This is a blog post rendition of my 1-hr presentation at The 21 Convention in Austin, TX in August, right after I gave a 20-minute abbreviated version of same at the Ancestral Health Symposium, 2012, in Boston, at Harvard University School of Law.
Perhaps the most frequent challenge I get contra my anarchist ideas goes something like this: “OK, what do you propose? How ought things be organized so it’s better than what we have now?”
OK, so I’ll tell you. Here’s my comprehensive plan for how everything ought to work for everybody:
This has been my enduring issue with not just anarchy, but all political and economic systems proposed by anyone, everyone: they all imply some degree of State-like imposition, and in the case of anarchy uniquely, it’s simply a contradiction-in-terms if it involves the State. Sure, life in the social milieu is always going to imply some form of “compulsion,” “imposition”…strong motivation. But in anarchy, such can never be institutional, governmental, State…or it’s just not anarchy, and I’m blogging about, and advocate, a stateless society. Impositions can only come from voluntary association of the form: do this, or our relationship is over (contractual, business, familial, affairs of the heart, employment, etc.). …To draw an analogy, having an “anarchist State” impose anarchy is like getting God to proclaim he doesn’t exist and to not believe in him.
More specifically, even anarchist or typical social relationships—but I repeat myself—really don’t involve imposition or compulsion at all. You have an out. By definition, a voluntary association is just that, and either party can walk at any time, unlike something as simple as a marriage, now—adjudication of which ought never to have been ceded to the State.
When a typical voluntary association goes wrong, it is at most or ought be: inconvenience, disappointment, dejection, rejection. It’s not force and at the end of the day, if you’re not forced, you’re just not…forced. How often people conflate a limitation in their available options in choice of action with being “forced.” I hear it all the time. It’s moronic and makes me want to vomit. It’s an epidemic of stupid.
It might also involve a breach of agreement, a contract. Well, then, you have another decision to make: is it worth trying to recover from a perceived breach, or better to walk away? And such potential eventualities ought to go into the process of judging who you wish to form agreeements with or marry, and what the terms are to be…instead of leaving it up to the State to bail you out when things go sour. Are you too big to fail?
At root, having an agent of enforcement in the State gives people an incentive to not worry too much about fucking up their one and only lives; and for those who are never seriously touched by the potential brutality of the State in their lifetimes, it’s still bad enough. They could have done far better for themselves.
The other common form objections take on is that of “what will happen?” What will happen in a society where no institution possesses rights that don’t pertain to any and all individuals?
Here’s what will happen:
Everything happens. Same shit, different day. There will be love & hate, justice & injustice…marriages and murders and children and grandchildren. Graduations, accolades, certifications and drop outs. Accidents. Tragedies. Exhilaration. Despair. Good fortune and bad. Satisfaction and disappointment. Success and failure. Life and death.
The only difference is that everyone is either on their own or they’ve fostered the voluntary social relationships that enhance the human life of a social animal. But no perceived “guarantees;” those where, by being on the right side of the 51-to-49% mob, a “majority” gets to impose its will on the rest—and have them pay for it in blood, incarceration, and money in the bargain. “Morality:” by math & counting.
Everything already happens. Nothing new, just new in the way pieces of a life get put together for splendor, picked up when things go awry, and in the way that everyone moves on as they ultimately must do.
The revolution will not be televised. There will be no explicit revolution, or we’re toast, again. There will be, merely, an evolution. A social evolution. You can start now! You’re already an anarchist—everyone is—in the same way so many only proclaim religious belief, but act like atheists, watching out for themselves as if he didn’t exist. It’s merely a matter of ridding yourself of the 5-10% of your life you’ve been fooled into taking as more important than the other 90%.
You know it already. Most of the things you do to manage a life don’t involve the state forcing you to do so, or require that you seek permission from others.
You can promote it. At root, it’s only a matter of promoting better behavior, behavior on a voluntary rather than compelled scale. It is really that simple. Voluntary vs. compulsory. Domination as a relic. It makes all the difference in a humane world.
Alternatively, get politically active. Agitate. Watch lots of cable news. Agitate. Get aggravated…get stressed out over things you can’t control. Agitate. The choice is yours. …That foolishness that dies with you…or that wisdom that makes you immortal in the lives of your children, grandchildren, and beyond.
You can, instead, teach them to have the smallest life possible. Teach them that the greatest thing they’ll ever “accomplish” in their life is to vote for a “President.” Bonus if he’s black, she’s female…or, hallelujah!, a black female!. That will just fix everything. Everyone will feel comfortable because, after all, feeling shit is what made this world we live in pretty damn fine.
Nobody almost, except me, says “Nobody should be President.” That means: no human being should dominate or rule another; no human being ought seek to dominate others and those who attempt such ought to be laughed off the planet as Pip Squeaks and Clowns. It doesn’t turn that way, yet, because everyone loves their favorite Pip Squeak; fav Clown. Instead, now, we imagine that we absolutely need another pip squeak and clown…one with different genitals, perhaps. Or, we “need” many skin colors in succession. We need ones who prefer like genitals over opposite genitals. This, supposedly, will right all wrong…when the wrong we’re talking about is so wrong that such a superficial “fix” is an insult to morality, propriety, and good sense. …Nothing says shallow like a collective State.
We’re only great as a species because we’re so capable of both such enormous evil and such amazing splendor, all in a single species of animal and the greatness is in choosing the good over the evil. But the evil is there, eons & counting. It’s un-healable. It’s irreconcilable. Banality is the only place for it. It’s best left to history lessons. None of it will ever be rectified, made to the right: even if we elect a green Martian lesbian President. So? Don’t do it again? Yep. Just don’t do it again.
Is it not yet enough to set aside the whole notion of King, euphemistically called “President” in America? Dumb road to go down. Teach your children better than that. Please?
The essence of this made the world you know. I was just treated to a bunch of adverse comments about me at another place, along the lines that I ought to be on my knees about government and all it has done for me. Really? Cadres of elites wielding life & death force, and not entrepreneurs who created the things making it possible for the State to skim off the top so effectively, in order to run their scam on everyone?
I salute the entrepreneurial passion. I condemn the thievery. It’s simple.
It’s a process. You’ll likely never be entirely successful in your whole life on that score, but you can always keep it in mind. We’re social animals and all of us, in our lifetimes, will fortunately encounter some we love who, in inexplicable and complex ways, drag us down for a time because they can’t seem to change, and we can’t seem to leave them. It’s our Real Angel at work, there—no fictitious God required—and it’s arguarbly what it is that makes us human and humane animals.
This is the end of the series. Nine parts. I believe it’s a series on a stateless society unlike any other ever, really. It contemplates the individual animal, his mind, his potential for greatness. Nothing more. Never anything more. There are no proscriptions or prescriptions. Just suggestions for each individual to consider, choose, or reject on their own. It’s about realizing what’s already inside you.
There is no such thing as a better system, systems being imposed by elites on the less well organized. There’s no such thing as a non-evil system in the context of a dominating State. There are only individuals. Some are awesome. Some are fucking evil. Most others fall in-between.
In the whole scope of it throughout this series, the theme has been pretty simple. Is there any real argument that Paleoman didn’t have better quality of knowledge of reality in observing animal tracks, his environment, sunsets…than Neolithic people reading Bibles and bowing to priests? I didn’t get one. Is there a real argument that your authority over yourself is inferior to that of a cloistered intellectual clothed in influence and dominion over you? I didn’t get one. Is there any real argument in opposition to my assertion that entrepreneurs, engineers and creators deal with reality, while cloistered intellectuals in various levels of institution deal in fear, illusion and force by comparison? I didn’t get one.
…Is there any argument that massive societal problems are more caused by those “greedy” who create the jobs and things you buy, than by an elite Nomenklatura who, rather than engineer, start-up, employ, manufacture, market and distribute, deal in fear, alarm, caution…anything that will serve to get you to give them the time of day? I didn’t get one.
Is there an argument that Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, James J. Hill, et al, killed one 10 millionth of the people that States have been responsible for killing in the last couple of hundreds of years? I didn’t get one.
Has there been an argument that it’s so much manifestly better to collectivize on a scale into the billions and get a 1-in-millions or billions of a say in our own affairs, over the social power we evolved to project in small social groups? I didn’t get one.
And so now, now you know that some weird, sure-to-fail revolution is the last thing on my mind; imposing anything is the last thing on my mind; domination of others is the last thing on my mind; that, in the end, this is merely a call for awareness, doing better, managing your own life, ministering to those you love. Above all, love and teach those children and grandchildren yourselves. Trust no one else to do it.
There’s no better way to be an example.
Update: I began Part 1 of this series with a quote by Jeffrey Tucker.
Anarchy is all around us. Without it, our world would fall apart. All progress is due to it. All order extends from it. All blessed things that rise above the state of nature are owed to it. The human race thrives only because of the lack of control, not because of it. I’m saying that we need ever more absence of control to make the world a more beautiful place. It is a paradox that we must forever explain.
As it turns out, I just learned, he has a new book out: A Beautiful Anarchy: How to Create Your Own Civilization in the Digital Age.
A Beautiful Anarchy: How to Create Your Own Civilization in the Digital Age is Jeffrey Tucker’s rhapsodic hymn to the digital age, and a call to use the tools it has granted us to enhance human freedom, and to reduce and end intellectual dependency on the state. It shows that every truly valuable aspect of our lives extends not from politics and the regime but from our own voluntary choices.
Choice has created the marvels of the digital age that bestows its benevolence on us every day. Its greatest contribution has been to link the people of the world in communication.
The critical fact about communication is its creative power. It is a form of exchange. The goods exchanged are not property but ideas, and this exchange results in new ideas, new intellectual wealth, the precondition for changing the world.
Unscripted, uncontrolled, uncensored communication illustrates the productive power of anarchy. The more this communicative anarchy has advanced, the more it has served to build civilization.
This is a triumph for human liberty, Tucker argues, and with liberty comes flourishing and the cultivation of civilized life. Philosophers of all ages have dreamed of a world without power, despots, and bullies — a world built by people and for people. The market in the digital age is delivering that to us.
And it’s not only about us. It’s about everyone. Wherever the state is not standing in the way, prosperity comes flooding in. We are in the midst of the longest and most-dramatic period of poverty reduction the world has ever known. In the last ten years, some 70 million people have been lifted from destitution. Fewer than half the people who were so 25 years ago still qualify today.
The reason is technology, communication, entrepreneurship, and that wonderful trajectory away from gatekeepers toward personal empowerment the world over. This is the gift of the digital age, the most spectacular and revolutionary period of change the world has ever known.
The aims of A Beautiful Anarchy are (1) to draw attention to the reality that surrounds us but we hardly ever bother to notice, much less celebrate; (2) to urge a willingness to embrace this new world as a means of improving our lives regardless of what the anachronistic institutions of power wish us to do; (3) to elucidate the causes and effects that have created this new world; and (4) to urge more of the good institutions that have created this beautiful anarchy.
This books covers the uses of social media, the blessed end of the nation-state, the way the government is destroying the physical world, the role of commerce in saving humanity, the depredations of nation-state monetary policy, the evil of war and the lie of national security, and private societies as agents of liberation. And it offers a hopeful prognosis for a creative and productive world without central control. The book is topical, pithy, and anecdotal, yet points to the big ideas and the larger picture to help frame the great economic and political debates of our time.
Here’s a Reason.TV interview with Jeffrey about the book and these ideas. He has quite the personal style.
- Part 1: The Quality of Paleolithic Knowledge
- Part 2: The Quality of Neolithic Knowledge
- Part 3: The Problem With Authority
- Part 4: Having One’s Cake and Eating It Too
- Part 5: The Real Hobgoblins
- Part 6: Democide
- Part 7: The Quality of Paleolithic Social Power
- Part 8: The Quality of Neolithic Social Power
- Part 9: Conclusion; How to Fix Everything