Tag: nonviolence

The Minarchism Vs Anarchism Debate: Solved

By Manuel Martin | United States

Most libertarians agree: society should either lean towards minarchism or anarchism. However, there is much dispute about which of these two is preferable. Before reaching either, though, a broad cultural shift must occur so that people may become progressive enough to sustain either system.

For the most part, politics is downstream of culture. This means that a region’s culture will decide what type of politicians and policies are present. In general, politicians react to the people, as they care about getting elected. Though there are always exceptions, many will morph into whatever chameleon necessary to secure election. Of course, the government also has a reciprocal influence on culture. However, the reverse, more often than not, is true. Politics reacts to culture more than vice versa, and a number of examples suggest this.

The Mexican Homicide Problem

Mexico, first of all, has laws against murder. They also have gun laws that would make a straw banner’s dreams come true. To buy a gun in Mexico, one has to obtain a license, a process which requires a background check. That background check looks at criminal history, mental history, physical health, and any past drug addictions. One must then provide a birth certificate, a letter confirming employment, proof of a clean criminal record from the attorney general’s office in the applicant’s home state, a utility bill with current address, a copy of a government-issued ID and a federal social security number. On top of all of that, Mexico has one legal gun store in the entire country. For every hundred Mexican residents, there are 15 guns. But in the United States, there are at least 88 guns per hundred residents.

Despite Mexico having one-sixth as many guns, more restrictive gun laws, one gun store and identical laws making murder illegal, Mexico as a culture has a homicide rate that is 5 times that of the United States. Same laws, fewer guns, yet five times as many murders. The government doesn’t account for this difference: culture does.

Culture, Not Law, Determines Murder

Here’s another example. Guatemala has just 13.2 guns per 100 residents, yet has an average of 386 murders per million residents. The USA is at 42 murders per million. Same laws, one-sixth the guns, but nine times as many murders. Rather than a corrupt government, murder rates are a result of a corrupt culture. When people vote for and tolerate corrupt governments, an equally bad culture is nearly inevitable.

In many Middle Eastern countries, Sharia law is the guiding philosophy of the law. The people’s adherence and submission to Sharia is simply a part of the culture. Thus, politicians seeking elected office must earn the culture’s approval and campaign on the promise of blending the culture with the law. In many Indian states, it’s illegal to slaughter cows. Why is this? In India, 80% of the population is Hindu, and the religion teaches that cows are sacred. As a result, politicians cater to the people and outlaw the slaughter of cows.

Culture and Law

A people in any given region tend to formalize their customs and values by way of political law. Some cultures are highly obedient to authority figures and willingly tolerate corrupt political behaviors.

America’s culture, for example, has always advocated strict adherence to the “rule of law.” While I believe we should adhere to the “rule of human respect,” as respecting the individual should always come before respecting the law, American values are mostly rooted in equality. American culture believes that adherence to the law will keep everyone equal and accountable. In fact, many believe that the “rule of law” will highlight and expose corrupt individuals. Due to this belief existing, politicians capitalize on it to highlight their opponents’ corrupt behaviors.

The Paradigm Shift to Minarchism

Clearly, politics is downstream of culture. How much, then, would America’s culture have to change for the people to embrace minarchism? For the sake of simplicity, I will define minarchism as follows: The government only provides national defense and local and regional law courts.

 For such a system to ever take root and bloom, American morals and values must drastically shift. Today’s people currently depend on the plunder of others for everything from roads to healthcare. Peaceful admiration of minarchism is far from the American norm.

The American people need to learn the injustice of attempting to secure personal gain by voting for a politician to steal the resources of others. Minarchism requires a societal realization that voting for an agent of plunder (politician) or hiring an agent to plunder the resources of others are identical actions. They are equally destructive to a culture trying to maximize human harmony and prosperity.

Minarchist Culture

A minarchist culture would need to progress their understanding of human respect. As such, they would reject the use of coercive power to manage the habits of others. Then, they would transition to one which uses persuasion to influence the habits of others.

Americans would have to evolve and embrace persuasion over coercion in all aspects of life. In a minarchist society, the government will be a reactionary force, only touching you when you violate the freedom and property of others. This, of course, is beyond the minimal taxation to fund courts and defense. But the fact is, our culture is not yet there. We need to love and trust humanity with a level of respect that does not exist. Though libertarians are trying to plant this in society, it is a slow process.

We would need to realize that the private sector can indeed make roads, bridges, schools, dams. Moreover, consumer organizations like Yelp are most efficient regulators than Washington bureaucrats. Where coercion used to be the norm, persuasion must fill in. This includes all aspects of life that currently use coercion: police, education, certification, roads, and many more areas.

Minarchism can never occur without a cultural shift towards trade over tariffs, property rights over political borders, common law over political law, customer-driven education over politically monopolized education, persuasion over coercion, consumer regulation over political regulation, and trust over suspicion. People must become self-sufficient and wise. Freedom comes with blessings and responsibilities, where political action breeds traps and division. But, the former can only work when the people are aware of its power.

A Natural Transition to Anarchism

A culture with values strong enough to transition to minarchism will not stop there. A people progressive and principled enough to elect politicians who actually follow through with surrendering their celebrity would never keep those politicians in power. If society is honorable enough to shut down the 7 trillion dollar government scam, it will do so entirely.

A society which trusts the freedom of others will not stop at minarchism. They will, instead, realize that minarchism is a false ideology, and nothing more than a stepping stone. Peace and justice cannot arise from the mass political injustice necessary for minarchism.

So minarchists, welcome to anarchism. Our cultures share the same values.  Now let’s work together to make your minarchist state a reality. Once the people and culture are ready for minarchism, we can swiftly abolish what’s left of the state and move to a voluntary society.


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Libertarians Must Reject Violent Figures Like McVeigh

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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Political Language is Biased Against Nonviolence

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Without a doubt, language is essential to the perception of an idea. Using two different words for the same idea is a surefire way of molding opinions about it. For example, let’s take a look at these two sentences.

  1. The obese man lounged in his armchair after a long, non-sedentary day at work, gorging on sugary pastries.
  2. The heavyset gentleman unwound in his chair following a long, active day at work, eating crullers.

Now, these two sentences have quite similar denotations, that is, the dictionary definitions. However, the connotations are in no way equal. Surely, the image of the second man is that of one in considerably better shape than the first. Connotation is a very useful rhetorical device, as it gives the user complete ability to mold the emotion that his or her words give off. Emotion, the undisputed king of political success, is a hugely useful tool to manipulate.

Connotation can take a number of forms. Most overtly, it comes by using one word in place of another, in the form of a synonym. Above examples include the use of “heavyset” in place of “obese” or “crullers” instead of “sweet pastries”. In politics, these substitutions are commonplace.

For instance, many officials of the Vietnam era referred to the war as an “armed conflict”. Though it is true that the U.S. never officially declared war, this is trivial. By calling it an armed conflict, they hoped to lessen the emotion behind it. Of the two, “war” carries a much stronger emotional impact, which is why nonviolence advocates called it a war.

Another key example occurs often, even today, down by the border. Proponents of tough border laws are quick to denounce the waves of “illegals” entering the U.S., whereas those who support more open borders are more apt to use the phrase “undocumented immigrants”. Of course, these mean the same thing, but that is no matter. They still are able to create two very different opinions of those who cross the border without following the law.

In addition to separate word choices, though, there is a more subtle yet also more powerful way that many use connotation. This comes through establishing the default form of a word, and giving the antonym of it a negative prefix or suffix.

In the above examples, the word that shows this, of course, is “non-sedentary” from the first sentence. Though the word merely means the same as “active”, inclusion of the word sedentary implies that activity is not the default. The obese man, likely perceived to be unhealthy, is not expected to live an active lifestyle. Thus, the break in being sedentary is different or surprising.

Politicians commonly do this exact same thing, and it is perhaps causes perhaps the most dangerous thing in America: violence.

In the U.S. today, there is not a lot of room to agree in politics. But, most people can come together on one thing: unprovoked violence is not a good thing. Though many have differing definitions of just what constitutes unprovoked violence, in our own, highly subjective ways, we can generally come to a consensus on this key issue.

So, that being said, why is violence perceived as the norm? When talking about a lack of violence, there are plenty of synonyms. Peace, equality, and understanding first come to mind. Yet, the chosen word is generally nonviolence.

Why do we describe nonviolence as something it isn’t, instead of something that it is? By using the term in a passive manner, instead of a proactive one, society implies that violence is in the mainstream, and let’s face it, it is. But, it would be quite interesting to see how that society might change their views if the language behind them changed. Would fewer people support a war, if the deaths were murders, not casualties? And, would they support nonviolence more fervently, if it was only known as inequality or anti-peace? How about the word “freedom”?

Would more people believe in the idea of it, if talks were about freedom growing, not government shrinking? A single, working class mother of four on welfare wants to hear nothing of her benefits shrinking. Why would she? Maybe they are helping her stay afloat through hard times. But, put in place the notion of her freedom increasing. That same working class woman probably does not feel as if she has a great degree of freedom under her crony capitalist oppression. Upon hearing of smaller government through the positive term, not the negative, her perception will change.

Language is a powerful tool. It has the ability to shape the minds of millions through the complex web of emotion. The way things stand today, though, it is shaping them all to view freedom and nonviolence as a second cousin that only comes around every few years. This pushes the very ideas into the dustbin of history and makes normal their opposites. Perhaps, by changing up the way words are used, and proactively describing ideals, the freedom movement will see increased success. Or perhaps, the very idea of freedom will never be more than an afterthought.


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