Not Bullets

Perhaps the most fundamental principle of libertarian thought — more fundamental even than the Non-Agression Principle — is the principle of isonomy, or equal and uniform law. Put simply, libertarians insist on applying precisely the same legal and moral standards to governments as they would to any other collection of individuals. This inescapably leads to the conclusion that today's governments are criminal organizations. (See Spooner's No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority.) For example, libertarians see "taxation" as just a euphemism for robbery or extortion, and "conscription" as just a euphemism for kidnapping and enslavement.

Some have argued that this logic gives a libertarian argument for the morality of violent revolution. To wit, if one is justified in using violence to defend oneself or one's property from a robber, or in defending oneself from a kidnapper or slaver, then one is likewise justified in using violence to defend oneself from similar criminal aggressions by the state. Since the state employ first use of violence, and the threat thereof, on a daily basis against us, it is argued that violent resistance to the state is defensive or, at worst, retaliatory in nature; it is not an initiation of violence.

Whatever the merits of this argument in theory, in practice there are grave problems with the strategy of attempting to win our freedom by violent means: