Can individuals use force in self-defense?

The use of physical force, in and of itself, is not evil — but to initiate (start) force is.

Any individual (or group of individuals) who initiates physical force against others is a dictator — a monster — and should be treated as such. To use force in retaliation — in self-defense against those who initiate it — is not a moral option, but a moral requirement. A moral individual has nothing to gain from being assaulted, but has much to lose if one does not defend onself.

The use of force, in and of itself, is not evil — but to initiate (start) force is. Contrary to the doctrines of the pacifists, using force in self-defense is a good (force in self-defense may not always be possible, or effective, but this does not change its ethical status as an act of self-defense).


Under capitalism, it is the government’s job to use force to defend its citizen’s rights; however, the government is not omnipotent, and it is not omnipresent: it cannot be everywhere.

In cases where the police are not present to resolve a criminal situation in time to prevent an irreversible situation, one has the right to those means necessary to protect themselves, until the police can arrive to handle the situation, i.e., an intrusion by a would-be rapist when a woman is alone in her apartment.


The right to own a firearm is an application of the right to self-defense, i.e., the right to obtain the means to defend oneself. The right to self-defense is itself is a corollary of the right to life (a corollary is an implication of a principle).

It would be absurd to say one has the right to life in theory, but does not have the right to the means necessary to protect that life. It would be like saying one has the right to life, but not the right to purchase food. This is what opponents to the right to own a gun for self-defense are really against the right to life.

Unfortunately, it is the right to life, that is ignored in the debate over the right to bear arms, both by its opponents and by its so-called defenders! As Adam Mossoff writes in Capitalism Magazine:

“The field of battle on which gun control should be fought is exactly on this issue: man’s rights. Statistical arguments on gun control are a red herring — as the leftists’ appeals to hungry children or the environmentalists’ appeals to clean parks are also meant to distract their opponents from the fundamental issues at stake. While the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other defenders of the right to bear arms argue over statistics and interpreting the Constitution, the real issues remain untouched and are sacrificed to the enemies of our freedom.”

Does a man who murders another man have a right to life?

Any man who deliberately murders (kills an innocent human being in the first-degree) another man has declared by his actions that he does not accept the principle of individual rights. He is worse than an animal, as he has chosen to abdicate his reason. He has adopted the code of the jungle and must be dealt with like the animals in the jungle. He can make no claim to the principle of rights for protection. He ethically deserves death.

What is the proper purpose of the death penalty?

Justice, i.e., retribution. It is not primarily to discourage murder. Whether the death penalty prevents crime, or not, is irrelevant, or at best secondary. The issue is not one of prevention, but one of justice.

What is the danger of having a death penalty?

One reason we should be wary of the death penalty is to prevent it from being used as a political tool, i.e., for something else besides killing cold-blooded murderers. Unfortunately, this is how it is used in statist countries (like Nazi Germany, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Castro’s Cuba, etc.); it is used as a tool for political oppression: obey or die. The danger with having a death penalty ‘on the books’, is that it may be broadened if a government goes wholly statist, or applied by a politician acting out of expediency of the moment.

In regard to the death penalty, how do we ensure that an innocent man is not murdered?

When the courts put an innocent man in jail, they can release him if they later discover that they made an error. However, when the state executes an innocent man, no one can bring him back from the dead.

I am no legal expert; but, from a layman’s point of view, I would say to prevent the killing of non-murderers we must make sure that we have absolute proof of the murderer’s guilt through a lengthy judicial process with many appeals. I recommend there at least be a waiting period of *ten years*, or higher, from the time of death sentence until the execution. In regard to the death penalty, a speedy trial — at the expense of justice — is what we do not need.

The principle here is: it is better to let one hundred murderers go free, rather than to execute a single innocent individual. This is because the killing of a murderer is the destruction of evil — from which we gain nothing; the killing of an innocent individual is the destruction of the good — an irreparable loss. Justice’s first purpose is not to punish evil; it is to reward the good. The punishment of evil is a corollary of the rewarding of the good.

Should drug dealers be executed?

No. As the sale or use of any drug is not a violation of anyone’s rights, government’s role in such matters is laissez-faire — to leave them alone.

Under capitalism can the state prohibit the use of drugs?

No drug is prohibited under capitalism. As the sale or use of any drug is not a violation of anyone’s rights, government’s role in such matters is laissez-faire — to leave them alone.

Drugs are good or bad depending on how they are used to serve one’s life: the proper standard of value. For some people, drugs are a way of dulling the consciousness to escape reality: a reality too painful to bear. In specific contexts, like open-heart surgery, they are a useful means of blocking intense pain.

The solution to the “drug problem” is not just political but is also philosophical. It is our view of man and reality and the role of reason we must first address if we wish to solve the drug problem. This requires an educational solution — and not the creation of irrational drug laws, which criminalize a peaceful activity, creating a black market for drugs.

The politicians who outlaw drugs are no different from those who illegally deal drugs. The two are partners, as each needs the other: the power-seeking bureaucrat needs the pusher as an excuse to expand his police state powers; the pusher needs the bureaucrat to outlaw the legal market creating a “black market” that only his kind can compete in. If drugs were not illegal, the drug pusher would no longer be able to earn a “black market” profit by dealing them. (The best historical example of this is prohibition of alcohol at the turn of the Twentieth century).

It is important to note that in a capitalist society there would be no ‘black’ market for drugs since the only kind of market that exists in a capitalist society is a free one.


Don’t guns cause crime?

Evil and good are moral terms that apply to entities that can make choices. A gun is a non-volitional object. Guns have no power of choice.

Unlike a gun, the user of a firearm possesses free-will and can be judged for their actions. It is only the user of a gun who is good or evil: a woman who uses a gun to shoot a man wishing to rape her is acting selfishly to save her life; a bank robber using a gun to rob a bank is acting irrationally and self-destructively.

To say that a gun is intrinsically evil because criminals — and corrupt governments — use weapons to rob peaceful citizens, is like saying water is evil because people can drown in it.