Chapter 13 
                         LIBERTARIAN GUERILLA WARFARE 
   * Rebellion against Government    
   * The Peaceful Means Argument  
   * Injustice is Everyone's Fight  
   * The Problem of the Innocents  
   * Questions to Determine Philosophical Orientation  
   * Prerequisites of a revolution  
   * Thoughts on Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare  
   * Strategy - Disarm and Disable  
   * Tactics - Focus, Meaning, Purpose  
   * Morale  

   * Rebellion against Government 
   When is it OK to rebel against a government? Is there some point where 
you throw your hands up, cry "Enough!" and pick up a gun? If there is, has 
it been reached yet? 
   Yes, there is such a point, and yes, it has been passed. For some 
Americans, it occurred in May of 1985 when the Philadelphia police 
deliberately (and legally) burned to death 11 people, including four 
children. For others it occurred in April of 1993 when over 75 people 
(including at least 25 children) perished in flames at Waco, Texas. 
   But these were merely specific personal breaking points for some people 
in one country. A more generally relevant answer to the questions would come 
from an examination of the underlying principles which justify violent 
   Some allowances have to be made in judging the behavior of police - we 
cannot, after all, expect perfection, neither in a government police agency 
nor in a private defense agency. If a policeman accidently runs over your 
cat while he is chasing a bank robber, it would not really be reasonable to 
condemn his government to annihilation. Even cases of deliberate aggression 
would not necessarily justify rebellion. We cannot expect ALL police agents 
to be decent people at ALL times, but we CAN (and MUST) demand legal 
protection against the aggressions they sometimes DO commit, in the same way 
and for the same reasons that we expect legal protection against non-
government criminals. As long as the government is structured so as to 
provide the citizens with legal protection against aggression by its own 
agents, it should not be condemned for the aberrant violent behavior that 
some individual agents may manifest. Even such things as the Rodney King 
beating would not justify revolution - if the perpetrators were brought to 
justice and punished for their crime. 
   The line beyond which revolution is justified is crossed when the 
aggressive behavior that I have mentioned is institutionalized. By that I 
mean codified and legally accepted. To use the Rodney King incident as an 
example: the perpetrators justified their attack with the argument that 
everything they did was strictly in accordance with established police 
department procedures. This justification was legally accepted. (In a sane 
society, such an excuse would be grounds for including the police department 
training personnel in the trial - charging them with abetting an attack on a 
   Another very blatant example of institutionalized aggression can be seen 
in the forfeiture laws. Forfeiture is used (about 5000 times per week as of 
1996) to legally deprive innocent people of their property without a jury 
trial, and is one of the government aggressions that the Fourth and Fifth 
Amendments were intended to forbid. 
   It is at this point - when legally institutionalized procedures provide 
immunity to government agents who initiate force against the non-criminal 
behavior of free citizens - that revolution is justified. 

   * The Peaceful Means Argument 
   It is argued that violence is not justified as long as there is ANY non-
violent protest procedure available. But to assert that violence is not 
justified so long as there are peaceful means is to assert that violence is 
NEVER justified, for there are ALWAYS peaceful means. 
   George Washington could have become a faithful subject of the king, been 
appointed governor of the colonies, and used his position of power to effect 
many beneficial changes - peacefully. 
   A good citizen could become a member of the mafia, and by working his way 
up through the ranks attain a position wherein he could considerably reduce 
the evils perpetrated by this odious organization. 
   When knocked down by a common thug, you could resort to the peaceful 
means of appealing to his "better side" and entreating him gently to cease 
engaging in such undesirable behavior. Of course while you are talking - 
peacefully - the thug is bashing in your brains. 
   It is easy to see the fallaciousness of the "peaceful means" argument. In 
fact, you are obliged to restrain yourself to peaceful means only when your 
adversary refrains from using violent means against you. When one is 
fighting for his freedom against an armed and violent enemy he does not 
resort merely to verbal entreaties; he most certainly does not collaborate 
with his enemy; and under no circumstances is it conceivable that he should 
actually join with his enemy. You should always remember that you are not 
fighting for control over your enemy's coercive political institution, you 
are fighting for the preservation of your rights, your freedom, and your 
   Coercion is not an acceptable form of social institution. Treating it 
peacefully, as you would treat the acceptable forms, is to grant it 
acceptability. Thus you deny its nature. You say "The not-acceptable is 
   "Be reasonable," our enemies implore. Being "reasonable" to them means 
that they can perpetrate all the outrages I described in Chapter 7. All that 
is reasonable. But when we tell them, who are responsible for our misery, 
"Give us the justice you have denied us so long, or we will strike," 
suddenly that is unreasonable. Suddenly, because we ask for justice, we are 
described as terrorists and fanatics.  
   See reference
   If your life is to be meaningful, you must do more than protest 
injustice, you must do something to set it right. Your protest has no 
meaning if you don't follow it up with action. A value is that which one 
ACTS to gain or keep. 
   The "peaceful means" argument is used only by cretins, cowards, and 
collaborators. Philosophical cretins who refuse to believe that self-defense 
is an inalienable right - moral cowards who lack the courage to assert that 
right - cunning collaborators whose real intent is to enhance the power of 
tyranny and destroy all rights. 
   The wicked just love people who don't believe in violence. It gives them 
a free hand because they not only believe in it, they use it. 
   Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the 
pursuit of justice is no virtue. 
   Along with the principled invalidity of the "peaceful means" argument, 
there is a practical objection to it also. There is a sense in which 
libertarians and statists simply cannot even communicate, much less 
compromise. This is because the foundations of our philosophies are so 
different that it would require a huge effort to undo both the "knowledge" 
the statist has, and also the underlying philosophical structure of this 
knowledge. It is not simply a matter of a slight change in mental direction, 
but a profoundly fundamental unlearning and relearning. We think in 
radically different epistemological frames of reference, and in the realm of 
ethics, we speak mutually incommensurable languages. 
   You cannot persuade a man that his behavior is evil when his entire 
existence is founded on the conviction that his behavior is good. There are 
indeed things about which you cannot argue - you can only fight. An example 
of such a thing is the assertion by the IRS that the income tax is 
voluntary. You can argue on the basis of practicality, and you can argue on 
the basis of ethical principle, but ultimately, when you are up against 
someone who will not see reason, you can only fight. Trying to deal 
reasonably with someone who thinks the Waco massacre was a good idea is 
certain to be an exercise in futility. 
   It is not pleasant to kill any creature, but to pretend that one can live 
without doing so is self-deception. There needs to be meat on the table, 
there have to be vegetables forbidden to flower, and even the cycles of 
microbes must be blocked in order for us to continue our own cycles. It is 
neither shameful nor shocking that this should be so, it is simply a part of 
the great revolving wheel of natural economy. And just as we must preserve 
our physical species in these ways, so, too, we must preserve our moral 
species (those who love freedom) against others who wish to destroy it, or 
else fail in our obligation to pass on to our children the culture of 
   If this notion of violent warfare shocks or offends you, it is because 
you have not been able to stand off and, knowing what you are, see what a 
difference in KIND must mean. You must always remember that one cannot claim 
to be fully human unless one acts from the premise of non-coercion. Those 
who reject this premise are, in a very important way, NOT fully human. You 
are not yet able to recognize, and accept, that there is a profoundly 
important distinction between you and policemen. They are not just "ordinary 
men" who are merely "doing their job." They are people who believe that it
is not merely appropriate to use coercion but that it is necessary to do so. 
Your mind is confused by your cultural ties and your upbringing. You are 
still half-thinking of them as beings of the same kind as yourself. That is 
why they have you at a disadvantage, for they are not confused. They are 
alert and corporately aware of danger to their species. They can see quite 
well that if they are to survive they must be protected from the threat 
posed by the existence of people who value freedom. In loyalty to their 
kind, they cannot tolerate your freedom; in loyalty to your kind, you must 
not tolerate their tyranny. 
   If you still feel reluctant about the necessity to combat tyranny, just 
consider some of the things that these people, who have taught you to think 
of them as your "protectors," have done: The savage beating of Rodney King, 
and the deliberate burning to death of children, are legally-sanctioned 
expressions of government behavior. 
   If the burning of children does not justify rebellion, what would? What 
could? Can there possibly be any greater sin than to burn children? Anyone 
who can still condone government after it has done this, deliberately and 
legally, is a person who will accept absolutely ANY behavior on the part of 
his government. For him there can be NO point at which rebellion is 
   Nor can society be saved by any political reform process intended to 
change the behavior of government - this is as futile as attempting to save 
a patient by switching a cancer from one organ to another, or to save an 
alcoholic by converting him from whiskey to gin. 
   Even more mistaken is the idea that you can work within government in 
order to "change the system from within." You can't turn stampeding cattle 
from the middle of the herd - you'll only get yourself trampled. 
   Max Stirner observed: "Can I change a piece of nonsense into sense by 
reforming it, or must I drop it outright?" 
   Reform is of two types: 
   Changes which merely serve to make oppression more palatable. 
   Changes through which people actually enlarge their autonomy and reduce 
their subjection to coercive authority.  
   The second type is not something that the majority of voters want. 
   Democracy must always lead to tyranny, simply because the vast majority 
of people neither know nor care what freedom is. Thus all "peaceful means" 
of pursuing freedom, which assume that the democratic process provides for 
the achievement of this goal, must fail. This is proved by the overwhelming 
rejection of the Libertarian Party. It is clear, from the quarter-century 
history of the Libertarian Party, that the minority of people in this 
country who wish only to live in peace, protected from government 
oppression, have no political protection against enslavement. They have seen 
the government become continually more destructive of their rights, with no 
end in sight, and with no effective political redress available to them. 
   This is an inevitable consequence of "majority rule." 
   If you want police protection, go ahead and hire a cop to protect you. 
But it is not proper for you to use the government to enslave the entirety 
of the community just because you are worried about the few of your 
neighbors who may be wicked. 
   It is important that freedom be preserved. Not for those who do NOT want 
to be free, but for those creative and productive people who MUST be free to 
practice their creativity. The former must not be allowed the "freedom" to 
enslave the latter, else they will bring a halt to civilization. 
   * Injustice is Everyone's Fight 
   Some people claim that "injustice is everyone's fight." Others claim, as 
Thoreau observed, that 
   "It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the 
eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have 
other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his 
hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it 
practically his support."  
   Does the choice of other men to act unjustly impose upon you a moral 
obligation to combat their injustice? Your moral stature is a function of 
YOUR choices, not the choices that other people make. Certainly a man has 
the real obligation not to participate in a vicious social system. But does 
he have in addition an obligation to actively combat such a system? 
   Consider that if you accept, by default, the existence of an injustice, 
then you yourself (or your children) will be visited eventually by the 
consequences of that injustice. A man MUST be cognizant of his needs, 
whether those needs be biological (e.g., the need to avoid poison in his 
diet) or social (the need to avoid coercion in his society). Concern for the 
rights of others is a necessity if you care about your own future and the 
future of your children. 
   But this concern for the rights of others must be punctilious. You must 
remember that the only "obligation" any man has toward you is to let you 
alone. He has no obligation to take any positive actions whatsoever 
regarding you or your situation. He has no obligation to combat your 
enemies. But he IS obliged not to join with your enemies in oppressing you. 
If he does so, he then becomes an enemy. But as long as he does NOT do so, 
he may not be your ally - but he is at least a neutral. 

   * The Problem of the Innocents 
   Begin with the premise that rebellion must be selective - acting against 
tyrants and their supporters only - and must refrain from damaging innocent 
people. This leads to the question: who is really innocent, anyway? 
   ATLAS SHRUGGED was published in 1957, and since 1972 the Libertarian 
Party has been vigorously bombarding the American people with knowledge of 
the principled distinction between freedom and slavery. Is there any excuse 
for any adults not to know what the difference is? No, there is no excuse 
for them. And you have no need to care about them. It is not on their behalf 
that you should fight the oppressive actions of their government. It is on 
your own behalf and also for the possible benefit of future generations. 
   It is important to distinguish between victims and aggressors on the 
basis of their deliberate actions - on the basis of actual implementations 
of oppression. For example, a person who is subject to income tax is a 
victim, and thus you might say that a businessman is a victim because he is 
taxed. But observe that the same businessman is himself a willing 
participant in the implementation of taxation: he extracts taxes from his 
employees and his customers. A man has a right to work for a living - that 
is a necessity for the preservation of his life - but he does NOT have a 
right to earn his living by depriving others of their property. Likewise, a 
businessman has a right to operate a business, but he does NOT have a right 
to deprive others of their property in the process of operating that 
business. Thus employers who collect withholding tax, merchants who collect 
sales tax, and any other people who participate in implementing the 
viciousness of government, must be considered victimizers even though they 
are also victims. 
   The real question is not "Who is innocent?" but "Who is guilty?" The 
determining factors are the oppressive behavior (regardless of any 
assertions of intent - see Chapter 7) and the advocacy of such behavior. 
These attributes determine the guilty persons. Anyone who does NOT engage in 
oppressive behavior, or advocate such behavior, is innocent, even though he 
may do nothing to combat tyranny but sit around and gripe. 
   See reference 
   To complain about tyranny while submitting to it and taking no action to 
combat it is hypocritical: the complainer's actions and his words are 
contradictory - but what if the complaint is the only safe action he can 
take? Do not condemn a man for being a victim, nor for acting so as not to 
become a victim (except when his actions are themselves victimizing). 
   In this context, there are three kinds of people: 
   1. Those who actively sanction, support and advocate statism. A subset of 
these are people who in practice do willingly participate in statism (such 
as sales-tax collectors and voters) even though they may protest some of the 
government's oppressions. 
   2. Those who say: "I don't care about tyranny. I am interested only in my 
immediate self-interest. In short, I should do those things that benefit me 
- even if the State should happen to benefit from them also." These are the 
people who invariably seek profits at the expense of their asserted 
convictions. The best examples of these people are the scientists who 
willingly sell their souls to the State in return for laboratories financed 
by loot. 
   It is ethically (but not morally) proper to do things that benefit 
yourself, even if you thereby become a victim of oppression. But it is NOT 
proper to willingly engage in oppressive behavior yourself. If the things 
you do actually constitute oppressive behavior then you are in the first 
category, regardless of your assertions. Your state-of-mind is not the 
important consideration. What IS important is your behavior. 
   3. Those who actively oppose the State and do all they reasonably can to 
avoid supporting it. 
   The goal of a revolutionary should be to fight the first, ignore the 
second, and embrace the third. 

   * Questions to Determine Philosophical Orientation 
   How do you tell just what a person really is? You can't simply pose the 
straightforward question "Do you believe in liberty?" You will merely get a 
null-value answer: if he really does believe in liberty he will answer "Yes" 
but if he does not really believe in it he will also probably answer "Yes." 
It's like asking a man if he is honest - you get the same answer whether he 
is or not. You have to go at it in an indirect way, asking questions 
designed to circumvent his dishonesty (or his ignorance - many people would 
answer the questions without real knowledge of what is liberty or what is 
   You must also allow for any self-delusion he has. What is important is 
not to ascertain the rationale that he uses to justify his behavior, but the 
actual principles underlying the behavior. 
   The object is to determine whether he accepts or rejects the non-
aggression principle. Even though he may not be philosophically 
sophisticated enough to properly apply it in all circumstances. 
   The questions should be constructed so as to pose a distinguishable 
separation between two phenomena. The important thing to look for when you 
ask them is NOT the clarity and precision with which the person identifies 
the distinction, but merely whether or not he MAKES the distinction. After 
all, you cannot expect an ordinary person to be a trained philosopher or 
logician, but you can and SHOULD expect him to be a decent human being, and 
thus to REALIZE that there is a distinction to be made, even though he may 
not be able to precisely specify that distinction. 
   Always remember that actions speak louder than words. 

   Here are some sample questions: 
   How do you distinguish between trade and theft? [according to Marxist 
doctrine, there is no distinction.] 
   How do you distinguish between taxation and theft? 
   What are you opposed to - the people running the government, the way they 
are running it, or government itself? 
   Define freedom. Define slavery. 
   What is the fundamental distinguishing characteristic of government? 
   What are the proper functions of government? 
   What is the alternative to government? 
   What is the difference between Politics and Economics? 
   What is the logical fallacy in the statement "cheating on a tax form"? 
   Under what circumstances may the State justly place its welfare above 
that of an individual citizen? 
   Are there any situations which transform actions which are otherwise 
immoral in principle into actions which are then moral, or in which morality 
does not obtain? 
   Under what circumstances would it be proper for a member of a group to do 
something that it would be improper for that individual to do alone? 
   Can a man who is acting as Head of State properly do something that would 
be improper if done by a private individual? 
   Would you be morally justified in killing an innocent person if that were 
the only way to prevent your own death? 
   Does a fire in a theater entitle any individual to trample another person 
in order to facilitate his own escape? 
   In order to save the life of his own family member, may a doctor with 
whom you have contracted refuse to perform an operation on you, at the cost 
of your life? 
   How do you distinguish between criminal and non-criminal behavior? 
   Is there a distinction between moral principle (natural law) and 
legislative edict (government law)? Illustrate your answer by reference to 
gambling and to the legal and illegal ownership of gold, whiskey and heroin. 
   What part do you play in the political process of the community? 
   What have you done to reduce your taxes? 
   Do you believe it is necessary for each individual to independently 
derive the ethical principles which he uses to govern his life? [The 
Nietzschean answer to this is "yes"] 
   Do you judge both government behavior and non-government behavior by 
reference to the same ethical principles? 
   Here is the legal definition of "larceny": "The trespassory taking and 
carrying away of the valuable personal property of another with the intent 
to permanently deprive the owner of possession." 
   Do you agree with this definition? If not, how would you define it 
   Do you think that the government is not committing larceny? If so, how do 
you explain government behavior that corresponds to that definition? 
   Do you think that larceny is sometimes justified, or justified if the 
amount is small enough, or justified as a policy of the State, or justified 
if the perpetrator is in a position of dire need? How would you define the 
conditions which would justify larceny? 
   If larceny can be justified as a policy of the State, can the State 
consistently uphold a larceny standard in criminal proceedings? 
   Are your private scholarly or professional projects important enough to 
justify larceny? Are anyone's? If so, when and why? 

   * Prerequisites of a revolution 
   For a revolution or civil war to occur, two conditions must be met: 
   1. The population of the country must be divisible into at least two 
mutually exclusive groups. These are the groups that would actually be 
shooting at each other during the conflict. For example: the Union army and 
the Confederate army. 
   American Libertarians would, of course, see these two groups as "the 
government" and "the people" but I believe this view is false. 
   What Ayn Rand called "cultural value-deprivation" means not only the 
absence of positive values and the actions needed to achieve them, it also 
means the inability to take any effective action to combat a negative. 
Value-deprived people lose any impulse to rebel against tyranny since, 
lacking a principled basis for their judgments, they are bereft of any way 
to decide who their real enemies are. 
   To vent their rage and frustration, victims of tyranny frequently turn 
against each other instead of against their oppressors. Thus, in their rage 
over the beating of Rodney King, the citizens of LA beat up their neighbors 
and burned their own neighborhoods. They did NOT rise up against the police, 
for they do not know who their enemies actually are. 

   2. There must be possible a triggering situation that would precipitate 
the conflict. 
   In America this is precluded by the general attitude toward tyranny, 
which usually rests on the phrase "too much." If you press a protestor (and 
this is especially true of political conservatives) until you can get him to 
identify the foundation of his enmity toward government, you will find that 
it is based on a statement containing some variant of the phrase "too much." 
He is not fundamentally opposed to slavery, just "too much" slavery. He is 
not fundamentally opposed to tyranny, just a level of tyranny that is "far 
beyond" what he judges acceptable. He is not fundamentally opposed to 
government interference in private lives, just "an excessive amount" of such 
interference (or a type of interference that is not HIS proposed type of 
interference). But "too much" is not a dividing line. It is simply an 
ambiguous realm with no firm boundary. Thus it is very unlikely that, for 
this guy, there would be ANY level of "too much" that would induce him to 
take up arms and rebel. In any case, such an ambiguous level would surely be 
different for each individual (just ask several and you will see), and thus 
NO level would suffice to precipitate a general rebellion. 

   Because these two conditions are not met (and I believe cannot be met) in 
America, I do not forsee a revolution occurring here. 
   It takes a certain energy of idealism to create a revolution. The drawn-
out death of freedom in America has been so insidious, but yet so 
penetrating, that few people have any idealism left that can be stirred to a 
revolutionary fervor. The people of America will not rise in rebellion 
against their government. The State has warped their lives, swallowed their 
fortunes, and destroyed their sacred honor, leaving them in a value-deprived 
moral vacuum, lacking any principle by means of which they might rebel 
against its tyranny. 
   From The Anti-Federalist: "If the people of America will submit to a 
constitution that will vest in the hands of any body of men the power to 
deprive them by law of their rights, they will perforce submit to anything. 
Reasoning with them will be in vain; they must be left until they are 
brought to reflection by feeling oppression - they will then have to wrest 
from their oppressors, by a strong hand, that which they would have retained 
by a moderate share of prudence and firmness." 
   Cultural value-deprivation must inevitably result in a very docile 
population. Who in America believes in any idea (or any value) enough to 
fight for it? Certainly not the libertarians, and they are the closest thing 
America has to freedom-lovers. The totalitarians know what they stand for. 
The non-totalitarians will stand for anything. 
   But maybe tyranny in America has a limit. Although Americans will not 
fight the actual institutions of tyranny, perhaps they will not accept 
unlimited tyranny without the sort of blind uprising which destroys 
civilization. Here I speak of uprisings such as that which followed the 
beating of Rodney King by the LA police - a rebellion directed not against 
the police but against the very neighbors and neighborhoods of the rioting 

   Two out of three Americans are obese. Who ever heard of a revolution of 
fat men? 

   * Thoughts on Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare 
   Terrorism consists of acts of violence designed to affect the victims not 
merely physically but psychologically also. It produces, in the minds of the 
victims, a long-term anxiety resulting from not knowing who is going to be 
attacked, where the attack will take place, when it will take place, or what 
form of violence will occur. If the concept of terrorism is to be a 
psychological-psychiatric concept in addition to being merely a legal-
political concept, its study must include politicians, military personnel, 
police, businessmen (particularly armaments manufacturers), and scientists 
and technicians in addition to the skyjackers and urban guerrillas to whom 
the term is usually applied. What we are dealing with are certain immutable 
psychological patterns and principles that apply to a chief of state just as 
well as they do to a lone gunman. 

   Imbuing fear into the mind of your enemy is a legitimate aim of warfare, 
thus terrorism is a valid tool of combat. However, there are few, if any, 
revolutionary groups in the world today who apply it properly. They fail 
utterly to make a proper identification of their actual enemy. 
   Consider those groups usually (and properly!) labeled as terrorists. They 
are active in many countries around the world: the ETA in Spain, the PLO in 
Israel, the IRA in England. None of these groups makes much, if any, 
distinction between the government they are fighting and the people who are 
subjects of that government. They strike not only at members of the 
government, but also indiscriminately at the general public. In the behavior 
of such groups, war is morally equivalent to bombing a prison because one 
has a grievance against its sadistic warden. 
   (It should be noted that although terrorist activities are almost always 
directed against innocent civilians, with few exceptions those activities 
are prompted by, and a response to, government behavior. If we got rid of 
government, we would thereby eliminate the motives for most terrorism.) 
   Indiscriminate violence is not only wrong in principle, it is also 
counterproductive in practice: many British people who might otherwise be 
sympathetic to the IRA's desire to get British troops out of Northern 
Ireland are appalled at the spectacle of bombs killing their neighbors in 
the subway, and are thereby quite rightfully inclined to support the 
suppression of the IRA and its goals. 
   A principled revolutionary group should strike only at ethically 
justifiable targets, and the general public is NOT such a target.  
   As Murray Rothbard has observed (FOR A NEW LIBERTY pg269): 
   "Revolutionary guerrilla war can be far more consistent with libertarian 
principles than any inter-State war. By the very nature of their activities, 
libertarian guerrillas defend the civilian population against the 
depredations of a State; hence, guerrillas, inhabiting as they do the same 
country as the civilians, cannot use weapons of mass destruction. Further: 
since guerrillas rely for victory on the support and aid of the civilian 
population, they must, as a basic part of their strategy, spare civilians 
from harm and pinpoint their activities solely against the State apparatus 
and its armed forces." 
   Even actual terrorists recognize, to some extent, that they must side 
with the people against State tyranny - as in this account of how the IRA 
helps those opposing the occupation: 
   After internment the Catholics went on rent strike, and there was talk of 
shutting off the water and the electricity if they didn't pay up. So what 
did Paddy do? He went round to the local betting shop, held up the cashier, 
raked in a few thousand quid, then went to the first house in the street and 
   "How much do you owe?" 
   "Forty seven pounds and twelve pence." 
   "Here's the money." 
   And he went down the whole street with the cash and paid them out. The 
rent man came, knocked at the first door: "Mrs Murphy, you owe..." She paid 
it all, the book was signed, and so on down the row. The rent man got to the 
last house well pleased he'd got the money off all the street - and Paddy 
was standing there on the corner: "Hands up!" Took all the money off the 
rent man, gave it back to the bookie, and that was it. You have to admire 
that: brilliant. 

   Consider the situation in America, for example. For two centuries the 
government has whittled away at freedom, gradually - with each additional 
law it passes - depriving individual people bit by bit of their right to 
choose their own destiny. If the tyranny that exists today were to have been 
foisted in its totality upon our forefathers they would have risen in a 
rebellion even more forceful than that which they inflicted upon the tyrants 
of King George. The government could never have accomplished such a massive 
change in one fell swoop - it had to be brought about by a lengthy series of 
gradual encroachments: in small enough doses that the populace would be 
willing to accept each encroachment individually as being of itself 
insufficient to justify the immense rebellion required to bring down the 
entire government. 
   But this process is a two-edged sword. In a similar manner, the oppressed 
victims of a tyranny could turn this sword against their government and 
gradually reduce its tyrannical power over them. They could do this through 
a series of small encroachments on government power, none of them in and of 
itself sufficient to induce the government to undertake the expense of a 
major military mobilization, but all of them adding up over the years to the 
gradual reduction of government tyranny. 
   But they can achieve this goal only if they make proper and effective use 
of the force they wield. To use it properly, they must make sure it is 
directed only against the appropriate target: government. And to use it 
effectively, they must make sure that it is applied in a way that will have 
the desired influence on government behavior. 

   * Strategy - Disarm and Disable 
   Two of the primary precepts of warfare are: 
   Disarm the enemy economically and militarily. 
   Disable the enemy's determination to pursue his intentions. 
   The strategic aims of the rebels should be to make the State less capable 
of functioning and less determined to function. And to show others who hate 
the State that it IS possible to strike effectively against it. 
   The goal is not to defeat the State in battle, but to intimidate it from 
practicing tyranny; not to conquer it, but to cripple it so severely that 
acquiescence to demands for freedom will become a political and/or economic 
   The goal is not to destroy a particular, individual tyrant, who will 
merely be replaced by another individual tyrant, but to demolish the 
institution of tyranny which enables the individual tyrant to inflict his 
viciousness on other people. 

   * Tactics - Focus, Meaning, Purpose 
   The implementation of this strategy consists of a three-pronged tactic. 
   The first level of guerilla war is a focused attack. The target must be 
carefully selected and the attack must be directed exclusively at that 
target. In order for a libertarian rebellion to succeed, it must strike only 
against the oppressive behavior of the State, and not against innocent 
people who are themselves victims of that State. In so doing, the rebels 
will more and more bring the victims into sympathy with their goals rather 
than alienating them. 

   The second level is a focused attack invested with meaning. 
   The rebels must tell the world why they have attacked. A clear statement 
must be made, describing in detail the tyrannous behavior that motivated the 

   The third level is a focused attack with meaning and purpose. 
   The rebels must tell the world what they are fighting to achieve - what 
it is they want the State to do. For example: 
   "We demand the enactment and vigorous enforcement of a law making it a 
criminal offense for a policeman to interfere with the lawful behavior of a 
free citizen (coupled with the repeal of all victimless-crime laws). Until 
our demand is met we shall continue to defend our freedom as forcefully as 
the government violates it. So long as we must live under the threat of 
government oppression, the government will live under the threat of our 
retaliation. We wish only peace and respect. If you will not see fit to 
grant us these things, then we will fight for them on the field of arms, a 
field of your choosing. You chose it when you sent your armed police into 
our lives." 
   The public must know what the rebels are doing and why they are doing it. 
If the rebels attack the police and the public knows that their goal is to 
make everyone safe from police brutality, or if they attack tax collectors 
and the public knows that their goal is to diminish everyone's tax burden, 
then the public is much more likely to support (even if only tacitly) their 
ends. If the rebels don't get THEIR message to the public, then public 
opinion will be based only on the State's message. 

   A carefully controlled and directed attack could indeed be conducive to 
an ameliorative change in a tyrannous government. 
   1. By reducing the government's economic resources, it would reduce the 
government's ability to oppress its subjects. 
   2. It would reduce the oppressive motivation of individual government 
agents by giving each of them negative reinforcement for such behavior. The 
police might not care what publicity says about the police department, but 
each individual policeman WILL care if there is forceful retaliation for 
what HE does. Each individual will have to think before he continues his 
oppression, and ask himself what might happen to him personally in response. 
Armed agents of a tyrannous State respect the rights only of those whom they 
have reason to fear. 

   It is, of course, impossible for a small number of freedom fighters to 
stand in force against the armed might of a government. But there is great 
potential for a few dedicated guerrillas to accomplish a considerable amount 
of change in the behavior of a government. 
   The weapons with which a government can be hit and hurt by an individual 
or small group of rebels are assassination and sabotage. If a few people 
hate the State fervently enough to fight effectively against it, the State 
won't be able to control the country economically because of the ruination 
of its expensive equipment. It can't just ignore the rebels or pretend they 
don't exist - the State will have to start putting men and money into a 
fight against them, and that will bring closer the day when the State will 
be politically and/or economically disabled, or at least reduced in its 
ability to impose tyranny. 
   This fight would, indirectly, reduce the support for government in the 
general population, since, in order to compensate for the economic losses 
imposed by the rebels, government would have to increase the economic drain 
it imposes on the citizens it claims to be protecting. Thus government will 
need more police and tax collectors to get the same amount of cooperation 
and resources out of the civilians - but that simply increases civilian 
resentment of the State.    
   Another reason for generating widespread hatred of the government is that 
government in America is responsive to what it perceives as the will of the 
majority of the voters (see Chapter 7). Thus if enough people hate it, it 
may change itself. 
   See reference 
   * Morale 
   It may be asked, "Isn't it stupid and senseless to fight any war when 
there is no hope of winning it?" 
   Mencken: "It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it only takes a 
few determined men and a sound cause." 
   Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed 
persons can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." 
   You must be continually aware that although there may never be an 
absolute, total victory - that you have no hope of achieving any type of 
military victory over government forces - nevertheless, if you act with 
prudence and diligence, the final practical victory - the one that matters, 
the one that changes the behavior of individual government agents - will be 
yours. Keep in mind that no one has ever gained freedom except by fighting 
for it. 
   While it is true that the great power of the State has absolute dominion 
over any small group of free people, this dominion is similar to that of a 
man over a hornets' nest: it can be exercised only at the risk of 
considerable personal danger. Each policeman must be brought to consider the 
risk to him personally of his tyrannous behavior. 
   You, as an individual, and acting by yourself alone, CAN make a 
difference! If you can make just one cop reluctant to hassle people, then 
you have in fact reduced the extent of tyranny. If you make such a change, 
even a little one, then you've won something. 
   "But," it is claimed, "some policemen are good men who are only doing 
their jobs." An Allied soldier fighting the Nazis did not question the 
particular character of each individual German soldier he encountered, he 
merely looked at a man with a uniform and a gun, and he knew that man by 
those signs to be his enemy, and he acted accordingly. Likewise, the rebel 
should not question the particular character of each individual policeman he 
encounters. It is by the uniform and the gun, and the ethical principles 
that those signs represent, that you recognize him to be your enemy. By 
choosing to wear the uniform and bear arms against you he has declared 
himself to be violently opposed to your freedoms. 
   G. B. Shaw: "To kill a man in uniform who is your enemy is not an act of 
murder, but an act of legitimate warfare." The enemy command authority 
(either civilian or military) is always a legitimate target of war. 
   Your war will be a righteous war, a war fought to defend your rights and 
your honor against the colossus of the State. You have a new world of 
freedom to gain; your enemy has only a lost cause to lose. 
   If you don't strike against the State now, it will eventually destroy the 
means of civilization. After a revolution today, we would still have a 
civilization to live in. After a revolution tomorrow, there would be less 
civilization remaining. If you leave the job to your children, there might 
be no hope at all for their survival. 

   On to Chapter 14
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