Troubling Trends In Anarchism

July 25th, 2014   Submitted by Libertanius Maximus

SpreadAnarchyWhen I share critiques of anarchist/voluntarist philosophy nearly every reply I get from its adherents is the same parroted, “that’s a sweeping generalization!” almost as if they are reading from the same script. To clarify, I have been chatting with anarchists for over two years now. I have fought alongside of them, argued with them, and heard their arguments. I didn’t talk to three anarchists, and then start making generalizations. I have interacted with hundreds of anarchists, representing a pretty good cross section of what they think and how they behave. I side very heavily with anarchist/voluntarist philosophy, but I see some pretty big chinks in their armor that they refuse to even acknowledge.

I see just as much echo chamber confirmation bias among them as I do exhibited by Marxists.

I almost never see an anarchist say, “you have a good point,” to the other side, or “I have no idea how,” or “that is something we haven’t solved yet.” Nope, just “the free market will do it,” which is about like saying, “God did it.” Ever seen an anarchist admit that government did anything good ever? Nope. Won’t happen, because their belief system won’t allow it.

Yeah, yeah, funded by robbery, we all know that, but a water treatment plant is still something good. Is it run in a shitty way? Could it be done better/cheaper/whatever? Yeah, maybe. The point is, you lose a lot of credibility when you dismiss obvious weaknesses in your theory. Covering reasonable critiques with bullshit appeals to the imaginary, the untried, the untested and the fantastic only drives people away. They can see you are appealing to what is nothing more than an, “In God’s Kingdom” claim.

There is a very strong utopian coloring to many of the arguments anarchists make.

I see far too much appeal to “in a free society,” as if this answer is any better than “in a Resource Based Economy.” This amounts to little more than saying, “When everyone starts respecting property.” It isn’t going to happen, and after 5000 years of tribal warfare I am amazed that arguments about Dispute Resolution Organizations are seen as acceptable answers to these problems.

There is a very heavy tendency to dismiss culture, and group association outside of an abstract philosophizing about it. Over and over I have been told that any sort of group identification is “collectivism,” or “groupthink.”

I see a massive tendency toward a rootless, hyper-individualistic, suicidal tendency that is only made possible by high technology. Culture is routinely dismissed as unimportant, while logic is held as the final arbitrator in all matters (even though the most interesting and important things about the human experience are “irrational” experiences). The Globalist agenda requires a person with no ties to any history, culture or ethnicity. Far too many anarchists are lapping up this leftism without a second thought. It doesn’t seem to bother them, since they haven’t even noticed that they are in line with many of the State’s agendas.

I see a lot of strawmanning, dismissal of biology, and rejection of human nature, in favor of some imaginary, objective, Vulcanesque human with a phD in logic and philosophy. Basically, if you can’t provide an irrefutable “logical” reason then it is just “subjective” nonsense, and therefore has no meaning in Voluntopia. The goal seems to be to sit around talking about “freedom” rather than living free.

I hear, “I hate the State” as their answer to everything, their complete and total identity, their meaning of life. If the State were gone tomorrow, most anarchists wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. They are completely emotionally invested in this crusade that they cannot win, and will never see the other side of.

There is also a very strong “permission to be free” mentality among anarchists. They say, “Well, we would be doing blah blah blah, but government won’t let us.” So, when is this ever going to change? Either fight back or try to set something up in the forest where they won’t find you for decades. And no, this isn’t the “move to Somalia” argument. It is simply the recognition that government isn’t going to stop bothering you unless they can’t find you. So, either fight back somehow, or hide. You are never going to convince most people to let go of everything they grew up believing. You might be able to slowly change the opinions of people over several generations, but you are talking about 100 years or more to accomplish this.

Getting here didn’t happen overnight. Getting out won’t be any different. If you want to get rid of Statism you have to give people something equally powerful to replace it with, not because of some imaginary “power vacuum,” but because of a very real “structural/belief vacuum.” People need to be able to see the world in a structured way, and chanting “voluntary interaction” isn’t going to cut it for most people. This is why tribes and societies developed customs and traditions, to ground the people, and bind them together to survive. Humans are emotional and cultural beings. They are not “economic beings”. Reducing everything to a market discussion is the same approach corporations use when they view people through the lens of “human resources” rather than through the lens of “personnel.” You become a number, a rootless, replaceable number, just like the Globalists desire.

An obvious criticism of traditional culture is some of the brutality that was experienced. Were many of those traditions and customs brutal and stupid? Absolutely. However, humans are wired for this kind of thing. Humans are cultural creatures and must have a cultural context in which to function. Anarchy is not going to gain any headway as long as it is promoted as a sort of floating abstraction, existing only in the neo-Platonic realms. Nor will it gain ground as a constant appeal to the unknown future. We don’t have the luxury of running a 200 year experiment in what might workout. After all, the details are fill in later, after we are long gone.

Anarchists need to stop rejecting traditions that worked, and start understanding that people require a context in which to function. This is true whether we are living in an anarchist society or a Statist society. Take what works, and build from there. There is no need to start from scratch. We have plenty of models to help guide us, such as Asatru Paganism and other ways of reconnecting with nature.

In the pursuit of supreme rationality we have forgotten that we are biological entities, and biology comes with consequences, some of which we cannot get around in the foreseeable future. If anarchists insist on promoting their philosophy in a sterile, hyperlogical, rootless fashion, they will never succeed in gaining enough support to change the world in any appreciable way.

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92 Responses to “Troubling Trends In Anarchism”

  1. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Your interaction with Anarchists is anecdotal even if you speak to more than just a few Anarchists. State firefighters have saved lives. There are state police who have saved lives.

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      “Your interaction with Anarchists is anecdotal ”

      You don’t say?

      PSST, all of our experiences are anecdotal.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        And of course that means other people may have had experiences wit Anarchists that are the opposite of your experiences wit Anarchists.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        I liked your article. I do not agree with all of it, but I see you are trying to give pragmatic ideas to promote anarchism. One does have to be careful when trying to be pragmatic to not fall into the statist paradigm since it is so all pervasive today. By the way, I both try to fight statism and live in the backwoods off the grid.

  2. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    “I almost never see an anarchist say, “you have a good point,” to the other side, or “I have no idea how,” or “that is something we haven’t solved yet.” Nope, just “the free market will do it,” which is about like saying, “God did it.””

    No, it is not like that AT ALL. God doesn’t exist. The market does, and natural human behavior (which you later claim we dismiss) functioning within the market does as well. You are equating a real-life phenomenon with mysticism. You can do that if you want, but don’t blame anarchists for not agreeing with such nonsense analogies. We KNOW how and why a free market functions that way, and we’re not going to pretend we don’t just because you have a need to be told that you “have a point.”

    “Ever seen an anarchist admit that government did anything good ever? Nope. Won’t happen, because their belief system won’t allow it.”

    Calling it a “belief system” should, in my personal opinion, disqualify you from being taken seriously. It shows that you approach it from a disrespectful position. Why should anyone even bother discussing things with someone who uses words like “belief system” or “utopia”? You are making the same assumptions all statists do. But anyway, as an answer to your question:

    “Yeah, yeah, funded by robbery, we all know that, but a water treatment plant is still something good.”

    NO. NOT if it is funded by robbery. You can’t take the context out of it. You can’t say that “government did a good thing” as if what they did is somehow disconnected from the way in which they did it. Did a thief do a good thing in your eyes if he fed his family, with the money he stole from you? Feeding a family is in itself obviously a good thing, but feeding them from money STOLEN is not. So no, government never does a good thing, because everything they do, they do with loot, and therefor after initiating aggression. Even if the act itself, outside of context, would be good, but the context determines whether the nature of the act is good. I can do all kinds of good things with YOUR money. So are you going to complain if i rob you and then do something “good” with it? Of course you are. My actions would be immoral. Furthermore, the other immoral part about the government is criminalization of competition. You say there is something to say about how they run such treatment plants. This too, can not be disconnected from the immorality of government, because it disallows competition and therefore also forces the lack of quality of its services down people’s throats. It steals your money, then tells you to just accept how crappily they serve you.

    “The point is, you lose a lot of credibility when you dismiss obvious weaknesses in your theory.”

    If you’re referring to the “government can do good things” argument, you are not talking about weaknesses in OUR theory. But about self-serving omission of the nature of certain actions on your part.
    And by the way, you first have to prove that something is a ‘weakness” before declaring it such and then stating we are “dismissing” them. Again, we’re not going to agree with you just because YOU think you are right.

    “This amounts to little more than saying, “When everyone starts respecting property.” It isn’t going to happen, and after 5000 years of tribal warfare I am amazed that arguments about Dispute Resolution Organizations are seen as acceptable answers to these problems.”

    No this doesn’t amount to it at all, if only because no anarchist has ever said something like “everyone is going to start respecting property”. That’s why despite what “critics” of anarchists think, anarchists believe anarchism would not lead to a perfect or crime free society, but the protection agencies that do the crime prevention and fighting are based on the needs of the citizens, and are forced to accept competition so they are forced to actually care, and do their jobs, unlike NOW. So it seems to me you are making the same stupid baseless argument other statists make. Just because we are in favor of free choice in food, doesn’t mean we believe people will start eating healthily. So nice attempt at a strawman.
    It’s also ironic that you mention “5000 years of tribal warfare” as a reason why DROs won’t work, when “5000 years of tribal warfare” happened under STATIST “solutions” to the problem, in a period wherein the state itself is not just another tribe, but the BIGGEST tribe. The tribe with all the power and most powerful weapons. It is like saying “eating junk food got you fat, and yet you think a different diet will solve your problems with obesity.” Maybe it will, maybe it won’t depending on what kind of diet, but you are comparing the non-effectivity of ONE type of law enforcement with the potential effectivity of another, as if you have any evidence to back it up. Yet we are to take you seriously despite not having either any evidence, not any logically sound argument.
    The tribal warfare you are referring to has happened primarily because of governments. This is called war. Leaders make up excuses and ordinary citizens are either bamboozled through propaganda to act as cannon fodder, or are forced through conscription. What “tribal warfare” are you referring to that happened outside of the influence of the very states we detest? Sure they happen, but compared to state induced ones, in terms of sheer scope, brutality and frequency?

    “There is a very heavy tendency to dismiss culture, and group association outside of an abstract philosophizing about it. Over and over I have been told that any sort of group identification is “collectivism,” or “groupthink.”

    That’s because it is. Any process in which the individual is deemed subservient to the collective by that collective or by someone with the power to use coercion, is collectivism. Because the individual may not agree but does not have the power to do anything about it. We are obviously not talking about individuals that voluntarily submit themselves to a culture, a group, a faith or anything else. But no individual may for any reason be submitted to the initiation of coercion. CERTAINLY not for the “best interests of the group”, because that is not an argument, it is merely the use of physical power (in weapons, in numbers etc). And if that is your argument, then any argument based on power is just as valid. There is no way to be a libertarian at all if you accept such an argument.

    “I see a massive tendency toward a rootless, hyper-individualistic, suicidal tendency that is only made possible by high technology.”

    That is your opinion. We may have another one. I personally see no problem with being “rootless” or “hyperindividualistic”. And as long as no coercion is used, people can be as rooted or socially collectivistic as they want. So i fail to see a problem here.

    “Culture is routinely dismissed as unimportant, while logic is held as the final arbitrator in all matters (even though the most interesting and important things about the human experience are “irrational” experiences).”

    Wrong. Logic should be held as the final arbitrator in matter of potential COERCION, not in “all matters” (nice strawmanning). Anarchists have no problem with emotion based arguments or decisions in non-coercion based situations, like relationships, friendships, art, entertainment, decisions on how to run your business, which religion to want to belong to, what food you like, etcetera. But when people are trying to find justifications for the initiation of coercion, the fact that they “feel” something is completely irrelevant.I don’t give a damn about what culture you like, if you want to force me to do something, or use aggression against me.

    “The Globalist agenda requires a person with no ties to any history, culture or ethnicity. Far too many anarchists are lapping up this leftism without a second thought.”

    Oh watch out. Someone thinks something is “leftism”, therefore “bad”. Then insinuates anarchists are “lapping it up without a second thought”, and finally that we don’t notice we are “in line with many of the State’s agendas”.
    Never once did i realize it was the State’s agenda to end the state and to decentralize authority to the smallest possible unit.

    As if that it bad enough, you then have the nerve to say “I see a lot of strawmanning.” Eh yeah, when you look in the mirror, perhaps. You seem to know a lot about what we are doing “without a second thought” (if we are doing it at all) and us not “noticing” that we are in line with something (if we are in line with anything at all) and YOU talk about strawmanning…..

    “dismissal of biology, and rejection of human nature, in favor of some imaginary, objective, Vulcanesque human with a phD in logic and philosophy.”

    And yet you seem to dismiss human nature when it comes to the market, aka what human beings would do, according to their human nature, if only they were FREE to do so. And no, we are not “dismissing biology, or rejecting human nature”. That as why we still believe in “dispute resolution” after all. Unlike you apparently, we just don’t believe that biology or human nature are excuses for the use of coercion against innocents. Just like genetic disposition is no excuse for a sociopath to be a serial killer. It is certainly no excuse for a state to initiate coercion against innocents.

    “Basically, if you can’t provide an irrefutable “logical” reason then it is just “subjective” nonsense, and therefore has no meaning in Voluntopia.”

    Since you have absolutely no objective and consistent basis on which to pin any purported need there may be for the state, it is not all that strange for us to think there is no reason to agree with you. Everyone and his uncle can come up with some vague subjective or abstract reason to be against the right of innocent people to be left alone by government. As a matter of fact, everyone and his uncle does. And it leads just as much to socialism as it does to your own preferred philosophy. That’s the problem with not using logic; it doesn’t give you any more solid basis for your own ideology than it does for leftists. And yet each and every one of you uses it as an excuse to impose your views on others. Whatever is “subjective” is perfectly fine with us, just NOT in the case of trying to justify force on unwilling third parties.

    Anyway, the first half of you article can so easily be responded to without agreement, that it should suffice. There is some more typically conservative stuff about “traditions” (most of which directly or indirectly come as a result of state force, by the way), some Randian stuff about “floating abstractions”, and a whole lot of simple assumptions and thinly veiled strawmanning. Certainly a whole lot of psychologizing (about what we seem to think or believe). You seem to reject the view of anarchists NOT because of something you can either prove with solid facts or logical reasoning, but because of your own belief system. Of course, in order to still be able to contradict anarchists, you must first dismiss logic as an important measure of the soundness of an argument, because in what other way would you still have a chance at seeming reasonable? But without logic, without reason, all you have yourself is abstractions about culture or “traditions” or “roots”, subjectivity and mere opinion-mongering. How does this in any way make your views superior to those with ideologies (such as fascism or communism) that you detest? When you believe in something that will in one way or another justify the initiation of force against innocents, you BETTER have both a moral and logical reason to present, rather than complaints about our employment of “logic” in proving you wrong.

    • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

      Comments longer than the originating article make baby Jesus cry.

      • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

        They also show a case of massive butthurt. When you feel you have to respond to every.single.line….with strawmen even. What is funny is the responses are almost scripted, thank Odin I have never heard any of THOSE responses in the last few years while playing in the anarchy sandbox.

    • StatelessNo Gravatar says:

      Agree Tony. The main point you make is that just because someone does something good with stolen loot, does not mean theft is justifiable. I concur.

      • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

        Well, I didn’t suggest it was justifiable, only that many anarchists seem to have difficulty admitting that something good was accomplished. These are not the same issue, but far too many anarchists can see past the script to admit such.

        To re-iterate:

        1 Doing something good with stolen money does not justify the theft.

        2 Building a water treatment plant is good.

        Most anarchists refuse to admit #2, which greatly lessens their credibility.

        • statelessNo Gravatar says:

          Building a water treatment plant with my money taken from me by threat of force is not “good”. I’m sorry but you don’t get to disassociate them from each other.

        • STLICTXNo Gravatar says:

          How do you KNOW it’s good though? A water treatment plant may do good, but how do you know that something better, something that would cause more good, could not be done with the labour and resources that were invested in the water treatment plant? When you rely on a government to ‘do good’, even if it succeeds, you are giving up moral agency to an external entity, and threatening everyone who refuses to give up such agency with a gun. This is in itself a great evil; do the good and evil exist separately? Do they need to be balanced against each other, weighed on a scale-in which case evil was done, not good, because slavery/unlimited coercion is worse than death and being forced to give up personal agency is essentially slavery. If they exist separately in a moral sense, then I will concede that good was done… but the point is, this is something that can be debated either way. It is not an obvious fact that good can be done by the government in this sense.

          Now, occasionally the government does go after slavers, rapists and other highly coercive scum; insofar as they do that I will concede that they have done good without contest. However, ‘evil against evil’ is only good if the lesser evil outweighs the greater and there is no truly good alternative, when anarchists wish to try for the truly good alternative.

          • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

            “A water treatment plant may do good, but how do you know that something better, something that would cause more good, could not be done with the labour and resources that were invested in the water treatment plant? ”

            I don’t, but that isn’t the argument I was making at all.

            • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

              L.M.: Correct. You said that we should take one aspect in a chain of events out of that chain and evaluate it separately. For example, a rapist, using your “logic” would say: “A man and woman interacted with the man having a great time, and the woman, not so much. Why does everyone focus only on the woman’s feelings? Can’t you acknowledge I had a good time without bringing up her feelings?” This analogy is less complex than the “public service” one you gave, but it better illustrates the point you refused to acknowledge.

              You say anarchists are losing support by not using your method of analysis. You claim admitting the rapist had a good time will gain more support and we discredit ourselves when we don’t focus on that and give it attention. Correct. We could get some rapists on our side by taking their side, somewhat. When anarchists protest that context must be maintained to preserve intellectually integrity, you seem oblivious to their point. Seriously, you really need to read: “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology”, by Ayn Rand.

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      Sorry Tony, I have a three strawman limit. You far exceeded this, so no reply.

    • Jim DaviesNo Gravatar says:

      Excellent reply, Tony.

      I don’t think you addressed LibMax’s “If the State were gone tomorrow, most anarchists wouldn’t know what to do with themselves” but that was what most surprised me in his article. I wonder which part of the survey produced it.

      My sense is that (after a brief pause for delighted astonishment) all anarchists would know exactly what to do with ourselves: we would own and operate our own lives in reality as well as in theory. Naturally, all choices would differ.

      On the other hand if that question were applied to NON-anarchists, it would be only too true; government junkies, suddenly deprived of their fix, would not have a clue how to live.

      That’s why, IMO, it’s vital that everyone in society learn what freedom is all about, not just those presently working for government (to induce them to quit) but everyone else too, so that all will understand how to interact voluntarily. One tool ready for use is TOLFA.

    • anarchoguitaristNo Gravatar says:

      nice reply Tony, you so demolished this article that the guy can’t even pretend to write a response.

  3. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    This is an interesting article. On the one hand, your pseudonym is “Libertanius Maximus” and the category of this article is under “Anarcho-Capitalism,” yet you constantly say things like “your theory” and such.

    Are you not an anarchist? Because these sorts of criticisms really don’t mean much to us coming from statists.

    On the other hand, if you are an anarchist I’d really like to see how you do it. How do you live your life? How do you spread the message, if at all? You offer all of these criticisms, but then don’t show us another way. What do you expect us to do? Pack it all up, stop talking about anarchism and just accept the way things are? Do you have some better way of teaching the uninitiated about voluntaryism?

    Please, do tell.

    • StatelessNo Gravatar says:

      I agree Seth, this article just seems to be written to piss of anarchists. No real solutions are presented for the supposed problems. Of course changing peoples religious beliefs is extremely difficult. The problem is not our presentation, it’s the refusal of people to listen to new ideas.

      • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

        Stateless, and one of the reasons they will not listen is because

        A) they detect hypocrisy
        B) they see legitimate criticism rejected out of hand
        C) nothing is provided to replace their current religion beyond appeals to abstracts

        • statelessNo Gravatar says:

          A) Where is the hypocrisy in rejecting doing good with stolen loot is justifiable?
          B & C) “Covering reasonable critiques with bullshit appeals to the imaginary, the untried, the untested and the fantastic only drives people away.” You make two claims in this sentence that really are not related to each other. First of all they are not reasonable critiques. They are critiques made by people that have not studied Austrian economics and so they don’t have a fucking clue what they are talking about. Second of all, I completely concur that most dumb fucks will never accept anarchy since we cannot point to a modern civilization that functions under anarchy. Again I ask, what is your solution for addressing this issue?

          My critique of the anarchy “movement” is that everyone seems to be fighting different issues. I think if we focused on changing the justice system to get fair trials, then we would get anarchy pretty easily.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      I’m puzzled by something. Who approves the articles that are posted ? Did you not read this article after it was submitted to be posted to this site prior to it’s posting? Good point about the pseudonym. I thought the same thing. You made some going points about this article.

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      “Because these sorts of criticisms really don’t mean much to us coming from statists. ”

      So you reject legitimate criticisms if the person presenting them is a hypocrite? Does that seem like an honest proposition to you? Sounds like a genetic fallacy to me.

      “yet you constantly say things like “your theory” and such. ”

      I am distinguishing between those who believe in freedom as a reality and those who worship the “belief system of anarchy”. Surely you understand the difference?

      “, stop talking about anarchism and just accept the way things are? ”

      As opposed to continuing to talk about it while accepting the way things are?

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        “So you reject legitimate criticisms if the person presenting them is a hypocrite? Does that seem like an honest proposition to you? Sounds like a genetic fallacy to me. ”

        I refuse to be lectured by serial killing rapists and thieves about virtue.

        “I am distinguishing between those who believe in freedom as a reality and those who worship the “belief system of anarchy”. Surely you understand the difference?”

        No, you’re not. All you’re doing is criticizing people who’re trying to make things better.

        “As opposed to continuing to talk about it while accepting the way things are?”

        You’ve still yet to answer my question about how you live your life, whether or not you’re an anarchist, and your strategy to improve things.

        You’re a troll. Nothing more. You’re not intellectually honest. I’m sorry Davi published this drivel.

        • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

          “You’re a troll. Nothing more. ”

          You seem to think that using logical fallacies is honest. Hypocrite much? I have noticed this sort of thing as a tactic amongst the anarchist and Marxist crowd, whenever they hear things they don’t like, or can’t refute criticism, they jump right to “you are a troll”. THAT is intellectual dishonesty.

          “I refuse to be lectured by serial killing rapists and thieves about virtue.”

          Strawman. That isn’t what I said. If someone makes a valid criticism of you, YOU should have the character and integrity to delve into that flaw and work on it rather than dismiss it because they are a hypocrite. The point I am making is about you, not about them. Again, this is an appeal to hypocrisy fallacy and a genetic fallacy.

          Secondly, I am quite sure that some of your own actions could be found to fall under categories of action that you would condemn. I doubt you are typing in the woods, from a solar array.

          • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

            “You seem to think that using logical fallacies is honest. Hypocrite much? I have noticed this sort of thing as a tactic amongst the anarchist and Marxist crowd, whenever they hear things they don’t like, or can’t refute criticism, they jump right to “you are a troll”. THAT is intellectual dishonesty.”

            You haven’t proven any logical fallacies. You can’t just say you’ve proven logical fallacies. You actually have to do it.

            “Strawman. That isn’t what I said. If someone makes a valid criticism of you, YOU should have the character and integrity to delve into that flaw and work on it rather than dismiss it because they are a hypocrite. The point I am making is about you, not about them. Again, this is an appeal to hypocrisy fallacy and a genetic fallacy.”

            That’s not a strawman. Again, you can’t just throw that word around and claim it proves your point. And you haven’t pointed out any flaws. All you’ve done is TELL me that my virtues are flaws.

            “Secondly, I am quite sure that some of your own actions could be found to fall under categories of action that you would condemn. I doubt you are typing in the woods, from a solar array.”

            That’s the first bit of sense you’ve said. You’re right. I’m not perfect. But before I can improve I first have to figure out what improvement is, and that’s usually done with conversation and debate (even if only internally).

  4. Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I *have* seen elements of this kind of thing, is particular the leftist meme of “killing brown people” is quite annoying.

    But then there is stuff like this: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=199

    or this: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=43

  5. YYLNo Gravatar says:

    My friend, “the free market will do it” is shorthand for “I have no idea how, the problem may not yet be solved, but if it is ever to be solved the best way will be through means that don’t involve the initiation of coercive force.”

    I understand this can sound like an article of faith but look around you. The market approach works both in theory and in practice. It takes a greater leap of faith to say “voluntary cooperation may work everywhere else, but not here!”

  6. VanmindNo Gravatar says:

    It’s not that free markets solve all, it’s that free markets minimize opportunities for crooked people to institutionalize corruption. Anarchists simply acknowledge that utopia is impossible and that every plan to make mankind a little less imperfect only exacerbates the effects of mankind’s imperfection.

    Bottom line: if you gather together enough planners, the only assurance is the genocide that follows from the finger-pointing that follows from the failure of every conceivable plan. There is philosopher king pretense, or there is The Way.

    Oh, and there is no way to reconnect with Nature, because one would first need to consider oneself as existing outside Nature, which would amount to psychosis. Likewise, one cannot reconcile with Nature or apologize to Nature or do anything else that presupposes a detachment from Nature. Separating oneself from the concept of Nature is analogous to declaring oneself a god.

  7. Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

    Nature always wins.
    Always and all ways.

    This is the hub of Anarchy.
    A7

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      One rule of nature is that if you deny what you are, you cease to be.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        When humans deny their rational nature by failing to live a rational life, they turn their best asset into their worst enemy. This is why technology becomes a two edged sword. Atomic power becomes MAD. We barely survived the Cuban Missile Crisis. Next time we might not have a JFK deciding our fate. This is why a command economy is self destructive. We can thrive with 7 billion “leaders” but that requires individual sovereignty, which scares the hell out of most. Children grow up and leave home but they don’t grow out of being dictated to. They don’t grow up psychologically.

        • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

          “When humans deny their rational nature by failing to live a rational life”

          Who are these humans who live a rational life? I haven’t met any.

          • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

            The rational people are those who don’t demand sacrifice from you. Who don’t ask for blood offerings (in whatever form, e.g. taxes) so that the “angry deity” can be pleased.
            Culture comes from the word Cult. And all the circumcised penises around the world approve of that.

            I never got along with Culture, because it is largely based on superstition. And superstition is dangerous. You can’t base your life on a ruleset that is derived from superstition, because that’s like having no ruleset at all.

            Science works, superstition doesn’t. Therefor superstition has to be continually force-fed to the people, because there is a tendency for the people to wise up, and not repeat mistakes anymore, and to recognize the ineffectiveness of superstition.
            That’s the reason why we have force-feeders that continually want to scare us back into accepting superstition as truth. They want us to be scared, and irrational, and reactive (NOT active) so that they can more easily RULE US:

            We should wise up, and part of wising up is always the ability to be able to defend yourself against evil, both intellectually AND if necessary with force.

            • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

              “I never got along with Culture, because it is largely based on superstition. ”

              How about the superstition that every person can rule themselves and abide by the NAP? Anyone with a semblance of history can see this is never going to happen unless we fundamentally change human nature.

              • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

                That’s the beauty of it. I can make that statement about MYSELF, and MYSELF only: that I own myself, and follow the NAP.

                I ofcourse CAN’T (and WON’T) do that for other people, because that would be like statist mentality. I will not force anybody into accepting my philosophy… and I DON’T demand everybody become an anarchist.
                All I can do, is live a life without force and coercion and make everybody around me aware that THAT’S what I do, THAT’S how I live. So as to show to people that IT IS POSSIBLE.

                So, you see, libertainus maximus…. this is what exposes you as statist… you still want to make DECISIONS in the name of everybody.

                We anarchists don’t do that!

              • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

                In my world, people have the freedom to misbehave and be assholes.
                They have the freedom to kill themselves or live a completely unhealthy life.

                They DON’T have the freedom to make other people pay for their mistakes.
                Mistakes and the following pain are natures way of telling you you did something wrong.

                They DO have to bare the consequences, and CAN’T point to something or someone else when I judge their behaviour.

                If you make a mistake you should feel the pain of the consequences, that’s reality that kicks in. That’s the world I want to live in.
                Where assholes show themselves as assholes, and nobody tries to be apologetic about their behaviour.

                I am not even talking hypothetically here… I am happy about all the assholes in my life who CLEARLY showed me their TRUE face and made it crystalclear to me that they can’t be trusted.

                I also am very thankful to all the people who showed me repeatedly that they care for me and can be trusted.

                I am for PEOPLE SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS, not hiding behind superstition and dogma. (“you have to let them steal from you”, “you can’t be free”, “freedom is slavery”… or as you said: “every person CAN’T rule themselves and abide by the NAP”)

                LIES is what enables all Abuse… because if you can immediately point to the truth the abuse would be presented in clear light and the dissapointment would help you readjust your relationsship immediately.

                • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

                  In the libertarian movie “Serenity” a smuggler who “lives and let lives” avoiding confrontation with the authorities, but disobeying their demands, sees his friend murdered by them and finally decides to go on the attack, saying. “I aim to misbehave!” That was a dramatic moment and one of my favorites.

                  Point: One can misbehave and not be an asshole.

  8. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    Tony: Well said, wish I’d read the comments before I spent an hour writing up a rebuttal.

    “… this crusade (anti-state) that they can’t win … ” Wrong. The unconditional insistence on personal sovereignty is psychological liberation.The very mental rejection of political control is victory. I’m sorry for anyone who has not experienced that feeling.

    “There is a very heavy tendency to dismiss culture, and group association …” Not the culture of “live and let live”. Ever been to Porcfest or Libertopia?
    But I do dismiss the indiscriminate loss of self in group association such as happened in Nazi Germany. This was the essence of collectivism in action.

    Individualism is not “rootless”. It is based on the part of human nature that is responsible for our existence as human, our rationality. We don’t exist by our irrationality, no matter how “interesting and important” you find it.

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      ” The unconditional insistence on personal sovereignty is psychological liberation.”

      Great, so how do you expect to get the rest of the planet on board?

      “Not the culture of “live and let live”.”

      I don’t actually see this, I see this sentenced worshiped as an abstract. All you have to do bring up the right topics and all this goes out the window. Now suddenly these “anarchists” become social justice warriors who hate the idea of “live and let live”. No, now they have to crusade for the socialist programming they were taught in school, yet aren’t even aware they have accepted.

      When you find yourself on the side of an 80 year long government indoctrination scheme, you might want to reconsider your beliefs. How many anarchists are willing to do this? Like 4.

      “Individualism is not “rootless”.”

      The hyper-individualism that I see being promoted is. Are you trying to claim you are “rooted” in rationality? Explain how rationality gave birth to you as a biological entity.

      “It is based on the part of human nature that is responsible for our existence as human, our rationality.”

      Let’s talk about other parts of human nature, like biology. Our root in biology is far stronger than our ability for rational thought. Surely you are familiar with the many studies looking at this area. Humans *can* be rational, but they are not rational creatures by any means. The vast majority of what it means to be human is irrational in nature.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        “I” don’t “expect to get the rest of the planet on board”. I am the change I want. You can be the change you want to see. Each of us can do our part, one by one. None of us is going to change the world by ourselves with a magic master plan.

        Mass indoctrination is the biggest obstacle. Getting out of the matrix is gradual. Just because everyone doesn’t come out all at once, doesn’t mean they won’t make the journey. Once made, there’s no going back. Humanity didn’t evolve in a day.

        Yes, I am “rooted” in rationality. So is everyone with a normal brain. Our species is not equipped to survive by claw/fang. Other animals are. We can’t compete without our minds. Exactly how it happened is being worked out by scientists. The mechanism is not as important as the fact that we are very different from other animals in our ability to abstract. We think, they don’t. They feel emotions we feel, but that is not the same as thinking. We can be rational or not, true. It is a choice. The choice can be conscious or subconscious, explicit or implicit. The recognition of, i.e., identification of thinking as our only means of survival, and natural to us, is optional. It requires the choice to “think about thinking” and realize its value, i.e., realize it is essential to our being.

        • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

          Getting the rest of the planet on board will happen sooner or later as long as we keep on doing things WITHOUT asking the masters for permission.
          Bitcoin was created without asking anyone for permission, the World Wide Web was created without asking anyone for permission.

          We as anarchists just have to keep on doing things without asking for permission, and this way we will provide solutions that will be so wonderful and cheap, and efficient, and open, that people will naturally want to accept our solutions. People like bargains, and innovation,…

          There are many people who behave anarchistically without calling themselves anarchists…. I accept that. After all, deeds are much more important than big words.
          I see so many people worldwide thinking outside the box, creating their own media, their own music, their own food, their own lifestyle, their own religion, etc…. and they don’t even call themselves anarchists.

          I am sure there is a much larger group of people that acts anarchistically, without calling themselves anarchist. And that’s the hidden power of anarchism… by default everybody acts anarchistically, because naturally everybody is curious when entering the world, and everybody wants to be free, and explore, and NOT be a slave.
          (You have to be indoctrinated into accepting your own slavery. )

          Calling yourself an anarchist doesn’t mean anything, as Libertainius Maximus (whatever his name is) proves.

  9. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    Anyone who doesn’t believe that, at the very least, limited government is better than one big, centralized government is not paying attention to some simple truths. Small, local governments have a low ratio of subjects to “leaders”; the “leaders” live in the same community as the subjects; the “leaders” are constantly interacting with the subjects; in short, the “leaders” and subjects, at least in many way, need each other. This is why small groups of people can usually get by for long periods of time, and also why, even small-town government is not really necessary. The collective good thing works if people all freely choose to live together. The individual, in these situations, retains most of his or her importance.
    So, in a sense, the author may have been trying to make this point. Voluntarily-associating, small groups of people do actually give up some freedom and liberty, but they get to CHOOSE to do it because it MAKES THEM BETTER OFF, IN THEIR OPINION…. They can also stop doing it at any time.

    • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

      But people who have woken up, can’t play this game anymore. I myself refuse to play this game anymore.
      We are not going to argue that meh a little rape is better then being gang rapped by 10 people.
      You can’t play this “lesser of two evils” nonsense with us anymore, this is only possible to play with people who are stuck in prison like thinking and dare not see other possibilities than the two things YOU DECIDE to present them:
      Small evil, or big evil.

      STILL EVIL TO ME!

  10. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    I suppose, at some risk, the author could be referring to the practical situation we find ourselves in – a mammoth, ever-growing monster of a state, spurred on by a bunch of dependent people who have been trained to hold out their hands and have the state put something in it. Of course, this describes poor people on welfare, and CEO’s of large corporations.
    So, I suppose people try to carve out pockets of freedom within this tangled web. At the risk of sounding all Tyler Cowen on you, the increasing state presence in our lives will almost certainly create barriers, obstacles, conflict, and lessening prosperity over time. This will encourage resistance and creative forces in opposition. These two opposing forces may work to create pockets of freedom within which anarchy-minded people can operate.
    I don’t wish for a situation like this, but perhaps this is where the author is grasping?

  11. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    Ye gads, my Maximum friend: after reading this I’m almost ‘feard to admit I’m one-a them blamed Anarchists!

    Who is me! What can I be!

    ME! That’s what I’ll be.

    Sam

  12. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    To be serious, I’d suggest you spend an hour per day for around a week studying this:

    http://www.anarchism.net/anarchism_insanityasthesocialnorm.htm

    (It’ll take 7 to 10 hours, because the late Delmar England had the tendency, like you, to lop the noses off “anarchist” idols. And, it is not an easy read — his style is hard to follow)

    Then, for a good treatment of anarchy that is obvious and all around us, this PDF file:

    http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/Obvious.pdf

    After this, it will be hard to work up the asperity to nag about how others “practice” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) anarchy.

    Sam

  13. GenghisNo Gravatar says:

    It is a question of balance. Does the State do more good than harm?

    Most people (the beneficiaries) feel that the State definitely does more good than harm.

    Anarchists should take heed, organized States are always better at providing ‘good’ than separate individuals. This is a fact that isn’t going to change. It is why States are so successful.

    The trick for Anarchists is to explain how the broken windows fallacy applies to the State, it isn’t what is seen that is important (the repaired windows) it is what never happened because to the cost of repairing the windows. The new suit, the wedding, the cure for cancer, the happy meal at McDonalds, a song that was never sung, everything that could have happened but didn’t because someone broke the windows to ‘stimulate’ the economy.

    Every law and tax is a broken dream and a destroyed life. We can see it in the faces of the beneficiaries of the State.

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      Indeed, and that is all I am trying to point out. Yet, if you read the comments here, they reek of religious zealotry, moral grandstanding and hypocrisy.

      • GenghisNo Gravatar says:

        The problem is that we have a known system that works, we can see its benefits and flaws and its costs.

        Anarchists can see a better way. We don’t need to be slaves. We don’t need or want a master, Most slaves though are comfortable with their chains and scraps and are too busy doing their masters bidding that they don’t have time to think for themselves. That will never change.

        Luckily freedom is ours for the taking. No one will hunt us down and kill us if we take off our chains. That is all the slave has to do, stand up, take off their chains and walk away. It really is that simple. Few do it because slavery is oh so seductive, security and predictability needs are almost wired into our DNA.

  14. GoVoluntaryNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks. As a philosophical anarchist, and one who sometimes annoys people with the obvious, I take well your point.

    Understanding a basic philosophical principle is great, but humility is extremely important. If we knew it all, we’d have it all taken care of, after all.

    Listening and living ones principles gets us all further down the road. Knowing it all . . . it’s a tendency we have to learn better than.

  15. state haterNo Gravatar says:

    “This amounts to little more than saying, “When everyone starts respecting property.” It isn’t going to happen, and after 5000 years of tribal warfare I am amazed that arguments about Dispute Resolution Organizations are seen as acceptable answers to these problems.”

    Just about everyone respects property right now. The few who don’t are either ruling class scum, or just scum. When the state is gone, the former will be powerless to violate property (at least in their preferred way), and the latter will be dealt much the same way that they’re dealt with now, only with the coercive monopoly of “law enforcement” replaced with competing DROs and prison replaced with restitution (plus they are a tiny minority now, and will be even tinier then).

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      If they did, they wouldn’t be voting for a third party to steal your money for stuff they like, they would universally against all taxation, they would be against all wars, they would be anarchists, but this is not what we see is it?

      “replaced with competing DROs”

      Also known as gang warfare.

      “prison replaced with restitution ”

      How much is a murder worth?

      • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

        Most people become programmed to deny a causality between voting and “nice & legal” plunder. Most people become programmed to accept a false correlation between anarchy and chaos. It’s a deliberate witches’ brew, to be sure.

        Gang warfare would tend to be limited. Too cost prohibitive. Bottom line: likely to remain less of a problem than any conceivable government force. Security personnel taking bribes & junk would not have a Blue Line of protection but rather a tenacious tail from investigators hoping to help their employer bankrupt the bribe-taker’s employer.

        The price of murder? Depends on the circumstance and the community. Reputation is everything in an anarchist society, doing things that damage one’s reputation pushes oneself farther & farther outside a community’s generally accepted boundaries for what it considers to be society. Do enough shi**y things and a community might consider you to be little more than any other animal that doesn’t count as a member of society. After that, murdering you for doing grievous harm to society would become less of a financial burden — heirs claiming compensation for the murder of a scumbag who chose to exist outside society would typically be SOL, plus (as with the possibility for gang warfare among DROs) Hatfield & McCoy situations would tend to be limited and in any case less burdensome than institutionalized Saturnian sacrifice rituals.

        It’s likely that the worst scumbags would refuse to offer any compensation for their sociopathic proclivities. Such scumbags would tend to have much shorter lives (e.g. killed the first time he tried to rape an armed woman).

        • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

          “Gang warfare would tend to be limited. Too cost prohibitive.

          This is what I talked about in the article, the pretense of fortune telling by anarchists. We can look back in history to see that warfare is not limited or cost prohibitive.

          • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

            You don’t have to go back to history. Gangs exist everywhere today. And while they are sometimes violent, they do not threaten the entire world with mass extinction. Gangs are smaller, have less power, and are more closely connected to reality and accountability.

      • state haterNo Gravatar says:

        “If they did, they wouldn’t be voting for a third party to steal your money for stuff they like, they would universally against all taxation, they would be against all wars, they would be anarchists, but this is not what we see is it? ”

        Incorrect. They are either (1) too stupid, or (2) too lazy/apathetic, to understand that that’s what they’re doing. If they did understand this and internalize it, then they would stop doing it.

      • state haterNo Gravatar says:

        “Also known as gang warfare.”

        Something that respects the NAP doesn’t meet the colloquial definition of “gang.”

        “How much is a murder worth?”

        Market forces will decide that. A cogent argument could be made that forced labor for life is appropriate in some cases.

        For someone who supposedly sides with us, you have made some very basic mistakes.

        • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

          “Market forces will decide that.

          Which isn’t an answer at all. You cannot put a price on a life. To attempt to reduce everything to an economic equation is how a corporation views life. Frankly, it is disgusting.

          “you have made some very basic mistakes.

          No, I am familiar with all of the “get out of an answer free” responses. I just don’t accept them anymore. One should not assume mistakes so lightly.

          • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

            You are the one making a mistake when you fail to understand the remarkable achievement of voluntary interactions in the economic sphere. Voluntary association in all spheres of life, i.e., freedom, is civilization. And it is the only way our species can exist as human. Our past has been a sub-human one. The failure to recognize our basic need to be free has crippled progress. Its symptoms are war, poverty, and unhappiness.

            • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

              “You are the one making a mistake when you fail to understand the remarkable achievement of voluntary interactions in the economic sphere.”

              These voluntary interactions never produced any of the systems you now take for granted: water supply systems, treatment plants, power stations, phone services, sewer systems, satellite networks, etc. To retort that, “the market could do it better” is to attempt to move the goalposts.

              It *may* be true that it would be done better, faster, cheaper today with a free market, but this is akin to the RBE folks who want to set up their communist utopia on the back of the infrastructure, created in the first place, by the market they despise.

              ” Voluntary association in all spheres of life, i.e., freedom, is civilization.”

              I would agree that it is “civilized”, but “civilization has not been marked by voluntary association. In fact, it has been precisely the opposite.

              ” And it is the only way our species can exist as human.”

              Unfounded rhetoric. Humans have always been quite comfortable with being slaves. Need I remind you of the long intellectual history refuting your faith?

              “Freedom means responsibility and that is why most men dread it.” Shaw

              “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.” Mencken

              “In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, Make us your slaves, but feed us.” Dostoyevsky

              Do you ignore these because it isn’t what you want to see?

              “Our past has been a sub-human one.”

              What does this even mean? 99.999999% of our history has been an unacceptable condition? I sense a massive teleological presumption here.

              “The failure to recognize our basic need to be free has crippled progress.”

              The failure to recognize that most people want nothing to do with freedom and only want safety is what has crippled progress. It leads us to buy into the lie that we could be controlled by the .000000000001% by magic or something. Humans don’t have a basic need to be free, the ones that do have always been shunned and often killed by the rest of society. If humans had a basic need to be free, as they do with food or water or human contact, they would demand it and it would be the norm. Yet, this is not what we see. Instead, we see that whenever freedom springs from the ground, like a plant in the middle of the desert, the slaves rush to destroy it as quickly as possible. They cannot stand the mere sight of it. It makes them uncomfortable and ill.

              Mencken saw this clearly nearly 100 years ago, and he was not the first:

              ‘The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty — and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.”

              Baltimore Evening Sun (12 February 1923)

              • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

                Misunderstandus Maximus: “… systems you now take for granted…”? These systems are forced down my throat. I “take” them unwillingly, especially the dangerously inadequate crumbling roads. As for the funding, it comes from the private sector wealth creation, not from govt. wealth. Govt. produces no wealth. It consumes, while obstructing creation by taxation and regulation. It is a parasite.

                I do not consider past or present societies based on institutional violence, civil.

                History has been propaganda, authorized by control freaks (rulers). Alternative histories have been repressed and destroyed. Therefore, we cannot know what the average person dreamed of. We know all wealth creation resulted in the little freedom that existed. We know that when freedom expanded, a higher standard of living was created. From that we know freedom is life enhancing. And govt. is the reduction of freedom. Therefore, govt. is anti-life.

                The fact that no society has been exclusively pro-freedom, pro-life, is due to ignorance and fear, not some natural genetics. Enlightenment would erase fear and bring social progress, perhaps even our first civilization.

                I have faith in nothing. I have confidence in reason as our only means of survival as a species, as evidenced by its efficacy for individuals.

  16. Stephan JerdeNo Gravatar says:

    Tony:

    “Calling it a “belief system” should, in my personal opinion, disqualify you from being taken seriously. It shows that you approach it from a disrespectful position. Why should anyone even bother discussing things with someone who uses words like “belief system” or “utopia”?”

    I take it the irony was intentional?

  17. Kyle ReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Methinks this article is emblematic of the long-running spat between individualist and social(ist) anarchists.

    Look guys, once you’ve been successful at abolishing the State, some of you will organize collectively, and others of you won’t. And you know the best part of it all is? It fundamentally doesn’t fucking matter either way because neither of you are using coercion to force your “central plan” onto anyone else. Some of you will associate with each other, and some of you will avoid or ostracize each other; and that’s perfectly okay!

    Freedom first…everything else just fucking wait, as far as I am concerned.

  18. RobbedNo Gravatar says:

    A water treatment plant is a good example of something good from government this way comes? http://tinyurl.com/nqjj8ay

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Good one! I’m surprised nobody else had called the author out on that. Municipal tap water is terrible!

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      Compared to it being filled with sewage, bacteria and parasites, yes. Look at countries that don’t have basic sanitation like this, sickness is very common. I did not claim they did a great job or that it was perfect, or that it couldn’t be done better. I only said that when you dismiss it right out, you lose credibility with those who can see that as bad as our water is, it isn’t filled with shit.

      • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

        No, Maximus Sophistest, you cannot justify public services by pointing to worse public services elsewhere. The hidden assumption is false. We don’t have to choose between only public services. We don’t have to only compare public services against one another.

        • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

          Please read what I actually write, not what you think I wrote.

          • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

            “… when you dismiss it (public water) right out, you lose credibility.” I dismiss it “right in” context. 1. The “service” is paid for by theft, i.e., taxation. 2. The quality and price is determined by the thief, not the victim. 3. No competition is allowed.

            If the so-called service was moral/practical it would be chosen freely. It is forced on us. Why is force necessary if it is good?

  19. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    I’ll give Libertainius Maximus credit for having stirred the minds of quite a few folks. That’s the signature of a good writing. The essay has elicited thought-provoking responses — not merely insulting one-liners as is common on the social networking sites (of which I steer clear) and comments sections in general.

    I have no idea how the world would look if everybody — everybody — would cease voting tomorrow. I recommend that, because voting (in my humble opinion) is simply a grant of legitimacy to tyrants and to criminal behavior.

    I do not know how the world around me would be if everybody — every single individual — would cease “voluntary compliance” regarding income tax — or all tax, for that matter. Obviously not a lot would change, since psychopaths (who make up that group we are so fond of calling “government” or “the state”) have successfully monopolized media of exchange to the extent they don’t really need taxation other than for a measure of control, since they can merely print and create digital “money”.

    I have no way of knowing how the world around me would look if everyone — everyone — would abruptly cease all obedience to all “authority” to which they did not personally and directly subscribe. I am an advocate of freedom, and I strongly urge all who read this to re-watch this video (most have seen it at least once), and begin to mentally practice liberty.

    It would be interesting for me to witness what things would look like around me if everyone — every single soul — would begin to treat their neighbors and friends up and down the block with courtesy and respect (which is what is going on right now, as we speak — at least in my peaceful neighborhood — without monopoly police input).

    The reason I’d like to see this before I die (I’m nearly 80) is because I’ve never seen it. Neither have you.

    And it’s why I tend to call myself (if anyone is interested enough to inquire, which is rare) an anarchist. I do not subscribe to anarchism (figure that one out), because I avoid “ism’s” as the plague.

    Carl Sagan is quoted as having said: “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based upon evidence — it’s based upon a deep seated need to believe”. I try not to speculate what true liberty will be like, but I hope to be alive to see it.

    Root level definition of government is initiation of force and coercion. A dark alley mugging is no less government than any other initiation of force and coercion. I hope to see all force and coercion ended. Sam

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      ” “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based upon evidence — it’s based upon a deep seated need to believe”.”

      Great response. This is the sort of thing I was getting at in my article that I rarely see. Instead, what I see, is “believers” defending ideological turf rather than admitting what they actually see and think would actually happen. Far too many have made “anarchism” their complete identity. They see “aggression” as the one and only relevant standard of conduct and ideal. This is completely infantile IMO. It rejects human nature and history.

      • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

        The “natural” is what is in our nature. The animals always act in accordance with their nature. It is how their brain works. Man is different. He is not born knowing how to survive. He must learn by thinking or copying someone who thought. He is physically inferior to animals. His dominance is due to his ability to think, i.e., to abstract, to conceptualize. For example, humanity has used his different brain function to generate a life strategy completely different from the animals: technology. It is technology that separates us from the animals. But it is a two edged sword. It, like our brain, can be used for creation or destruction.

        If you consider self destruction natural, then what is life affirming action? Are they both “natural” just because people engage in them? Does any other species exist that routinely acts against its own self interest, as a species? I believe it would soon become extinct if one arose.

        Our species, because of our unique brain, can act against itself. It is necessary for us to discover what is in our self interest as a species. Since we have no collective brain, we survive as a species by protecting the lives of each individual, i.e., species survival is individual survival. The failure to recognize this unique human nature is destroying us, while the individual will to survive is offsetting the political realm’s anti-life ethics. The struggle will be resolved by extinction or enlightenment, but time is running out.

  20. Hmm.

    I think I see your point, Libertainius, and I thank you for writing your article and getting it published here, and I thank Davi for publishing it as well. I respectfully disagree with Seth, I don’t think you want to troll anyone.

    I like how Syock described us anarchist folk in a post over on the forum, as the vegans of the political world. It sounds like you perceive (many) anarchists as you might perceive a vegan who tries to argue that someone can never live as healthily off a diet which includes animal products as they can off a diet which omits them. Meat can provide lots of vital nutrition, and vegans can admit that it can do so without having to give up eating a vegan diet, because vegans want more than just the most nutritious diet, they want food they can eat without causing harm to non-human animals.

    But, if you feel very strongly that the harm involved in eating meat, (or even eating eggs or honey or drinking milk,) necessitates eating only other sorts of food, and very few others around you share this feeling, this can tempt you to try and persuade others to eat the way you do by getting them to think eating your preferred diet will make them healthier, or even by getting them to believe that diets including animal products will poison them or have no nutritional value at all. Unfortunately for such an attempt, meat does have nutritional value, and that presents a vegan such as this with a problem, how do they get others to behave the way they wish?

    I concede that people can accomplish ends which I like, (funding road construction, running a library, feeding the poor, etc.) through means which themselves constitute ends I dislike, (demanding contributions on threat of imprisonment, general threats (or acts) of initiatory force.) I don’t feel able to demonstrate that anarchy of any sort will inevitably lead to a more peaceful, more prosperous society than having all sorts of government would.

    But I do feel able to make a plausible case that those who wish to live in a free society can create the kind of society in which they wish to live. For a vegan, the mere possibility of living healthily without consuming animal products would probably satisfy them, even if they could live a bit healthier or easier with a different diet. For me, if I can imagine any possibility of living in a free society, I want to try and achieve that, I want to get as close to that as I can. It may take more effort than alternatives, it may involve more risk, but for me the reward outweighs the risk and the cost. I don’t argue that only anarchy can lead to peace and prosperity, I simply think that we might have the ability to achieve peace and prosperity under anarchy, and I personally value freedom enough to try.

    Does that sound more like the kind of argument you want anarchists to use?

  21. don duncanNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think conceding govt. could work as well as anarchy is accurate. You think with govt. or no govt., peace & prosperity is possible. I see your belief in govt. as an irrational illusion, i.e., a superstition. As such, it makes you blind to the harm it does. You might claim to see some harm and some good, but that is a rationalization. Hitler is often praised for the “good” he did, e.g., creating an orderly society, a sense of community within the German nation. And that is certainly true. He did take the worst trends in his society and use them to get and keep control. The result was mass delusion. His victims went along willingly. And any who did not were threatened and/or punished. No decent was allowed. This shared dream was very comforting for most. But some aspects of the dream cannot be separated from others, as if you could have one without the others. That can only be done abstractly, mentally. In the external world, all aspects go together and are inseparable. And so it is with govt. Every benefit has a cost. The benefit cannot be evaluated without taking the cost into account. When people praise a govt. benefit, they can only justify that praise by ignoring or being ignorant of the cost.

    A quick way to arrive at a critical evaluation of any achievement is to look at the means. Was it achieved by voluntary means? If not, then the cost was too high. Violating rights is never justified. It never justifies the end.

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      I agree that violating rights can never be justified, but so what? Almost no one even cares, even when you can convince them that such is the case.

      • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

        Most people would agree with NAP and be anti-war, until you ask questions or watch their actions. They don’t understand what a principle is, or why one needs principles, so they stumble through life contradicting their avowed beliefs.

        Yet consistency is conducive to success in life. The more ones actions are consistent with ones beliefs, the happier the person, assuming the beliefs are realistic. That is the purpose of a moral code. It is a guide for action. If that code is faulty, if it results in suffering, then the code needs to be examined, perhaps changed to achieve a better life, a happier life.

        The number of people who have learned this is irrelevant. It does not change the need for a moral code. Have I answered your “so what?”?

        • An article by Mark Cooney here attempts to examine, statistically, the likelihood that someone will die of lethal conflict in societies with different kinds of government, or with no government at all. It provides some evidence that one will more likely die of lethal conflict in a stateless society than in a society which has a relatively weak, democratic/republican government.

          So, based on that, it seems that someone who values not dying of lethal conflict, and nothing else, would probably place their bets on a society with a democratic government, rather than an anarchist society.

          Of course, most people value other things besides that, but I’ve never encountered a moral philosophy which convincingly, (to me,) demonstrated any sort of objective superiority of one value system over another.

          It sounds like, roughly speaking, you would hold happiness as your own standard of value, or ultimate value? What if different people can only achieve happiness for themselves through means which make it impossible, or much harder, for others to achieve happiness? What about people who have other standards? What about those who, for whatever reason, (mental illness, we’ll say, for example,) have no ability to experience happiness regardless of what course of action they take?

          • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

            One of the most socially cohesive societies that is possible existed. It was not a republic. It was, as advertised, a socialist democracy. It was the most advanced technologically, but it used its tech to build up a war machine. And it used its tech very successfully. It was a powerful brutal empire. And it was not the first. But the people loved it. They “knew” they were safe. There was no major crime. And no social unrest. They feared no foreigners because they were the strongest bullies in their part of the world, just as the USSA is the strongest bully worldwide, now. But they discovered that the power to destroy, is not as life enhancing as the power to create. They discovered that bombing other societies into oblivion is not smart. It has negative blowback, short term, and long term. The Nazis, like the Roman Empire before them, fell because they trusted brute force. When they were the top predators they feasted on the loot they took by violence, and they all rejoiced. No one could convince them they were wrong to violate rights. They found out the hard way, they were stupid fools to believe in violence first as a guiding principle.

            • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

              Don, I try to tell youngsters to be constructive for destruction is easy and has no productivity to it. But many (most?) ignore me for destruction pays better in the short term. They either are too stupid to see the long term consequences or just do not care. It is frightening.

  22. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    Maximus:

    “…violating rights can never be justified, but so what? Almost no one even cares, even when you can convince them that such is the case…”

    Duncan:

    “…The more ones actions are consistent with ones beliefs, the happier the person, assuming the beliefs are realistic…”

    Neither of you are “wrong” — the argument seems to be going in circles, and I think I can tell you why: First of all, I see Maximum’s premise as being on the right track. All to many “anarchists” are trying to not only justify their “belief”, but they’re sort-of placing the responsibility on others in a rather pedantic fashion. “…I need you and all others around me and all over the known world to crave liberty so I can be free…” (or, “I can’t be truly free until ‘we‘ end — or minimize — government…” and laws don’t interfere, etc etc etc). Trying to proselytize anarchy.

    I do not use the term “rights”. My preference is “choice(s)”. That’s my mindset. I have no need to wail and gnash my teeth over the white man’s violence and coercive actions — any more than I have a need to complain that rattlesnakes bite.

    I wear boots to the woods and watch where I reach.

    I make choices based upon what I have observed, which makes up what I believe. And I make corrections as I go along — that’s one reason I’m here on this forum. Good essays and good comments (even the combative and rather insulting comments) help me align my choices with my serenity.

    There are many — many — who will attempt, by their very nature is seems, to short-change or interfere with my choices (if I give them half a chance). And if my choices and resulting behaviors interfere with you, you will react in a negative manner. So it behooves me to stay out of your face and clear of your property (unless invited) if I want to live a happy and non-stressful life.

    I can prate about “rights” all day — but, as Maximus implies, who gives a damn? If I expect others — even you — to respect or grant what I might come to think of as my “rights” I’m whistlin’ Dixie.

    As Maximus (and Mencken) have said, humans have always been quite comfortable with being slaves. The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe. I have my own explanation for that, and I’m not going into it here. The infinitesimal percentage of individuals I love and care about are in that category (so far). They will never read this. I’m preachin’ to the choir — the 1% of the 1%.

    But I can be free. Here. Where I am. Today.

    If it’s going to be, it’s up to me. Sam

    .

  23. Born AnarchistNo Gravatar says:

    Been talking with anarchists for 2 whole years now? Impressive…. Okay actually it’s not, nor is it even really amusing. And the fact you have to, up front, defend against people rightfully calling you out for over-generalizations and blanket statements, while admitting you’ve only been involved with anarchists for 2 years?

    Can we get some actual anarchist written articles on here or wtf? Some of us had been interacting with anarchist for 2 years at year 2 of our lives, I’m not calling the article pathetic just that your experience with anarchists is such that you don’t have much of a leg to stand on, by your own admission, but by all mean preach on and condescend to the trendies….

    • Libertainius MaximusNo Gravatar says:

      This comment is ridiculous.

      Are you suggesting there is something that I would learn in year 3 or 5 or 8? I have been reading anarchist material for far longer, I was referring to active debating and conversing.

      ” Some of us had been interacting with anarchist for 2 years at year 2 of our lives”

      This is really pathetic. I have to conclude that you are about as deep as Michelle Bachman based on what you have said here. Thanks for contributing your butthurt though.

      • Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

        Anarchy is not a contest to see who can do it the longest. In fact, the newest anarchist might have a better handle on personal sovereignty than those of us old, crusty bastards who became anarchist about the time a psychopath named Johnson beat the shyster Goldwater out of the “privilege” of being crowned grand wizard of the U.S. klan in 1964.

        That would be me. Me and Karl Hess. Before many of you were born.

        Maximus was trying to tell us what we should already know — we don’t have the answers. Most of us are only now discovering the questions.

        Sam

        • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

          Good point Sam. I too am a “crusty old bastard”, but I realize that young minds have the potential to do things we old farts are probably past. However, the young today have been brainwashed so long and hard that very few can think critically for themselves. That is where we old anarchists are invaluable. We stubbornly in the face of most of society insist that individual liberty is the priceless necessity to be truly humane. We can let the young fight it out as to the nuances until they too become “crusty old bastards”.

  24. Tom ClaytonNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent article! You touch on many aspects of human behavior that are not necessarily “logical” but the fact that they are not does not exclude their importance in how many people lead their lives.

    I spent many years supporting Larken Rose because he correctly used logic and the published law to prove that the federal government has been enforcing an income tax on American citizens who receive income from economic activities from inside the United States when decades of rules (regulations) show that only income derived from foreign commerce is taxable when received by American citizens. But I ended up in jail and my life as a physician nearly destroyed because I INSISTED on obeying these rules. The Treasury Department, DOJ, and Federal judges work together to enforce a law that does not exist.

    The reason that I bring this up is that as long as government can ignore rules that are agreed upon and are not independently supervised by a mechanism that is independent (no foxes guarding the henhouse) then misconduct will inevitably occur, as it does with virtually every other group who has an unlimited ability to expand their power unchecked. Including anarchists.

    Animals fight and have pecking orders and humans as animals are somehow different because they can use language to obscure or conceal instinctual behavior? Talking about anarchism as if it were a viable alternative that is somehow immune to these forces is a complete waste of time, IMHO.

    • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

      Before we “talk about anarchism” we should define it. I find this saves a lot of semantic misunderstandings, and much arguing in circles. Once a definition is agreed upon, many people find out they agreed all along, but didn’t realize it.

      Anarchism: The repudiation of force based authority as immoral/impractical.

      Humans do not live by instinct, as all the other species do. We need to use our minds, but it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. The art of understanding how our minds work, e.g., how to think, is called psychology. Why we think is called psychophysiology. Why we should think is dealt with in philosophy. All of these disciplines are helpful in discussing social interaction, especially philosophy. If you are looking for a personal maxim to live by, especially a universal one then it is helpful to know your species has a unique way of surviving, a physical/mental trait that gives them a survival advantage over all other species. That recognition is your starting point. Without it you have no basic foundation, no viable starting point. You may arrive at a correct maxim but you will not be able to ground it, to trace it back to a concrete fact. And that makes it vulnerable to philosophical attack. It is not enough to be correct, it is essential to know why you hold correct premises, and how correct premises exist.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        Don, I define anarchism as society without government. Since I define government as that entity claiming a monopoly on violence within an area, we are not too far apart in our definitions of anarchism.

      • Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

        Donald Duncan, I enjoyed your comment(s) on this aged article. If you want an excellent treatise on how the mind works, I suggest my old friend Delmar England. England wrote one major essay that I believe is one of the best outlines of anarchy ever put out. Then he up and died. He does not rank amongst “gurus” fer sure. But his treatment of how the mind works, and how the statist mentality survives even among professing libertarians and anarchists, is superb. Here’s the article:

        http://www.anarchism.net/anarchism_insanityasthesocialnorm.htm

        You’re not going to like it. England kicks at the shins of your idols. Plus it’s hard to read in places. But he tells it like it is. Sam

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      Tom, Hitler said something like “Law need not be just or even legal. It need only be enforcable.” The guy with the gun on his hip (usually a cop) is the law.

      Anarchism could be viable. Getting from here to there is very problematic, but there is nothing in the essensce of anarchism that makes it incompatible with human society.

      • Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

        Fritz, don’t know what’s happened to this site — nobody interested anymore in whipping together essays for topics.

        But I totally agree with you — the guy with the gun has what has almost religiously come to be called “jurisdiction”. Actually, a rattlesnake has “jurisdiction” if you reach or step too close. I’ve got 60 year-old fang marks on my left hand to prove it.

        But a rattlesnake serves a good purpose — s/he feeds on rodents, mosquitoes, etc. Psychopaths hiding under the mantle of “the state” serve no good purpose that a free market would not serve better.

        Sam

        So if you love your rat-free home, thank a snake!

        • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

          Sam, good to see you writing here. I spend time at Wendy McElroy’s discussion forum. You might check it out.
          I have several cats which actually hold down on snakes and rats. But I agree with you about “jurisdiction”. The difference is that I kill off snakes. The 2nd amendment gives us some tools to keep the human snakes at bay. That is why the socialist’s disarming the planet is so terrifying.