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Refuting the "Just leave" argument

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SkepticalMetal Posted: Fri, Nov 9 2012 6:00 PM

Some people may know from some of my posts in the low-content thread that I got into a bit of a debate with my English teacher, when I made a referance to the Anatomy of the State by saying that I do my best not to refer to the government as "we" being that I am not the government. Her response back was to say that "we are a nation united, so yes, we."

I decided to shut down the argument being that I didn't want to tear down a super-patriotic person who happens to be in charge of my high school transcripts, but I know that if I would have gone on to retort on her saying that "I have no problem with troops going overseas and defending my freedoms" that eventually she would have resorted to that typical "why don't you just leave if you don't like it."

How do you respond to that old "if you don't like it, pack your bags" argument (if you can call it that)? It seems like such a simple thing to answer, but it really isn't for me.

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I got that argument at a dinner party once, and I spoke before thinking, yet the response seemed to give the other person pause, and made some listeners chuckle. That's about the most positive reaction I have ever received when talking about our thing with strangers.

When I was told that I should leave Canada because I believe taxation is immoral, I blurted out "sure, cos when you identify an injustice the best thing to do is to F**K OFF!".

I have not been able to replicate this reaction with this response since, however.

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Haha, that's better quick thinking than me. I literally just sit there and stutter when there's something that could be refuted easily and I can't think of a simple thing to say. Back in pubic public school, whenever there was some verbal fight where everyone would gather around and say oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, I would just have to walk away because my mind just froze up and went blank.

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eliotn replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 6:39 PM

"How do you respond to that old "if you don't like it, pack your bags" argument (if you can call it that)? It seems like such a simple thing to answer, but it really isn't for me."

 

1. The argument presupposes that people have the ability to leave the country with all of their stuff.  But you cannot take everything with you.  So in a sense, you do not have full ownership over everything.  This argument requires that you can back out of the state contract while keeping all of your legitimately owned stuff.  Meaning that you would still live where you were, just not under a state government.  So even if people want to leave, they automatically have to give up some of their property to someone else, even if they didn't originally agree to doing that.

 

2. Governments may restrict your emmigration, or require you to pay taxes that you didn't agree to as you emmigrate.  This is far from being able to leave it compared to breaking a contract.

3. It essentially cops out of a counterargument.  It is not wrong for people to complain about the arrangement they are in, and not leave that arrangement even if they can.  Merely stating that you can leave is a non-sequitor, that fails to address the objections, unless the objection is that you can't leave in the first place.  But the above arguments demonstrate where the problem is, if one wants to argue that you can simply "pick your government" with no consequense.

Schools are labour camps.

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 6:39 PM

I usually just say that I don't want to. By their own ideologies I am allowed to believe whatever I want, and I'm also allowed to advocate and convince others to engage in a peaceful overthrow of the system.

The argument is simply ridiculous anyway. Should all abolitionists have simply left America if they didn't like slavery? What about those who thought that the alien and sedition acts were wrong? That the Japanese internment camps were wrong? That the Vietnam war was wrong? That Obama is a bad president?

Fools. If they had been born in a different era then they would probably have to leave America, or whatever nation they live in, for something better... Wherever the hell that would be. Like many arguments in vogue in popular discourse it's a non-argument made by people who haven't thought through the implications, and it should be treated as such.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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z1235 replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 6:39 PM

Argumentum ad Somalium

 

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Groucho replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 6:53 PM

The "just leave" argument should be returned to her: if our government doesn't like what's going on in other countries, why does the military have to bomb them - why don't they just leave?

And "Nation" is an abstract concept. "We" are not abstract - we are real individual acting human beings. The abstract thing we define as the "nation" is not us; it is not our identity. It is just one particular level in the hierarchical classifications used in geopolitics: Individual -> Household -> Neighborhood -> Town -> County -> State -> Country/Nation -> Continent/hemisphere -> Planet.

When somebody uses "we," I say, We? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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Nice mouse. What's it's name?

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Groucho replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 6:56 PM

Haha, I don't know. It's just a pic I got off the internet.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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I attempt to answer this and other critiques against the taxation is theft argument here http://wesker1982.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/taxation-is-theft/ 

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RagnarD replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 10:43 PM

I'm sure I read this here, but I can't remember who to attribute it to:   

So what you're saying is that we should not attempt to stop rape, robbery and murder, everyone should just move away from  wherever it occurrs?  How is my opposition to government violating my rights different?  It may be prudent to move away from high crime, but if that high crime covered the entire globe (as right violating governments do) you are forced to attempt to curtail the crime.

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To the OP:

I would not beat myself up too much over your potential freezing upon hearing the "just leave" comment that would have likely been stated had you pursued the argument. Often times these mindless one liner arguments (if you want to call them that) are difficult to argue against since they are coming from a position of ignorance. People like your teacher have never really thought too much about the issue, instead they just regurgitate mindless babble. It's a lazy and nonsensical thought and what makes it so challenging for you is you have to find a way to provoke original thought in their mind. Getting that hamsters to spin that wheel in someone elses brain is not an easy thing to do.

 

Often times you have to bring the argument down to a level they can understand. You may understand Rothbard, but will she? Probably not without you breaking it down even more. If you can master the ability to bring an argument down to any persons level of understanding then you will be a force to be reckoned with.

 

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