One does not need to be violent to achieve liberty. Sure it can relieve a feeling of helplessness, frustration and anger; but what can be gained? Blowing up a federal building will not make you free, driving a van full of explosives into a military convoy will not make you free. What will make you free? Standing up and saying “NO!” No I will not join your “police force.” No I will not join your military. No I will not collect your taxes Mr. government man. Tyranny doesn’t spring up overnight, it is gradual. Just as when you plant an acorn on Monday it does not become a tree on Wednesday.
But no matter the level of tyranny, you can always say “NO!” Imagine if nobody joined Hitler’s SS. Imagine if nobody went around dragging people out of their houses and throwing them onto trains. Imagine if nobody was there to drive the trains. Imagine if nobody built concentration camps in the first place. NO! I will not sell you barbed wire. NO! I will not make iron gates. NO! I will not lay the tracks going to and from the camps, etc.
Just say “NO”!
More direct forms of violence – as some suggest to be the ultimate solution to statism – is likewise inconsistent with a condition of liberty. Violence is an expression of reactive anger, born of unrequited frustration. Violence is the very essence of the state: can one expect mankind to free itself of political destructiveness by adopting its very essence?
We will not become free when the state goes away. Rather, the state will go away once we are free. “Freedom” is a very personal quality, wherein the individual enjoys a centered, integrated life, free of the conflicts and contradictions that make up our normally neurotic lives. We must learn to respect the inviolability of one another’s lives and other property interests if we are to enjoy this inner sense of being free. A need for liberty is what we have in common with one another, but we will only grasp this fact when each of us is free of the inner forces that keep us divided and in conflict.
One can no more advance liberty through violence than he can regain sobriety by embracing an alternative brand of alcohol. The state is a system that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence. It is no answer to this destructive menace to introduce a competitor who employs the same means and seeks the same ends, namely, to construct society on the principle of the power to compel obedience to authority.Albert Einstein got to the essence of the problem when he declared that “force always attracts men of low morality.” I understand how being frustrated by others as we pursue interests we are entitled to pursue can generate intense feelings of anger. But it is not out of reactive rage or desperation that we can discover our individual freedom and the resultant liberty we can share with our neighbors. It is such divisiveness that keeps us enslaved to the state. We need to discover what we share with one another, namely, a respect for our individuality that can arise only from the integration of our rational and emotional energies into a focused intelligence. If mankind is to avoid the fate of being the first species to intentionally make itself extinct, we must transform our own minds, and abandon our ageless and contradictory efforts to force others to be free!