One effort at justification that this puritanical libertarian is regularly engaged in is seeking to convinced those enamored by the state to consider whether enamored is worthwhile.
There is so much about the human animal, captured most by the insatiability of animal want (demand), that is tempted to seek security of satisfaction at any cost. The great challenge is to call to the rational in the human, invite it to attend to various means of satisfaction, and to paint the voluntary in its natural beauty.
The above is no easy task in spite of the obvious horror of the involuntary and coercive track record. It drips with blood and terror. Yet, yet dear reader, he enamored by the state is so regularly committed to some version of the following: “Yes rape, slavery murder, theft, fraud are wrong when done. But aggression is not wrong when done THIS way.” When pressed on the content of THIS there is stammering, the shrugging of shoulders, maybe a demand to be reasonable, or a wide-eyed disbelieving appeal to common sense. Interpreted otherwise there is silence but appeal to some mysterious unavailable authority.
Not so in a more intellectualized defense of aggression and initiated violence. Some will appeal to the god and what the god has said. But when asked for justification that THIS is what the god has said and how to justify THIS use of initiated violence from THAT the inquirer is told that the god has only revealed so much and it is surely sinful to demand more of the god. The proper response is humble gratitude for the light shed on THIS aggression and its acceptability.
Not so in a more intellectualized defense of aggression and initiated violence. Some will appeal to reason and its natural light. For instance, it might be said that human life is sacred. Reason shows this. Thus, some must serve others to prevent the others from starving and a third party to compel the some to serve the others is justified. When pressed for the reason in what reason has apparently shown light on the inquirer may or may not be offered many words. But in them will be much except the principle that justifies when such forced servitude is legitimate and when it is not.
Not so in a more intellectualized defense of aggression and initiated violence. Some will appeal to past injustice and attempt a conversion of initiated aggression into aggression as the justified payment for past wrongs. Here, the justifier of initiated aggression will conveniently ignore that he who is aggressed against did not commit the injustice appealed to and the one blessed by the aggression (to whom what is taken is transferred) was not the one aggressed against.
Justification is so hard. Reason seems so dodgy. What if there were something the truth of which could not be denied without falling into the impossible (into which one can never really fall). There are spheres of knowledge that shine so bright that this impossibility test is quite available. And, dear reader, it includes the non-aggression principle. In the next post, we rest in reason. I can’t wait.
Here we rest in the restlessness of he who demands the reasonability of initiated aggression. He is legion. And he is in charge. He is powerful. Where he is not legitimate according to popular opinion he is in hiding. Where he is legitimated by popular opinion he maintains his position by the distribution of just enough spoils to decrease any independence from him (in those aggressed against) and increase any dependence upon him (in those who live off his gifts) In hiding he is called thief, murderer, enslaver. But in the open he is a member of the state, or benefiting from contracting with the state. These latter are pressing hard in their effort to attack and steal.
Consider that in 1913 the income tax was established with a top rate of 6%. In 2010 dollars anyone who made less than $66k payed nothing. They were exempt. The top rate applying to those who made +$11 million was 6%. The state always knows how to start light and reasonable. Today, anyone who makes over $10k pays 12%, $40k pays 22%, and it gets worse from there. The comparison to note is that in roughly a century the state has greatly reduced the exempt and greatly increased the extraction. Note that the lowest bracket pays now more than the top bracket payed in the beginning. What has happened? How can that which looks so stable and still be recognized as growing and aggressing? By stepping back and taking a wider view. Once the change is noticed and the direction of change indicated he who wants to defend himself against aggression can begin to consider with what he deals.
Those who have the power to take by force, and who think it legitimate, will always increase how much they take and reduce the quality of anything they give in trade for it. Why? Because they can. What is the justification? According to reason, there is none. According to popular opinion, it just feels normal (“shrugs shoulders”).
“Because they can”. How unfair for me to so dismissively judge. Surely it is possible for the virtuous to live with coercive power and to forego its advantage. Either he is human or he is the god. If the god, this puritanical libertarian remains silent. What can he say? If human, the puritanical libertarian can say much. He is human also and knows much about that species. But so does his reader.