Condolences and Condemnation

The life of Joseph Stack, the man the FBI believes flew his single-engine airplane into an office complex housing the Internal Revenue Service, ended in tragedy Thursday. It has been reported that at least one other man inside the Austin building was killed following the impact and many others were sent to the hospital to treat injuries.

To the loved ones of Mr. Stack and his victims, I offer my condolences. For Stack, I have nothing but condemnation for his acts. His brutality was needless and heartless.

I agree with Stack that what the IRS does is evil. Taxation is extortion.

What is easy to overlook is that the vast majority of people who advocate for government intervention into peaceful people’s lives do not see it that way. That’s just the way it is, they say.

Part of it is a lack of education. They have not read the books we have or heard the speeches we have. They have never studied agorism or read How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne. And so they are still indoctrinated in government slavespeak.

Part of it as well is they believe that with enough government intervention and threats of violence, they can overcome circumstances they dislike in society. The only practical solution they see is violence. To offer voluntary and consent-based solutions to their problems seems so foreign them. In fact, in Stack’s suicide note of sorts, he said “[V]iolence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”

So if the news reports are accurate and this man did do this, then he would have been acting under the same failed premises as those he intended to attack. He was a frustrated, desperate man who was willing to take his life rather than become a victim of the IRS any longer. But that is not how he will be remembered. He did not advance the cause of liberty one inch. He set it back. I’ve written before why violence is not the path to liberty.

For those of us whose highest political end is individual liberty, I believe one of our missions is to explain why violence and threats of violence are at best temporary antidotes to social ills — like heroin to an addict. Luckily, most everyone lives by the non-aggression principle everyday; it only takes making them aware of this and convincing them that the same principle applies to government too.

I would suggest reading Stack’s letter. An excerpt is below.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

He was obviously an intelligent and lucid man. He was angry at an unmerciful system that cripples ingenuity and compassion. He hoped to be a martyr in the revolt; but really, he is just a killer.

Image credit: News 8 Austin