Protecting Ourselves From the State

Column by Scott Lazarowitz.

Exclusive to STR

Every now and then, I learn of yet another new aspect of the State’s institutionalization of violence throughout what used to be a much more peaceful society in America. But thanks to the government-run schools, whose sole purpose is to indoctrinate the children to love and be subservient to the State, and thanks to a culture dependent on staring at the boob-tube for its daily hypnosis, we have allowed the State – especially the federal government – to grow to an enormous and dangerous extent, in which if we are to survive, we had better concentrate on stopping that out-of-control Leviathan.
To begin with, I am anguished by an article in this week’s Newsweek, The Military’s Secret Shame, describing how male-against-male sexual assault is now rampant in the U.S. military. According to the article, 50,000 male veterans had been diagnosed as suffering from “male sexual trauma” last year. However, the problem involving female sexual assault victims in the military is also rampant.
According to the Newsweek article, among U.S. military soldiers, “male-on-male assault…is motivated not by homosexuality, but power, intimidation, and domination. Assault victims, both male and female, are typically young and low-ranking; they are targeted for their vulnerability.” Verbal and physical attacks now reported include those in which the assailants are throughout the chain of command, by soldiers against their fellow soldiers, as well as by superior officers. In one incident, for example, “a group of men tackled (a soldier), shoved a soda bottle into his rectum, and threw him backward off an elevated platform onto the hood of a car. When he reported the incident…his platoon sergeant told him, ‘You’re the problem. You’re the reason this is happening,’ and refused to take action. ‘You just feel trapped’…”
In another incident, according to the Newsweek article, a soldier “was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, he says they told him, ‘It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them.’”
Now, if you are a commanding officer in the military and you were confronted by a soldier with such a complaint against other soldiers and you replied in the aforementioned manner, then shame on you. That kind of response by a military officer, supposedly in charge of a unit whose purpose is to “protect and defend” their fellow Americans, is a cowardly protection more of criminals than of fellow citizens. I have heard a few conservatives – those who blindly defend the military, anyway – refer to the Left as “criminal coddlers,” but it appears that the criminal coddlers are also in our military. I would go so far as to say that, not only should soldiers and officers who commit acts of physical assault against others be criminally prosecuted for those crimes of assault, but their commanding officers who ignore the complaints and who protect the assailants should be prosecuted for acting as accessories to those crimes.
In reading those responses by superior officers, “You’re the problem,” “It must have been your fault,” “You must have provoked them,” I am hearing mindless robots, hypnotized zombies in a trance. It is as though they had been given some sort of Military Instruction Manual in which the first instructions are, “The State is good,” “The soldier is bad, and needs to be disciplined, for his own good,” “Always obey authority,” “Submit,” “Yield to the power of the group,” and so on.
At least, that is how it sounds like our “warriors” are behaving. But these behaviors are truly un-American, certainly not ways that perhaps Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine would behave. Truly American principles include respect for the rights to life and liberty of the individual. Even within any police or military, it would be a truly American principle – and the law should reflect this – that one may not use aggression against the persons and property of others. In other societies, however, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, for example, the use of aggression against otherwise peaceful individuals is institutionalized in their laws or public policies, whether it be based on their religious principles, such as Sharia Law, or based on communistic policies that violate individuals’ persons and property.
But in America, in which violence now seems to be so part of the culture and within the military ranks, it’s just barbaric, and sick, and there’s no excuse for it. Should we be surprised to hear of military “Kill Teams,” etc., in which soldiers have been shooting and mutilating innocent civilians abroad and being celebrated by their fellow soldiers? Just how pervasive is this sick behavior within the ranks of this institution that we think will defend us when we’re attacked? There was one soldier within the notorious “Kill Team” unit who was shocked at the indifference amongst the unit toward the lives of their victims, and noted, “I talked to someone and they told me this stuff happens all the time…everyone just wants to kill people at any cost….” And, he wrote that, “The Army really let me down when I thought I would come out here to do good maybe make some change in this country I find out that its all a lie (sic)....”
There is an even more troubling aspect to all this. When seeing that Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi had turned his military against protesters, rebels and civilians, as well as other leaders doing the same thing in other countries such as in Bahrain, some commenters have suggested that such tyrannical violence could never happen here in the United States.
However, there already is precedence of that in America, so those who say “It can’t happen here” are incorrect. As economist and historian Thomas DiLorenzo has noted, during the mid-19th Century War to Prevent Southern Independence, President Abraham Lincoln’s army murdered hundreds of military conscription protestors in the North, and
“Lincoln illegally suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus and imprisoned tens of thousands of Northern political critics without any due process; shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers...censored all telegraphs; rigged elections; imprisoned duly elected members of the Maryland legislature along with Congressman Henry May of Baltimore and the mayor of Baltimore; illegally orchestrated the secession of West Virginia to give the Republican Party two more U.S. senators; confiscated firearms in the border states in violation of the Second Amendment….”
And all that was in addition to Lincoln’s army and its co-conspirators murdering tens of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians, mostly in the South.
More recently were the U.S. government’s siege and murders at Ruby Ridge, and the U.S. government’s mass murders at Waco in 1993. And of course, there are the countless murders and assaults by local police departments against unarmed, innocent Americans on a daily basis. And due to the increasing militarization of local police, we really ought to be concerned, especially given how commonplace it is that military veterans, including those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are joining police departments.
It seems that what used to be a genuine loyalty among Americans to our families and our country, and to the values of peace and liberty that were prevalent at the time of America’s founding, has gradually turned into a loyalty to the State, especially to the federal government. This blind loyalty and obedience to the State, in which the loyalists look the other way when authority figures act abusively against their own people, is at the heart of growing perversions within our society and our culture.
But given the rampant militarization and growing police statism in our society, this is the time that we will really need those courageous members of the police and military who are not afraid to act disobediently toward their superiors, especially if given orders to act violently against their fellow Americans. We must encourage those who are actually brave enough to stand up to authority to protect us from the government.
As Jacob Hornberger, President of the Future of Freedom Foundation, has noted,
“Historically, governments had misused standing armies in two ways, both of which ultimately subjected the citizenry to tyranny. One was to engage in faraway wars, which inevitably entailed enormous expenditures, enabling the government to place ever-increasing tax burdens on the people. Such wars also inevitably entailed “patriotic” calls for blind allegiance to the government so long as the war was being waged…
“The second way to use a standing army to impose tyranny was the direct one — the use of troops to establish order and obedience among the citizenry. Ordinarily, if a government has no huge standing army at its disposal, many people will choose to violate immoral laws that always come with a tyrannical regime; that is, they engage in what is commonly known as “civil disobedience” — the disobedience to immoral laws. But as the Chinese people discovered at Tiananmen Square, when the government has a standing army to enforce its will, civil disobedience becomes much more problematic…”
For those who think it is absurd that the government could ever turn against the citizens here in America, we already have those occurrences as part of our history. So when we are faced with not just an economic downturn but a crashing, defunct dollar, hyperinflation and widespread unemployment, impoverishment and food riots, and martial law, then that will be the time to be concerned about our own military and local police turning the guns on us. Now should be a good time to question the legitimacy of a standing army in the first place. For the past century, the U.S. military has been used not as a defense against foreign invaders on our shores and borders, but as aggressors, as the president’s own personal army, from Wilson’s “making the world safe for democracy” to Bush’s crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan to Obama’s reckless destruction in Pakistan and Libya. These statist presidents have made a mess of things, and if there were no organized military at their disposal, they couldn’t have caused so much worldwide damage.
But what are some ways out of this, ways for us – those of us who just want to live our lives peacefully – to prevent our persons and property from getting abused and violated by people who would brutally kill and mutilate unarmed civilians at whim, who would gang rape their fellow comrades for the sake of exercising their lust for power? In fact, how could we possibly expect those with assigned armed officialdom and authority to protect us from criminals and foreign invaders if the officials show themselves to be harmful even to each other? We certainly can’t rely on the State for protection after all, given that these are agents of the State. There isn’t even anything that the “good” agents of the State, such as Ron Paul, can do, because the population in general has become such obedient defenders of the State and its violence, and the political class and its army of bureaucrats – military and otherwise – have become just too entrenched.
One way to prevent the possible horrors that, if the current trends continue, are inevitable, is through secession. The states need to secede from the federal government and declare their independence and sovereignty. I know there are some who believe that such attempts toward independence would merely replace federal government control with state government control, in which our lives and property would still be under the territorial compulsory control of state government. However, once the people of the states have unshackled the oppressive tyranny of the centralized federal regime in Washington, they can then work to get rid of their state’s government, and give cities and towns more local independence and sovereignty, and so on.
Unfortunately, the above possibility still does not seem to be a possibility, because too many people are fixated on trying to get the agents of the State to do the seceding, such as through state legislatures drafting one useless secession legislation after another. Such a prospective way toward freedom is just not realistic.
What is necessary is for the inhabitants of these U.S. territories to engage in non-compliance in the way of non-violent civil disobedience. The most necessary acts of civil disobedience will be those members of the police and military to not follow orders by their superiors, orders of actions that such officers know deep down are immoral and that they know they should not obey.
Other acts of civil disobedience that may be necessary in the possible coming days of the federal government’s crackdown on our liberty include acts in the medical area, in energy and in the judicial area.
Private doctors and patients, clinics and insurers, and other medical providers need to totally disregard all arbitrary federal and state laws and regulations that violate their inalienable rights of voluntary contract and medical privacy. The more that government has intruded into our medical matters, the more tyrannical it has become.
The people of the states, especially private land owners, need to ignore all environmental and energy-related federal and state laws and regulations, and begin exploring for natural resources for their energy needs. Obviously, the compulsory dependence on government’s control over our energy needs was never a good idea. The federal government continuously acts aggressively abroad, provokes foreigners, and will no doubt cause another oil embargo against the U.S. These imperialistic military campaigns are what have fueled the aforementioned growing sickness of rape and barbaric behaviors within the military, as well as the militarization of local police departments.
Also, private citizens need to set up their own private judicial decision-making services, as described in economist and philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Private Law, as an alternative to the current self-serving, State-mandated judicial monopoly.
If Barack Obama, U.S. governors and local authorities send the military, National Guard and police after such non-violent yet civilly-disobedient, peaceful Americans, these violent authoritarian actions should be seen as the true criminal actions. It is certainly not criminal when peaceful citizens engage in voluntary associations that harm no one. Except that such good people are not showing obedience to the State, and that’s the bottom line.
It is for all these reasons that Americans needs to work on persuading their members of local police forces, as well as local military vets, of the true, criminal nature of the State and why they – the local police and military agents – should themselves disobey orders given to them by the government.
Your rating: None Average: 10 (3 votes)
Scott Lazarowitz's picture
Columns on STR: 16

Scott Lazarowitz is a libertarian writer and cartoonist. Website:


Glen Allport's picture

Spot on, and all the more frightening for that. Who is terrorizing American citizens? America's government, that's who. Thanks for a well-written column detailing that fact; it's already a link in my own next column.

ReverendDraco's picture

In reading those responses by superior officers, “You’re the problem,” “It must have been your fault,” “You must have provoked them,” I am hearing the same old crap that women used to be (still are?) told when they got raped. . . It's the same old "blame the victim" mentality writ large.

And my friends wonder why I'm so opposed to their kids joining the military. . .

Paul's picture

Gene Sharp identifies noncooperation by at least some fraction of government employees as a crucial element of success in freedom movements.

rita's picture

And when the police come to your house and kick in your door and point weapons of war at your children, you know what they say? "If you weren't doing something wrong, we wouldn't be here." The govenment of the United States of America is already waging war against its own citizens.

jeffydiver's picture

The way I see this is if the individual states surrender to the Federal Government, then you will have a state like Libya. If you stop feeding the infamous dragon, it'll die ! The more you feed it, the more it will turn against you for more food. It's turning into a Federalist State everyday. All it will take is another False Flag and all hell will break loose.