It Beats the Alternative? Let's Think about That!
As people get older, we sometimes hear them joke that it beats the alternative, which is usually left unsaid.
There’s another sense in which the alternative is assumed to be far worse than one’s present condition: The type of government almost all people live under, which is the state, here used in the Max Weber sense of an entity successfully claiming a "monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” As bad as states might be — the argument goes — it certainly beats the alternative, anarchy.
Is it possible states create the conditions normally associated with anarchy, thought to be a condition of widespread chaos and lawlessness? If we look at history, we find evil in government. It violates every notion of human decency and justice, though there are degrees of difference. A few examples may serve to freshen our memory.
The current war in Ukraine brings to mind Stalin’s imposition of starvation on the Ukrainian people in 1932-1933, as part of his collectivization of farming, which according to this study resulted in an estimated 4.9 million total deaths. Stalin seized Ukrainian crops and grains as punishment for failing to meet quotas and for resisting collectivization. Also known as the “Great Famine, or Holodomor (extermination by hunger), Ukrainians suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of Stalin’s “collectors.”
Peasants accused of being food hoarders typically were sent off to prison, though sometimes the collectors didn’t wait to inflict punishment. Two boys who were caught hiding fish and frogs they’d caught, for example, were taken to the village soviet, where they were beaten, and then dragged into a field with their hands tied and mouths and noses gagged, where they were left to suffocate.
Stalin’s wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, committed suicide in late 1932, which according to playwright Mikhail Shatrov stemmed from her violent disagreement with Stalin over his murderous policies.
Anarchy would have been a blessed option for Ukrainians had they been able to free themselves from Stalin’s grip. Given the power of today’s left-dominated governments and the global push for a Great Reset, humanity’s ultimate horror may still lie ahead.
Is democracy the answer to state growth?
One could argue that democracy — people power — prevents the rise of totalitarian regimes. A researched analysis of the fraudulent covid pandemic, however, where Western governments turned authoritarian overnight and most people obeyed, scraps that idea.
The state, as sovereign, de facto outlaws genuine democracy.
Doubt it? How about a vote on the income tax or the state’s official counterfeiter, the Federal Reserve? Not a chance. Our bipartisan overseers won’t allow it. Even worse, thanks to government schools and the state’s official propaganda ministry, most people are at peace with government theft as long as standard euphemisms are applied, such as Treasury’s “taxes” and the Fed’s “accommodation.”
By the way, have you, a non-government citizen, been consulted about the tactical advantages of limited nuclear war? No? How do you like that arrangement?
According to most dictionaries, synonyms for anarchy include lawlessness, disruption, turmoil, disorganization, and disintegration. This is a fair description of conditions in the US and other countries during the so-called pandemic. Such terms also describe countries being bombed back to the stone age, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where “righteous” states have intervened to eradicate evil or “defend the freedom” of their clueless citizens thousands of miles back home.
Turmoil also depicts the current state of Venezuela, where “dangerously softhearted” World Vision says that
One out of every three Venezuelans is food-insecure and in need of urgent food supplies, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). Once-eradicated diseases like cholera and malaria have returned, and children are increasingly dying of causes related to hunger and malnutrition. . . .
Venezuelan migrants who returned to the country after losing their jobs abroad in the wake of the pandemic have been unable to earn wages back home. Shortages of fuel, electricity, and clean water have sparked riots and left many migrants with no choice but to flee again.
Even Zimbabwe, once the poster child for hyperinflation, is at it again as the Zimbabwean dollar “has been devalued by over 40% since the beginning of the year.” To avoid another currency collapse, central bank governor John Mangudya has inaugurated a program allowing Zimbabweans to exchange their dollars for gold coins.
Gold, the hallmark of a fully free market, meaning a society that enforces property rights, is coming to the rescue of Zimbabweans. Apparently, when corruption runs its course, some states will try anything, even a temporary return to honest money.
Given what the US state and its coalition partners have done to small countries, to American military personnel, to the cultural climate of peace and liberty that makes civilization possible, it’s hard to imagine a stateless America would be even worse.
What makes our leaders “great”?
Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR are not renowned for their anarchist views. Through the state they had the means to go to war while forcing others to do the killing and dying. Through the state they had the propaganda tools and the arms to keep most of the public compliant. Through the state they had the means to steal wealth from their citizens to pay for it. Even today, with their crimes detailed online, they remain among the “great” in American history because of a pliant public and a state-controlled media and educational system.
It wasn’t anarchy that produced the massive death and devastation of the two world wars. It wasn’t anarchists who built atomic bombs. It wasn’t anarchists who dropped them on civilian populations.
It beats the alternative?