Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Be A Teacher

Some of us know someone who is involved with governmental efforts to enforce laws.  Some of the laws they enforce do more harm than good.  Their employer will always tell them they have no business letting their personal beliefs interfere with their job.  Many people buy this, or at least pretend to buy it, in order to keep earning money.  Losing that job would be devastating.  So it makes sense to avoid letting your beliefs interfere with your job.

Deep down, everyone loves voluntaryism because when "other people" follow that particular code in their dealings, it makes everything better.  Most people generally follow voluntaryist principles, even government employees while doing their jobs.  However, when it comes time to follow the part of the job description which calls for violating the principles of voluntaryism, the job wins.  Again, this is because it makes sense to avoid letting your principles or beliefs interfere with your job.

Don't worry, this essay is not going to keep painting the same dismal picture.  It's based, after all, on a claim that is being debated all over the liberty movement.  The debate is whether or not, as Wendy McElroy put it, "there are embers within every person" which burn with the energy of freedom, longing to warm an otherwise cold and dismal world.  Every person.  It's probably obvious which side I'm on, and I'm begging you to join me.  Be a Teacher.  How do you do that with someone who is involved with governmental efforts to enforce laws, especially when it makes sense to avoid letting your beliefs interfere with your job?

The answer is the second paragraph of this essay, applied to their superiors.  Those who enforce government legislation are constantly picking and choosing which laws to enforce and which to ignore.  Sometimes, the really sociopathic creeps at the top see this as a problem in their efforts to accomplish some kind of nefarious job through the enforcement of some seedy legislation (like the Monsanto Protection Act, for example).  To combat their underlings wise (for the general welfare of all) looking-the-other-way, they find the biggest problems the law is supposed to solve, they institute some kind of reward for enforcing the law that's supposed to help and tell their underlings to put more effort into it.

This is the pressure point, and Bradley Manning's prosecutors know it... or at least one of their superiors knows it.  Whoever it is that knows it is certainly a creepy kind of sociopath.  Some might think it's Chris Dodd.  But it doesn't matter who it is.  It is obvious that they know because this pressure point is exactly where Brandley Manning pushed.  He took the information from his superiors that supported and encouraged non-voluntaryist behavior, and he made it public.  The threat of such publication, on an individual basis, is often enough.  But in Manning's case, any such threat would have backfired.  Snowden had the same problem.  They both did the right thing, publishing what was given to them in confidence because they sensed the harm in it.

So if you know someone who enforces legislation as part of their job, encourage them to pick and choose what they enforce, congratulate them on ignoring the  most destructive laws (most of the Monsanto Protection Act, I imagine, and that law against raw milk), and help them prepare to publish whatever destructive schemes their superiors cook up to get these nefarious laws enforced.  But before doing that, be a teacher, because they're going to see a problem with these efforts to promote freedom and peace, namely, their superiors.

Good teachers ask questions.  It's called the Socratic method, and it works pretty well.  It also saves you a lot of time when your pupil already happens to know what you're trying to teach.  So here are some questions that should open a discussion with those you know who happen to get paid for enforcing laws:
  1. Are there laws that you're supposed to enforce, but you just ignore them?
  2. Why do you ignore them?
  3. Are there laws you think should generally be ignored because enforcing them makes things worse?
  4. Have you noticed any effort from your employer to get you and your coworkers to enforce laws that tend to make things worse?
  5. Would/do you discuss them with anyone?
  6. Would your boss tell you where those efforts come from?
  7. If a reporter were interested, would you name names if you had them?
  8. Do you want to help create a culture in which those higher ups who create or encourage the enforcement of harmful legislation will be pressured not to?
If your discussion seems fruitful, suggest that they create their own list of questions to ask their boss if and when their failure to enforce certain laws comes up.  If it doesn't seem fruitful, this may be because the person you're trying to reach has gone too far down the rabbit hole.  Be a friend, and follow them.  Tie a mental string to the fundamental axiom: an individual's conscience is an important force of good.  Remember that as you explore the personal landscape of your pupil.  Be nice, and they may find their conscience and start using it.

If you didn't notice that I just insinuated that enforcing laws you think are harmful as part of your job is a violation of your own conscience, a prostitution of yourself, a whoring out of your being, well, now I've said it explicitly, but only because you have read this far.  If you say that to someone who is doing it, they will ignore you, and that just makes things worse.  Be a friend, and let them come to that conclusion on their own.  That's what good teachers do.