OT: Celebrity advice (was: Advice to a Junior in High School?)

Peter Hansen peter at engcorp.com
Wed Aug 27 21:59:07 CEST 2003

Gerrit Holl wrote:
> Terry Reedy wrote:
> > " Every political choice ultimately reduces to a choice about when and
> > how to use lethal force, because the threat of lethal force is what
> > makes politics and law more than a game out of which anyone could opt
> > at any time."
> >
> > Do you disagree?
> Yes.
> Maybe a government needs to use violence to enforce people getting
> into prison if they refuse to obey the law. But a prison is not
> lethal (at least, not in civilized regions like those in Europe
> and some parts of the USA).

But if you refuse to go to prison, things get lethal pretty quickly.
That's what "ultimately" refers to above.

> If a community decides to build a road, it has nothing to do with
> lethal force. Nor does it to strengthen the dikes, or cut taxes,
> or even create more strict gun laws. This statement by ESR is
> absolute nonsense.

I thought about that statement carefully when I read it, and at first
it does sound ludicrous.  Imagine, however, (using the law part of that
statement and leaving the politics part out for now) that you received
a speeding ticket, but decided to "opt out" of any negative effects
because of it.  Can't you see how short a path it is from there to 
an armed standoff with police (inevitably resulting their application
of lethal force), if you ultimately insisted on avoiding *any* negative
effect from that speeding ticket?  If you didn't pay, refused to show
up in court, attempted to prevent anyone from garnisheeing your wages,
and so forth?  I think the key word in the above is "ultimately", and
I can see why ESR would (I think validly) state what he did above.


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