Governments yield progress

Whiny, Whiny Libertarians

As much as I like libertarian ideas, I think there is a different way to look at current governments: One that depicts the situation more accurately and lets you live a better life, too.

7 min readMay 23, 2023


Some libertarians think, that governments are oppressive because they use violence. And that the libertarian is therefore oppressed by this government and its threats (and use) of initiated violence. I think this is exactly the “victim mentality” that libertarians are quick to point out in other people.

If you feel oppressed by your (Western) government, please keep an open mind and tell me what you think about this thought process:

You can leave anytime

For most countries in this world, you can leave anytime. Pack your things, and go to a place that is not claimed by anyone. Examples are: the High Seas, Mars, Bir Tawil and many more). If you are in a Western country — or most countries: nobody will keep you if you leave tonight.

If you chose to stay however, consider the constitution, the body of laws and the habits of how they are lived and interpreted as a contract that you consent to by staying.

Objection: “Initiating violence is morally bad”

You can think that but how do you convince the rest of the world to think that? Some people just don’t base their decisions on morals while others have different morals. And unless you have a solid plan to change everyone’s morals, this argument should be dropped. If you just miss so much as one person, that person will thrive because they can do something that achieves results that the rest cannot.

“it’s fair”

Objection: “Initiating violence is inefficient/doesn’t lead to results”

Initiating violence is just another tool in the tool set available to governments. Some libertarians and objectivists disagree, saying that initiating violence is a bad tool that does not yield results. If you think that, why are the organizations that are currently ruling this planet, the violent ones? After all, no company can compete with the most successful governments in annual revenue.

If countries could succeed without initiating violence there should be at least one example. And while there are some countries without an army or without wars — there is none without a prison (or a contract to use another’s prison, like in the case of the Vatican, which puts it’s criminals into Italian jails).

Objection: “Incentives are bad; democracy is a popularity contest”

So? Libertarians don’t run around criticizing Scientology, Mercedes-Benz or any other institution for how it’s run. If people agree to it, it’s valid. And as long as you’re not in an exception like North Korea, nobody stops you from leaving. Just because you disagree with how things are run, doesn’t make it immoral or invalid. So let’s stop deflecting on the quality. An offering has quality if you agree to it. Of course the well-versed libertarian then points to:

Objection: “I did not agree to it”

Consent does not have to be written. And even so, if your only reason for your “victim mentality” is, that nobody asked you to sign the contract, ask yourself: if the police came by tomorrow, handed you a statement that said ‘I agree to the constitution, all laws and the legal system as it is right now’ — would you sign? Or leave on the spot? If this signing is all it takes, I’m happy to send you an email in the name of your government, ping me on Twitter. However, often this leads to the next objection:

Objection: “But the government changes the contract at will”

Not at will. It follows the rules it sets itself. Yes, these rules are very liberal and sometimes not written down. But why not just accept that the way governments change the contract is part of the contract?

If you buy a pair of Balenciaga pants, you mostly buy a brand. If they change their messaging tomorrow you don’t get to return it. When you buy the pants, you agree to not just the current status of their brand, but also the process that shapes how that brand will change over time.

The same goes for hardware tech like iPhones where you just agree that Apple gets to upgrade your phone.

Alternatively, you can consider staying after every law change as giving consent. That’s what you do when Instagram updates it’s policy.

Objection: “There is a moving-away tax for my country / I cannot take everything”

Any government, even the worst ones, offer something in return: a monetary system, roads — and at the very least: air to breathe and land to be on. You may say it’s a shitty deal — and I wouldn’t object. But since when do libertarians judge the quality of deals? Any offer is okay, any offer increases optionality. You don’t have to accept it, after all. The moving-away taxes are just part of the contract. And I think it’s a fair rule to add. If you have Google Playstore points, you have no right to take them outside of the Playstore. Why shouldn’t India do the same thing with Rupees? If you want to own stuff, earn it while not being subject to a government. You can tell yourself you’ve ‘earned’ all your money through your hard work and that the government was only making it harder. If that were true, why not go somewhere without governments and do it there? Nobody stops you from getting rich on Mars — and it’s not your current governments’ fault that you don’t have the resources, tech or courage to do that.

At this point you might think:

Objection: “When I was born I did not chose this country”

Well, yes. When you are born, you cannot give consent, so your parents do that for you. Just like they pick your diapers, the place you live, your doctor and many other product and service purchasing decisions. And yes, some of they have consequences way into adulthood that you have to bear (schools, medical procedures — and the passport you have). I think you should be able to sue your parents over any damage you took from being in a certain country. Just find a jurisdiction that wants to judge this for you. It’s not the United State’s fault that nobody offers to do this.

Objection: “Bu.. but they use violence *so there is nothing i can do*”

So what? I think it’s critical to stop being so afraid of violence. Yes, governments use violence to prevent change and enforce their opinions. Every organization uses all their tools to prevent dying/keep customers/attack competition. If Match group could send an army to Muzz Match (now: “Muzz”) they would. They cannot, so they send lawyers. It sucks to be on the receiving end of these tools — be it gun shots, smear campaigns, having your bank account frozen or thousands of fake bookings on your app. And while there is a difference in intensity, violence is often the most extreme action to take, it’s just one option that is more extreme — not a different game altogether.

Objection: “Governments control all the useable land”

First of all, that is not true. Most of Israel and Dubai are as deserted as Bir Tawil.

But most importantly: As a libertarian you shouldn’t care. Let’s take this example to the car market: Just because you don’t like any existing car offering, you don’t get to pick one and pay nothing for it. If you don’t like any offering, you don’t get any. No libertarian would argue “oh no, humans need cars, so if I don’t like Ferrari’s price and I don’t like Renault’s design, then I just get that BMW for free”. Be consistent and think of governments as offering services. It’s not any government’s job to make sure you have alternatives.

Objection: “If governments were gone, the world would be better off”

For most of human existence, there were no governments. And yet, they always emerged. If you have one person in a forest nothing much happens. Add a few more, and they form a government-like structure. And out of all these experiments over the Millenia, some governments have shown to be more successful: richer, stronger, yielding more progress. And those are the ones that are here today.

It’s so easy to take the value of government for granted, especially if you live in a fairly well-run one.


In summary, I think humans love making other people responsible for their own failings. And while libertarians specifically, love pointing out other people as having a “victim mentality”, I think the same psychological dynamic unfolds between most libertarians and current governments. Instead of looking at the world like a Randian hero, they flee into victimhood. Instead of accepting the available options of

  • going to Mars,
  • going to the High Seas,
  • going to any other unclaimed territory,
  • agreeing to the contract of a current government or
  • competing with them on the battlefield

and taking responsibility for this action, they blame the government. Whiny, whiny libertarians.

Next steps: personally

If you want to stop being a whiny libertarian, shift your mindset from “I’m stuck here and the government takes my money away through violence” to “I decide to stay here, because, despite how suboptimal I think this place is run, it is my best option. And it’s not just the best government option, it is also better than the option of ‘freedom’, such as found on the high seas or on Mars, which I don’t have the resources or courage for.”

After all that’s exactly what you’d want someone to think who works as a day laborer in a third world country factory.

Next steps: the real problem

The real problem is not violent governments— but the fact that we don’t have enough competition among governments. The best (only) way to increase competition is to bring down the hurdles for new governments to be formed. These are held up by current governments, the laws of nature and our limited technology (e.g. rocket launches being expensive). We won’t change any of these hurdles, so we have to take them by e.g. Seasteading.


I know there are tons of libertarians who don’t think their government oppresses them. I also think that one can challenge governments from within. I just think it’s futile, just like trying to change a company from within.