The Moral Vacuum and Government

There is a large moral vacuum in all of human society. Only a few people see it, but mostly everyone ignores it and accepts it as “how things are.” I’m talking about government, the collection of individuals that call themselves “government” at least, and the individual. There is a flagrant, inconsistent logic that what is immoral for the individual is somehow moral for the collective. Of course this makes no sense since the collective is just, as the name implies, a collection. Specifically a collection of individuals.

F.A. Hayek said “The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualists ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule.” There is a philosophical reversal. If I steal from you, it’s wrong. Of course, everyone knows this. If I steal from you while I wear a magic badge and suit, and have the blessing of a greater number of people than you, the individual, than it’s “for the greater good” and perfectly moral. In fact, if you resist, while I have my magic badge and suit, I can kidnap you and throw you in a cage. I can even kill you so long as I have the blessing of the collective.

The end justifies the means in a collectivist society. Unfortunately, this means the individual is sacrificed “for the greater good.” Be it taxation, conscription, intervention in the market that limits progress, entrepreneurship and prosperity, all of it damages the individual. But who is the “real” greater good? Is it you and me? Or is it the cronies in Washington? Do government regulatory organizations really help you and me or are the specifically designed to kill competition? Do wars half way across the world really protect you and me and our freedoms or are the totally fabricated in order to expand the power of the state and decrease the power of the individual domestically? Once you realize that government is separate from the moral obligations that we expect the individual to follow, you realize all of the endeavors government undertakes are not in the general welfare but in the welfare of their special interests in sponsors.

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