Mises Daily: Monday, March 21, 2011 by Jeffrey A. Tucker


“The horror of Muammar Gaddafi’s approach to keeping power in Libya boggles the mind and shocks the moral conscience. But how different is his approach from the way most all governments behave in the face of citizen revolt? There are differences among them with regard to how far they will go to force submission, but the methods and the rationale everywhere are the same in all times and places.

In 2006, Gaddafi told the students at Columbia University: “There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet.” Five years later, the people themselves are revealed as his ultimate enemies, and for one reason: he wants to stay whereas they want him gone. Therefore he must stop at nothing. He must kill them: “We will come house by house, room by room. … It’s over. The issue has been decided…. We will find you in your closets. We will have no mercy and no pity.”

To his mind, it’s not complicated. This is how a peaceful protest against dictatorship became what is called a “civil war,” which is really just a despot’s war against freedom. People holding signs and vigils were forced into a defensive mode and are now full-time “rebels” against the regime, the entire country torn to pieces by one’s man’s stubbornness and megalomania. The state that had always promised to defend the people — that is why Gaddafi had rule with an iron hand — is now slaughtering them so that the state can live.

There is something to learn from this. The issue of who owns the guns, who or what possesses the military power, who or what is charged with “national defense,” is not some abstract problem of economic or political theory. It is not an issue to be considered in the appendix of a public finance text or debated in the hallways of think tanks.

No, the issue of defense services might in fact be the central issue that determines whether or not a society is and can remain free. Without getting rid of the “defense” power of the state, any and every state, the people will always be subject to the discretionary will of those in power, and there is nothing apart from conscience, to stop any state in the world from becoming the killing field of Libya today…”

I have never owned a gun and never will; I won’t even live in a house with a gun, but I would join ranks and defend my family and community from an act of  seizure. And if handed one, I would fire a gun if attacked. I would not die defenseless or a pacifist.  I’m not alone in that decision.  History certainly supports Tucker’s argument that a defenseless citizen has everything to lose.  If the Nazis had not taken the guns from their opponents, Kristallnacht might never have happened.  After that bloody night Jews were forbidden from owning guns, pointed weapons or even blunted weapons. If  Kristallnacht and stripping the people of their self-defense failed would there have been a Final Solution? Would there have been a World War? I answer no.

In an age of Stuxnet, drones, Growlers, Prowlers and the ability to freeze bank accounts there is absolutely no need for the US and its ‘coalition of the willing’ to be bombing anything or anyone, except to deliver food and medical supplies to those who need it.