The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
"Because that's the magic wand the Anarchists need to make the world work the way they want it to: A population that understands that it's all a mass delusion - and that chooses to believe in that mass delusion with all its might."
Kevin, you keep saying this sort of thing, and (speaking for myself only, of course), it just isn't so.
Nothing that *I* want can be obtained by deluding people, because people that will fall for one irrational argument will fall for another. Also, the vast majority of people are not open to honest, rational persuasion.
That means that persuasion, whether honest evangelism or dishonest delusion-peddling, won't work.
So, what to do?
See: The Revolution Will Be All Business ( http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=242 )
1990's? You guys are coming to it late, eh Kevin?
I hit this realization around 1980, shortly after I turned 20. And as Lopez points out, the question becomes "What to do?" And how to do it?
You're going to repeatedly hit that brick wall that's composed of the fact that, whatever they are, a majority of people like their comforting delusions. And they don't want to deal with concepts that threaten to shatter those foundations.
On the rebound you hit the other brick wall: any widescale education effort geared towards educating a generation or more that government is based upon consensual coercion through violenece will be met with systematic forceful resistance by all facets of government institution.
And a lot of people - as exemplified by Yglesias - don't mind governmental coercion as long as they perceive it as protecting their rights while curtailing yours: and they disbelieve in your rights anyway.
So, while Lopez et al. look at the system and shriek "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!", I say "It's never been fair. Do what you can to make it as fair as possible. Do what you can to make it as free as possible. And always bear in mind that it's a big cycle, and that the cycle is as close to inevitable as you can get.
Giving up doesn't help.
By the way: don't take my comment on "coming to it late" as being disdainful, even though on second read, I know it came off that way... Way I see it, any point where someone realises that things are broken and we're in a fight for what little freedoms we have left is good. It's better than remaining oblivious one's whol life, as a lot of people seem to do. ;]
I had maybe a head start... I saw a *lot* of directions for government abuse in Latin America in my 20's, and when I came back, I started noticing some of the same trends here, only not quite as far developed yet. Over the course of 20 years, things have deteriorated.
SO... question still remains: "What do we do about it?" And can we do anything about it, or has the cycle swung so far that it has it's own inertia that only eventual collapse will stop?
Of course we can do something about it. The question is what? Historically, it's very difficult to remake your society from the inside successfully; inertia dictates government expansion. So, people wanting more freedom have moved to the fringes of their society and sought to drive out the tendrils of their government and found a new one.
The problem with that strategy is that we have pretty much run out of frontier.
I've been thinking about the problem of building an effective government structure based on the concept of unanimous consent to the law. This structure protects the rights of individuals as each individual perceives those rights, subject only to their ability to make smart decisions about what to agree to.
I haven't solved the frontier problem, but I think I know how I would go about founding a government if I did run across a "deserted island".