Where Many Anarchists Go Wrong

January 1st, 2011   Submitted by Seth King

Despite any criticisms contained in this post I would like to assure everyone reading it that I have the utmost respect for all of the authors at LRC and the Mises Institute. Without their relentless mentoring I would surely still be worshiping the United States Constitution as a “libertarian document.”

But I have a small bone to pick with anarchists that write about what activities the government should, or more commonly should not, be doing. Quite often I will read blog posts by contributors on LRC or Mises.org calling for the legalization of drunk driving, or the abolition of the Federal Reserve, or even the importance of a non-interventionist foreign policy. And while all of this might sound good, it comes with unintended consequences, namely legitimizing the very institution one hopes to destroy.

This is because anytime one uses the word “should” in the same sentence as “government” they are applying a quality to government that simply does not exist: morality. This is highly problematic because as anarchists we recognize that government is merely the largest criminal organization for any geographical area. And as criminal organizations, their judgments inherently lack morality. Instead, its actions are determined solely by what it believes will help accrue more power for itself. Even seemingly altruistic moves are used to cloak truly sinister plots. Foreign interventionism is justified as fighting for freedom instead of resource acquisition. Food stamps and unemployment subsidies coincidentally help garner votes and legitimacy. Balancing approval with power is the hallmark of all violent gangs big and small. Even Al Capone established soup kitchens.

So when we anarchists write about what the state should do, we are really just kidding ourselves into believing that this evil organization can do good for goodness’ sake. The only things the state will do are what it can get away with. And what the criminal organization known as government can get away with is wholly dependent upon its resistance and its resources. If it had its druthers it would rape and pillage and murder every man, woman and child on this planet and horde every resource for itself. But what stops it from doing said things right now? Well, what stops Los Zetas, the Bloods and Crips, or the North Korean Army from conquering the world? Competition and lack of resources are the only things that prevent any given criminal organization from complete global domination.

As anarchists we need to stop pontificating about what governments should or should not do, as if their interests at all coincide with our own. What governments should do, like all criminal organizations, is work to bleed us dry of every bit of our wealth, rape our wives, and throw us in cages if we even so dare to complain. Writing about how the state should legalize drugs or abolish its money making machine is hopelessly academic. And it is for this reason you will likely never see me post articles complaining about some new government atrocity. It is merely a given.

Instead, my goal is to help equip those individuals who already understand the true nature of governments with the tools necessary to fight back and resist all criminal gangs the world over. I believe that once a person has established that governments are no different than all other criminal organizations, except in size, that endlessly counting its atrocities and acting surprised when it commits them is stunting one’s own growth, as well as that of the reader’s.

Deeds speak louder than words. There have been many a slave throughout history that grumbled about his poor treatment. I find that complaining to others about this system is rather demoralizing. The truth is that we live in a world whereby over ninety nine percent of its inhabitants are of the criminal class. This is because there are very few of us that understand and support the voluntaryist philosophy. All others condone the initiation of violence towards their fellow man.

So, what are we anarchists to do about it? Surely, we should still attempt outreach to those who have the heart and the mind to recognize reality for what it is and the passion for justice to make things better. For the rest our goal should be to undermine their system as much as humanly possible. Remember that all criminal gangs are limited by their resources and our resistance. The goal of this website is to share ideas and document ways in which we can decrease the resources of, and increase the resistance to, all criminal organizations, not just governments.

This brings me to my last point. There will always be criminals in the world and while we may be able to end institutionalized crime, we will never abolish it completely. Therefore, anarchists who claim that their goal is to achieve a free-market may suffer from erroneous thinking. I ask them, at what point do we achieve this so-called free-market? If government is nothing more than a criminal organization, and we will never completely eradicate all criminal organizations, at what point do we claim to have achieved a free-market? The answer must either surely be never, or always. For if a free-market is the absence of the initiation of aggression, then we can only ever hope for freer-markets and not the ever-illusive free-market. On the other hand, if the free-market can effectively deal with criminal organizations, and if the state is nothing more than an extremely large criminal organization, then I say that its past time the free-market started to eradicate this criminal organization known as “government.”

I tend to believe that the free-market is here right now. We’ve already got it. I’ve written before that as an anarchist I do not believe that we need to achieve a stateless society before we achieve anarchy. Anarchy is merely truth. It is an understanding about how the world works. Anarchy has always ruled, currently does rule, and always will rule until the end of time.

We’re all living in the free-market right now. If you want a bazooka, go get one. Want to snort some cocaine? It’s available. Want to hire a prostitute? They’re out there. But watch out! There are criminals on the prowl who will kidnap you. And if you think the free-market is about the rest of the world letting you do the things you want then you have a poor understanding of the philosophy of freedom. Because freedom isn’t about having to ask others to do what you want. Freedom does not require anybody else’s permission.

We live in a world full of criminals. An anarchist is one who recognizes the state for what it truly is: a criminal organization. And as anarchist activists our goal is to abolish institutionalized criminal organizations. But one thing we must never do if we are to truly undermine a criminal organization’s legitimacy is to theorize about what actions it should or should not take in a moral sense. That is the behavior of the surrendered. Our goal is nothing short of its complete abolition.

21 Responses to “Where Many Anarchists Go Wrong”

  1. Jake RNo Gravatar says:

    Why complain about burglars when the whole damn house is on fire? I think Seth is right about articles that only point out government depredations, its the nature of the system; of course they’re going to steal and squander, of course they’re going to kidnap and murder. The only way to become more free is to do it in your own life. Get rid of the abusive relationships and self destructive behaviors. Like Seth said, we’re already living in the free market. My assertion is people will be more attracted to someone living a free happy life than someone living a happy-free life.

  2. AndrewNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks, Seth, for a nice post. Much to ponder for someone like myself, somewhat new to anarchist thought.

    Lately my own ranting has gotten on my nerves. Sounds trite to say, but it does seem more sane to concentrate on expanding my own freedom and to accept people and conditions as they are.

    Petitioning the Congress to end the fed is like asking one leg of the dragon to sever another of its legs. Waste of precious energy, while lending an illusion of legitimacy to the dragon’s existence and sway.


    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      It sounds like you’re coming along just fine, Andrew. I remember around the time just before I became an anarchist I had this thought in my mind, that as a non-catholic I do not go to mass every Sunday trying to convince the others that Catholicism is wrong. Instead, I just don’t go. I simply got tired of trying to convince friends and neighbors that their system was wrong and decided that the best thing I could do for everybody was to stop participating. That is when I began to look seriously into anarcho-capitalism. So I contacted Walter Block and Tom Woods for advice and they recommended books to me that would solidify my convictions.

      If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend reading the same books I did. They are available for purchase through Amazon in my STORE section. They will take a lot of the guess work out of it for you so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

  3. Charles PeraloNo Gravatar says:

    I feel regarding Libertarianism you have two kinds of it and those are not little and capital L Libertarians. You have the difference of consequentionalist and voluntaryist Libertarians. Now I’m going to assume everyone knows what those two are and they know the differences. Both want the maximum freedom in a society on all fronts. Now force is the greatest sin in a society. It’s what makes me a 16 year old have to take classes I hate or it makes my dad who’s a doctor have to by law do probono work for people who will attempt to sue him, because he has the nerve to not drive to there homes when they punch there hands into a wall and can’t get a ride to his office “true story”. Now there are 2 reasons why Voluntaryist Libertarians don’t like Consequentionalist Libertarians.

    1. They believe that any force in a society is immoral.
    2. They believe government will just natrually grow over time no matter how many amendments you put on it.

    So right there we have our Fredrick Hayek’s and Milton Freidman’s in the room and our Ayn Rand’s and Murray Rothbard’s. Yet here’s the new kind of Libertarians and these are the Charles Peralo Libertarians. Omition Libertarians my own creation and the way to end the radical growth of governments and still prevent the force that could come from anarchy. Basically we take our government as it is now and we simply do one thing. We make it so you can personally nullify yourself from any law or all laws in the federal, state, and local governments.

    In a simple sense if you don’t like public schools you can personally opt out of them and not have to pay a nickel. Now I’ve always supported vouchers and the negative income tax, but I don’t see why people who don’t want them should have to pay for them. Yet to avoid problems with these things like people who only sign up to them when they need them your giving the choice at age 18 if you wish to participate in a lot of government programs and laws.

    Also lets say for a moment someone wants to be an anarchist. Well what if someone wishes to kill them? If someone who particpates in the murder law kills the anarchist they wont get in trouble and same goes for a fellow anarchist killing another anarchist. Yet if someone wishes to kill or damage a government member they cannot and those people will be defended.

    What will be the end product of this move? Ideally the US government will turn into a Consequentionalist Libertarian government do to these laws simply not being able to survive without force that ultimately damages society. And the Voluntaryist Libertarians if they wish can pay no taxes or go to another protection service.

    Than you have a huge issue which is foreign policy and can America fund a war if only 10% of the people are willing to pay for it? The answer is that people will pay if their property comes at the risk where they should pay. Yet if you look at foreign policy over the past century you’ll see that most of our wars have not been done by popular opinion, but by special interest and political interest. So if an event like 9/11 happened again those companies or property owners defense companies will seek the destruction of those people who destroyed them. And if all the fighting comes to a point where it’s no longer in consumer interest and prices climb people will go to other services and the war will end. The conclusion on foreign policy would be non-interventionalism.

    Than there lies in Omition Libertarianism and immigration. The simple truth of this all lies into the idea that no government owns America. That America would be a free place where there is private property and there is protection. So if someone wishes to cross the border he will not be attacked unless someone owns that property and doesn’t like people crossing it. Yet if they can find a place to live it’ll be on private property and it will be voluntary where that person is allowed to stay there.

    There would be lands owned by these virtual government or the US optional government and to go on them will lead to some consequences of their choice, but it wont mean you can’t travel. Many people would want you on there land simply for the purpose of perhaps getting you in there store or if you do no harm and your just walking around enjoying there property they wouldn’t care.

    From an economic stand point people can live in there ideal economy and virtual government can start to be in there favor, but they cannot enslave someone else to that system. It’s purely a matter of your choice and your way of life that makes this system great rather than our current system of enslaving people to Democracy and Monarchy.

  4. Bob ConstantineNo Gravatar says:

    Nice article Seth. Keep up the good work.

  5. Jay VincentNo Gravatar says:

    This is akin to someone calling themselves an “athiest” and still believing in the god of “government.”

    Jay Vincent
    http://counterthespianage.com (The voice of the dissenter)

  6. Left AnarchistNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting piece. However, I think the writings on Lew’s site (and others) strike me more as informing or dispeling the mythology of Government rather than complaining. I am sure that Statists don’t see it that way but telling a Statist that Government is a sham is sort of like telling a small child that Santa Claus or The Easter Bunny is a sham. They kick and scream and call you all sorts of names but they don’t really have anything to work with once the veil of moral and ethical legitimacy is ripped away. For those that still believe (and there are way too many), I think it can change peoples minds by being exposed to the truth. For me, reading the stuff on Lew’s site (and others) was a shock to my system. Like the whole taking the Red Pill thing. That and simply personal experience with the State taught me I was really naive about the true nature of the Institution. I think speaking out against institutionalized aggression is a good way to change minds and well, if people want to call that complaining, so be it. I would agree that asking the State to do anything like legalizing anything is counter-productive however.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Well said. For the record I visit LRC every day and wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for their relentless exposure of the state for what it really is.

      I do believe that we are fighting against an enemy that needs to lose its moral legitimacy in the minds of men. However, at some point one has to get over the fact that they are fighting against a bunch of Nazis that have no legitimacy and finally start disobeying them.

      I don’t mean to glorify Patton in this analogy, but Patton didn’t sit around and complain about all of the atrocities the Nazis were committing. He accepted the fact that they were Nazis and that they were evil, and then he got to work by killing a whole lot of them.

      In our position, now that we recognize the state for what it is, we must disobey it, plain and simple. Speaking out against it is wonderful, but it must be resisted as well.

      • Left AnarchistNo Gravatar says:

        I have taken various steps to resist, one of which has left me with a permanently damaged wrist. The other continues to rob me to the tune of 270 dollars a month. Even with all this I don’t regret the actions I took in either case as they both taught a valuable lesson about the truth of the institution itself. It is nothing more than organized aggression. War being the worst form of it which is why I cannot wholeheartedly join you in your hat tipping of Patton when pretty much every war has led to nothing but increased aggression at home. I chose Left Anarchist as my tag because that is where I find myself now. Have you ever been to c4ss.org? They seem to have a better grasp of what is the Free Market as opposed to the State Capitalism I find Lew’s site far too often defending. C4SS.org columnists also talk about building a voluntary society within the rotting shell of the old Statist society and I think this is true path to a voluntary society many Anarchists crave. But as they say, your mileage may vary! Keep up the good work! 😉

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          Thanks. I have been to C4SS. You know, Konkin described himself as a left-libertarian, for what it’s worth.

          I’m sorry you got damaged in the process of disobedience. I hope it won’t stop you from continued disobedience. Although, I’ve never been harassed for my disobedience, so I cannot judge.

          I look at the people in New Hampshire right now willing to risk getting tossed into a cage for trivial stuff, and I think to myself that there surely must be many, many acts of disobedience I can do that have a far lesser likelihood of getting caught, such as driving without a license, not asking for permission to work or make money, etc.

          I think once a person loses their fear of being thrown in jail, they become very powerful and a real threat to the system. Talk is cheap. Everybody does it. Few people act on it.

          • Seth, you are right about the jail thing. Once that fear is lost, the bluff is called.

            The power of choice is the power of the divine. Once the man and woman realizes that they are indeed the divine force in their own lives, and stop looking to someone else to make their choices for them, free society will exist.

            Just my opinion

          • Left AnarchistNo Gravatar says:

            I have done the whole driving without carry permission papers. Lasted a year in a half till I got careless and got stopped speeding. Cost me a pretty penny (5 tickets total, I kid you not) but the freedom I felt in traveling without permission (not to mention I drove much safer believe it or not since I didn’t have insurance) I wouldn’t trade for anything. If more people did just one thing to disobey they would realize how badly they are being screwed by always obeying. I am fascinated by the working without permission thing but just haven’t seen enough good info to even know where to start on that one.

            • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

              Can you tell me what happened when you got pulled over? I’d like to know just in case it happens to me. Did they make you sign a piece of paper promising to go to court? Did they tow your vehicle? Did they arrest you?

              My plan is basically that if I get pulled over, I will sign a piece of paper to go to court and at court I will tell the judge that I am not going to pay them any money, at which point I suspect I will get some jail time.

              In California, I believe they steal your car. In New Hampshire, I believe they tow it to your house, or that of a friend’s. More reason for me to get to New Hampshire as soon as possible.

              • Marc Stevens’ approach is proven to be winning. (marcstevens.net) The judge in the case of being charged with Driving with No Operator License refused to adjudicate the case. I became friends with the DA and the trooper, and the judge was actually amiable.

                Question them with a matter-of-fact approach, and they have no choice but to be embarrassed.

              • Left AnarchistNo Gravatar says:

                Ok, so in the State I live in,(or more accurately, inflicted upon by)Texas, the person that pulled me over wrote out all the tickets, at one point was going to arrest me because I was acting so nervous (related to a separate charge I was defying that fortunately didn’t catch up to me) but let me go and agreed to not take my car (what a guy) if I would call a towing service to have it towed, at my expense! Grrr!
                I really think how well you do when getting pulled over depends on three things:
                The level of mercy shown by whoever pulls you over.
                How you handle the roadside stickup.
                The laws already in place.

                Not to scare you, but if they were carrying Tasers at the time I was pulled over I might not have survived to write this.

                Keep that in mind when considering how far you want to push this.

                Hope this helps. 😉

                Oh and FYI, my current form of entertainment/disobedience is exceeding the posted speed limit in a school zone near my house when children aren’t around and yet people are driving ridiculously slow anyway to sheepishly comply.

                Oh and before I speed around said people I yell at the top of my lungs:


                Guess that makes me a Bad American eh? 😉

              • One other thing. Put the vehicle in trust, and rent from the trust. That way, the trust can plead as an innocent third party, as a defense to seizure of the property. (If it’s done correctly).

  7. raleighNo Gravatar says:

    You make a fair arguement. I believe in basic non compliance. And I don’t know why more people do not take this up, even as a last resort.

    Most people start with baby steps, and get bolder over time. But with the economy such as it is, even this position is a luxury most today, do not have.

    But when the government gets so ineffective, people will ultimately ignore it and find their own system, anarchy or not. You simply can’t stop people’s survivial instincts.

    When we run out of money and the people see no benefit, they will revolt. Whether it is a productive revolt, in the end, is another matter.

  8. Isaac MarmolejoNo Gravatar says:

    In defense of those authors at the Mises Institute, they are not there to preach about being an anarchist, they are there to write about Austrian Economics. They use current events and explain what is going on economically, in an Austrian perspective

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      My main argument in this article is that anarchists should never moralize the state. But to address your concern, being intellectuals and teachers does not absolve them of their responsibility to disobey. Once an individual recognizes that the state is a criminal organization, they have a moral responsibility to resist to the best of their abilities. Academic standing is no excuse for obedience. If SEK III can do it, so can they.