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Friday, October 10, 2008

Thought Experiment 1

I'm sure this exercise will get me put back on the terrorist watch list, but such is the price that philosophers like Socrates and Ayers must always pay. The tree of liberty etc.

Anyway, anyone who adheres to a reductio ad absurdum Natural Rights philosophy must certainly believe that it's ethically justified to take the law into one's own hands, killing gang members, terrorists, child molesters and politicians. The first catch is that to be ethically justified, a significant amount of time and effort must be spent ensuring that the vigilante is indeed dispensing Justice.

The second catch is that such action, when done for political purposes, is usually counterproductive. Terrorist groups rarely achieve their stated political goals, and neither John Brown nor John Wilkes Booth, those great heroes of the Republic, stopped the birth of the American Empire.

Here's the thought experiment: What would be the practical results of engaging in an assassination campaign against politicians of whatever political stripe you happen to disagree with? It surely depends on the target group; some might be quashed, while others would build a new movement based on their martyrdom.

For our test case, we'll engage in domestic terrorism against "socialism." Hard to define precisely, and in fact, the absence of all socialism is anarchy. We'll target leading congressional Democrats as well as the extremists like Bernie Sanders. Poor guy. How can you do that to his hypothetical family just because he has the courage of his convictions and openly admits what so many other politicians hide? You sick bastards.

Anyway, let's say 5 to 10 national left-leaning politicians were murdered, and those responsible issue a well-written yet oddly rambling manifesto, much like the Unabomber's. What would be the impact?

First of all, it would not educate people about economics, and would only have a direct political effect in that the function of the congressional Democrats would be impaired for a little while.

The public reaction would be some sort of incoherent backlash. The media would spin it as hate groups or right-wing militants (accurately for once). Laws would be passed against the methods employed, banning Uzis or nitrogen or somesuch.

What would be the reaction of Leftist partisans? (Partisans in the literal sense.)

They're always erratic, but one can assume there would be protests full of smelly hippies and lots of foaming rage. Also shock- as often as they decry fascist right-wing tactics, very few surviving leftists have ever actually experienced them.

With luck, they would counterattack, unimaginatively, by attempting to retaliate against congressional Republicans. The net result would be lots of dead politicians, which would be sad. There would be little girls crying on national TV, which would upset all the child molesters who were spared by the wave of vigilantism.

More likely, they would attack local politicians and political activists, because that's easier. (We all know they're lazy, or they wouldn't be socialists.) After brief rioting in Detroit and Los Angeles, everyone involved would be dead or in jail.

Would a pile of dead national politicians have any benefits? It could slow the political process for a while and add a few years to the life of the USA. It could also prompt the formation of a police state, as politicians finally work together for the goal of self-preservation. Secession of any of the several States seems unlikely. The unwashed masses would be apalled, but apparently domestic terrorism is OK now, so it may not have any electoral effect.

Conclusion? Unknown. Thus this type of violence is not acceptable at this time.

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