Notice what happens when you tell someone that taxation is theft, or anything else that serves to point out their chains. What happens? They have an immediate reaction. Their amygdala kicks in with the fight or flight instinct, floods the brain with electrical impulses, and shuts off the frontal Neocortex responsible for reasoning.
They don’t respond in a calm, rational manner by saying “Hmm, I’ve never heard that before – that’s an interesting proposition to think about.” Nope – it’s visceral, it’s emotional, they feel anger, and it affects them deeply.
What proceeds from their emotional knee-jerk reaction is an ex post facto rationalization that seeks to essentially assuage their emotional anxiety. For instance, they may argue that “Oh no, taxation isn’t really theft because of the social contract.” If you point out that the social contract has none of the properties of a contract, they’ll just move the goal posts to something else. The fundamental problem here is not one of reason, but of emotion. Reason is merely the puppet following the prime directive – which is an evasion of the truth and of reality. The simple truth that statists can never admit, that “I am a slave”.
Why is it that statists react in a way that makes it seem as though they’ve lived through this before and already know they are a slave? Why is their response so immediate, as if it were a manifestation of some deeply-hidden truth? Because that’s exactly what it is. When they were children, they were treated as slaves. They were ordered around, manipulated into doing things against their will, and if they resisted they were punished until obedience was extracted from them.
As children they developed Stockholm syndrome as a survival mechanism, which caused them to rationalize their slavery, either as a necessary evil, or as not really slavery (sound familiar?). They hid the truth of their slavery deep inside their subconscious, as a scar tissue in their brain from when their parents beat them, screamed at them, forcibly isolated them through time-outs, and subjected them to the kind of manipulative behavior they wouldn’t dream of using against other adults.
And of course as children they could do nothing about it. They could not meaningfully resist, they could not leave due to their dependence and lack of legal rights, and they certainly didn’t choose to be in this relationship in the first place. It is a sad truth that in our societies, wives and husbands are treated with far greater respect than children, even though they have infinitely more power to disassociate from abusive relationships.
You can see then that the rationalizations people make for their political chains are nothing more than an extension of the rationalizations they made for their slavery as children. I think that politics, for most people, has nothing to do with government and everything to do with their early childhood trauma.
This is why reasoning people out of political beliefs is almost impossible and rarely works – political beliefs are not entered into based on reason.
p.s. A big thank you goes out to Stefan Molyneux’s work in helping me learn about, understand, and synthesize my thoughts on this.