Just because someone can kill you for disobedience does not mean that their authority over you is somehow "valid": Does the mugger have authority over you because he's got a gun and wants your wallet? What if he donates the money to a school? Does that make it okay to steal from you?
` Just because someone has been coerced into doing something, it doesn't mean that anyone has had the "right" to coerce them. It simply means that they were coerced. Is that simple to understand?
A relevant example of the logical fallacy called Argument from Force would be: "We're right because we will revoke your privileges if you disagree." Another one is, "Our god's laws apply to you because we force everyone to comply."
` A different logical fallacy, called Argument from Consequences, goes, "I know that Santa Claus has been here because there's presents under the tree." Or, in keeping with my theme here, "we have already punished people for breaking our rule; therefore this rule applies to you."
` Note: The morality of these actions is another issue, which is why punishment for violence or theft (mala in se) is a different matter than punishment for drug possession or parking violation (mala prohibita).
That was essentially my point in a previous article Anatomy of a Secular Heresy. In it, I argued that laws cannot apply, period, because governmental authority is not based on facts and evidence. Instead, it is based on violent coercion, the opinions of dead lawyers, and propaganda.
` Rather than voluntary reciprocity and win-win outcomes, the violence at its core creates an abusive relationship between the government and the governed.
When so-called government authorities are asked for evidence that laws apply to people living on the land, they don't even attempt to provide any. Instead, they either stay silent, issue threats, or spew logical fallacies, distortions, and platitudes on par with such famed shysters as Duane Gish, the young earth creationist for which the Gish Gallop is named.
` Marc Stevens, which I mentioned in my article, has won this kind of debate in front of courts, because no one could provide evidence that the law applies to him. The burden of proof is on the lawyers, judges, etc. to provide evidence that the laws apply -- and even they fail at this.
Rules are a good thing, in my book -- the problem is that people are initiating force in the name of the state, an assumption that's not valid. The state is an abstraction that does not correspond to anything that exists outside of people's imaginations and beliefs -- it is fictional. Even if it did exist, that would not in itself be evidence that laws apply.
` Acting as though it is real does not make it real any more than acting as though gods exist mean that they do exist, much less have authority over people's lives. And so, just saying that laws apply to people because they believe in it, or because they live within the imaginary borders of a fictitious state, is not evidence that the laws apply.
Atheists of course understand that one cannot break the laws of a deity (fictional entity) if that deity does not exist. They also understand that if nutball church leaders, Scientologists, ISIS, etc. turn on them for heresy, that does not in any way validate any presumed religious authority.
` Besides Antarctica, there is no land one can escape to in order to avoid people with guns imposing laws upon them. So, it isn't a matter of 'just move somewhere else' -- it can't be done, unless you can somehow support yourself in a frozen wasteland.
My point was that the world's governmental "authorities" have no evidence to back up their position of power. Because of this, they must use the initiation of force and beguiling legalese to confuse dissenters. Therefore, the relationship between the rulers and the ruled is based on abuse and parasitism, not evidence, much less respect or cooperation.
` I did not propose a solution to this problem, other than to mention that it is possible to use private companies for emergency services and to build roads, schools, etc., without coercing people to pay for them. After all, who builds the roads? People do.
` Saying that the state builds roads is like saying that God builds churches. The difference is where the money comes from: At the point of a gun, or a voluntary agreement?
For the purposes of my argument, however, it is not important whether it is possible to be governed voluntarily, based on agreement rather than coercion. My argument was that government authority is grounded in abuse rather than evidence, and it is invalid because it is unproven by those who assert its validity.
` Importantly, there is no possible way to vote for someone who can end this abuse, since by definition, the system is based on it. You can only vote for rulers who aren't as abusive as the ones before, rather than voting for leaders who will end this abuse altogether.
I suppose I should have made these points more explicit before inviting Skeptic-type people to try to poke holes in my reasoning via Facebook. I can at least say Luc Vande Casteele, Vince Lynch and Robert von Schryvers 'liked' my article on Facebook, and others told me they agreed with it.
` I posted this article on Facebook in order to get feedback, but was not prepared for the sheer amount of logical fallacies which came with it. I found it to be quite instructive as far as what distortions to address before inviting people to critique the argument. Here are the comments in all their glory, plus additional commentary from me: