May 20, 2005

The Necessity of a Right to Violence in Popular Sovereignty

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

- George Washington

Where government is not sovereign, there is no independent force. Ultimately either there is no force at all (how much force is their in Cub Scout government?) or the force depends on a higher, sovereign body for authorization. The latter case is seen in municipalities who gain the right to hire police and enforce their own rules on the sufferance of a sovereign state government.

Popular sovereignty, if it is to be more than a mere illusion, has to come with a general recognition that the people have the right to defend that sovereignty, through delegation when their government is their servant, directly when government styles itself their master. When somebody wants restrictions on this or that method of popular violence, there either must be a border condition where they uphold popular sovereignty or they don't believe, as the founders did believe, that "here the people rule".

Posted by TMLutas at May 20, 2005 11:13 AM