PostHeaderIcon Even Deeper Reflections

My frustrated comment to the previous post by Troy, caused him to reply with a thoughtful comment, regarding my increasingly serious flirtations with anarchy. My efforts to compose an equally thoughtful rejoinder, outgrew that somewhat off-topic comment section, so here it is as a new post specifically addressing my perspective on the subject of anarchy.

One of us is surely mistaken.

Perhaps we both are at this juncture, Troy, and now just living with very different illusory movies running in our heads, which we mistake for reality. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

some government is needed

As you well know, I spent the first 70 years of my life convinced of exactly that; but that in no way obligates me to be submissive to any so-called authority, or support the tyranny into which the Federal government has devolved. Madison particularly despised the concept of democracy. How then, did we end up with mob rule? Why is it so readily accepted by the sheeple?

Can we agree that mankind deserves at least the level of individual Liberty he and his contemporaries enjoyed? Would you not also agree that the odds now of retrieving that worthy goal, through any nonviolent political process, are essentially nil? Must we abandon it entirely then, perhaps out of some errant sense of patriotism, or is another violent revolution inevitable?

At a quick glance, anarchy may seem to have a lot to recommend it. But, upon deeper reflection, it soon becomes apparent (to most of us) that anarchy provides a sure and consistent path to some manner of “strong man rule”.

Troy, you have had a front row seat to my slow, cautious, careful, and deliberate investigations into the philosophical underpinnings of anarchical thought. This was in no way a causal “quick glance,” and I can assure you that after reading several books, numerous scholarly essays, and countless articles on the subject, I have given it considerable ‘deep reflection.’ Interestingly, the notion that it would inevitably result in “strong man rule,” is still not at all apparent to me. With all due respect, from my perspective, reaching such a conclusion appears to be the result of distinctly shallower thought than I have invested in the subject.

As for strong man rulers, try to convince me that the average citizen of Iraq, is now better off under their democratically elected religious tyranny, than they were under Saddam Hussein. Then, try to make the case that America is somehow better off, for having deposed him and arranged their democratic elections. The same questions could be posed about our unnecessary meddling in Qaddafi’s Libya, Assad’s Syria, et al.

The rest of us require the establishment of a few simple rules along with some manner of power to enforce said rules.

As I have tried to articulate often, anarchy is not the absence of rules, it is the absence of rulers. Neither is it a proper synonym for chaos. History is replete with examples, of local communities effectively enforcing mutually accepted rules of the road and behavioral standards , without need of heavily armed jackbooted goons, following orders from some distant potentate or oligarchical authority.

Common sense and abundant anecdotal evidence, suggests that a well-armed society is a polite society, which inherently discourages thuggish behavior. Absent government agents from afar, dictating and enforcing multicultural tolerance of aberrant behaviors, the risk of instant karma can be a powerful deterrent to unnecessarily offending one’s neighbors. Ultimately, the threat of banishment is probably the most effective tool of tribal persuasion.

Please consider rereading my ten-year-old “Sovereign Rights” essay. Needless to say, my thinking has changed considerably since I wrote it. Yet, I still would have no serious objection to cooperating with a limited ‘government’ as described therein, under the subheading “My World.”:

In my worldview…

I value the free market exchange with others, where all are always winners. When governments stay out of these matters, we always receive something we value more, in exchange for something we value less; and are never forced to make a trade we deem not in our best interest. I am perfectly willing to help a neighbor in need occasionally, for no more than the good feeling it gives me to do so. It would depreciate the value of my gift, if I expected anything more than appreciation in return.

Yet, none has a “right” to my charity, simply because we happen to reside within the same arbitrary political boundary. Nor does anyone have a “right” to the fruits of my labor, because they have less resources or greater “needs” than I might. I am neither a slave nor a serf; I am a freeman and I shall act like one, regardless of who might choose to call me selfish.

To examine our founder’s vision of instituting the absolute minimum government among men necessary for a self-governing society of cooperative individuals, let me explain how I view my place in it. Try to keep in mind that while my attitude toward “society” may seem radical, in the late 18th century America was populated by rugged individuals with a pioneer spirit. They took responsibility for their own lives and, like me, just wanted to live them their way, unobstructed by meddlesome neighbors and officious governments, from which they asked nothing more than to be left alone:

I am a godless sovereign. I was born with all the inalienable rights of any monarch. What I do on my own property is my business and no one else’s. I have no gods, rulers, leaders, or caretakers, and do not need or want any. When I vote, I am registering my choice for an employee, not a visionary leader, and certainly not a nanny. I am at the top of the pecking order and look up to no one. I am a freeman, not a supplicant, subject, serf, or slave. My life is my own to live as I choose. I owe an amorphous “society” nothing, and it owes me nothing.

As a sovereign, I grant all my neighbors equal status in their own domains. I have no designs of conquering or ruling them or their territory. I could care less what others do with their lives, as long as they don’t forcibly interfere with my enjoyment of my own. …

…reality and common sense dictates that not all out there are as benign, so there is good reason to enter into treaties with other trustworthy sovereigns for mutual protection. Further, to enrich my own life, there is much to be gained by free trade with my neighbors, so it is in my interest to join in commerce with them as well. Then, I am a social animal, and find pleasure in camaraderie with other sovereigns, so I am willing to join in fun and games with some of them in the commons.

This requires some form of social contract between sovereigns. The moment I choose to step off my property into the community, I acknowledge that I must abide by custom and established law, in order to function in a cooperative society. I am expected to wear clothes, not spit on the sidewalk, drive on the customary side of the road, leave the initiation of force to the sheriff, etc.

This requires that I temporarily relinquish some of my inherent rights for the benefit of participation in the community while off my property. However, nothing suggests that I have abandoned my sovereignty in any way, or that upon returning home all my rights are not fully recovered. Pooling our resources to invest in infrastructure and public services that facilitate our mutual interests in protection, commerce, and amusement makes perfect sense; and I am willing to share in the expenses to the extent that I will use them.

…my neighbors have no more right to assess me to fund endeavors I have no interest in participating in, than they have to force me to attend their church.

I recognize that there is a need for an orderly administration of these public endeavors for us, and the vulgar name for it is “government.” I will concede that the manner of structuring this necessary evil, and picking those to represent us therein, is subjective and difficult to accomplish fairly and equitably for all sovereigns concerned. I would agree with Voltaire that a benevolent dictatorship, tempered by an occasional assassination, would appear to be the best choice; but that has fallen out of fashion of late.

A formal charter, compact, constitution, or call it what you will, setting out the agreement between sovereigns, seems to work reasonably well; with guardians selected by the sovereigns sworn to uphold it. Choosing those guardians, and restraining the collective power they gain from our franchise, is difficult at best.

The use of a democratic process to choose among competing candidates is as good as any other I have contemplated. The rub comes when those chosen guardians of our social contract get too far removed from their employers; find it in their own selfish best interest to please others not directly employing them; and begin to regard themselves as our visionary “leaders,” with us merely their “constituents,” rather than their employers.

It is important to recognize that no one has the right to trespass on my property, or use it in any way without my permission. No one has a right to confiscate my wealth or earnings, or force me to do anything I deem not in my best interest. All attempts to do so, even under the color of law, are acts of aggression.

[I have only recently concluded that voting to empower others to do such, is itself an act of aggression, which is why I stopped voting.]

All government agents attempting to coerce me, intrinsically use the implied threat of deadly force. For if they are resisted, eventually big men with big guns will appear to back them up, and they will use those guns if that is what it takes, to force my compliance or incarcerate me for my contumacy. To the extent that I may choose to be cooperative with such a coercive agent, it is because I value my life and liberty more than my property, but I do not grant the premise that they act legitimately because they claim to represent “society.”

I am a sovereign freeman who bows before no god’s priest; nor any emperor’s potentate; and I’ll not substitute society’s bureaucrats for either. For the mind-numbed minions who willingly abdicate their sovereignty, and prostrate themselves before any of these, to exchange their liberty for ephemeral security, I have only pity… and scorn.

Of course, my subsequent trip down anarchy lane, has caused me to rethink the necessity of even a minimal level of government. I have studied very convincing essays, suggesting that those societal functions I had assumed required a limited government, can as easily be performed, better and cheaper, by co-ops with private contractors. The basics of civilized society, and my place within it, would remain the same, if not actually improved.

The subtle, yet important difference would be, that nobody would likely make the mistake of regarding such entities and their functionaries as authorities, with some divine right to rule capriciously over us. As importantly, their charters could specifically permit enforcement of property rights and the nonaggression principle only. There would be no mechanism for one faction of the community to create new PC rules for them to enforce against another faction.

Remember, a well-armed populace isn’t going to long put up with an overweening dispute resolution contractor, any more than they would an undisciplined gang of thugs. Trust me, every conceivable objection to the benign concept of anarchy to which I refer, has been carefully thought through and more than adequately dispelled in the reference material I have studied and deeply reflected upon.

By my lights, no matter how deep I delve, it remains infinitely more attractive than the current state of governmental affairs in America. When can we conclude that government doesn’t work, and consider trying a different organizing principle? Of course, your movie may differ significantly from mine, and the chances of achieving my vision of anarchy, are certainly no better than yours are of achieving a return of the Federal government to America’s Founding principles. I suspect we are just tired old men, yearning for times that never really were, and undoubtedly will never be. 😉 ◄Dave►

14 Responses to “Even Deeper Reflections”

  • Troy Robinson says:

    Dave, If your overriding point is that well meant governments soon get out of control, then I fully agree.

    REAL self government requires a majority of educated, involved and prosperous participants.

    The sad truth is that too many humans would simply rather be led — to let someone else worry about things while they eat and fornicate. Ergo, totalitarian government.

    The answer my friend is that there is NO good answer.

    Troy

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  • Other than being forced to pay taxes is there honestly anything this Government does that stops either of you from dancing to your own tune? 🙂

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    • ◄Dave► says:

      Isn’t taxes bad enough, CT? Truth is that as an unemployed entrepreneur, I have even done a fair job of bobbing, weaving, and avoiding many of those over the years. 😉 ◄Dave►

      • Isn’t taxes bad enough, CT?

        It is the only BAD that I personally recognize.

        Other than that the government has never caused my life to suck in any way.

        My husband has always said “in what way will the person being elected change YOUR LIFE”?

        I have to admit the answer was ALWAYS NONE.
        Perhaps that is because I never had a propensity to deal with what might be rather than WHAT “IS”. 😉

        • ◄Dave► says:

          That sounds good in theory, CT. I will admit to expending way too much of my life, preparing for emergencies and tragedies that never materialized. Then again, tell me, did I misapprehend a level of foreboding on your part, over the notion of Hillary or even Cruz becoming president? 😀 ◄Dave►

          • I misapprehend a level of foreboding on your part, over the notion of Hillary or even Cruz becoming president?

            No indeedie you did not misapprehend Dave … and as you have … I have also been preparing for YEARS just in case. But I looked at it as “common sense” preparing for ANY situation not particularly government caused.

            For the most part I agree with you 100%.
            Arm to the teeth, prepare to live off the grid/land if necessary, be full ready to pull out a gun and protect your family and property if necessary WITH NO REGRET. That too is simply “common sense” for me.
            You too?

            My full preparation was done in the mid 70’s … lucky for me I held enough sway over my whole family to get them to do the same … LOL
            Well except for my husband (ZERO HELP) who thinks I am a total loon. But he is wise enough to stay out of my way. 🙂

            It is much easier if everyone pulls their own weight … just my thought. But if someone resists you prepare for them too.

            Since then smooth sailing … you the same right? 😉

            BTW: my problem with Cruz was his hypocrisy about being a NBC.
            As for the Clinton’s I view them as CRIMINAL TRAITORS to the USA and should be dispatched as such IMMEDIATELY.

            Watching them hanged on an oak tree would be about as much fun as watching Donald Trump dismantle the UNSUSPECTING progressive twits as he moves forward like a steamroller making them a permanent part of the pavement.
            I LOVE IT! … LOL 😉

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  • ◄Dave► says:

    The answer my friend is that there is NO good answer.

    Doesn’t that depend on the fundamental question being asked, and its underlying premises? We are neither proceeding from the same premises, nor posing the same questions, Troy. Little wonder we arrive at differing conclusions.

    It seems that your premises include an absolute necessity for governmental control of society; a preference for some form of self-government; a continuing belief that America’s Founders established an acceptably limited version of same; that all residents within its boundaries have an obligation to obey its authority; and dismay that citizens have devolved beyond the interest or ability to oversee it properly. I also perceive a premise that an educated and prosperous majority, has the right and/or obligation to establish and enforce universal rules and regulations for everyone, through their elected representatives.

    Unwilling to abandon tradition, your question appears to fundamentally be how to repair a thoroughly corrupted system, to once again function in the manner intended by the exalted Framers of a once sacrosanct Constitution. Of course, I once shared similar premises, and certainly agree with your concession that there is “NO good answer” to that question.

    Thus, my research into alternative means for organizing society, more in line with my guiding principles of individual sovereignty, and true Liberty for freemen. Like you, I initially recoiled at the very thought of anarchy, which I equated with chaotic mayhem. It wasn’t until I got past that kneejerk reaction to the popular meme, of referring to violent hooligan protesters as anarchists, that I could honestly study the voluminous scholarly literature on the subject of a peaceful society sans rulers, with anything like an open mind.

    My evolving premises now differ significantly from yours. I have become convinced that the Federal government does not work, and is hopelessly beyond repair. I now regard it as far more tyrannical than King George’s oppression of the original colonies, which sparked the Revolution of 1776. I no longer believe that government is even necessary, for maintaining a peaceful coexistence with one’s neighbors. In fact, it seems to me that the very notion that a government can and should regulate unpopular thought, speech, and behavior, is what keeps everyone stirred up at their contrary neighbors.

    My other significant premises include the righteousness of individual sovereignty, principled contumacy, enlightened selfishness, self-responsibility, absolute property rights, the nonaggression principle, unlimited free trade, and utter contempt for all forms of altruism, whether promoted by the secular Left or the religious Right. I categorically reject the notion that it is society’s place to protect me from myself, by regulating any of my nonaggressive behaviors. To me, I have the unalienable right to live my life as I choose to live it, and as long as I am not harming others in the process, how I do so is absolutely nobody else’s business.

    My many questions do not lend themselves to qualitative (good/bad) answers. They elicit simple binary (yes/no) responses. In essence, they really do not address the question of what is best for society; but focus on what is best for the individual… more to the point, what is best for me. I guess most of them can be distilled into the fundamental question, “Does the accident of my birth in this land of my father, obligate me to accept the mob rule of impulsive sheeple, often under the spell of capricious tyrants?” A corollary would be, “Do I have any desire to regulate the behavior of others to conform to my model of the world?”

    Since my own answer to these is a resounding NO, I am freed of any sense of need to break that spell, try to change the system, or even fight it. Of what import is it to me, if others I do not know and will never meet, choose to accept such mob rule, and spend significant portions of their lives working to tweak a fundamentally flawed system, to better suit their prejudices? Their rules for them; my rules for me; and I suspect we each shall reap what we sew, in the paradigm we choose to inhabit. 😉 ◄Dave►

  • Troy Robinson says:

    Unwilling to abandon tradition, your question appears to fundamentally be how to repair a thoroughly corrupted system, to once again function in the manner intended by the exalted Framers of a once sacrosanct Constitution. Of course, I once shared similar premises, and certainly agree with your concession that there is “NO good answer” to that question.

    I maintain that it is the people who are thoroughly corrupted. Governments inherit the corruption of their adherents. Ergo, a mostly corrupt citizenry will corrupt any and all forms of government.
    The “once sacrosanct Constitution” you cite is nothing but words written on some old parchment. It is people who use and misuse those words for corrupt purposes.

    I repeat what I have often said here — our Constitution did not fail us, we failed our Constitution.

    Troy

  • our Constitution did not fail us, we failed our Constitution.

    Indeed we did!

  • ◄Dave► says:

    our Constitution did not fail us, we failed our Constitution.

    And so we come full circle with my lament – the ubiquity of collective pronouns in our political discourse. Our? We? The pussy-hatted feminazis and BLM communists terrorizing our streets of late, claim the same ‘Constitutional Rights’ and protections that you folks do (and then some), as they deliberately eradicate any hope of peace and prosperity on this continent, to achieve their political goals. Are you really comfortable with including such bitches and thugs in your personal brotherhoods? Personally, I would rather remain a friendless individual, and a man without a country, than have to include such disgusting swill in my use of ‘we’ or ‘our.’ 😉

    I won’t disagree that it was ‘they or them’ who empowered the corruption of the Federal government; but I won’t take responsibility for it by thinking of these miscreants as my fellows. The larger point I would make is that now that it is so thoroughly corrupt, and there is no way the Left is ever going to permit otherwise, what can be done now? It seems to me that civil war is inevitable. Damn few individuals on either side are going to like the Feds martial law response to defend themselves. There will be no winners and neither side is going to accept subjugation by the other. I don’t see any way to reorganize society with anything but anarchy, in the aftermath. Do you?

    Anarchy or autocracy, take your choice. Republic and democracy have run their course, failed, and are now beyond redemption. ◄Dave►

  • Are you really comfortable with including such bitches and thugs in your personal brotherhoods?

    LOL … hardly Dave but I suspect you already knew the answer to that.

    A very longtime ago I was advised to deal with what was is on my plate today … not what might show up there tomorrow.
    So until the clash is upon my very own block I do not have to choose what to do about it.

    As I mentioned before I believe it smart to be as well prepared as possible for any emergency that might come ones way.

    How well prepared were those 130,000 residents caused to flee because the Oroville dam might come tumbling down this week? Do you suppose they had enough food, water, clothing and important valuables packed in containers ready to toss into the back of a car or pickup bed and get to higher ground?

    I imagine you remember being drilled for bomb attacks in your grammar school classes?
    I certainly do.
    We never had to use the training but it caused me to be prepared for the rest of my life.
    Perhaps my logic is to get what needs to be done DONE and have smooth sailing ahead as much as possible.
    It certainly has put at bay any “what if” worries for the most part.

    I have carried 2 mottos through life … one is: “don’t muck up today for what likely will not happen tomorrow”.

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  • Chris says:

    Anarchy is against human nature. As someone who has taken only a few short weeks to revert to my natural neanderthal state I emerge from my cave with a revelation. I now live in my own miniature state of anarchy. It’s completely acceptable to eat my dinner from the same pot I cooked it in. As I look across the living room My socks are on the floor next to my recliner because that’s where I felt like taking them off. I’ll bet if I go into the bathroom the toilet seat is up. I can walk through the house and fart as loud as I want. I have full control over the remote and there’s always room in the fridge for my beer. Good Lord there’s even dirty dishes in the sink. It’s total anarchy and chaos. There is no more order to the world at all save my own whims at the time. In a way I can’t say it’s all bad. I’ll pick up my socks and do the dishes when I feel like it. Eating out of the pot just makes doing the dishes easier.

    My point here isn’t to prove that I’m a slob but to illustrate why we agree to live by the rules of others, and why anarchy is against human nature. Humans are social creatures. Face it no matter how independent we are we don’t get along well alone. We all desire interaction and to facilitate that we must enter into what may be considered a social contract. We must agree to certain standards of behavior to be accepted. The best we can do is if we find those standards overbearing is to withdraw from that social contract which in essence is withdrawing from society or at least that portion of it. That puts us right back where we started. Now if I were to visit someones home would I be expected to behave the way I do in my own? Certainly not. I would be quickly removed from that segment of society.

    Anarchy is great with only one drawback. We aren’t wired to be a society of one. At some point in the not near future I would probably without misgivings give up my anarchist ways for the benefit of society.

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