Voluntary and Peaceful

By Duane Colyar.
Exclusive to STR
Early in his political career, Abraham Lincoln once described his politics as “short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance.” Without going into the ultimately disastrous consequences of many of Lincoln’s policies, it is fair to say that most readers of this daily forum also share a short and sweet political outlook--we believe in anything that is voluntary and peaceful. Indeed, in order for something to be described as voluntary, it must be peaceful. The two conditions must co-exist. Where there is one, there is the other. Where one is absent, so is the other. If I am mandated to do something I would otherwise not do, a threat of some degree of violence must be introduced to ensure my compliance, whether the threat comes from an individual, a group of individuals or the state.
Yet, there are organizations of sincere people who advocate both nonviolence and involuntary mandates. Near where I live is a non-profit calling itself The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (WPJC), an organization that describes itself as promoting lasting peace, social justice, and a culture of nonviolence at home and worldwide. While the promotion of lasting peace and nonviolence is appealing to me as a libertarian and, as such, would easily garner my support, the promotion of social justice is worrisome and often incompatible with the promotion of nonviolence. 
Social justice is one of those amorphous terms that I call a “zipper” in that any notion of social inequality thought to require government mandates can be zipped into that term to make it sound both noble and beyond moral reproach. Consequently, anyone hearing that social justice is being advocated should immediately secure their wealth and tenaciously cling to their liberty, for both are likely being threatened.
A heading in the WPJC website proclaims, “Military vs. Social Spending: Make Your Voice Heard.” So there it is. The Center advocates that the federal government coercively confiscate less of our income for military spending, not so that we may keep what we earn, but so that our income may continue to be coercively taken from us and given to other people, specifically those who currently enjoy political clout with Congress Critters.   Those who think that the involuntary federal income tax mandate is not backed by the threat of violence should then persistently insist that they’re not going to pay any or a portion of their taxes. At some point in their resistance they will, most assuredly, find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun.
Irony always amuses me, like the Mitsubishi sedan cruising down Interstate 5 with the special Washington State license plate noting a Pearl Harbor survivor. Mitsubishi, of course, was the Japanese firm that manufactured many of the planes used in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now another irony can be added to the list; an otherwise well-meaning group that advocates both nonviolence and tax-supported social justice without recognizing the inherent antagonism between those two calls for action.

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Duane Colyar's picture
Columns on STR: 11

Duane Colyar has published papers in professional journals regarding the residential treatment of children; is a retired state internal audit manager; a retired CEO of a not-for-profit charity; and current on-line instructor.


golefevre's picture

Listen to NPR on any given morning and one will hear the many of non-profit foundations use phrases like "promoting a more just and equitable society" to describe their mission. This line of thinking isn't just within liberal groups either. It permeates "conventional" thinking everywhere. Charity should never be about coercion.