Thursday, March 17, 2016

If Only We Could Do Away with Food!

Imagine how people would flourish if they gave up their misplaced belief in eating! After all, ten percent of our GDP goes to food purchases: think of all of the wealth that would be freed up if people just stopped eating! Furthermore, over 40% of the land in the United States it Is devoted to food production, a truly shocking amount, and all that land would be freed up for other purposes if we were food-free.

Finally, food kills: every year, millions of people are made ill, and thousands die, directly do to food they have ingested. And millions more die from diseases related to long-term patterns of food consumption. It is completely clear how horrid food is: In the present circumstances, most human beings come nowhere near their potential, because they are shackled by the mistaken belief that they must constantly acquire and consume food.

"But Professore," you complain, "we know that if people don't eat food, they die. Just look at all of the horrible famines in world history!" I'm sorry, but you have simply become confused: these are all situations which people still believed in food, so if there wasn't any, they all tried to get some. Things will be completely different once people put aside the ideology of Foodism, and realize they never needed it in the first place, and it was all just a trick on the part of "Farmers" to extract money from them.

Now the above argument might appear to be such nonsense that no one could possibly believe it, but consider this table:

Country Tax Rev as % of GDP
Denmark 49.0
Switzerland 29.4
Iceland 40.4
Norway 43.6
Finland 43.6
... ...
Benin 15.4
Afghanistan 6.4
Togo 15.5
Syria 10.7
Burundi 17.4

Do you know what the top five entries in the table are? The five happiest countries in the world. In the bottom five entries? The five least happy countries in the world.

And yet despite the massive empirical evidence, not merely like that of the above table, but such as the fact that whenever a state disappears, we get not happy, productive anarchy but horrid civil war, we still find statements like:

"And this is another aspect of how horrid the State is. In the present circumstances, most human beings come nowhere near their potential, because they are shackled."

All of the empirical evidence shows us that good government is a crucial part of human flourishing. (Of course, bad government, just like bad food, can kill!) To seek to convince people, against this mountain of evidence, that if they just wish really, really hard, they can do without government, is akin to trying to tell people they can do without food or doctors.



  2. I appreciate that your journey as a former libertarian gave you a more profound and better insight into the importance of government.

  3. Prateek what do you mean? It sounds like you're saying that when Gene writes, "Now the above argument might appear to be such nonsense that no one could possibly believe it..." he's referring to nonsense he himself believed a decade ago. Is that true? Wouldn't Gene mention that once in a while, when he's making fun of these idiots?

  4. Granted, libertarians probably put forward the worst arguments for any political positions ever, but I can't hold this against them. There arguments against your argument are wrong, but I think they are fine in rejecting it given that is possible to have anarchy without war.

  5. Would you support those government expenditure rates? I'm not sure I would, even if they did lead to more happiness.

    All of that aside, how does the "government spending as a percentage of GDP" indicate what you seem to think it indicates?


George Berkeley, Common-sense Realist

"According to Berkeley, the perceived world is itself a language -- or, rather, a discourse in a language. Berkley intends this claim...