In a political context, freedom has only one specific meaning — freedom from the initiation of force by other men. By initiation of force I mean those who start the use of force to achieve their ends, i.e., a bank robber. Only the initiation of force against a man can stop his mind, thus rendering it useless as a means of survival. Only by the initiation of force can a man be prevented from speaking, or robbed of his possessions, or murdered. Only through the initiation of force can a man’s rights be violated.
Tag Archives | force
To use force in retaliation — in self defense against those who initiate it — is not a moral option, but a moral requirement. A moral man has nothing to gain when a man tries to kill him, but he has much to lose if he does not defend himself. For this reason it is right, just, and proper to use force in retaliation and self-defense. The use of force, in and of itself, is not evil — but to initiate (start) force is. Contrary to the vile doctrines of the pacifists, force used in self-defense is a species of the good.
Any man (or group of men) who initiates force against others is a dictator — a monster — and should be treated as such, to the extent he initiates force.
Citizens may not delegate the right to initiate force to government, as they do not possess the right to start force to begin with.
As Ayn Rand has commented “there is no such thing as the right to enslave.”
As no individual in his private capacity, as a citizen, may initiate force against others, neither may he in his public capacity as a state official start force either.
Freedom, under capitalism, has only one meaning: freedom from the initiation of force by others. In a political context, freedom means to live in a social system based on individual rights, or in practical terms, freedom has only one specific meaning — freedom from the initiation of force by other men. By initiation I mean those who start the use of force to achieve their ends, i.e., a bank robber. Only the initiation of force against a man can stop his mind, thus rendering it useless as a means of survival. Only by the initiation of force can a man be: prevented from speaking, or robbed of his possessions, or murdered. Only through the initiation of force can a man’s rights be violated.
In order to place the retaliatory use of force under objective legal control — that is, under clearly defined laws that are logically deduced from the principle of rights — those who make up society delegate their right to retaliate against those who initiate force, to government.
Under no conditions may government violate anyone’s rights, by initiating force against others. A proper government is permitted to use force to retaliate against a thief who has initiated force against someone (in the act of robbing them). However, a proper government is not permitted to copy the means of private criminals by initiating force against its citizens. The government is not even permitted to rob them of their wealth–even, or rather especially, if the stolen loot is to be used for so called “noble” purposes, such as for the sick and poor. No end (even for the “poor”) ever justifies an illegitimate means (the initiation of force). Any man who initiates force against others is a dictator, and should be treated as such, to the extent he initiates force.
No one may initiate force for any reason whatsoever, even if that alleged purpose is for the “public good”. For is not the individual whose rights are being violated for the “public good”, a member of the “public” also? How can such a violation be in the public’s good? For is not his good also the good of the public, of which he is a member? The truth is, such violations are only in the irrational interests of a division of the public, but are not in the interests of the entire public.
To protect rights, government require essentially three things: an army — to protect against foreign invaders, a police force — to protect against domestic criminals, and a court system — to settle honest disputes that arise, and to punish criminals according to objectively predefined laws.
Man’s state in nature, where every man is allowed complete discretion in the retaliatory use of force, according to the laws of the jungle, is nothing more than a state of anarchy — perpetual civil war and gang warfare. If there were no legal agency to carry out such a task, each man would be forced to carry out retaliation at his own discretion, i.e., anarchy.
A modern day example of such a situation is Bosnia, where two gangs, or “competing governments” — the Croats and the Serbs — are competing with each other in the same geographical area.
The power of a bureaucrat of a statist society is the power of fear — the power to initiate force. He can force you to do his bidding by legally threatening your life and freedom. Such power is derived by destroying, or threatening to destroy values — such as when your local IRS man confiscates your home for not paying your taxes, or the DOJ threatens you with a jail sentence for being too successful.