This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
Mark my words; the liberty movement will never get enough people to outgun, outnumber, or outmaneuver the government. But we will still defeat it. Because, one day, we will stop trying to kill our oppressors and start trying to love them.
Don’t twist my words, it is philosophically sound to fight back violently against people that hurt you. But I contend that we’ll have better results if we turn the other cheek. There are many who would turn their guns against an armed person that means to do them harm (even if that harm is justified), there are few who would turn their guns against their helpful hand, their friend, their family.
That’s not to say it does not happen. Innocent and unarmed and loving people HAVE been executed and persecuted, even in mass, even in particularly gruesome ways. But historic examples of this often go to further my point. Martyring Christ and His apostles only made their Gospel stronger. Had Christ overthrown Caesar, His legacy would have died with the empire. The guillotines of France resulted in another monarchy whereas the murdered students were the ones to thank for winning more freedom.
The revolt that I call for is not one of guns and bombs and land mines and flame throwers and war. The revolt I call for is one of baked goods and hugs and wellness checks and community service and kind words. Make no mistake, this peaceful revolt is still a revolt. All five of those things I ask for have, at various times, been illegal or suppressed. And all five examples I listed of the traditional revolt have often been authorized and accepted. This is as radical and unorthodox of a revolution as I could possibly suggest.
This is not a denunciation of those who elect for the natural response to being enslaved, beaten, and killed. A victim is under no obligation to behave in a specific way, and I make no exception for my plan. I simply offer an alternative, one that I believe has been and will be more successful. I do not see us ever killing police and soldiers at a rate where they cannot be replaced. If Vietnam taught us anything, it’s that even if a people do kill their attackers, they often end up with the same police and military authority that they tried to avoid. I hope to avoid the choice between American Imperialism and Soviet Tyranny.
Brave people take up arms and stare down death in the name of love. But I think it takes an even higher degree of bravery to stare down death with no weapons at all. To hold up a rose in one hand and a note of compassion in the other and say to your enemies, “This is for you” is extremely dangerous. You may die. But if you do, would you prefer your legacy be a firearm and a rotting corpse or a flower and a message?