"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
Violence Begets Violence...and Government Is Violence
Column by Alex R. Knight III
Exclusive to STR
The recent shootings in Tucson, Arizona, involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, federal judge John Roll, and others has brought a tidal wave of outrage from the mainstream press, with those on the political left railing against what they perceive as the violence-inducing tirades emanating from everyone, apparently, from Michael Savage to Sarah Palin – while those on the right are offering somber condolences. The vitriol has reached a nearly apoplectic point. And through it all, it is nothing short of astonishing to witness that virtually no one is pointing out the obvious.
Government, by its very nature, must necessarily rely upon violence in order to perpetuate itself. Constantly, and without relent, bureaucrats all up and down the pecking order threaten us with violence in order to control our lives and property in a manner most consistent with their ideas of how we should be living and what our money and other belongings should be utilized for. It is literally as if we are being repeatedly punched in the face and kicked in the groin 24/7 – and then when someone, somewhere decides to hit back wildly, when someone finally snaps under the pressure, there is a collective indignant awe; a kind of shocked repulsive reflex: “What a crazed right-wing nut!” “Look what Rush Limbaugh did now!” “These tea-partiers are sickos!”
Truth is, friends, not only are such hollow diatribes woefully inaccurate – they miss the point entirely. These same accusers of the political right as the source of all earthly evil fail utterly to just look at themselves in a mirror once in a while. Just like the right-wing, they advocate for the existence of a monopolistic institution that uses violence on a routine basis in order to domineer the lives and property of others – yet strut around pompously as such moral, peace-loving, “sensitive” individuals. Make no mistake: Behind those rose-colored glasses, behind that ebullient smile, behind that fun-loving facade is a cop in riot gear with a baton, pepper spray, and a shotgun. Behind all the lip service to higher ideals is an orders-following soldier, a machine gun, a cache of bombs. There is nothing moral or peaceful about using government as a vehicle by which to shape the world in your image at the expense of someone else’s liberty. To suggest otherwise is a pathetic sham, and flagrant dishonesty – to say nothing of intellectual bankruptcy.
No sane person, of course, is going to defend these shootings – especially since several of the victims were just innocent bystanders, not government employees. Violence simply begets violence, and yet another wrong doesn’t make a right. That said, it is high time to grow up and realize that government behaves no differently as a constant matter of its very existence. Is anyone going to seriously contend that this is an acceptable manner for human beings to interact with one another?
Look, all that Voluntaryists/Libertarians/Anarchists (all synonymous terms) are saying is that we can do much better. In fact, if we’re going to survive as a species, we’d better – sooner rather than later. And all it takes is growing up, and living according to reality, instead of the deadly fantasy known as government.