A Non-Violent Revolution

"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."

- Mahatma Gandhi

Americans have many beliefs about what government should and shouldn't be, but one thing makes government distinct from every other institution: Government has a monopoly on violence. It claims to use it to solve problems, but we would be wise to heed the words of Gandhi when he said "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary. The evil it does is permanent."

Today we celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence in recognition of Gandhi's accomplishments. Through the Non-Cooperation Movement, he sparked India's revolution that would end British imperial rule over their country. Inspired by him decades later, Martin Luther King, Jr. led a movement of civil disobedience in America, accomplishing more to secure the liberties of Black Americans than any elected politician ever did.

Peace and Prosperity

"All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do."

- Leo Tolstoy

The story of human progress is the story of reducing violence. Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen frequently quoted Frederic Bastiat on the campaign trail: "When goods don't cross borders, armies do." Time and again economists have shown that free markets - where people interact consensually and are not permitted to harm others - lead to not only prosperity but peace. Non-violence takes the selfish incentives that would otherwise lead to the violence of stealing and extorting others and turns them into incentives to serve others in order to exchange with them and prosper. After all, it's hard to do business with someone while you're shooting at one another.

There are many manifestations across cultures of the moral value to treat others with mutual respect lest you not receive the same, and Libertarians have chosen the most basic shared value: The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). Don't hurt other people, or they have the right to retaliate or seek restitution from you. All non-violence starts with such a commitment to not aggressing against others.

The Libertarian Party's policies all start from this basic non-violent premise: Don't hurt people and don't take their stuff.

The Violence Inherent in the System

"Thus the State never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength."

- Henry David Thoreau

Today we see a growing tide of political unrest in America and in Texas tied to the use of government - the use of violence - to allegedly solve our problems.

Waves of protest have swept the nation since 2013 addressing the wanton violence by government through law enforcement. Whether it's the enslavement, imprisonment, segregation, or persecution of minorities, the US government has a long history of using violence proactively to enforce the will of those in power against those who are vulnerable.

Here in Texas we have many stark reminders of the violence government will engage in. Government forcefully steals property with eminent domain and civil asset forfeiture. Texas has the worst record for executing likely-innocent people. Law enforcement will arrest parents who try to save their kids from active shooters while they do nothing. And the Waco massacre in 1993 showed that when push comes to shove, they are even willing to burn children alive to get their way.

Violence is not the answer, it is the problem.

But this goes far beyond such direct violence. The "war on drugs" gives us two types of violence for the price of one: Not only is it a pretext for all sorts of militarization of law enforcement and violence against innocent people, but using violence to force peaceful businesses out of selling recreational or medical drugs gives violent organized criminals a monopoly on the industry. With that monopoly, and with their customers having no access to courts to seek recourse for harm caused, this government violence has now created a "fentanyl crisis" on top of the "war on drugs". Instead of ending the violence and allowing peaceful and safe markets to form, Texas government officials are lobbying to spend more money to engage in more violence.

Violence is not the answer, it is the problem.

Additionally Texas is escalating a "war on immigrants." Just as the prohibition of recreational drugs has created a monopoly for criminal drug lords and a fentanyl crisis, the prohibition on immigration has created a monopoly for criminal human traffickers and a human trafficking crisis. Not only does militarizing the US border result in monstrous human rights violations like pushing children into rivers to drown, but it enriches traffickers and mixes in tens of thousands of peaceful migrants with those criminals making it impossible to sort between them. On top of that, regulations on labor force those immigrants to work off the books or keep them out of work entirely, creating poverty where instead we could have prosperity from more labor at lower costs. If instead those looking for work could come through freely and safely in broad daylight and then find work easily, we could end most of the crime along the border and we would all be better off.

Violence is not the answer, it is the problem.

And when politicians can use violence to extract trillions of dollars from Americans through taxation to enrich their cronies, we revert from a free market based on consent and respect to profiteering off violence by theft. The US military-industrial complex today takes over $800 billion per year - more than China, Russia, and the rest of NATO combined - to then propagate even more violence around the globe for profit. Even worse, they have wracked up so much debt on Americans that it will soon cost even more than that just to keep up with payments - money taken from Americans for nothing in return.

Violence is not the answer, it is the problem.

The Answer

"Respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized."

- LPTexas platform

 As the Party of Principle, LPTexas understands that our party is not just about picking "libertarian positions". We recognize that all of our positions are held together by a principled commitment to oppose violence. The above quote comes from the preamble to the LPTexas platform as well as the Libertarian Party platform.

In envisioning a world without violence, we stand not with the Republicans and Democrats - who simply want to determine who gets to wield violence against whom for profit - but on the shoulders of non-violent revolutionary giants like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. On this International Day of Non-Violence, let's remember that the radical notion of non-violence is not just an idealistic dream; it is the change that we can be in the world.

If you too want to work toward a non-violent Texas, you can learn more about the Libertarian Party of Texas at www.lptexas.org.

Written by David Johnson, thanks to Bill Kelsey for sourcing quotes.