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When does one rebel against a gov. by force?

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Praxus
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I beleive we are WELL past the point where it would be justified.

But it would not be advisable. Unless those who undertake it can offer something better,

I would not support such a revolt. If we had the likes of our Founding Fathers in our midst, and they had a decent chance of winning, I would join.

If you look at the Constitution, it is violated so much as to not even being newsworthy.

If you look at the reasons Jefferson gave in our Declaration of Independence, the British Crown and government were absolute saints compared to the human garbage that regulates our society.

Even look back at feudal serfs, who were forced to give 20% of their crop to their lords.

We give more than that by far when you add up every kind of tax.

Having said all of this, I DO NOT advocate a violent revolution. I am just saying that this country has done enough to DESERVE one.

The gradual spread of Objectivism is a thousand times better than just changing from one semi-statist sytem to another that may or may not be better.

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I beleive we are WELL past the point where it would be justified.

But it would not be advisable.  Unless those who undertake it can offer something better, 

I would not support such a revolt.  If we had the likes of our Founding Fathers in our midst, and they had a decent chance of winning, I would join.

If you look at the Constitution, it is violated so much as to not even being newsworthy. 

If you look at the reasons Jefferson gave in our Declaration of Independence, the British Crown and government were absolute saints compared to the human garbage that regulates our society.

Even look back at feudal serfs, who were forced to give 20% of their crop to their lords.

We give more than that by far when you add up every kind of tax.

Having said all of this, I DO NOT advocate a violent revolution.  I am just saying that this country has done enough to DESERVE one. 

The gradual spread of Objectivism is a thousand times better than just changing from one semi-statist sytem to another that may or may not be better.

I don't agree that it is justified. The fact is that the current system CAN be changed through nonviolent means. That doesn't mean that it necessarily will be, but it is possible. I'm thinking we're going to start seeing things go in the other direction (at least, as private property is concerned), once Bush gets to appoint a few SC Justices.

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Please... let's not get ourselves depressed over wild speculation.

But, wow... that would be bad.  :)

It isn't wild speculation...it's very possible. Hillary is all but locked-in for the '08 Democratic nomination. The Republican spot will be between McCain and Giuliani. Here's hoping for Rudy.

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I don't agree that it is justified.  The fact is that the current system CAN be changed through nonviolent means. 

It can be, and maybe, given enough time, the Britsh Empire would have let us go free as well. But I find it hard to say to another man what his breaking point should be. Ayn Rand herself said she would be ready to go "violent" regarding the potential of a new copyright law being passed in the late 1970's. She said it either in a taped radio show or

a lecture that I happen to own, but can't pinpoint at the moment. The occasion was that there was some proposal in congress to take away an author's copyright to some degree or another.

Now, I don't think that Ayn would a very good machine-gunner, but with a few rifle lessons, she might have made a good sniper.

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This is a question I have thought about quite a bit. If you believe that the Founding Fathers were just in seperating from Britian then you MUST believe that American citizens have the right to overthrow the Government by force of arms.

If we should or not is an issue of if it is in our interest to do so. So basicly whenever enough people get outraged enough to the point where they would be willing to join a revolution, would be the right time (so any act isn't futile and self-destructive). IMHO.

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But any restrictions whatsoever on being a candidate for political office constitutes a barrier. Even a filing fee, any minimum number of signatures on a nominating petition, or the requirement that the candidate be a citizen. If you define oppressive fascist regime as any gvernment that does not freely allow anyone to run for public office with zero "restrictions", then all governments are oppressive fascist regimes and there is no difference between the US and North Korea except details of degree. While I don't want to imply that the deck is not stacked, (1) the failure of minority parties to get on the ballot is entirely due to the fact that they do not have sufficient public support, so blame the public and (2) I am proud of the politicos who found such clever ways to work around McCain-Feingold, which is de facto dead as a real law. There is no argument for assassinating politicians just because there are ballot access restrictions, or because 15 year olds can't vote, or whatever. The point is that political change can be effected by rational means and killing your oppressors is not justified in the current context. Of course this may all change, slowly but surely, over the next 200 years, so ask me again in the far future.

:) Where did you get the idea that I was arging that the US was an oppressive fascist regime or that assassinating politicians was justified?

I think Praxus has a good point, though. The US government today is far more oppressive than the British were in the prerevolutionary colonies.

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Nope.  Too busy imagining Zell Miller vs. Condi Rice.

Actually, I'm thinking it will be Hillary vs. Giuliani (possibly with Schwarzenegger as VP).

The Dems keep losing, shift more to the left, and lose even more.

The GOP could clean up with someone like the former NYC mayor: pro-choice, pro-law enforcement, refused Saudi payoff post-9/11, minimally religious, good name recognition. Offhand I don't recall his economic policies, but want to say they were better than average.

Down side: he crucified Milken. Not to be forgotten or forgiven.

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:) Where did you get the idea that I was arging that the US was an oppressive fascist regime or that assassinating politicians was justified?

I think Praxus has a good point, though. The US government today is far more oppressive than the British were in the prerevolutionary colonies.

Given the context of this thread, asking when violent revolution is justified, I have stated a particular POV according to which violent revolution in the US is not justified, even though the US government does not fully recognise rationally justified rights. You appear to be arguing against that position, though I don't (or didn't) have a reason to think that you supported assassinating politicians. My most recent post on the topic reaffirms my denial that the existing oppression in the US justifies violent revolution (assassinating politicians would be the tactically obvious way to solve that problem). I don't presume that any disagreement with me implies condoning assassinating politicians, but your earlier reply, as it stands, is somewhat nonresponsive since your comments do not bear on the question of violent revolution.

But since you've now decided that the US government is worse that King George's dictatorship, I may have to rethink that. If you believe that, and believe that the US government is worse than King George, how can you not support a violent revolution? (Please note my massive restraint in not making any cracks about Canadians -- I leave open the possibility that you think the revolution was unjustified).

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Actually, I'm thinking it will be Hillary vs. Giuliani (possibly with Schwarzenegger as VP).

The Dems keep losing, shift more to the left, and lose even more.

The GOP could clean up with someone like the former NYC mayor: pro-choice, pro-law enforcement, refused Saudi payoff post-9/11, minimally religious, good name recognition.  Offhand I don't recall his economic policies, but want to say they were better than average.

Down side: he crucified Milken.  Not to be forgotten or forgiven.

Schwazenegger can't be VP because he's foreign-born. And I really hope Giuliani gets the nomination, but I think Republicans will be hesitant to nominate him b/c of his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-affirmative action stances.

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According to Objectivism, under what circumstances are violent revolution permissible?  In case you're wondering, I'm not planning to overthrow the government or anything...just something I've wondered about for a while.

Ayn Rand wrote: "Tyranny is any political system (whether absolute monarchy or fascism or communism) that does not recognize individual rights (which necessarily include property rights). The overthrow of a political system is justified only when it is directed against tyranny: it is an act of self-defense against those who rule by force." (Return of the Primitive, 173).

And in the Playboy interview she said:

PLAYBOY: Throughout your work you argue that the way in which the contemporary world is organized, even in the capitalist countries, submerges the individual and stifles initiative. In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt leads a strike of the men of the mind -- which results in the collapse of the collectivist society around them. Do you think the time has come for the artists, intellectuals and creative businessmen of today to withdraw their talents from society in this way?

RAND: No, not yet. But before I explain, I must correct one part of your question. What we have today is not a capitalist society, but a mixed economy -- that is, a mixture of freedom and controls, which, by the presently dominant trend, is moving toward dictatorship. The action in Atlas Shrugged takes place at a time when society has reached the stage of dictatorship. When and if this happens, that will be the time to go on strike, but not until then.

PLAYBOY: What do you mean by dictatorship? How would you define it?

RAND: A dictatorship is a country that does not recognize individual rights, whose government holds total, unlimited power over men.

PLAYBOY: What is the dividing line, by your definition, between a mixed economy and a dictatorship?

RAND: A dictatorship has four characteristics: one-party rule, executions without trial for political offenses, expropriation or nationalization of private property, and censorship. Above all, this last. So long as men can speak and write freely, so long as there is no censorship, they still have a chance to reform their society or to put it on a better road. When censorship is imposed, that is the sign that men should go on strike intellectually, by which I mean, should not cooperate with the social system in any way whatever.

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I think Praxus has a good point, though. The US government today is far more oppressive than the British were in the prerevolutionary colonies.

In a democracy, one has the ability to change the government without bloodshed. In colonial America, there was no option of democracy, so no similar evaluation can be compared. British Parliament ruled the colonies without allowing self-representation.

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  • 7 months later...

Suppose a citizen of the UK who is also a wealthy Objectivist ("UKwO" for short) decides to jam BBC broadcasts in London, England.

Question 1: Would UKwO have the moral right to do that?

Suppose that UKwO is arrested and imprisoned for repeatedly jamming BBC broadcasts and suppose that friends of UKwO attempt to free UKwO by invading the prison where UKwO is held.

Question 2: According to Objectivism, if some prison guards fought the invaders while knowing who the invaders were and what the invaders wanted, then would those prison guards be to blame for their own injuries suffered while fighting the invaders?

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Yawn.

1. Constitutes the initiation of force against the BBC broadcasters and the viewing public; hence, is a violation of rights, hence, no one can claim to have a "right" to this kind of activity.

2. Constitutes the initiation of force against civil authorities carrying out their legal duties. See above.

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Back by Popular Demand

Meaning Inspector harrassed me about it and if I'm going to be sending him multi-page replies defending my point I might as well increase my post count and distrubute my wisdom for the erudition of the masses.

Kidding about the wisdom part. Anyway: here follows the various messages I received and my replies. Please pick them to bits at your leisure.

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So it is never proper to attempt to bring down a non-legitimate government entity? If not, then you should have specified whether it is in his self-interest or not.

Most countries have government owned and operated news and television networks. BBC in UK, CBC in Canada, etc. I get like 5 CBC channels and they provide the bulk of the news on politics and stuff.

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It is proper to attempt to bring down a non-legitimate government entity, however initiating force against men when other channels remain available is NOT proper. If the man wants the BBC out of existence, he needs to start raising a grass-roots movement to get government funding for the BBC cut. Or, start a letter-writing campaign. Or just complain loudly at the office party. Maliciously jamming signals is pointless activity.

This is the problem with these endless teeny tiny little narrow concrete questions that Joynewyeary brings up and why I closed this particular thread, a practice I intend to continue. (I have already brought it to the attention of the other moderators and admins, so they may very well tell me to stop, it's up to them.) The context is enormous, the question is short and often poorly-phrased or defined, the application is complex, and the result is pointless.

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So, because the government has an illegitimate monopoly on water and sanitation, I'm perfectly justified in throwing a keg of botulinin toxin into the nearest reservoir? Don't be absurd.

Attacking the IRS at this time IS an initiation of force (assuming, of course, that you mean physically assaulting the person they send to collect your taxes . . . or bombing their office buildings . . . bitching about them is perfectly fine). If you want involuntary taxes reduced or removed in the U.S. at this time, you need to lobby, start a grass roots movement, etc.

The situation would be completely different if, say, you lived in a completely regimented society that piped out non-stop propaganda on all channels. Then you would be morally justified, and have a right, to jam some of those channels in protest, although it still may not be WISE to do so unless it was part of a larger plan.

But, since the question specifically asked about the BBC in a country that remains semi-free and mostly civilized, I answered that it was improper to use force majuere to settle this situation, which is true. If Joynewyeary wants to ask a broad question about a general principle such as resisting improper government monopolies in general, that's different than asking about a particular monopoly in a particular mixed economy . . . the particulars dictate such matters as what methods are appropriate in such resistance. The principle just says that such monopolies ARE improper and resisting them via some appropriate means is moral.

I think I'm arguing Just War vs. Total War here. The principle I apply is this: killing the roaches by dynamiting your house is not cost-effective if lesser means will suffice. You are welcome to disagree.

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I don't disagree with that point, only your particular application of it. The proper response to such a question is that an attack like that is improper on the grounds of what is contextually necessary and what will work, not that it is immoral per se or that the BBC has a right to exist, which it does not.

In other words, it's merely a bad idea to shoot at tax collectors; not because they have the moral right to not be shot at for what they are doing (they don't)... merely because it's not going to get you anything but put into prison or worse without achieving anything politically.

So no, I don't agree that simply because our society retains SOME freedoms, that it has the moral right to collect taxes or monopolize the airwaves. And if it doesn't have the right to do these things, then nobody is initiating force in an attempt to stop them.

Do we have enough here to unlock the thread?

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