Defining Anarchy 

 

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Kristopher Morgan 8/31/17

Every single time violence is used during a protest you hear politicians, the media, and everyone in between shouting “anarchists!”  Not only do those of us who proudly wear the badge find it insulting, it is an incorrect use of the term.  Ironically, it seems very few members of society are actually willing to spend time studying and contemplating anarchy and what it means to be an anarchist.  I present the following to close that gap and do my part in informing society on what anarchy is and is not.

What Anarchy Is Not

First and foremost, anarchists are not people who legitimize or perceive violent actions as acceptable.  The molotov cocktail throwing ‘anarchist’, who has no respect for law, or people and their property, is a complete farce.  Anarchists have the utmost respect for property, which is why we oppose states in the first place. In order to pay for government provided services, taxes must be collected with or without the consent of the people, as a matter of law.  It is inconsistent to reject governments on the grounds that they constantly infringe on people and property and then riot and commit acts of vandalism to get the message out.

Furthermore, there is a misunderstanding about lawlessness and disorder.  Anarchists understand and respect natural law, but reject legal positivism.  The basis of natural law is private property rights, whereas the operate assumption of positivism is the state may assault private property when the political climate demands.  An example of positivism would be the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Socio-economic circumstances opened the door for another layer of healthcare legislation and President Obama and Congress gave us the ACA.  It violates natural law by demanding people who don’t purchase health insurance pay penalties when filing taxes; a way of using force to alter behavior.  Anarchists view such use of law as not only undesirable, but criminal.

Anarchy is not a utopian worldview.  It may be true that a successful anarchist society depends on everyone following natural law and staying within the bounds of actions that are based on consent.  However, it is also the recognition that if we are to protect ourselves, permitting political coercion by a body of people is a poor first step.  Anarchists do not believe that life without the state would be a paradise by any stretch of the imagination, we simply define the state as another criminal organization the same way we might the Mafia.  It is noteworthy that often times the most adamant defenders of government’s necessity often try to find ways to save money during tax season.  Anarchists simply seek to apply the same rules against theft, arson, murder, etc. to governments as we do everyone else.

Finally, we do not imagine an anarchist society as one wrought with chaos and crime with no means of protection.  Since anarchists are people who reject violence and embrace peace, an anarchist society would be quite orderly.  (I should note here that a society that has decided a state is undesirable due to the violence involved should not be confused with a society whose government has collapsed and created a power vacuum).  There would be no government passing laws which reallocate people’s resources, nor would a society made up of such peaceful people be riddled with crime.  Security would be provided through a host of consensual relationships such as, but not limited to a) the individual, b) family and friends, c) the community, d) charities and e) business.  On the other hand, governments open the door for the chaos we normally associate with anarchist societies.  Since government force is perceived as necessary, everyone is encouraged to use force against others through the hub of the state.  How many people would never participate in such coercive acts if not for the state? Just observe the liberals and conservatives struggling with each other, each to gain the upper hand and get our government to do their bidding.  The outcome? Kids born in 2016 already “owe” the United States Government $42,000; theft on a scale that would otherwise be impossible.  Politics can turn the most peaceful people into monsters if they’re not careful.  Anarchist society would have its imperfections, but its foundation would not be violence.

What Anarchy Is

Anarchy is a philosophy based on total equality and freedom of all members of society, with complete adherence to natural law.  The very act of taxation is coercive in nature, so the logical conclusion is that a government that cannot tax nor hold a territorial monopoly on force cannot be considered a government.  Powers allocated to governments may be written in constitutions and other governing documents.  They may even be accepted by the majority of people. But the ruler/subject relationship is not a part of the human condition and has no place in natural law.  The closest we come to is parent/child relationships, which may explain why America has one mommy party and one daddy party, but it’s still a far cry from saying states are natural.  Authority and power structures will always be artificial.

Anarchists also embrace peace in private life.  It may be true that there are some among us, for example the poorly named anarcho-communists, who wish to overthrow the existence of private property.  Whether they realize it or not, they are closer to competitors of state power, NOT anarchists who eschew the use of force as a means to attain goals.  If their ideas ever become popular, all property would be up for grabs, with everyone in society “defending” their right to take ownership of the things they want.  Everyone struggling over control of everyone else’s property is the beginnings of a communist revolution, and eventually those who do the best job ‘defending’ their right to use resources become a state, since they would have to continue protecting what they have seized.  I must reiterate here that private property is an absolute must to form a society without a state.  Proper ownership of property is achieved through homesteading, gift, or trade, none of which includes theft.  Contrary to the concept of public property, the message of private property is that one only has a just claim over any property gained through the aforementioned methods.  In the framework of private property, property lines are a two way street.  They let others know where their sphere of control ends and yours begins, as well as telling the owner where their sovereignty is limited. States on the other hand fund everything they do through coercion.  Rather than trade or ask for donations (gifts), they simply take.  As is the case with anarcho-communists, states view resources as being theirs for the taking.  For these reasons, anarchy in its truest form will always be a branch of libertarianism, not communism.

Conclusion

Most anarchists have a tough time telling those around them what they truly believe.  This is to be expected when majority of the population is educated in government schools.  Governments and anarchism do not mix.  We all know those liberals who know everything they know about conservatism from liberal media, or those conservatives who know everything they know about liberals from conservative radio.  Each has a caricature impression of what and how the other thinks.  Likewise, government schools and the  superstructure misrepresent anarchy.  Pile that on with the fact that every time a protest turns violent someone labels them anarchists along with the confused anarcho-communists, and it’s easy to see why there is confusion.  By now we should all know better.  Violent actions are not consistent with anarchy or anarchist values.  Anarcho-communism would never lead to the state dissolving.

 

The defining feature of a government is the ability to exercise power over individuals and their property under the perception that their actions are warranted.  This is precisely what any criminal wants.  The bank robber wants a monopoly over taking all the money in the vault.  They don’t want competition from other thieves or from the rightful owners. And they certainly don’t want to be held accountable. When we apply those rules for universal moral standards to the government, what can we call it but the most successful criminal organization in a country?

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The McDonald’s Standard: A Guide for Determining The Legitimate Role of Government

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Kristopher Morgan, May 23, 2017

We all have things we would like to see humanity do, whether we want to feed the poor, move towards clean energy, protect endangered species, scientific research, or setting floors on wages.  We all like to believe that passing a law is akin to waving some magic wand that simply makes things better. We get ourselves into trouble when we consider the reality of the situation;  there is no wand.  When we realize passing and enforcing new laws means making criminals out of more and more people, we have to choose responsibly.

Coming to a balanced belief system as to what the proper place of government in society takes an immense amount of study into the social sciences, history, political economy, ethics, philosophy, etc.  This can be extremely time-consuming… fortunately there are shortcuts to answering most questions pertaining to the proper role of government.  I call one of them the ‘McDonald’s Standard.’  The method is very simple: Clarify what action the government is taking and ask yourself “how would I feel if McDonald’s were doing this?”  Here are a few examples to demonstrate how it works.

  1. Taxation.  On one hand, we are threatened with fines and jail time if we do not pay taxes.  On the other hand, those taxes pay for services such as roads.  Let’s imagine that McDonald’s decided to use the same business model.  McDonald’s decides to provide every resident within a 1mi radius with a Big Mac.  McDonald’s then decides that they will collect money from all residents, and those who decline simply get locked in a room on McDonald’s property.  Is food not a vital service?
  2. Welfare programs.  On one hand, they are paid for through taxation, on the other hand poor people benefit from them.  So, let’s imagine McDonald’s decides that they’re going to send their employees in a neighborhood, armed with tasers, guns, and clubs, and they collect money from some residents to give to others (while keeping about 80% for themselves!).  What would we think about McDonald’s?
  3. War.  On one hand, evil do-ers really should be taken out of power.  On the other hand, innocent people die in government wars.  So, let’s imagine a McDonald’s employee tracks a criminal into a Burger King bathroom, right after taking from the BK cashier’s drawer.  The McDonald’s employee then proceeds to blow up the entire Burger King restaurant to get this criminal.  Does this person get to claim all the other people inside the Burger King were simply collateral damage?

Now I know someone out there is going to say something along the lines of: “of course we don’t expect McDonald’s to take on the same role as the government ya dope!  McDonald’s doesn’t have a Constitution, and we don’t elect politicians to operate McDonald’s like we do the government.  We don’t expect these things from them because they’re not the government!”

This line of reason is exactly why I am writing this article.  What we are actually talking about is government legitimacy, so let’s examine the reasons people believe government has it.

1. The government represents the people through voting.  Their job is to carry out the will of the people they represent.

  • False.  All governments operate via law and enforcement thereof.  So what that means is the first thing politicians assume is that they do not have your consent.  If they had your consent, there would be no need to use law enforcement measures.  Also, the idea that some bureaucrat you have never met before can accurately take your conscience and values into account when making decisions… come on…

2. The government is an entity on its own charged with the task of running society.

  • False.  The government is a collection of human beings.  Society is not a machine that needs an operator, but rather a collection of people.  If no human being has the moral right to use force against another, then the government can’t possibly have it.  Morality for McDonald’s doesn’t change if they change their name to McGovernment!

3. The government derived its power to use force from the consent of the people.

  • False.  If nobody has the power to use force against others to begin with, nobody could have possibly given that power to the government.  Giving one’s consent to others to use force against themself is a contradiction in terms.

This list could grow exponentially, but I hope the point is clear.  Governments are nothing more than groups of people, same as any other, whether it’s a business, a family, a charity, a community watch group, etc.  It doesn’t have to be McDonald’s necessarily, but before you support anything any government does, ask yourself “what if someone else in society were doing the same thing? How would that make me feel?”  Because let’s face it:  most of us spent our formative years pledging allegiance to the flag and learning politically correct/tainted history.  By projecting government actions onto parties we feel neutral about, we can overcome these biases.

 

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Are Libertarians Against Helping the Poor and Underprivileged?

is4slfgDonnie Davis, Feb 26, 2017

A common argument used against libertarianism or libertarian ideas, this particular topic is one that is based in the false notion that we as a political party do not care for the little guy or those who are living in poor economic conditions. Many a times we scoff at this approach to discredit our political viewpoints and simply state that the freedom to fail is just that and that we are not fiscally responsible for other people’s misfortune. As that is the main reasoning for our ideas, a lot of people will still see this as a heartless approach to dealing with this issue.

So, to throw some intellectual reasoning with no emotions involved:

Fiscally conservative = less government spending = minimal taxes = more money in “poor people’s” pockets.

Socially liberal = personal freedom = everyone is free to do as they will unless they violate someone else’s life, liberty, or property = no jail/criminalization for people living their lives = more freedom for “poor people”.

Free markets = no government hoops = more businesses = more competition = lower costs = more opportunity = more jobs and lower cost for “poor people”.

Libertarianism and free markets are the best systems for the poor and wealthy as everyone keeps more of their money and has less restrictions on how they want to live their lives.

Socialism, or more specifically socialist programs, rob from Peter to pay Paul for services provided to Sally. Theft is theft and should be treated as such. Taxation is legalized theft and is a necessary evil that needs to be minimized and recognized as such.

Any regulation, law, or requirement by any governing body may not be permitted to violate rights of any citizen to benefit others; as this is tyranny and should be met with opposition, up to and including violence if necessary. The same goes with any unchecked corruption of governing bodies, monopolized marketplaces and corporations, and etc. The second amendment is a guarantee to the people that they may use deadly force to protect themselves, their rights, and anyone who they choose to assist that is being victimized.

Proper venues currently exist for providing care and welfare for those who are impoverished. Charities, homeless shelters (if approved by the community), food drives/banks, clothing donations, and many other forms of donations exist nationwide and are completely voluntary forms of social welfare. We as libertarians urge everyone to care for their fellow citizens but WILL NOT FORCE you to pay for their care by means of legalized extortion also known as taxation.

Large, powerful, and over reaching government is never the resolution. An open heart, compassion, and empathy is what is needed and passing laws to force people to open their pockets to fund federal welfare programs is wrong. Allow the people to choose whether or not they wish to donate or be charitable. Freedom of choice is a necessary requirement in the idea of a free nation.

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