08-27-2009 Larken Rose Violence by Any Other Name...
I admit, compared to almost everyone else, my political views are very extreme. For example, I don't advocate that anyone ever be forced to fund something that they don't want to fund. I don't support robbery, even when the stolen loot is to be used for something supposedly noble or beneficial. No Democrat or Republican can honestly say that. Though they differ on how the politicians should spend the loot, every single one of them advocates that I be robbed, under threat of violence, to pay for things that I don't want. And, of course, they also advocate that you be robbed to pay for things that you don't want.
I don't. Ain't I extreme?
The trouble is, even though every Republican and Democrat advocates the initiation of violence against millions of people who haven't harmed anyone, the way people see reality is so warped by the "authority" myth that they can't see that what they advocate is coercion. They think that calling it "law" or "taxation" somehow makes it legitimate and disqualifies it as violence. And yet they know that anyone who doesn't pay the federal Mafia's extortion fees will be punished, with either extra robbery or imprisonment (or death if they continue to resist). It's not that they are unaware of the violence behind all "laws"; it's that they think it's automatically righteous when "government" does it, and so they don't call it violence.
The most bizarre example is the people who say, "I abhor violence, so I'm for gun control." Oh, really? And how, exactly, will this "gun control" be imposed? By friendly suggestion? By rational argument? By a group hug? Or by men with guns forcibly disarming the general public? "Gun control" is violence. Even worse, it is the initiation of violence against people whose only sin is having the ability to defend themselves. And using violence against someone merely because that person possessed the means to protect himself is violent, evil, hypocritical and insane.
And such lunacy is the direct result of the belief in "authority." If, for example, a burglar broke into someone's house, and the homeowner pulled out a knife and threatened to attack the crook if he didn't leave, how would most people judge that? Most would obviously see the invader as the bad guy, and the guy trying to chase him away as the good guy. But if the burglar happens to be called a "tax collector," and tries to forcibly rob someone, and his intended victim resists, nearly everyone would loudly condemn the victim of the extortion as being a nasty, "violent" criminal.
That is why, when I say that using force to defend against those who initiate violence--even when that violence is called "law" or "taxes," and even when the attackers call themselves "government" or "law-enforcement"--most people view me as the violent one. This is because almost everyone truly believes that when you make an actual crime (trespassing, robbery, extortion, assault, kidnapping, murder, etc.) "legal," it ceases to be a crime. They further believe that resisting a crime, when the crime has been "legalized," is a horrible thing to do.
Almost everyone in this country advocates constant, widespread violence, but they are too deluded to know it. Often the violence is fairly hidden, because the mere threat of authoritarian retaliation (for not paying "taxes," for building something without a "permit," for possessing an "illegal" weapon or an "illegal" substance, and so on) is often enough to coerce compliance. In those cases, statists can pretend that people obey "voluntarily," though that makes about as much sense as saying that someone "voluntarily" gave his car to a carjacker, in order to avoid being shot. But even when the government violence is overt and bloody, as with the "war on drugs," or foreign wars, or even some traffic stops these days, statists are still unable to see that what they are advocating is BRUTAL, BLOODY VIOLENCE. Worse yet, when I suggest that it would be justified to use whatever force it takes to stop such aggressive force, the statists see me as the "violent" one.
To illustrate this hypocrisy, I like to make the following offer, to anyone and everyone who considers himself peaceful and civilized: "I will never initiate violence against you myself, nor advocate that anyone else do so." When I ask if someone will do the same for me, he always says "yes." And almost no one who says that means it, as a simple follow-up question easily illustrates: "So you don't advocate that I be forced, via 'taxes,' to fund anything that I don't want to fund?" That's when they start to backpedal, make excuses, start to use vague euphemisms about one's "fair share," and so on. "Okay, so you won't promise to refrain from advocating the initiation of violence against me. That's good to know."
Here is a very simple principle that almost everyone understands: "Don't ever start a fight, but if someone attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself." And yet, because of the cult belief in "government," that simple rule sometimes turns completely upside-down: "It's okay to start a fight with everyone in the country (via 'taxes' and other 'laws'), and okay to violently crush anyone who tries to defend himself against your attack." Well, if such lunacy is considered to be an acceptable, civilized, mainstream attitude--which it is in this country, and throughout most of the world--then I'm happy to be "extreme."