Tuesday, March 06, 2007

An Anarchist Repents

The Navy is funding research on a new less than lethal weapon that induces dizziness and nausea. What will they think of next?

While I think that the development of safer technologies for subduing individuals is a good thing in that it will hopefully result in fewer fatalities from coercive governmental control, it is unfortunate that society needs so much coercive control.

Which is easy for me to say from my safe little vantage point in the law library. The recent Danish riots graphically illustrate the virulence of European anarchism.

Okay, confession time, when I was in high school, I considered myself an anarchist. I reasoned that society seems to be totally unable to control people's destructive and violent tendencies...our society is rife with murder, child abuse, rape, domestic violence, drug abuse, and many other ills. So what are we getting for our money? What damned good is government, I asked (repeatedly)? People would shake their head at my intransigence, but no one ever offered me a coherent answer.

Now, I think that things might be much worse but for government and coercive societal controls. The endemic violence in places like Somalia doesn't seem any more appealing than the mindless destruction in Denmark.

So as we lower the bar for governmental use of force through the development of these less than lethal technologies, will government be ever more ready to use them? Will this allow us to reduce the sorts of crimes I've listed above?

Somehow, I doubt it. I think many of our ills stem from ingrained social attitudes, poor ethical instruction, and high levels of superstition (which are of course all interrelated).

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