Porcupine Non Grata

porcupinecagedJody Gevins Underwood emailed me today concerning last nights board meeting of the Free State Project, and the motion to kick me out of the organization. Below is the exact text of that email, and then I will give you my thoughts on the matter.

Dear Chris,

The FSP Board met last night to discuss your situation and what to do. Our decision is stated below, which includes our reasoning.

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Whereas Chris Cantwell has made the following public statements, been offered the opportunity to retract, and has refused to do so: “It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents,” and “any level of force necessary for anyone to stop any government agent from furthering said coercion [tax collection in the context of funding the salaries of all government employees] is morally justifiable…” 

Whereas the FSP Board believes this view exceeds the right of self-defense

Whereas the Policy and Procedure for Removing Participants (passed 7/11/04) states:

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Participants may be removed for promoting violence, racial hatred, or bigotry. Participants who are deemed detrimental to the accomplishment of the Free State Project’s goals may also be removed.

Therefore, according to the Policy and Procedure for Removing Participants, the FSP Board removes Chris Cantwell as a participant and declares him unwelcome to attend FSP-organized events.

 

In peace and liberty,

Jody

for the FSP Board

 

What this means is, I’ve been removed from the list of FSP participants, and I’m not welcome at events like PorcFest. It means the FSP has chosen to alienate not only me, but thousands of other people who agree with me, or even disagree with me but want to continue the conversation. It means that rather than write a coherent response to my blog, they would rather cut off communication and discourage others from having philosophical and tactical discussions (two different things) about the proper application of force.

What this doesn’t mean is, you shouldn’t move to New Hampshire, the Free State Project is fascist or doesn’t believe in free speech, or any number of other negative things people have said about the FSP in an effort to support me. This sort of rhetoric is counter productive. The FSP is voluntary, they can associate with whom they see fit. I believe in freedom of association, if the FSP doesn’t want me, who the hell am I to impose myself upon them? I’m still free to say whatever I want, I just can’t come to their party. I’m still free to live within the arbitrary geopolitical boundary commonly known as New Hampshire, I’m just not a member of this particular organization. I’m not ostracized by every member of the Free State Project, in fact I’m still facebook friends with the president thereof, this is a PR stunt to avoid unwanted attention. New Hampshire is a great place to live, and the FSP board is only 5 people.

Now, there’s quite a bit to say about this. Not the least of which is, I knew it was going to happen when I wrote “Concord Police, Go and Get Your Bearcat“. I alluded to that in the article when I said “the inevitable outrage that this article will invoke from libertarians may serve as further proof” [of their aversion to violence]. If anything, I’m surprised it took so long. When I moved to New Hampshire last year I found myself in a similar mess, but with a much lower profile and much tamer rhetoric, and it made me realize that there’s very little hope for the cause of liberty because there’s almost nobody willing to actually fight for it. I sought to change that, and my strategy is working.

Think of it as private sector civil disobedience. Other people go to prison for their beliefs, I think it’s quite a small sacrifice for me to miss PorcFest for mine. People are afraid to even discuss the use of force as a moral concept, much less a useful tactic in the fight for freedom. Since force is inevitable, as evidenced by our friends in cages and caskets, somebody has to talk about these things. I’d prefer it wasn’t me. Saying the things I say puts my life in danger and causes me a great deal of trouble in my interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, there is only one other voice in the voluntarist community I can think of willing to talk about it, and that’s Larken Rose. Seems unfair to let one man shoulder all that burden. I hope that others will join the discussion, that’s part of why I’m saying the things I’m saying, and again, my strategy is working.

By threatening to kick me out over a blog, the FSP helped me draw light to this subject and made a lot of people talk about it. Yesterday, social media was buzzing with philosophical and tactical conversations over the use of force, and most of what I saw acknowledged that a line exists where force was necessary and proper. There’s still a lot of difference over where exactly that line is, and that’s a personal decision for each individual to make on their own. I think it’s important for people to discuss that more often, because as we’ve seen, things are getting worse out there, and the rate of change is picking up.

The IRS is targeting political enemies, the NSA monitors nearly all of our communications, the Nobel Peace Prize winning president who was elected as an antiwar candidate is preparing to launch yet another unprovoked attack on a foreign country while several such conflicts already exist, Boston fell to martial law on the day the first shots of the American Revolution were fired, Adam Kokesh is held in solitary confinement over a YouTube video, and by the way we still have high taxes, inflation, over-regulation, the war on drugs, a complete disregard for the bill of rights, and all the other things libertarians have been complaining about since before the coining of the term libertarian. If that line has not been crossed yet, it’s time to have a serious discussion over just where that line is. If not now, then when? If not you, then who? Decide now, because if you decide after you’ve been disarmed, things are going to become much more complicated.

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I think the predominant line of thinking within the voluntarist community can be attributed largely to Stefan Molyneux, a brilliant man who I enjoy listening to. The strategy is a multigenerational solution, which means we allow this madness to continue for another 200 years or more. We leave this struggle for future generations to suffer through, we all die as slaves, we raise our children as slaves, and we hope against all evidence that reason will win out over force and irrationality, and eventually mankind will live in a world where the good guys always win. While this is a fine thing to desire, my study of history leads me to believe otherwise.

Larken said it best, ironically enough as a paid speaker at PorcFest, when he said “might does not make right, but it does make outcomes”. Ultimately, good will win out over evil when the good guys are better at using force, and more willing to use force, than the bad guys. It is an inescapable fact that people who will use force will always defeat people who are not willing to use force, and if violence is to be the exception rather than the rule, then those with the greatest aversion to violence are going to have to come to terms with its necessity and inevitability.

Extreme Examples

I find it really funny how things get taken out of context, and how people can’t seem to draw a line between philosophical and tactical discussions. Last year it was paperclips. This year it’s killing the mailman. As if I’m actually advocating you shoot a little girl in the face for stepping on your flowers. People will always jump to these absurd fictitious scenarios when they want to find something to disagree with you about. Every anarchist should know this by now, how many times have you been accused by some sheep of wanting to legalize slavery or child pornography? I mean, you could beat around the bush, or you could just run with it.

The paperclip incident, comes from a discussion about a burglar being shot by the Keene Police Department last year while trying to escape. A faction of activists from Keene claimed this was murder, and my contention was that the property owner would have been justified in shooting the burglar, so while I disagree with the existence of a compulsory police department, as things stand the KPD was justified in acting on behalf of the property owner when they shot the burglar. If the property owner took issue with their actions, that of course, would be a different story.

This lead to a philosophical discussion on the use of force to protect property, where it was posed to me by Jason Talley “Do you have the right to shoot someone over a paperclip?”. Sure, why not? It’s my paperclip, he stole it, I have the right to defend and retrieve my property using whatever level of force is necessary. Now, shooting someone over a paperclip seems like a waste of a bullet, and the cleaning costs would surely be astronomical especially if we were on a carpeted floor. I also think that people would look at you funny and think twice about associating with you if you did that, but if you ask a silly question, expect a silly answer.

Jody saw fit to take out of context in her response, my mention of justification for killing any government agent from the more recent controversy.  In case you haven’t read the transcript of my email discussion with her, after the initial threat to kick me out of the FSP, Jody responded,

I’ve read your blog post again, and I’m not actually clear about what you’re advocating. Are you suggesting that people defend themselves in the moment, for example, when they are threatened with being kidnapped? Or to preemptively kill a government agent who has not personally interacted with them? I’m not sure the FSP board would agree with either, but there’s a huge difference in my mind.

I responded

More than anything, I want to put the question of force back into the larger discussion of tactics. What answers are reached in that discussion remain to be seen.

For me personally, all government agents are paid through coercive means, so from a purely philosophical angle, any level of force necessary for anyone to stop any government agent from furthering said coercion is morally justifiable.

The question then necessarily moves to efficacy, and opening fire on the mailman seems like a rather senseless use of ammunition, not to mention the loss of life and public relations problems. To ask whether or not a person would be justified in shooting a cop to avoid arrest on the other hand is also a no brainer, of course they would be justified.

I say we have the discussion on where to draw the line between the two examples, that’s impossible to do if I’m worrying about who’s going to get pissed off or threaten me over my writings, so I’m not going to take such things into consideration.

So, to be clear, I’m saying that a person is absolutely justified in shooting a cop in self defense. If you disagree with me on that, then sleep well, slave. But I’m most certainly not saying you should shoot the mailman. The mailman is a thief, because he knowingly receives stolen money. The State obfuscates responsibility so that nobody is ever really responsible for their crimes, the elected officials operate on a demand from the people, the tax collector and the police officer are just following orders, the mailman is just doing his job, etc, etc… Does that excuse them of their crimes? No. Does that mean we should kill them? No.

Perhaps we should just arrest the mailman, we’ll get a man in a robe to write on a piece of paper that the mailman is subject to arrest for suspicion of conspiracy to commit grand larceny, then we will steal some money and pay two guys to take him into custody, and we’ll coerce 12 people into a court room to judge his guilt and if he is guilty then another man in a robe will decide how long we should hold him in Jody Underwoods basement. Now, there’s quite a bit of violence being advocated in this example too, but people don’t freak out as much because they’ve been conditioned to accept this as justice. Let’s think this through though, if you arrest the mailman, his family will call the police, the police will investigate his disappearance, and whether or not they are successful, they will at least try to track him to Jody’s basement at which point they will use any level of force necessary to break him out, up to and including burning down the house, killing everyone inside the home including the mailman, and delivering his bones to his family for burial. If all these people are going to die, then it makes a lot more sense and causes a lot less violence if we just shoot the mailman where he stands and drop the gun and run away.

If I point out that it makes a lot more sense to leave the mailman alone, am I still advocating violence by painting this picture? Apparently.

But if it is justified to shoot a cop in self defense, is it not justified to shoot the politician who wrote the law that orders the cop to kidnap you? Is it not justified to shoot the tax collector who sends the letter that is inevitably followed by cops coming to kidnap you? The judge who writes the warrant? The mailman who delivers the threatening letter? Philosophical questions all, and I think it a shame that so many people say we can’t even discuss it.

Tactically speaking, I got a speeding ticket in New Hampshire last week, I had a gun, and surprisingly enough, I’m not on the run for murder. I’m probably not even going to fight the ticket in court, I’ll probably have the mailman deliver my payment.

What Should You Do?

You should do, whatever you want to do. That’s sort of the whole point, isn’t it? I plan on living my life in New Hampshire whether the FSP wants to acknowledge my presence or not. I think it would be cool if you joined me there. Unless the FSP sees the error they made and decides to reverse their decision, I won’t be attending PorcFest or Liberty Forum, but if you haven’t been to these events, you owe it to yourself to go at least once. Aside from that, there’s really no other implication to the decision of the FSP, so I’m really not that concerned about this decision, and you shouldn’t be either. It’s just a silly symbolic gesture by 5 people who take themselves too seriously. Being kicked out of the FSP for being an advocate of forceful resistance, is like being kicked out the Libertarian Party for being an anarchist as far as I’m concerned, only less significant. (No, I haven’t been kicked out of the LP, I left on my own because I got bored.)

If I could offer the FSP some advice, perhaps changing your guidelines to something like “credible threat of violence” would help preserve some of your credibility, because this is all really silly. Everybody who knows me, knows that I’m a threat to no voluntarist, and banning me from PorcFest was out of line. Especially after I rocked Soap Box Idol, not once, but twice.

Whatever you do, don’t ban Larken Rose. His talks at PorcFest are really important, it won’t help preserve your consistency any, and the last thing you need to do is alienate more philosophically sound non-aggressionists.

But most importantly, you should follow me on twitter

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  • James

    Statists gonna State.

    There is not now, now will there ever be, a “free” state.

    It’s a contradiction in terms. The FSP people have their own little agenda and their own little way of going about doing things. I was a signatory from the start and have seen a lot of changes as this little organization has tried to grow and throw its weight around. But in the end, statists gonna state, and I knew many years ago when they started changing the terms of the pledge and pushing out certain people from leadership roles, and forcing resignations all the way to the top for being “too radical,” that this organization was not for me -pledge or no pledge.

    It was many years ago that the FSP broke its contract with me. I don’t feel even the slightest bit of guilt or regret in turning my back and walking away from them.

  • Mike

    I would have respect for the decision of the “FSP Board” if it was made out of genuine adherence to pacifist principles, but all it really is is moral cowardice. If they felt they could use force successfully, there would be no shortage of agreement with you, just as they almost universally accept the right – indeed, the necessity – of defensive violence against private criminals. They can talk about gun rights and the 2nd amendment all they like, but it is mere affectation or self-delusion because they will never fall back on it. They would never lift a finger to defend themselves or their neighbors no matter what outrage was committed against them, unless more valiant souls had already bled and suffered to show them that such action was likely to succeed. Now, refusing to spearhead that fight may be called prudence instead of cowardice, but there can be no arguing that refusing to acknowledge the truth that people have a right to resist aggression certainly is cowardice, as is the rejection of all truth.

    But not only are they cowards, they are fools. They think that by distancing themselves from you, they will look better in the eyes of the state and perhaps not be preyed upon. Never mind that they’ve already been frequent targets of the state’s aggression despite being totally peaceful, never mind that the state makes a small hobby of brutalizing the most innocuous and unobtrusive people imaginable, from Amish dairy farmers to the mentally retarded. This will not buy the leaders of the FSP an ounce of sympathy or leeway with the gangsters who call themselves government. On the contrary, those gangsters will see that, their tactics of intimidation and violence have succeeded in neutering an enemy, and that will reinforce a lesson they have learned a million times before: violence works.

    • Chris

      Mike,

      That was one hell of a comment; very good! But, unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s worse than what you’ve explained here. Not only have they neutered an enemy, the state has effectively deputized this enemy, and they now act as internal policing agent amongst their “own.”

      These people have the extreme advantage of living in a relatively peaceful time. To not even discuss alternative tactics — as the police state is being erected around them — is folly.

      As you point out, they do not strictly adhere to pacifist principles. For if they did they would have to abandon the very concept of the FSP. The FSP statement of intent states that the maximum roll of government is to protect the individuals’ life, liberty, and property. How can the FSP board kick out an anarchist while rallying around the minarchist flag?

      They rally around that precisely because it’s NOT controversial. Indeed, it’s the same propaganda their sworn enemies pimp. To say a man cannot defend himself against the current crop of gangsters — or the thugs the FSP would field if they came to power — is precisely as you say; cowardice.

      They are awash in a sea of dogmatic pragmatism.

  • Notes for Robots

    Your logic is not completely sound. Yes the mailman is a thief, so is anyone who gets paid a salary at a subsidized private farm. So are welfare recipients. So are students with government loans. While all these people may be thieves, including most likely yourself in some way, you have no idea who the original owner of said stolen property is, because you said “the State obfuscates responsibility.” That’s important.

    By this logic, all U.S. lands should be relinquished to any Native American that says he’s a Native American, as from your perspective, that would be the only criteria necessary for justice. Because we all know it is stolen property, transferred through various third parties [like the State], and ergo, we are all violating the NAP.

    When someone says, “This guy stole something of mine.” Usually the response is and should be, “Can you prove that?” You can’t prove that mailman stole your money or anyone else’s. Now, in the case of a direct threat to your personhood, yes, defensive violence is justifiable.

  • Brent Hartman

    Considering that the founding fathers would also have been booted from the free state project due to their radical beliefs, I’d say you’re in good company. Keep fighting the good fight!

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  • http://CopBlock.org Ademo

    5 people can’t tell a person to leave a property they don’t own. Which is the case for both liberty forum and porcfest. Also, what happens if Cantwell does come to one of these events? Did the FSP just threaten, advocate or suggest the use of force?

  • http://www.marcmkkoy.net Marc MkKoy

    Like my motto says, “I subscribe to a philosophy of non-violence, non-aggression, and peace towards all….by any means necessary.”, Pollyanna notwithstanding, one must always consider the possibility of violence.

    I too have been asked when it is justified to exact violence against another individual. My go-to answer is, when faced with a direct and imminent threat. As with shooting the police when faced with arrest (lawful arrest is a distinction often made by statists and defined by the acting authority and will not be considered here) there is no guarantee that the officer, once having taken my body into custody, will treat me humanely or safely. The very real possibility that I could suffer great bodily harm or death exists at the outset of the confrontation.

    Even though the threat may be called a perceived threat, it is nevertheless a reasonable perception, given the empirical evidence at-hand. The state prepares its actors in accordance with what they deem the lowest common denominator, which is the violent, emotionally driven rabble. Painted with that brush, they approach us all with the same level of contempt and preparedness that they would a common thug. Why are the people not entitled to enjoy the same precautions when met with an armed oppressor? I would posit that having taken a statistical sampling of police and general population, the concentration of capriciously violent individuals are found most consistently in the service of the state.

    The state uses our preconditioned and indoctrinated reverence for its authority to our own demise. When one kills an officer, they come out in force as a vindictive, anthropomorphic, self-determining entity which will strike down presumption of innocence and due process to set an example that one does not disrespect their blue-clad brethren. The state creates the violent aid divisive mindset, but preserves the exercise thereof only for those upon whom it bestows legislative indemnification for their transgressions against humanity.

    Is killing a man in a cop uniform justified for no other reason than how he physically presents himself? No. I always say there may be an ally to be reached, but who has just not received the message. Men are defined by their actions. I believe that even the most passive person would exhibit some form of autonomous self-defense if beaten senseless. I believe the discussion must be pursued.

    I like your article and disagree with the FSP hierarchy’s decision to ostracize you for expressing your opinion honestly, and respectfully. Until this issue has been thoroughly examined, the undercurrent of uncertainty and confusion regarding the place for violence and when is it proper to be exercised, will plague the movement to some degree.

  • http://facebook.com/freedomsongs1 Fred Autonom

    FSP, stop staring at Chris’s underwear.

  • Michael LeCompte

    Why does the right of self defense suddenly disappear when it comes to thugs in blue uniforms with pieces of tin? The board of the FSP made a bad decision in banning Chris but also helped bring this debate to the forefront of discussion.

  • KBCraig

    So, were you banned from Bardo Farm Fest as well?

  • http://www.theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/ Darren

    While I lean towards the view that banning Chris was wrong I can see why they did it. There is too much talk in the liberty movement of fighting the govt & not enough about first stopping our support of them. Remember Thoreau & his going to jail for not paying taxes? That is the way to go. Why all this talk about fighting the govt when a peaceful alternative is available? If we can organize a tax strike then maybe there is a place for talking about physically resisting collection efforts. Even then the idea is to deter not actually shoot anyone. There is a moral imperative to work peacefully for change even if that means suffering some injustice. Let’s get our priorities straight & not shoot ourselves in the foot.

    • voluntaryist

      Darren: Isn’t fighting the govt. by force or passive resistance two ways of “stopping our support of them”? Can you give me another? Is it stopping our support if we pay taxes, silently obey the policeman’s abusive, illegal orders, and follow the law? You may do so while cussing under your breath, and later go to a FSP meeting. Does it all even out? Are you satisfied? Will this stop the statists?
      Chris was trying to promote discussion of more effective ways of fighting back. We are under attack. And losing badly. His questions deserve an answer, not condemnation.
      The board is afraid. They lack the courage to face their fear. Condemning Chris for asking tough questions is their way of avoiding their real enemy: people who do not value individual sovereignty, i.e., collectivists.
      Does the board own PorcFest? Can they choose who attends? Do they ban statists? When they banned Chris they showed themselves to be hysterical and/or overestimating their power.

      • http://www.theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/ Darren

        No, Chris is talking about violently fighting the govt not peacefully resisting it. He, like many libertarians, emphasize the fight & ignore (or downplay) doing things like not paying taxes. He is putting the cart before the horse. First, stop support then resist. When resisting peaceful resistance comes first, violent resistance is a last resort.

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    • voluntaryist

      Your comment on the board’s size & power being counter productive is astute. As I learned at Libertopia last week, Octologues (groups of eight/half & half) make the best decisions, and can be part of a larger organization of the same groups, called a HoloMat. See: “Flourish! An Alternative to Government and Other Hierarchies”, by Podolsky.

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  • JdL

    I’m with you, Chris! I sent some not very complimentary feedback to the FSP via their website.

    I think you’ve gone out of your way to present your ideas reasonably. You don’t come off as some wild-eyed “Let’s kill them all NOW!” fanatic, but rather as someone who states that these questions must be addressed.

    I like to ask people, was Solzhenitsyn wrong when he said, “How we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?” Were the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto being self-defeating when they resisted (“one bullet, one German”) being carted off to the concentration camps? Why should such questions have self-evident answers when applied to past events and past criminal governments, but be forbidden from discussion today?

    In my opinion, the FSP board is exhibiting extreme moral cowardice by kicking you out. Nothing like kissing the butt of The Man while pretending to believe in freedom, eh?

  • iambinarymind

    Great article Chris.

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  • https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!topic/harrietrobbins/4OTvGSWkYU4 H. Skip Robinson

    Often times diplomacy is necessary to continue operating under tyranny in fascist societies. Chris, retract your statement dude. https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!topic/harrietrobbins/4OTvGSWkYU4 also read my presentation on the IRS enforcement of the so-called Federal Income tax.

    • voluntaryist

      Diplomacy is not courteous debate; it is indirect warfare, and subterfuge. We are under attack but this is a war of ideas. It will not be won by hiding our beliefs. In fact the only way we can win is by exposing the hidden ideas of the collectivists, and countering them with better ones.

      • http://johnboanerges.blogspot.com John Boanerges Redman

        “and countering them with better ones”
        Nah, ridicule is the most powerful disinfectant of filth(y ideas of collectivists).

        • voluntaryist

          While ridicule is emotionally satisfying it does not promote debate or understanding.

          By “…disinfectant of filthy ideas…” I assume you mean killing those ideas. I have won debates while respecting the person but never by ridicule. How a third party listening to learn would react to ridicule is obvious. Ridicule gives him your evaluation, not how you arrived at it. It if don’t care about changing anyone’s mind, why engage?

          • http://johnboanerges.blogspot.com John Boanerges Redman

            Oh good. You are missing the point. Just like Goebbels hoped you would. You are wasting your time.

          • http://gravatar.com/1voluntaryist 1voluntaryist

            I missed the (your point) point and wasted my time? Is that it? Is that all you got? Is your point a secret? I threw out a question which you did not respond to. So yes, in that one sense, I did waste my time (with you).

          • http://www.facebook.com/redmanjohn John Redman

            By what metric did you measure that your respectful response won some debate? Allowing that you did win someone over, how many others heard and kept holding their favorite delusions? You don’t win debates except in measured contests and collectivists have been winning wholesale for a very long time. Like him or hate him, Alinsky was on the mark. His methods ought be used against them. As long as ideas are the target of ridicule, there will be little blood and more chance of converts. Ridicule takes a lot of wit to use, the nuclear weapon or perhaps the stiletto of persuasion. AN-y-how, bad ideas deserves no respect however you might love the person holding them.

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  • http://johnboanerges.blogspot.com John Boanerges Redman

    I thought that I was rather experienced at this blogging thing but I’m stumped by “[…]” as used above, especially by the “[…] […]” one. Otherwise, I understood the rest. I’m one non-violence perpetrator, about to throw my body into the cogs of the tyrant’s imaginary machine (court this Thur in Hillsborough) AGAIN. BTW, I fight every ticket by myself as is mostly the case. Plus, I have 2 cases in 1st Circuit Ct of Ap in Boston. I make them koolaid drinkers PAY. Good luck with following YOUR path. There are no cowards in Heaven.

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  • http://johnboanerges.blogspot.com John Boanerges Redman

    Will someone explain what “[…]” means?

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  • Log

    The problem with restricting your resistance to peaceful withdrawal of support is that the state is not completely supported by those within its jurisdiction.

    If 100% of New Hampshire people suddenly decided to stop paying any kind of taxes to any collector, there are still swarms of agents out there, funded by outside sources (i.e. the U.S. Treasury), still available and willing to employ violence against the “criminals”.

    Those people will have the unenviable position of believing that you are *criminals* who are *breaking the law*, and therefore a *sworn enemy* of all that they hold dear–up to and including baseball, motherhood, and apple pie. They can and will aggressively use violence against the non-aggressive protesters.

    I don’t think Gandhi would have much success with local statists and feds who not only think that it is *their* turf being invaded, but who also have been conditioned by their participation in the military-industrial complex’s Continual Conflict for Perpetual Profits to shoot or otherwise disappear inconvenient people.

    • http://www.theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/ Darren

      That is unduly pessimistic. You’d be surprised at how much of a house of cards the govt is. If 10% of NH refused to pay taxes or 5% nationwide the system would collapse. Thoreau thought that 1000 people in Massachusetts not paying taxes would have brought down the govt in his time:

      “A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”

      He also emphasized that first one withdraws support:

      “It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too.” http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/WALDEN/Essays/civil.html

  • Ray

    The NAP is a principle derived from the right to life. The very reason why it is an extremely bad idea to advocate violence even in “self defence” is that you risk violating someones right to life. People do not forgo their right to life if they infringe on your right to life or the autonomy of action implied by that right. Their are many non-violent means of defense and obtaining redress that can be employed in a peaceful society. An anarchic/libertarian society will only work if there will be broad support for a secular objective morality based on this principle with the resort to violence truly being used when other options are exhausted or truly unavoidable (with no far fetched rationalizations to justify it). It is pretty logical that by advocating violence when you have not exhausted peaceful options to resistance, you are risking the perceptions of what the idea of liberty is about and will destroy any chance of a large section of society gaining an understanding of what objective morality is all about. So in conclusion, a libertarian advocating violence is a greater enemy to liberty than a deluded statist.

    • http://johnboanerges.blogspot.com John Boanerges Redman

      What if the NAP derives from the Right to be Left Alone. It is a reasonable alternative to that proposed by you – you cannot say that you are conclusively correct anyway – and suggests entirely different strategies, many in line with what brought this discussion to the floor in the first place. What say Mr Rose, Chris? Ray? And will someone PLEASE tell me what “[…]” means?

    • http://johnboanerges.blogspot.com John Boanerges Redman

      Can anyone watch this video and NOT conclude that instant death is not a proper remedy for the abuse perpetrated upon this innocent Houston family (and I mean every cop present and the ones in their organization that approve of it and the ones that keep their current association with it?
      http://jonathanturley.org/2013/09/11/houston-family-sues-harris-county-for-abuse-allegedly-caught-on-tape/
      If not, why not and what is the protection for other innocents later to experience their “attentions”?

    • voluntaryist

      Deadly initiation of force on innocents DOES forgo the right to life of the aggressor, by the aggressor. If you stand by an let a murder occur (assuming you had the power to stop it without much danger to yourself), you are somewhat guilty also.

      If a libertarian advocates violence recklessly he does not “destroy any chance” of promoting morality. He may be perceived as rash or prone to error but that does not mean he would be equated with all libertarians. We do not have to be perfect. If we did, how do you explain the collectivists acting badly most of the time and winning? They are imperfect. And they show it blatantly and continually. Yet they are given a pass. We are not. We are supposed to prove we are correct and have all the answers or we lose the argument? I wouldn’t assume that. If someone acts as if this were the case, they are confessing their mind is closed. Be sure you understand what I mean. You can never convince some. When they engage in debate, it is not to exchange ideas or learn. It is a ruse to appear rational.

      • http://www.facebook.com/redmanjohn John Redman

        We are on the same page here except I give collectivists no passes (and you don’t really, either, I’m sure)

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  • Shashank Mehra

    Oh my …. FSP has a board …

  • Don Duncan

    Chris: The FSP board is 5 people without any authority, of any kind. Why do you treat them differently? Why would you stay away from PorcFest because they tell you to, unless you agree with their reasons. You don’t. So why honor their declaration? They are free to ask you not to attend and pretend they represent the will of the majority FSP members. If they do, then you will be shunned at the meeting. Aren’t you curious to find out? I would go and debate whoever will listen. They are free to avoid you. It’s a slave country (society) but you are free within this subculture (sub-society). Why not exercise that freedom and make fun of their position, if you think it is important to discuss a flaw in their thinking?

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  • Elfguy

    Well I can understand how essentially saying that murdering federal agents who are doing their jobs is OK might alienate some folks.

    It kinda brings up mental images of some hillbilly with a shotgun out hunting “revinuers” at tax time, and saying “Hey, the call it “Tax season” right?”