Do Not Do That. Instead, Explain
Hatred toward, or paranoia about, a person's government is not a trait monopolized by any one ideological group. It is an individual's reaction to a real or perceived threat to control over his own destiny. While there is a long history of persons of various ideological backgrounds attacking the State, from the Reddist Reds to the most ardent Libertarians to moderates of both the Left and the Right to Christians, Muslims and Atheists; there is one thing they all have in common: they perceive that the existent power structure exercises control over their own life.
Hardly anyone would contest that the State does not exert some level of influence over the lives of every one in its given territory. Only a few would even claim that the State has never overstepped its bounds and trampled the lives and rights of various individuals from time to time. It is always a matter of conjecture, however, when trying to ascertain whether or not the State has acted unfairly or criminally towards the individual that lashes out. It is also not worth contemplating, for the individual who lashes out violently in reaction to the State is wrong. There is only one justification for using violent means against the State: in self defense. In other words, only when the State is using violent aggression against your life or the lives of your family is it ethically acceptable to retaliate. Perceiving that your life and well being are in danger is not enough. You can run. You can escape. You can live, breathe, write, speak, and educate. You may not be completely free, but neither are the oligarchs of the State. Call it even and work on the ideas of freedom as you work on gaining your own freedom.
Over the last month, two events have shaken the Libertarian crowd. Joe Stack, an enterprising engineer, flew a small plane into the IRS office in Austin, Texas after apparently suffering 25+ years of tax troubles. John Patrick Bedell, an outspoken critic of the government and 9/11 truth advocate, opened fire at an entrance to the Pentagon. Both Bedell and Stack left behind testimony that indicates a trail of State abuse, some real and some imagined. Both acted criminally. That Bedell was a registered Democrat does not ease my concerns. That people of all ideologies have committed similar crimes and are equally likely to lash out at any time makes me no less outraged. That the State engages in murder on a daily basis, cloaked in the veneer of democratic multinational interventionism, makes me no less ashamed.
Both outbursts of violence should be roundly condemned by the Libertarian community, yet I have seen no such condemnation. Perhaps I missed it. In lieu of such response from a well known writer, I offer you mine.
Naked aggression against the lives of others, no matter who they work for, is a violation of the Non Aggression Principle. It serves no purpose except to exercise the immature outrages of a frustrated person and can bring about no permanent change in society. Ideas make society and not the other way around. If your ideas allow for the drawing of blood, or worse explicitly, call for blood to purge various evils you think are confronting you, then a society of blood thirsty revolutionaries will be your tribute. This lesson has been learned the hard way by Reds and Libertarians, though it is still lost on those who think Democracy can be spread by the sword.
Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.
One way to proceed boldly against evil is to fight in the battlefield of ideas. You can not expect, nor should you desire, to make the world all over again by yourself. That is a popular delusion often used to inspire hope while shielding the con artist's true intentions from the public. If you only help one person to understand the beauty of liberty, the idea has survived for another day, another life. That is all you can expect of this world. Today, we can accomplish so much thanks to the democratization of ideas over the Internet, and we are winning victories in the minds of Americans every day. If people will not listen, perhaps it is you that is the problem. Perhaps you are just not very good at explaining those ideas which you intuitively grasp. Perhaps, like the natural division of labor in society, there are other specializations in which you excel. Educating others is just one of an infinite number of ways to make the world better.
Never forget that liberty is not the only thing which makes this world great. Even under the yoke of authoritarianism people can love their families, work together, and share joy. Even in the worst of circumstances, people can still make the world tolerable.
Naked aggression, however, does not make our world better.
David in Qatar