Libertarianism and Nonviolence
Libertarians believe initiation of violence is always wrong. Only the initiation of force or fraud is crime to a libertarian. Fraud is often described as an indirect form of violence, making initiation of violence the only crime to many libertarians.
To oppose government is to oppose institutional violence.
- According to Ludwig Von Mises, a primary libertarian writer, "The state is essentially an apparatus of compulsion and coercion. The characteristic feature of its activities is to compel people through the application or the threat of force to behave otherwise than they would like to behave." When government is perceived thus, opposition to violence implies libertarianism.
Libertarian Party members sign a pledge of nonviolence.
- "I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals."
Libertarians always oppose initiation of violence.
- Although bees can sting they are considered friendly since they are harmless when left alone. So too with libertarians. The only time violence is excused within libertarianism is in defense against violence initiated by others.
According to Lanza del Vasto, a leader of the nonviolent movement in France, the nonviolent are distinguished by these three beliefs:
- Evil is not corrected or arrested by an equal evil.Libertarians value restitution to the victim above punishment of the criminal.
- The end does not justify the means.Libertarians believe good ends sought by government or individuals do not justify violent means.
- Fear, compulsion, and force can never establish justice.Libertarians believe that government is based on fear, compulsion, and force so increasing government can never establish justice.
1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul said libertarians seek a society where
"there shall be no initiation of force by anyone, particularly government."