Monday, June 25, 2012

Peace, through readiness

Once again, still reading Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel". And still getting lots of insights from it.

Never underestimate the individual potential for evil and the collective certainty of it. Groups are very likely to be evil. View their approach armed and ready for anything. But always remember that you can resist evil without becoming evil.

History shows that if you want to be peaceful you have to back it up with viciousness in the face of attack. This is completely in accordance with the Zero Aggression Principle. And you have to keep and bear, or in more modern terms, own and carry, the tools to keep invaders (who are just another aggressor) from prevailing.

But you may believe your society is "safe". You may say that things like that don't happen where you live. "Not here. Not now." Are you willing to bet your life, and the lives of your children, on that? It isn't enough to feel safe. Even if you are, the situation can change overnight and then it's too late to get the tools and learn to defend yourself.

None of this justifies stealing from your neighbors or coercing them in any way to form a State or a State military. If you have to become the bad guys in order to survive, your survival isn't worth much. You can't preserve your liberty by destroying it.



  1. Spot on, Kent, as usual.
    Your observation about viciousness is doctrinally correct. In the face of a violent attack, the most effect answer is extreme violence of action. Whether the goal is to overcome, or break contact and withdraw, overwhelming force is needed.

  2. I have gotten scolded in the past for not believing in "proportional response" too deeply.

    Once someone has indicated a willingness to attack (or steal), they assume the responsibility for the consequences. Would I kill someone for stealing a can of beans? Probably not. But I also wouldn't punish someone who did kill a thief for stealing something so small. If you need a can of beans that bad, ask for it. The response might surprise you. Once the theft line has been crossed, the burden is on you.

    However, I do believe in a "moral high ground". It's why "fight them over there so you don't have to fight them over here" doesn't convince me of anything other than that the US military is guilty of invading and murdering when they go to other countries. It's why I know it is wrong to initiate force even if you suspect someone might someday attack you. If you throw the first punch, you are the aggressor.

  3. Only problem with straying from "proportional response" is that now you have to deal with two aggressors, the original guy and the state.

    I'm not much for judicial determination of proportional response; it can vary all over the map. But the general idea should be something that restrains people a bit. You don't shoot a little girl for picking one of your flowers. Why not? Because you care about your own self-preservation. You don't want a mob hanging you from the nearest tree.

  4. What seems proportional to me might not seem so to you. I don't think I'm qualified to second-guess how much force an attacked person felt was appropriate in the midst of an attack.

    The example that got me into so much trouble years ago was when I said that if some big guy comes at me with his fists ready to punch me, I would shoot him. I am not a fist-fighter. I walk away when I can. I expect I would lose, and maybe die, if a determined thug, even an "unarmed" one, decided to beat me to death. And, since I am not telepathic and can't be sure of his intent, shooting him is the right thing to do. I was told that I am obligated to only respond "proportionally". Screw that.