Statism: The Most Dangerous Religion
featuring Larken Rose
by Liberty or Death Media
September 25, 2014
[TCTL Editor’s Note: the following transcript was sourced YouTube’s transcript function, with some additional editing.]
Quite simply, a statist is somebody who believes in having a state. Basically, anybody who wants government.
Government is the exercise of authority over a people or place. And that is basically the “right to rule”.
It’s not just the ability to control other people, because most people have that in one way or another. It’s the “right”; it’s the idea that certain people — it’s legitimate for them to forcibly control others.
Belief in government is a purely faith-based, indoctrinated belief. It doesn’t actually make any sense, in practical terms, or in evidence, or in logic.
For years I thought it was a really good analogy to compare government to religion. And only a few years ago did I realize it’s not an analogy.
It IS a religion, in every way. It has a superhuman deity, government, that has rights that mortals don’t. It isn’t restricted by the rules that apply to mortals. It issues commands. And if you disobey you’re a “sinner” — and you deserve to be punished.
The faithful, the true believers, they have great faith in these bizarre rituals: Elections, and legislation, and appointments.
And they dress up and then they say: “Ta-da! Now I represent government. I know I just look like a person, but I don’t just have the rights of a person because I represent the magical deity called government. And so I’m allowed to demand your money, and boss you around, and hurt you if you disobey me. I’m acting on behalf of government, and it has commandments called laws. And these laws aren’t just the threats of humans, they are decrees from something superhuman. And so all you good people out there should bow to this deity, and if you want the world fixed, this is what you pray to. And we give you certain rituals of how to pray to it, and when you’re supposed to pray to it.”
Pray to the god to make the world what you wish it was and to save you from all the uncertainties of reality.
The doctrine people are taught is just patently absurd, and a bunch of examples of that are like consent of the governed.
There isn’t such thing. If it’s consent, it’s voluntary. If it’s being governed, it’s not.
The actual given excuse is: “We have the right to rule you because you decided we did, even if you didn’t vote for us, and even if you oppose everything we do to you.”
And: “Well, they represent us.”
Okay, they “represent us” by doing a lot of things that we don’t have the right to do?
And they “represent us” by bossing us around and taking our money?
Like I bet if I went to my neighbor and bossed him around, and took his money, and said “I’m representing you”, he would say, “What?! What a stupid thing to say!”
To me, the most insane is: “we are the government“, which you hear everywhere.
And I asked somebody: “Wait, do you really not notice that there’s a group of people over there, they issue threats, and they call them laws, and they issue demands for money, and they call it taxes, and if you disobey, they send men with guns to hurt you. Now, are you really incapable of distinguishing between yourself and them?”
One of the biggest giveaways that the belief in government is a complete blind-faith religious belief, is the way people respond.
One very easy line of questioning is: “Can you give somebody else a right that you don’t have?”
And everybody says, “Well no, of course not.”
“Well how about you and your buddy? Can the two of you give someone else a right that neither of you have?”
“Well, no.” And it only takes a couple more questions to get to, “Well, how did Congress get rights that you don’t have?”
They get emotional and they get angry, or they get defensive, or they run away.
They didn’t come to this belief through reasoning and evidence, and logic.
They came there by having a blind-faith belief smashed into their heads starting before they could even talk.
It’s just something they were taught to believe — that there’s this thing called “authority”. And that it’s allowed to do things human beings aren’t, and that people have an obligation to obey it. To the point where some people—they weren’t gods or anything—some people wrote down a thing on paper and then they called it “legislation”, and they did certain rituals, and then people go around saying “well, this is law.”
Most people literally feel physical discomfort and fear at the thought of disobeying anyone in “authority”.
Most people can’t say, “No, I’m not going to do that”, because it goes against their years and years of programming and indoctrination that trains them to think: “If you do as you’re told, you’re good. If you don’t, you’re bad.”
And that’s the message of school, and that message gets pounded into people’s heads.
Students are taught over and over and over and over again, every stinking day they’re in school that the measure of your virtue is how well you obey authority. The whole approval-disapproval thing.
The one thing you learn in school is: if you do as you’re told you get approval and reward, and if you don’t do as you’re told, you get disdain and condemnation. They’ll make sure everybody knows you’re a bad person because you didn’t do as you were told.
The belief in authority leads everybody — good people, bad people, everything in between — to advocate and do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Bad things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
Including cops, because the cops really and truly believe that they have the right to do things that I don’t have the right to do and you don’t have the right to do.
The only reason most of them do what they do is because they believe in authority, and they really believe that legislation gives them an exemption from morality.
So that when they do something and someone says, “Hey, what you’re doing is bad.”
“Hey, I don’t make the law, I just enforce it. I’m not responsible for my actions. I’m just a tool of some weird thing somewhere else called “government. You can’t blame me for what I am personally doing because I’m not really doing it.”
As loony as that is, that’s what most of them will say whenever somebody says, “Hey, what you’re doing is wrong. It’s not okay to lock people up for smoking marijuana. It’s not okay.”
You know, all the ways in which “law enforcement” initiates violence against non-violent people. And if you bring that up to them, they literally talk as if they didn’t do it.
The only reason they do that is because they were taught the lie of authority and government and law, along with everyone else. And then they were told,”You’re just a tool of the thing called ‘law’, and that makes it so you have rights that other people don’t have. So you don’t have to feel bad about physically assaulting non-violent people, because ‘the law’ says it’s okay.”
It really is just permission to ignore your conscience, by saying “You have rights that other people don’t.”
You don’t have the right to tell other people what habit to have on your own.
You don’t have the right to extort people on your own.
But once you’re ‘law enforcement’, then, not only is it okay, it’s noble and great to go around robbing people and bossing them around.
That is the biggest danger of the belief in authority. It tricks good people into condoning or doing really nasty, horrible, violent things because they think: “Well, this is okay if government and authority does it.”
They are raised by their parents, by the school, by the government, by the culture, by all the authoritarian messages built into everything to think that obedience is a virtue.
And when you raise a culture to think that, and you get one nasty psycho at the top who says: “Hey, go do bad stuff”, people say, “Well, I have to follow orders. I have to obey the law. I have to do as I’m told because that’s a virtue.” And then good people march off and do evil stuff.
I’m not scared of the Maos and the Stalins and the Hitlers, I’m scared of the thousands or millions of people that hallucinate them to be authority and so do their bidding, and pay for their empires, and carry out their orders.
I don’t care if there’s one loony with a stupid mustache. He’s not a threat if the people do not believe in authority.
Some people assume that, well, you must trust everybody if you don’t want government. That’s not at all true. I don’t nearly trust everybody, but if I don’t trust people to run their own lives, why on earth would I trust them to be in a position of power where they can forcibly run other people’s lives?
Really what it boils down to is saying: “I don’t trust people. People are untrustworthy and unpredictable. So my solution is to take some of those people — some of the most untrustworthy around — give them permission to violently control us all. And that will protect us from the untrustworthiness of mankind.”
Okay, you’re so scared of the average man out there, and so thankful for government. Let me ask you, who has taken more of your money under threat of force? Private people threatening you? Or agents of authority threatening you?
How many murders are committed by private people compared to how many are committed by people acting on behalf of authority? It’s not even close.
The number of murders committed in the name of law enforcement, and government, and authority completely dwarfs private murder.
Even governments killing the people of other countries is small compared to them killing their own people.
In the last 100 years, over 270 million human beings were killed by their own governments, not counting war.
That first step is always the hardest — to get someone to dare to set aside his blind faith long enough to think about things.
To back up enough to say: “Maybe government isn’t even legitimate at all.”
It takes a lot for people indoctrinated into the faith to dare to think of those literally blasphemous ideas.
That no, those people in Washington don’t have the right to rule. Their threats aren’t “laws”, they’re just threats.
Their demands aren’t “taxes”, it’s just extortion.
And that really feels like heresy because it is! It is heresy against the god called “government”.
I now have a huge amount of hope, because I see an acceleration of the number of people who dare to think about these things.
And now the number of people able to have this conversation is just hugely exploding. And they’re still a minority, but that exponential curve — I don’t think it’s stopping. I really think the cult of statism is as good as dead.
Ultimately, I think the belief in government is doomed for the exact same reasons that the belief in a flat Earth was doomed.
There’s too many people pointing out the utter, inherent insanity in the belief, and that’s just not going to go away.
Nobody who understands self-ownership, and understands why authority is inherently bogus, wakes up the next day and says: “You know what, suddenly I think I should do whatever the politicians say.”
I think, really, humanity is just beginning to wake up to what it’s supposed to be.
Humanity wasn’t meant to be a domesticated species, owned by a ruling class.
Every human being owns himself; is in charge of his own life.
I’d like to see actual rational, moral civilization in my lifetime. But, we are going to get there. Sooner or later, we are totally going to get there.
The lie will never outlive the truth forever.
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Larken Rose is an anarchist best known for challenging the IRS with questions about the federal tax liability of citizens, and for subsequently being imprisoned without receiving any answers to his questions. Larken Rose speaks and writes extensively about freedom.
Larken is author of The Most Dangerous Superstition. “The primary threat to freedom and justice is not greed, or hatred, or any of the other emotions or human flaws usually blamed for such things. Instead, it is one ubiquitous superstition which infects the minds of people of all races, religions and nationalities, which deceives decent, well-intentioned people into supporting and advocating violence and oppression. Even without making human beings one bit more wise or virtuous, removing that one superstition would remove the vast majority of injustice and suffering from the world.”