The biggest threat to humanity, to peace, and to justice it is the belief in

The biggest threat to humanity, to peace, and to justice it is the belief in "authority."
Thomas Costanzo 
Date: 05-15-2007
Subject: Political Theory

 Larken Rose
"Good citizens" don't like to hear this, but its truth should be

obvious: The biggest threat to humanity, to peace, and to justice

is NOT personal malice. It is the belief in "authority." (Oddly,

most people have the delusional belief that "authority" is what

PROTECTS us from injustice and violence, when the exact opposite is


As one example, in this country about 400,000 people per year are

robbed by "private" thieves, while well over 200 million are robbed

by thieves acting on behalf of a supposed "authority." (The federal

income tax alone hits over 100 million people, while sales taxes,

property taxes, etc., hit just about everyone else as well.) In

other words, "government" robs 500 times as many people a year as

"private" crooks.

The FBI crime reporting system defines "robbery" as "the taking or

attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or

control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or

violence and/or by putting the victim in fear." Tell me that isn't

a perfect description of what the IRS does every day. The fact that

most people don't view authoritarian robbery as "theft" is a big

reason WHY it happens so often. If some group of people is believed

to have the moral RIGHT to forcibly take other people's stuff, of

COURSE they will do it more often than regular people.

The fact is, most EVIL is committed by basically GOOD people, for

one reason and one reason only: because those people believe in

"authority." It would be very convenient to imagine that the many

thousands of individuals who carried out the mass exterminations

under the regimes of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and so on, were all

fundamentally evil and malicious. The truth is, they were very much

like most Americans are today: most of the time, they do as they

are told. Their primary sin is believing in "authority."

How many hundreds of thousands of pawns of a supposed "authority"

do things every day that they would never do acting on their own?

Why is it that someone who would never dream of personally

demanding money from a neighbor under threat of force will do the

exact same thing, day after day, for the IRS (or any other level of

"tax" collection)? It's not from malice or personal evil (or they

would do it on their own); it's all a result of "moral negligence."

The difference between malice and negligence is clear. Generally

speaking, it's really nasty to run someone over with a car on

purpose. It's considered significantly less nasty--though equally

destructive--to accidentally run someone over by not looking where

you're going, or by driving while drunk. Of course, whether it's

malice or negligence makes no difference to how squished the

pedestrian is. And while negligence is seen as a lot less serious a

"sin" than malice, it's still pretty dang bad (especially if it

results in someone dying).

Negligence can be summed up as "I wasn't TRYING to do harm; it just

happened because I wasn't really paying attention." And that is a

nice description of the harm inflicted by EVERYONE who works for

the IRS, ATF, DEA, BOP, and just about every other bureaucracy and

"law" enforcement department at every level of "government." They

commit acts of evil, which do real damage to innocent people, but

they completely deny individual responsibility for it. "I was just

doing my job" or "I'm just enforcing the law" is the universal

excuse. They completely dodge their personal responsibility. Just

the way a drunk driver negligently fails to control what his

vehicle is doing, the mind of the bureaucrat fails to control what

his body is doing. He serves as an unthinking puppet, with his own

moral judgment completely disabled by his belief in "authority."

The are two reasons why such "moral negligence" is far more

difficult to combat than outright malice and bad intent:

1) When the VICTIMS of the harm do not see the harm as evil because

of their own belief in "authority," they don't resist at all, and

frown upon those who do. Most people have the utmost contempt for

the mugger who swipes the old lady's purse containing $100, while

accepting it as legitimate and good when an IRS "revenue officer"

swipes $1,000 from that same old lady's bank account and calls it

"tax collection." If the forcible confiscation of wealth is seen as

LEGITIMATE, and resistance is seen as evil ("law-breaking"), of

course the harm will continue.

2) When the PERPETRATORS of the harm are just "doing what they are

told," even the few people who don't accept the "authority" excuse

hesitate to react violently against people whose main sin is being

unthinking drones. Imagine that you are one of those unfortunate

"undesirables" who were carted off to death camps. It is quite

likely that EVERY ONE of the "law enforcers" you would see along

the way--at your house, at the train station, even at the camps

with the gas chambers--is merely acting on behalf of "authority"

and not out of personal malice. Of course that won't make you any

less dead at the end of the day, but WHICH of those well-meaning

(but unthinking) pawns would you be willing to KILL in order to

resist? Because your choice is to do that, or die.

It's really convenient to have a bad guy to hate, and very

uncomfortable when the guy you have to shoot is merely idiotic

rather than truly evil. That is why there was such an uproar when

Hannah Arendt (a Jew) wrote a book explaining that Adolf Eichmann,

the famous facilitator of Nazi atrocities, was not acting out of

personal malice or evil, or even anti-Semitism. He was merely the

classic bureaucrat, an ordinary guy doing what he was told.

Dr. Stanley Milgram, author of "Obedience to Authority," said that

Arendt's assessment of the supposed arch villain "comes closer to

the truth than one might dare imagine." As I've said before, if you

haven't read Milgram's book documenting the results of his own

studies of blind obedience to a perceived "authority," DO. If it

doesn't scare the heck out of you, there's something wrong with


Back to the point, good people don't like the idea of having to

hurt (or kill) people who are merely negligent. If you have to blow

someone's head off, you WANT it to be someone who epitomizes pure

evil, not some stupid bureaucrat. That's why so many Hollywood

movies spend so much time showing what a horrible guy the villain

is: so you can feel comfortable when he meets his gruesome end.

But reality isn't nearly so nice. In the real world, there are only

two choices: 1) good people will use force against basically good

people whose sin is to believe in (and obey) "authority," or 2)

those basically good (but authoritarian) people will commit

dramatic injustice due to their "moral negligence." Neither option

is pleasant, which is why injustice and oppression so often win:

because the GOOD victims of it hesitate to use violence against the

merely idiotic, while the unthinking people who IMPLEMENT the

injustice don't bat an eye before committing evil in the name of


Time for the punch line which, if you're a "good citizen," you

aren't going to like: If you want to foster violence, destruction,

suffering, torture, murder, robbery, injustice and oppression,

teach your children to respect "authority." If not, don't. (Teach

them to respect individual rights instead.)


Larken Rose