George Donnelly weighs in on the controversy with a detailed argument against using violence to advance liberty:

Under the non-aggression principle (NAP), a bedrock concept for libertarians, one may not initiate force, ever. Don’t start the fight! But, if someone is using force against you, then you are justified in defending yourself from it. If Jack is hitting you, you get to hit back (or use other appropriate force) in order to make him stop.

Some libertarians are comfortable only with the use of violence to defend from immediate threats to life and limb. This is what I call simple self-defense. It is defensive violence meant to save life, limb or property from immediate aggressive attack. Examples of this include a mugger taking your wallet, a rapist with a gun to your head and a cop who is whaling on you with his nightstick.

Other libertarians take a more expansive view of the right to self-defense, saying that all government employees are involved in an enterprise of aggression that already has or soon will initiate force against them, directly or indirectly. They believe that any level of violence to stop this aggressive enterprise and/or any of its agents is acceptable and, indeed, necessary. This is what I call political violence. It is violence, loosely defensive in nature from a certain, controversial point-of-view, that is primarily intended to achieve a political outcome of greater liberty.

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