FREEDOM! by Adam Kokesh — A Philosophical Manifesto for the Abolition of Violence

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When I was serving in the Marine Corps, I dealt with plenty of moral and philosophical challenges due to the violent nature of the organization that I eventually had to learn to deal with on my own. Prior to joining, I still felt that there was a place for governments: a military is needed for defense, and a small government was needed to prosecute criminals, both should be efficient and moral. As I went through boot camp, I quickly realized the ethical error in my decision to join, but I had to search high and low throughout my service for the solution to this error.  I had to reject the brainwashing inhibited to me throughout my training, and I had to re-study the information I’d previously retained that was lost in the psychological mind-ruling of the United States Marine Corps. Throughout my studies, Murray Rothbard, Lysander Spooner, and Ludwig von Mises helped me begin to break out of my patriotic mind-set, and begin to assess the real nature of government: violence against the individual. Even though such great literary works by these authors helped me the most, I wish that I had a book like FREEDOM! by Adam Kokesh to help me along the way, but unfortunately, it was just a mere sparkle in his eye during this time. However, having the prior knowledge that I did made me realize the importance of the book while I was reading it, and I was able to come to an even greater understanding of what the principle of non-aggression, as a inhibitor of true freedom, is.

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6 responses to “FREEDOM! by Adam Kokesh — A Philosophical Manifesto for the Abolition of Violence

  1. benjaminxjackson

    I haven’t read the book you mentioned, but I have read this post twice and thought about it some. The idea that government is violence against the individual is too extreme. Maybe a bad government is, but certainly not all government. As Aristotle says, “every community is established with a view to some good,” though people might disagree as to what that good is or should be. Additionally, he notes that “he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself must be either a beast or a god….A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors.” Consider also the founding fathers, who in the Declaration of Independence listed the inalienable rights of all individuals — life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. They say in the next paragraph that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Now this means that responsibilities come with these rights, we have to be part of the government that secures them. Even Henry David Thoreau, who talks about quietly declaring war on the state notes that it has its uses and he takes part in some of it. “I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow-countrymen now.” Please excuse the lengthy reply, but that assertion got me thinking, and I disagree with it. Since I thought it was worth thinking about, I thought it was worth sharing thoughts.

    • I agree with the need for governments. Every company needs a leader or manager and then there are levels of administrative directors. The difference between private companies and democratic governments is that governments are chosen by those they govern. The problem is not in governments as much as in citizens who do not accept responsibility for choices they make for leaders. And those who do not vote still choose the leader that is voted in. If we buy into political propaganda then we have encouraged our leaders to use it. There is no excuse, except for those who lack the intelligence to accept responsibility for righting the wrongs that other lazy voters have committed. Why should leaders be held responsible and those who elected them be considered as victims? Didn’t Adlai Stevenson say, “The government you elect serves you right”?
      Don’t I sound awfully right wing? Actually, I think of myself as a socialist, though my son claims I’m really just a bleeding heart Liberal.
      I do enjoy reading comments from people who think, no matter what.

    • wadewainio

      I don’t think it’s “too extreme” a statement at all. Governments are constantly threatening people with punishment, even for slight offenses. This is not to say everyone in the government is evil as an individual, or that those without government jobs are saints, but there really is something foul about the nature of authority. It is a corrupting influence. Henry David Thoreau didn’t object to paying highway taxes, and I agree that taxes are not the devil itself. However, alternatives to the system should be sought, for reasons that I think are plain.

  2. Pingback: My Reply to Another Blog | The Great Conversation

  3. I’d encourage anyone who believes that there is a place for government to read FREEDOM! then come back here to let me know what they think of it. After all, how can one make an opinion of something they never read? 🙂

    • benjaminxjackson

      I agree with you about not making an opinion about something I haven’t read. Your ideas were what engaged me, and that is where my thinking started. Still, I will try to give the book a read sometime soon enough that the conversation won’t be entirely stale. I will say, I think Jean has a point that we have responsibilities and not just rights when it comes to government. That is a hard thing to work with, but part of the consideration.

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