Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Button-Pushing Dilemma

Issue 17 has two items on the topic of “button-pushing.” The discussion generally revolves around what you would do if given a chance to remove the state by pushing a button.

Carl’s article “Button Pushing or Abdication” discusses what Leonard Read, Robert Lefevre and Ludwig Von Mises said they would do. As you read the article you can see that Carl’s intent in bringing up the situation is to show that, from a Voluntaryist perspective, pushing the button makes little sense because you can’t force people to be free.

Simply pushing a button changes no one’s mind and is in essence trying only to force people to be free. So it’s contradictory to the Voluntaryist philosophy.

This issue also contains a response from Samuel Edward Konkin III (also known as SEK3), who sets up and imagines more parameters. In particular, he focuses on how the situation came to be in the first place and thereby gives an agorist perspective to the dilemma.

I’m not too big on these types of imaginary intellectual dilemmas and it’s mostly because of what Konkin points out, even if the situation could ever happen, there are far too many possibilities in how the situation comes to be in the first place.

So I find it hard to stay focused on the deeper philosophical issues involved and end up just thinking about it in a completely different way.

If I was in a situation to push a button, I might have to do it just because I’d be curious to see what happens if I pushed it. I think I’d be like Dennis the Menace, in the 1993 movie, I’d just have to push the button, because well, it’s there.

What would you do?


Kent McManigal said...

I'd push the button.

I didn't install the button; I didn't push it in the first place when The State was activated. I didn't consent to it being pushed the first time. Since the button has already been pushed to turn on The State, pushing it again is simply returning conditions to their neutral status.

Yep. I'd push the button.

MamaLiberty said...

Hmmm, let's frame the question a bit differently.

Suppose that when "the button" is pushed, the entire structure and mechanism of the "state" vanishes and people must then fend for themselves or form mutual voluntary associations.

Naturally, those who actually believe that they can and should live from plundering others would not be changed and would continue to aggress on others - but the dynamics would certainly be very different! Would people then actively defend themselves?

Under those circumstances, I'd most certainly push that button. No different than shooting a rabid dog to save innocent people. :)