Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

Do Not Do That. Instead, Explain



March 08, 2010 – Comments (4)


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

4 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 08, 2010 at 6:26 PM, ralphmachio (< 20) wrote:

You really don't see much about Joe Stack on the news. Why do you suppose that is? 

Why is it that our culture is fueled by cinema depicting the repressed underdog overcoming the evil of greedy men?

How is it that people like Alex Jones are able to spread so much fear and tell a large segment of the truth openly, even at times utilizing networks that have an obvious pro government/industry agenda?

I find that the whole fear industry is what our government is selling.(Well, that and debt...) Fear of terror, fear of disease, fear of economic and social chaos. It used to be fear of nuclear war with Russia.

What do all these fears accomplish? It weakens the public against their government, and makes them more dependent emotionally, and mentally. When this dependency is perceived by the public to the degree it has been for the last 4 decades, there seems no possibility to avoid the problems that the future hold. We seem to be stuck-along for the ride, if you will. The good thing is, this will create a society that respects freedom, and benevolence, as the yin and yang shows, the seed of light is only born in the darkest part of the swirl.

There will be naked aggression. Most people do not understand how fear is used to manipulate them, and act on it. I don't think fear is what motivated Joe Stack however. Disgust, frustration, constant pestilence, and perhaps even a sense of self sacrifice.  

The government sends us messages. Hours after we get attacked, the Patriot Act is being pushed through congress. This was too large to read, no less write in the given time. Subconsciously, we ALL know they knew where the planes were heading, could have stopped the first one easy enough, letting the second hit was a CLEAR message. Yes, shooting down a plane is preferable to letting it hit a building, unless it could do more damage. Interesting though how much press coverage the event got, and how mr. Stack got virtually none! Could it be because they were not ready for Joe Stack? Could he in fact be one of the first non-state sponsored terrorist? Why did they not have some 10,000 page document ready?

Yes, I realize that Joe's damage was not even comparable. Yes I realize that many people have the opposite reaction when IRS employees are targeted than when it's people;) But it seems a bit odd that the terror alerts weren't florescent pink, and it was hardly mentioned, yet someone flew a plane into a government building!

I agree, violence is not good. We'll see what happens as average people cannot afford to feed their children.     

Report this comment
#2) On March 08, 2010 at 11:02 PM, DaretothREdux (53.09) wrote:


You and I aspire to change the world one sentence at a time. Someday it may be more than words that are required. I have never been one to take up the sword, still the prophet in me tells me that it will some day come to violence though I will never be the one to initiate.


Report this comment
#3) On March 09, 2010 at 8:58 AM, Turfscape (< 20) wrote:

Sadly, as a society, we like to focus on labels: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Conservative, Liberal...We don't hear the ideas. We don't care to hear the ideas. We root for "our side" to win and "their side" to lose. So, our labels get usurped and corrupted. Republican means nothing anymore. Democrat means nothing. Libertarianism has, too, been usurped and corrupted, as a label...much as in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, 'Libertarian' is growing in perception as a violent uprising against the government and society in response to perceived wrongs. It is being equated with anarchy.

You are absolutely correct in that the battlefield of ideas is where the challenge should be. The more the ideas are discussed, debated and shared, the closer we will be to understanding each other and moving beyond the labels we wear.

Report this comment
#4) On March 09, 2010 at 10:59 AM, dinodelaurentis (85.75) wrote:

Well put my fellow Fools.

"The acme of skill is not 100 victories in 100 battles. The acme of skill is to win without fighting."- Sun Tzu

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners