When should statists oppose greater government powers?

The “shoe on the other foot” rule

In the haste to win today’s political battle, people forget about the future. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, remember that…

The power you give a politician you love today, to do something you want, is a power that will be used tomorrow by a politician you loathe, to do things you’ll hate.
– Jim Babka

Have empathy for your future self. Before giving any power to a politician, think about what could happen if a bad politician had that power. And, since you believe the opposite party is bad, you should assume that…

  • The worst actor in that party will wield the power
  • He or she will do something so horrible that you can’t even imagine it

…because everyone is always shocked, when their party loses the election and power gets abused or misused, despite the fact that it’s entirely predictable.

Basically, if you don’t want a bad politician to have a power, you shouldn’t give it to a good politician. So…

When you’re tempted by today’s political battle, imagine the day when the shoe will be on the other foot.

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Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of RealCampaignReform.org, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

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Show Comments 13


  1. If I hadn’t lived through the past 8 years, I’d strongly support this commentary. If these were new tools that the Right had devised to shut out the Left, I’d strongly support this tack. But having lived through the last 8 years and having the nuclear option and executive orders used to detriment of my ideology and our nation as a whole, I see no problem with demonstrating to the Dems what they have wrought. I told many who crowed the “success” and “victory” of the Dems in using these tools that there would come a day when the rules THEY made acceptable and popular would be used against them. Now is that day.

    1. Post
      1. The ultimate truth can be pulled from this, though. We should, just we wish the other side would, be aware that one day (most of the time) our ideology will not reign supreme in the halls of government. ANYTHING that we develop to take power from those who oppose us can and will be used to take power from us. I do not feel that we have an obligation to set aside the tools our opposers have used against us – but I do believe it is not in anyone’s best interest to devise new ways to oppress those who stand against us.

        1. The two “tools” of oppression are INITIATED force & fraud. Force/fraud used to repel their initiation is moral/practical. For example, fraudulent tax returns are moral, but may not be best. Simply not filing requires no fraud.

          “…new ways to oppress” can be used to resist oppression. It’s about the user, not the tool.

          “…those who stand against us.” may become enlightened, may choose voluntary social interaction.

        2. This is why Jesus told Peter to put his weapon away, “Those who live by the sword, will die by the sword’. If we use a statist law to obtain what we want, we shouldn’t be surprised if it is used against us later. It is important remember that the means is as important as the end, and be consistent followers of the Zappian way.

  2. Telling a statist that political power can be bad is like telling a theist that god can be bad. Faith in force is unreasonable, but faith does not rest on reason.

    All parties are statist, therefore all will use their power to increase their power. They are dedicated to the initiation of violence, threats, fraud (for the common good of course). If it doesn’t work in any situation, they are unmoved in their faith. That is what it means to be “unreasonable”. They do not challenge their paradigm.

    Hundreds of political “revolutions” have overthrown the ruling elite, only to change nothing for the ruled. The paradigm remained. I will not argue for lessor political power, for lessor evil. I will argue for zero political power, zero coercive force, to be replaced by a voluntary society, voluntary social/political interaction.

  3. Satan was given control of Earth for a while, so political power/force/violence/aggression is not going away and we are stuck with this evil and thus make the best of a bad situation. Given only a choice between the lesser of two evils, no matter how temporary, then I would go with the nuke option. The Demoncrats are by far more commie/socialist, i.e. favoring loot A to satisfy B, slop-at-the-trough, suck-at-the-golden-teat “statism,” than the Republicrats, well, even if only marginally IMHO of course.

    1. Ah, yes, Satan is the culprit. Since God is “all good” we need a second “player” to explain evil. But it doesn’t. God has one more primary attribute: “all powerful”, and there’s the rub. It is a contradiction to say God is both “all powerful and all good” but allows evil to exist. Good people do not allow evil, if it’s in their power to stop it. That’s one way “good” expresses itself.

      1. God has chosen to work through people and also chosen to give us free-will. If man did not have free will, no doubt Don Duncan would be one of the first in line to protest. He also gave free will to the higher beings created: angels and demons. So all powerful would not necessarily mean he would be justified to use that power to force all to do what is right. What value would there be in doing what is right if you had no other options? God chose to have a ‘libertarian’ view, you can choose your actions, good or evil, but you will also then be choosing the consequences of those actions as well. The unstated premise that all justice needs to be carried out in our physical lifetime is also both short-sighted and unnecessary. I recommend highly William Lane Craig’s debates with atheists on these points,which you can find further information on in his book, On Guard (see in particular chapter 7), or watch at http://www.reasonablefaith.org

  4. I have never been able to understand why statists can’t understand this simple, obvious truth.

  5. I’ve made this argument (in different words) many times before to statists on “both sides of the aisle”. It’s rarely well received, but it’s not been refuted. But this is exactly why our Constitution so clearly limits the power of government. A strongly limited government is unable to do as much harm as an unbound government is. Power not only corrupts, it *attracts* those who are already corrupt. A Charles Manson is scary; an Adolph Hitler is terrifying.

    1. These “so clear limits” are ignored by TPTB. This is govt. “unbound”. What is done about it? What can be done when the people have forfeited their sovereignty to a ruling elite? Not repeal a fundamentally flawed system. That is impossible, but it has been tried for over two centuries, with devastating results.

      The only solution is the one avoided, the one demeaned by political pundits and mainstream political scholars. It is the solution used to create our independence. It is self governance by boycott of all govt. power. It is reclamation of our sovereignty. No constitution is needed. No monopoly on the initiation of violence is moral or practical. That is the lesson the world has witnessed but refused to acknowledge for eons. It must be faced and passed on to every generation. Is personal responsibility, self determination, and rights the choice of a politically mature society? Of course. Does any exist anywhere today? No.

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