The suspension of disbelief


Have you ever watched a fictional movie with someone who comments, “That can’t happen in real life,” every time something that could only occur in fantasy happens? You respond with, “Yes, I know that animals can’t talk to people, but can you just please be quite and enjoy the movie?”

Many works of fiction contain events that you know cannot actually take place in reality, but in order for the audience to enjoy the story, they must accept it as possible within the realm of the “fantasy world” that has been created for them. For example, if you refused to accept that time travel is possible, then you probably thought that Back to the Future was a pretty awful movie.

This is called the suspension of disbelief. You can’t have fun with these sorts of things without it.

Unfortunately, the suspension of disbelief goes beyond just reading a book or watching television for many people. Believing that the government is the most efficacious and ethical solution to any problem requires one to ignore concepts and ideas you know to be true. And like someone who questions the possibility of fairy tales is greeted with anger and frustration, if you dare question the authority of the state, do not expect much introspection and intellectual honesty in return.

To accept the state as the best solution, you must…

…ignore economic principles such as the law of demand, the law of diminishing marginal utility, and the law of comparative advantage.

…ignore that taking someone’s property without their permission (i.e. taxation) is theft.

…ignore that state licensing and regulation artificially allows corporate interests to hold power.

…think that a person you’ve never met knows how to manage your life better than you do.

…believe that politicians act altruistically.

…ignore that certain big businesses greatly benefits from war.

…ignore that the Social Contract is nothing like any legitimate contract that has ever existed, whether explicit or implicit.

…accept that certain individuals have more rights than you do.

…believe that killing innocent men, women, and children is beneficial to your security.

…think that prohibition does not cause violence.

If your response to a critique of your views is a person attack or a simple thoughtless dismissal, ask yourself why you are not able to come up with a more reasoned response. You might just be suspending your disbelief to allow yourself to accept the control of government.