Joseph Stack is in the news for burning down his house then flying a plane into an IRS office and killing two people while injuring 13 others. Some are viewing him as a hero and a martyr of the anti-tax and liberty movements, these people are dangerously wrong.
Stack said in his suicide note “Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer” – He is very wrong here, this alone should brand him as not an ally to the causes at all. Fr33 Agents know of other options, practicing Agorist counter economics, for one, Seasteading for another.
Violence DOES NOT advance the movement or the message. The individual perpetrator is a criminal, a murderer, and a thug. Not only does this bring him to the same moral level as the state, but actually makes him morally inferior to the individual agents. They don’t know that what they are doing leads to or is backed by violence. So until they are taught better, they are as morally culpable as a infant or a parasite. Even if they do, they are not committing violence, they are no more responsible than a tax payer, voter, or politician is for the violent policies of their government. A statist may not be aware of the gun in the room, his weapon was not figurative, his intent was murder.
The effects, of course, spread far beyond the individual. The violent act of an individual are used to paint others as violent, to marginalize the views, and dehumanize anyone who shares an anti-tax, anti-state view. 2 wars are being fought over the extreme views of a very small minority, and a great mistrust of anyone who even looks Arabic or has a Muslim sounding name is pervasive in this country. When you try to sympathize or justify a violent thug’s action, you make it easier for pundits, politicians, Law Enforcement and opportunists (like the SLPC’s Mark Potok) . In addition to negative press, new laws, and popular support can lead to crack downs, increased harassment, and increased scrutiny of people who actually ARE working for a more peaceful, more free, and eventually untaxed stateless society.
His Murderous attack was completely unacceptable and was simply the act of an emotionally and mentally broken man, as was his suicide. Had he not killed and hurt others, his suicide would have been just as likely to change the policies of the government and attitudes of the public, that is to say, NOT AT ALL. His survivors are now left with his debt, a burned out home, additional bills, and the memory of a murderously deranged man. The only thing his Murder/Suicide managed to do was hurt pro liberty movements. He is not a hero, he is a villain, a criminal, and an embarrassment.