Thomas Babington Macaulay said:
The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.
I think that would make me a cheat and a pervert – but I already knew that.
There’s a question that’s bugged me for a couple of years now. It’s quite simple really:
What would happen if every government and every law was removed from society?
I’ve asked a few people this (or deduced their answers from other questions) and it seems that most people think that we’d end up in an anarchic state where people go around murdering each other – as one person put it “until murdering becomes the norm”.
I’m quite surprised with how focused so many people are on murder. They seem to be saying that the only reason people don’t murder is because of the law. They’re frightened of the consequences, so they won’t do something.
That to me sounds like the stupidest reason to not do something – because you’re “scared” of the consequences.
It’s like those poor people who deny their sexuality for fear of going to hell.
Training dogs is fun – as is seeing the results. I would definitely not call myself an expert, but we’ve had 7 dogs all trained by my parents. They’ve tried different techniques in each dog, focusing on whatever worked before.
Not surprisingly, our current dog is the best trained. The other day I walked a beautiful friend up the drive, taking the dog with to “go to the toilet”. I told the dog to sit at the top of the drive whilst we walked down to her car to say goodbye. We chatted for a few minutes. Someone walked by.My friend looked over at our dog to see she was still sitting there. She was amazed.
I thought it was the norm, as it was for us. But I thought about it more later. None of our other dogs would have been that obedient. I thought of the way we’d trained her – and I realised that, unlike the other dogs, fear had never been a motivator for her. We’d always used praise and reward.
Not that I’d actually know, but, apparently, fear as a training method for kids doesn’t work either – eventually, they’ll overcome their fear and break loose.
So why, if we know it doesn’t work, do we expect it to? Why do we think fear is the only thing holding people back from murder?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t kill people because I don’t want to – not because I’m scared of punishment. It’s tempting some times when someone’s driving at 25km/h in a really small car to just carefully accelerate over them repeatedly, but I don’t – it’d probably damage my car and the time it would take to give them their due is more than it would take to get where I’m going at their speed.
I selfishly do not kill people – which is nice to know if you’re ever driving in front of me.
People also claim that there would be groups of people who’d decide to take power for themselves. They’d impose themselves upon us, using their power to take control. This would result in scaled down religious and up scaled gang wars.
I wouldn’t impose myself upon others. The people saying this wouldn’t impose themselves upon others. So who exactly are these people who’d impose themselves upon us?
And this is what I find so intriguing. Ask people what they think would happen if law and government disappeared, and they start talking about what other people would do. What would you do? And why do you think other people would do any differently?
When I think about that second question I look around me for an answer. Then I begin to understand why.
I think that anarchic state they’re talking about is the one we’re already living in.