Essential Principles for the Conservation of Liberty by Joel M. Skousen

I discovered Mr. Skousen’s work last year by reading “Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places – 3rd edition“. He and his son, Andrew Skousen, offer a comprehensive guide to the safest places to relocate to in rough times. I highly recommend his work. I rate it 5-SS on my Indispensable Information Overload List of Links (IIOLOL)!

Below you’ll find the last section of a booklet from his website for your reading pleasure. I posted section 4: Self Defense and Revolution below. For the full booklet, Philosophy of Law & Government, click here.



In response to these difficult questions regarding the loss of liberty, I have felt compelled to author this booklet. All free men need to determine just what are the essential principles that are necessary to conserve and defend individual, family, and group liberty from the slow, cancerous destruction of socialist, collectivist, and totalitarian tendencies of man.



To DEFEND one’s person and property against any overt and imminent threat, and to use the minimum, appropriate force required, of the alternatives immediately available at hand, to eliminate such threat, when no immediate recourse is available to assistance or constitutional adjudication. This includes the right to defend oneself against the aggression of other persons acting unconstitutionally as a majority within a government with the intent to take assets without prior consent or otherwise deprive any person of these fundamental freedoms.

There are two inherent dangers involved in the fundamental right to self-defense. First, it must not be viewed as a total license to kill for small and petty reasons. But on the other hand, it must not be so restrictive that it forces a person to calculate a myriad of legal alternatives when he is under dangerous, threatening and uncertain circumstances.

As we discussed earlier, we join together to form governmental associations in order to enhance our capability to deter and prosecute crime, and to use large scale defensive military force when appropriate. We also place voluntary limits upon our own powers of self-defense, by deferring to the judicial process for prosecution rather than taking personal retribution and revenge. The only exception is when the threat is so imminent, dangerous, or uncertain that there is no safe opportunity to summon law enforcement officers. In such a case each person is free to rely on his fundamental right to defend himself.

Such self-defense should give every benefit of the doubt to the one who is being threatened–not the aggressor. This principle is specifically worded to not give the type of legalistic aid and comfort to criminals as is presently provided by the myriad of legal restrictions surrounding the use of “deadly force” by a citizen.

A homeowner who is threatened by physical force should be free to select the best weapon, of that which is immediately available, that HE or SHE determines is necessary to eliminate the threat. There are circumstances that may well even justify shooting a violent attacker as he is fleeing, under the very real presumption that he is likely to come back and try again. It also means that a person isn’t restricted from using fast and deadly force against an attacker simply because he cannot visibly see a weapon. In many circumstances, at dark and at night, the presence of an intruder who refuses to respond to your demands to identify himself or otherwise stop his approach warrants the use of deadly force, from as safe a distance as possible. The only weapon that is usually suitable under such criteria is a stand-off weapon, such as a handgun, which demonstrates one of the prime reasons why a citizen’s right to self-defense is severely handicapped if handguns are prohibited.

The last part of the statement expands the self-defense role from the individual threat to the more onerous threat of tyranny by improper government force, as is quite common even in our society. In essence, it defines the right of legitimate revolution against government tyranny.

Instead of reaching for a gun to go next door and rob people, when in need, people have been enticed to believe it is appropriate to “reach for their legislator” instead of the gun. The legislator, along with a majority of the other representatives, performs the violation or theft, but he does so in the name of the law and taxation. That is why social welfare laws are improper and a violation of the fundamental rights of ownership. Government asserts the power to do what the individual citizen does not have the right to do–take from the productive and give to those that claim a need. But government, like any other association of men, cannot possess greater rights than those forming the association. If individuals do not have the right to take money from another without a voluntary exchange, neither does government.

Government has the power to tax, but only under contractual circumstances where the citizens have agreed to pay for services they assign a government to perform. The power to tax should be nothing more than an extension of the individual power to contract. After receiving a contractual service, the individual can be forced to comply with the terms, meaning “pay up.” Unfortunately, we have many types of government taxes which are forced upon people who have never contracted for the service. This is improper. In fact the entire formation of a government without initial consent of all the governed is a violation of a major principle of liberty.

When sufficient violations of this nature occur, and when there is no further recourse to peaceful change, the people may well be justified in exercising their right to revolution. Usually this is only necessary when the majority of voters have begun to participate in the benefits of government theft, and refuse to repeal the improper laws, voluntarily. Only when an oppressed minority has lost, in whole or in part, its fundamental rights and there no longer remains any ability to gain redress for grievance by democratic means is it justified in disregarding the law (nullification), leaving the government (secession), resisting compliance by armed defense, and throwing the rascals out of power (by revolution).

Granted, this is a dangerous and unpleasant course, and as stated in the Declaration of Independence, should not be done for “light and transient causes.” Nevertheless, it must be universally taught and defended as the fundamental right that it is. (Such instruction of citizen’s rights should never be allowed to justify a mandatory government school system–only that it may be view as a mandatory prerequisite of understanding for each person applying for citizenship. Where and how he learns it is up to the individual, as is discussed in the area of contractual citizenship. The citizen contract is found at the end of the Constitution.


Categories: Life-Liberty-Happiness, Self Ownership | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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