The Optimum Level of Violence

Column by Paul Bonneau.

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A while back, lots of conservatives got excited about something called the Laffer Curve. It’s the notion that stolen government loot will be zero at tax rates of both 0% and 100%, therefore looting is maximized at some rate in between. Not the most earth-shattering realization, I admit, but still, if you read about it, you come off with a strange feeling about conservatives arguing how to maximize government “revenue.” Some conservatives!

It would seem that this Laffer Curve notion could be generalized. Governments, after all, are not only about looting, but also about controlling others and enjoying the exercise of power, building empires and other such practices. To do these things requires that violence be either threatened or actually applied to the peons who are the victims of this parasitic enterprise. None of these ruling class ends are attainable at either the 0% level of violence or at the 100% level; at 0%, the would-be ruling class would be ignored, and at 100% all the producers will have been killed, or at least they would be too scared to so much as leave their homes. So, to maximize the ruling class enjoyment of power, the building of empires, the self-congratulation for “improving" our lives, and the looting, some intermediate level of violence is required, applied to an intermediate number of peons. The rest stay in line due to fear of being victimized.

Some may dispute this latter point, saying that there are lots of people out there who have been propagandized to stay in line or who imagine some duty to do so, so that fear is not involved. We can test this notion with taxes. I suspect there would not be much government loot procured, for example, if those in government said and actually meant that taxes are voluntary (in the conventional sense of the word, not how it’s used by the IRS). Remove the fear and compliance vanishes, I think; so I’d conclude their compliance is motivated more by fear than by any “duty.” Rather, “duty” is probably more a rationalization used to protect the psyche.

The question then comes up, what is the optimum level of violence for government to apply to the peons, for these ruling class ends?

I suspect it is actually pretty low. There may be 2.3 million Americans in jail, but there are still over 300 million Americans not in jail. It doesn’t take that much violence to keep the peons in line. Next time you see someone spreading fear of government around (e.g., Alex Jones), ask yourself if that is a good thing. Might the ruling class actually appreciate Jones?

Looting is a special case of ruling class violence that is more liberally applied, and the peons have been well-trained to put up with it.

I suspect the optimum level of violence looks more like the Pinochet regime in Chile. Plenty of head-cracking and torture was going on, but it was still a productive society with a healthy middle class, great for the rulers and cronies, with the peons able to survive as long as they kept their mouths shut and didn’t rock the boat--until Pinochet made the absurd error of actually asking the people if they wanted him as ruling thug (the movie No is an excellent examination of what happened then).

The USA ruling class seems to have gone a bit overboard lately, particularly as the peons are not so accommodating as in most countries. You can tell that’s so, with all those guns and ammo being purchased. A lot of angry folks are out there, these days.

Of course the next question that occurs is, how much higher can the violence ratchet up, and what is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and makes the whole parasitic scheme come tumbling down for the rulers? It’s hard to say, but the USA ruling class seems recklessly determined to find out. Perhaps a comfortable life in an optimally violent society is too boring for them, and they want some excitement.

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Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 73
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Comments

Mark Davis's picture

Excellent insight Paul.  One of your best.

Thunderbolt's picture

Right on target, Paul. Very profound observation. I also think they would relish the excitement you mention. Shooting people has to be more fun for cops than giving out tickets. Just look at the thousands of SWAT teams looking for a little fun.

Alex R. Knight III's picture

I wonder if, after this essay, you'll still get any of your columns featured at Infowars.com occasionally.  :-)

Glock27's picture

Should the ruling class be foolish enough to attempt what you say I believe a new form or revolution will evolve. As you said there are millions of gun owners. Go on line and try to buy re-loading equipment. Just to get the dies I want for a .357 will take me at least eight weeks to obtain them. Many re-loading companies are swamped with orders that they are, as were the rifle and bullet industry, running 24 hours a day seven days a week trying to meet these demands.
Many people will concede that to fight the federal government army will be an impossible task but all you have to do is look at Viet Nam, Chechnya, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and many other small third world countries that have kept giant military complexes out of their countries. It clearly demonstrates that it does not take huge helicopters, jet planes, huge cannons and massive numbers of men. Guerilla war fare. America is a large portion of real estate, to be managed, far greater than Cambodia, Afghanistan, Viet Nam. The havoc that could be wrecked upon the military would be devastating especially if these Gurillia's had leadership, a critical element, as Washington discovered a long ways back
How many enlisted military men will fire on American citizens? Surely some will follow the orders, but more are less likely to do so and may even defect. How many cops will try to approach a heavily armed citizenry? Some will, others will not. We could go on and on, so a military take over of this nation I find to be improbable. For many of us the problem will be getting the ammunition to use against an assault. ergo the necessity of re-loaders.
What are all these Americans doing buying up ammunition, guns, re-loading equipment? I think they are making sure they are going to be prepared for what might come.
I don't believe we will see Americans quaking in their boots the way they did during Pinochet's reign of terror. The government is currently underway of establishing the ground work to crumble the citizenship of this nation. They are implementing the "bottom up, top down, inside out" plan. The theoretically free health care. reduced interest in college loans (which will go up the following year), the open boarders to provide a voting base to assure the democrats achieve the voting block they need to over rule any conservative attempt to rectify the destruction of the country.
Your article was fine and I enjoyed it but I think reality was left out of the picture.

Paul's picture

I was just reading this interview with Vera Kichanova which illustrates my point:

"There was a rally last year the day before the inauguration of Putin. After that, 27 people were detained and accused of spreading mass riots. They weren't all detained on the same day. They were absolutely random people, not leaders, not even participants in some party, just ordinary citizens. So, it was done to make everybody understand that anyone can put in jail for just peaceful activism. It put everyone in fear, because you never know who is next. They did it every Wednesday for two months."
http://reason.com/archives/2013/08/01/a-libertarian-future-for-russia

Glock27's picture

Head cracking is underway here in the good ol U.S. of A. The other day I read an article of a wife checking out pressure cookers on line because they needed one for canning. Her husband later got on line and started checking out backpacks for a hiking trip planned. Who shows up at their door. Federal Agents and they were thoroughly interrogated. What do you need a pressure cooker for? Why do you need a back pack, are you terrorists, at infinitum. Others I have read about were arrested under the Patriot Act who were simply innocent people being where they supposedly had a legal right to be. These events occurred more with our local "Protect and Serve" boys in blue. Even at this point people who were involved/near Benghazi have been threatened by his majesty. Many were shipped to other parts of the world, given new names and identities. These people were threatened and even their families. We are a communist socialistic nation already; not as severe as North Korea or Russia, but you can bet your worthless dollar our freedoms are gone and have just not recognized it yet. CNN broke this story-- of all organizations?

I have never re-loaded, but I recently managed to get a press. It took me nearly six month. It was not exactly the press I wanted, but it was better than I expected. Next I have to have dies. After two months of searching I managed to find a place that I could order, but that was one caliber, a .223. To re-load you need brass. Good luck. I spent the same amount of time searching for brass. The point I guess is that there are a hell of a lot of men and women stocking up in the event this nation does not get its head screwed on right and stop all this stupid crap they are pulling.

I am going to make a wild guess as say I believe you already know this>

With all due respect to your and your remarks.

Tom