Saturday, March 26, 2011
COLUMN NOTES: For those interested in more detail about this headline, I advocate for the type of anarchism generally known as "free-market anarchism." If you interested, I trust you have the ability to do a google search and begin your own journey into the ideas. Of course if you do want to discuss it with me, I'm happy to do so, just contact me.
HARBESON: It’s a voluntary reaction
I see that Floyd County Republican Party chairman Dave Matthews is upset with me again. Poor Dave, he struggles to understand my viewpoint. He’s not the only one.
Others have struggled to understand why they can agree wholeheartedly with me one week and perhaps the very next week find themselves thinking I must be a wacko (insert label here).
Dave did not like what I had to say in a recent column about State Rep. Steve Stemler, who is rumored to be a Democrat. Or is it Republican? I forget. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter.
Anyway, I’m not sure how often Mr. Matthews disagrees with me but I remember the last time he decided to go public about a disagreement. It was after a 2009 column questioning our country’s worship of Abraham Lincoln, after I learned more about his actions while president.
COLUMN NOTE: I wrote a response to him at that time and am linking to it here because I think this entire series of columns and resulting interactions provides a great demonstration of how many of us get stuck in certain thought processes and entrenched in certain positions without really considering whether it's consistent and makes sense.
And yet in between these two instances, I enjoyed a series of cordial e-mail exchanges with Mr. Matthews, beginning when he e-mailed to congratulate me on another column I wrote about a politician. That one was about Lee Hamilton. He enthusiastically commended me for taking an “honest look” at the guy and for being “brave enough to take on an icon.”
He seemed to understand why I was questioning the actions of Hamilton. He seemed to understand when I pointed out that Hamilton played a part in instituting programs that increased federal government involvement into more areas of our lives. (All that money spent to fix problems and what’s in the headlines today? The same issues: health care and education.)
But what Dave seems to miss is that the underlying theme of all three columns is the same: society’s automatic reverence for politicians who claim to be above the fray and constantly spread the myth of government as a virtuous institution.
I realized during our e-mail conversation that he is also confused because he thinks my ultimate goal is smaller government (whatever that means). It’s not.
My goal is a society completely absent of the aggressive institution we call government. My goal is a society of voluntary interactions. Yes, that means I advocate a form of anarchism.
I didn’t always think this way of course. It’s a result of taking a serious look at what I claimed to value. I accept the nonaggression principle and once I decided to apply it consistently, I realized that if it’s not proper for me, as an individual, to initiate force on other individuals then it’s not proper to do it using an institution called government.
So, I must reject government because I reject the initiation of force on peaceful people. I have concluded that voluntary interaction is the only social order matching my values. This means I can’t hold reverence for government, an institution whose very foundation rests on aggression.
I hope Dave understands that this goal cannot be accomplished through politics. Politics is counter to the goal. I know he’s put a lot of time and energy into government as the answer, so I understand he may not be willing or able to accept what I accept.
But still, I have good news for Dave. Even if he doesn’t accept the principle and reach the conclusions I have, I’m not going to try and force him to do so.
Dave has chosen who he will voluntarily associate with by deciding not to read any more of my columns. I fully support him in his decision because freedom of association is one of the very tenets of voluntaryism.
For everyone else, you can follow Dave’s lead and stop reading, or you can continue to read, ponder and critically examine the points I make.
— Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson is starting to enjoy being referred to as that wacko “insert label here.”