Many individuals around the world have learned that only by interacting peacefully can we achieve a more harmonious, prosperous, healthy, fair and tolerant society, that our lives on this planet can be far better. People universally oppose acts of aggression, theft, and fraud when committed by individuals. We accept the principle that the initiation of physical force against others is illegitimate, immoral, and may rightly be defended against. For the most part, we also insist that organizations of individuals, such as corporations, also abide by this natural tenet.
When it comes to state aggression, however, especially that wrought by democratic governments, the perspective for many can change. Individuals too often excuse the state when it harms innocent individuals. This may be because they feel powerless to effect change or uninformed, preferring to defer to those more knowledgeable. They may possess cultivated feelings of nationalism and exceptionalism; expectations of benevolence and altruism in state officials; fears of attack, fostered by interventionist propaganda and complicit mainstream media; yearnings for conformity; or just a willingness to harm, burden or restrict others, in the expectation of benefit to ends and causes they themselves consider to be good ones. Thus, when our governments act as aggressors rather than protectors of human rights, many individuals remain silent.
So begins the the forward to Why Peace, an over 600-page compilation of pro-peace essays edited by Marc Guttman, a book he he says:
is about our aspirations to our own progression, to where peaceful and voluntary societal systems and associations replace the machinery of aggression and coercion. Only by interacting peacefully can we achieve a more harmonious, prosperous, healthy, fair and tolerant society. This book is an exploration of aggression, and of the evolutionary (and revolutionary) process to peace.
Guttman contacted me and Ademo last year to solicit write-ups for the book. Ademo choose to focus elsewhere but I made some time and my short essay, From Statism to Voluntaryism, was included in the book. The essay is essentially a more in-depth version of ‘A Was For America: My Journey to Voluntaryism, and gives an overview of experiences I found paradigm-shifting, which today cause me to advocate a message of complete liberty.
Topics touched-on in Why Peace include war, anarchy, terrorism, North Korea, economics, Afghanistan, inflation, Palestine, history, Peru, and globalism.
Contributors (78 people, from 34 countries, on five continents) include Steve Horwitz (both smart and awesome, here’s him on “How Capitalism Improves our Love Life“), Chuck Pena (one of my old “bosses” when interning at the Cato Institute in foreign policy and defense), Anthony Gregory (one of the best and most principled communicators around), Karen Kwiatkowski (who, after a stint in the Air Force, advocates staunchly against an empire), Steve Kubby (cannabis patient and advocate), Lew Rockwell (founder and chair of the Mises Institute), and Walter Block (who coined the phrase “road socialist” for those who continue to support today’s artificial monopoly around the provision of roads).
At the end of the day, today’s State, that we allow to obstruct and burden innocent individuals (who have done no harm to others) and advance the interests of some other individuals (those best able to curry government’s favor) at a cost to the rest of us, is just a bad idea, and ideas can be unlearned. I’ve found the surest way to facilitate this is to establish personal connections with individuals, and encourage them to think for themselves, taking their views to their logical conclusions and demystifying the language surrounding actions done by State agents (taxes are theft, arresting peaceful individuals is kidnapping, etc.). As I tell those who are still on the fence, if we don’t act now, just imagine how hard it will be for the next generation.
Or, as Voluntaryist author and thinker Carl Watner says, “If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself.” To realize the freer more peaceful society, we must live it and not be afraid of those who thrive on fear and scare tactics. The liberty-oriented community is growing. More are engaged in unschooling, agorism and civil disobedience. I’m optimistic about the future.