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Liberty, We Have A Problem

(Or: No, Shooting Cops Is NOT Consistent with Liberty)

There is a problem festering within the liberty movement. This problem is one that I’ve sensed for some time, but has become much more clear to me due to some recent, tragic events.

Last week, a young couple named Jerad and Amanda Miller murdered two police officers in Las Vegas, as well as another man who later tried to stop their rampage. The two reportedly shouted “This is the start of a revolution!” before opening fire. The majority of people who heard about this event were shocked and appalled, as any rational minded person with a soul would be. There were some, however, who had a different take on the event.

“The good news is, two cops are dead”, lamented anarchist asshole (his words, not mine) Christopher Cantwell. You see, Cantwell feels that since police are enforcers of the law, and since in our society, the vast majority of laws are rights-infringing (or “aggression”, as Cantwell simplistically refers to it), that therefore any violence inflicted upon a police officer by a citizen is justified as “self-defense.”

In order to not be accused of mischaracterizing Cantwell’s position, I will allow him to explain it in his own words. (The words are his, the emphasis is mine.)

People say the officers were “simply eating lunch” and so this was a clear cut case of murder. I could not disagree more. Those officers were merely taking a short break from the aggressions all police commit day in, and day out. Immediately after they got done with their break, they would inevitably have returned to their regular duties of harassing and extorting motorists, and kidnapping people for possessing plants. They paid for their food, with money that was taken from people under the threats of violence that are taxation, and fines. While it’s a lot easier to draw the connection in something like the Justin Bourque incident, the fact remains that all police are aggressors. There is no such thing as a good cop.

It is by definition, impossible to murder an aggressor. It is an act of defensive, retaliatory, or preventive force, not aggression, to do violence to people who have no doubt harmed peaceful people, and will no doubt continue to harm peaceful people. Every free man, woman, and child has every moral and ethical right to use violence to put a stop to such threats, and the world is a better place without these two police officers victimizing the public.

There are many problems with Cantwell’s view, and while many libertarians have openly denounced his callous call for the murder of police officers and other state agents, the overall attitude can be traced back to an idea that many libertarians cling to. More so, it’s one I’ve been guilty of holding in the past. But more on that later.

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Help in so many words?



In all complaints of a citizen against a public law enforcement officer, the complaining citizen has the general responsibility of protecting the general enforcement of the laws by giving every opportunity of grace and escape to the officer complained about. The complainant must always remain sensitive to the fact that a law enforcement officer is constantly subject to the most psychologically demanding emergency situations and the most dangerous social combinations, and must be given every benefit of the doubt so that he can survive his daily work.

When the rubber meets the road in time and place those who prepare best do better than those who rely on natural instinct?

Perhaps that question does not quite fit the demand here and now best.

How about this question:

If the criminals take over then will they train the best and brightest to defeat crime in time and place or will the best and brightest be trained to kill each other?


Figured I'd come in late

I'm on record for praising good cops or BFGC! Bump For Good Cop! Also as a former EMT (and present all-around wild man), there is no such thing as an injured cop, to me that's a PATIENT. And purposefully withholding treatment and care to the sick and injured goes against our oath.

Yes, we too are oath keepers.

On the other hand, NTAC. Never Trust A Cop. It's a regrettable reality today: when confronted with the badge we might be seeing friend or the most gruesome foe. The cops say don't wait to get drawn on first and they make preservation of their own lives a superior priority to preserving ours. We're disposable. And we have no legal defense, the courts won't help us, the prosecutors won't help us, the written law is best used to roll joints with. Only a fool would trust them, and this is my counsel: don't.

My duty is to render medical aid. I took that oath. That means I'm fully informed of this risk. You aren't. And that's where I stand.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

egapele's picture

Thank you for this

I am not a "libertarian" but I will say it is never good to lump people into a group.

There are a majority of good cops and a few bad bad cops.

this is the consequences of injustice in our courts

if people can't get real justice in our courts then society will break down with violent acts such as this. Justified or not this is a direct result of judges, prosecutors, and juries not defending the liberty of innocent people and allowing corruption and malfeasence to stand.

He who may not be tried for his crimes

He who may not be tried for his crimes, will be judged without trial.

The US and other countries will be experiencing this more and more as the errors of socialism compound with hubris of the elitists.

The pawns are likely the first targets, but as the situation becomes more dire, those pulling the strings will find that being above the law is not such a great place to be when one requires it.

The plain fact that this article is shown here

is a testament to the Libertarian creed. How many right wing cop publications would publish an article critical of the murderous swat teams who have brought so much death to so many individuals in their homes? I'd hazard a guess at none. The authors premise of a cop stopping an individual for a traffic violation not being a reason to strike at them is a bit simplistic. If you are stopped by an individual for even the most minor infraction and they have violated their oath to defend the constitution in order to find an excuse to pull you over then they are as guilty as the cops who break down your door in the middle of the night and slay you and they are more than likely capable of progressing to such behavior.
Perhaps the bulls eye should be upon the individuals who employ and empower the police to cast their ever widening nets to produce the victims who are forced to finance their extravagant lifestyles, they are the true enemy.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

This attitude

Is the exact problem I'm talking about.

"If you are stopped by an individual for even the most minor infraction and they have violated their oath to defend the constitution in order to find an excuse to pull you over then they are as guilty as the cops who break down your door in the middle of the night and slay you and they are more than likely capable of progressing to such behavior."

Yes, you can use the NAP and make a connection that being pulled over for a speeding ticket is in itself a violation of the NAP. But *that* is the simplistic view. Any reasonable person will see that getting pulled over for a speeding ticket is a petty offense, and to kill a cop for such a thing would indeed be petty and in no way proportional to the actual act being commented against you. What's simplistic is yelling "NAP Violation! Kill em!"

The problems with the world we live in are much deeper than any cop or any politicians, they are the result of a bad philosophy and as long as libertarians continue to reject philosophy and embrace random acts of violence, they will be continued to be looked on as "cooks" and a "threat", and when the police state brings the hammer down the rest of society will nod and say "good riddance".

Is that the world we want to live in?

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

When do things stop being "Petty"?

When they occur to you? "Simplistic" is viewing an over all situation and not be able to learn from past experience due to fear. The Constitution is absolute, there is no area of it or the Bill of Rights which says " Authorities may at their discretion, disregard all or part of this declaration for minor infractions, real or contrived. "Minor" will be determined by said authorities as the situation suits them." Until I see something on this order I will view any authority violating the principles of the founding fathers intent to be an enemy of the state.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

I appreciate your sentiment

But you're still not fully getting it.

If NAP is valid, than the person pulled over has the right to resist, and it is the cops who will escalate force, inch by inch, until the force becomes deadly.

So if you don't drop NAP, you are stuck with its consequences. Agents assigned by a legit govt are legit, and it is not legit to resist them force for force.

The question is what constitutes legit government.

Anarchists say NAP adherence, which I've shown makes all arrest impossible outside of the self defense of the victim.

In reality, the legitimacy of a govt comes from the consensus of the governed, and not everyone will agree. As long as the dissenters can speak, have due process, and leave, the govt is legit.

People are always free to try to foment revolutions, and if they can do so successfully, that is their prerogative. But merely killing agents of legit govt acting in the capacity of the job the public gave them is not going to be acceptable on any govt model.

Only NAP suppost such inanity.


Consensus: An idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group.

> ...the legitimacy of a govt comes from the consensus
> of the governed, and not everyone will agree.

> As long as the dissenters can speak, have due process,
> and leave, the govt is legit.

You have given two contradictory definitions of legitimacy, one of which has a contradiction in it.

According to the first definition, since I do not consent, the government is not legitimate. In reality, that is correct. There is no such thing as legitimate government.

The second definition is either vaccuous or simply a relative opinion. From it, you can conclude that any particular group of thugs is legitimate to rule over you, and you will do whatever they tell you and give them whatever they demand, up to and including your life. It's a pitiful thing to see.

A free man dies once. A slave dies every day.

You're resorting to a typical

debating tactic I've encountered 3 or 4 times lately, where the person posts one definition of a word that is used in more than one way, without linking back to the dictionary reference so others can see the other definitions.

In this case,

a : general agreement : unanimity
b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned

This is also the legitimacy of law in a private law or anarchist setting, where inevitably disputes would have to be resolved by consensus judgments of arbitrarily limited panels of judges or arbitrators.

They'd have to decide on consensus on: what laws to enforce, what contracts are enforceable, statute of limitations, deciding guilt and innocence, deciding who contracted and who didn't, deciding if suspicion warrants an arrest, whether someone presumed innocent can be arrested at all, the burden of proof in a trial, the correctness of a particular sentence, etc.

Tactics in conflict situations, proper methods of deterring force from enemies. All would require consensus based decisions that some people don't want to go along with, but which need to be judged nonetheless.

All require limited consensus decisions for the enforcing body, with inevitable dissenters among hundreds or more people. You're pissing in the wind with this line of reasoning, it would render social action impossible in disputes or conflicts or emergencies.

Shooting cops is NOT THE ANSWER to our issues!!!

As I've said before, we NEED a police force unless we are prepared to stand 27/7 in front of our dwellings with a shotgun or tanks to stop invaders, thieves etc.

Cops are simply enforcing laws already enacted.


THEY are the ones taking our liberties.

THEY are the ones making and supporting laws which are ANTI-SOVEREIGN and ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL.


Hell, half the cops have no idea what the politicians and bankers are up to.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

How did the politicians get in power?

It's certainly correct to add politicians to those who should be blamed for rights violations, but it goes much deeper than that. Even if you "go after", everyone politician in office today and "vote the bastards out", they will be replaced the next day by new "bastards", who violate your rights in the same way. This is because the population will have not changed their conception of individual rights, and will continue to call for and approve of their violation.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Asset Forfeiture is a license to steal property

You know this is going on all the time, this is just a rare instance where they got caught...

The District Attorneys culture of corruption ties into to the police *enforcers* of their will.


x-Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes may have used drug money seized from drug dealers, crooks to fund reelection bid: investigation
A report by the city’s Department of Investigations says the former district attorney paid a political consultant more than $200,000 — possibly seized from drug dealers and other felons — and allowed staffers to work on his campaign on the job. Hynes' reputation had already been sullied by a spate of wrongful murder convictions and accusations of unlawful prosecution tactics when he was in office.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ex-brooklyn-da...

RP R3VOLution

laws vs statutes

"Cops are simply enforcing laws already enacted."
Are they laws (common law for the people) or statutes (codes for guberment employees)? don't be confused.


should prob be front page.


Has been made. A bump and positive comment from OneEyedWill or Bill or whatever. Sunshines and lollipops for all!

(in other words, thanks!)

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I've postively bumped and commented on yours

before. It's good to see you coming around to more rational views.

Ah there it is :)

I know you have, I was mostly being facetious. I think you being up a lot of valid objections. It's not a "new" view of mine that it's wrong to randomly murder police, but I do think many people have an issei with becoming dogmatic. This is not to be confused with consistency. It's good to be consistent, but to be dogmatic is to reject any questioning of ones beliefs without answering challenges to them. Anyone who will not allow thei beliefs to be openly challenged and to answer that challenge has no chance whatsoever to advance those beliefs in the minds of others.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

It's true

There are extenuating circumstances.

You might accept the principle of self defense, in the abstract.

But is it really just to deliberately escalate a traffic stop into a predictable, easily avoidable tragedy?

It's certainly not moral. I don't think it's just, either.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a world where everyone fought back, hard, against the slightest infringement of their freedom, would be a better world. A world like that probably wouldn't have any traffic stops and not much government.

But, people aren't like that anymore. The state can only exist at all when the population is already largely acclimated to law and docile in its temperament.

There's no philosophy or b ook that is going to make average John Q Citizen into a Renaissance condottieri, willing to have a protracted 80 year feud against another family, for honor.

The state exists because people prefer security to liberty in many, many, respects.

Rhetoric is fine, and symbolism, and is good for rallying people to fight on battles really worth fighting.

But if we take the rhetoric too seriously, we will end up with people thinking it makes any sense whatsoever to attacking some normal, decent, not-too-thoughtful keystone cop simpleton while he munches his morning donut. Ghastly and absurd.

That's why NAP, to me, is useless. It tries to ground what are actually pragmatic question into a rigid dogma or system in axioms. When you actually apply the axioms to reality, or to each other, you end up with contradictions or absurdly unjust outcomes.


Cops are illegitimate aggressors. They are willing to escalate force for force, up to deadly force.

On NAP, violent resistance to cops is valid.

That is not an argument for or against NAP. I personally think the law and its agents are legitimate up to a point, as long as rights to due process etc are respected.

But, it is a cop out and ingenuous to deny that on NAP, fighting w cops is fully legit.

Either drop NAP, zip your lips, or else be honest about its implications.

It all gets back to...

...realizing that the NAP is not meant to exist in a vacuum, just as with everything else.

Anything which is not voluntarily used in service of Love, whether it be property rights, money, relationships, self-defense, etc., can and will decay into demonic forms of non-Love, using all kinds of rationalizations and justifications. That is the highest natural law, from which none can escape the consequences.

When people begin to move beyond grasping after what is merely technically 'just', and instead self-regulate to the higher standard of Love (including non-aggression against their neighbors, and eliminating the aggressive coercion of the State done in their name), then you will see Liberty not only flourishing, but being used for its true purpose, for Life's true calling.

I'm not a pacifist; and yet, I find myself moving in that direction -- not towards an absolute prohibition on self-defense or defending others, but towards an overwhelming desire to reach any would-be, or actual aggressor with Love, and an absolute horror and sorrow over any human being losing their chance to participate further in a better way, in this world.

I grieve for all five human beings who lost their lives in this instance. My prayers are with them for the next phase of their journeys, whatever dark abysses or consuming fires any of them might face to get them to flee non-Love and be reconciled to the purpose for their existence.

This may be true

on your soft and cuddly and inexact version of NAP, where the purpose of NAP is a deeper principle, Love, rooted in scripture, rooted in theism, and pertaining to a world where there are objective moral truths and a spectrum of justice extending beyond this world.

But on the actual NAP of theory, NAP is axiomatic, not based on a deeper principle of love or theism or person, as you call them, and so my description is valid for the actual NAP.

Your NAP is just a heterodox, non axiomatic NAP, or else a Christian heresy (heresy meant in its classical, non pejorative sense).

Cops eating lunch

You are an idiot. This is not about resisting arrest, it is about murdering two cops because some cops (or some laws) are bad.

There is never a right in NAP to murder an innocent because someone they are associated with did something bad to another person.

I suggest you read the OP's post.

I agree that NAP would not extend to

revenge killings.

But the most sophisticated philosophical adherents to NAP, such as kyle townsend, who I've been debating on the other thread 'Does it violate NAP' has explained that the only way for arrest and trial to be justified on NAP, is if the principle of revenge being 'just' must extend to third parties.

His argument is that arrest and trial are justified within NAP by third party agents because the parties arrested and judged are often guilty of past aggression.

Therefore, on that principle, any third party agent is justified in attacking someone who had previously committed aggression, even if that third party was not the victim.

This is just to prove that NAP is absurd, with a timely and convenient example - not to agree with kyle townsend, who, for all his erudition, is yet wrong, and spectacularly so.

thanks, Marc

I find Cantwell emotionally unbalanced. I distance myself from any fools that call for violent revolution. That kind of hate is bad for the heart. Our movement cannot be defined by hate. I would go even so far as to reject Rothbard's litmus test of "Do you hate the State?" That's just a bad way to frame things. As Michael has said before, what do you love?

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Thanks Ed

And I think this attitude can be traced back to the Rothbardian "hate the State" line of thought. Incan see how this can lead to the kind do acts perpetrated in LV, and while Rothbard is no Cantwell or Rose, one can easily see how one can lead to the other, especially in an unstable mind.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Hate is bad

But for me, anyway, dishonesty is worse.

And you are being dishonest.

Hate is not required for someone to resist cops on NAP.

On NAP, resisting arrest, up to the point of trading shots, is just.

Invoking the buzzword 'hate' as a cop out is dishonest, which to me is hate for the truth, which is worse than any merely human hatred.

I may be wrong in my basic nature, to think lying is worse than hate, but that's how I feel.

Either stand by NAP, or drop it. Don't lie.

Just because something is just

does not mean that it is wise.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

This is true

However, it is also irrelevant, since the discussion is about what is just. Be clear, stop being taciturn and vague. If you're unwilling to clearly state that killing cops is just, just be quiet, no one will judge you for cowardice.