Why your political conversations should focus on statist violence

September 21, 2016
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Statism is a losing argument, if libertarians know how to argue.

By Perry Willis

Who would have thought it possible? An economic discussion can actually be about violence! Most libertarians assume that economic conversations have to rely on abstract concepts like the “free market” and the “law of supply and demand,” perhaps with a dash of Hayek’s “local knowledge problem,” Milton Friedman’s “permanent income hypothesis,” or Mises’ “economic calculation problem.”

Who knew you could make powerful economic points by talking about how The State points guns at people? Well…

That’s exactly what I did in my previous article “How non-violent prices foster economic equality.” I didn’t talk about “free market prices.” Yes, I did mention supply and demand, but my focus was on something else.

Violent prices vs. non-violent prices

Did you know that prices could be either violent or nonviolent? They can be. And this insight can make a huge difference in how people think.

  • A nonviolent price is any price a buyer and seller voluntarily agree to, without coercion
  • A violent price is any price set using a threat of violence, such as a minimum wage “law”

This approach can be extended to any issue. For example:

  • Violence-based healthcare (Obamacare, state mandates, compulsory FDA dictates)
  • Violence-based regulation (anything where you have no choice but to accept The State’s definition of how something should be done)
  • Violence-based funding (taxation)

This approach is important because it accomplishes several things at once. You…

  • Get to draw attention to the violence inherent in the system — often this violence is otherwise invisible to people
  • Can focus on the key libertarian idea — the Zero Aggression Principle — which is the only libertarian argument you can make that applies to all issues
  • Put the advocate of statist violence on the defensive
  • Still get to make all the pragmatic points you would normally make

Please notice how I did this in my previous article. I was able to show how violence-based prices cause economic disparities and non-violent prices foster economic equality.

This effectively cross-dresses a libertarian argument for left-statist ears. Left-statists like to believe they’re advocates of peace and economic equality. Showing them how they’re really advocates for violence and economic disparity puts them on the defensive and causes cognitive dissonance.

These are major strategic objectives for us, and they should be for you too. We want to…

  • Place statists on the defensive
  • Make them uncertain about their own policies
  • Help them cure their cognitive dissonance by adopting the Zero Aggression Principle

Nothing can achieve these goals as well as exposing the violence-based nature of everything statists advocate. We must show statists that…

  • It’s a contradiction to seek good aims using bad means
  • Good ends are most effectively achieved using good means

Please understand…

You don’t have to separate the moral and the practical

You can talk about both things at the same time. You can even show how the moral and the practical are intimately related. Violence-based policies are immoral, AND they lead to bad outcomes, such as increasing economic disparities. Go forth and argue thusly.

Perry Willis
Co-creator of the Zero Aggression Project


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