Anarchism is Near, Statism is Far

Adam asks me,

…what is the ideal here, and when is enough enough? This directly parallels “all-things-considered” rationality; when is a citizen’s policy position “all-things-considered” enough to make one a good citizen tout court?

I fear I may not have been as clear in my original post as I could have been, because I believe Adam’s taken a different point than I’d intended to make.

Admonishing those who don’t acknowledge the full costs of XYZ public policy preference is admonishing those who’ve adopted a telescopic morality. The state is the terminus of legitimate power. There are very few recourses to an unjust state action. So, if you outsource to the state, I’d ask that one fully understands the nitty-gritty necessary to have your plate of pork chops, and that, just because one chooses to act through a mostly-unimpeachable third party, it is not an excuse to outsource one’s ethics. I’d argue, instead, it becomes more important to “get right” your politics.

If you outsource your law enforcement, you are, at least by some greater-than-0 amount, complicit in its methods. If you outsource your children’s education and their safety, you are, at least by some greater-than-0 amount, complicit in its methods. We all work on the margin, and, through marginal reforms, hope to make police abuses less prevalent and school administrators less insane. However, these trade-offs are ever-present, just the relative magnitudes may change.

Now, this is not to say that government cannot be a potential answer to a given problem. Maybe whatever cost-benefit analysis a person chooses to employ shows a clear advantage. Government is the gun in the middle of the room, and just because someone really, super-duper likes a given policy goal’s implementation, that doesn’t absolve him of the ethical duty to understand the costs of their super groovy, state-violence-backed public policy preference. Don’t blink at the implications.

Anyways, to answer Adam’s actual question: #phronesis

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