People Are Naturally Peaceful

I went to a big event this weekend and saw between five and ten thousand people. There were a lot of Indian people from India there. There were a lot of Chinese people. There were a lot of Mexicans. White people, my ethnicity, were  the overwhelming minority.

Everybody got along beautifully. We all ate burgers and hot dogs, smiled and waved at each other, commented on what we were looking at, took pictures, and had a good time.

The event was the Tulip Festival in Mt. Vernon, WA. You pay five bucks, sit in a bunch of traffic, and then you get out of your car and walk around huge Tulip farms. There were Tulip and Daffodils of all colors as far as the eye could see.

If human beings were naturally antagonistic towards one another, this would have been the perfect place for that type of behavior to show itself. A bunch of people from different towns and countries were shoulder to shoulder. Kids were crying, parents were scolding. People were cutting in line. The cashiers at the food stations were so busy that they became a bit snooty.

Yet, patience and good humor prevailed. We all just shrugged our shoulders and rolled our eyes when something annoying happened. Clearly, humans tend toward peace and have an aversion to conflict. Most will go to great extremes to avoid unpleasantness.

But why was there even a Tulip Festival in the first place?

The literature said that the purpose of the Festival is to give Washington state residents a greater appreciation of natural beauty. It did that. The Tulips were gorgeous. But lets not kid ourselves. The Festival is put on for the farm owners and the city of Mount Vernon to make a buck.

Don’t think for a second, however, that profitability ruins the event. Quite the opposite. Have you ever been to an establishment that you really like and thought “I hope this place is doing good business, I want to be able to come back”? That’s kind of how I felt yesterday. Thank goodness there were so many people there spending money, the Tulip Festival is sure to be around for years to come.

Actually, because the traffic was so dense, and there were so many people on each farm, an astute investor must predict growth in the Mt. Vernon Tulip sector. This is the way the price system works. When there is so much demand for a particular good or service that profits become enormous, you can bet that more of those services will be offered.

This means more exquisite tulips. Who can complain about that?

Perhaps the greatest part of the whole experience is that it was all voluntary. Nobody was taxed to put on the Tulip Festival. Entrepreneurial farmers planned and organized the whole event. They got corporate sponsors. They burned up the airwaves with advertising. They hired the workers to direct the traffic and cook the hot dogs.

The spectators showed up voluntarily and spent their money freely. Nobody was forced to do anything that they didn’t want to do. The result was a smashing success.

This all relates back to the title of this article. People are indeed naturally peaceful. The business of human life proceeds day after day, year after year, in a peaceful and harmonious fashion. The overwhelming majority of human interactions are carried out in a civil and peaceful manner.

In general, all parties benefit from voluntary interactions. If this were not the case, the transactions would not be undertaken. Transaction by transaction, human civilization is built up and maintained. Land is cleared, crops are planted, buildings are built, children are raised and educated, and the world continues on a course of never ending progress.

Surprisingly peaceful and rapid progress is the true story of the human experience.

Unfortunately, there is one factor that can spoil the whole thing: force. Force also goes by the name of violence.

Fortunately, almost everybody abstains from practicing violence. The Tulip Festival is a good example of that reality. Ten thousand people get together on a Sunday afternoon and not even so much as a shoving match breaks out.

Unfortunately, there are people in the world who resort to aggression to get their way. They aren’t satisfied with participating in voluntary relationships. They prefer to take what they want with or without agreement from their victims. Such people are criminals.

Because this type of act is such a novelty, we constantly hear about it on the news. It is so rare for most people to get into a high speed chase, or a shootout with the police, that we find it fascinating. The more we listen to the news, the worse things seem. But the fact remains. Humans, for the most part, are very peaceful.

There is, I am sad to say, one form of violence which goes unnoticed by most. In fact, this form of violence is actually supported and even encouraged by the great mass of humans.

Its hard to comprehend why human beings, so peaceful and civil for the most part, would countenance such a stark deviation from the norm. Remember that force occurs whenever voluntary action is abandoned. Anytime a person is made to do something against their will, we have abandoned the arena of peace entered the the world of coercion.

Yet, when wars breakout we are told to support our troops and our country. We want the government to take more and more money from rich people. People want free healthcare and free education. These things can only happen if we take money and resources from one group and give them to another.

None of this is voluntary and therefore is not peaceful. If it is not peaceful, it is uncivilized. If it is uncivilized, it flies in the face of human nature.

Why is it allowed then? Surely a huge majority could bend a tiny minority to its will. This continues to go on due to a lack of understanding.

The surest way to change the world for the better is to educate people about their true interests. A peaceful and voluntary society coincides well with human nature and it also brings about constantly increasing prosperity.

Spread the word.

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