Mark T. runs a blog;
He is an articulate supporter of political action to solve some human problems. I’m honored that he finds the time to visit here and provide his thoughts.
He offered a reply to one of my posts here, and I think it offers an abundance of talking and thinking points – so I’d like to highlight it as a specific post of mine.
There are problems not of our making and for which we collectivity (not unanimously! choose to address by means of what you call “force”and “violence”.
By the belief that violence is an acceptable tool to solve non-violent problems will create a society where violence constantly becomes the tool to solve all problems.
The more mankind uses violence,it creates violent consequences, demanding more use of violence to mitigate the violence until society eventually collapses.
In society we have established this truth:
The only legitimate use of violence is to defend one’s self from the initiation of violence.
Though society has been successful in applying this truth upon individuals – and thus creating civilization – the grave threat to society has been that the people have failed to apply this truth upon institutional entities.
Instead, we have centralized the violence and legitimized it – called it ‘government’; with the consequence that today, the threat of its violence is so great, it risks the extinction of our species.
As an industrial society, our capacity for production of material wealth far exceeds our own consumption needs.
This view is a mistake.
Our capacity of production has not exceeded our consumption. We know this because inventories do not grow indefinitely.
For your position to be true, inventories must continuously increase every year and accumulate.
But they do not. Everything that is produced is consumed.
Industrial society lowers the cost of production. This provides capacity to increase choice. It supports a vibrant environment that allows innovation and new products to be created.
As a new product is introduced, other inferior products are removed.
The new product, to displace the incumbent, must solve the consumer’s problem better. It uses resources better in its production and/or allows the consumer to use the product better, more effectively, more economically.
The new product must do this, or the consumer would not buy the newer product (an unknown) to replace an incumbent (well known) for no gain!
In other words, an industrial society is best able to use the resources of the earth better. A pre-industrial society is very ineffective in its use of resources, creating massive amounts of waste.
The ability of better resource use allows a surplus of wealth.
We can save this wealth (which allows products to be available for their consumption in the future as this wealth is lent or invested to entrepreneurs who work to build future products) or we can spend our surplus of wealth to improve our human life and style.
But we’re not equal, some simply cannot produce enough to satisfy life and retirement demands, either through circumstances they cannot control, or those they can.
I cannot discern the past decisions or which decision or which series of decisions are the direct cause that created the consequences of another persons life. No one can. It is impossible.
Thus, all arguments that start with a series of hypothetical knowledge that is impossible to know in reality which is then used to prove that violent action can be justified are all incredibly dangerous fallacies!
It is dangerous, because since objective proof cannot exist, one needs to accept a fantasy as satisfactory proof for violent action.
If one accepts a fantasy as reality, and uses that acceptance to do real damage, any well-presented, emotional appeals that are wholly nothing but fantasy will also be used to justify the use of real violence.
Burning people at the stake because they are called witches….we are appalled at those that used precisely the same argument type as you’ve present – the use of hypothetical knowledge to justify horrific violence.
Most of us never reach our productive potential, and instead become labor cogs in a system where the wealth thereby created flows upward and is captured by others. (Is that not a system of violence too?)
The question back would be “did the labor have a gun to hits head to force the work”? If not, then no, it is not a system of violence.
Man must earn his living.
He must go and find the food (resources) he needs to live. It is not a matter of right or wrong that one man can climb a tree and get fruit and another man cannot climb and must dig in the dirt for grubs.
To blame the man who can climb for the other man’s inability to climb is to assign a guilt to a mere mortal that should instead be placed on God.
I believe it is very dangerous to add God-power to mere mortals.
Therefore, creating systems that assign guilt upon one man for the lack of ability of another to justify violence on men to seize their earnings poisons the order of society, and will eventually collapse society and civilization.
Ludwig von Mises in Socialism (1922):
To the intellectual champions of social insurance, and to the politicians and statesmen who enacted it, illness and health appeared as two conditions of the human body sharply separated from each other and always recognizable without difficulty or doubt. Any doctor could diagnose the characteristics of ‘health.’ ‘Illness’ was a bodily phenomenon which showed itself independently of human will, and was not susceptible to influence by will. There were people who for some reason or other simulated illness, but a doctor could expose the pretense. Only the healthy person was fully efficient. The efficiency of the sick person was lowered according to the gravity and nature of his illness, and the doctor was able, by means of objectively ascertainable physiological tests, to indicate the degree of the reduction of efficiency.
Now every statement in this theory is false.
There is no clearly defined frontier between health and illness.
Being ill is not a phenomenon independent of conscious will and of psychic forces working in the subconscious.
A man’s efficiency is not merely the result of his physical condition; it depends largely on his mind and will. Thus the whole idea of being able to separate, by medical examination, the unfit from the fit and from the malingerers, and those able to work from those unable to work, proves to be untenable.
Those who believed that accident and medical insurance could be based on completely effective means of ascertaining illnesses and injuries and their consequences were very much mistaken.
The destructionist aspect of accident and health insurance lies above all in the fact that such institutions promote accidents and illness, hinder recovery, and very often create, or at any rate intensify and lengthen, the functional disorders which follow illness or accident.
Feeling healthy is quite different from being healthy in the medical sense, and a man’s ability to work is largely independent of the physiologically ascertainable and measurable performances of his individual organs. The man who does not want to be healthy is not merely a malingerer. He is a sick person. If the will to be well and efficient is weakened, illness and inability to work is caused. By weakening or completely destroying the will to be well and able to work, social insurance creates illness and inability to work; it produces the habit of complaining – which is in itself a neurosis – and neuroses of other kinds. In short, it is an institution which tends to encourage disease, not to say accidents, and to intensify considerably the physical and psychic results of accidents and illnesses. As a social institution it makes a people sick bodily and mentally or at least helps to multiply, lengthen, and intensify disease.