Anarchist, and Mises Institute scholar Gene Callahan has been mugged in London.
Two "yoots" were standing about 20 yards inside the park. I had just passed them, when one of them said, "What are you looking at?"
Well, I just hate the idea that all decent people need to move through life cowering from thugs, so I turned around and said, "I was looking at you guys. But that's only because you're standing in the sidewalk, and I didn't want to run into you."
"Well, don't look at anyone when you go through this park."
"Look guys, I look at the tree there and that fence too – it's not to dis them, but so I don't walk right into them."
My cell phone buzzed, and I took it out of my pocket to answer it.
The next thing I knew, I felt a tremendous blow to the side of my head. One of them had kicked me there! I fell over onto the grass, and both of them began kicking me as I lay there. I struggled to my feet, and was kicked in the head again"
Firstly, it's easy to be unsympathetic when imagining this scenario. I have friends that would think nothing wrong in being a bit naughty when confronted by a confident libertarian with a foreign accent. Calling it a "sidewalk" is a kickable offense in itself.
Well, perhaps not, but I can see both sides to this encounter: the "right" not to have your arse kicked does not mean there's a forcefield around you to protect you from the consequences of antagonism.
But this incident is a perfect example of democracy in action. Mr Callahan had no right over the park: as public land he had to share it with the two "yoots". No-one can fault the scally's politics, since an albeit informal vote resulted in a 2-1 majority in favour of income redistribution. Clearly, the result is a "social improvement", and no right's have been violated - by walking through the park Mr Callahan was entering the political sphere, where "rights" are determined by majority rule.
The only difference, though, is that the thugs had the kindness to run away. The government, on the other hand, would have hung about to tell Mr Callahan that he's been made better off...