Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Gun in the Room (Part 2)

Compliance is not Freedom

I certainly understand that the simple reality of universal state violence makes many people very uncomfortable – and they are quite right to feel uncomfortable! Once you really get this idea under your skin, your life will change irrevocably. You will no longer be tempted to base your arguments on tedious and complicated abstractions. When talking to people about freedom, you will cut to the core of the issues very rapidly. This will have enormous effects on every single relationship in your life. You will very quickly discover the true moral natures of those around you – and this can be quite shocking. So I certainly understand why people are hesitant to accept this idea, and why they prefer to label me as an “extremist” rather than to begin exploring the reality of state violence in their own hearts and with the people around them.

Of course, there is also an empirical method by which the existence of “the gun on the room” can be tested. It’s really quite simple, although I certainly don’t recommend it.

Stop obeying the law.

If you are right, you have just saved yourself enormous amounts of time and money. If I am right, though, we may never see you again – which would be a real tragedy, because libertarianism needs all the supporters it can get!

If, however, you hesitate to flout the rules of the state, then it is important to examine why. If you’re honest with yourself, you will find, as I did, that you tremble in fear before the guns of the state, and that the humiliation of being ordered around for your entire life is almost unbearable.

Full essay.