There’s Already Government Provocateurs…

…so don’t become one yourself.

Travis Corcoran, a self proclaimed anarcho-capitalist, has had his weapons and ammunition seized after praising the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Corcoran, a comic book dealer, wrote on his blog, “1 down and 534 to go,” which is the number of representatives in the US Congress. More importantly, Corcoran tried to justify his position based on the Just War Theory.

This is dangerous. 

There are four pillars of the Just War Theory:

  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • there must be serious prospects of success;
  • the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

Yes, the United States federal government is certainly causing damage to the country. However, is it really “lasting, grave, and certain?” Our economy is being pumped with “money not worth the digital paper it’s not printed on” as the great Gerald Celente would say. Our young men and women are being sent to fight for an unworthy cause and the military industrial complex. Our homes and bodies are being regularly spied on. Yes, these things are terrible, counterproductive, and downright absurd. However, even if you look at countries who had it much worse, such as Germany in the early twentieth century, they eventually bounced back. So, there is no certainty in any lasting or grave damage. (Note: I used the example of Nazi Germany to show that people are resilient and can overcome even the worst of mankind. I do not want it to be inferred that countries should begin attacking the US to end its imperial tendencies, as that would be horrible.)

Secondly, not all other peaceful avenues have been attempted. As history shows, there are a myriad of ways to peacefully shut down the government. Recently, there has not been a tax revolt as there was during the Great Depression. An effective and principled tax revolt would literally make the federal government completely immobile. There have also been no great acts of civil disobedience such as during the Civil Rights Era and antiwar demonstrations during Vietnam. Hell, the only real trouble the US has faced lately has been Wikileaks and Anonymous, which have already given the feds a terrible headache. This is perhaps the pillar where Corcoran is the most wrong. Making sure that all peaceful avenues have been tried prevents people and countries from going gung-ho.

Thirdly, there is no serious prospect for success whatsoever, from both a practical and theoretical level. I am willing to bet everything I own that there is not a single person, let alone 535, who are capable of methodically killing each and every federal representative. Theoretically, if more of these shootings continue, the government will only crack down on freedoms even more than it already has, and more specifically, the right to bear arms.

The fourth pillar is where Corcoran actually had a point. Corcoran wrote, ““It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot indiscriminately. Target only politicians and their staff and leave regular citizens alone.” From his warped world view, this makes perfect sense. It would also be completely acceptable if and only if those three previous pillars were valid in this context. This is because self-defense is only validated if it’s against the aggressor, not innocents. 

While Corcoran’s musings, and they are just that, are absurd and violent, he is yet to kill a federal official (as opposed to a “mere mundane”). The thought police are running rampant again, silencing those who dare to disagree or make threats.

The story of Mr. Corcoran should serve as a warning to libertarians and anarchists of all stripes. Violence is not acceptable unless in self defense. If anyone sees someone such as Mr. Corcoran advocating violence to overthrow the state, set them straight.

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