—- THE FIVE QUESTIONS —-
1) Is there any means by which any number of individuals can delegate to someone else the moral right to do something which none of the individuals have the moral right to do themselves?
2) Do those who wield political power (presidents, legislators, etc.) have the moral right to do things which other people do not have the moral right to do? If so, from whom and how did they acquire such a right?
3) Is there any process (e.g., constitutions, elections, legislation) by which human beings can transform an immoral act into a moral act (without changing the act itself)?
4) When law-makers and law-enforcers use coercion and force in the name of law and government, do they bear the same responsibility for their actions that anyone else would who did the same thing on his own?
5) When there is a conflict between an individual’s own moral conscience, and the commands of a political authority, is the individual morally obligated to do what he personally views as wrong in order to “obey the law”?
If there is one thing we should learn from nature and hold above all else, it is this:
Interfering with natural processes creates a host of unintended and almost universally negative consequences that cannot be readily mitigated, thus necessitating an eternal cycle of tinkering to maintain. When you disrupt the course of innately peaceful behavioral mechanisms in sentient beings, you have compromised the results in such a way that despoils the inherent integrity of the outcome. Uniformity is not a virtue. It is an egregious transgression against the texture of life. It cheapens our very essence to believe that we require ubiquitous external adjustments, whether minute or mighty in their effect, in order to navigate our journey to its preferred conclusion.
We each inhabit but one existence, one sphere of intentional will and agency in which we have the utter right to exercise our own quest for meaning. Trespassing forcefully into the sphere of another is the only action we should hold to be immoral as a whole.
The practice of exalting some individuals to rule others, through the threat of violent action, can only result in spiritual squalor. It is discordant to the foundational structure of the human soul. How could we possibly believe that any individual is complete enough to qualify as an authoritative guide to another? This is madness.
It is time for humanity to evolve beyond the concept of governance. Be that which you wish to perpetuate, rather than engaging the monolithic might of the mob to serve your vision. Feed the energy of goodwill into your own environment, rather than complacently expecting others to do it on your behalf. This is the only harmonious path forward for humankind.
It’s good to be zealous about a noble cause. It’s also good to be intelligent. In “The Art of War,” at no time does Sun Tzu say, “Just get really, really mad and start killing people!” In the movies, really believing in something, and being in the right, makes you magically win. In reality, it has pretty much no bearing on whether you will be successful. Contrary to what Hollywood implies, being one of the “good guys” doesn’t make you bulletproof.
I totally sympathize with people who are outraged at the myriad of injustices perpetrated by “government” agents on a regular basis. And if your goal is to martyr yourself by righteously dying for what you believe in, have at it. But you might want to ponder whether what you are doing, or suggesting doing, would actually accomplish anything positive in the long run. I regularly get pro-freedom people bitching at me because I’m not “doing anything,” and by that they mean that I’m not currently engaged in mortal combat with state mercenaries. According to them, the “brave” thing to do–and what I would do if I was a “real” anarchist–would be to have a shootout the next time a cop pulls me over for an expired registration sticker. But I’m not going to. Why not? Because while might does NOT make right, might DOES make results. And who has the “might” depends upon what people BELIEVE. If there is one slave who believes in freedom, and 99 who don’t, standing up to the slave master is not going to turn out well for that one “uppity” slave. Sure, he would be in the right; he would be the good guy. He would also be the dead guy, and then slavery would continue.
Yes, there are some situations in which, regardless of outcome, I will forcibly resist state thugs. And I would probably die in the process. But my goal is not to “fight the good fight”; my goal is to WIN the good fight, permanently. And that requires changing MINDS. While it’s 100% moral and righteous for people to defend themselves against aggressors, including those with badges, the real problem is people’s belief systems, and you can’t shoot a belief system. Violent conflict, even when totally justified and necessary, only deals with the SYMPTOMS of authoritarianism. Eradicating the underlying problem requires WORDS, not bullets. So when someone asks me, “Are you just going to sit there typing words, or are you going to go out and start shooting cops?!” For now, my answer is, I’m going to sit here typing words. The thousands of people who now believe in self-ownership and non-aggression got that way because other people SAID STUFF, not because other people shot at cops. When those thousands become millions, the state will die with a whimper, not with a bang.