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                                  Chapter 12 
                         LIBERTARIAN GUERILLA WARFARE 
   * Rebellion against Government  
   * The Peaceful Means Argument  
   * Injustice is Everyone's Fight  
   * The Problem of the Innocents  
   * Questions to Determine Philosophical Orientation  
   * Prerequisites of a revolution  
   * Thoughts on Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare  
   * Strategy - Disarm and Disable  
   * Tactics - Focus, Meaning, Purpose  
   * Morale  

   * Rebellion against Government 
   When is it OK to rebel against a government? Is there some point where 
you throw your hands up, cry "Enough!" and pick up a gun? If there is, has 
it been reached yet? 
   Yes, there is such a point, and yes, it has been passed. For some 
Americans, it occurred in May of 1985 when the Philadelphia police 
deliberately (and legally) burned to death 11 people, including four 
children. For others it occurred in April of 1993 when over 75 people 
(including at least 25 children) perished in flames at Waco, Texas. 
   But these were merely specific personal breaking points for some people 
in one country. A more generally relevant answer to the questions would come 
from an examination of the underlying principles which justify violent 
   Some allowances have to be made in judging the behavior of police--we 
cannot, after all, expect perfection, neither in a government police agency 
nor in a private defense agency. If a policeman accidentally runs over your 
cat while he is chasing a bank robber, it would not really be reasonable to 
condemn his government to annihilation. Even cases of deliberate aggression 
would not necessarily justify rebellion. We cannot expect ALL police agents 
to be decent people at ALL times, but we CAN (and MUST) demand legal 
protection against the aggressions they sometimes DO commit, in the same way 
and for the same reasons that we expect legal protection against non-
government criminals. As long as the government is structured so as to 
provide the citizens with legal protection against aggression by its own 
agents, it should not be condemned for the aberrant violent behavior that 
some individual agents may manifest. Even such things as the Rodney King 
beating would not justify revolution--if the perpetrators were brought to 
justice and punished for their crime. 
   The line beyond which revolution is justified is crossed when the 
aggressive behavior that I have mentioned is institutionalized. By that I 
mean codified and legally accepted. To use the Rodney King incident as an 
example: the perpetrators justified their attack with the argument that 
everything they did was strictly in accordance with established police 
department procedures. This justification was legally accepted. (In a sane 
society, such an excuse would be grounds for including the police department 
training personnel in the trial--charging them with abetting an attack on a 
   Another very blatant example of institutionalized aggression can be seen 
in the forfeiture laws. Forfeiture is used (about 5000 times per week as of 
1996) to legally deprive innocent people of their property without a jury 
trial, and is one of the government aggressions that the Fourth and Fifth 
Amendments were intended to forbid. 
   It is at this point--when legally institutionalized procedures provide 
immunity to government agents who initiate force against the non-criminal 
behavior of free citizens--that revolution is justified. 

   * The Peaceful Means Argument 
   It is argued that violence is not justified as long as there is ANY non-
violent protest procedure available. (Observe, however, that those who use 
this argument never direct it toward the violence initiated by government.) 
To assert that violence is not justified so long as there are peaceful means 
is to assert that violence is NEVER justified, for there are ALWAYS 
"peaceful" means. 
   George Washington could have become a faithful subject of the king, been 
appointed governor of the colonies, and used his position of power to effect 
many beneficial changes--peacefully. 
   A good citizen could become a member of the mafia, and by working his way 
up through the ranks attain a position wherein he could considerably reduce 
the evils perpetrated by this odious organization. 
   When knocked down by a common thug, you could resort to the peaceful 
means of appealing to his "better side" and entreating him gently to cease 
engaging in such undesirable behavior. Of course while you are talking--
peacefully--the thug is bashing your brains in. 
   It is easy to see the fallaciousness of the "peaceful means" argument. In 
fact, you are obliged to restrain yourself to peaceful means only when your 
adversary refrains from using coercive means against you. 
   How can they justify their insistence that you have no right to self-
defense except on the terms set by those who have initiated force against 
you? Such insistence is a lie they impose on you in order to disarm you - 
to make it impossible for you to bring any effective resistance against 
their tyranny. To the extent that you accept this lie, you will be unable 
to resist them. To the extent that you act on the basis of this lie, your 
behavior will be suicidal. What they really want is for you to commit 

   When one is fighting for his freedom against an armed and coercive enemy 
he does not resort merely to verbal entreaties; he most certainly does not 
collaborate with his enemy; and under no circumstances is it conceivable 
that he should actually join with his enemy. You should always remember 
that you are not fighting for control over the use of your enemy's coercive 
political institution, but for its elimination. Sometimes violence, like 
surgery, is necessary for the preservation of human existence - when you 
are fighting for the preservation of your rights, your freedom, and your 
   Coercion is not an acceptable form of social institution. Dealing with 
it peacefully, as you would treat the acceptable forms, is to grant it 
acceptability by denying its real nature. You say "The not-acceptable is 
   "Be reasonable," our enemies implore. Being "reasonable" to them means 
that they can perpetrate all the outrages I described in Chapter 7. All that 
is "reasonable." But when we tell them, who are responsible for our misery, 
"Give us the justice you have denied us so long, or we will strike," 
suddenly that is UNreasonable. Suddenly, because we ask for justice, we are 
described as terrorists and fanatics.  
   See reference
   If your life is to be meaningful, you must do more than protest 
injustice, you must do something to set it right. Your protest has no 
meaning if you don't follow it up with action. A value is that which one 
ACTS to gain or keep. 
   The "peaceful means" argument is used only by cretins, cowards, and 
collaborators. Philosophical cretins who refuse to believe that self-defense 
is an inalienable right, moral cowards who lack the courage to assert that 
right, and cunning collaborators whose real intent is to enhance the power 
of tyranny and destroy all rights. 
   The wicked just love people who don't believe in violence. It gives them 
a free hand because they not only believe in it, they use it. They seek to 
outmaneuver righteous resistance through preachments of peace, and will do 
whatever they can to suppress the violence that ultimate justice requires. 
   Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the 
pursuit of justice is no virtue. 

   Along with the principled invalidity of the "peaceful means" argument, 
there is a practical objection to it also. There is a sense in which 
libertarians and statists simply cannot even communicate, much less 
compromise. This is because the foundations of our philosophies are so 
opposed. We think in radically different epistemological frames of 
reference, and in the realm of ethics, we speak mutually incommensurable 
   You cannot persuade a man that his behavior is evil when his entire 
existence is founded on the conviction that his behavior is good. There are 
indeed things about which you cannot argue--you can only fight. You can 
argue on the basis of practicality, and you can argue on the basis of 
ethical principle, but ultimately, when you are up against someone who will 
not see reason, you can only fight. Trying to deal reasonably with someone 
who thinks the Waco massacre was a good idea is certain to be an exercise in 
   It is not pleasant to kill any creature, but to pretend that one can live 
without doing so is self-deception. There needs to be meat on the table, 
there have to be vegetables forbidden to flower, and even the cycles of 
microbes must be blocked in order for us to continue our own cycles. It is 
neither shameful nor shocking that this should be so, it is simply a part of 
the great revolving wheel of natural economy. And just as we must preserve 
our physical species in these ways, so, too, we must preserve our moral 
species (those who love freedom) against others who wish to destroy it, or 
else fail in our obligation to pass on to our children the culture of 
   If this notion of violent warfare shocks or offends you, it is because 
you have not been able to stand off and, knowing what you are, see what a 
difference in KIND must mean. You are not yet able to recognize, and accept, 
that there is a profoundly important distinction between you and policemen. 
They are not just "ordinary men" who are merely "doing their job." They are 
people who believe that it is not merely appropriate to use coercion but 
that it is necessary to do so. Your mind is confused by your cultural ties 
and your upbringing. You are still half-thinking of them as beings of the 
same kind as yourself. That is why they have you at a disadvantage, for they 
are not confused. They are alert and corporately aware of danger to their 
species. (That's one reason why we have so many gun control laws.) They can 
see quite well that if they are to survive they must be protected from the 
threat posed by the existence of people who value freedom. In loyalty to 
their kind, they cannot tolerate your freedom; in loyalty to your kind, you 
must not tolerate their tyranny. 
   If you think you can collaborate with or convert a policeman, you do not 
understand this difference in kind. Just as oil and water don't mix, people 
who believe in and practice coercion cannot be integrated with libertarians. 
The enforcement of victimless crime laws is a form of coercion. That is why 
it is impossible for a policeman to be a libertarian. 
   If you still feel reluctant about the necessity to combat tyranny, just 
consider some of the things that these people, who have taught you to think 
of them as your "protectors," have done: The savage beating of Rodney King, 
and the deliberate burning to death of children, are legally-sanctioned 
expressions of police behavior. Just think on it! Imagine a beautiful little 
ten-year old girl whose last words were: 
   "Mummy! Daddy!... Do something! I don't want to die ... Oh, Gentle Jesus, 
I've been good ... PLEASE DON'T ...." 
   The last is lost in the frightful roar of a furnacelike wall of red and 
orange flame, a brief unearthly scream, the searing shock of pain that 
drives the mind into instant insanity with the limbs flailing in a contorted 
dance of death as the last seconds of life are spent in an indescribable 
agony. An extinction abhorred by every living man and beast, but an integral 
part of the all-consuming, remorseless conflagration of government tyranny. 
   God damn your President, your Congress, your police, your laws and your 
   If the burning of children does not justify rebellion, what would? What 
could? Can there possibly be any greater sin than to burn children? Anyone 
who can still condone government after it has done this, deliberately and 
legally, is a person who will accept absolutely ANY behavior on the part of 
his government. For him there can be NO point at which rebellion is 

   Nor can society be saved by any political reform process intended to 
change the behavior of government--this is as futile as attempting to save a 
patient by switching a cancer from one organ to another, or to save an 
alcoholic by converting him from whiskey to gin. 
   Even more mistaken is the idea that you can work within government in 
order to "change the system from within." You can't turn stampeding cattle 
from the middle of the herd--you'll only get yourself trampled. And once you 
join government, you become de facto a part of its coercive apparatus. 
   Max Stirner observed: "Can I change a piece of nonsense into sense by 
reforming it, or must I drop it outright?" 
   Reform is of two types: 
   Changes which merely serve to make oppression more palatable. 
   Changes through which people actually enlarge their autonomy and reduce 
their subjection to coercive authority.  
   The second type is not something that the majority of voters want. 
   Democracy must always lead to tyranny, simply because the vast majority 
of people neither know nor care what freedom is. Thus all "peaceful means" 
of pursuing freedom, which assume that the democratic process provides for 
the achievement of this goal, must fail. This is proved by the overwhelming 
rejection of the Libertarian Party. It is clear, from the quarter-century 
history of the Libertarian Party, that the minority of people in this 
country who wish only to live in peace, protected from government 
oppression, have no political protection against enslavement. They have seen 
the government become continually more destructive of their rights, with no 
end in sight, and with no effective political redress available to them. 
   This is an inevitable consequence of "majority rule." 
   It is important that freedom be preserved. Not for those who do NOT want 
to be free, but for those creative and productive people who MUST be free to 
practice their creativity. The former must not be allowed the "freedom" to 
enslave the latter, else they will bring a halt to civilization. 

   * Injustice is Everyone's Fight 
   Some people claim that "injustice is everyone's fight." Others claim, as 
Thoreau observed, that 
   "It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the 
eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have 
other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his 
hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it 
practically his support."  
   Does the choice of other men to act unjustly impose upon you an 
obligation to combat their injustice? Your moral stature is a function of 
YOUR choices, not the choices that other people make. Certainly a man has 
the real obligation not to participate in a vicious social system. But does 
he have in addition an obligation to actively combat such a system? 
   Consider that if you accept, by default, the existence of an injustice, 
then you yourself (or your children) will be visited eventually by the 
consequences of that injustice. A man MUST be cognizant of his needs, 
whether those needs be biological (e.g., the need to avoid poison in his 
diet) or social (the need to avoid coercion in his society). Concern for the 
rights of others is a necessity if you care about your own future and the 
future of your children. 
   But this concern for the rights of others cannot itself be coerced. You 
must remember that the only "obligation" any man has toward you is to leave 
you alone. He has no obligation to take any positive actions whatsoever 
regarding you or your situation. He has no obligation to combat your 
enemies. But he IS obliged not to join with your enemies in oppressing you. 
If he does so, he then becomes an enemy. But as long as he does NOT do so, 
he may not be your ally--but he is at least a neutral. 

   * The Problem of the Innocents 
   Begin with the premise that rebellion must be selective--acting against 
tyrants and their supporters only--and must refrain from damaging innocent 
people. This leads to the question: who is really innocent, anyway? 
   It is important to distinguish between victims and aggressors on the 
basis of their deliberate actions--on the basis of actual implementations of 
oppression. For example, a person who is subject to income tax is a victim, 
and thus you might say that a businessman is a victim because he is taxed. 
But observe that the same businessman is himself a willing participant in 
the implementation of taxation: he extracts taxes from his employees and his 
customers. A man has a right to work for a living--that is a necessity for 
the preservation of his life--but he does NOT have a right to earn his 
living by depriving others of their property. Likewise, a businessman has a 
right to operate a business, but he does NOT have a right to deprive others 
of their property in the process of operating that business. Thus employers 
who collect withholding tax, merchants who collect sales tax, and any other 
people who participate in implementing the viciousness of government, must 
be considered victimizers even though they are also victims. 
   The real question is not "Who is innocent?" but "Who is guilty?" The 
determining factors are the oppressive behavior (regardless of any 
assertions of intent--see Chapter 7) and the advocacy of such behavior. 
These attributes determine the guilty persons. Anyone who does NOT engage in 
oppressive behavior, or advocate such behavior, is innocent, even though he 
may do nothing to combat tyranny but sit around and gripe. 
   See reference 
   To complain about tyranny while submitting to it and taking no action to 
combat it is hypocritical: the complainer's actions and his words are 
contradictory--but what if the complaint is the only safe action he can 
take? Do not condemn a man for being a victim, nor for acting so as not to 
become a victim (except when his actions are themselves victimizing). 
   In this context, there are three kinds of people: 
   1. Those who actively sanction, support and advocate statism. A subset of 
these are people who in practice do willingly participate in statism (such 
as sales-tax collectors and voters) even though they may protest some of the 
government's oppressions. 
   2. Those who say: "I don't care about tyranny. I am interested only in my 
immediate self-interest. In short, I should do those things that benefit me-
-even if the State should happen to benefit from them also." These are the 
people who invariably seek profits at the expense of their asserted 
convictions. The best examples of these people are the scientists who 
willingly sell their souls to the State in return for laboratories financed 
by loot. 
   It is ethically (but not morally) proper to do things that benefit 
yourself, even if you thereby become a victim of oppression. But it is NOT 
proper to willingly engage in oppressive behavior yourself. If the things 
you do actually constitute oppressive behavior then you are in the first 
category, regardless of your assertions. Your state-of-mind is not the 
important consideration. What IS important is your behavior. 
   3. Those who actively oppose the State and do all they reasonably can to 
avoid supporting it. 
   The goal of a revolutionary should be to fight the first, ignore the 
second, and embrace the third. 

   * Questions to Determine Philosophical Orientation 
   How do you tell just what a person really is? You can't simply pose the 
straightforward question "Do you believe in liberty?" You will merely get a 
null-value answer: if he really does believe in liberty he will answer "Yes" 
but if he does not really believe in it he will also probably answer "Yes." 
It's like asking a man if he is honest--you get the same answer whether he 
is or not. You have to go at it in an indirect way, asking questions 
designed to circumvent his dishonesty (or his ignorance--many people would 
answer the questions without real knowledge of what is liberty or what is 
   You must also allow for any self-delusion he has. What is important is 
not to ascertain the rationale that he uses to justify his behavior, but the 
actual principles underlying the behavior. 
   The object is to determine whether he accepts or rejects the non-
aggression principle. Even though he may not be philosophically 
sophisticated enough to properly apply it in all circumstances. 
   The questions should be constructed so as to pose a distinguishable 
separation between two phenomena. The important thing to look for when you 
ask them is NOT the clarity and precision with which the person identifies 
the distinction, but merely whether or not he MAKES the distinction. After 
all, you cannot expect an ordinary person to be a trained philosopher or 
logician, but you can and SHOULD expect him to be a decent human being, and 
thus to REALIZE that there is a distinction to be made, even though he may 
not be able to precisely specify that distinction. 
   Always remember that actions speak louder than words. 

   Here are some sample questions: 
   How do you distinguish between trade and theft? [according to Marxist 
doctrine, there is no distinction.] 
   How do you distinguish between taxation and theft? 
   Under what circumstances may the State justly place its welfare above 
that of an individual citizen? 
   Under what circumstances would it be proper for a member of a group to do 
something that it would be improper for that individual to do alone? 
   Would you be morally justified in killing an innocent person if that were 
the only way to prevent your own death? 

   * Prerequisites of a revolution 
   For a revolution or civil war to occur, two conditions must be met: 
   1. The population of the country must be divisible into at least two 
mutually exclusive groups. These are the groups that would actually be 
shooting at each other during the conflict. For example: the Union army and 
the Confederate army. 
   American Libertarians would, of course, see these two groups as "the 
government" and "the people" but I believe this view is false. What Ayn Rand 
called "cultural value-deprivation" means not only the absence of positive 
values and the actions needed to achieve them, it also means the inability 
to take any effective action to combat a negative. Value-deprived people 
lose any impulse to rebel against tyranny since, lacking a principled basis 
for their judgments, they are bereft of any way to decide who their real 
enemies are. To vent their rage and frustration, these people frequently 
turn against each other instead of against their oppressors. Thus, in their 
rage over the beating of Rodney King, the citizens of LA beat up their 
neighbors and burned their own neighborhoods. They did NOT rise up against 
the police, for they do not know who their enemies actually are. Thus they 
could not wage an effective revolution--they can only destroy their society. 

   2. There must be possible a triggering situation that would precipitate 
the conflict. 
   In America this is precluded by the general attitude toward tyranny, 
which usually rests on the phrase "too much." If you press a protestor (and 
this is especially true of political conservatives) until you can get him to 
identify the foundation of his enmity toward government, you will find that 
it is based on a statement containing some variant of the phrase "too much." 
He is not fundamentally opposed to slavery, just "too much" slavery. He is 
not fundamentally opposed to tyranny, just a level of tyranny that is "far 
beyond" what he judges acceptable. He is not fundamentally opposed to 
government interference in private lives, just "an excessive amount" of such 
interference (or a type of interference that is not HIS proposed type of 
interference). But "too much" is not a dividing line. It is simply an 
ambiguous realm with no firm boundary. Thus it is very unlikely that, for 
this guy, there would be ANY level of "too much" that would induce him to 
take up arms and rebel. In any case, such an ambiguous level would surely be 
different for each individual (just ask several and you will see), and thus 
NO level would suffice to precipitate a general rebellion. 

   Because these two conditions are not met (and I believe cannot be met) in 
America, I do not forsee a revolution occurring here. 
   It takes a certain energy of idealism to create a revolution. The drawn-
out death of freedom in America has been so insidious, but yet so 
penetrating, that few people have any idealism left that can be stirred to a 
revolutionary fervor. The people of America will not rise in rebellion 
against their government. The State has warped their lives, swallowed their 
fortunes, and destroyed their sacred honor, leaving them in a value-deprived 
moral vacuum, lacking any principle by means of which they might rebel 
against its tyranny. 
   From The Anti-Federalist: "If the people of America will submit to a 
constitution that will vest in the hands of any body of men the power to 
deprive them by law of their rights, they will perforce submit to anything. 
Reasoning with them will be in vain; they must be left until they are 
brought to reflection by feeling oppression--they will then have to wrest 
from their oppressors, by a strong hand, that which they would have retained 
by a moderate share of prudence and firmness." 
   Cultural value-deprivation must inevitably result in a very docile 
population. Who in America believes in any idea (or any value) enough to 
fight for it? Certainly not the libertarians, and they are the closest thing 
America has to freedom-lovers. The totalitarians know what they stand for. 
The non-totalitarians will stand for anything. 
   But maybe tyranny in America has a limit. Although Americans will not 
fight the actual institutions of tyranny, perhaps they will not accept 
unlimited tyranny without the sort of blind uprising which destroys 
civilization. Here I speak of uprisings such as that which followed the 
beating of Rodney King by the LA police--a rebellion directed not against 
the police but against the very neighbors and neighborhoods of the rioting 

   Two out of three Americans are overweight. Who ever heard of a revolution 
of fat men? 

   * Thoughts on Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare 
   Terrorism is the use of violence and threats to demoralize, intimidate or 
coerce, especially for political purposes. ... Random House Dictionary 
   Terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence by subnational 
groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. ... 
The US State Department 
   Terrorism is the attempt by private gangs to scare a population into 
social change by wanton violence and murder. ... a Randite 
   Terrorism is the use or threat of violence to make a statement about 
ideological or cultural beliefs. ... Rodger Doyle in Scientific American, 
June 2001, pg28 (There is some good information here.) 
   The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. ... Lenin 

   As you see, two of the above definitions deliberately exclude government 
behavior from the realm of terrorism, but if the concept of terrorism is to 
be a psychological-psychiatric concept in addition to being merely a legal-
political concept, its study must include politicians, military personnel 
and police as well as the skyjackers and urban guerrillas to whom the term 
is usually applied. What we are dealing with is a principle - a 
psychological condition - that in fact applies to a chief of state just as 
well as to a lone gunman. The difference is that the terrorist gunman is 
acting alone, on the incentive of his own personal judgment, whereas the 
political terrorist acts within the ethical framework of a social 
institution that has its foundation in coercion. The lone terrorist may even 
take personal responsibility for his behavior, but the political terrorist 
is "only doing my job" or "just following orders" or "serving my country." 
   The distinguishing difference between the violence of terrorism and the 
violence of military warfare or that of a common criminal is the intent of 
the perpetrator. The questions that reveal this difference are: Who is the 
actual target? Whose behavior is the violence intended to influence? The 
terrorist uses violence not directly, but indirectly for its psychological 
effect. The terrorist strikes against one person or group in order to 
influence the behavior of another person or group. Thus Dresden, Hiroshima, 
and Nagasaki were terrorist acts. 
   Terrorism consists of acts of violence designed to affect the victims not 
merely physically but psychologically also. It produces, in the minds of the 
victims, a long-term anxiety resulting from not knowing who is going to be 
attacked, where the attack will take place, when it will take place, or what 
form of violence will occur. 
   It is a grave error to believe that the most effective way of stopping 
terrorism is to sacrifice individual freedom to collective security via some 
version of a totalitarian state. This merely substitutes terrorism by the 
state for terrorism by individuals, and it establishes the principle that 
abolishing freedom is an acceptable means of dealing with social problems. 

   There is another form of violence that has the appearance of terrorism 
but is actually not so. It is the use of overwhelmingly destructive power 
for the simple and direct purpose of obliterating any resistance to a demand 
for unlimited authority. The target of the violence is the person(s) who 
resist, and the intent underlying the violence is their absolute 
destruction. The beating of Rodney King, and the Waco massacre are examples 
of this. These occurrences of mindless savagery do have the same 
psychological effect as terrorism, although that was not the intent of their 
perpetrators, just as a serial killer does in fact induce terror in a 
community, even though that was not his intention. 

   Guerrilla Warfare 
   Imbuing fear into the mind of your enemy is a legitimate aim of warfare, 
thus violence intended to create such fear is a valid tool of combat. 
However, there are few, if any, revolutionary groups in the world today who 
apply it properly. They fail utterly to make a proper identification of 
their actual enemy. 
   Consider those guerilla groups usually (and properly!) labeled as 
terrorists. They are active in many countries around the world: the ETA in 
Spain, the PLO in Israel, the IRA in England. None of these groups makes 
much, if any, distinction between the government they are fighting and the 
people who are subjects of that government. They strike not only at members 
of the government, but also indiscriminately at the general public. In the 
behavior of such groups, war is ethically equivalent to bombing a prison 
because one has a grievance against its sadistic warden. 
   (It should be noted that although terrorist activities are almost always 
directed against innocent civilians, with few exceptions those activities 
are prompted by, and a response to, government behavior. If we got rid of 
government, we would thereby eliminate the motives for most terrorism.) 
   Indiscriminate violence is not only wrong in principle, it is also 
counterproductive in practice: many British people who might otherwise be 
sympathetic to the IRA's desire to get British troops out of Northern 
Ireland are appalled at the spectacle of bombs killing their neighbors in 
the subway, and are thereby quite rightfully inclined to support the 
suppression of the IRA and its goals. 
   A principled revolutionary group should strike only at ethically 
justifiable targets, and the general public is NOT such a target.  
   As Murray Rothbard observed (FOR A NEW LIBERTY pg269): 
   "Revolutionary guerrilla war can be far more consistent with libertarian 
principles than any inter-State war. By the very nature of their activities, 
libertarian guerrillas defend the civilian population against the 
depredations of a State; hence, guerrillas, inhabiting as they do the same 
country as the civilians, cannot use weapons of mass destruction. Further: 
since guerrillas rely for victory on the support and aid of the civilian 
population, they must, as a basic part of their strategy, spare civilians 
from harm and pinpoint their activities solely against the State apparatus 
and its armed forces." 
   Consider the situation in America. For two centuries the government has 
whittled away at freedom gradually, with each additional law it passes 
depriving individual people bit by bit of their right to choose their own 
destiny. If the tyranny that exists today were to have been foisted in its 
totality upon our forefathers they would have risen in a rebellion even more 
forceful than that which they inflicted upon the minions of King George. The 
government could never have accomplished such a massive change in one fell 
swoop--it had to be brought about by a lengthy series of gradual 
encroachments, in small enough doses that the populace would be willing to 
accept each encroachment individually as being of itself insufficient to 
justify the immense rebellion required to bring down the entire government. 
   But this process is a two-edged sword. In a similar manner, the oppressed 
victims of a tyranny could turn this sword against their government and 
gradually reduce its tyrannical power over them. They could do this through 
a series of small encroachments on government power, none of them in and of 
itself sufficient to induce the government to undertake the expense of a 
major military mobilization, but all of them adding up over the years to the 
gradual reduction of government tyranny. 
   But they can achieve this goal only if they make proper and effective use 
of the force they wield. To use it properly, they must make sure it is 
directed only against the appropriate target: government. And to use it 
effectively, they must make sure that it is applied in a way that will have 
the desired influence on government behavior. 

   * Strategy - Disarm and Disable 
   Two of the primary precepts of warfare are: 
   Disarm the enemy economically and militarily. 
   Disable the enemy's determination to pursue his intentions. 
   The strategic aims of the rebels should be to make the State less capable 
of functioning and to make the individual agents of the State less 
determined to function. And thus have the overall effect of diminishing the 
institution of tyranny which enables the individual tyrant to inflict his 
viciousness on other people. 
   And to show others who hate the State that it IS possible to strike 
effectively against it. 
   The goal is not to defeat the State in battle, but to intimidate its 
agents from practicing tyranny; not to conquer the State, but to cripple it 
so severely that acquiescence to demands for freedom will become a political 
and/or economic necessity. Although the government will not yield to right 
and justice, it will yield to expediency. 

   * Tactics - Focus, Meaning, Purpose 
   The implementation of this strategy consists of a three-pronged tactic. 
   The first level of guerilla war is a focused attack. The target must be 
carefully selected and the attack must be directed exclusively at that 
target. In order for a libertarian rebellion to succeed, it must strike only 
against the oppressive behavior of the State, and not against innocent 
people who are themselves victims of that State. In so doing, the rebels 
will more and more bring the victims into sympathy with their goals rather 
than alienating them. 

   The second level is a focused attack invested with meaning. 
   The rebels must tell the world, especially the State, why they have 
attacked. A clear statement must be made, describing in detail the tyrannous 
behavior that motivated the attack. 

   The third level is a focused attack with meaning and purpose. 
   The rebels must tell the world, and the State, what they are fighting to 
achieve--what it is they want the State to do. For example: 
   "We demand the enactment and vigorous enforcement of a law making it a 
criminal offense for a policeman to interfere with the lawful behavior of a 
free citizen (coupled with the repeal of all victimless-crime laws). Until 
our demand is met we shall continue to defend our freedom as forcefully as 
the government violates it. So long as we must live under the threat of 
government oppression, the government will live under the threat of our 
retaliation. We wish only peace and respect. If you will not see fit to 
grant us these things, then we will fight for them on the field of arms, a 
field of your choosing. You chose it when your armed police came into our 

   The public must know what the rebels are doing and why they are doing it. 
If the rebels attack the police and the public knows that their goal is to 
make everyone safe from police brutality, or if they attack tax collectors 
and the public knows that their goal is to diminish everyone's tax burden, 
then the public is much more likely to support (even if only tacitly) their 
ends. If the rebels don't get THEIR message to the public, then public 
opinion will be based only on the State's message. Thus, justice must not 
only be done, it must be seen to be done. 

   A carefully controlled and directed attack could indeed be conducive to 
an ameliorative change in a tyrannous government. 
   1. By reducing the government's economic resources, it would reduce the 
government's ability to oppress its subjects. 
   2. It would reduce the oppressive motivation of individual government 
agents by giving each of them negative reinforcement for such behavior. The 
police might not care what the public thinks about the police department, 
but each individual policeman WILL care if there is forceful retaliation for 
what HE does. Each individual will have to think before he continues his 
oppression, and ask himself what might happen to him personally in response. 
Armed agents of a tyrannous State respect the rights only of those whom they 
have reason to fear. 

   It is, of course, impossible for a small number of freedom fighters to 
stand in force against the armed might of a government. But there is great 
potential for a few dedicated guerrillas to accomplish a considerable amount 
of change in the behavior of a government. 
   The weapons with which a government can be hit and hurt by an individual 
or small group of rebels are assassination and sabotage. If a few people 
hate the State fervently enough to fight effectively against it, the State 
won't be able to control the country economically because of the ruination 
of its expensive equipment and the loss of its personnel. It can't just 
ignore the rebels or pretend they don't exist--the State will have to start 
putting men and money into a fight against them, and that will bring closer 
the day when the State will be politically and/or economically disabled, or 
at least reduced in its ability to impose tyranny. 
   This fight would, indirectly, tend to reduce the support for government 
in the general population, since, in order to compensate for the economic 
losses imposed by the rebels, government would have to increase the economic 
drain it imposes on the citizens it claims to be protecting. Thus government 
will need more police and tax collectors to get the same amount of 
cooperation and resources out of the civilians--but that simply increases 
civilian resentment of the State.    
   Another reason for generating widespread hatred of the government is that 
government in America is responsive to what it perceives as the will of the 
majority of the voters (see Chapter 7). Thus if enough people hate it, it 
may change itself. 
   See reference 

   * Morale 
   It may be asked, "Isn't it stupid and senseless to fight any war when 
there is no hope of winning it?" 
   Mencken: "It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it only takes a 
few determined men and a sound cause." 
   Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed 
persons can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." 
   You must be continually aware that although there may never be an 
absolute, total victory--that you have no hope of achieving any type of 
military victory over government forces--nevertheless, if you act with 
prudence and diligence, the final practical victory--the one that matters, 
the one that changes the behavior of individual government agents--will be 
yours. And even if not totally successful, rebellions can succeed in telling 
politicians that they've gone too far, and that the cost of pushing further 
may be higher than they're willing to pay. 
   Keep in mind that no one has ever gained freedom except by fighting for 
   While it is true that the great power of the State has absolute dominion 
over any small group of free people, this dominion is similar to that of a 
man over a hornets' nest: it can be exercised only at the risk of 
considerable personal danger. Each policeman must be brought to consider the 
risk to him personally of his tyrannous behavior. 
   You, as an individual, and acting by yourself alone, CAN make a 
difference! If you can make just one cop reluctant to hassle people, then 
you have in fact reduced the extent of tyranny. If you make such a change, 
even a little one, then you've won something. 
   "But," it is claimed, "some policemen are good men who are only doing 
their jobs." An Allied soldier fighting the Nazis did not question the 
particular character of each individual German soldier he encountered, he 
merely looked at a man with a uniform and a gun, and he knew that man by 
those signs to be his enemy, and he acted accordingly. Likewise, the rebel 
should not question the particular character of each individual policeman he 
encounters. It is by the uniform and the gun, and the ethical principles 
that those signs represent, that you recognize him to be your enemy. By 
choosing to wear the uniform and bear arms against you he has declared 
himself to be violently opposed to your freedoms. 
   G. B. Shaw: "To kill a man in uniform who is your enemy is not an act of 
murder, but an act of legitimate warfare." The enemy command authority 
(either civilian or military) is always a legitimate target of war. 

   Your war will be a righteous war, a war fought to defend your rights and 
your honor against the colossus of the State. You have a new world of 
freedom to gain; your enemy has only a lost cause to lose. 
   If you don't strike against the State now, it will eventually destroy the 
means of civilization. After a revolution today, we would still have a 
civilization to live in. After a revolution tomorrow, there would be less 
civilization remaining. If you leave the job to your children, there might 
be no hope at all for their survival. 

   On to Chapter 13
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