Opting Out Is Moral

If we believe self-determination, and if we believe in the consent of the governed, then we must accept that each individual has a right to be governed by a government of their choosing. If a person wishes to live under a socialist government they should have that right. If a person wishes to live in a social democracy, with a mixed economy, and a comprehensive social safety net, they should have a right to do so. Likewise, if a person, after giving it a thorough consideration, decides that they would prefer to live in a state of nature with no government whatsoever, they should have that right as well.

It is unjust to take a large portion of a person’s productive output and spend it on ends that the person finds objectionable. Indeed, if we believe in human liberty, then we must not whitewash such actions. Whether or not we agree with a particular individual’s outlook, it is of the utmost importance that we recognize their right to live their life as they see fit.

It is hard for me to understand why such a position is considered controversial. After many hours of solitary thought I have reached a conclusion about how I think a society ought to be governed. However, I am not a utopian, nor do I think that I am infallible. In fact, there are surely some points that I am overlooking or do not entirely understand. For that reason, it is unthinkable to me that I should lobby any government to impose my worldview on those who disagree with me. What I find intolerable, however, is that there are many who, with gusto, would force me to live under a system of their design which I oppose.

Many will argue that this position, while theoretically sound, is impossible to realize in modern times. We have a system of government in the United States that has proved successful, and in any event the Civil War settled the problem of federal supremacy once and for all. That argument is akin to saying that human liberty, the social contract, and self-determination are dead in our times. That, I refuse to accept.

For if there is one thing that has proven to be enduring about the human species, it is their eventual rebellion against perceived injustices. There are many historians who see the human drama as a never ending struggle of liberty versus power; man’s battle against those who would deny him the right to his own life, liberty, and property. I agree with those historians.

As we can see with the recent occupy movements, people will not accept being denied what they see as inalienable rights. While I disagree with the aims of the occupy movements, I recognize the essential human characteristics of the demonstrations. People always have and always will rebel against what they see as grave infractions of their rights, as misguided as their view of what constitutes a right may be.

For my part, I view the gravest injustice that can be perpetuated against mankind as the act of taking something from somebody against their will and using it to support something they hate. This includes depriving us of the freedom to use our body as we like, the ability to enjoy the fruits of our labor, and the capability to use the scarcest resource of all, time, as we see fit.

In reality, this is not too much to ask for. As mentioned earlier, I would not deny anybody the right to form their own type of government and live peacefully under it. I would only ask that those who think like me be shown the same respect.

I favor a completely voluntary society under which nobody has the right to infringe upon another’s property. All relationships, including that between governor and governed, must be carried on in a voluntary fashion. Business relationships, romantic relationships, friendships, investments, social services, and every other type of human interaction must be based on mutual consent. For when coercion makes its way into any relationship, it spoils it.

Therefore, if you consider yourself to be a just and fair minded individual, please remove all thoughts of coercion from your mind. If you think a certain system is superior, rely on your intellect and the strength of your ideas to convince others of your opinion. At the end of the day, you can rest assured that you have presented your ideas in a way that is eminently moral. On the other hand, if you are unable, through the use of reason alone, to make a convincing case for your beliefs, for the sake of justice, please allow others the right to disagree and live their lives as they wish.

In the final analysis, this means that each individual should have the right to opt out of any government system that they currently find themselves living under. Be it city, county, state, or federal, a person must be provided with an escape. If the services that the government provides are worth the money that it charges, few people will choose to take advantage of the escape hatch. However, if the government becomes a bad deal, it is unconscionable and against all measures of justice and reasonableness, to force a person to continue to suffer under it.

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