Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 533, August 23, 2009

"Freeman Dyson once said that if we can make it to
the asteroids, the IRS will never be able to find us."

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Because That's How They Roll
by Rob Sandwell

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I had a woman threaten to shoot me recently.

I was at work, and I was engaged in a discussion with one of my coworkers on the comparative morality of dog fighting versus a government prohibition on the same behavior. My position was that this was a private property issue, and while I find dog fighting eminently reprehensible, and could not stand the thought of my own beloved pet being subjected to such inhumane treatment, the state has no legitimate authority to dictate private use of private property, and that allowing them to do so is to sanction far more violence than would ever be perpetrated by those engaging in the proscribed activity in the first place.

My coworker's position was that those animals he finds personally appealing should be spared those evils which he finds personally offensive. Which is essentially to state simply, "I like puppies," and imagine that somehow resolves the issue.

He wanted to pigeonhole my position as simply playing devil's advocate, but I informed him that no, I wasn't arguing merely as an intellectual exercise, but that instead I held a consistent principled position and was upholding it. That's when another coworker chimed in with, "well, he's consistent, even if he is illogical."

This is what passes for civil political discourse. Ad hominem attacks and subjectivity. I pointed out that there was nothing illogical about my position. The same coworker then asked me why I was so hung up on the concept of the individual, after all, what of those philosophies which hold the individual and the group as equal, or even hold the group as superior to the individual? I stated in no uncertain terms that such beliefs are intrinsically evil because any belief system which would subsume the needs and desires of the individual to the needs and desires of the group is slavery on its face.

And that's when a female coworker of mine said that if she had a gun, she would shoot me.

Now. By her demeanor it was clear that she was heated and disagreed most vehemently with my position. She is a long time progressive who believes whole heartedly that Obama will save the Union from greedy capitalists, war warmongers, dispassionate health care providers, etcetera, etcetera. My position offends her, because I am quite open in declaring her beloved champion of hope to be an evil man who is only a part of an inherently evil system of enslavement and predation, and have stated repeatedly that investing your hope of tomorrow in any individual, Obama, McCain, or "other," is a futile and ultimately irresponsible action. I'm also equally sure she meant simply to lash out, and would, at least probably, not really shoot me given the opportunity.

But it betrays a deeper sentiment that statists share. They might not have the stones to pull the trigger themselves, but they are willing to invest in others doing their dirty work for them.

I have seen religiosists who have openly advocated for the execution of homosexuals and others who fail to adhere to their sexual mores. I have seen progressives argue that taxation isn't force, because you have a moral responsibility to pay "your fair share," and that in fact it is the tax protester who is guilty of violence by attempting to deprive the state compensation for services. I have seen many, many people argue that we need vice laws to prevent the advent of unrestricted licentiousness, either for the good of the individuals who would otherwise participate in said vice, or for the good of those who might be subjected to such an unholy spectacle. I am sure you have all seen this as well.

In principle, each of these arguments simply presume that violence is necessary and righteous when it is being used to enforce the morality of the person holding the gun. And since morality is subjective, each instance of violence is simply the whim of the oppressor, and provides no justice nor justification save that derived from tyranny over those weaker than yourself.

In the end, while each of these people may not be willing to swing the headsman's axe themselves, they are more than willing to deputize a third party to kill on their behalf. And they comfort themselves in the knowledge that only those of true moral turpitude will face the inevitable conclusion of their position.

And quite frankly, those sons of bitches have it coming, don't they? Otherwise, they would have quit being gay, or refusing to pay taxes, or drinking or smoking pot, or selling sex long before we had to kill them to make them stop. Obviously, they are so vile, so incurably villainous that in the end, the only option left was violence.

This is the attitude of the statists. That anyone who would proclaim their rights under nature to be free from oppression is either misguided or evil. The misguided will of course amend their behavior after a brief and limited assault. The evil must simply be executed.

So when that woman told me she would shoot me, she didn't mean it. But then again, she did. Because I hold a belief which is incompatible with her own. Ultimately, we can not have a world where slavery exists while simultaneously the slaves refuse to work in the fields and shout their defiance into the faces of their oppressors. And so either the slaves, or the slave owners, must be done away with.

I am willing to simply let this particular slavery, like all previous such practices, fail as a natural outgrowth of its own inherent unsustainability. Without exception, as technology and education advance, slavery becomes untenable. War is not required to end it, simple economic reality will do so eventually.

The slave owners are not nearly so amiable towards this peaceful resolution as I am. They will fight the future. Tooth and nail. They will still lose of course, it is as indubitable as the sun rising. But they will make every effort to silence those of us who have "declared eternal enmity against every form of tyranny over the minds of man." If they had a gun, they would shoot us.

They do. They will. They'll still lose anyway.

As a final brief aside, I went over to the Southern Poverty Law Center website where they have a form that allows you to post incidents of hate so that they can include them on a big, interactive map of hate. I posted the following.

Violence against Anarchists—
On August 8, 2009, a Democrat in Springfield, Missouri told a local man that, "if [she] had a gun [she] would shoot [him]." Her motivation was antagonism towards his belief in non-violent anarchy and his continued advocacy for freedom from statist oppression.

I think it qualifies.


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