Government Shutdown

If You Still Think the Shutdown Proves Government Is Important, You're Seeing What You Want to See

A lot of what government does is better done by somebody else-or not at all.


Olivier Douliery/SIPA/Newscom

The theatrical federal government semi-shutdown is now over, or at least on hiatus, while the dominant political tribes in D.C. take a break from posturing to pay a few bills. And, I admit, I'm honestly sad to see the end of an inconvenience to government workers. Even as media pundits lamented the plight of federal employees waiting on delayed paychecks, it became increasingly obvious that many of their tasks are unnecessary, better performed by the private sector, or downright dangerous.

Illustrating the theatrical and unnecessary nature of much of the shutdown was a story in my local paper about National Park Service rangers fining "trespassers" at sites including the Montezuma Well Indian ruins. The sites were closed because 22 employees were furloughed and "volunteers also can't return to work" (because reasons, I suppose). But Montezuma Well is free to enter and the small ranger station there is often unstaffed. The four officers still patrolling may well be the most official activity the place has seen.

Unlike patrolling locations that are frequently unguarded, air traffic control is a job that needs to be done. So it was troubling when the Federal Aviation Administration announced that unpaid federally employed controllers were calling in sick, creating delays at airports. But why are we dependent on the government for air traffic control?

After all, an important recent report from the U.S. Department of Transportation's own Inspector General pointed out that Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France "commercialized their air traffic operations via independent air navigation service providers" that "are financially self-supporting." The report added that the United States could learn from their experience.

The various foreign approaches studied in the report range from government-owned corporations to for-profit partnerships. All the operations are funded independent of government taxes and appropriations, meaning that they can continue functioning through the overseas equivalents of the Trump-Pelosi show.

Unsurprisingly, the airline trade association, Airlines for America, supports privatization. Industry analysts say their cause got a big boost from the shutdown.

Of less concern, air travel-wise, was the growing absentee rate among TSA workers as their paychecks failed to materialize. Sure, it sucks to work for delayed compensation. But nobody conscripted them into government service—they took those jobs of their own accord. And they're very, very bad at what they do.

"Undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials," ABC News reported in 2015.

Of travel safety, security expert Bruce Schneier says "the two things that have made flying safer since 9/11 are reinforcing the cockpit doors and persuading passengers that they need to fight back. Everything beyond that isn't worth it."

"The relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained," admits the agency's former administrator, Kip Hawley.

TSA workers do excel, though, at abusing opportunities to rob, grope, and harass travelers.

Harassment, of course, is a core responsibility for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Like too many law enforcement agencies, they largely exist to stop people from doing what they have every right to do—in their cases, to interfere with people's right to self-medicate and to possess the means for self-defense.

Also like too many law enforcement agencies, these two federal bureaucracies have an unpleasant record of misbehavior. The ATF is frequently guilty of "rogue tactics," as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel put it, and has lost many of its own firearms while trying to regulate those belonging to the public. The DEA has a history of brutality, partying with criminals, and occasionally trafficking in contraband itself.

I find it equally difficult to feel sorrow over the FBI's complaints about shutdown-induced difficulty in paying snitches and buying drugs in stings (no word yet on how the cash crunch affected the bureau's domestic surveillance operations or its campaign against private encryption). Given the bureau's checkered and politicized record, anything that slows it down should provide plenty of Americans with a feeling of relief.

Speaking of a cash crunch, is anybody really sorry that IRS employees suffered some financial discomfort from the sort-of government shutdown? That is, I'll point out, the type of experience they specialize in inflicting on others. Besides, it may not be such a bad thing if the nation's tax collectors fell a bit behind in their role as political weapons wielded by the powerful against their enemies.

Commenting on soldiers who enlist to fight in imperialist wars, the philosopher Herbert Spencer once remarked, "When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don't care if they are shot themselves."

By comparison, it doesn't seem excessive to me to refuse to shed tears over temporary financial inconveniences for government workers whose jobs, in all too many cases, pose threats to life, liberty, and property.

No, the experience of working while waiting on a delayed paycheck isn't pleasant for anybody. But the private sector is also hiring, and it's perfectly capable of taking over many of the actually necessary jobs that government does. Given the nasty, intrusive, and abusive nature of so much of the rest of what occupies the government's time, we should be happy to see it go unfunded.

Many of the tasks done by government, it turns out, are better done by somebody else. And many of the rest are best not done at all.

NEXT: Rep. Walter Jones, Who Supported and Then Denounced Iraq War, Is Dying

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  1. Thank you Reason for sparing us your usual pantshitting over the shutdown.

    1. Is Tuccille the last libertarian at Reason?

      (other than KMW)

      1. I don’t think 2Chilly is a libertarian. I could be wrong, though I could swear he once admitted to being more extreme.

        1. He has little space in his heart for government bureaucracies.

        2. I absolutely understand Gillespie’s argument that libertarians aren’t anarchists, and should recognize that some government is (at least arguably) necessary to ensure liberty.

          But I do get the sense that many writers go through great pains to be “moderate.” Fuck moderates.

          A pox on both parties, but a pox on moderates as well.

          1. Or one could call it realism. Let’s face it, libertopia isn’t happening. I’m content being a bemused observer and complainer, but I’m happy that there are people out there peddling a moderate libertarian point of view as well. There is more than one way to argue about politics.

          2. All present gov worldwide is based on a coercive political paradigm, therefore to be against gov is assumed to be against all gov, even a non-aggressive one that may be created.
            This voluntaryist is not against rules agreed to voluntarily, chosen without a gun to my head. I am against rulers, i.e., an elite with a monopoly on violence, a blank check on morality.
            In the private sector, people live prosperous peaceful lives without the need to sacrifice choice, freedom.

        3. By “more extreme” he takes a “more consistent with the full implications” of libertarianism position.

      2. Brian Doherty is pretty much an ancap, as is Sheldon Richman.

    2. Every time I’m subjected to a Shikha article, I try to remember that Tuccille lives.

      He is absolutely the best contributor at Reason.

  2. But the private sector is also hiring

    Yeah, immigrants and robots only.

  3. Definitely a point there… Why keep wasting money on non-essential employees? Especially our tax dollars!

  4. Keep the mother shut down for a year, and EVERYONE will see how ridiculously unimportant and wasteful MOST (not all) federal government is. The elderly can’t get their S.S. paychecks? If the g*d damn government hadn’t FORCED people to “save” money via S.S., they would have had a substantial chunk of money to invest for their retirement, which would have meant seniors would have very much more money to retire on. then they EVER will with S.S. The money the fed takes for our “retirement” is spent the minute it is taken out of a paycheck, and S.S. retirees have exactly ZERO dollars in their S.S. accounts. An I.O.U. is all the exists in your S.S. “account” and the Supreme Court, in one of its least supreme decisions, stated that the federal government was NOT REQUIRED to pay S.S., despite having taking money from workers against their wills. If you don’t believe me, check out he 1960 case of Fleming v. Nestor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that workers have no legally binding contractual rights to their Social Security benefits, and that those benefits can be cut or even eliminated at any time.

    1. Can you imagine the charge of the grey panthers if SS were ended?

      So many broken hips and strokes!!

      1. It could be phased out over, say, 20 years. Reduce payments in and out by 5% per year. People retiring now would be “hardest hit”, but they only have themselves to blame.

  5. The IRS inflicts unnecessary pain on Americans, but it does so with the help of the libertarian/conservative establishment. (LCE).
    The LCE is too lazy to critically examine the laws, regulations, case law and history of this tax.
    So instead we have solar panel salesman, truck drivers, construction workers, etc who care enough for the Constitution and laws of their country to spend time to study the tax and as a result know more about the tax than Randy Barnett, Cato, Reason, or Lew Rockwell. Although their research is not funded by think tanks, they do receive compensation. You see, once you know the truth about the tax, and it’s sister payroll taxes, you file an educated income tax return and receive full refunds of state and federal income taxes, including, for the first time in history, payroll taxes. Tens of thousands have, since 2003.
    But the LCE would rather spill oceans of ink on infinite articles like this one misrepresenting the tax. By doing so, they perpetuate the injustice. Sure, we don’t need lots,of government. But we also don’t need an LCE that is part of the problem, not the solution.

    1. Sounds like a good plan, but you left out the part about prison and garnished wages.

    2. libertarian/conservative establishment

      Not a thing.

      1. Definitely not a thing. Let Freedom Ring is making crap up. Shame on him.

  6. Nobody, and especially Reason, should need a shutdown to understand this.

    In fact, Reason should be publishing articles daily about the libertarian case to reduce the federal budget by 80%+.

    In fact, this is so fundamentally libertarian as to dwarf almost any other issue.

    1. I don’t think many at Reason doubt this to be true, but much of the reporting on the shutdown constituted either the horse race variety (what this means for the president’s political capital versus the leverage the Democrats have in the standoff) or the immigration type (the president’s rhetoric to back up a border wall is flawed).

      Tuccille has taken the remarkable step here to comment on the shutdown itself and how it further displays an unnecessarily bloated federal government.

      1. I’m not talking about Reason’s shut down coverage per se.

        What I miss is REASON going hardcore, apeshit, libertarian on fundamental government and economic issues.
        There’s been a noticeable softening over the recent years, evidenced as much by what is not said as what is said.

        1. Definitely need more KMW influence and Tuccille writing.

    2. Reason doesn’t comment on the car accidents either. Too frequent – where is the ‘woman bites dog’ angle?

  7. Yes what a great victory this was for small government. Politicians started seeing their airports get even more annoying than usual and decided that their stupid principles were disposable.

    Apparently in Davos everyone was talking about how 90% of workers are going to become obsolete relative to AI, so perhaps we should worry about not who works in which sector of the economy but how we’re going to achieve a decent standard of living when there is no work for anybody.

    1. … how we’re going to achieve a decent standard of living when there is no work for anybody

      We Koch / Reason libertarians already have the solution ? more immigration. It fixes everything.

      1. That one deserves a golf clap, OBL.

        Short, succinct, and full of sarcasm.

    2. I’ll believe your Luddite fear of losing jobs when you stop bitching about how low minimum wage is.

    3. You should be pleased, Tony. A month of shutdown and not one person in this country went to the bathroom without their hall pass because the Office of Hall Passes was shuttered. You’ve got your compliance culture.

    4. Tony flaunting his royal “wee” again.

    5. Standard of living has been increasing inexorably for centuries. There’s no reason to believe that will stop now. Machines have been making workers obsolete for that entire time and those people always found other jobs to do. Jobs that were more productive thanks to the automation. Just because you can’t imagine what people will be doing in 50 years doesn’t mean they won’t find something to do.

      Think of it this way. If there is effectively no work for anybody, then everything is effectively free. The problem solves itself if you busybodies let it.

    6. but how we’re going to achieve a decent standard of living when there is no work for anybody.

      That’s got to be one of the stupidest things people say about AI.

      If there’s no work for anybody its because the robots are fulfilling all human needs. So no one needs to work to live. You’ve achieved your post-socialist utopia.

      If the robots don’t do all the work then there’s work for people to do. Work is a means to an end, not an end in-and-of itself.

      Are you a Christian? Are you focusing on the need to suffer as a requirement for spiritual salvation? Is that what this is? God said man shall labor for six days and one can not go against the word of God.

      1. In Tony’s mind the robots will produce enough food, shelter and entertainment for tens of billions of people, but only the rich will get any.

      2. To the contrary, Work can certainly be an “end in-and-of itself”, particularly physical and/or productive work. While many retirees enjoy not having to work, most that I know miss the satisfaction of producing something useful for society, whether it is a carpenter who built homes, a doctor who treated illness, a farmer who grew food, an author who wrote books or magazine articles, a mailman (mailperson) who delivered letters and packages, even in the worst of weather, etc. I have an uncle who is 88 and still goes to his law office 4 days a week because he can only watch so much TV, read so many books, and listen to so many operas over and over before he gets bored to death. My former father-in-law is 90 and still goes to work as a dentist 3-4 days a week for the same reasons, adding he can only plant so many flowers in his gardens. Perhaps this is a learned response, and humans may be able to learn how not to be bored while having their every need met by robots. I have my doubts, but, even if it were to occur, I believe that it would be a very long and painful process. Utopia may not always be as utopian as we might believe.

        1. He should start restoring cars. 😀

  8. It should have gone longer.

    The system needs a good detoxing.

    I’m pretty sure the vast majority of those employees can easily find jobs in the private sector.

    1. Dr. Ray Stantz: “Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.”

    2. “I’m pretty sure the vast majority of those employees can easily find jobs in the private sector.”

      Interviewer: Why did you leave your last job?

      A: I was not essential.

      I: Next!

    3. Wrong. Government is way too big, but government employees have contracts, and fucking them over is immoral. I’m all for shrinking government. Do it the right way, not “hey guess what, sucks to be you this week!”.

      1. I don’t know. Seems to me that part of the deal with government contracts is that the legislature can change or cancel them. Don’t like that, get a job in the private sector.

      2. What contract do they have that says they must remain employed?

        1. And none of them have ever complained when the government unilaterally modified that contract *to their benefit*. I’ve never, for example, ever heard anyone in the military call bullshit on the government deciding to pay them more money – but if they were told pay was to be cut . . .

    4. It should have gone longer.

      Trump’s a pussy. Poooooooossssssssseeeeeee.

  9. Decades ago I saw a suggestion for, um, downsizing the government. Every year 10% of the federal workforce is randomly laid off. Each of those receives, at first, their full salary as a pension, then every year the “pension” is reduced 10%. The idea is that older employees are not left high and dry, while younger employees have severance/encouragement to seek other employment. Further, as the overall number of employees decreases, agencies would be consolidated and eliminated.

    1. I never understood whenever austerity measures were introduced they didn’t simply ‘grandfather’ all existing employees. Something along the lines of ‘ok. You guys we’re gonna honor the contracts but the next batch be forewarned this is how it’s gonna go’. I’m sure it happens with some agencies but we should do that across the board.

      Streamline the hell out of everything. The bureaucracy is so big one part doesn’t know what the other is doing despite being in the same agency! I see a lot of that in my industry. From the day I entered it in 2010 to now I saw with my own two eyes and through practical experience how it goes into a monstrosity. When they start sending you pointless information and pamphlets while adding more and more regulations that literally do fuck all, you know you lost the plot.

      1. Possibly because when governments really go insolvent like Greece, they can’t even sustain the grandfathered employees.

      2. “You guys we’re gonna honor the contracts…”

        Like the government does with the plebes (I’m looking at you, 1st, 2nd etc. amendments).

      3. Is the government obliged to always honor contracts? It seems to me that if a legislature decides, for example, to abolish a whole federal department, then they shouldn’t be bound by what previous legislators did.
        Elections have consequences. That’s a risk that comes with working for the government.

  10. I remember the former Government of Indiana, Mitch Daniels had said his philosophy was if the service existed in the yellow pages the government did not need to do it. He had a good record in the state for turning over quite a bit of government to private industry. A shame he decided not to run for president but who can blame him.

    1. If the service doesn’t exist in the yellow pages, the government still doesn’t necessarily need to do it.

    2. I reckon people know this. The problem arises when the government decided it can do it ‘better’.

      When reality all they achieve is the politicization of whatever they took over.

      Again, to cite my experience, they claim they have *improved* services but according to what standards? Well, their own to start. But to those of us not subsidized, their rules actually hurt the facilities that had better if not superior service to begin with. They also use weasel phrases like ‘we just want to ensure’ or making things ‘level’ and ‘standardized’.

      You can do that without an entire bureaucracy dedicated to it.

      I look forward to the day I sell.

      1. Proof to your argument. School lunches. At public schools. Nastiest food ever. We all know it. Sometimes schools outsource part of the lunches to private vendors like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and where I live Miguel’s. Yum. Invariably the students begin to buy that food more and more because it is cheeper and better. So, once this goes on for too long, the school cuts out the private party because Food Services is losing money. They never think to cut back on production from Food Services, which makes an inferior product at a higher cost, because it is a part of the School District.

        1. “Proof to your argument. School lunches. At public schools. Nastiest food ever”

          Talk to someone who’s been in a school recently. They have WAY better food than in the olden times.
          They figured this one out way back when Reagan was Prez. They made the school serve vegetables, on the flimsy excuse that they were nutritious. So it went from the school kitchen to the school garbage cans, untouched in between. They started switching to food kids want to eat.

  11. Auto Diagnostics from Top Diagnostics offers computer diagnostics for Sofia

  12. Funny how practically no one mentions the drug war at times like these.

    1. Victory is right around the corner.

  13. since they are all getting paid anyway the shutdown was pure theater on both parts and they always has been

    1. Theater isn’t nothing. This exercise brought Trump to a nadir in popularity and somehow turned Pelosi from rightwing boogeyman into political genius.

      Which is only fair considering Trump’s obstinance caused a lot of people stress for the purpose of gaining absolutely nothing.

      1. It ain’t over….

        1. I’m sure the next Trump shutdown will somehow be popular.

  14. There were too many reports of mandatory workers calling in sick and finding other jobs, rather than working without pay during the shutdown.

    One more reason to ban Uber.

    1. Sarc? (I hope)

      1. The handle doesn’t make it obvious?

        1. Incomprehensible Bitching doesn’t get enough credit. It’s much better than OBL.

        2. Incomprehensible Bitching doesn’t get enough credit. It’s much better than OBL.

  15. Even as media pundits lamented the plight of federal employees waiting on delayed paychecks…

    Holy heck, that was nonstop and deliberately unsubtle. I would have preferred they written FEDERAL EMPLOYEES LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK on a 2×4 and hit me over the head with it once rather than the month long pathos for furloughed workers without credit cards.

    1. But what do you think the country gained by this exercise? Or are you just defending Trump reflexively like the 28% of the country that’s still with him because they hate Mexicans?

      1. Where did he defend Trump?

      2. I think we gained an understanding that there are a lot of government employees that we wouldn’t miss if they were gone.

      3. 28% is bullshit. I’m still with him because I hate progressives. Mexicans are fine with me, as long as they’re paying income tax and not sucking the public teat.




    4. And don’t forget the media lambasting of Wilbur Ross for having the gall to suggest that federal employees who are going to get paid eventually take out loans, even though he specifically called out the fact that a whole bunch of credit unions that serve federal employees offered those loans at 0% interest to feds who weren’t getting their checks.

  16. Been a Fed contractor for almost 20 years with several agencies (both DoD and non-DoD), and have chosen to stay a contractor despite having several opportunities the past 2 decades to go Fed. It’s a mixed bunch with them – some overworked and also who love their jobs and give it their all….but there’s also a vast sea of fat, lazy good for nothings eating up your taxes who do practically nothing and proud of how they use the system to their advantage. They also know how difficult it is for them to be fired and flaunt that as well. They acquire positions created with a generic title and don’t really have a real purpose other than chat all day and keep others from working. Then they retire and collect their pension/retirement…and continue to do nothing. No thanks.

    1. *taking notes*

      Where do I apply?

  17. You could probably walk into any federal or state government agency and fire 1 of every 3 people and not have any degradation of service. As President, that’s exactly what I would have done; fire 1 of 3 and also release any political appointees and put professionals in their jobs.

    1. A woman, Ana Carrera, posted a photo of the cookie on Facebook, saying that as a person with Mexican heritage it felt personal.

      It was absolutely personal. He put those cookies out there to intentionally offend you.

      1. Next cookie: “Suck it,Ana!”

        That’s personal.

    2. People sure are upset a lot up in the Puget Sound region.

    3. Too many people don’t realize that symbolism is a literary device. The wall is a wall. Not a symbol of how much we hate Mexicans. But it’s become pure symbol in the public discourse. I don’t think the wall is a good idea, but it’s not offensive to even mention.
      It’s just nuts how expressing a very mainstream political point of view now starts the outrage machine.

  18. All TSA agents belong in prison.

  19. As I said during the entire shutdown, the big problem was the air traffic controllers. Why the heck is that a federal job! I disliked the shutdown as it is going to cost more money and trouble than if it didn’t happen, yes all the government employees including the furloughed will get back pay, but it is true that there is a silver lining. Of all the complaints made about how the sky was falling because the government was closed, there were no critical fails. We all know TSA is a joke, and the many issues because ” I can’t proceed, because I can’t get my permit that the government says I must have from them to proceed” is hardly a reasonable argument that the government is necessary. Delays in permits do cost private businesses and people money though. I do not agree that people should be promised money and then not payed, but that was the biggest argument against the shutdown made over and over…

    I wish the government would streamline and cut back, but that is never going to happen. I used to think the Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility, but that ship has sailed. I dislike the throw the wrench in the works approach. Just because I dislike something doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some merit.

    1. And if it *is* a federal job, why is it considered “non-essential”?

  20. “the philosopher Herbert Spencer once remarked, “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.”

    Republicans who idolize the military would have their heads explode listening to this remark.

    I have sympathy for enlistees who are injured or killed. I have the same sympathy for anyone killed doing a dangerous job to pay the bills. The military puts out a great deal of propaganda implying how moral and necessary that work is, and some people do believe it.

    1. What an irrelevant comment.

      Now, if you’d applied Spencer’s saying to the furloughed feds, you’d have had something

  21. This is bunk. The minute a for profit enterprise takes over anything related to human well-being like healthcare, education, or housing, those quickly become unaffordable for the largest number of folks, which we see here in the US and we get the military industrial complex where contractors swindle billions of dollars from taxpayers while delivering sub-par results — I have worked in that complex. Capitalism serves only the rich, the rest of us suffer extensively. You Libbies think we need no oversight so your businesses can swindle with impunity. You make me so mad.

    1. Health care is infected with government at all levels.
      Drugs cost a fortune because the drug companies have captured the regulatory folks at the FDA, extended patent life, and quashed competition by regulation.
      Hospitals cost a fortune because competition is, again, regulated. Want to build a competing facility for MRI, well then you will have to file a Certificate of Need with the state, and guess who sits on that board, but the existing providers of MRI services. No certificate for you, and no competition.
      Government is, if not the cause of health care hyperinflation, the mechanism by which private industry is able to severely jack up the prices.

      1. And yet, we spend 17% of GDP on healthcare (highest among the OECD) while others spend far less, cover far more, and have far less out of pocket expenses.

        Yes though, of course it’s government in its totality that is the issue. Maybe take a step back and realize it’s a very inefficient implementation of government that serves its corporate cronies rather than government as an entity.

    2. A voice of reason on this site- ironic.

      Most of the “libertarians” (if we could even call them that) are the “screw you got mine” variety who are doing ok and really don’t give one flying fig about anyone else. They don’t have to of course but I’m not sure anyone has been congratulated on a lack of empathy for their fellow man (nor have they actually profited much from it considering society has an effect on every man.)

      Simply put- government exists to serve the citizens, business exists to serve the business and shareholders. The moment you start talking about privatizing everything you start to admit that government can solely serve the privileged (not that they’re doing that good of a job helping out the bulk of society anyhow.)

      1. You are pretty fucking clueless, eh Skippy. Suck that state cock good and hard.

  22. When Roger Stone was arrested by 17 agents, PBS commented that it was unfortunate that those agents had to work arresting Roger Stone without pay due to the shut down. It didn’t seem to occur to anyone that perhaps 15 of those agents should be laid off permanently as they were obviously not needed.

    1. 29 agents, 2 armored vehicles, 2 armed boats, and a helicopter

  23. One of the best Reason articles EVER.

  24. If you are convinced government is unimportant, you are only seeing what you want to see.

    1. Facts not in evidence, cupcake. Keep sucking….

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  26. Reason can be consoled by the fact that without the heavy hand of government park officials, the people could briefly reclaim their beautiful wilderness at Joshua Tree Monument. Search “Joshua Tree news”.

  27. There is nothing the federal government does that Koch Industries couldn’t do.

  28. You may justify a coercive political paradigm like the U.S. Police State/Empire as necessary. It’s not. Therefore, no part of that paradigm is justified. Any part that supports the whole to any extent is, on the net, destructive. You can’t focus on the non-coercive parts and ignore the rest if you want to eliminate the coercion completely.

    The only way to do that is by attacking the root cause, FAITH IN FORCE. This superstition must die.

    Gradually hacking at the leaves/branches of the tree of evil is futile.

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