Pages Navigation Menu

Action Without Coercion

State Borders Are Legal Fictions Used to Justify Acts of Aggression

GOVERNMENT with magnifying glass on grange world map
[NOTE: The following is a complete transcript of my opening statement for my debate on the subject of Borders, the State and Legal Fictions]

“Bureaucracy”, derived from the French noun, bureaux, meaning “office”, and Greek suffix -kratia, meaning “power or power over; authority; might; rule” is etymologically defined as “the power of the office”. A bureaucracy is an entity, such as as a business or governmental unit, that does not have a market-based price mechanism because it relies upon funds that are extracted by force, or the threat of imprisonment or death
; to reiterate, a bureaucracy includes both nominally private and public entities that rely upon money extracted through compulsory taxation. This would explicitly include entities such as defense contractors, who rely almost explicitly on funding through contracts with the so-called government, as well as welfare recipients, who rely on money taken directly out of your paycheck.

Individuals act. This is why we should not address the issue of a bureaucracy as a collective but rather as separate individuals, called bureaucrats, acting on market incentives, or lack thereof.

As the Washington Examiner, speaking of defense contractors, reported, “Rates for labor are offered as a price to the government, with no information available as to how much is used for overhead, profit or actually distributed to workers in the form of pay. Moreover, the government does not collect data on the number of contractors it hires… the median total compensation for a security guard in the private sector is $32,953 [in Federal Reserve Notes], roughly double the minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics… Further up the ladder, the hourly rate multiplies. A midlevel manager contracted through defense giant Science Applications International Corp. costs $195.99 an hour for government work done at SAIC sites, according to the [General Services Administration]. For work done on government sites, SAIC offers the discounted rate of $166.60 an hour for the same middle-management position. The federal government purchased $510 million of such services from SAIC in 2013, according to GSA data.”

Defense contractors, just as any bureaucracy, lack a market-interfacing price mechanism insofar as they rely upon the monopoly on the use of force known as “government.”

As Lysander Spooner said, “If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized.”

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a legal fiction is a claim which is believed or assumed to be true; such claims are “used in judicial reasoning for avoiding issues where a new situation comes up against the law, changing how the law is applied, but not changing the text of the law.”

Legal fictions are often used to justify the extraction of wealth and enforcement of property claims. Borders are political boundaries which amount to claims on land, backed up by the threat of death or imprisonment, but the empirical case for the existence of such claimed boundaries in the observable world is weak.

In order to establish property rights, by which I mean the justified acquisition of property, one must have acquired the property by means of exchange with a previous owner or by demonstrating control of the land through one’s labor and continued maintenance of the property.

US-Mexico border wall looking east from Naco, Arizona

Some will reference fences, such as the fence spanning across California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but this is only evidence of a physical boundary, akin to me installing a fence between myself and my neighbor’s land. In contrast to a fence between my yard and my neighbor’s, the physical boundary that is intended to represent the legal fiction of borders is only representative of the threat of death or imprisonment that supports every property claim made by bureaucrats.

Bureaucratic entities do not hold justly acquired property, and moreover the claims by bureaucrats on property are said to be owned “collectively”, which means for all practical purposes that it is not property, because individuals act, not groups.

Terrorism is defined as the deliberate commission of an act of violence in furtherance of a political agenda. Legal fictions are often used in pursuit of such ends. Advocating the use of initiatory violence and the threat of death or imprisonment to enforce a legal fiction, such as an arbitrary boundary loosely mapped by bureaucrats, is terrorism.

A performative contradiction arises when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the presuppositions of asserting it. Claiming to seek the abolition of aggression by state actors while advocating the use of legal fictions as a means of furthering a bureaucracy’s political agenda, regardless of who enforces it, is a performative contradiction.

The state is defined as a political body, made up of citizens owing a duty of allegiance in return for a duty of protection. They are reciprocal obligations, meaning that without one you cannot have the other.

There is no empirical evidence that those who claim to be government have any duty whatsoever to protect us. All empirical observations lead to one necessary conclusion: these are only men and women who seek to extract wealth from the rest of us on a compulsory basis.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter, Get Alternatives to Government

Listen to your hosts Ryan Bannister and Dan Johnson on Voluntary Now Radio, answer questions like "How would a free society actually work?" with real-world responses, and get notified of the latest alternatives to forced society. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!