Why your political conversations should focus on statist violence

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

Show Comments 8


  1. I would love to watch this approach used at a progressive college If you could finish without being stoned or pummeled with fruit or shouted down, The ensuing back & forth or back-back-back? would sharpen your arguments, if you record it for review.

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  2. I would ask the Lysander Spooner Question: What factual evidence do you, politician, judge, prosecutor, IRS agent or policeman or anyone have that the constitution and “law” apply to me just because I am physically present in this or that state? I have challenge/tested 7 judges in their courts before witnesses and none of them had that aforementioned “factual evidence,” i.e. they had no proof of jurisdiction and thus were liars/deceivers. The Bible in Revelation teaches us that the troika of evil, the wicked consort of politics, commerce and “false religion,” will be destroyed in the end because it opposes and slanders Jehovah God. The Amerikan colonists erred when they supplanted God with their new god, We The People.

    I don’t see how anyone has the right to take a vote to sanction the politicians to use lethal force against you to control your person and property. I don’t see that as a virtue or a right; I see it as a crime. Politics is violence; it is the use of force (see The Law of Love and The Law of Violence – Leo Tolstoy). Everything about the electoral process and supposed “representative government” is illegitimate. – per Denny Jackson as best I can recall

    Franz Oppenheimer identified the two basic means by which people can acquire wealth in the world: [1] the “economic means,” and [2] the “political means.” The “economic means” consists of relationships in which individuals voluntarily engage in transactions for the exchange of goods and services. The “political means” involve the forced taking of wealth belonging to one person and bestowing it upon another.

    Politics is not the answer; it is a false god. Worship of “god-politics” is a mistake.

  3. The belief: Give away your rights to others by voting and you will be protected. Authorize those “others” to force your choice on all, on pain of death. Why? Freedom to choose, e.g., individualism, personal sovereignty, is chaos. Being ruled by force is security.
    Is this, “The Most Dangerous Superstition”?
    Voting is NOT choosing. It is forfeiting choice to an elite who are granted the power to make law. Law is rule by the initiation of force, threats, backed by the ultimate power to kill. It’s legalized tyranny.
    While a reasoned argument may disguise a specific threat (law), if all arguments are refuted, exposing no justification, the sham is dropped with “the law is the law”, meaning, “do it or die”.
    When individual sovereignty, expressed by one’s conscience, one’s value judgements, one’s life choices, is not allowed on political principle, as expressed in the rule of law, then right to life, liberty, property, happiness, is denied. That is the worldwide political paradigm, justified as benefiting the “common good”. But, is the sacrifice of reason, rights, personal choice, to violence, ever good?

  4. Like the other commenters, I would love to see several of these arguments fleshed out so I can better understand the strategy. For us newbies, we need lots of examples, and ideally real-world audio or video episodes of these tactics in action, in order to really get a handle on it.

  5. Neutralize statist violence with one of their own weapons: Paper. Put them on the defensive to either answer or lose. It can be done. After decades of losing in court over travel issues, I put the Paper on them and they conceded defeat. It really is the AOC principle: Affidavit holding officials to their Oath of allegiance to the Constitution for the United States of America.

  6. Pingback: The ‘violence’ of government interference and how to resist it – Bob Livingston Letter

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