Many of us have worried and wondered about the building unrest here in the United States. I found a lengthy article at Ludwig Von Mises. Is it in our best interest to count on the Government to defend ourselves? When is it permissible? What if the Government chooses or cannot defend us? Here is a telling point made:
If riots come, it will not be the rich who suffer; they will be watching the violence on TV in their gated or high-rise communities. It will not be the media pundits who comment on “how terrible and senseless it is for them to destroy their own communities” while, at the same time, they excoriate anyone who picks up a gun to defend that community. It will be lower- and middle-class people who pick up a gun or a baseball bat, because, at its foundation, vigilantism is also a grassroots phenomenon. A vigilante is an average person who refuses to surrender to violence or authority. It is little wonder the elite look upon him and see a lynch mob.
It takes on this subject with a powerful analysis of vigilantism. It is a worthy read and no doubt something it would do us well to reflect upon at this time. I have selected a few sections, and no doubt have not done it justice. But here tis:
What will you do if rioting sweeps US cities as it did British ones last week?
Vigilantism is defined as “Taking the law into one’s own hands and attempting to effect justice according to one’s own understanding of right and wrong.” Typically, it occurs when traditional law enforcement is absent, ineffective, or corrupt. When exercised in defense of person and property, vigilantism is the direct expression of an individual’s right to protect himself or innocent others against aggression. It is also defined as “action taken by a voluntary association of persons who organize themselves for the purpose of protecting a common interest.”
Jared Kelley wrote, “I believe that vigilantism represents more than simply a reaction to crime and corruption, but an instinctual, psychological push to restore the status quo of a society disrupted by some crisis or exigency.”
Vigilantism has deep roots in American history and culture. From tales of the Wild West to the caped-crusading Batman, the act of standing up to thugs is part of the national ethos. And the assumption of personal responsibility for self-defense is what drives the uniquely American pro-gun movement. But will the increasingly despotic police force allow citizens to arm and organize in self-defense against a marauding horde?
The Precedent of Great Britain:
But the police need to walk a fine line in criticizing vigilantes. Many of the scofflaws are heroes within their own communities — and even beyond. The Independent noted, “In the more affluent neighbourhood of Stoke Newington further north — an area filled with boutique shops and independent retailers — there was widespread praise for Turkish people who stopped rioters.” Meanwhile, those same communities are united in disapproval of the police performance.
Authorities have flipped the “default” switch on self-defense: namely, leave it to the police. As the International Business Times stated, “Contrary to everyday people, the police have been trained to handle difficult situations, and the powers that have been given to them by the government should not be conferred to the rest of the population.”
A Concept in Need of Redemption
This is an amazing statement: the right to defend against violence is a “power” that is given to the police “by government” and “should not be conferred to the rest of the population.” The two main reasons for denying the right to self-defense seem to be
- without government training, people will get hurt; and
- people who rise in self-defense will turn into a lynch mob.
Regarding the first reason, when the police cannot or do not offer protection, people and property will be damaged. The best chance of preventing that damage is precisely for people to defend themselves. Moreover, denying the right of self-defense to a person because he might get hurt is like denying freedom of speech because he might misspeak or denying freedom of religion because he could join the wrong church. The denial is not an act of concern or protection; it is the imposition of social control. Complete story Here.