Letters to the editor
My name is Mavis, and I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for three weeks now. He’s alright, but when we talk about politics, he says he’s a Marxist and votes for the Labor Party. What should I do?
Mavis Coombes, from Balmain, Sydney, Australia
Thanks Mavis. This must be a difficult time for you. This serious situation may require more than one of the following remedies:
Firstly, if he’s really sympathetic to Marxism, it is not clear why he would vote for the Labor Party rather than the Liberal Party. They both decrease the scope for free-markets and believe in exactly the same (lack of) principles, differing only in degree. And they both support nearly all of the short-term communist aims as outlined in, say, The Communist Manifesto.
Secondly, he cannot possibly be a Marxist. There is no such thing, as Ludwig von Mises and Stanislav Andreski observed:
There has been a lot of empty talk about the non-existence of differences among men. But there has never been an attempt to organise society according to the egalitarian principle. The author of an egalitarian tract and the leader of an egalitarian party by their very activity contradict the principle to which the pay lip service … In Soviet Russia egalitarianism is proclaimed as one of the main dogmas of the official creed. But Lenin was deified after his death, and Stalin was worshipped in life as no ruler since the days of the declining Roman Empire. [Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 1985), p. 331.]
[T]he word ‘marxism’ contains an implicit negation of Marx’s basic tenet that individuals are unimportant; from which it follows that, having been individuals, Marx and Lenin are unimportant — and therefore those who accept the collectivist view of social causation should forget about them. [Stanislav Andreski, Social Sciences as Sorcery (New York: St. Martins Press, 1973), p. 185.]
So the very acceptance or even the mere suggestion of the collectivist view by any individual is a violation of it.
Thirdly, if he really maintains he’s a Marxist, do not expect him to remain loyal to you above anyone else. You are no better than any other woman according to him.
DOSAGE INSTRUCTIONS: After a few beers, gently put the first and second remedies above to him. If they fail to sway him, challenge him with the third one, asking if he really thinks you are equal to any other woman, including the girl at the supermarket and the homeless woman at the carpark. If none of these remedies are effective and the symptoms persist, it may be time to consider leaving him.
Mavis here. I did what you told me to do in your previous note.
Nothing worked, so I told him that I did not want to be in a relationship with a supporter of the Labor/Liberal Party, because that would make me at risk of abuse at their hands and maybe an accomplice to their crimes.
But then he said that if I don’t like Australia’s politics, I should leave the country too, and because I don’t leave the country, I consent to Marxist politics and so there is no reason for me to leave him.
He’s gone to his Student Union meeting, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to report my progress and ask what to do next.
This is great progress Mavis, congratulations. You won your case; he is making the argument about you, and not him. His argument is that staying in the country implies approval, consent, hypocrisy or laziness, compromising your attempt to maintain: that you never consented to government and that, therefore, government is criminal in demanding you pay taxes and follow other demands.
There are eight ways to deal with this one:
Firstly, tell him, “I want to stay in the country, yet leave our relationship, because: in the case of a crazy country, I’m able to enjoy the political circus at a slight distance; but when my boyfriend becomes part of the act, it is getting a bit too close for comfort. True, I might not be able to find a better country, but I should be able to find a better boyfriend. Besides, you enjoy watching wrestling matches and reading about murders; but just because you enjoy or custom those activities, I don’t accuse you of being a torturer or murderer, or of approving or consenting to them. Yet that is exactly what your attempt to paint me as a hypocrite for staying under the self-proclaimed jurisdiction of a government I never consented to amounts to. Consider, also, the fact that government allows the distribution of this magazine that you hate, Capitalism.HK; does that mean the government agrees with or endorses it just because they don’t shut it down?”
Secondly, tell him, “I’m not leaving; you leave! So maybe my views are unpopular at the moment, but the status quo has been known to change occasionally, and there’s no contradiction in me staying in the country trying to effect change, or, as the case may be, staying in the country occupying myself with other activities until others effect change. So if you don’t like what I’m doing, why don’t you leave? It is my right to stay, and your right to leave.”
Thirdly, tell him, “I’m not able to leave the country with all my property. Even if I sell it, the government will then confiscate part of the proceeds. Moreover, there are similarly criminal organisations called government in most other countries. And preferring one criminal to another does not make the preferable criminal not a criminal at all, which is precisely what your argument entails.”
Fourthly, tell him, “Staying within this government’s borders no more means I approve of or consent to its domestic fiscal, monetary, environment, education, healthcare and workplace policies than leaving the country would mean I approve of their foreign aid, trade and military intervention policies, which, by virtue of me being out of Australian territory, I would be subject to, and according to your logic, because I do not leave the area where Australia applies its foreign policies I therefore approve of and consent to them, because I could always return to within Australia’s borders where its foreign policy does not apply. But what if I oppose both Australia’s domestic and foreign policies; am I meant to leave planet Earth? So, obviously, leaving the country does not mean I’ll cease to be subject to the policies of this country’s government. What staying in the country may well mean is that I prefer ‘our’ government’s domestic policy to its foreign policy.”
Fifthly, tell him, “Me staying in the country and obeying this government’s laws does not prove consent. What it proves is that I take their threats seriously, respect their shows of force and do not want to risk having them restrict more of my liberties and confiscate more of my property. Acquiescence, via, say, paying taxes I never consented to pay and being threatened with fines and imprisonment if I evade paying, no more proves consent than paying a ransom to a kidnapper transforms the kidnapping into mere babysitting.”
Sixthly, break into your boyfriend’s place, steal his stuff, and when he catches you, tell him, “I’m not stealing. You consent to it. Or maybe I’m seeing someone else, and he’s my mandate, and the two of us singling you out mean you’re the minority. If you don’t like it, you can always leave both me and the country.” If he declines, ask him, “How is that any different from what you said to me when I said I never consented to government and you said I could always leave?” This should make it obvious to your boyfriend that he has no theory of property rights and no response to the fact that government has no just claim to the area it declares sovereignty over.
Seventhly, if none of that works, doll yourself up, buy a new wardrobe and try all the above on him again.
Eighthly, if he still won’t budge, it is now time for the most drastic of all measures: follow the lead of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and save us all.
Please let us know how it goes.
In next week’s instalment of the Capitalism.HK Political Advice Hotline: “Oh no, help me; I’ve been raped!”