L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 185, August 5, 2002
EVEN IF THE JUDGE HAS A FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT
Assassination Politics vs. Electoral Politics
Exclusive to TLE
In last week's issue Karl G. Long raises objections to my position regarding the Freestate Project and Assassination Politics. His argument is that since I object to the Freestate Project because it imposes a state (even a limited one) on unwilling people, that I can't support the destruction of a state because it will impose anarchy upon unwilling people. On the surface his argument sounds logical, but when one looks at the claims of the people being thrown into a system of government they do not want, limited government from the Freestate Project and anarchy from Assassination Politics, it becomes obvious that imposing a government, even if it is limited, is far different than destroying a government.
All government is an initiation of force. No government can exist without, in some way, initiating force. First, there's taxes. There hasn't been a government anywhere that has been able to survive without forcefully extracting money from someone. Second, there's the monopoly of the courts. This is worse than taxes. Without the courts upholding the government laws, and without the government preventing competitors from setting up courts, which would then have the power to rule that tax collectors and politicians have to pay restitution to all the people they harm on a daily basis, government would quickly evaporate.
The whole idea of the Freestate Project is to establish a state with a limited government. For them to truly establish a government that only protects property (if it is even possible to accomplish this through voting), they will have to work at it for a good 20 to 30 years. The people of the chosen state will not sit by and let the freestaters take away their benefits. Not to mention what the politicians in power will do. For the freestaters, we're talking at least a few years in courts trying to repeal the sudden imposition of those new voting laws, you know, the ones that say a voter has to be born in the state in order to vote, with amnesty for anyone living in the state before the influx of the freestaters, whatever year that happens to be. Once they get by the numerous blocks that will suddenly pop up from the people in power, the freestaters will have to convince the people of the state to vote for them. This won't be easy. Will people really vote for them if they come right out and say they will eliminate all government programs, and legalize all drugs, and fire almost all government employees, and repeal all gun laws, and privatize things like schools, police, and roads? Hell no! This is why, even if the freestaters gain power early, they will have to gradually reduce government. If they get too radical too early they will lose a lot of support. In the mean time, people who evade taxes, and fail to pull over for police cars, and fail to report to jury duty, and fail to respect government issued search warrants will find themselves in trouble. Do libertarians really want to support a government that locks up tax evaders and shoots people who do not respect search warrants and decide instead to defend their property? Even if the state is moving toward less government, the government will always be abusive of rights. It's what governments do. This is why voting for lesser government is wrong. Voting is supporting someone who wants to take power over individuals who do not want people controlling them. By necessity, voting and supporting any government involves trampling on peoples rights. There is no way to get around it. Even if the state moves toward anarchy, in the process rights are being violated. I will oppose anything that out of necessarily involves violating rights.
Assassination Politics, on the other hand, does not out of necessity violate rights. Assassination Politics is like a gun. The system itself is amoral, what matters is who is using it and how. If the system is used to kill off people who do not deserve to die, it is just as immoral as using a gun to kill an innocent person. However, if the system is used to kill politicians who have a record of supporting a murderous government, it is no different than if an individual kills someone who is threatening his life. All government is a threat to life. If I do not do what the government says, it will kidnap me. If I resist, it will kill me. To alleviate this threat, force must be used. The problem with most force against the government is that it is either ineffective or it necessitates killing innocent people. Being a one man killing machine will get the one man killed soon after. Waging a conventional war will result in countless innocent being killed from the fire from both sides. Setting off a nuclear bomb in D.C. will kill thousands or millions of innocent people. Assassination Politics is the first thing discovered that can morally destroy government. But is it wrong to impose anarchy?
It is in no way wrong to impose anarchy. Anarchy is the state of nature. It is existence without some individual or group of individuals who can get away with initiating force. Because of this, it is impossible to impose anarchy, it can only be restored. Or, one could say imposing anarchy on people is like imposing gravity on people. Some may not like gravity, but that is the way it is. It is possible to suspend gravity, just as it is possible to suspend anarchy. And if the suspension of anarchy, or gravity for that matter, violates rights, there is nothing wrong with punishing the people who are responsible for violating rights, as long as the punishment doesn't harm innocent people. Because today's government is so large, and the people in control hold so much power, nothing less than the death of the people who are in power will restore anarchy. And nothing yet discovered other than Assassination Politics has the potential to restore anarchy without violating rights.
Any form of electoral politics is wrong, but not all violence is wrong. As libertarians, we realize that there is nothing wrong with retaliating violently against initiators of force. Unfortunately, not all libertarians yet realize that participating in electoral politics is only perpetuating the state. Voting, because it involves putting someone into power over the voter, is saying "I am a slave with no rights", voting Libertarian is saying "I am a slave who wants to be treated better than I am being treated now." I am not a slave and I shall never voluntarily aid the ones trying to enslave me.