More featuring Benjamin Marks»

by Benjamin Marks, Economics.org.au editor-in-chief

Using or threatening force to take the justly earned property off another is theft. You would hope that this point is not too controversial, that its implications would not lead to one of the most radical philosophies of today, that those people commonly considered smart would not disagree, and that some highly respected members of society are not the thieves. But, alas: it is, it does, they do, and they are. This thieving is not only happening in some far away time or place. In fact, it’s happening to you.

You are living under a cartelising, monopolising and racketeering gang of thieves. Your parents have been and their parents have been. Don’t believe me? What would make you? What would convince or even begin to convince you that you live under the aegis of a protection racket? What would you regard as being some evidence of it?

If you figured out that this criminal band is (and has been) using or threatening force to take money from you, in the name of protecting you from others doing the same, would that be enough? If you found out that this group called themselves “government” and their pillage “tax,” would you believe it then? If this government took special interest in making sure that what it wants children to learn is taught, even if it means confiscating children from their parents, how about then?

Speculate what living under a cartelising, monopolising and racketeering gang of thieves might entail. Would this gang claim to do things for its subject’s benefit? Would they allow some freedoms and enforce some rights, so they could claim they do believe in them, so they can use it as leverage for committing higher-priority oppressions? Would they ensure that they had control of the most important aspects of society: things like money, schooling, transport, business regulation, defence and the judiciary? Would the protection racket attempt to make itself look respectable and useful, and welcome into its arms anyone who considered it so? Would there be countless logical inconsistencies in the protection racket’s actions and policies, which the professoriate they fund and the syllabus they enforce ignore? Would the protection racket claim that its behaviour is consensual, without any evidence of written, signed and witnessed contracts? Would the protection racket maintain that the services it provides are of superior quality and of an entirely different type to the services that anyone else could provide, and that therefore the protection racket itself is an exception to the rules it applies elsewhere? Would the protection racket claim that a bit of paper gives them legitimacy, even if you didn’t sign it and it is an invalid contract (the Constitution) that would never be considered sufficient evidence of consent in a civilian relationship? Would the protection racket claim that the fact you do what they tell you and do not run off is evidence of consent, even though that would mean that paying a ransom to a kidnapper turns them into a babysitter?

Why then, if that is exactly the situation now, do you not think you are living under a protection racket? It takes a lot more effort to try and defend the protection racket than to say what it actually is. How can you, who may be otherwise-intelligent, support the protection racket? Do you really lack the alertness, education and confidence necessary to question such everyday occurrences?

No wonder you consider yourself many times more impressive than those you disagree with. You question neither your own reasoning nor the reasoning of those you disagree with. You simply spot that your own beliefs are different, and evade at all costs investigating the underlying principles behind your beliefs. When it appears there’s no friends, money, niceties, respectability or attention to be gained, but only lost, in questioning your most fundamental political beliefs, it is amazing how resourceful you become in finding every possible thing to do, other than considering whether anything would possibly convince you that you are living under a protection racket.

As soon as you are told you are wrong, you get defensive, not inquisitive; you don’t understand what you’ve named as an “enemy” and there’s more people on your side, so it’s an enemy you are not threatened by. There is no chance that if someone told you they could make a libertarian of you, if only you browsed the middle and right columns of Economics.org.au, that you would actually do it, even when no one is looking. If it can all fit on one page, it must be wrong, because otherwise everyone would believe it, and your knowledge of history assures you there has never been any pioneers in the realm of ideas or politics. Besides, you feel safe enough, everything is pretty good, you are so busy, and you don’t even need to explain to anyone why you refuse to say whether anything would possibly convince you that you are living under a protection racket, because no one even knows you read this article. And if you are caught you can just say that this article is so rude, the author clearly has no sense of humour and if he wants people like you to engage with his thoughts he is clearly going the wrong way about it.

You now consider whether the author is worth abusing. But now you’re embarrassed you’ve read this far, and become mildly amused at the whole piece and consider telling others about it with a short dismissive remark. And now you’re thinking how hard could it be to refute libertarianism anyway, but the author just seems to go on and on, and you can’t get a word in, and now you’re sure you don’t have time to bother with it, and you see that you were right before — as you always are, as you knew you were — that, if this rude, eccentric, repetitive, long-winded, self-indulgent, nobody of an author wants people like you to engage with his thoughts, he is clearly going the wrong way about it.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Acquiescence
  2. Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians
  3. Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
  4. Government Schools Teach Fascism Perfectly
  5. Deport Government to Solve Immigration Problem
  6. The Drugs Problem Problem
  7. Self-Defeating Campaigning
  8. Gittinomics: Economics for Gits
  9. Exclusive Ross Gittins Interview on The Happy Economist
  10. Population Puzzle Solved
  11. An Open Letter to the CIS
  12. Principled Foreign Policy Options: Reinvade or Shut Up and Get Out
  13. WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Political Corruption Exposed!
  14. Feedback please: Is this worth doing?
  15. CIS and IPA Defend State Schooling
  16. A Thorough Review Without Spoilers of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  17. Dead Reckoning and Government: A Proposal for Electoral Reform
  18. Quadrant Defends State Schooling
  19. The MPS 2010 Consensus
  20. Slogans for Property Rights Funeral
  21. Government is Impossible: Introduction
  22. Government is Criminal: Part 1
  23. Exclusive John Howard Interview on Lazarus Rising
  24. Response to Senator Cory Bernardi and the IPA
  25. Earn $$$$$ by Justifying Government Against Anarchocapitalism: Survey
  26. Statism is Secrecy: WikiLeaks vs Economics.org.au
  27. One question the Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the Greens, the CIS, the IPA, Ross Gittins, Ross Garnaut, Ken Henry, Gerard Henderson, John Quiggin, Clive Hamilton, Tim Flannery, Catallaxy Files, Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Phillip Adams, Robert Manne, Michael Stutchbury, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Dick Smith are scared to answer
  28. Libertarian Philanthropists Should Exploit Tax Evasion Convictions
  29. Ronald Kitching Obituary
  30. The Minarchist Case for Anarchism
  31. Libertarianism in a 300-word rant
  32. Economics.org.au in the news again
  33. Libertarianism In An Executive Summary
  34. The Banking Bubble Blow-by-Blow
  35. WARNING: Libertarianism Is NOT ...
  36. Would Anything Possibly Convince You that You Are Living Under a Protection Racket?
  37. An Open Letter to Dick Smith
  38. Economics.org.au at 42
  39. "My boyfriend calls himself a Marxist and votes Labor, what should I do?"
  40. "He says if I leave him due to politics, I should leave the country too."
  41. No Booboisie at Gülçin’s Galt’s Gulch
  42. "Hey, Mr Anarchocapitalist, show me a society without government"
  43. The Three Epoch-Making Events of the Modern Libertarian Movement
  44. Government is Criminal: Part 2 - Methodological Individualism
  45. Government is Criminal: Part 3 - Subjective Utility
  46. Government is Criminal: Part 4 - Praxeological Synonyms
  47. Government is in a State of Anarchy
  48. Limited Government is Absolute Government
  49. Why the 2012 double Nobel laureate is coming to Sydney
  50. Exclusive Oliver Marc Hartwich Interview on Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  51. A Critique of the Opening Two Sentences of the "About CIS" Page on The Centre for Independent Studies' Website, www.cis.org.au
  52. An invitation for ANDEV members to the Mises Seminar
  53. Sell the ABC to Rupert Murdoch: Lid Blown on ABC Funding Disgrace!
  54. www.inCISe.org.au, The Centre for Independent Studies new blog
  55. The Unconstitutionality of Government in Australia (demonstrated in under 300 words)
  56. The Best Libertarian Film Is ...
  57. Launch Southeast Asian Military Operations to Free Australian Drug Dealers and Consumers
  58. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  59. Hoppe's Inarticulate Australian Critics: The Hon Dr Peter Phelps, Dr Steven Kates and James Paterson
  60. Vice Magazine Westralian Secession Interview
  61. Sideshow to Dr Steven Kates' criticism of the Mises Seminar: Davidson vs Hoppe on Adam Smith
  62. The Best Australian Think Tank Is ...
  63. Announcing a new magazine to rival Time and The Economist
  64. The exciting new Australian Taxpayers' Alliance
  65. Neville Kennard Obituary
  66. Contrarian Conformism
  67. An invitation for Dick Smith, the IPA and other Walter Block fans to the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar
  68. Westralian mining legend Ron Manners of Mannkal belongs in The Property and Freedom Society
  69. What would Bert Kelly think of the Mises Seminar and Walter Block?
  70. Bad news about the Mises Seminar
  71. Gina Rinehart Fan Club gives big to Australian political education
  72. Sam Kennard wins North Sydney by-election by unanimous consent
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