Re: Karl Popper on 'Why Government?'

David A Musick (
Mon, 19 Jan 1998 13:01:54 -0500

Warrl Tale wrote:

"A landlord charges you rent for the privilege of using something that
is his.

A state charges you taxes for the privilege of using something that
is yours."

Keep in mind that "your" property is only yours because the thousands or
millions of people around you haven't taken it from you. There is
nothing in physical law that prevents them from doing so. It is a
semi-mutual agreement among those millions of people which discourages
them from doing so. Part of that agreement is that you must contribute a
certain amount of money every so often or they *will* take "your"
property from you. You may not like the "State", but remember that it is
the same "State" which keeps all your neighbors from taking "your"
property. Property "rights" are not inherent in an individual; we grant
each other the courtesy of possessing property. Nothing in physical law
restrains us so; humans have just come to learn that it works out better
for everyone (generally) if we pretend that people "own" things and
respect that "ownership". This semi-mutual agreement is part of the
"State". Other, similar agreements form the rest of the "State". You
may not like certain features of the "State", such as taxes and certain
restrictive laws, and that makes it extremely easy to forget all the
other aspects of human interaction, which are termed, "State", that
benefit you greatly, such as the respect that others show for "your"
property. The "State" is not just the beuracracy; it is also our day to
day conformity to laws and other expected behaviors.

The hope of Extropians is to make our semi-mutual agreements more
beneficial to all involved.

David Musick (

- Continual improvement is the highest good.