automatically requires him to mow my lawn. I can't buy a car, offer to share it with my neighbor and then force him to pay for half of it. Anything which is unjust for private individuals is also unjust for those in the government – since the government is merely composed of individuals, and thus must be subject to the same moral laws as everybody else. Any rights or abilities claimed by those in power which directly oppose the rights or abilities of everybody else are automatically unjust and immoral.

The general answer to these objections is that the government obeys the will of the majority, and so the majority decides which laws and policies the government pursues. Thus obeying the laws of the state is not obeying the laws of any particular politician, but rather the will of the majority. (This, of course, is the form of ‘unlimited majority rule’ that was so instructive to Socrates!)

This is a perfectly valid thesis to put forward, and merely requires proof of the following four propositions in sequence:

  1. That the definition of ‘a majority’ can be constrained to mean only those within a particular geographical area called a country.
  2. That obeying the will of the majority is a morally good action at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances.
  3. That existing political structures accurately reflect the dynamic and constantly changing will of the majority.
  4. That the will of the majority has not been interfered with through some outside means such as financial pressure or propaganda.

Let's have a look at these in a little more detail.

Required Proof #1: That the definition off ‘a majority’ can be constrained to mean only those within a particular geographical area called a country who were born there or who have certain government-issued cards, and are over a certain age and so on.

This is a particularly tricky question for the ‘love it or leave it’ crowd to answer. The concept ‘majority’ can mean just about anything, from a majority of redheaded people to a majority of people who think that Jim Morrison is still alive. In order to even start proving the moral validity of obeying the majority within the country, a rational case must be made that only a geographically-defined majority can be considered a moral entity – and no others! So the redheads and diehard Jim Morrison fans are sort of out of luck. If this proposition cannot be proven, then any majority is always more moral than any minority. This might create some problems in stores, for instance, if shoppers want to leave without paying and just happen outnumber the cashiers. Or if I can get the neighbour on my left to agree that we should both take over the house of my neighbour to my right and so on. Also, if the majority always trumps the minority, the existence of the state is always morally wrong, since citizens always outnumber politicians.

If this proposition can be proven – no easy task – then we can move onto the next step.

Required Proof #2: That obeying the will of the majority is a morally good action at all times and in all places, and under all circumstances.

If this proposition is true, then moral rules do not exist in any objective sense whatsoever. The will of the majority is constantly changing, both within a society and throughout history. For instance, in the past, slavery was considered moral; now it is considered immoral. At what point did these moral rules change? If we have a country of 100,000 people, does the nature of morality, humanity or reality change when person number 50,001 changes his mind? What about if he changes it back? Is objective reality and human nature swirling back and forth like a kaleidoscopic whirlpool as he ponders a particular moral question?

Now, if obeying the will of the majority is not a morally good action at all times and in all places and under all circumstances, then some other moral criteria must be more valid than the ‘will of the majority’ when it comes to judging the ethics of particular actions. Since there then must exist a moral rule which is more valid than the will of the majority, it must be to that moral rule that we defer, not to the will of the majority.

Required Proof #3: That existing political structures accurately reflect the dynamic and constantly changing will of the majority.

Now, even if someone manages to prove both of the above assertions – quite a challenge! – he still faces the challenge of proving that governments accurately and continually reflect the dynamic will of the majority. This kind of assertion is far more provable in the free market than in the realm of politics, since voting only occurs every couple of years, even in a democracy. And voters, of course, only get to choose candidates whose considerable campaign expenses have been paid for by special interests looking for post-election favors at the expense of the voters!

Also, just as central command-and-control economies have no methodology for allocating resources in the absence of free-market prices, it is hard to imagine how a government could ever accurately and consistently determine the will of the majority on an ongoing and dynamic basis. After more than two thousand years of political philosophy, the world still awaits any methodology by which this could ever be achieved. (I for one am not holding my breath for a breakthrough on this one!)

Required Proof #4: That the will of the majority has not been interfered with through some outside means such as financial pressure or propaganda.

Even if all of the above have been proven, the challenge of proving ‘free will’ still remains. For instance, if the majority of people are offered $1,000 each to vote for a particular political candidate, then saying that an election somehow reflects the ‘will of the majority’ could be considered somewhat specious. All that it reflects in this case is their desire to receive $1,000!

Now, we all perfectly aware that the vast majority of funding for political candidates comes from individuals, unions, charities, organizations and corporations that all expect to receive political favors in return for their contributions. The employees of large corporations that deal with the Department of Defense just might hesitate before voting for a pacifist candidate whose major platform was a reduction in defense spending! Does their vote somehow represent the will of the majority, or rather just the self-interest of the bribed?

Furthermore, we can generally recognize that a person who was raised in a totalitarian system and was bombarded with propaganda every waking hour might have a certain ideological ‘hangover’ from that level of indoctrination. Similarly, we can generally recognize that here in the West, children from the age of 5 to 18 are subjected to hours of direct state propaganda in public schools every single weekday – not even counting homework! (And, speaking as a writer who attended three universities and battled all the way through to a Master’s degree, the ideological horrors of modern universities are even worse!) This degree and depth of propaganda is rather astounding, and absolutely interferes with the ordinary citizens ability to accurately process and understand the causes and effects of state power.

Thus even if all of the above points are provable, as long as state education continues to indoctrinate children for a dozen or more years, majority opinion can in no way be said to reflect the unbiased opinion of that majority. That would be equivalent to saying that paying a kidnapper to free your child is the same as a voluntary transaction.

Thus, overall, until the above points are all proven in sequence – and the problem of relativistic morality raised by an absolute obedience to the will of the majority is also resolved – we can safely say that any and all ‘love it or leave it’ arguments are entirely false, and morally corrupt. (As a side note, it is both sad and funny that Americans use this argument, which if accepted in Colonial times, would have stopped the Founding Fathers in their tracks and forced them to obey the British government or leave the Colonies!)

Unfettered allegiance to political power in any form is at the root of the moral corruption so evident in the 20th century, when at least 170 million people were murdered by those obeying government edicts. If genocide is something to be opposed, then we must all equally oppose the moral corruption of the ‘love it or leave it’ argument.