LOPEZ: Why is it important to consider politics and government — Barack Obama and the NYPD officer — one and the same?
WILLIAMSON: All politics is force. It’s more obvious when you are dealing with the police and the military, because they carry guns. But those guns are used only to enforce policies mandated by people who do not carry guns themselves. My general rule is: If you are not willing to put a gun to your neighbor’s head over the issue, then you should not be willing to vote to have somebody else put a gun to your neighbor’s head over the issue. Which puts cowboy-poetry festivals, getting monkeys high on cocaine, and other government-sponsored shenanigans into a very different perspective.
I don’t have anything in particular to hang on this; I just think the Williamson Rule is a useful lens through which to view proposed policies. However much I may like a proposed government activity, is it important enough to me to put a gun to someone’s head to implement the activity? If not, then maybe I need to think again before asking the government to do just that.