FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Shutdown: a Good Start?

by THOMAS L. KNAPP

I’m hearing a lot of negativity — constructive negativity, but negativity nonetheless —  from my comrades on the libertarian left, concerning the US federal government’s “shutdown.” As the Center for a Stateless Society’s Kevin Carson notes with reference to “furloughed” government employees, “[S]ome of what government workers do — for example cops who enforce drug laws or brutally shut down Occupy protests — is illegitimate per se. But much of it is stuff — delivering mail, putting out fires, protecting people from actual assaults on their persons and possessions — that there would be a need for even in a free society. … These people are not our enemies.”

And across the more general political left, there’s quite a bit of attention paid to the negative specifics of the “shutdown.” One of those “create your own memes” that’s getting considerable web-play goes “US Government Shuts Down! LOL, Not the Killy Parts!”

The US armed forces are still occupying Afghanistan and staging abductions in Libya and Somalia.

The FBI and IRS are still kidnapping alleged entrepreneurs and stealing their stuff.

The Capitol Police are still gunning down unarmed mothers who make wrong turns in Washington, DC.

I beg to differ with my comrades, though.

Yes, the “shutdown” is weak tea — only 17% of the federal government, much of it in the “social safety net” areas that are likely to produce exactly the “please, please, please end the shutdown” backlash the politicians want, and much of it already crumbling over creative interpretations of the law.

Still, it’s a good start.

The era of the Westphalian nation-state, including but not limited to the United States, is coming to an end. My prediction remains that the US in particular, in anything like a form we’d recognize as such, is down to low- to mid-single-digit decades before it gives up the ghost.

The US can go out one of two ways.

One way is for it to gently phaseout, perhaps with things like this “shutdown” being made permanent and other government activities coming under the ax in future “shutdowns” until it just gently slips away to sleep and never wakes up again.

The other way is a la Romania, with a few bitter-ender “security personnel” making desperate runs for Dulles and planes out of the country from a cratered Capitol Hill, trying to get there ahead of a large crowd sporting Molotov cocktails and an exceptionally ugly attitude.

There’s probably not a lot that anarchists like myself can do to directly affect which of those endings transpires, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try for the gentler landing.

And that, in turn, calls for a little tough love for “furloughed” employees, recipients of welfare, etc.

The state is bad for everyone. That includes its employees, and it includes those who currently depend on government’s alleged largess just to get by.

When an alcoholic runs out of booze, you don’t offer to run to the liquor store for more. You offer to help the alcoholic find a program for overcoming addiction.

When an abusive spouse kicks his or her victim out of the house, you don’t assist the victim in begging to be taken back. You help the victim find another place to stay, so as to get started on a new, better life.

Ditto the “shutdown.” We shouldn’t be trying to get those government employees called back to work, or to get those government agencies to start cutting checks again. We should be doing our best to encourage and help both sets of victims transition to the voluntary sector for good.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail