Leftists have made much this past week of the supposed vandalism and threats made in the wake of the traitorous health care law passage. Most well known conservatives have decried any such acts, or even the thoughts of such acts. They have made the collective point that violence is never an appropriate response and should always be shunned. Now, I am certainly not advocating any maliciousphysical actions or verbal. Rather, I am merely taking issue with the logic my fellow conservatives use when decrying all use of violence, at all times, in all places.
This past week marked the 235th anniversary of a speech by Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry, the most famous line of which is “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The entire purpose of his monologue was to entreat the listeners to take up arms. Would those who say that violence is never an acceptable response to the loss of freedom condemn Mr. Henry? I dare say that would be silent in his regard as history has shown that warfare, in its variety of forms, was a necessary response to the indignities he and his contemporaries suffered. Why then, do my contemporaries so quickly renounce the natural end of a political irresolution that places a bounty on the very lifeblood of the human soul: freedom?
The past has shown, time, time and time again that governments are predisposed to ever increasing in size, and, as Thomas Jefferson noted, “as government grows, liberty decreases.” When words fail to stave off the ever encroaching tentacles of liberal bureaucracy, what recourse is there? I ask this as a sincere question. Violence must always be the last recourse, lest any new government be born of anarchy and fratricide. Those who have said they would never resort to physical confrontation would seem to have already answered it for themselves. Such statements give tacit acquiescence to the opposition. For them, liberty gained or preserved in such a way is to expensive as it might come at the cost of their temporal skin. To them, I offer the words of Samuel Adams; “If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
Robert Heinlein, a favorite author of mine, also broached this topic directly. I will leave you with his poinient fictional dialog between a civics teacher and a student who approached him with the statement “violence never solves anything.”
“But on the last day he seemed to be trying to find out what we had learned. One girl told him bluntly: “My mother says that violence never settles anything.”
“So?” Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. “I’m sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that. Why doesn’t your mother tell them so? Or why don’t you?”
They had tangled before — since you couldn’t flunk the course, it wasn’t necessary to keep Mr. Dubois buttered up. She said shrilly, “You’re making fun of me! Everybody knows that Carthage was destroyed!”
“You seemed to be unaware of it,” he said grimly. “Since you do know it, wouldn’t you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly? However, I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn on an inexcusably silly idea — a practice I shall always follow. Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that ‘violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.”