Check Your Rationality Before You Wreck Your Morality

Intuitively, we understand that if we can get the same results with either violence or non-violence, then the method of non-violence is infinitely more moral. To clarify, here are some examples of goals and how they can be met with and without violence:

  1. Getting a girl -  I can kidnap one and trap her in a well Buffalo Bill style, OR I can make myself appealing, ask her out, and allow her to voluntarily choose to be with me.
  2. Getting a kid to do chores - I can threaten to hit him if he doesn't do it, OR I can negotiate or make a game out of it to help him want to do it.
  3. Bettering the education system - I can take money from people against their will and subsidize public schools, OR I can work for, create or support companies like Praxis, which make education cheaper and more efficient.

Notice that the peaceful solutions require more work and creativity. On the other hand, violence is an easy, one-size-fits-all type of tool. It simply doesn't require much critical thought, work or patience.

Do you want something done but you're too lazy, incompetent and/or sadistic? Well, have I got the perfect solution for you: violence.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that corporal punishment is absolutely necessary for this or that when they haven't even read a single book on peaceful parenting. 

The lack of research is even more egregious when it comes to people advocating for government force. That's because people get their belief in government through social osmosis instead of through critical thought. Even people who don't care at all about politics are absolutely, 100% sure that society would collapse without government coercion. It's almost as if they were taught by schools run by governments. Oh, wait.

It really bothers me that most people argue for corporal punishment and institutionalized violence as if they've personally ruled out every voluntary option. It bothers me even more that those people are usually the same ones who claim to care about people. 

About 70% of the U.S. population still endorses corporal punishment and the love for government coercion is as popular as the love for hamburgers. Do you think all of those people thoroughly examined their options before reaching those conclusions? Especially when I consider how little critical thought is promoted in schools, I doubt it.  

The fact is, most people reach for the sword way too quickly. I attribute this to laziness, incompetency, and/or sadism. I mean, just think of the three violent scenarios I gave and see what applies with what. It's actually a fun thought experiment. 

Whatever the reason is, I don't think it's an excuse. If people support violent solutions when they didn't even look for voluntary alternatives, I think they are being immoral. So, here's my general rule that everyone who does not want to be immoral must follow: 

If you haven't properly searched for peaceful solutions, your default position should NOT be that a violent one is necessary. 

(Of course, this is provided that you have the time to assess your options - I'm not suggesting, if a crazy guy ran at you with a knife, that you stop and think of every course of action before shooting him)

Doing merely some research is not enough. To do this properly, I recommend that you thoroughly test all proposed peaceful solutions. I know, it sounds like hard work, but you should be happy to have a high tolerance before resorting to violence. If you don't have that then I'm afraid you may have a bad case of authoritarianism.

Notice how, with this moral rule, it is easy to not do the wrong thing. It is just as simple as not advocating for or committing violence when you don't know enough. You can literally do this in your sleep! 

If you're a person who has supported or committed violence without satisfying this rule, you probably want to demand that I show you a peaceful solution before you let go of your belief in the violent one. While I could probably point you to a non-violent alternative to some situations, the truth is that I shouldn't have to. 

That's because the burden of proof is not on me, but rather on the people that claim that the ONLY way to get something done is through force. It's not up to the girl to prove to me why I shouldn't kidnap her. If I belt a child to get him to do chores, it is not up to him to justify why I shouldn't have done it. The same goes with me demanding forced redistribution of wealth. I'm the aggressor, so why should the victims carry the burden? Sadly this simple truth of who should carry the burden of proof has been tragically ignored.

Okay, now that you know these things, there really is no excuse. Like I said, all you have to do is drop your support of violence until you do the proper research. That is, if you don't want to be immoral. Luckily for you, there are people out there that have devoted their whole lives to finding peaceful alternatives. Every resource imaginable is easily accessible to us by the power of the internet. So, go out there and explore. Once you let go of the limiting idea that violence is necessary, you might be surprised by all the possibilities. 

To make it easier for you, below are some useful resources that will help you discover peaceful alternatives having to do with parenting and socioeconomics. 

If you're looking for tips on how to get a girl voluntarily for a change, first of all I've had no success there so you're asking the wrong guy and second of all, there's probably no hope for you at this point if you're looking for reasons not to kidnap one. 

On Parenting

On Socioeconomics

  • Freedom! by Adam Kokesh. A fine (and free) book introducing voluntaryism.
  • pressingthebutton.com. A site that keeps an ever expanding list of alternatives to governments that already exist
  • FEE.org. It has great articles which illuminate all the good that comes out of free markets and the bad things that come out of government.

About

Hello, I'm Erick Muller. I like to write about many things including philosophy, self-improvement, running, unschooling, podcasts, productivity tools and digital marketing.

2 comments

  1. I’m not an advocate of “violence” but, then again, I don’t know that I would place corporal punishment in that category. I agree that parents should research other forms of parenting. My parents had no internet and couldn’t read but practiced corporal punishment. It wasn’t abuse (although nowadays their “creative” punishments could be labeled as that) – it was just a good spanking when I did something pretty bad. I could probably count on 1 hand the times they spanked me. Personally, there were more parenting options for me, so I never spanked my son at all. In my opinion, both methods work, but there are times when it calls for a good ol’ fashion consequences. I have a super high tolerance for misbehavior (maybe too high), and I almost always can deescalate the behavior by just listening or talking, but I think I have also seen where there was no parenting/structure/discipline/clearly defined rules, and it gets more difficult for the child in school and at home.
    Anyway, just my .02 cents worth. Great thought provoking post!!!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I do understand your sentiment with everything that you’re saying. Your parents should be forgiven more since they didn’t have access to resources. Plus if you can count on one hand how many times they spanked you, things were not so bad all things considered. When you say you have seen bad results where there was an absence of corporal punishment, I want to point out that peaceful parenting does not just mean letting the kids loose. In other words, it does include the cultivation of structure, discipline and clearly defined rules. It doesn’t just aim at being peaceful but it also aims at being effective.

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