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Two Non-Disagreements

I wanted to take this opportunity to NOT disagree with Stefan
Molyneux on a couple points, which came up at two events over the
July 4th weekend.

1) When Stefan and I did our respective rants at the July 4th
event, some people characterized it as if I was calling for armed
revolution, while Stefan was calling for rational persuasion.

I can see why it seemed that way, since much of my talk was about
forced resistance against "legalized" tyranny, such as happened in
1776, and Stefan's talk was about how to better rationally persuade
people of the moral superiority of voluntaryism. When directly
asked what he thought of the option of open revolt, Stefan said he
thought it wouldn't really do any good.

To a certain extent, I agree. As I understand it--and Stefan can
certainly correct me if I am representing what he believes--he
totally agrees that the initiation of violence is immoral, while
using force to defend against such aggression is moral. (That's
just the libertarian code in a nutshell.)

Then there are practical considerations. Ten libertarians staging a
revolution against a million-man collectivist army might be
justified, but it certainly wouldn't turn out well for the freedom-
fighters. Likewise, in this nation of socialists, an open revolt
right now would mostly just be a great excuse for the collectivists
to exterminate all those who don't bow to the state. Again, that's
not a statement about whether it would be justified; only about
whether it would be a good idea on a practical basis.

So what's the solution? Well, if everyone gave up the worship of
the state tomorrow, there wouldn't need to be any revolution or
resistance at all. The power cult would evaporate. What could be
better? If, on the other hand, 90% of the population gave up the
worship of the state, the revolution would last about a day. As the
percentage of people who WANT freedom goes down, the result of a
possible revolution would be more and more bloody and gruesome,
down to the point where the pro-freedom folk would accomplish
little more than getting themselves exterminated.

And that's where PERSUASION comes in. The reason Stefan and I do
what we do, though we often do things very differently, is because
the more people who are persuaded that self-ownership is a good
idea, the less nastiness will occur in society, whether in terms of
state violence or anti-state violence.

The question of when forcible resistance is justified, and when it
is a good idea, are not the same. There are some things that I
would violently resist, no matter how bad my chances might be, like
fascists trying to take me, my wife, or my daughter captive. or the
fascists trying to disarm me. On the other hand, there are lots of
obnoxious forms of oppression that I won't openly resist at the
moment, because I'd rather be alive and not in prison. There's a
big difference between suggesting that right now we should all go
engage in forcible resistance against self-proclaimed "bosses"
(which I wasn't doing), and trying to get people to understand that
using defensive force, whether against private crooks or the crooks
who wear the label of "government," is always morally justified,
even if it's sometimes a bad idea in practical terms. And I';m
guessing that Stefan would agree with that.

2) At the debate between Stefan and Michael Badnarik, a question
came up about "rights," and Stefan responded that he doesn't
believe in "rights," though he does believe in morality. Though I
often use the term "rights," I think in essence Stefan and I would
agree on this, except maybe about the semantics involved.

A "right" is not some magical, positive thing that people are born
with. For the term to have any meaning at all, the concept of
"rights" is purely a NEGATIVE one. The "right" to do "X" means only
that no other PERSON would be morally justified in forcibly
PREVENTING you from doing "X." For example, being born without a
tongue does not violate your "right" to freedom of speech, while
people calling themselves "government" ripping your tongue out to
shut you up would violate such "rights." (A wild aardvark ripping
your esophagus out also would not constitute a violation of your
"right" to freedom of speech, though it would hamper the exercise

So a list of "rights" is really nothing more than saying, "Here are
some things that no one should forcibly PREVENT me from doing." And
making a list of those is a little silly, since the list would
include everything you could possibly think of to do, EXCEPT for
initiating force or fraud against someone else. In other words, you
have the "right" to do ANYTHING, except for initiating force or
fraud. So it's a lot more simple and direct to just speak of moral
(defensive) and immoral (offensive) force, than it is to twist the
concept around backwards, to describe a negative in positive terms
(i.e., "rights").

- --------------------------

Now, just so this isn't TOO much of a "love fest," there is
something Stefan said that I actually disagree with. He was
describing how a free society could defend itself by just having a
couple nukes. But it's impossible to use nuclear warheads as purely
defensive weapons, without killing lots and lots of innocent
people. (Well, if your enemy is stupid enough to put its entire
"government" and army on an island somewhere, without anyone else
there, it could be justified, but that's kind of unlikely.) In
fact, I pretty much consider the mere possession of an assembled,
armed nuclear warhead to constitute an act of aggression, and an
open threat against non-violent people. After all, how could you
possibly use it WITHOUT killing innocent people?

Personally, I think a vastly preferable method of "national
security" in a free society (which probably wouldn't call itself a
"nation") is assassination. By the tyrant rules, the various
megalomaniacs often send pawn to kill pawn, leaving both clubs of
control freaks intact. I think every time any "government" starts a
war, the most effective, and most moral approach, is to send in a
few assassins to blow the "leader's" damn head off. And if his
successor continues down the same path, do it again. If THEY were
the ones risking everything by their megalomaniacal designs, they
might think twice. Right now, they have nothing to lose, since the
club of world tyrants has an OPEN agreement to not kill each other,
but to only kill each other's pawns.

Larken Rose