François-René Rideau (fare) wrote,
François-René Rideau

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Nevrotic Need for a 100% Guarantee

In his practice, Albert Ellis, inventor of the Rational-Emotional Behavioral Therapy, traced down most psychological trouble to irrational demands of 100% guarantees of success -- or at least of non-failure -- that people make out of themselves, out of other people, out of future natural events: thinking in turns of MUSTs and SHOULDs instead of CANs and MAYs. Teleological normative discourse versus purposeful descriptive discourse. Well, once again, and quite unsurprisingly, this is perfectly in concordance with my claim that belief in the State is a mental pathology.

Indeed, it turns out that the last resort justification of the coercive means of the State by its proponents is invariably a demand of 100% guarantee that something bad won't happen: a safety net against illness and poverty, bad food and unhealthy environment (and real soon now, also against ugliness and lovelessness), a ultimate guarantee against the tyranny of armed bands. And in the case of the State as with other kinds of similar nevroses, the nevrotic demand is precisely the very cause of the feared failures: government intervention causes a lot of social dysfunction, which in the end results in more poverty, worse medical services, reduced food quality and polluted environment, whereas the government is the worst possible tyranny of an armed band. What more, the less irrational statists occasionally reckon that government is all these evils, yet still justify it as an (admittedly bad) safety measure.

Ellis teaches us that such psychological trouble can be cured by determining the root irrational beliefs in the nevrotic patients, which usually follow common patterns, and then devising short but repeated exercises to strike that root. Well, let's have people clearly understand that government isn't and cannot be a safety measure: not only cannot 100% safety possibly exist (irrational impossible demand), but government actually brings trouble rather than safety (irrational counterproductive means).

Tags: argument, black magic, en, libertarian, psychology, rebt, self-help, statism
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