Riots are counterproductive

I’m sure many of you (like me) have watched in horror as the last week has played out in the US. The social media shit storm has been insane. It’s impossible for me to compress my thoughts on the aforementioned social channels so let’s get right into this….

The background

Minorities in the US have been treated unfairly for centuries. Law enforcement officials focus their efforts on poor people which tend to mostly consist of said minorities. It’s sad, but true that it’s far easier to whittle down your list of suspects by focusing on something simple like skin tone.

More recently, there’s this virus going around that has prompted many governments to implement various lock-downs. This adds to the frustration. After all, curfews in and of themselves violate human rights. From a philosophical perspective, access to some limited areas is fine; but limiting people to their homes is basically imprisonment.

Completely shutting down businesses by fiat is also unacceptable. There are plenty of businesses that are capable of implementing disease spreading prevention measures. Allowing them to do this, and at least make some money is what should have happened. It would have been rough, but it would have helped a little with the unemployment situation.

So with all that for a backdrop, someone died in police custody. This was basically the match that lit the kindling that was everywhere. In many US cities, there are riots. There are also many examples of peaceful protests. And in some rare cases, peaceful protestors have stopped rioters from looting. If you’re one of these people, I salute you as a true hero.

The consequences

So what does violence achieve? I can think off three categories to think through: hurting people, destroying public property, destroying private property.

The only time hurting another human is acceptable is when one is stopping a true criminal (as in someone that commits an actual crime; laws are irrelevant in this instance) from hurting someone. In other words, the person is protecting themselves or others. When in this situation, someone does use force; they are only justified in using enough force to stop the crime. If the crime has been halted, there should be no more use of force. This is known as The Non-aggression Principle. Governments and police violate it constantly, but that’s not an excuse to violate it as well. So hurting people while rioting is clearly immoral, and should not be condoned.

I’ve also seen a lot of looting, and destruction of private property. In many cases, said property belongs to a minority. You know, one of those people that you’re supposedly rioting for. Congratulations, you’ve just become the oppressor. If you’re vandalizing a business, you’ve also just hurt the chances of said business from surviving and hiring you. This is purely destructive, and you’re indirectly hurting yourself.

In the case of public property, one could make the argument that you as a rioter own the property you’re destroying. If that’s true, one could argue it’s justified. However, what’s going to happen as a result of this? The government will repair/replace what you destroyed. They’re going to get the money for that from either taxes or, worse, printing money (which robs everyone through inflation). So again, you’re hurting yourself.

And what have you accomplished? The government’s going to be less inclined to make structural changes to the system, and will, instead, focus on stopping the violence with violence of their own. This is what governments are good at. They have one tool: force. And they have a whole lot more of it that you do.

This also will make you the bad guy in the eyes of anyone that’s skeptical of racism’s existence. Instead of asking why there are so many people protesting, they’ll only think of how terrible it is that cities are being destroyed by rioters.

I get being hurt and angry. As a Voluntarist, I’ve been frustrated and angry with governments for decades. However, we won’t get to the world we want to see by implementing tactics that directly contradict what we wish actualize. This has been understood by many of the greats: Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King being among them.


So what can be done? I would say the most powerful thing would be to educate yourself, and help others to learn as well. Good things to look into would be philosophy; particularly in the realm of human rights, and The Non-Aggression Principle. History is great as well; particularly the civil rights movements in India and the US. The study of economics can show you how the government is creating inequality and wealth disparity; particularly Austrian Economics, the history of money, and the precious metals movement, and even cryptocurrency (we are all Satoshi).

There are also some groups you could look into. The Free State Project has convinced thousands of people to move to New Hampshire who are attempting to change the system. The Seasteading Institute (and the seasteading movement in general) is developing the technology to free us governments, unleash a renaissance in governance, restore the environment, and advance the human race in general.

I know that’s not very satisfying, but one needs a solid grasp of philosophy to properly assign blame, and act ethically. Only then can we be the change we wish to see in the world.

Edit: I can’t believe I forgot to mention Dale Brown’s Threat Management Center. It’s a private security group based out of Detroit, Michigan, USA. They use psychology and philosophy to prevent crime, and do the least harm.

The police in every jurisdiction I’m familiar with are broken. The system has deep philosophical flaws. Here’s an example of a company that’s built a far superior product than the old, government infrastructure. And the best part about it is that it’s voluntary. The more educated people exist, the more positive examples we’ll see, and the faster real, philosophically solid change will occur.

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