Confusing a Society with its Country

I was recently reminded while commenting on a blog post on The Dollar Vigilante, that I had thought of an interesting hypothesis on how people confuse the name of a country with the name of that society. It seems to me that the linking of the name of a society to the name of the state that that society is in is one way in which the state gets ingrained in peoples minds. The reply on that comment I made expressed some confusion over what one would call an anarchist society given that it really wouldn’t be a country per se.

Society is made up of the voluntary interactions between people that bring benefit to both parties. These interactions over some sufficiently large scale build something up called a society. In all (with maybe the exception of Somalia) modern societies a group of people got together and formed what we know as a state, the government of that society, which dominates and suppresses the people of that society while attempting to appear benevolent. Then the name that people give the country, state or government is also the name they give to the society that is being dominated by that state, I think as a convenience of geography.

Boarders are artificial constructs! I remember arguing with my high school government teacher constantly about why it was that given I had never consented to be ruled under the constitution that I had to pay for people in Idaho’s interstate highways but not the roads of people in Quebec who were actually closer to me. His response was something along the lines of, well we live in a society that you came into being a part of at some point, if you don’t like it leave. I find that notion to be appalling. Simply because one does not wish to be extorted by a monopoly government that they did not consent to, they are told leaving is the only option to escape oppression. Certainly, I agree that leaving could be beneficial (especially given the current state of the US) however, why should one be prevented from declaring their small plot of land as an independent society and living off their land, accept nothing receive nothing from the US government.

I find the logical arguments of Lysander Spooner in No Treason especially appealing when examining these questions over whether or not a government actually has any authority over people. He demonstrates definitively that “under general principles of law and reason” the state is not something people all voluntarily agreed to enter into.

I am reminded of a couple of great songs that speak to these points. The first, is a song by Rush, whose songwriter is a libertarian. The second is a John Lennon song, while I would say Lennon’s anti-authoritarian views were incompatible with the way he desired societies run, the song still speaks to the point of anti-statism and  imagining a better society.


1 Response to “Confusing a Society with its Country”

  1. 1 Trackback on October 11, 2015 at 9:11 am

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