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Governments pay lip-service to reasoning

link Kent McManigal

Local columnist

There are two — and only two — ways to interact with other people: You can use reason or you can resort to force.

Reason is the civilized choice.

The really great thing about most people is they almost never — on their own — resort to force. Rarely does anyone try to force their will on others in daily life. Rarely do they steal rather than making a trade. People say “excuse me” and hold doors open for one another without anyone ordering them to do so.

People are mostly decent, and it is no trick to get them to see people who shun reason and prefer force as the damaged ones.

In fact, almost everyone understands choosing force over reason to be wrong. Sure, there are a few freelance bad guys out there, and there always will be, but the number is much smaller than you have been tricked into believing. The rest of us outnumber them so overwhelmingly that if we were to once again take responsibility for our own safety and self defense they’d be wiped out quickly unless they changed their ways.

For the rest of us, when we want someone else to agree to something we try to convince them how great our idea is, or how it would be in their interest to join our cause. We may even offer incentives.

If we can’t convince them, the civilized thing is to let them walk away.

When was the last time someone physically twisted your arm to get you to compromise on pizza toppings? How long has it been since you had a gun stuck in your face for saying you’d rather opt out of a family gathering?

When someone chooses to use force to make you do things their way, you are justified in responding with force in self defense. Those who choose force don’t want you to know this — they want protection or immunity from the consequences of their choices.

Why do people imagine the rule of civilized behavior magically changes once someone invokes government?

This dichotomy of reason or force is also why all governments, no matter what they say, are uncomfortable with people like you or me owning and carrying adequate weapons to resist those who default to force. It’s why they always impose exceptions or “reasonable” limits in spite of “shall not be infringed.”

Governments all rely on force, and will only give reason lip-service for show.

Force leads to tyranny; the use of reason leads to liberty. People, left to their own, choose reason and liberty most of the time. Left to ourselves we can handle those who don’t.

Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at:

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