PostHeaderIcon Assassination Politics

Note that I have started a fresh thread for this topic since we are evidently going to continue debating what I consider a frivolous topic. But I must do something to attempt to keep my aging brain alive and this is as good as any I suppose.

Let me begin by illustrating what I consider one fatal flaw in Jim/Bill’s reasoning using a direct quote from the essay (emphasis added by me):

Imagine for a moment that as ordinary citizens were watching the evening news, they see an act by a government employee or officeholder that they feel violates their rights, abuses the public’s trust, or misuses the powers that they feel should be limited…

First, if “they” are watching the evening news, there is an almost certain probability that “they” are being misled to some extent.

Second, feeling is the result of an emotional reaction, not a deliberate intellectual review of the facts, including attempts to verify said facts from multiple sources.

This hardly constitutes the basis of a death sentence.

Now, focus on this very moment in time – a number of Americans who watch the evening news, feel that President Trump is separating Hispanic children from their (possible) parents, presumably because hes does not like children/Hispanics/people in general, and is keeping them in dog kennel like cages. Never mind that the supporting photos of children in kennels were taken during the Obama administration.

Would it not then follow that, given your AP proposal, Trump along with a number of Border Patrol personnel should be assassinated? What other conclusion could one arrive at? Yet, those who bother to examine the situation intellectually realize that Trump is merely enforcing laws duly passed by Congress and also enforced by previous administrations. Yes, perhaps Trump has added a degree of added vigor to the enforcement in an attempt to get the Congress off their collective butts and do something for a change.

IMHO, in the situation under consideration, it is the Congress that richly deserves every bit of the blame for a sorry situation that has persisted for years – yet feelings prompted by distortions on the evening news lead to quite a different conclusion.

You go on to talk about the utility of killing various despots, past and present, rather than engage in war with the nations they seem to control. Do you really believe that a few evil people can control a nation of millions without some level of consent from those millions, even though that consent may be passive or fear driven? If the only way to escape the yoke of a tyrant is by assassinating said tyrant, then, by definition, the United States could never have happened. But it did happen. And the Constitutional system of government bequeathed to us by our founders transformed a rag-tag collection of ex-colonies into the most free, most prosperous and most powerful nation in human history in the historic blink of an eye. Why not simply revert to the system they gave us before we became too spoiled to maintain it?

Can you not see why such your AP proposal alarms me​?

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

7 Responses to “Assassination Politics”

  • ◄Dave► says:

    I must do something to attempt to keep my aging brain alive…

    I am somewhat willing to assist you with this worthy endeavor, Troy; but it will be difficult to take you seriously, if you persist in labeling this topic frivolous, and categorizing it under humor rather than debate. Since I contend that it is inevitable, I reckon the subject infinitely more debatable, than anything one is likely to see discussed on CNN or MSNBC these days.

    If the only way to escape the yoke of a tyrant is by assassinating said tyrant, then, by definition, the United States could never have happened.

    Are you really suggesting that none of the colonial revolutionaries would have assassinated their tyrant, rather than fight his army, if that option had been open to them? Why not? Too “civilized”, perhaps?

    …into the most free, most prosperous and most powerful nation in human history…

    Free… prosperous… powerful… NATION? Belonging to a nation, is the antithesis of being free. Troy, you will never be able to take a discussion of this idea seriously, if you are unable to suspend your deeply ingrained statist viewpoint, long enough to at least consider the prospect of truly living a life of Liberty, at peace with your neighbors and the rest of the world.

    Why not simply revert to the system they gave us…?

    Because it was not Liberty. Limited government is, by default, limited freedom. Even if it were simple (or even possible) to revert to it, with or without a bloody civil war, it would only be a matter of time until it again evolved into tyranny. It could not be otherwise.

    All arguments against Jim Bell’s Assassination Politics (AP) that reference any aspect of the us-against-them paradigm, are missing the point entirely. AP, as first described here two years ago at: “Eliminating Authority,” is not about divisive politics, or reforming governments; it is about eliminating them. Remarkably, it appears to counter every objection anyone has ever made, regarding why a coercive government is necessary to implement and secure a cooperative society. I still await anyone who can expose the hidden flaw — in the idea, not its proponents, and without referencing any deleterious effects it would have on favored governments. Those are features, not bugs. 😉 ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      Free… prosperous… powerful… NATION? Belonging to a nation, is the antithesis of being free. Troy, you will never be able to take a discussion of this idea seriously, if you are unable to suspend your deeply ingrained statist viewpoint, long enough to at least consider the prospect of truly living a life of Liberty, at peace with your neighbors and the rest of the world.

      Dave, I actually consider myself to be one of the freest people who ever enjoyed this life and I am anything but a statist. What I consider myself is a realist. Unlike you, I do recognize that too large a portion of the sheeple, are unwilling and/or unable to behave like free individuals. To assume that they will somehow see the light under your anarchist schemes is nothing more than a pipe dream. I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but you remind me of a committed socialist who clings to a belief, despite years of actual evidence that it simply does not work.

      At this point, I think it best to simply declare me a hopeless case before anyone says something regrettable.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        I am anything but a statist.

        I, fairly I think, use the broad term ‘statist’ as the opposite of anarchist. See the discussion in the Wikipedia:

        Statism can take many forms from minarchism to totalitarianism. Minarchists prefer a minimal state such as a night-watchman state to protect people from aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud with military, police and courts.[5] Some may also include fire departments, prisons and other functions.[5] The welfare state and other moderate levels of statism also exist on the scale of statism.[6][7] Totalitarians prefer a maximum, all-encompassing state.[8][9]

        I must note that your surprising advocacy of improved public schooling (indoctrination) and compulsory national service, bespeak a support for the coercive state well beyond libertarian minarchism.

        One can be one of the freest people ever, and still not have ‘Liberty,’ which is defined as:

        the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

        To me, ‘Liberty’ is simply the absence of ‘Authority’ in any form. ◄Dave►

      • jim says:

        I want to respond to your original comment, but somehow I cannot find a “reply” button. So, I will respond here.

        You said,
        “First, if “they” are watching the evening news, there is an almost certain probability that “they” are being misled to some extent.”

        That’s certainly true. People are being subjected to some of the truth, and biased truths, and various grades of falsities.

        “Second, feeling is the result of an emotional reaction, not a deliberate intellectual review of the facts, including attempts to verify said facts from multiple sources.”

        Yes…

        “This hardly constitutes the basis of a death sentence.”

        But it will act, on average, as a wonderful deterrence to people who do wrong.

        “Now, focus on this very moment in time – a number of Americans who watch the evening news, feel that President Trump is separating Hispanic children from their (possible) parents, presumably because hes does not like children/Hispanics/people in general, and is keeping them in dog kennel like cages. Never mind that the supporting photos of children in kennels were taken during the Obama administration.
        Would it not then follow that, given your AP proposal, Trump along with a number of Border Patrol personnel should be assassinated?”

        As a practical matter, I think each and every employee, of each and every government, should fear being assassinated. (but, of course, not to the same degree.) And if they are bothered, they will quit their jobs and stop doing whatever it is that angers other people.

        ” What other conclusion could one arrive at?”

        So what?

        ” Yet, those who bother to examine the situation intellectually realize that Trump is merely enforcing laws duly passed by Congress and also enforced by previous administrations.”

        That does not make those laws legitimate. Yet, my goal primarily is not to see ‘them all’ dead: I want to ensure that they promptly resign.

        ” Yes, perhaps Trump has added a degree of added vigor to the enforcement in an attempt to get the Congress off their collective butts and do something for a change.”

        I do not generally object to Trump causing the government to enforce “the law”: I object to him, and all previous Presidents, and all current and previous government employees, from doing anything which violates the NAP (Non Agression principle; or NIOFP, Non-Initiation of Force Principle).
        I don’t claim that other people, ordinary people, don’t have different motivations. They can do so. On the average, people will simply force government employees to resign, and do so quickly.

        “IMHO, in the situation under consideration, it is the Congress that richly deserves every bit of the blame for a sorry situation that has persisted for years – yet feelings prompted by distortions on the evening news lead to quite a different conclusion.”

        Yes, but it won’t take a large percentage of the population to identify the CORRECT villains, and donate to get rid of them. 1% of the population should be plenty.

        “You go on to talk about the utility of killing various despots, past and present, rather than engage in war with the nations they seem to control.”

        And that’s why it wil work.

        “Do you really believe that a few evil people can control a nation of millions without some level of consent from those millions, even though that consent may be passive or fear driven?”

        If anything, I generally conclude that the “other” nation’s people are even more likely to want to get rid of their despots, than we would be. Generally, we have found that we get along well with the populations of former enemies, once the governments that ruled them (or us!!!) have been eliminated.

        ” If the only way to escape the yoke of a tyrant is by assassinating said tyrant, then, by definition, the United States could never have happened. ”

        I didn’t say it was the ONLY way. I said it was, by far, the most EFFICIENT way. If “we” could have assassinated Saddam Hussein for $10 million, and assassinated 100 of his successors for $10 million each, that would have been a total of $1 billion. Compared with that, the US spend about $100 billion/year for over 10 years, or about $1 trillion dollars.

        Would you rather spend $1 billion, or $1 trillion?

        “But it did happen. And the Constitutional system of government bequeathed to us by our founders transformed a rag-tag collection of ex-colonies into the most free, most prosperous and most powerful nation in human history in the historic blink of an eye. Why not simply revert to the system they gave us before we became too spoiled to maintain it?”

        You are implying that is possible. Do you know that’s true, or are you merely guessing?

        “Can you not see why such your AP proposal alarms me​?”

        I was far more “alarmed” when I thought of it! Eventually, I realized that it was not merely possible, but in fact inevitable.

        As I said in the AP essay: part 7:

        “As I pointed out in the essay, if I were running one of the organizations accepting those donations and offering those prizes, I would selectively list only those targets who I am genuinely satisfied are guilty of the violation of the “non-aggression principle.” But as a practical matter, there is no way that I could stop a DIFFERENT organization from being set up and operating under DIFFERENT moral and ethical principles, especially if it operated anonymously, as I anticipate the “Assassination Politics”-type systems will be. Thus, I’m forced to accept the reality that I can’t dictate a “strongly limited” system that would “guarantee” no “unjustified” deaths: I can merely control my little piece of the earth and not assist in the abuse of others. I genuinely believe, however, that the operation of this system would be a vast improvement over the status quo.

        This, I argue, is somewhat analogous to an argument that we should be entitled to own firearms, despite the fact that SOME people will use them wrongly/immorally/illegally. The ownership is a right even though it may ultimately allow or enable an abuse that you consider wrong and punishable. I consider the truth of such an argument to be obvious and correct, and I know you would too.

        I realize that this lacks the crisp certitude of safety which would be reassuring to the average, “pre-libertarian” individual. But you are not the “average individual” and I trust that as long-time libertarians you will recognize rights must exist even given the hypothetical possibility that somebody may eventually abuse them.

        I do not know whether I “invented” or “discovered” this system; perhaps it’s a little of both. I do genuinely believe that this system, or one like it, is as close to being technologically inevitable as was the invention of firearms once the material we now know as “gunpowder” was invented. I think it’s on the way, regardless of what we do to stop it. Perhaps more than anyone else on the face of this planet, this notion has filled me, sequentially and then simultaneously, with awe, astonishment, joy, terror, and finally, relief.

        Awe, that a system could be produced by a handful of people that would rid the world of the scourge of war, nuclear weapons, governments, and taxes. Astonishment, at my realization that once started, it would cover the entire globe inexorably, erasing dictatorships both fascistic and communistic, monarchies, and even so-called “democracies,” which as a general rule today are really just the facade of government by the special interests. Joy, that it would eliminate all war, and force the dismantling not only of all nuclear weapons, but also all militaries, making them not merely redundant but also considered universally dangerous, leaving their “owners” no choice but to dismantle them, and in fact no reason to KEEP them!

        Terror, too, because this system may just change almost EVERYTHING how we think about our current society, and even more for myself personally, the knowledge that there may some day be a large body of wealthy people who are thrown off their current positions of control of the world’s governments, and the very-real possibility that they may look for a “villain” to blame for their downfall. They will find one, in me, and at that time they will have the money and (thanks to me, at least partially) the means to see their revenge. But I would not have published this essay if I had been unwilling to accept the risk.

        Finally, relief. Maybe I’m a bit premature to say it, but I’m satisfied we will be free. I’m convinced there is no alternative. It may feel like a roller-coaster ride on the way there, but as of today I think our destination is certain. Please understand, we will be free.

        Your libertarian friend,”

        [end of long quote]

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  • ◄Dave► says:

    …illustrating what I consider one fatal flaw…

    Only to a committed statist, not to a liberty-minded anarchist. Yes, the transition period will likely be rather chaotic, as noisy political activists of any stripe are winnowed out; but once the AP paradigm is fully implemented, the nature of “news” will be very different than the blatant partisan propaganda produced nowadays. News presenters will need to be extremely careful not to distort the news, or show any bias whatever, which might engender an emotional reaction in viewers toward themselves, else they could literally find themselves in a dead-end career. Personally, I wouldn’t even risk being famous. 😉 ◄Dave►

  • jim says:

    I’m not ignoring this thread, but I have been very busy in the last day. I will respond shortly.

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  • jim says:

    “since we are evidently going to continue debating what I consider a frivolous topic.”

    One way to determine how serious you can reasonably be in calling AP “frivolous”, is to do a google search for ‘”assassination politics” “jim bell”‘.
    Can you find anybody seriously claiming that AP is “frivolous”? I certainly cannot, and I have been carefully reading the results of this search for the last 6 years.
    How “frivolous” can it be? I’ve claimed that it will eliminate tyrannies, all wars, taxes to support militaries, nuclear weapons, etc. Sounds improbable, of course, on first reading. But it is certainly true that if it would work, that would be very important for the future of society. If that is indeed the case, how can it be claimed that the AP idea is “frivolous”?

    Dave (correctly) points out something that I anticipated before writing and publishing the first part of AP: People won’t want to be “famous”!!! It could be called a very “boring” society.

    Some day, you will realize how astonished I was, long before I released the AP idea: I discovered something that would, in effect, “fix” every political problem that I was aware of. I delayed for weeks writing the essay, trying to figure out what was wrong, where my error was. I wondered, can I possibly be correct? Naturally, I wanted to avoid the enormous embarrassment that would presumably occur if I announced this system, and it was subsequently be identified as impossible.

    Eventually, I concluded that if AP were somehow flawed, it must be a very subtle flaw. So I published. 23 years later, I still have seen no more serious criticism than that by Robert P Murphy, who debated his (business?) partner Robert Vroman, about AP.
    Google search ‘robert murphy “assassination politics”‘

    See a positive analysis, by R. Sukumaran.
    https://idsa.in/system/files/strategicanalysis_sukumaran_0604.pdf

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