Donald Trump decided to send in brute squads to multiple cities for the sake of looking tough, and I realized it was because he was scared, because he was flailing, because he was trying to hold on to something slipping away.

For violence is not power. The threat of violence is frequently a source of power, but carrying out the threat means that it stopped working. If you have to smack someone to make them sit down and shut up, it means you are losing authority. So violence is most often a reaction to the possible loss of power, not a means of building it.

Who do you worry about more: the person who gets their way at gunpoint, or the person who gets their way without needing to make threats? The former looks more scary in the moment, but the latter is far more dangerous, because they can get many more people on their side with less noise, and keep them there with less effort.

So the states that keep order through open violence are the ones that look weak for having brittle power structures.

Case in point: the reaction of so many urban police forces to protest marchers. When order is maintained through constant injustice, demands for justice become a threat to order, thus a threat to authority, so what do the police do? They do the only thing they know how to do, because they spent years thinking that intimidation was a source of power. It was not. It was a sign that the local power structure had severe vulnerabilities. The violence in response is an acknowledgement that local authorities find organized masses threatening, whether or not those masses are violent.

Case in another point: The reaction of company executives to peaceful strikes, which is to send in strikebreakers to do whatever violence they wish. The strike is peaceful, but if it were not a threat to executive authority it would not be done.

In both cases, the organization of masses of people in a manner out of the hands of the nominal authority figures scares those figures, because such a thing reveals that their authority is nominal.

As all authority is. It only exists because people go along with it. Even the people enforcing order through violence are doing so because they agreed to do so, because they were convinced, not threatened; if these people were threatened into enforcing order through violence, then there is still someone, somewhere in the chain of authority, who had to convince someone else to do something instead of threatening them. There is no such thing as mind control; there is no such thing as total control.

For you are the one who moves yourself, not anyone else. You move your limbs, you speak from your mouth, you turn your head, you close your eyes. You make your own decisions, no matter who pretends that they do it for you.

You are free. You are free to do as you will, or not do. The consequences of your actions may come, or not come. But the actions are yours.

Even power itself must bow to this. For even the most powerful leaders on this earth can only convince the free people of this earth to work for them, whether by promising good or bad consequences; they cannot force anyone to act, and if they would purchase obedience with force, the free peoples of this earth can resist to the last, if they so choose. They are not beaten until they surrender. And that is still their choice.

If even the threat of death will not convince you to obey, if even the loss of all reputation and good will cannot purchase your surrender, if even the deaths of all around you and the loss of everything you have cannot change your mind, why then, there is no more that anyone can do to you.

So I will always uphold the idea of non-violent resistance, for its ability to not only lay bare the state's loss of power, but make the reactive violence look pathetic.

And I will not take the concept of mind control lightly. To truly wrest control of someone's limbs away from their brain is the ultimate violation of freedom.

And yet --

Even that ultimate violation cannot achieve total control.

For your decisions remain yours.

Blame none but yourself for what you choose.

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