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That Bread is Mine, Too

Okay, so the State was smashed yesterday morning. Now what?

Obviously, everybody will go his/her own way and make oodles of gold. Some of it will be spent on protection agents and arbitration. And we shall be ever-vigilant against the return of the State!

But what are we going to do if someone wants his money back?

Such a question is far from academic, for one’s view of justice seems to determine one’s revolutionary tactics. Robert LeFevre, the anarcho-pacifist, pursues a purely educational route because he has foresworn the use of defensive restitutive force. What else can he do? Murray Rothbard, enamored with “temporary” political expedients, pursues popular fronts with rightists, then leftists, then partyarchs. With his “double restitution” or “restitution plus punishment” theory, he finds himself allied with the Penal Institution crowd regardless of other alliances.

Ayn Rand seeks unlimited restitution, and since infinity can only be achieved mystically she must resurrect a gover…

Limits to self-defense?

Where do we draw the line for what is acceptable self-defense? When can we start acting in self-defense? That, plus recollections of an interesting conversation at a local pub over the subject of a brightly yellow book and some ponderings on physical removal-memes is on today's menu. Bon Appetit! | Alex Utopium

One of my dearest hobbies is reading books and one of my preferred spots to read them is in a local pub- There is something very special with the ambient noises of the pub, to me: The clinking glasses, bar stool scraping, low-volume conversation. Its harmonious to me. The atmosphere can turn a trashy book to at least a readable experience by the virtue of the surroundings.

This one time a guy sat down next to me and started asking questions about the book I was writing down notes from, in the company of a huge cup of coffee. It was the color of the book (extremely yellow, screaming for attention) that drew his eyes in the first place, but it was the title of the book that got him interested. "Homemade guns and homemade ammo? Isn't that illegal?"

"It's not illegal to read about, no", was my distracted reply, maybe with more annoyance in my voice than intended. I was, after all, trying to write notes and he was distracting from that.

Putting my pen away, signaling I was open for a discussion. We had a talk for about fifteen minutes, give or take, that I tried to steer in the direction of self-defense: We should be able to defend ourselves, right?

He took my bait, responding: "Well, that's true, but only the police should have guns!". Noting, of course, the irony in that here in Norway, not even that is solidified - Police officers need to ask for permission to get their handguns out of a safety deposit box in the police cruiser to prevent a crime in progress, unless given permission beforehand (as protection against a specific threat, known prior to being dispatched out on the streets).

The obvious follow-up question is of course "Why?", followed by some more talk, mainly about how dangerous guns are in the wrong hands and so forth. The usual stuff. The conversation was eventually ended when he had to go back to his buddies at a table further in the pub, but he left me with a sinking realisation. The whole conversation, he didn't include himself at all as a potential weapon owner (he could outsource protection, I assume) - What appeared to be the most important thing for this guy was that nobody else was armed.

That realization made it crystal clear to me that you can bring forth the moral argument all you want, it won't affect this kind of person. We agreed that everyone should be able to defend themselves, but using a force multiplier  (a gun) equalize the terms between aggressor and victim? No way, man. Arguably, you can't be for self-defense in that case since not everybody is physically equipped to fend off others, so to restrict access to defensive tools, you are fine with restricting a portion of the population from defending themselves.

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi

 To most Libertarians, this is nothing new, but it is important to underline that last part - Because the result of your action is more important than your words, so it's healthy to put a spotlight on hypocrisy whenever you can.

For us Libertarians, there is something in the borderland, the gray zone of self-defense aspects, that might pose a greater disagreement amongst us. It is digitally manifested in the Physical Removal and Helicopter Ride memes, but those are merely a comedic version of something more serious.

But, its a fairly wide range of ideas that get crammed under the same umbrella. From Liberty Machine's interview with Curt Doolittle where he stated he wanted to "murder socialists on an industrial scale", to Hans-Herman Hoppe's arguments that to keep a libertarian society intact you need to 'physically remove' anyone threatening private property as a concept (examples given is communists and democrats).

A much vaguer Murray Rothbard suggests in his essay Program for Right-wing populism that bums get kicked out from the streets - But its hard to tell if he means the public or private property, a future society or the society of lunchtime tomorrow?

How wide can you cast out the concept of self-defense? When is it right to apply it? Is a credible threat to you and your property enough? Can you only stop aggression when it is right at your doorstep? It is a sticky subject.

Perhaps I'm looking too hard through the lens of today, where I'd be properly screwed if a band of Antifa-likes would gain parliamentary power and ushered me into some nightmarish Marxist state of being.  Maybe this is a trivial issue in a free Ancapistan? The skeptic in me is a skeptic, though.

Scandinavian anti-establishment blogger, editor for the Utopium Blog. Counter-economics, agorist-separatism and Free Market advocate.


  1. This is my problem with Libertarians - the NAP is nonsensical and meaningless. one man's self defence is another man's murder.
    My take is: no body or group of people has any more right to prosecute violence than any other. I am entitled but not obliged to to counter evil with as much force as I deem necessary. If you can't recognise evil then you are part of the problem and deserve no quarter given.

    1. The NAP is, funnily enough, sort of a social contract theory which many libertarians I know despise - Except in the case of NAP. I am more leaning on the (David) Friedmanian school of thought, ie that we give each other sovereignty and accept laws in clusters in a Free World and the market will decide which of those are the most successful (have most subscribers).

      That leads to bargaining with people outside your cluster and, as a last resort, violence if someone else wants to (in your view) use force upon your cluster.

  2. IMO in a free society the right to defend property would always be retained by the individual but in all likelihood be delegated voluntarily to PDAs or insurance companies, as Bob Murphy outlines in Chaos Theory.


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