Today marks the anniversary of the infamous Kent State shootings, which serves as a reminder to all of us that what lies behind any political process: Violence.
Did you suddenly decide that you don’t want to pay taxes any more? Even though the IRS maintains that paying income taxes is entirely “voluntary,” should you decide to forgo paying them, you will be “brought to justice.” You’ll be thrown in jail, and will find many things difficult to do afterwards (like finding a job or buying a gun).
Any attempt to resist the State’s violence is met with just more violence. Take for instance a common traffic stop. So you were speeding a bit, to which you readily admit to. Then the cop asks if he can “take a look around” inside your car. Being a civil liberties minded person, you politely object. The officer then decides he smells marijuana or something else that represents a “reasonable suspicion” and decides he will search your car anyways. And if you decide you will stop him from doing so, you will be tasered and handcuffed.
Or take the incident of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr, who was shot dead in his own home by police officers after he accidentally triggered his medical alert device. After telling police that he was fine and they weren’t needed, they determined that they must get into his apartment at any cost, even that of Mr. Chamberlain’s life.
Or consider Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen accused (but never charged) of terrorism, and killed by an unmanned drone. Or even his 16 year old son Abdulrahman, who was never charged with or accused of anything. He was killed by the State just the same.
The State holds a monopoly on legitimized violence. They say they need it to maintain order, to keep the criminals at bay. As if order could not somehow be maintained without coercion.
We’re brought up from a young age to be “patriotic citizens,” which entails memorizing and reciting the pledge of allegiance and believing that our country can do no wrong. In other words, we’re indoctrinated into the Cult of Statism. We’re told that if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn’t question the authorities searching you. If you’re doing nothing wrong, there’s no reason why you can’t answer a couple of questions the police ask you.
Basically, we’re taught to not question the State. I keep saying the State as though it were something separate from everything else, even though we’re led to believe that we are “the State.” Remember, it’s we the people and all that other stuff. So “we” are the “State,” right? Wrong. Murray Rothbard, in Anatomy of the State, had this to say:
We must, therefore, emphasize that “we” are not the government; the government is not ”us.” The government does not in any accurate sense “represent” the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that “we are all part of one another,” must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.
If, then, the State is not “us,” if it is not “the human family” getting together to decide mutual problems, if it is not a lodge meeting or country club, what is it? Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.
Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects. One would think that simple observation of all States through history and over the globe would be proof enough of this assertion; but the miasma of myth has lain so long over State activity that elaboration is necessary.
As we look at the present state of things, namely, that of our financial markets and the declining value of the dollar, and given that our government is bent on spending with reckless abandon, it’s easy to see how things are coming to a head. The State is preparing itself for the inevitable backlash of the people against its abuses, and then we will see the State doing what it does best: undertaking violence upon its subjects.
The Kent State shooting is but a glimpse at what the State is capable of doing. But we shouldn’t necessarily fear the impending doom that awaits us. If our system as we know it implodes, and the dollar is only good for use as toilet paper, it is but a natural progression in the evolution of man, and one that has happened countless times before. Think of it as a giant “reset” button; A chance for us to make things right.
What is right? The rejection of force as a means to organize society, and the adoption of free-market “voluntary” interactions. Compassion and love for our fellow man, regardless of his race or sexual orientation.
What is right? Rejection of the State and the cult that it builds around it.