You have the right to resist arrest; but doing so will likely get you killed

You have the right to resist arrest; but doing so will likely get you killed

Published by on Jun 1, 2014

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As an individual you have certain inalienable natural rights; namely life, liberty, and property. Due to this fact, no one may ever justly initiate force against the life, liberty, or property of another. This is the fundamental principle of human existence. The necessary corollary to these rights is that whenever someone does initiate force against the life, liberty, or property of another, the individual so aggrieved has the right to use defensive force in order to stop the force initiator. The use of force (violence) is permissible only to stop or bring to justice an individual who has already initiated force. Another way of stating this principle is that whoever uses force first is always in the wrong.

There are no exceptions to this rule. It does not matter why someone chooses to initiate force or who employs them or instructs them to do so. It makes no difference if the force is being initiated by a King or a President or by someone under their command. It makes no difference if the force is being initiated because a piece of paper somewhere claims to allow it. It makes no difference if the force is being initiated with the enthusiastic approval of 99.99% of the population. It is never justifiable to initiate force against another individual.

When the principle delineated above is fully understood it becomes clear that many of the actions carried out by governments and by law enforcement in particular do in fact constitute the initiation of force. Whenever an individual is fined or arrested or even temporarily detained, his natural rights are being violated which means that, unless that individual has already initiated force (such as by engaging in murder, rape, battery, or theft), he has the natural right to use defensive force in order to stop the force initiator. Keep in mind here that we are talking only about rights; we are not talking about what is tactically advisable.

The vast majority of compulsory interactions with law enforcement involve individuals who have not initiated force against anyone. Possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia, underage drinking or smoking, curfew violations, truancy, zoning violations, non-payment of taxes, jaywalking, failure to wear a seatbelt or helmet, and most other traffic law violations are just a handful of the tens of thousands of reasons why innocent people—who have not harmed anyone—may be detained and extorted by government enforcers.

The quickest way to determine if an outlawed action actually constitutes the initiation of force is to ask who the victim is. If there is no victim, an action cannot be a crime. The second question which must be asked is, even if there is a theoretical victim, how were they harmed? Offending someone or hurting their feelings does not constitute the initiation of force and neither does refusing to associate with them or do business with them. Only actions which violate their life, liberty, or property can constitute the initiation of force and only such an action can justify the use of defensive force.

If anyone—including an employee of a criminal gang which calls itself a government—attempts to initiate force against an innocent individual, it is perfectly justifiable for that individual (or another individual acting on their behalf) to use defensive force (up to and including lethal force) to stop the force initiator and to terminate their aggression. Unfortunately, rendering justice in this manner will, in almost all cases, result in the death of the person engaging in self-defense.

Every interaction with a government enforcer carries with it the threat of death. Even if the enforcer does not make any mention of this fact or actually threaten such a thing, any successful attempt to resist his initiation of force will be escalated by the enforcer or by his associates until such time as you surrender or are killed. In some cases surrender will cease to be an option because—in order to protect their pride and to frighten anyone who might dare to resist in the future—these enforcers will decide to kill you even if you do surrender.

It must be understood that any attempt to resist the initiation of force by a government enforcer has a high probability of resulting in your death and a near-100% probability of resulting in the seizing of your assets and the caging of your person.

So what are we to do? We unquestionably have the right to resist detention and compulsory interaction with government enforcers, but doing so will generally cause us more harm than would compliance… It's almost like they designed the system this way on purpose! The answer to this question is not an easy one because each time an individual is faced with force initiation, he must decide for himself rather to risk his life in pursuit of justice or to allow himself to be victimized by thugs who are better armed and better organized than himself.

Perhaps the answer in the long run is to change the odds in terms of arms and organization, but that's a topic for another place and time. For now, we must recognize the great chasm that exists between true justice and the actions of governments and their hired guns, and do everything that we can to educate others about this topic. The people at large outnumber the enforcers 100-1. If and when we decide—en masse—to stop tolerating injustice, things will change very quickly for the one percent who are currently subjugating the rest of us.

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