There is a question I have wondered about. As a libertarian, I believe that one should not initiate violence. Like a pacifist, or a conscientious objector, I find violence and fighting abhorrent. Yet I believe wholeheartedly that one has the right, nigh, the duty, to defend one's self and those who are weak and unable to defend themselves. In my opinion, violence is usually a result of a failure to bring other solutions to bear on a problem. This brings about the question that titles this piece, what to fight for? When is it justified to become violent? I can only use my experiences, philosophies and my imagination to help answer this question.
This led to one of the most disturbing conversations I've ever had with my socialist friend. I was talking to him one day and I asked, "Would you die for your political beliefs?" He said he would. Well, you have to admire his convictions. Then I thought for a moment and I asked him something more important. I asked, "Would you kill for your beliefs?" His answer was a bit surprising, but maybe not so much. After thinking about it for a moment, he confessed that he'd like to kill a certain political figure, but only if he was sure no one would ever know it was him. And so, here the socialist mindset becomes clear for all to see. They will happily use violence against those whose opinions differ from their own, so long as they don't have to be held to account for their actions.
This got me to thinking about my own political beliefs and philosophies. Would I die for them? Absolutely. Would I kill for them? Well, not so much. The only justifiable reason to kill, IMHO, is in the direct defense of one's self or others who are in immediate, verifiable danger. I certainly wouldn't kill on the sly someone who may become a danger to me, even if I was assured I would not be held accountable. After all, even the exception I explained above can get into some gray areas, not being held accountable for the death of someone that may or may not in the future cause the death of others or simply disagrees with your philosophy goes beyond regions of gray.
I could never kill in order to install my political views onto others. I can imagine that if I had to choose between killing others or dying myself, that I would choose death. I hope I never have to find out. Can you imagine how awful it would be to have to choose, with a gun at your head and one in your hand, having to choose between a bullet in your head or putting one in an innocent's? I don't even want to have to think about it. And yet that type of scenario has played out in our history, and those forcing that scenario are pretty sick folks, in my humble opinion.
So, what exactly would I fight for, and how would I do it? The first answer is simple. I would fight for freedom. Everyone's freedom, not just mine. In other words, I would fight for the philosophy that we should all fight for. I would fight for the philosophy that does not try to take over and use a central controlling power, but rather one that empowers each individual and attempts to dismantle central controlling institutions in order to promote ideas that may not otherwise come to the fore. I would fight for a philosophy that promotes peace and prosperity rather than war and poverty. I would fight for these things, but how?
The how is a little more counter intuitive. I would fight for these things by not fighting. The best way to create freedom, to build a free society, to honor the ideals of freedom, is simply to live free. You see, I believe the old axiom that the ends justifies the means is not true. I think it is more true to say that the means become the ends in the long run. For instance, this nation was predicated on the idea of freedom, but the founders fought a violent war in order to bring it about. Now we live in a violent nation that attacks other nations and promotes "regime change" that is really just a way of placing corporate puppets into seats of power. Violence begets violence, and it's up to us to break the circle.
Our federal government can't even seem to get it straight who to protect and who not to. They don't even seem able to determine who the bad people are and who the good ones are. A great example of this is what's happening at this very moment in North Dakota. The Sioux nation, who the federal government has a treaty with, are peacefully protesting against an oil pipeline being built through their lands by a private corporation. The oil pipeline has even gone as far as to intrude upon these native Americans' sacred burial grounds. What does government do to rectify the situation? Do they use their power to help reach an amicable solution? No. Instead they use the power of the Homeland Security Act to help the corporation force its will upon the Native Americans and the lands they control. They use force and intimidation to try to cow the Native American nation into submission. They're not helping the poor and disenfranchised in a noble cause, their helping the rich and powerful become richer and more powerful while trampling upon the already poor and downtrodden. That's about par for the course when it comes to government. After all, the only tool for compliance government has is the use of violent force, and that tool is for sale to the highest bidder.
Those in power don't seem able to comprehend that most people want self determination. They want their freedom. They want their independence. They want to be able to choose who they associate with and who they don't associate with. This may be because those in power wish to force everyone to associate with them. They wish to be certain that everyone is giving them a portion of their money, or really a portion of their productivity, and that's how those in power remain in power. They wish to keep us under their thumb, under their rule, so that we cannot challenge their power with any effectiveness. But we can challenge their power and we can do so very simply, especially in these modern times with the technologies we have available.
To challenge those in power and regain our freedom we merely need to live as free people, but we need to start doing so in a very public way. Do not consent. Make it public as to why you do not consent. Turn all your activities into a public protest against the injustices of governing bodies. For instance, if you wish to be so brave as to not pay your taxes, make sure people know why you're not paying. Make a Youtube video or some announcement on some other social media as to why you're not consenting to being governed. You can say something like, "I'm not paying my taxes because I don't want my money being used to kill innocent people in the middle east," or "I'm not paying my taxes because I don't like being forced to pay for health insurance," or "I'm not paying my taxes because I don't want my money being used for..," whatever it is you're not wanting to consent to. Let it be known that you are exercising your natural right to not associate with government and the people who work for such an organization, especially if you say you don't want to associate with violent people. If and when the police come to arrest you, make sure the camera is running. You want to make sure you leave no doubt in anyone's mind who the violent ones are, and who the peaceful one is. You want to make sure you have indisputable evidence as to who is the bully and who is the bullied.
The point is, we all know that violence is wrong. We know that it is wrong for the powerful to oppress the weak. We know it is inherently wrong for anyone to force another to obey even when it might be for the good of that person. Let the evidence show that it is they who are in the wrong, not us. Let it show it is they who are causing the violence in the first place, not preventing it. Let the evidence show that they are not meeting violence with violence, but are meeting non violence in a violent fashion. If it is publicly shown that those in power are merely bullies trying to force their will, or the will of some faceless organization known as government, upon others, than those people will eventually become ashamed of their actions. When enough people become ashamed of beating up on the little guy and using force against peaceful people who are merely trying to live free, to make their own decisions, to spend their own money the way they want to spend it rather than being extorted to let those who steal the money decide where to spend it, then we will see real, demonstrable change start to happen. Then, when that change is peaceful, we will see we are on the road to creating a far more peaceful and free society. At that point we may start to understand that the means are the ends.