Effective Resistance

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

Venezuela’s political and economic situation has been deteriorating.  More and more, popular outrage has led to street protests and mass defiance against the state.  Venezuelan resistance has taken a violent turn at times.

This violence has and will continue to escalate.  Passions and tempers will kindle to the point where resistance becomes a source of emotional catharsis.  The need to feel empowered and vent frustration will trump effective opposition to the state.

For example, some protestors have begun to throw feces at government goons.  This doesn’t seem likely to stop these goons, it almost certainly won’t win their sympathy.  Conflict will build walls of hate and anger that may strengthen the resistance, but it will also strengthen the state and its supporters.

It’s a tough question to answer: how do we resist the state?  Throwing poop, street battles, smashed windows, and the like aren’t an effective answer.  The best such efforts can hope for is a set of expedient concessions from the state.  In countries where the state provides food, healthcare, jobs, housing, and utilities, these concessions are vastly more important than anything like a notion of liberty or a brighter future.

The power to defeat the state lies with the power to ignore the state.  The more we build systems that can provide food, healthcare, education, and so forth which are immune to the state, the more power we’ll have over or against the state.  They don’t even have to be independent.  As long as a system outpaces the state’s ability to control or regulate it, then the state will remain in the same boat with the rest of us.


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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan
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Zachary Sorenson worked for the United States Air Force for six years as a Navigation Officer. He recently quit because of a principled opposition to war. He considers himself to be a Libertarian, and studied Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park. He would like to see the resurgence of a non-political commitment to peace for its own sake, across the spectrum of ideologies.