Can you feel it? The visceral longing to join the lady in this picture, to back her up, to help her, to save her. As hordes of destroyers descend on her home in some dusty corner of Asia, all she has left is her ability to resist. It doesn’t matter to her that she is one and they are many. She cares not that their arms could kill her one thousand times over. They have come to take all that is left of importance in her life. She will resist to the last. At least it is an honorable end.
In some corners of the liberty movement this image is being shared as a tactic worthy of imitation. It doesn’t matter that we are outnumbered and outgunned, let them do their worst and we shall do ours, they say. It’s noble, charming and straight out of Braveheart. It’s also stupid.
The odds do matter. There is as much sense in wanton fighting back as there is in cultish mass suicide. This is not an impoverished corner of Asia and we still have plenty of options – if only we would use them. We can still speak, write, publish and influence the public discourse. Sure, we have to do it the state’s way. But we can still do it.
If the moment comes for violent resistance and we must go out in a blaze of glory, so be it. If we must die, let it be on our own terms. Until that day, however, we press on, consolidating our gains, protecting our comrades, enjoying what our short lives have to offer and expanding our networks and markets. Think of it as a business. Do you wantonly send out your salesmen to die at the point of their sales pitches or do you marshal your forces for a smart, long-term strategy that maximizes your chance of success?
I am not criticizing this lady or anyone who puts themselves on the line to defend their principles, communities, homes or families. These brave individuals give us a star to aim for, a guide to navigate by. They inspire us to greater heights of humanity. They are a benchmark for human fortitude, honor and morality.
Be a beacon for humanity. A beacon of life preservation, love, kindness, compassion, solidarity. Don’t be an idealogue seeking death in the name of an idea. Live for it instead. Better, be the living incarnation of the best, most appealing aspects of your ideas. Teach it by living it. And pass it on to the next generation. Remember that at root our best ideas are about life and how best to live it, foster it and safeguard it. This is the foundation of all that is good about us libertarians and anarchists.
Is it better to live on though your deeds and words like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Henry David Thoreau and Malcolm X? Or will you die in a blaze of glory like Joe Stack. Who?! Exactly. I know which one is for me. What about you?