August 19, 2014

More on Violence: An Important Addendum

By In Blogs, Mitchell Thompson

Today’s article noted the libertarian view of violence and expressed a bit of disappointment toward the cultural rise of the “soft” males.  On a related note, the recent decision by Austrian Economist Robert Murphy to pull out of his opportunity to moderate a debate between “humanitarian libertarian” Jeff Tucker and “brutalist libertarian” Chris Cantwell on the nature of libertarianism provides for a great chance to add one last comment on the issue of violence.

Murphy’s reason for stepping down, as stated in a Facebook post, was as follows:

When I agreed to moderate this debate, I did so because even though I knew Chris Cantwell did some “outrageous” things, he was intelligent and I didn’t want his followers to think that nobody had the courage to face up to his arguments. But, after I had agreed, I learned more about Chris’ views on the acceptable use of violence in the pursuit of liberty. For those familiar with my own pacifism, you can appreciate that Chris is so far removed from my views that I don’t want to be linked, however tenuously, with that stuff.


Quick note: Murphy defines pacifism in a way that allows for self defense.  In my view, this is unhelpful because it suddenly applies to so many others who reject the term as going too far.  I think it is better to use the word pacifist to describe someone who thinks it immoral to use violence, even in self defense.  As for me, as I said earlier in the other article, I allow for violence in self-defense, in sport, and have no principled opposition to the concept; I only reject the initiation of aggression in a criminal manner.


As was alluded in the featured article this morning, I am not in favor of revolution and therefore disagree with people like Cantwell.  I am not really a fan of either Tucker or Cantwell’s flavor of libertarianism, but more than Tucker, Cantwell is a trouble maker and my advise is to steer clear.

I agree with the TRL’s editor when he wrote last year:

The United States, we are told, was born in revolution.  It is important to note that this is technically, and therefore practically, wrong.  Oxford dictionary defines revolution as, “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order.”  The French revolution was indeed a revolution.  The American “revolution” on the other hand, was a secession.  The French revolution aimed to overthrow the government.  They aimed to end the aristocracy.  They aimed to achieve the collectivist ideals of “liberte, egalite, fraternite.” (Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity).

A revolution is a socialist method and a means to the Utopia which the socialists aim.  So-called libertarians grow increasingly excited when movies such as V for Vendetta and Les Miserables depict “courageous” rebellion against the state.  ”The gunpowder plot!”

These revolts aim to achieve equality for the poor, not property-rights based liberty.  These revolts, these rebellions, are therefore leftist movements.  They have no place in the method of the libertarian.  For deep in the soul of the leftist “egalitarian” is a hatred for private property and capitalism.  Perhaps these revolutions are great examples of the impact that a coercive government can have on the mind of its people, but as for method, they should not be replicated.

The Americans in the late 18th century sought to overthrow nothing.  They only wanted to be left alone.  The leftists in France would cry “tax the rich so that we might be equal to them!”  This was not the American sentiment.  The American sentiment was against the idea of a centralized state taxing the people.  The Americans wanted to be left alone.  Their “revolution” was not revolution.  It was a secession.  They told Britain to back off.  Britain moved closer.  Then the Americans defended their property.  Catch the difference?

I also agree with Gary North, who just this year wrote:

Revolutions mean the centralization of power. Until conservatives figure this out, they are not going to understand what is going on, and what has been going on for the past 500 years. Revolutions centralize power. In order to fight centralized power militarily, you must centralize power, and this only leads to a shift of loyalty to a new group of centralists. We are slow learners.


You don’t need a revolution to escape the system. You need secession. You need a withdrawal of support for the existing systems. You need to revoke the legitimacy which you extended to these organizations. You need to do it, and everybody else needs to do it. Nobody organizes this. People just learn, scandal by scandal, bureaucratic snafu by bureaucratic snafu, that the system is irreparable. It cannot be reformed. It must not be captured. It must be de-funded. The secret of liberty is not revolution; the secret of liberty is to de-fund the existing centralized order.

The secret of monetary stability and sound money is not to capture the Federal Reserve System. The secret is to pass a very simple law which abolishes the Federal Reserve System. The law revokes the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The secret is not monetary sovereignty by Congress; the secret is monetary sovereignty in the free market social order.

Written by Mitchell Thompson

I was born and raised in Northern California where I was homeschooled. I became a Protestant (Calvinistic) seven years ago. I was also, starting in 2006, a Buchananite conservative until I met Ron Paul during the 2008 elections. From then on I read everything I could from the Mises Institute and am now satisfied as a Rothbardian libertarian. I am slowly becoming a more confessional Reformed Baptist. Hoping to get more and more involved on this site. My Twitter handle is @MitchRThompson. Cheers.