So Ive been kicking these ideas about inside my head and want to hear what others think. To what degree should an apolilitical libertarian be involved with the state? You might say he should be involved not at all but that is a near impossibility. Probably even the least involved in the state do things like drive on state funded roads, hang out in public parks, walk on state funded sidewalks, pay at least some amount of taxes, purchase things from corporations at least somewhat in bed with the state etc. The other side of this is that people may accuse you of being hypocritical for using any degree of state services. I was telling my friend about agorism and mentioned that one easy yet probably highly profitable thing to do would be to bring lower tax cigarettes from VA to higher tax areas and sell them below local cost but above VA cost and she said "wont you have to use the governments roads for that?" The way I see it, there is a wide spectrum of involvement with the state, on one side would be living completely on your own, with absolutely NO state involvement as a subsistence farmer or something of the sort and on the other side would be a member of the political class. Agorists, apolitical libertarians are obviously not in the latter, but probably slightly more involved with the state than the former.
This kind of gets into the tightrope walk that I was talking about. Obviously by merely existing in current society we are kind of coerced into making some degree of use of state services, particularly the roads. I wouldn't say that one is a hypocrit for making use of them any more than a slave is a hypocrit for not murdering their master, because it would seem nonsensical to "blame the victim". In a very real sense we are victims of the state, since we are coerced with the threat of the law and force to do certain things. We have to put up with it to some degree if we wish to survive or function meaningfully in society. The alternative is basically death, or at least being thrown in an institutional rape room for the rest of your life or a significant portion of it. On the other hand, short of death or other extermities, there is plenty that we can do to minimize the effect that the state has on us and I think that the agorist merely advocates that we try our hardest to maximize interactions that fall under the state's nose and constitute civil disobedience. So while survival is important, I think that libertarians should nonetheless try to engage in as much civil disobedience as possible while still being able to get by in current society. Things like making use of the roads are kind of unavoidable. But the things that are more avoidable should probably be disobeyed.
We've been having a discussion of this in the "Living our ethics" thread in this group. I'd repeat some of what I said here, but it's long-winded.
You're friend who objected about using state roads, was that from the perspective of a "purist" libertarian who thinks using state roads is a violation of principle, or from the perspective of a statist who thinks you shouldn't be avoiding taxes?
The argument for the former would be that the road is unowned, and free to use by anyone. Essentially, everyone who drives over it is homesteading an easement across it. The argument for the latter would be that you can't invoke property rights ("government's" roads) on one hand and agree with the violation of them (cigarette taxes) on the other hand. You're not being hypocritical, you're applying the principle of property rights consistently.
The state won't go away once enough people want the state to go away,
the state will effectively disappear once enough people no longer care
that much whether it stays or goes. We don't need a revolution, we need
millions of them.
What about government loans? My student loans are government loans; when i started getting loans i wasn't really libertarian and this just ocurred to me the other day? On one hand, i'm taking loans from the government and will pay them back with interest so i feel like there's nothing inherently bad about what i'm doing... But on the other hand, i am still dealing with the government. I also go to a state school and not a 100% private university. Your thoughts on these issues? Should i transfer to a private college in order to be morally consistent?
nje, don't worry, over the coming years, the government will take far more back from you than you got from them.
To me, the whole idea of "don't take anything from the state and don't give them anything" is bit shortsighted. You might as well go live in a cave. The world is what it is, and you have to deal with it. The real moral virtue, in my opinion, is doing everything you can to live your life in a way that doesn't rely on benefits from the state, and that leaves you options for protecting yourself from them. It's hard, it takes constant vigilance, and there will be constant temptation. It's especially hard, because you don't have any hard and fast rules to go by, you only have principles, and have to keep applying them to what you do every day, day in and day out.
But that's what life is. In a sense, taking the hermit route is the easy way out, because then you don't have to think, to take chances, to risk mistakes, to be responsible for what you make of your life. Only you will ever know if you did the best you can, but you're the one
whose judgement of that you have to worry about, not the rest of us.
If you now think those loans and that state school were mistakes, then learn from that. Learn why you took that option, why you needed to take that option, learn what the true cost it them was, and why it may not have been worth it, and learn how to avoid needing it next time. If you decide that transferring is the best option, then do it, but don't let anyone or anything else make that decision for you. Just so you know, there are no private universities in the US, except for Hillsdale College in Michigan. I'm not even sure for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix are fully independent.
And pay those loans the way you agreed to. You may think the state doesn't deserve your good faith, and you'd be right, but you deserve to not let them turn you into the kind of person that shirks voluntarily chosen obligations.