Peace and Violence

by Don Boudreaux on April 20, 2010

in Civil Society, Current Affairs, Nanny State

Here’s a letter sent to Dana Milbank of the Washington Post:

Dear Mr. Milbank:

You ridicule Tea Partiers gun-supporting protestors as being malcontents intent on “expressing violent thoughts, peacefully” (“Gun-toting protesters voice violent thoughts peacefully,” April 20).

I leave to each reader, and to history, the task of assessing these protestors’ propensity for violence.  One useful comparison would be with the anti-globalization protestors of a few years back (who likely fancied themselves as expressing peaceful thoughts, violently).

But an even more relevant comparison is with the institution that the Tea Partiers these 2nd-amendment supporters protest: Uncle Sam.  That outfit – government – is the very embodiment of gun-toting force.  If I don’t buy health insurance, government will threaten violence against me in order to compel me to do so.  If I refuse to answer intimate questions from the Census Bureau about my personal life, such as about the number of nights that I sleep away from home, I will be fined – and imprisoned if I refuse to pay the fine – and violently apprehended if I struggle to avoid imprisonment.

Government cloaks itself in magnificent titles, marble buildings, and majestic ceremonies.  Behind this glorious façade, though, is a fusillade of brutal and deadly force, ready to be violently unleashed against anyone who disobeys the commands of ruling politicians.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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