‘Vol­un­tary­ism’ em­braces phi­los­o­phy of peace, pros­per­ity

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Ever heard of “vol­un­tary­ism?” Prob­a­bly not, but chances are you prac­tice this phi­los­o­phy ev­ery day in your in­ter­ac­tions with fam­ily, friends, and even strangers.

Vol­un­tary­ism is the philo­soph­i­cal be­lief that all hu­man in­ter­ac­tion should be vol­un­tary, mean­ing in­di­vid­u­als must con­sent to the in­ter­ac­tion in ques­tion. If one in­di­vid­ual does not wish to par­tic­i­pate in an in­ter­ac­tion, then, ac­cord­ing to vol­un­tary­ism, it is wrong to force the in­ter­ac­tion upon them.

There are only two pos­si­ble types of in­ter­ac­tions: vol­un­tary and in­vol­un­tary. Vol­un­tary in­ter­ac­tions are com­pletely le­git­i­mate, while in­vol­un­tary in­ter­ac­tions are il­le­git­i­mate. It then log­i­cally fol­lows that those il­le­git­i­mate in­ter­ac­tions can justly be met with what­ever force is nec­es­sary to stop the in­ter­ac­tion (such as self-de­fense).

Clearly, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple prac­tice this phi­los­o­phy in their daily lives. When hav­ing in­ter­ac­tions with other peo­ple we don’t use force or any other form of ag­gres­sion to get oth­ers to sub­mit to our will; we find peace­ful ways to solve our dis­agree­ments and dif­fer­ences.

Find­ing peace­ful, vol­un­tar y so­lu­tions to com­plex prob­lems is the essence of vol­un­tar yism. Some peo­ple may say “so what? Of course, most peo­ple prac­tice vol­un­tar yism. It’s com­mon sense.”

That’s true, but so­ci­ety seems to have cre­ated a gi­ant ex­emp­tion: pol­i­tics. Ex­am­in­ing the po­lit­i­cal realm, it ap­pears a ma­jor­ity of so­ci­ety does not agree hu­man in­ter­ac­tion should be vol­un­tar y. Ap­pli­ca­tion of vol­un­tar yism in this realm has im­pli­ca­tions that are un­com­fort­able for many peo­ple.

The ma­jor im­pli­ca­tion is that gov­ern­ment is fun­da­men­tally il­le­git­i­mate. Gov­ern­ment can be de­fined as an or­ga­ni­za­tion with the per­ceived right to con­trol peo­ple within an ar­bi­trary re­gion by the ini­ti­a­tion of force, fraud and co­er­cion. Gov­ern­ment does not seek con­sent from those it at­tempts to rule and con­trol. In­stead, gov­ern­ment claims own­er­ship over its cit­i­zens due to them be­ing born within the ar­bi­trary re­gion it claims to rule. The im­pli­ca­tion here is that gov­ern­ment owns all of the land within its claimed re­gion, which is not the case.

Many will claim gov­ern­ment de­rives con­sent from its orig­i­nat­ing doc­u­ments, such as the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. How­ever, con­sent can only be granted on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis, and the right to rule oth­ers can­not be del­e­gated. Peo­ple writ­ing a doc­u­ment over 200 years ago can­not justly grant con­sent for ev­ery­one born there­after to be ruled.

Now let’s look at laws. Ev­ery law is a de­mand to sub­mit backed by the threat of force via gov­ern­ment en­forc- ers. The harsh truth is if you do not obey the com­mands of gov­ern­ment, then in­creas­ing vi­o­lence will be used against you un­til you sub­mit. Some laws pro­hibit in­vol­un­tar y in­ter­ac­tions and are thus le­git­i­mate in the name of self-de­fense, but the vast ma­jor­ity of laws do not. A spe­cific law, tax­a­tion, through which gov­ern­ment seeks to fund it­self, is an ex­am­ple of these il­le­git­i­mate threats. Gov­ern­ment de­mands money and threat­ens im­pris­on­ment for those who do not com­ply. If you refuse to pay taxes, then gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials will use in­creas­ing force.

Sim­ply put, tax­a­tion is theft. Some will say, but gov­ern­ment pro­vides us with goods and ser­vices so that’s not theft. The re­al­ity is you are never given a choice of whether you de­sired to pur­chase the ser­vices of gov­ern­ment. Tax­a­tion is theft be­cause of the cru­cial dif­fer­ence be­tween vol­un­tary and in­vol­un­tary in­ter­ac­tions: con­sent. Gov­ern­ment car­ries out its con­trol through mech­a­nisms of vi­o­lence, re­ly­ing en­tirely upon in­vol­un­tary in­ter­ac­tions.

“But how could we pos­si­bly have a civil so­ci­ety with­out gov­ern­ment?” is the typ­i­cal re­sponse. “What will hap­pen to the roads, the poor, ed­u­ca­tion, pro­tec­tion ser­vices, re­gional de­fense” The an­swer is, not sur­pris­ingly, vol­un­tary peace­ful in­ter­ac­tion.

The fact that gov­ern­ment ser­vices can be best pro­vided by the free mar­ket is just a bonus to the moral high ground of vol­un­tary­ism. A vol­un­tary so­ci­ety; one with­out gov­ern­ment, is cer­tain to bring about a more pros­per­ous and peace­ful so­ci­ety. The prin­ci­ples we live our lives by must be uni­ver­sally con­sis­tent; ei­ther in­vol­un­tary in­ter­ac­tion is il­le­git­i­mate, or le­git­i­mate. Help hu­man­ity evolve by ad­vo­cat­ing all hu­man in­ter­ac­tion be vol­un­tary and em­brac­ing the phi­los­o­phy of peace and pros­per­ity: vol­un­tary­ism.

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