Tuesday, March 01, 2016


A libertarian view begins with the premise that liberty is incompatible with coercion, and that a civil society should not substitute instruments of violence for persuasion. This view requires that all uses of force be justified, because force is never assumed to be just. There are certain categories of force, such as government force used against one person for the exclusive private advantage of another, or force used to protect subjective sensibilities, or to vindicate matters of etiquette that should never be justified.The rules for use of force should be predictable and of general application, neither singling out nor exempting particular parties. No person who is capable of reason should be subjected to force solely on grounds that it is for his or her own good.

Force and governmental violence is sometimes necessary but its legitimate use usually signals the breakdown of reason. The lapse of reason is not always on the part of the person against whom the force is directed. Force, or the ability to resort to force by authorities, is a tempting shortcut to assure compliance with questionable policies or to promote partisan interests, or worse, to attempt to compensate for incompetence in administering the laws. It is the enabler of oppressive laws and a hallmark of governing interests at odds with the will of the people.

Force is inherently inelegant and imprecise. There is no guarantee that "non-lethal" force will remain "non-lethal" just because the circumstances do not justify more severe measures.

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