Violence and Politics

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I will say up front, clearly, for all to hear: violence, and threats of violence, in response to to the health insurance bill, are wrong. Categorically wrong. And anyone making such a threat, or committing such a violent act, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

That said, however, such threats and even people acting on such threats is not merely unsurprising, but absolutely inevitable. And far from being, as Nancy Pelosi said, against "the American way," they are firmly rooted in American politics from the very beginning of our nation (and I'm not just referring to the Revolution, either).

This is very simple.

Every person has the right to self-defense, to protect their rights from being violated by others. However, if every person acted out in self-defense against every encroachment of rights, we'd have chaos. So if a neighbor poisons your dogs, you don't shoot him or trash his yard. You go to the authorities: the police, the courts, and so on.

That is how we maintain an orderly society.

In this case, however, it's the government that is violating our rights. We entrust a significant portion of our right to self-defense to government, and they abuse that by stealing from us.

Of course, the right thing to do in this case is to work through the political system to fix the problem, to protect our rights from government encroachment. But for very legitimate and rational reasons, many people believe that's no longer a reasonable option. Year after year, more of our rights are taken from us, and with few exceptions, one those rights are gone, they don't come back.

So when the organizations you entrust the defense of your rights to is the organization violating your rights, and you believe you have no recourse left, you're going to consider reasserting your right to self-defense of your rights.

This is inevitable. Not that everyone will do it, of course, but in a nation of 300 million people, some will. Even if people don't think of it in those terms precisely, it's how the reasoning basically goes. It's wrong most of the time -- including in the case of the health insurance debate -- but it will happen, and pretending that it's some anomaly or outside of the American tradition is stupid. It would be nice if it were outside the American tradition, but that's just not reality.

Indeed, such violent reactions as we've seen are so completely and obviously inevitable that I assume the Democrats, long ago, knew the reactions would happen (how couldn't they?) and planned to take political advantage all along. If they are surprised by the reaction, they are, quite frankly, completely incompetent.

And for those who whine about this sort of thing happening more from the right than the left, I don't know if it's true. I've certainly seen many death threats toward Republicans in my days, and even in the last year we've seen many violent acts at health care town halls from Democratic supporters.

But I will say that because of how the parties break down philosophically, with the left being much more likely to take away the rights and property of other people, a violent response is therefore more likely in that direction. But we see the same thing from the left, too: the man in Bellingham who last year threatened violence because he saw his rights as a gay man being violated; radical blacks in the 60s fighting for their actual civil rights as human beings; and so on.

Their violent acts and threats were not justified either. But that some people will respond violently when government, the institution sworn to defend people's rights, are the ones violating their rights. It makes them feel helpless, which drastically increases the liklihood that they will lash out violently in reaction.

It's the way the world works and we shouldn't act surprised, and, when appropriate -- such as now -- we should point out that if government didn't steal from us, it wouldn't be getting that sort of reaction in the first place.

Of course, some on the left are going to say I am condoning violence, even though I'm clearly not. Just as broad government theft of rights inevitably results in violence, so too does speaking candidly about it inevitably result in lies.

It's the way the world works.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on March 25, 2010 11:25 PM.

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