A Recent History of the Libertarian Position on Self-Defense

Cowards abound in so-called “liberty activist” circles. Very rarely does anyone have the courage to speak the truth bluntly, even though it is not what pseudo-libertarians want to hear. If merely discussing the issue of self-defense against government agents cannot be had publicly, then it would just be better to throw in the towel and acquiescence to whatever the tyrannical statists want to do to us and our families.



You’d think that an individual who spoke favorably about self-defense would be welcomed with open arms by contemporary libertarians. Unfortunately, just such an individual, who (as pictured) had been incarcerated for a year because a jury found him guilty of “willful failure to file” income taxes, has spoken quite publicly about this topic over the past two years, but he and others like him have been reviled by so-called “libertarians” who act more like statists than even your dyed-in-the-wool constitutionalist type. Perhaps if the Second Amendment to the federal Constitution, section 23 of the Texas Bill of Rights, and (most importantly) the Non-Aggression Principle were taken seriously, then we’d already be more than underway to effectively securing our Liberties by now, regardless of whether it be done by way of Committees of Safety or the private production of security and arbitration services.

Larken Rose wrote When Should You Shoot a Cop?  back in 2011, which was published by CopBlock.org, a police accountability website founded by Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman, both of whom are prominent Free Staters. In 2012, Pete Eyre edited a narrated video version of Rose’s article, which has thus far received 445,409 total video views (of which there are 5,851 thumbs up and 1,232 thumbs down). The topic of both centered around a deontological argument regarding the moral use of self-defensive violence as applied universally to all humans, including the ones who like to play dress-up with their blue costumes and tin badges. As Larken said:


“Now ask yourself the uncomfortable question: If it’s wrong for cops to do these things, doesn’t that imply that the people have a right to RESIST such actions? Of course, state mercenaries don’t take kindly to being resisted, even non-violently. If you question their right to detain you, interrogate you, search you, invade your home, and so on, you are very likely to be tasered, physically assaulted, kidnapped, put in a cage, or shot. If a cop decides to treat you like livestock, whether he does it ‘legally’ or not, you will usually have only two options: submit, or kill the cop. You can’t resist a cop ‘just a little’ and get away with it. He will always call in more of his fellow gang members, until you are subdued or dead.”


He goes to state that there is a significant difference between feeling you have a morally binding duty to obey the pig versus tactically obeying out of self-preservation if you are outgunned, or outnumbered (for instance).

Larken Rose received quite a bit of demonization from statists about his deontological application of self-defense. He recorded a follow-up vlog, When Should You Shoot a Civilian?, which has thus far received 5,140 total video views (of which there are 330 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down), the thesis of which is literally identical to that of When Should You Shoot a Cop? As he explains:


“If somebody attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself; whether he has a badge or not doesn’t enter into the morality of the issue…and the fact that so many people literally can’t think about this, can’t talk about this, in any context where the attacker has a badge, shows just how thorough authoritarian indoctrination is…[t]he entire reason I made that video is to demonstrate [that] most people literally have been trained to not be able to think about the possibility that if somebody wearing the label of ‘authority’ commits aggression, you have the exact same right to defend yourself as he was just some guy off the street. If some civilian attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself. If a guy with a badge attacks you, he’s still just a person, morality still applies exactly the same, you still have the right to defend yourself.” [emphasis added]


But in one sense it doesn’t matter what he actually said, because his detractors of various flavors deliberately mischaracterize his statements about what they imagined he said. Rose even addressed this in a letter he wrote to the Montgomery County, PA Sheriff’s Department in the attempt to set the record straight:


“Contrary to the silly accusations of various intellectually lazy or irresponsible people, some of whom are police officers, I don’t advocate ‘killing all cops,’ and I don’t advocate revolution. I do, however, discuss the taboo philosophical topic of when ‘legal’ aggression becomes so egregious that people have the moral right to forcibly defend themselves from attacks and oppressions done in the name of ‘law’ (though for practical reasons I suggest that, even then, it’s usually a bad idea)…[o]bviously, I have fundamental philosophical disagreements with the usual views of most in law enforcement. Thousands upon thousands of others have come to believe as I do on these subjects. I believe that the most irresponsible, stupid, dangerous thing either side can do in such a situation is to shut off communication, hunker down, and prepare for battle. Instead, I propose we make this discussion public, open and honest. No need for innuendo and rumor, assumptions and suspicious, on either side.”


Apparently, Rose’s desire for a transparent public debate about this topic is irrelevant, at least to this alleged police officer whom Rose tried to converse with in the comments section of When Should You Shoot a Cop? (what follows is a much shortened series of excerpts from that exchange, and has not been edited for grammar):


dodgeman7909: “Now I am a police officer but I’ll be the first to tell you there are some bad cops out there but an overwhelming majority of us are good. I believe in the constitution and everybodys rights. I am against gun bans and very restricting laws. If you are too then state it and try to change it….not by saying shoot police, because that is the dumbest thing anyone could say. If you feel you are mistreated or denied your rights file a lawsuit or whatever but putting a video like this out there is ridiculous. If I had someone who tried to shoot me because they didn’t believe in government or whatever it will not end well for them because my main goal everyday I go to work is to go home when I get off and I’ll do anything to make that happen.”

Larken Rose: “Thanks for letting your fascism shine: you will enforce whatever whom the political parasites have declared to be ‘law’ (even if you don’t approve of it), and if you’re initiating violent aggression in the name of ‘law,’ against someone who didn’t threaten or harm anyone, and your victim defends himself, you will kill him. Then you advise your victims, ‘If I attack you, don’t defend yourself, just sue me later.’ And you’re one of the supposedly GOOD cops?”

dodgeman7909: “If you are being completely cooperative with police then there is absolutely no reason for them to initiate violent aggression.”

Larken Rose: “Yeah, and if a slave does whatever his master says, he doesn’t need to be whipped. That doesn’t make slavery a good thing.”

dodgeman7909: “No, I would not enforce a [gun] confiscation and neither would almost all police officers because it is unconstitutional. And you are an extremist. I know plenty of people who disagree with the way things are going in the government including a lot of officers and none of them speak of shooting a cop…[p]eople would not have anything to resist because back when everybody was freaking out about all that stuff every officers, soldier, and government official said they would refuse to enforce a confiscation because it is unconstitutional…[y]ou say you oppose ALL initiation of violence but you are talking about shooting cops and if I think you have the right to do it. Well let me put it this way I guess you can if you want to but it will not end well for you…I was trying to be civilized and I hope you will try to shoot a cop because you will lose miserably. I’m done arguing with you because it is pointless I wish you try and shoot a cop and I hope they can catch you losing on video so I can see it on Youtube…I respect everyone until I am disrespected, and calling me a coward and talking about shooting me or one of my brothers or sisters is completely disrespectful, and so yes I am hoping you try what you preach, but I don’t think you have the balls to do it. You can call me coward over the internet but I bet on the streets you would coward out like the spineless pussy you are so I hope you have a great time with that if you can get enough courage to do it.”


In other words, “defending” your “rights” against police is good except whenever you try to physically protect yourself from their criminal behavior (lovely doublethink, isn’t it?). If a cop harms you (and assuming he doesn’t also murder you in the process), then you should just trust the corrupt judicial branch of government by suing his ass (which, of course, the judge usually won’t allow). And shooting police is stupid while simultaneously being completely insulting; apparently serious enough to warrant the death of whomever is promoting self-defense consistently. This all from an “oathkeeper” and/or “constitutional sheriff” type, because absolutely nothing is going to prevent him from “going home at night,” even if it means you are going to be coercively subdued or murdered, your Liberty be damned straight to hell (oh, and did I forget to mention that cops are unconstitutional?).

As I have mentioned before, Larken Rose gave a speech at Porcfest X entitled, Why Speak of Violence? (the video version of which was shot and edited by Red Pill Recording, one copy of which has thus far received 3,736 total video views of which there are 215 thumbs up and 3 thumbs down). Very similar to When Should You Shoot a Cop? and When Should You Shoot a Civilian?, Rose’s speech simply expounded upon the exact same thesis:


“Here is the rude reality that people don’t want to admit (even a lot of pro-freedom people don’t want to admit): There’s no magical system that makes us safe. What is it that determines whether the good guys win or the bad guys win, whether oppression reigns or freedom and justice reign? Very simply, if the good guys are better at using physical violence than the bad guys, justice wins; if the bad guys are better at it, evil wins. Might doesn’t make right, but might does make outcome…[h]ere is why we have to be willing and able to talk about the use of physical violence against the State, not as a revolution, not as revenge, not as punishment, [but] as self-defense. If our message to the world is, ‘We own ourselves, we should be free, but when the king’s guards come, we will obey,‘ the only message that gets out there is ‘We will obey; they are our rightful lord and master, [and] we will do as they say,’ because necessary to the idea of self-ownership is the idea of the right of self-defense.” [emphasis added]


He was applauded by the Free Staters and other libertarians in attendance multiple times during the course of his speech, even when he turned around and lifted up his shirt to reveal his concealed pistol holstered in the small of his back (in order to make a rhetorical point about how much he trusts complete strangers). The reason I mention this previously standing history about Larken Rose’s deontological arguments for self-defense is because I think it is important to conclusively demonstrate not only the way he expressed himself, but also how others reacted to what he had to say.

I would also like to reiterate some quotes I have used previously in Serious Self-Defense. Consider first JB Campbell’s response to a cowardly pseudo-libertarian:


“The LRC guy above said that violence is never a solution. Really? I’ve found violence to be the only solution in some cases. It’s always the solution when violence is used against you first. You must counter immediately with overwhelming violence to keep from getting hurt or killed. You must be ready to get violent at the first sign of a threat. So anyone who says that violence is never a solution is a coward or a liar or without any life experience.”


Or how about what Sam Adams told the Boston Committee of Correspondence in 1774:


“A Grecian philosopher who was lying asleep upon the grass was aroused by the bite of some animal upon the palm of his hand. He closed his hand suddenly as he woke and found that he had caught a field mouse. As he was examining the little animal who dared to attack him, it unexpectedly bit him a second time, and made its escape. Now, fellow citizens, what think you was the reflection upon this trifling circumstance? It was this: that there is no animal, however weak and contemptible, which cannot defend its own liberty, if it will only fight for it.”


According to George Donnelly, Chris Cantwell was bad because “he made his move at the wrong time on the wrong issue” and that his statements “threatened perhaps the most important FSP project since its founding – to resoundingly disprove this propaganda that we are domestic terrorists.” So, Cantwell WAS RIGHT about his statements being a threat to the FSP board’s sacred PR campaign, because what the government thinks about libertarians is more important that freedom itself. Damn, I had assumed Donnelly would have refrained from jumping onto the Jody Underwood bandwagon, but looks like I was wrong about that too. Thank Providence I am no Free Stater.

For the new initiates to libertarianism, here’s the classically liberal position on self-defense in a nutshell – no one, and I mean NO ONE, has a higher claim on your life than you do, for only in a land where there are no masters and no slaves can it then be accurately said to be an oasis for human liberty. As I have mentioned before:


“At the end of the day, cops are nothing more than individuals who wear blue costumes. They do not have anything inherent within themselves that makes them somehow superior to everyone else, despite statist assertions to the contrary. The only reason they have even the appearance of power is that they are willing to initiate coercive violence against innocent people because they believe that other individuals gave them the moral right to do so. Just because a codified threat of violence successfully navigates the quagmire of legislative ritual does not mean that now some flatfoot has acquired the ethical legitimacy to do whatever he wants. These gendarmerie need to be taken off their pedestal and regarded as the public nuisance that they are; they are not intrinsically superior to anyone else by virtue of the fact that they carry a badge and a gun, especially considering they die just like everybody else.”


Obviously, this line of reasoning also applies to those silly men who don long flowing black dresses and the rest of them who happen to wear empty suits because they have no sense of style (unlike Kal Molinet). Chris Cantwell and Larken Rose have rendered humanity a valuable service by being willing to publicly speak about the use of self-defense against government agents. They should both be heralded as brave men, instead of being denigrated like how these cowardly pseudo-libertarians want to socially engineer you into thinking.

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4 Responses to A Recent History of the Libertarian Position on Self-Defense

  1. Kal says:

    Good article! Thanks for the shout-out, too. ::smiles::

    The topic of self-defense against the government entered one of my Spreading Anarchy videos on the 18th of October near the 33:15 mark.

  2. Pingback: Suing the Government Does Not Work: Lawsuits Are Not Useful For Securing Your Liberty - Liberty Under Attack

  3. Pingback: Chilling Dissent: How Government Demonizes Americans | From the Trenches World Report

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