Saturday, September 14, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
When is this relationship legitimate? Only when the subjugation is agreed to by the subjugated starting from a position of equal power. Typically, this only occurs in the bedroom.
The relationship between the government and the citizen is one of unequal power. The government spies on, searches, taxes, controls the movements of, the employment of, the abilities to express oneself of the citizen. This power relation is one of slaver and slavee. But is it legitimate?
Because the citizen has never agreed to this subjugation beginning from a position of equal power—s/he was never in a position to spy on, tax, search, or control the movements of the government. The agreement was made from a position of power imbalance.
Just as one may "agree" to hand over ones valuables to a thief at gunpoint, we "agree" to hand over our autonomy to the government.
The situation here is not unlike statutory rape. Even "consensual" sex between an adult and a child is reprehensible because the child is in no position to give consent. This is because of the power imbalance between the two participants. The adult abuses the child no matter what the child thinks s/he may have consented to or not. Such "consent" cannot be legitimate.
It is incorrect to identify reason as the distinguishing factor. The child is in no position to rationally assess the consequences of hir actions, one might say, but the mature citizen is, and can legitimately decide to cede power to the government.
This is a red herring. It is completely incorrect.
The only analysis of rationality we have is means / ends rationality. But by this reasoning, it is rational for the slave not to run (because s/he will be whipped); it is rational for the unarmed at gunpoint to hand over hir wallet; and it is rational for the child to submit to the adult who controls hir future. Rationality does not coincide with legitimacy or morality. The means / ends reason for ceding power may nevertheless be morally illegitimate.
This also explains why the government systematically grants itself more power (greater powers to spy, to search, to tax, to control), and why this is so dangerous. Not just pragmatically dangerous (though it is), but morally dangerous. In doing so, the government distances itself further and further from the ideal of legitimacy. The more powerful the government, the less possible any legitimate moral mandate from the governed.
We are being systematically raped by a villain who uses the money from our pockets and tears licked from our cheeks to empower himself to rape us more easily and frequently.
We are slaves.