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Libertarians Must Reject Violent Figures Like McVeigh

In order to be pure and consistent, members of the liberty movement must reject violent self-proclaimed freedom fighters like Timothy McVeigh.

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By Nate Galt | United States

Timothy McVeigh has been a controversial figure in the contemporary history of America. Some argue that he was a patriot, trying to defend his country from a tyrannical federal government. Most, however, recognize that he was a terrorist whose actions were unacceptable.

Why did Timothy McVeigh Murder?

Many of McVeigh’s defenders point to certain measures such as the USA PATRIOT Act and state that this is an example of what McVeigh meant to destroy. Instead of destroying tyranny, his infamous Ryder truck fertilizer bomb destroyed the lives of hundreds of families. His actions killed 168 people, including several children, and injured hundreds more. 

The Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City had a daycare inside. Under no circumstance is blowing up a daycare center moral. McVeigh’s co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, said that he and McVeigh knew that a daycare center existed inside the Murrah Building and that neither of them cared. The two knowingly blew up the children inside. How could that possibly be okay? No matter how righteous he claimed to be, he had no right to destroy property or kill innocent civilians to prove a point.

No Better than the State

Of course, the government does the exact same thing in many situations. Recently, they blew up a school bus in Yemen, killing dozens of children. Moreover, the state institutionally taxes its citizens under punishment of imprisonment or death. Surely, it acts coercively in many situations. But Timothy McVeigh’s actions, equally coercive and destructive, were not any better.

Furthermore, the deaths of those innocent 168 people simply antagonized people towards his beliefs. Does the liberty movement need more people drawn away from it because of its members supporting a terrorist?

Practice what you Preach

Currently, many say that the Libertarian Party and other libertarian-leaning political groups need to get more votes. Its members supporting the actions of a man who killed 168 will never achieve that goal. Similarly, they should not support other violent figures in the modern era.

Without a doubt, peacefully advancing what you think is right is the only just method. McVeigh claimed to stand for American liberty and thought himself to be a part of the liberty movement. But, people who advocate for freedom must universally recognize John Locke’s concept of the natural rights of a human being regardless of any factor: the right to life, liberty, and property.

McVeigh took the lives of 168 men, women, and children and destroyed property on April 19th, 1995. This is anathema to everything that liberty advocates stand for. Indubitably, he clearly violated the civilians’ rights to their lives and property. Thousands mourned the loss of their relatives and friends. Timothy McVeigh’s actions were absolutely immoral, devastating, and reprehensible.

There is a fine line between understanding someone’s motives and supporting their actions. Someone partially agreeing with McVeigh on gun rights is different than them supporting his despicable actions. While his position is understandable, his deeds are not. How could any person consider themselves moral yet go on to commit mass murder?

Rejecting Violence in All Forms

No matter their position on gun rights, constitutional infringements, or the federal government, liberty advocates as a whole must reject Timothy McVeigh. In the eyes of the American public, McVeigh is a murderous terrorist who took the lives of 168 innocent people. His deeds on that April morning of 1995 will never be forgotten. Thus, the liberty movement’s members should try to advance their cause by supporting peaceful people, not violent individuals.


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