Tag Archive | aggression

Debate on the Nature & Scope of Self-Defense

Friday night, I debated with Matt Kuehnel of “Dankertarians,” who run the website https://dankertarians.com. I don’t really follow the site or the page, but I think they make memes or something. I’m not entirely sure. Matt is a hard-left leaning libertarian of the anarchist persuasion and calls himself a Libertarian Socialist. From my reading of Libertarian Socialism, it’s basically anarcho-communism by a different name. C’est la vie, it’s not important.

After we’d each been cross-examined, we featured Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty to talk about his MALIC center project, where he is opening a mosque and interfaith place of worship in Keene, New Hampshire to serve the community there. As a fun bonus, it is opening within five miles of where now felon Chris Cantwell lives. The project has been funded well, but it could use your support, and not just to make a Nazi cry by having a mosque open up in his backyard; even as an atheist, I’m fully on-board with the project. You can find it here, and I hope that you can throw $5 his direction.

I took basically the position that you’ve heard me describe before: there are limits to what is and isn’t self-defense–objective criteria by which we determine an act was self-defense. This is critically important, because saying “I was defending myself” is not just an excuse for one’s own actions; it’s an accusation of criminal behavior. In order for me to be “defending myself,” the person attacking me must be guilty of a crime–assault, battery, etc. Yet this person has the right to be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty (socially or legally–as I reminded Matt several times throughout the debate, we’re not talking about law as much as we are social custom and what is right). If my claim of self-defense is to hold up, I must prove beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that the person against whom I defended myself was guilty of a crime. This often gets lost in the self-defense debate, but there’s never just one person: both sides are prosecutor and defendant, and both must be presumed innocent.

Anyway, all that said, I was really rusty, and it showed. I haven’t formally debated anyone in years. And after all the bitching about formality, wouldn’t you know it? It was I who cross-examined someone when I shouldn’t have. Anyway, the debate weighs in at just over an hour, and we take questions at the end, so I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for watching.

Punching Nazis?

Question: At what point does a person’s political ideology become a determinant factor in whether it’s okay to inflict violence on them?

Answer: It doesn’t.

A lot of people have talked about this idea, whether it’s okay to punch Nazis, whether the NAP allows it, and even whether it means the NAP should be abandoned. It’s often treated as a “Gotcha!” question for Libertarians, either because the answer is so nuanced that the asker attests the libertarian has no answer, or because it causes the libertarian to stumble out of the gate. After all, Nazis are Ultra Super Evil, so it must me okay to attack them! So if your guiding principle doesn’t allow you to attack these symbols of unchecked evil, then your guiding principle has problems.

Right?

In some ways, it can be a difficult question to answer, and I understand why much ink has been spilled over attempting to dissect it and come up with an answer. This usually deals with the core of Nazi beliefs and the idea that it is the Nazi’s intention to use force, violence, and coercion against others; therefore, inflicting violence against the Nazi is an act of prevention.

But that’s the wrong answer.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by magician parlor tricks that cause us to chase down obfuscations. The question is stupid and unworthy of an answer in the first place. It relies on widespread hatred of the very word “Nazi,” often regardless of whether a person knows what Nazism professes, and attempts to bait people into expressing any sort of sympathy with these people widely considered the symbols of evil. Nazis are the safe bad guy in any form of entertainment for a reason.

In fact, the person’s political identification is irrelevant to the question. Is it okay to punch a socialist? A communist? A racist? A sexist? A Muslim? A Christian? An anarchist?

“No” on all counts.

A Nazi?

“Well, you see, there are some complexities…”

“No” is still the answer.

Part of this idea that Nazis represent The Devil Incarnate is the notion that all Nazis are the same and believe exactly the same things to exactly the same extent. This is an assumption we don’t apply anywhere else, and for good reason. We all know that we’ll have a very difficult time finding two Democrats who agree on everything, two Republicans who agree on everything, two socialists who agree on everything, and you can forget finding two libertarians who agree on everything. I don’t think I’ve ever met two Christians who agree on everything, or two Muslims who agree on everything. But two Nazis who agree on everything?

It’s just assumed. “Oh, yeah, definitely… All Nazis are the same.”

I know that the propaganda during World War 2 was extremely effective, and that it has permanently colored our society, but it’s time we put aside the propaganda and evaluated things as rational adults. The fact is that, at the height of their power, lots of people were Nazis. And the reason that Hitler kept the Holocaust as quiet as he could was precisely that he knew the common people of Germany, many, many of whom were Nazis, would never have been okay with his proposed Final Solution. Many Nazis defected from the country and the party, not because they disputed National Socialism but because they rejected the Holocaust. That wartime propaganda still lingers, but all Nazis have never been the same.

The question has nothing to do with the NAP; it has everything to do with virtue signaling, as the asker attempts to test the waters to see if he can goad the libertarian into expressing virtues different from his own, at which point the libertarian can be called a Nazi Sympathizer, and, since everyone hates Nazis, it means whoever asks the question generally wins in public perception. A fair question is “At what point is it okay to use a person’s political beliefs as a factor in determining whether it’s acceptable to inflict violence upon them?”

The answer to this question is, “It’s never okay.”

Recently I read an article by a libertarian who wants to re-evaluate the NAP because it allows racists to be considered libertarians, and the author doesn’t like that. He seems to struggle with the idea of tolerance, that we must tolerate behavior and ideas we don’t approve of, as long as the person doesn’t use force, violence, and coercion. Since using force, violence, and coercion are the only ways to be intolerant of an idea, it basically means that “Everything is tolerable except force, violence, and coercion.”

While I can see why people would struggle with this, there is no identifiable link between a person’s religious or political beliefs and their willingness or unwillingness to use violence. Progressives have for decades condemned the use of violence, but now are the prime actors initiating it. If you ask some people, Hitler was a Catholic. If you ask others, he was an atheist. Whether Stalin’s atheism had anything to do with his atrocities is good troll-bait. Whether Islam has anything to do with the large amount of extremism coming out of the Middle East also makes good troll-bait.

But the reality is simpler: the reason we can’t find any direct correlation between a person’s beliefs and things like terrorism is that there really isn’t one. A few years ago, I came across someone who asserted that people who are homophobic are actually gay and just can’t accept it. That’s absurd, and the reasoning behind it is aggressively unworthy of our species. So a man who hates pedophiles is secretly a pedophile and can’t accept it? That’s the reasoning we’re going to go with on this?

As “evidence” of this claim, another person came forward and said, “I used to be homophobic, and I’m gay, so it’s actually true.”

No, it’s still not true. You’re connecting dots where there are no dots to be connected. You were homophobic and you are gay; you weren’t homophobic because you are gay. This person’s upbringing and social environment would have led him to be homophobic regardless of his orientation. Being gay is simply what allowed him to stop being homophobic. We find the same pattern everywhere, with people attempting to draw correlations between religious beliefs and violence, and between political ideologies and violence.

Is the man hateful because he is racist, or is the man racist because he is hateful? Is the man willing to use violence against black people because he’s racist, or is he racist because he’s willing to use violence against black people? Or is his racism unrelated to his willingness to use violence, and his racism merely determines who is the recipient of his willingness to use violence? In most cases, the latter. Being a white supremacist won’t turn a non-violent person into a violent one. I’m sorry, but it won’t. Neither will being a black supremacist, an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Democrat, or a Republican.

In nearly all cases, extremist positions do not create a willingness to use violence. They are merely used as an excuse. The people who bombed abortion clinics didn’t do so because Christianity made them looney. They did so because they were already looney, and parts of Christianity gave them an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway. Ditto for Muslim extremists, atheist extremists, socialist extremists, racist extremists, and other extremists. And in all of these cases, for every one who is batshit nuts and violent, there are 99 who are perfectly normal.

Question: Is it okay to punch a Nazi?

Answer: What the fuck kind of question is that?

Is it okay to punch someone who is engaged in act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone who is a reasonable and credible threat planning an act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone because you really, really don’t like what they believe? These questions don’t all have the same answer, and that’s why “Nazi” is used in the question. We’re just supposed to accept that all Nazis are supremely evil and willing, perhaps even eager, to kill everyone who isn’t a straight, white Christian. And even if that’s true about Nazis–which it isn’t, though it’s more likely to be true of neo-Nazis–it’s still the wrong question to ask, because the fact that they are Nazis isn’t a determining factor. The determining factor is whether the person is engaged in, or credibly planning to be engaged in, acts of violence and aggression. It doesn’t matter if they’re Nazis, socialists, anarchists, communists, capitalists, Christians, atheists, Muslims, or anything else.

 

Alt-Right-Del

I’m going to do something that I don’t do often.

Rik Storey is an idiot who has no idea what he’s talking about, cherry-picks to support his chosen ideology, ignores evidence that conflicts with his internal ideas, and spreads this madness for other people to absorb. The only reason I know about this alt-right goon is that he’s a member of a Voluntaryist/Anarchist/Libertarian group I’m in on Facebook, and no one has seen fit to kick him from the group yet for constantly talking about his alt-right positions and why they’re not only part of libertarianism–his latest post is about “the alt-right faction of the Libertarian Party”–but are critical to libertarianism–such as his post “Why Libertarians Need Protectionism.”

This is the idiot who said that multiculturalism is bad.

I’m not going to go into a line-by-line analysis of his writing and where his reasoning breaks down. I’m going to instead talk in broad strokes, because I don’t have the patience right now to read his trite dribble again. I have read his stuff, and I have countered his stuff; he has ignored the counters and continued peddling his inanities anyway.

Culture War?

Anyone who thinks that the United States is at risk of losing its culture needs to turn their sights inward. America runs the world, not just politically but also culturally. Our movies are cherished, our music is highly prized, and our video games are widely praised. Video games are the only cultural area where we don’t run the full sweep, but Bethesda, Bioware, and Blizzard–interestingly, all of whom begin with a “B,” although I think Bethesda is Canadian?–clearly show that the U.S. is a major player in the video game industry, even if it is dominated by Japan. Mass Effect: Andromeda released today, and has surely already sold millions of copies. World of Warcraft, anyone? Fucking Skyrim?

The wonderful thing about mainstream culture is that it’s always representative of the wider cultural values at home. This is obvious when you think about it. No movie in the 1950s would have depicted a gay marriage scene, because gay marriage was almost universally reviled, and the movie makers wanted to make money. Putting in a gay marriage scene would have resulted in widespread protest of the movie, and they wouldn’t have made any money. Culture, of course, is a multi-faceted thing, but the point still stands: America is projecting its culture out into the rest of the world, influencing the rest of the world.

Not the other way around.

We’re not sitting at home watching Bollywood movies and being increasingly influenced by Indian cultural values. We’re not watching Chinese sitcoms and slowly being pushed away from individualist thinking and toward collectivist/clan-based thinking that is more dominant in Asian cultures. American values are a teenage girl telling her middle aged father, “No, father! I will not marry that man, because I do not love him! I don’t care if he can save the family fortune!” An Indian or Chinese film would have the teenage girl saying, “Yes, father. I will do what is best for our family.” Remember, I said we’re speaking in broad strokes.

That kind of stuff influences people. We’re constantly being influenced by movies, television, music, video games, and literature. Take “The Purge,” for example, a movie that I boycotted on the basis of promoting facetious reasoning and the assumption that legality is what keeps people from killing one another. Show people movies like that long enough, and they will come away from it having concluded that the government is what keeps people from killing one another in the streets.

It’s far beyond my abilities to explain how art becomes a catalyst of cultural change while also attempting to be safe enough to make money, but it’s an observable phenomenon. It probably has something to do with the Marilyn Mansons and GG Allins of the world who take refuge in audacity, and whose outlandish behavior breaks down many barriers, opening the door for more mainstream musicians to safely mimic some of that behavior without going quite as far. Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, and Nine Inch Nails all sang about dead gods and anti-religious sentiments, and now no one bats an eye if a rock band says something anti-religion. The dam is broken.

I’ve no doubt that a culture expert can explain this, but it’s not really important to the point at hand. The point is simply that American culture is, by an enormous margin, the most influential culture in the world today. The question we must ask is: What values is American culture promoting? The recent re-release of Beauty and the Beast features a gay kiss, and a lot of conservatives are up in arms about it. This is hardly ultra-liberal, but it doesn’t have to be ultra-liberal, because that dam is already broken. There have already been gay couples in all manner of entertainment, and openly gay musicians and actors. Having a gay kiss is now a safe spot to be in.

Protectionism won’t protect your values if the culture of your society doesn’t reflect your values. You can go as far into isolationism as you would like, and it will not save your social values now. It’s too late. Your values are dying, and nothing can be done to stop that. We will never have an American society again where being gay is criminalized or hidden. We will never have an American society again where being transgender is a capital offense. We will never have an American society where women are depicted as anything less than the equals of men. The tide has changed, and whether your values go as far as these straw values or not, the fact remains that progress is a one-way street. Once people realized that those other people are other people, you can’t convince them that they’re not. Once you convince people that black people are just like white people, you can never again convince them that black people are inferior, because they already identify with them.

The values you wish to protect with your cultural protectionism are already on the chopping block, and isolationism and protectionism can’t save them. Your values are being eroded from the inside, from within America itself. It’s not outside cultural elements convincing us that gay people are ordinary people, too, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. That’s something we came up with all by ourselves. We weren’t propagandized by German movies into believing that transgender people are deserving of dignity. We weren’t corrupted by Chinese music into believing that black people are equal to white people. We weren’t twisted by British propaganda into believing that women are equal to men. Again and again and again, these ideas originated–at the very least, in their modern movements–in the United States. We are Ground Zero for these social changes, and we emanate them outward into the rest of the world via our entertainment, which is a reflection of our culture and the very social changes that the alt-right has a problem with.

Outside influences aren’t corrupting us. If anything, we’re corrupting outside influences.

You morons.

Why do you think China is relentlessly screening what movies, music, art, and literature enters their country? Even video games have to be screened, censored, and, often, changed before China will allow them in. Why? Because China is engaging in cultural protectionism. We are the influencers, you idiots. We are the ones influencing them. We’re not sitting around going, “Oh, I hope this famous Chinese movie has no subversive communist elements in it!” Dumbasses! We’re going, “Sweet! This movie is fucking awesome! U! S! A! U! S! A!”

This notion that outside elements are trying to influence us is so bizarre to me that I wonder if we’re even in the same reality. What cultural influences are impacting us? Paris has long stopped being the art capital of the world. We still have a lot of fondness for European culture–and, for some reason, we consider it more highly valued than our own, as though the Eiffel Tower is just inherently better than the Sears Tower–but it’s not influencing us. Europe is increasingly socialist, and that’s influencing some of our youngest who look to Europe as a utopia, but protectionism won’t change that, either, because it’s not Europe that people like Rik Storey have a problem with. In fact, they want to include Europe in their protectionism, and save it from all the “icky brown people” who are trying to change the culture that we’re literally influencing everyone else with.

These people are nuts. Fully detached from reality. Anyone with even a tenuous connection to reality can see plainly that it’s the United States that is influencing everyone else, not vice versa. It’s our movies that rock the world. It’s our musicians that rock the world. It’s our television shows that break new ground. It’s our Broadway. It’s our Fiddler on the Roof. It’s our Citizen Kane, our Gone With the Wind, our Titanic, our Avengers, our Avatar. What the hell are you worried about? You’re backward. We are influencing them.

High Trust

The basic idea of Rik Storey’s idiocy is that we need protectionism to keep out “bad elements” because a libertarian society is a high trust one, and so we need to be able to trust other members. I call this “idiocy” because it is.

As always, let’s begin by dissecting assumptions. What is “trust?” Trust is nothing more than a conditioned expectation to stimuli. There’s no such thing as trust; there’s just an expectation that this action will have this result, or that this other person will do that in response to this. It’s not about trust; it’s about expectation. We don’t trust the mailman to come everyday; trust is unnecessary to the process, because we know from experience and real-world examples that the mailman will come everyday. We’re not pulling from some emotional idea and faith in the mailman; we’re pulling from real experiences and real data to establish an expectation that is in-line with our experience.

Similarly, I don’t “trust” that my girlfriend would be pissed off if I cheated on her. I know she would; trust has nothing to do with it. I’m extrapolating from past experiences–not personal experiences, to be clear–and establishing an expectation based on those past experiences. Neither do I “trust” that she won’t cheat on me; I expect that she won’t, based on my past experiences with her. Trust never, ever enters into the picture. It’s just a misnomer, a colloquial way of saying “I have this expectation based on previous experiences.” A betrayal of trust isn’t a betrayal of trust; it’s when someone does something counter to our expectations that impacts us in a negative way.

That said, I dispute the idea that a libertarian society is a high trust one in the first place. I don’t have to trust that Bob won’t rob my house if there is no law against it, because I can shoot Bob for trespassing and violating my property. The state society involves exactly this same trust, too, because we know that laws don’t create moral behavior; they merely provide a framework by which immoral behavior is punished. No one is out there going, “Damn. I would steal, rape, and kill, if only there were no laws against it!”

So a stateless society–or a libertarian one–doesn’t involve more trust than any other sort of society. It doesn’t matter whether there is a law against it or not; trust isn’t the factor distinguishing the two. We don’t operate under the good faith trust that Bob won’t break into my home and steal my stuff in a libertarian society, just like we don’t operate under the good faith trust that Bob won’t break the law in a state society. We expect moral behavior based on our experiences with most people and we have ways of dealing with immoral behavior when it occurs. That doesn’t change in a libertarian society.

For That Matter, WHO Are You Trusting?

Rik Storey makes it pretty clear that he trusts straight, white people. He constantly talks about the greatness of western society, claiming credit for the work of the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, and the American ancestors. This is common for such people, of course: by taking credit for the great things that other people did, they give themselves an ego boost by identifying with those other people. “I’m great, because people who were just like me did great things! I can take credit for the fact that the Greeks invented democracy, because I’m white and they were white!”

I can’t speak for everyone, but if I was motivated to be racist, sexist, and sexual orientationist, then straight white men would be the last people I would trust. This is where Rik’s “logic” really breaks down: he wants to claim credit for all the great things that–there’s no reason to be coy–white people did, while he says nothing about the abominable acts that white people have done. If we’re talking about “white people” as a single collective unit, then, yes, they invented democracy, libertarianism, self-governance, and other cool things.

They also started two World Wars, executed the Holocaust, enjoyed American slavery for centuries, annihilated the Native Americans, have invaded countless sovereign nations, have tried more than any other race of people to conquer the world, and have dropped not one but two atomic weapons on civilian population centers. They systemically oppressed women, black people, Asians, Native Americans, LGBTQ people, non-Christians, and anyone else who wasn’t exactly like them. So yeah, if you’re a straight white man with Christian leanings, I could see why you’d be okay trusting other straight white men with Christian leanings. They’ve never turned their viciousness onto you, after all.

But if you’re literally anyone else, then the notion that you should simply trust straight, white Christian men is absurd in the highest degree. There is no other demographic less worthy of trust. Rik Storey’s inability to see this and realize it is exactly because he is part of that demographic and, in the classical sense of that demographic, is incapable of seeing the world through anyone else’s eyes. Straight, white Christian men must be trustworthy, he concludes, because he’s a straight, white Christian man and straight, white Christian men have never done anything to him.

He claims credit for the great things his ancestors have done and uses those great things as reasons why his demographic is inherently more trustworthy, as far as a libertarian society goes. His thinking is that white people invented libertarianism, and thus only white people can be trusted in a libertarian society. He conveniently ignores the fact that white people also invented the nuclear weapon, the cluster bomb, the UAV, and a host of other things that add up to being pretty good reasons why not to trust those people.

Of Course…

I don’t buy any of that. There is no “straight, white Christian male” group that acts and thinks in unison, that is more or less worthy of “trust” than anyone else, because there are only individuals with various characteristics. The above rant is not an attack against men, white people, straight people, or Christians except as an extension of Rik Storey’s own thinking–which I reject in the first place. If Rik Storey truly believes his own spiel, then his conclusion must be that straight, white Christian men whose culture is under threat from the outside world aren’t worthy of trust in the first place, and that it must be a good thing that those outside cultural influences are impacting his values.

Everything about his thinking is backward, skewed, and confused. In a libertarian society, we don’t have to trust our neighbors won’t violate the NAP, because we will have ways of dealing with it if they do. The existence of laws against violence don’t mitigate our trust or increase our trust; they are unrelated to the entire affair, as they are nothing more than the framework we use to punish people when they violate our morality. The morality remains in a libertarian society, and so does the tendency to punish people for violating it*. Just as you’d use law and the state to punish people for stealing from you in a state society, so would you use the NAP and some mechanism to punish people for stealing from you in a stateless society. Trust has nothing to do with it.

And if you really want to ride that demographic identity train, I don’t think it will arrive at a destination that people like Rik Storey will be comfortable with. Because if you’re going to take pride in all the great things that white people, men, straight people, and Christians have done, then you must also take responsibility for all the absolutely horrible things those same people have done: the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the bombed abortion clinics, both World Wars, Nagasaki, Hiroshima… I’d be moderately interested in seeing Rik Storey’s tally where he has added up all the positive things his demographic has done and stacked them against all the negative things his demographic has done, and whether the math shows he is correct in trusting his demographic.

But he isn’t correct, and it’s stupid anyway, because we are individuals, not amalgams of characteristics and not extensions of people who lived and died thousands of years ago. I think it’s interesting that Storey wants to take credit for the Greeks inventing democracy, but I’d bet my shiny new A Perfect Circle tickets [Yes, that phrase again] that Rik Storey vehemently opposes the notion of reparations for black Americans.

So do I, as it happens, but I oppose it because individuals who didn’t do something shouldn’t have to pay for something that other individuals did to individuals who didn’t have it done to them. That is what a position of consistency looks like. “White people are worthy of trust because they invented libertarianism! But that they invented and remain the only people to have used nuclear weapons? No, that isn’t a factor” is not what a position of consistency looks like.

The alt-right is replete with this sort of cherry-picking, denial of history, and doublethink. I don’t criticize white people for the Holocaust; I criticize Hitler. I don’t praise white people for democracy; I praise the unidentified individuals who conceived it. I’m not worried about outside influences impacting American culture because I’m not a blind moron, and I can easily look out into the world and notice that it’s the other way around; American culture is heavily impacting the rest of the world. And even if I shared Storey’s timid, insecure values, I still wouldn’t be able to get on board with his “conclusions,” because I’m capable of noticing that America’s values are changing from within.

And if he’s arguing that those individuals who are fighting to change America’s values from within need to be excised or killed, then he obviously isn’t a libertarian of any sort, but that’s okay, because the alt-right isn’t a faction of libertarianism anyway. Libertarians means liberty for ALL, and let the consequences of freedom be whatever they will be. If liberty means that Rik Storey’s values are eroded and ultimately wiped from history, then so be it. Libertarianism means liberty for all, even non-white, non-straight, non-Christian, non-men. Liberty for one demographic obviously isn’t liberty; it’s tyranny.

So no. Alt-right ideas are fundamentally incompatible with the precepts of liberty. Libertarianism means other people are free to come in and influence your culture, because they aren’t using force, violence, and coercion. If your culture is so weak that it can’t survive that, then there you go–your culture is weak.

I tend to think that Storey must know this. Protectionism is all about insecurity, after all. If Microsoft is so scared of competition that they have to engage in protectionism, then it means they know their products suck and can’t stand up against competing products. If Storey is so scared of competition that he has to engage in protectionism, then it means he knows his culture sucks and can’t stand up against competing cultures.

Letting the weak be defeated by the strong through competition absent force, violence, and coercion? That is libertarianism.

So it’s not other cultures that are incompatible with libertarianism, Storey.

It’s you.

* Which I’m not on board with anyway, but that’s a more complex issue.

Libertarians & Term Limits: A Contradiction in Principle

I’m still shocked every time I see a libertarian preaching the value of arbitrary term limit. Someone just posted this to a Voluntaryist / Anarchist group I’m in, along with a Gary Johnson video–ugh:

Want to do one thing that will help end tyranny? Force incumbents to have term limits. Vote them OUT!

Okay, well… See? This is self-contradictory.

For one, if you’re forcing incumbents out, then you’re hardly moving away from tyranny. In fact, you’re moving toward tyranny, by purposely creating legislation that is specifically designed to limit voters’ choices and, in some cases, to override their expressed wishes. This is the libertarian position? I honestly don’t see how.

“Oh, sorry! I’d love a third term of Jesus / Gandhi. But term limits.”

It’s nonsense.

If American voters wish to give Barack Obama a third time, then by what right does anyone step up and say, “No, I’m sorry you all voted for him, but I’m not going to let him have a third term”? If the majority has elected the candidate for a third time, then, ipso facto, only a minority wishes the candidate to not get a third term. How presumptuous to say, “No, I don’t care that you’re the majority and we’re the minority. We’re making a law that overrules you.”

And this is the libertarian position?

Isn’t the whole idea of individual responsibility and autonomy kinda a critical part of libertarianism? The idea is that a person should be able to use their resources in whatever way they want, as long as they don’t use aggression against others. I can choose to “vote for Wal-Mart” by purchasing from them, and that’s fine. They may become corrupt and establish an effective monopoly in rural areas, whatever. For you to come along and say, “No, you’ve supported Wal-Mart long enough. You can’t support them any longer. You have to support Dollar General now,” is the height of absurdity, and is a clear example of tyranny.

You are, in every sense, attempting to make my decisions for me. If I want to vote for Barack Obama and 51% of Americans want to vote for Barack Obama and the dude wins a third term, then who in the hell are you to say “No” to that?

Either you’re on board with the idea of a populace educating themselves and making decisions for themselves, or you’re not.

I totally agree that we should make some sort of attempt to vote out the corruption. In fact, I do that. But look–if we vote out the corruption, then we don’t need you coming along and using force, violence, and coercion to force out incumbents. If we vote for the corrupt politicians, then that is our right. In the end, the Senators and Representatives we have… They’re there because we voted for them–a majority of the people who voted… did so for the standing Representatives and Senators.

I don’t like any of them. Justin Amash is pretty good, and there are a few others that are decent. However, I certainly didn’t vote for any of them. If I want to see them replaced, then I can campaign against them, spread knowledge about their corruption, and raise awareness about them. In the end, though, the decision must be in the hands of the people when they go to vote. If they vote for those corrupt Senators and Representatives, then that is their decision.

You cannot tell them, “No, you can’t vote for this Senator again.”

Attempting to use arbitrary term limits to fix the corruption problem is the equivalent of using legislation to force your will onto others. If we have these politicians in office, then that means that Americans put them there. I don’t like it, either, but I would not dare presume to suggest that I know better than everyone else, and that it doesn’t matter what they want, that it doesn’t matter if they want Barack Obama for a third term, and that it doesn’t matter if they want Congressman W. for a sixth term. That is what you are arguing when you argue for term limits:

I don’t care what other people have voted for, would vote for, or are voting for. They shouldn’t even have the option to vote for these people again. Since they can’t make the right decision to vote these people out, I will have to make that decision for them, using term limits.

It doesn’t matter to me if term limits would minimize corruption. Lots of things would minimize corruption. Hell, charging into Washington armed to the teeth with weapons and forcefully taking over the capital under the Libertarian flag would minimize corruption. But that doesn’t make it right to just piss all over the will of voters and tell them who they can and can’t vote for. We could turn this into a socialist prison society built on rations and carefully controlled human interactions, with everyone under CCTV 24 hours a day, being monitored by everyone else, and that would also minimize corruption. That doesn’t mean we should do it.

The position put forward by Johnson and his un-libertarian stooges is exactly that: “The end justifies the means.” Because it would minimize corruption, it is okay to limit the choices that voters have. Meanwhile, they criticize the Commission on Presidential Debates for effectively limiting the choices that voters have. Can you imagine if Republicans or Democrats tried to pass legislation that third parties couldn’t appear on ballots at all? We would probably revolt. Yet that’s almost precisely what Johnson and his cassette tapes are proposing; it’s all the same thing: limiting voter choices.

Gary Johnson likes talking about black holes.

Well, what about that black hole? Once you start limiting people’s choices, unilaterally making decisions on their behalf because they can’t be trusted to make the decision that you want them to make, you jump right on that slippery slope of tyranny. That’s what I hear from the people who propose term limits:

“But I can’t trust the masses to vote out the corrupt politicians! I don’t want these politicians, and the majority just keeps voting for them! It’s not fair! We need a law so that they have to vote these people out!!!!11!!one!!”

For fuck’s sake, this person even used the word “force” in their post.

A libertarian… advocating the use of force… to achieve a political end. Once more, for the record, the Libertarian Pledge–the pledge you must take in order to officially call yourself a Libertarian–the pledge that is the crux of Libertarianism:

I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.

Gary Johnson and his supporters need to revisit the Libertarian Pledge. It is as I just wrote. It is not:

I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals… unless I really, REALLY want to achieve that goal.

The Non Aggression Principle. That is where it’s at. That is the heart of the matter and the heart of libertarianism. If you believe that there are occasions where it is justified to use force as a means of achieving a political or social goal, then you are NOT a libertarian. Calling yourself a libertarian when you believe it’s sometimes okay to use force to achieve a goal is like calling yourself a Christian even though you don’t believe there’s a god. Sure, you can call yourself whatever you want, but calling yourself something doesn’t make you that something.

You are, more than likely, a classical liberal. I would absolutely call Austin Petersen a classical liberal, and Gary Johnson, too. Actually, I would say that Johnson is stuck somewhere between “classical liberal” and “liberty-leaning conservative.” But there’s no reason to put that fine a point on it.

There is a reason that the Libertarian Pledge is a vow to reject the use of force to achieve goals. If you reject that pledge, then you are not a libertarian.

If you think the end justifies the means, then you’re a classical liberal at best.

But certainly not a libertarian.

 

Why Violence is Incompatible With Anarchy

I recently got into a discussion with someone about the Batman villain Anarky, particularly in the video game Batman: Arkham Origins. In the game, Anarky sets bombs around Gotham City with the intention of using them as a method of coercion, to force the mayor, police department, and some other place to do what he wants them to do. My contention is that Anarky is clearly not an anarchist, and that anyone who would use force, violence, and coercion to achieve their ends is not an anarchist. They may be trying to spread chaos and disaster, but “chaos” is not synonymous with “anarchy.”

Anarchy is the absence of a state. It is not the condition where several states are fighting for dominance and supremacy over a given territory. Let’s take the nation of Boogaloo for example. There are five warlords in Boogaloo, and the nation is in chaos, with these five warlords constantly fighting battles across the land. Many people would say that such a condition is an anarchy, but it quite obviously isn’t. Given enough time, one of these warlords will defeat the others and will come out dominant and supreme, and will promptly rule uncontested over the nation of Boogaloo. The only thing that will have changed is that the supreme warlord will suddenly be without competition in his/her control over the land.

It is not anarchy when this warlord reigns supreme over the others, regardless of the warlord’s methods. Seeing as this person is a warlord, we can expect them to rule with an iron fist, barbarically and tyrannically, blatantly using force, violence, and coercion to rule the people of Boogaloo. This was also the case when this warlord controlled one-fifth of the land of Boogaloo. Prior to his conquest, in effect, Boogaloo was split into five nations, each ruled by a warlord, and these five were at war and trying to unite the five nations into one larger one. They ruled their territories with brutality and violence, and it’s irrelevant whether they ruled a land that consisted of a fifth of Boogaloo or all of Boogaloo. It was not an anarchy before one warlord defeated the others, and it is not an anarchy after.

Instead, what we had were five states fighting for supremacy and dominance over the entire land. It is irrelevant to our discussion whether Warlord Jim was elected by the people of his small territory, and whether he ruled with compassion and justice, but we can easily allow for this possibility. Perhaps the people of that one-fifth of Boogaloo called the Arid Region elected Jim to defend their land from the aggression of Warlord Michael. Doing this quite obviously means that Boogaloo is not an anarchy, yet the only thing that has changed is the internal structure of one of the five states.

Even if we assert that all five of the Warlords live up to their name and were not elected to rule, but merely took power because they had an army and weapons, it does not fundamentally change what is happening. It is still not anarchy, because there are still states. To assert that Boogaloo is an anarchy because it is split into five mini-nations, each with their own leader and army, is to assert that Planet Earth is an anarchy, yet this is clearly not the case.

We can even allow that only two of the territories of Boogaloo are at war with one another, and that the others vary between friends, allies, and simple trade partners. We can go even further and allow that every two years, the Warlords come together and try to work out agreements to the betterment of the whole of Boogaloo. Or we can put all five warlords again at each others’ throats, at war, and fighting viciously to reign supreme over Boogaloo. In none of these examples is it anarchy. The relationships between existent states does not determine whether something is or isn’t an anarchy. The methods by which territories select their rulers is not the determining factor on whether something is or isn’t an anarchy.

It is readily apparent that there is no metric by which we can distinguish these Warlords of Boogaloo from what we’d commonly call “the gangs of Mad Max.” Did the manner in which Warlord Jim was given power affect whether or not his nation is a state fighting with and competing with the other Warlords? Certainly not. Even if the people of the Arid Region have a Charter that Jim and his lieutenants are not permitted to violate, it hardly changes the nature of what is happening: Jim is the leader of a gang, and that gang is fighting other gangs.

Now, what if Warlord Jim is going around and planting bombs everywhere, in an attempt to use them as a terrorist would, threatening to detonate them if the other Warlords do not comply with his demands? “Withdraw your forces from the Arid Region,” he might say. “Exile those within your forces who are corrupt,” he could also say. He could even say, “Adopt a Charter of your own that prohibits you from violating the liberty of your citizens.” The substance of his demands are irrelevant.

What if Warlord Jim did not control the Arid Region? What if he controlled… no territory? What if Warlord Jim was just Random Guy Jim, and he had planted the bombs and made those demands? Well, let’s evaluate that question a bit, because the situation I just posited… is a contradiction in terms.

If Jim has planted bombs and is demanding that people comply with his demands then Jim is, quite obviously, attempting to rule over the people of whom he is making demands. Whether they bow to his demands or reject his presumed authority, Jim is attempting to conquer the people and force them to comply with his wishes. In effect, Jim is an authoritarian attempting to take control of others. So quite the opposite, in fact: rather than controlling no territory, Jim is actively engaged in the process of attempting to conquer territory, and he is using force, violence, and coercion to do it. “Bow to my demands–accept my rule over you–or I will inflict violence upon you.”

Jim is clearly not attempting to create anarchy. Jim is attempting to set himself up as the dictator of a state.

Jim’s methods have prevented him from being an anarchist, as his methods have been an attempt to create a state and set himself up as its head, dictating to his subjects what they can and cannot do, what they must and must not do. Just as it’s obvious that Mussolini’s Italy was not anarchy, so is it obvious that Jim’s imposed brutality onto others as he sets himself up–however temporarily–as a dictator is not anarchy.

Any attempt to use force, violence, and coercion is automatically an attempt to set oneself up as an authoritarian state ruling over others and making them comply. This is incompatible with anarchy, because anarchy is the absence of a state. It follows, then, that no one who uses force, violence, and coercion to achieve their ends can be an anarchist. At best, they simply dislike the old state and are trying to set up a new state.

 

The How and Why of Anarchy Part 4: The State, War, and Anarchy

Well, here we are, with three lengthy discussions behind us about the Free Market and the nature of the State. The main thing now to do is move on and ask ourselves… “If we know that Representation is inherently flawed, as is Democracy, and if we know that the Constitution has failedand we know that the Free Market solves the problems of Government better than Government itself does, then… what do we need to do, as a Society, to safeguard our Liberty, Lives, and our right to pursue happiness?”

On a brief note, if you dispute any part of the above question, then I encourage you to read Parts 1 through 3. All of these concepts are demonstrated clearly in the previous parts of this series. Representation has been shown to be inherently flawed (even if it was what we wanted it to be); Democracy has been known for thousands of years to be inherently flawed (a dictatorship over the few by the many); the Constitution has clearly failed to protect the rights which it was established to protect; the Free Market has been shown to handle issues like health care, Social Security, and Medicare much better than any Government ever could. All of these things are true and have already been demonstrated.

To continue, we must return to our previous definitions:

  • The State is the collective governmental body which oversees a given society. The State is a collective whole which, in the United States, consists of the Federal Government, all of its branches, and all pseudo-governmental agencies such as the Federal Reserve.
  • The Society is the collective body of People. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Societies do not require the existence of a State; the existence of a Society is independent of whether or not the Society has a Government. Any group of people of any size who work together, whether voluntarily or by being forced, is a Society.
  • Once a Society has a State over it, the two collectively are the Nation. That is, the Nation is a Society and its Government.

The question is that, since the State in its current incarnation (and all past incarnations) has clearly failed in its duty to act in our best interests and under the mantra of Liberty, what kind of State do we need?

If the goal is to protect our Lives, Liberty, and right to pursue happiness, then we need NO state. Governments are incapable of protecting any of these things, and Governments have, throughout all of human history, been proven to be detrimental to these things. Who causes war? Governments. This is at least true in the modern world, although it is true that, in the past, societies actually waged war against one another, but this comes from the days of ancient history and has not been true in a very, very long time. Moreover, wars against societies are much more localized and much less destructive than wars between Governments.

In the modern world, if there was no Government, there would be no war; there could be no war. In order to justify this statement, we have to stop the car and reverse a little bit. It’s one thing to say that Government is the cause of modern wars; it’s quite another to say that if we removed Government, there would be no war. Before I slam on the brakes, though, I want to point out that hardly a month goes by that I don’t get into a conversation with someone (generally under 30) who shows sincere confusion and says, “I don’t… I don’t get it. Why are we fighting? It’s the 21st century–shouldn’t we have… ‘evolved’… past war by now?”

Modern Warfare: Revolutions

The vast majority of warfare in the world today is insurrection and rebellion. These are not our concerns. Rebellions, revolutions, and insurrections happen, and there is nothing anyone will ever be able to do to stop it. As long as there is Government, there will be rebellions and insurrections. Without Government, there is nothing to revolt against. One cannot revolt against Society, because there is no such thing (as Part Two demonstratedas Society; there are only Individuals.

Revolutions happen when a Society (using the term colloquially; do not make the mistake of thinking that any “Society” actually exists) becomes unhappy with its Government to the point where Individuals are willing to risk their livelihoods and lives bringing it down and/or replacing it. This can happen because the Government is oppressive and totalitarian; this can happen because the Power in the Nation (Nation = Society + Government, remember) is concentrated almost entirely in the Government or because power is more evenly distributed among the Society and the Government yet the “Government” is made up of too few members, thus the power the Government contains is concentrated with too few Individuals for the comfort of Society (Constitutional Monarchies, for example); in short, revolutions happen because there is Power and because the Individuals who revolt want to take back that Power which belongs, rightly or wrongly, to the Government.

This is always true, and there could never be an exception to this rule. When Cuban rebels led by Castro overthrew the Cuban Government, it was because they did not like the previous Government holding the power which it did and they, whether for the good of other Cubans or merely for the good of themselves, wanted that power for themselves. When the American Colonies rebelled against the British Empire, it was becasue they did not like the previous Government holding the power which it did and they, whether for the good of other American colonists or merely for the good of themselves, wanted that power for themselves.

All revolutions are a matter of seeing power, wanting power, and taking power.

So when you remove this apparatus which maintains this concentrated power, there is nothing to see, nothing to want, and, therefore, nothing to take. Revolutions cannot happen when there is no Government because there is no entity which has this power concentrated within it. Without Government, the Power which a Society has is vested and distributed equally among all members of whom the Society consists. If 100 is the value of a Nation’s Power, then, in theory, 51 would be the Society’s power in a Constitutional Republic and 49 would be the State’s power in a Constitutional Republic. A revolution will occur when the members of Society determine that they want that portion of power back, since any power the State has necessarily comes from the Society’s consent; the Society gives up certain rights and power and vests them instead in a State. In practice, the 51/49 ratio will not last more than a century or so, and the power of the State will grow while the power of Society (distributed still evenly among its members; there is just less of it to distribute because a portion of it has been handed over to the State) weakens. We have reached a point in the United States where it can be argued that the State holds 51% of the power–or more–and that Society now holds 49%–or less*.

Individual Power Within a Society

Economic power is important to the discussion, especially if Free Market principles are to determine the course of Society. Naturally, in a Free Market, power is evenly distributed amongst all Individuals; even if one Individuals owns 99% of all the wealth in the Free Market, then that Individual has no more power to dictate the flow of Society than any other Individual. This comes back to “voting with the wallet,” as mentioned in Part Three, except that it should be noted that one person can have no impact on the Free Market simply because that Individual has an inordinate amount of wealth.

For a time, one Individual could keep alive any number of corporations and businesses which other Individuals do not support. If Bob owns 99% of all the wealth in our economy and Bob loves Monsanto, he can continue pouring his wealth into Monsanto, voting with his wallet to keep Monsanto alive. But without the support of others, the money he pours into Monsanto will, because of their employees earning money and spending money elsewhere, be redistributed from Bob to Monsanto to Monsanto’s employees to other businesses and corporations. By standing alone, Bob is actually redistributing his wealth to everyone else, temporarily propping up Monsanto in the process. But if no one else likes or approves of Monsanto, even its employees who just work there because they need a job, then Monsanto isn’t getting any other income, and Bob’s investments cannot return any profit–his investments can only return losses, as surely as if he’d simply set his money on fire. Bob will continue pouring money into this corporation which he alone supports, and he’ll eventually run out of money and be able to do it no more. Even though Bob owns 99% of the Society’s wealth at the beginning, that wealth purchases him no more power or authority than any other Individual has.

In a Free Market, boycotts have an effect, as does rallying around one business or another to support it. A single Individual cannot simply throw a bunch of money at this corporation or that industry and have any lasting effect; it is a black hole, and there is no surer way to bankrupt oneself. But if 30% of Americans stand with Chik-Fil-A’s right to spout ignorance and bigotry–as I do stand with the owner’s right to do so–then those 30% have a real, lasting impact on the corporation. If, however, 70% of Americans stand against Chik-Fil-A’s spouting of ignorance and bigotry (Though they must acknowledge the owner’s right to say it and enforce whatever policies he desires), then those 70% who boycott Chik-Fil-A will quickly override the 30% who support it. Thus, Democracy, in effect, happens, and no State or social protocol was needed in order to accomplish this.

But Democracy Is Bad…

Democracy as a form of Government is bad, because it allows the Majority to become dictators over the Minority. But the will of the Majority overriding the will of the Minority isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it only can become a bad thing when the principles of Life, Liberty, and the right to pursue happiness are not revered as they should be. If Liberty is held in proper esteem, then the 70% will recognize that, even though they despise what the ignorant dick thinks and says, they have no right to stop him from saying it and no right to make him change the policies of his company. Similarly, those 70% have the right to not do business with his company. No one is being forced to do anything and no one’s rights are being violated.

Yeah, But Couldn’t We Just Do This With a Government?

In theory, yes, but as I just showed: a Government isn’t necessary to the process. Government isn’t necessary or even mentioned in the above Free Market boycott scenario involving Chik-Fil-A. We could have the Government do this or do that for us, but it can only do that through the use of force and not through the voluntary choices of a Free People. What could the Government do in the above Chik-Fil-A situation? The Government can do absolutely nothing that doesn’t violate someone’s rights. Perhaps, with a Government, Chik-Fil-A approaches bankruptcy because of the boycott, so they go to the Government and ask for a bailout. “We’ll have to fire all our employees if we go bankrupt! And that will mean ten hundred quadrillion jobs will be lost, and the sky will fall, and terrorists will have gay sex with puppies in front of children on the front steps of family homes!”

At this point, the Government can say, “Okay, we’ll bail you out, but in exchange, you must open your doors on Sunday and you must recant your position on homosexuality.” At this, the 70% will cheer and the 30% will cry “violation of rights!” Or the Government can say, “We can’t bail you out… 70% of the People are against you, and they’d never support you,” at which point pragmatism on the part of politicians has made the decision. “If you step down and install a new CEO, one who is less anti-homosexuality, then we could probably bail you out.” At this change in leadership (which is precisely what happened in Dodge, GM, AIG, and other corporations, though for different reasons), the 70% will cheer and the 30% will cry “violation of rights!” Or the Government can say, “You’re right. We can’t let unemployment rise! Here, take some money. Will thirty billion dollars be enough?” At this, the 70% will cry foul and will say that their tax money shouldn’t be used to support corporations they are against, but the 30% will cry that it is a victory for Liberty. Or Chik-Fil-A will be denied a bailout altogether, and some other portion of people will scream that the Government should have done something instead of allowing all those jobs to be lost. There is no way to please any significant part of the population once a Government becomes involved.

Moreover, why should we want to give over any amount of our power to a Government when we can use that power at least just as effectively as the Government? What is our motivation for installing a Government with part of our power when we can accomplish our goals while also maintaining our power? 

Modern Warfare: Terrorism

The bulk of international wars now raging in the world stem from one thing and one thing only: American occupation of the Middle East. In fact, other than the Middle East, there really aren’t any international wars right now. And make no mistake: it is our presence in the Middle East that has made us into the enemies of Middle Eastern Peoples. They don’t hate us because of our values, because of our Liberties, because of our religious beliefs, because of our free speech, because of the sex on our television shows, or because of our “democracy.” They hate us because we’re allowing our Government to have occupational forces in their lands.

It has been demonstrated over and over again that American presence in the Middle East creates terrorism. Prior to the American invasion of Iraq, terrorism was non-existent in Iraq. Now terrorism reigns Iraq, and people die there every single week in terrorist attacks. Terrorism is more problematic in Afghanistan than it has ever been, mostly because we brought down the Taliban (which opposed the Caspian Pipeline that we wanted) and made them install a government of our choosing. It should be noted that, whether we like it or not, the Taliban did have the consent of those who they governed; if the Taliban did not have the consent of the Afghan People, then, as mentioned above, there would have been a revolution against the Taliban. As Murray Rothbard points out in “Anatomy of the State,” it is not just democratic governments that need the consent of the majority of the people–all governments need the consent of the majority. If they do not have the consent of the majority, then revolution occurs. We didn’t like the Afghan Government, so we invaded and deposed it, but this doesn’t mean the Afghan People didn’t approve of their Government and it doesn’t mean that they approve of the one they’ve installed under our guidance. In fact, given the way insurgents are kidnapping and killing political officials–something that never happened to members of the Taliban–it is pretty clear that the Afghan People do not consent to this new Government.

The Taliban’s role in 9/11 was clear, and there needed to be consequences for that. I do not dispute that, nor do I excuse the Taliban’s involvement. However, we can’t just punish the Taliban and think that doing so will end terrorism. After all, the Taliban was not the cause of terrorism. Al-Queda is not the cause of terrorism. Osama bin Laden was not the cause of terrorism. Terrorism is, in fact, as has been pointed out even by a former leader of the CIA and the world’s foremost expert on the now-murdered Osama bin Laden, caused by American occupation of the Middle East. This isn’t providing an excuse–it’s pointing out the motive. And motives are critically important.

After all, when criminals are on trial, whether motive can be demonstrated is a major part of the trial. If there is no motive, there is generally no crime. Nor is pointing out why we’ve agitated the terrorists “making up excuses for their actions” or “blaming America.” If a murderer’s motive was to kill the man with whom his fiancee was cheating on him, asserting that this was the motive is not “excusing” the actions of the murderer, nor is it blaming the fiancee or blaming the man with whom she cheated. It’s simply pointing out what the motive was. These things are common sense; use your critical thinking skills. 

The idea that saying, “America’s presence in the Middle East pissed off Muslims so badly that they flew two planes into the World Trade Center” is the equivalent of trying to excuse their actions or trying to blame America is preposterous. C’mon, people–use your gifts of critical thinking and reason. It’s not “blaming the victim” when we say that the murderer killed the man because the murderer’s girlfriend was committing infidelity; it’s just pointing out the murderer’s motive. It’s not “excusing the murderer’s actions” when we say that the murderer killed the man because the murderer’s girlfriend was committing infidelity; it’s just pointing out the murderer’s motive. So I am neither excusing the actions of terrorism or blaming America. I’m simply pointing out the motive behind terrorist acts and asserting that, if we want to stop terrorism, then we need to not give them a motive to commit terrorism. What would we say if the fiancee continued cheating on her murdering boyfriend (who somehow kept getting out of prison for some reason) and the murdering boyfriend continued murdering the men with whom she cheated? How many people would have to be killed in this scenario before it was recognized that the fiancee had some responsibility for the deaths?

And that statement is not placing the blame on the American People. It’s not even asserting that the American People bear some portion of responsibility for the deaths of Americans which were brought about by terrorism. I am, however, asserting that some portion of the blame rests on the American Government. As I pointed out in Anarchocapitalism, Part Two, we have developed the tendency to identify ourselves with the State, rather than with “Society” or with ourselves. I alleged that this is predominantly because many people have no achievements from which they can draw a sense of pride or a sense of satisfaction, so they are forced to identify themselves with the State so that they can share in its accomplishments. Because people have no successes of their own, they tend to identify themselves with the State, a mechanism which allows them to feel proud, to have self-esteem, and to revel in glory without having to actually do anything to earn a sense of pride or self-esteem. They need do nothing when they identify themselves with the State; they are great simply because they are Americans and live in the land of the free. No further effort required.

But as Part One demonstrated unequivocally, we are not our Government. We therefore have no justification in feeling any connexion with our Government or its actions. We are not responsible for the wrongdoings of our Government any more than children are responsible for the wrongdoings of their parents. We cannot take pride in the achievements of our Government any more than children can take pride in the achievements of their parents. While we do have some amount of control over our own Government, this does not justify holding the American People responsible for the actions of our Government, especially since the disconnect between the Government’s actions and our desires is steadily growing. This was made abundantly clear by Obama’s insistence that he was free to strike Syria no matter what Congress said and no matter what the People wanted. We are not responsible for a Government that does not abide our wishes. And even if the Government did abide the wishes of the Majority, then, as Part One explained, we are still not responsible because there is a necessary disconnect between our Representation and ourselves, even if there is a 99% Majority.

Modern Warfare: International War

Aside from an imperialist American presence in many parts of the world and terrorist acts which result from that presence, there are hardly any international wars to speak of. Nearly all of them are motivated by our presence in the Middle East, which motivates terrorist acts against America, which in turn motivates militaristic retaliation against those who committed the terrorism. Eliminate the prime motive, which is American presence in the Middle East, and terrorism abruptly ends–as does the international militaristic retaliations, since there is nothing against which we would retaliate.

This is not to say that there aren’t other conflicts in the world–there are. But these are exclusively the province of Governments wanting more territory or having ideological differences with other Governments. Wars are not a matter of one Society against another; Societies have not fought wars against each other since the time of ancient history. We believe that these wars are being fought against the People whom they involve, but this hasn’t been the case in thousands of years. Wars are fought between Governments, and the first goal of Government in these wars is to convince its people that they are the ones who are being threatened. In reality, though, it has been the case for thousands of years that the Government, and not the People, are the ones in danger from war.

Wars are fought between Governments, and the People only become involved when they are convinced that the enemy Government wants to kill them, but this is hardly ever the case. Even Adolph Hitler didn’t want to kill the British People–he only wanted to depose the British Government and install a new, German-controlled government (Hitler did, however, want to eliminate the Jews–or so it is alleged–but since the Jews had no Government to protect them in the first place, or to be destroyed, this is, actually, irrelevant to the discussion at hand).

We must not lose sight of the truth of war, which is that Governments fight against other Governments. This is why attacks on civilians are held to be so horrible and why they are generally avoided at all costs: wars are fought between entities, not between Peoples. While attacks on civilians do happen, wars are not explicitly declared against civilians, nor are wars fought with the intention of fighting civilians. Instead, wars are fought with the intention of fighting against another Government and its army.

Defenseless? No. Better Protected Than Ever.

It is alleged that, if nothing else, we need the Government to provide us with defense against other Governments. This overlooks, first, the obvious truth that it is not us who other Governments–or even terrorists–want to impact; it is our Government. If we have no Government for them to fight or impact, then they have no motivation for messing with us. However, it is asserted that if we have no Government, then others will be irresistibly tempted to conquer us and make themselves into a Government over us. If we had no Government, then the Russians or the Chinese would invade to fill the gap in power.

What they would quickly find, however, is that the apparent “gap in power” was illusory and that we were, in fact, more powerful without a Government than anyone would ever be with a Government. Not only would Individuals, now that Individual Responsibility was recognized as critical, rise up to fight against any invading force, but the corporations and businesses for whom we provide luxury would have more interest in protecting us than any Government ever would. While it’s true that the CEOs of multibillion dollar companies don’t care much for their minimum wage employees, if their way of life is threatened, they will contribute wholeheartedly to the protection of that way of life, because they have more in danger than even the Individuals who would be fighting tooth and nail.

It was quite common in the Middle Ages for wealthy merchants and individual lords to purchase mercenary armies for their defense and for the defense of the people who they needed to protect. At their own expense, lords hired mercenary armies to protect their way of life, protecting, in the process, the people over whom they were in charge. While an anarchocapitalist society would not have lords and peasants, it would have CEOs and workers (just as we do now), and the two systems are much more alike than you think–and this is why many people call our current system “Feudalism 2.0”. Just as the lords of the Middle Ages hired mercenaries, purchased catapults, walls, castles, and trebuchets to protect themselves, their way of life, their power, and the people who gave them their way of life and power (those in charge need the underclasses much more than the underclasses need those in charge), so would the CEOs of today hire mercenaries, purchase drones, satellites, tanks, rocket launches, missile defense systems, and invest money in better ways of protecting their lives and livelihoods (thus protecting our own lives and livelihoods).

In World War 2, the Government forced many industrial companies to do this, but many of them wanted to do it anyway. Some of them wanted to because they wanted State-sanctioned monopolies (impossible in a Free Market system), but some of them wanted to do it because their lives, livelihoods, and ways of life were being threatened. And yes, we can rely on corporations to do the right thing and to be good to us, because the only thing that allows evil corporations like Monsanto and Tyson to fuck us over is the fact that the Government allows them to maintain a monopoly in their markets. If Individuals had a choice, no one would choose to use either Tyson or Monsanto, and both corporations would either go out of business or would quickly have to modify their behavior. Through competition and choice, we are assured to have corporations who protect us, who pay us well, who treat us well, and who recognize us as living beings who have the same rights and privileges as they, because if they didn’t do these things, we would vote with our wallets and would shut them down just as surely as the 70% shut down Chik-Fil-A above.

We can’t presently trust our corporations. I freely admit that. But the only reason we can’t trust our corporations is because they don’t have any competition and because we have no choice but to continue supporting them, even as they screw us over and commit acts of evil. Farmers have no choice but to continue supporting Monsanto’s tyranny because the Federal Government has regulations and codes that are preventing Monsanto from having any competition. Look at the Mississippi Casino market. All of the casinos offer health insurance, 401ks, Paid Time Off, opportunities for advancement, and all sorts of other perks to their employees, even though they don’t have to. They do this to attract better workers; to help themselves, they realize that they must help their workers and that the more they help the workers, the better the workers they will attract. People now compete with one another for these good jobs, allowing the casino to pick the best candidate. While this is true in every company in times of high unemployment, the casino has more of an advantage and gets much better applicants than, say, Domino’s Pizza. This is because the casinos offer substantially better pay, benefits, and perks. Many corporations already know that if you scratch your workers’ backs, they will scratch yours. If, however, all of the casinos were owned by a single conglomerate, then there would be no competition and the corporation could strip away most of these perks and benefits. And they would. But if suddenly a new casino opened and offered those perks and benefits, all of the best employees of the old casinos would leave and would go to the new casino. The old casinos would lose their best workers because the best workers would apply and would get jobs with the new casino because of the perks it offered them. At this point, the old casinos would have to reintroduce the perks in an attempt to get good workers back.

Competition protects us because Competition makes businesses and corporations need us as much as we need them. If the Communist China attempted to attack an America ruled by Anarchy, then the corporations and businesses of America would fight tooth and nail against the invaders, using the power of voluntarism and free will to create a force far more powerful than the conscripted and choice-less invaders. With not only their livelihood threatened, with not only our livelihood threatened, but with also the very notion of Capitalism and private property being threatened, everyone would voluntarily unite and fight to protect their individuality and their right to be free. Even if a non-Communist Government attempted to do this, the same thing would happen.

Competition and private property give us multitudes more power over corporations than we could ever have over our Government. And this is why I supported the secession last year–it would provide competition for the United States Government. As long as we have no other choice, the American Government can do what it wants to us, because they have no competition to which we can devote ourselves instead. If some of the States seceded and formed a new confederation with more desirable policies, then people would flock to this new Confederation, attracted by its perks and benefits in exactly the same way that people would flock to a new casino if it offered health insurance and a 401k but their old casino didn’t.

* For example, in 2012 Colorado and Washington had on their election ballads proposals which would decriminalize the possession of marijuana in quantities of less than an ounce, making it legal for Individuals to have and smoke weed. When this legislation passed, there was some concern that the Federal Government would overturn these initiatives and would re-criminalize the possession of marijuana. Obama announced that he would not have the Federal Government ignore the decisions of a Free People who voted democratically to legalize the plant, but it remains possible that he “could” have. President Obama could easily have thwarted the will of the People of Colorado and Washington, despite the fact that they legalized marijuana through a general vote, thus ensuring that the Majority felt that way. Violating this result would have been saying to the People of Colorado and Washington, “You do not govern yourselves. We govern you.” While President Obama chose not to do this, he still maintains that he had the power to do so. So how much power does Society really hold when the results of a vote held within a general election can be overruled by the State?