Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Cult of Force

Well, its been over a week since the heinous, outrageous, horrible, terrifying, sad, heart-wrenching, and tragic crimes took place in . . . Massachusetts, Utah and Pakistan. Gotcha, didn’t I. Thought I’d say Tuscon. And of course, all of those adjectives apply to that crime, too. But there are other crimes that have happened, that objectively, must be viewed as even more tragic and terrifying because it took place by our would-be protectors-- the police in swat teams where innocent people have been killed by trigger happy, fear-filled swat team members operating with the war-on-drugs mentality that has brought so many tragic deaths to our country, and for no good reason. Also, innocent people are being killed in Pakistan killed by US drones in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty with no war declared by the United States. The politicians and talking heads weep not for these tragedies.

Eurie Stamps, 68 year old retired grandfather of 12, was gunned down in a swat team drug raid in Farmingham, MA on January 6 of this year. The police were not looking for him but for the son of his live-in mate. The official story doesn’t mention any resistance but the authorities are keeping the details from the public.

In Ogden, Utah, in late December of last year, a police officer shot 45 year-old Todd Blair in a no-knock drug raid where Blair was holding a golf club in the air at least 8 feet from the officers. Ogden police officer Troy Burnett shot Blair three times killing him stating “I saw something shiny like a sword or something.” Burnett admits that Blair didn’t charge him. The State's Attorney in charge has called the shooting justified. One can view the actual murder at:

And as recent as January 6, US drone planes have fired missiles killing 12 Pakistanis. Over 100 attacks have occurred last year, many of these attacks killing innocent civilians or what our government officials call “collateral damage.” Are these Pakistanis any less human than the victims of the Tuscon shooting?

There is much chatter among politicians and talking heads about setting examples of civility, and toning down the rhetoric in political discourse in response to the Tuscon shooting. First, one thing should remain clear. One man alone is responsible for the tragedy in Tuscon. Politicians aren’t responsible; neither are pundits or talk show hosts or guns.

However, if we really want to take a look at root causes of the violence that permeates American society, we should first look at the top, the entity that sets the standard for violence, the government. With the US government, war, is, too often, the battle cry to address problems. The war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on poverty, in total, the war on freedom permeates the lives of Americans.

With war comes the associated devaluing modus operandi: irrationality, avoidance of logic, emotionally charged actions, and led by despots with titles of “Czar.” Compassion, reason, tolerance, deliberation, empathy, objective weighing of evidence, dissent; these are values voided by the execution of war. Liberty is the ultimate casualty in these never ceasing wars. Yes, war is the health of the state, force its raison d’etre, and “You’re either with us or against us” its battle cry. Freedom, prosperity, limited government, personal rights, dissent, adherence to the Constitution, and the lives of innocent people are all “collateral damage” from the execution of these wars.

Most of the alphabet agencies of the federal government have swat teams and use them, even in raiding health food stores for the horrible crime of selling raw milk.

Is it any wonder why American society is ridden with so much violence?

Don’t pay your taxes? They come with guns.

Self medicate? They come with guns.

Teach your children at home? In some states, they come with guns.

Sell “unapproved” alternative health remedies? They come with guns.

Sell a shotgun with the barrel a quarter inch too short? They come with guns.

Use a gun in self defense? They come with guns.

Form a religious commune? They come with guns.

Fill in lowlands on your property? They come with guns.

Run your own numbers game in competition with the government’s game? They come with guns.

Pick up an eagle feather? They may come with guns.

Build a better automobile? Preston Tucker found out they’ll come with guns. Yes, DeLorean, too.

Organize war protests? They come with guns.

Grow unapproved vegetables or herbs on your own property? They come with guns.

Government is the organized monopoly use of force. Natural law dictates that force should be only used as a defense measure against the initiation of force. Yet virtually every aspect of our lives has been criminalized by government.

Force begets force. And when Americans are treated like children using force to enforce the myriad of regulations that criminalize peaceful non-coercive action that should be legal in any rational, free society, they will do what children do. They’ll tend to mimic their parents actions, the parent in this case being government.

There must be a better way . . . And there is.

Short of the use of defensive force to mitigate and punish murder, rape, and theft, the mind-set of America must turn to peace-nurturing cooperation, toleration, free exchange of ideas, products and services; and an allowance for lifestyles that don’t infringe on the rights of others if the cult of force is to be reversed.

It’s time we enacted some meaningful gun control and its associated uses of force on the government.

Thomas Paine said, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

Swat teams with guns enforcing laws that shouldn’t even exist has made government an intolerable evil with its predictable ramifications in American society. This cult of force must be stopped.

A tolerable evil in the name of truly limited government would be a step in the right direction.