Steve G.

Better dead than red?

In Personal Responsibility on August 17, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Here’s another topic for discussion: Are there principles, libertarian or otherwise, that you are willing to die for?  If you have a spouse or partner, did you feeling about this change when your relationship began?  What about if and when you had children?

  1. Are there principles, libertarian or otherwise, that you are willing to die for?


    There are quite a few things I’m willing to *live* for, though.

  2. “Better dead than red” was a New Right retort to libertarians in the post-WWII era. Rothbard said that while YOU might well feel you’d rather be dead than red, you have no right to make that choice for someone else.

  3. The children point: I’ve had this discussion with tax resisters. I tell them I’m not willing to risk being caged on principle when I have a daughter to take care of. That’s my choice. Others make theirs.

  4. G.E. writes; “Better dead than red” was a New Right retort to libertarians in the post-WWII era.

    That was also a taunt aimed at anyone who might be seen as soft on communism.


  5. I’d be willing to die for the right to get titty-fucked every day of the week by POWERFUL MEN! I enjoy that right every night (and on most mornings) and if some nasty gub’ment tried to withold it, I’d go absolutely bonkers. I’d go doggy-style. Wuff!

  6. The question as framed seems to imply martyrdom. Why would anyone die for a principle? If you die, you lose. If the question is whether you would risk death over a principle, then that might depend on the level of risk and the principle involved.

    GE says he wouldn’t risk being caged over taxes because he has a kid to care for. That is certainly understandable, but I might risk death in order to prevent being caged for the same reason. Hell, I might risk death to avoid a long incarceration regardless if I had a child to take care of.

    I might also risk death to avoid being shot or stabbed by a robber, or a cop. Some folks risk their life (and the lives of others) driving like a lunatic to get to work on time.

    I don’t believe anyone other than a martyr or a war mongering drama queen would die for a principle – and the drama queen basking in patriotic glory is most likely lying. Lots of people are willing to risk their lives for their principles – depending upon the risk. More people are willing to kill for their principles. Even more people are willing to get someone else to kill for their principles.

  7. this question seems to assume that dying somehow ADVANCES some principle, or at least supports it. taint obviously so.

    i’ve always found the video of that buddhist monk in vietnam burning himself to death to protest the war was captivating, but not my personal cup of tea for me.

    I’m not especially interested in going out in a blaze of glory. But, then, there could be a confluence of events that might lead me to put myself in harm’s way…does that count? 😉

  8. I die laughing at some of the comments on this blog. Some bore me to death. I prefer death from laughter.

  9. There are principles I’m not willing to abandon, but I prefer not to frame my activism on their behalf in terms of the most extreme possible consequences (the worst of which is not dying — as GE points out in a sidewise way). It’s not whether you’re willing to die, it’s what you’re willing to do.

  10. An interesting question among those not asked, is there any principles I’d be willing to kill for? Yes indeed!

    As Patton rather famously said, the idea is not to die for my freedom, but to get the other guy to die for trying to take it away.

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