• AntonioP
    15
    The Most Dangerous Superstition is a book written by Larken Rose, in which he argues that the belief in political authority, or the institution of government, is the most dangerous superstition people have been taught. He uses examples of the countless evils that have been committed in the name of political "authority" and the "law", such as genocides, acts of aggression like unprovoked wars, and oppression.

    Mr. Rose also makes the argument that the belief in political authority/the institution of government is a superstition because no one can legitimately wield political authority, as no one has the right to rule or forcibly control another as if he or she were his slave.

    I am interested in your thoughts, and if any of you have heard of or read the book.
  • Paine
    2.2k

    So, what do you think about it? Maybe you could quote what was particularly meaningful to you.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    I don't see any realistic alternative to political authority. There are billions of people living close together. There are no longer many places to run off to if you don't like the way things are going. Just about everywhere you go there is another political authority waiting.

    What does Rose suggest?
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Sounds like a standard libertarian, anti-governmental screed. Rose is a high profile anti-tax protester. Personally I think we should abolish human beings. Have you read about the harm these creatures have done - even before the birth of government - the tyranny, the unprovoked aggression and countless evils....
  • Andrew4Handel
    2.5k
    "American libertarian and tax protestor. Larken Rose was sentenced to 15 months in prison for willful failure to file income tax returns in five years in which the government alleged that his income was approximately $500,000. He was released from prison in December 2006."

    https://www.readthistwice.com/author/larken-rose
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    in which he argues that the belief in political authority, or the institution of government, is the most dangerous superstition people have been taught.AntonioP

    Sounds like typical conservative/libertarian ideological propaganda. If the remedy is anarchy, or Citizens Militia's carrying AR-15's and ready to shoot 'tyrants', or 'sovereign citizens' who don't believe that laws and taxes apply to them, then count me out.

    I mean, it completely misrepresents the idea of representative democracy, which is based on informed consent. We designate representatives to enact laws to maintain order, and so on. Depicting that as slavery or involuntary submission is a dangerous falsehood in my view.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Tell that to the 'tax is theft' mob. :wink:
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    they'd probably shoot me.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    At least it will be quick...
  • AntonioP
    15
    So, what do you think about it? Maybe you could quote what was particularly meaningful to you.Paine

    If I tried, the quote would probably be missing context, since the arguments in the book are tied together and make more sense as a whole. Either way, I agree with his main argument that the idea of political authority is illegitimate.

    ↪AntonioP Sounds like a standard libertarian, anti-governmental screed.Tom Storm

    And this sounds like an ad hominem fallacy. You have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into believing the institution of government is good that you get angry at even the suggestion that this might not be the case.

    I mean, it completely misrepresents the idea of representative democracy, which is based on informed consent. We designate representatives to enact laws to maintain order, and so on. Depicting that as slavery or involuntary submission is a dangerous falsehood in my view.Wayfarer

    You can call voting "consenting", but why would you consent to allowing politicians to write and pass whichever laws they feel like? That is what "representative democracy" actually is. They have the final say in what laws they pass, and you have to obey them even if you disagree with them. You are okay with voting for your own subjugation?

    Some of the posts in this thread make me think of how those who supported the idea of having a king or monarchy sounded, denouncing those who rejected the king's right to rule as "dangerous" and "crazy". In the end, monarchies still lost their power and faded away.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    You can call voting "consenting", but why would you consent to allowing politicians to write and pass whichever laws they feel like?AntonioP

    You wouldn't. You'd vote them out. Of course you're never going to have a situation where all people like all the laws, but it's the 'least worst option'. And that kind of cynical misrepresentation is far more likely to lead to an autocracy than representative democracy is.
  • AntonioP
    15
    By voting to give them power in the first place, you are agreeing to give them the power to potentially outlaw future elections. You would be at their mercy, so your solution of voting them out is being hopeful at best.
  • Art48
    464
    The Most Dangerous Superstition is a book written by Larken Rose, in which he argues that the belief in political authority, or the institution of government, is the most dangerous superstition people have been taught. He uses examples of the countless evils that have been committed in the name of political "authority" and the "law", such as genocides, acts of aggression like unprovoked wars, and oppression.

    Mr. Rose also makes the argument that the belief in political authority/the institution of government is a superstition because no one can legitimately wield political authority, as no one has the right to rule or forcibly control another as if he or she were his slave.
    AntonioP

    Does he discuss a better social structure than political authority? If not, then his criticism may be true but it's not actionable. Simply eliminating all political authority would be a disaster. Does he describe a better system?
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    And this sounds like an ad hominem fallacy. You have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into believing the institution of government is good that you get angry at even the suggestion that this might not be the case.AntonioP

    Perhaps you've been so thoroughly indoctrinated into thinking anything not anti-government is bad that you imagine I must be aggrieved. It was just an observation. 'Indoctrinated'? 'Angry'? Sounds more like you're doing the ad hominem's around here. Which is alright by me, I'm not the gatekeeper of tone.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    By voting to give them power in the first place, you are agreeing to give them the power to potentially outlaw future elections. You would be at their mercy, so your solution of voting them out is being hopeful at best.AntonioP

    And the only realistic hope. They would be at our mercy, expressed at the ballot box. And up until January 6 2021 in the US, there had never been any serious attempt to thwart the transfer of political power. Odd how libertarians are most likely to support the one guy who had a serious shot at overturning democracy.

    Without democratic assent, how to make any kind of collective decision? You know, how to run railroads, hospitals, spend public money? If it was all up to individuals to make those decisions, then who gets to make them? The one with the most weapons? The loudest voice?

    There's only one party here that's been duped, and it ain't me.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    ↪AntonioP Sounds like a standard libertarian, anti-governmental screed.
    — Tom Storm

    And this sounds like an ad hominem fallacy.
    AntonioP

    You clearly don't know what "ad hominem" means. Wikipedia:

    Typically this term refers to a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

    It's clear that @Tom Storm's comment was about your argument and not about you.

    You have been so thoroughly indoctrinatedAntonioP

    Now this is an ad hominem argument. Ironic.
  • L'éléphant
    1.4k

    May I request that when the OP mentions a book or article or essay, that to include at least a passage from that reading?
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k


    Note that no one can do anything other than pooh-pooh his criticisms and try to attack his character as if they knew the guy, and all to defend a system in which they pretend they have some modicum of control. It’s knee jerk, like he was saying something about their mom.

    I think it’s a good book. The superstition is obvious. None of which critics say is even physically true, let alone logically. They pretend politicians represent them, as if a person they’ve never conversed with, nor ever would, was somehow able to grasp their concerns. It’s all true to them by sheer force of repetition, or ritual, or whatever else it takes the superstitious to begin to believe nonsense.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    Mr. Rose also makes the argument that the belief in political authority/the institution of government is a superstition because no one can legitimately wield political authority, as no one has the right to rule or forcibly control another as if he or she were his slave.AntonioP

    What happens in the absence of a constituted government? The biggest, meanest bully puts himself in charge - and he doesn't care about rights.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    The superstition is obvious.NOS4A2

    Yup. Money is just as much a superstition. Is money a superstition that you want to give up?
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    Is money a superstition that you want to give up?praxis

    I do! I do! So does Larken Rose, since currency is issued and regulated by government. In case he wants to rethink his position, I recommend a reading of Lord of the Flies.
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k


    Money is just a medium of exchange. We could use jumping beans if it makes you feel better.
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Rose is absolutely right.

    Structures of political control are, at their very best, a necessary evil, and they need to be questioned and mistrusted at every turn. One need not look very far in our history to understand why.

    These structures are by nature piloted by the worst mankind has to offer, and responsible for the worst excesses mankind has known. They rely solely on coercion, and are especially prone to corruption the larger and less transparent they become.

    In discussions on this forum I have often been confronted by just how far acceptance for such a rotten concept have nested in society, to the point where it's nearly impossible for people to admit that something as simple as law is completely predicated on coercion (ergo, threats of violence).


    At it's core, political structures are a manifestation of man's desire to control others. At the individual level we would immediately recognize this as an immoral desire. Ironically, at the macro-level, there where such desires can produce the most harm, we consider it completely normal.

    A dangerous idea indeed.


    Democracy and ideas of 'legitimate' government are the culprits, I believe. They produce a facade of participation and fairness, when in reality they are scarcely better than the feudal systems they so readily condemn (and through the process of corruption have a tendency to degenerate back into that very same state).

    It's much easier to recognize oppression when the rulers are wearing crowns and sitting on gilded thrones. By masking the dynamics of power, ideas of 'legitimate government' have expanded the power of the monarchs while lullling the public to sleep.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    We could use jumping beans if it makes you feel better.NOS4A2

    Right, WE have to agree on the “superstition”. Why is it okay to agree on a medium of exchange but not on a political representative or institutions of a state?
  • IP060903
    57
    Political authority is derived from the fundamental concept of hierarchy, that there is something higher than something else. Say A is higher than B, then A has every right to control B. To deny political authority is to deny hierarchy, it is to accept that everything is exactly the same and identical to one another. This is not necessarily false, but it is to accept that there is only one thing and one thing only.
  • Benj96
    2.3k
    Mr. Rose also makes the argument that the belief in political authority/the institution of government is a superstition because no one can legitimately wield political authority, as no one has the right to rule or forcibly control another as if he or she were his slave.AntonioP

    It's about consentual bdsm. Consenting to have someone else bind you in a system of rules and govern your life, dominate your social and political capabilities and conventions on your behalf, hopefully with your best interests at heart - safety/security, enjoyment, medicine, luxury and entertainment all available and close at hand, and this is done by election/will of the many.

    That is not slavery to a system, but informed consent. Democracy. Especially when any citizen is free to campaign to become the master/dominatrix - presidency, prime ministry etc.

    So long as there is a choice to live outside the system, or "off the grid", then passive or active participation and contribution to society is by consent.

    If one is not happy with societies rules and structure. They are free to live self-sustainably. You can squat, live peripherally or nomadically (like itinerants, amish, romani or other marginal communities left to their own devices) or further still camp out in the most isolated unpopulated regions, grow your own food, collect your own firewood and make your own remedies, textiles etc. Free from money, taxes, and the law to pretty much the largest degree possible. Unknown, difficult to access communes.

    There are many uninhabited islands and regions in the world, and several of them in dispute over nationality or ownership, and despite that, should one survive there they will never encounter any opposition from any authority.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    Money is just a medium of exchange. We could use jumping beans if it makes you feel better.NOS4A2

    It doesn't matter what the coinage looks like; any medium of exchange, in order to be generally accepted and used, needs an issuing agency that can standardize, valuate and regulate its.

    Why is it necessary to assume that all governance is control by other people? Why should the organization of social, co-operative and mutually beneficial activities be left to the bullies? Why can it not be consensual protection against the bullies who will always try to take over?
  • unenlightened
    8.9k
    Property is the first superstition. Property rights are what government is built on. As the man said "Render unto the federal government that which has the federal government seal upon it" - that eye in the pyramid thingy, or whatever.

    Libertarians do tend to forget that the privacy of their estates, large or small, are a fiction maintained by government.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    :up:

    I’ll add the associated superstition that workers are free and equal parties to their employment contracts, rather than coerced by and subordinate to those who own and control private property.
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k


    Colonization is a fiction too because tribes had no governments and thus nothing could be stolen.
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