A Culture of Resistance

The State is an institution that claims the lawful and moral authority to initiate force and defraud people out of property. It is unique in this assertion within its claimed geopolitical boundary, and thus has been termed by many a “monopoly on violence”. Of course, it does a terrible job at maintaining this monopoly, as the more intrusive the government, the more rampant the crime in the society. But the State performing poorly is not news to anybody I expect to read this document.

This article is geared towards those who would wish to see the abolition of that institution, and have some semblance of an attachment to reality. In other words, this article is geared towards anarcho-capitalists, though all are of course welcomed to read.

Force or Failure

Force or Failure

Many theories have been put forth on how to accomplish that goal. Trade (agorism), civil disobedience, mass non-cooperation, seasteading, political migrations, electoral politics, “peaceful parenting”, technology, and even time itself – simply waiting for some inevitable “paradigm shift” where people see the light and opt not to State anymore.

Throughout all of these ideas, and many others, there runs a common theme of avoiding the use of force. This is quite understandable. Our aversion to the State is primarily centered around its use of violence, and thus we rightly wish not to emulate it in our tactics. Given the choice between peace and violence, nearly all sane people choose peace. Violence is largely the tool of dim witted fools who act in this fashion only because they lack an intelligent response to a conflict.

Hence the common phrase “violence is not the answer”. This is true. Not only is violence not “the” answer, it is not “an” answer. Violence is necessarily the lack of an answer. Violence is mankind resorting to his animal roots when his higher thinking human consciousness lacks any other response to a problem. Thus violence is rightly and commonly referred to by most sane people as a “last resort”. We go through every other possible option in our logical and emotional thought processes, and only resort to violence if we find no other way of resolving a conflict.

As non-aggressionists, we take this one step further. We will not use violence to resolve a conflict, when the conflict is one which does not threaten person or property. If someone opts to insult us, copy our work, or do something we find repugnant but does not infringe on our person or property, we prohibit ourselves from using violence to resolve that conflict. We go further still, in that when a conflict is a threat to our property, but we have consented to it in advance, we still prohibit ourselves from using violence to resolve that conflict. In the case of the non-aggressionist, there are many conflicts which simply shall not be solved.

The State is not one of those conflicts. It is a global system of violence, coercion, and fraud. One which enslaves the entire human race, and aims to do so until our extinction, which its policies may well bring about sooner than later. That is not a conflict which anyone who would call themselves a decent human being could allow to go unsolved. Violence or none, this is a conflict under which mankind should and shall not abide.

Serious Inquiries Only, Please

During the course of about six years of activism, I’ve met a great many people, with a great many varying agendas. The agenda addressed herein is the abolition of the State. This is for me as it should be for all of mankind, the highest order of business, and more important than my or any individual life. Before I finish writing this text, an immeasurable number of people will be violently killed in the most inconceivably horrific of ways. That will continue throughout countless texts until people get serious about solving this problem.

There is nothing wrong with acting in one’s best interest. There is nothing wrong with making money. There is nothing wrong with attention seeking or love of fame. When one does such things under false pretenses however, they commit fraud. There exists no shortage of people who have absolutely zero intention of witnessing or bringing about the abolition of the State, who nonetheless talk about it a great deal for these reasons. For a couple of bucks or a brief stroke of the ego, they will senselessly distract anarchists with inane fantasies of a brighter future they have no intention of bringing about.

Those people have blood on their hands. The abolition of the State, and the end of its murderous ways is an achievable goal in today’s world. Those who purposely delay its end for their own gain, may as well have filled their cups with the blood of its victims.

Enough People

The answer to every political and economic argument ever made has been and always will be “All we need is enough people to do X”. The same could be said of money, which is ultimately nothing more than a tool to direct the actions of human beings by way of compensation. No matter how ridiculous the idea, get enough people to carry it out, and it can in theory work. This is as true for an anarcho-capitalist society as it is for communism or anything else. The problems with anticapitalist and anti-liberty ideologies is necessarily that people do not actually go along with the ideas because these models ignore incentives and human nature.

Central economic planning says things “should be” a certain way, and organizes its laws (threats of violence) in such a fashion to coerce people into behaving that way. They have to use coercion to do so, because every natural incentive is in direct opposition to the proposal. If the proposal did not go contrary to natural incentives, the policy would never need proposing to begin with. Since these rules go contrary the the laws of nature and economics, people seek out ways of evading them and the central plan fails, often after inflicting massive misery on the populace. The answer of the central planners is inevitably to pass more such laws, which has the same result, and the cycle continues in perpetuity.

Anarcho-capitalism does not propose what “should be” it explains what “is”. We analyze how people actually behave in real life, and point out that the coercive efforts of the central planners are problems as opposed to solutions. If “enough people” realize this and stop begging for the central planners to oppress them and their neighbors, then the central planners will ultimately stop due to lack of support. This does not require everyone to agree with us on the issues, only that they stop forcing people. In the absence of force, the economic incentives will handle the rest. So an anarcho-capitalist society may be sorely lacking in anarcho-capitalists, it requires only the absence of a State.

The State brings people to its side by way of force, and in the case of representative democracies, invites its victims to vote for rulers to direct that force. In theory, the majority of voters elect the rulers who are the least offensive to them, who negotiate with other elected rulers who are the least offensive to the others in their respective geographic areas.

On the one hand, this has been remarkably effective. Governments can stand as a political unit for centuries, continuing in their operations virtually unimpeded no matter how many people they victimize. History should look upon this as a marvel of social engineering.

On the other hand, take a look around. This is an unmitigated disaster. Governments murdered over 260 million of their own citizens, not including war, in the 20th century alone. The 21st century is not off to a good start. The United States has been at war since 2001, and we now live in a society where no small portion of the electorate has lived their entire voting lives during wartime. A child who today celebrates his 14th birthday has never known peace in his entire life, there is no end in sight to the ongoing wars, and in 4 years he will be eligible to vote. An electorate that thinks war is normal, because they have never known anything else, is necessarily going to make some very poor decisions in their voting habits.

Short of some miraculous and incalculable mass shifting of popular opinions, we can thus safely say that democracy is terribly unlikely to solve this problem on its own. It may well be worth participating in the process and attempting to influence policy to stave off the inevitable catastrophic consequences of this system, but this is not peace, and those consequences are no less inevitable.

For liberty to be achieved, a minority will necessarily have to succeed in their goals despite the will of the overwhelming majority. Democracy was established for the specific purpose of preventing that from happening by way of force. Thus we have our conflict, and the inevitability of violent clashes. A minority political interest is violently oppressed by the very definition of democracy, and as such the notion of the two coexisting in peace is inherently nonsensical.

This conflict lacks a peaceful answer. Whatever the proposals may be, all which refuse to address the topic of force necessarily ignore the very nature of the conflict, and therefore cannot solve it.

The Smallest Number

How many people does a particular idea need consensus among to be carried out?

This question is ultimately irrelevant. If the Earth’s entire population were today philosophically anarcho-capitalist, but one man with a gun ordered them all to action under threat of force, they would be left with the choice of defending themselves against that threat, or submitting to it. If they were ideologically opposed for whatever reason to forceful resistance, then the whole of the human race could be ruled by a single man with a revolver. The question is thus how many people are willing to use what level of force to defend a way of life, and how many people are willing to use what level of force to impose some other way upon them. The difference between those two questions is the determining factor in which way of life wins out.

If people defended themselves when democracy made its threats, democracy would not work. This goes for any type of governance or system of coercion. Anarcho-capitalism does not require any number of people to agree with it, only that the system of coercion impeding it be rendered ineffective. Remove the systemic coercion, and economics will take care of the rest.

Democracy necessarily garners the will of the majority for support, but it is a tiny minority that carries out the violence that makes it work. Approximately 6.9% of the population works for varying levels of government in the United States, and only a fraction of them are actually in the business of using force.  In 2012, police departments serving cities with more than 50,000 residents employed an average of 17 officers per 10,000 residents. Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces today.

So the number of people who have to be on board with a way of life for it to be the norm in a given area is actually very small. The measurement however has to be taken in the number of people willing to fight for the defense of that way of life. It would require approximately 20% of the population for example to sway an election in a given geographic area, since most people do not vote. Law enforcement, backed up by military force, then takes to the streets to impose the will of the elected rulers on the people.

To outman the police would require less than .017%. To outman police and military combined would only be 0.517%.

Perhaps more importantly, a people need not outman an enemy to defeat them in battle. History is full of examples of smaller forces defeating larger forces by way of superior strategy, technology, or other conditions of the conflict. The nature of a government requires it to openly present itself. A government cannot govern entirely in secret, it requires uniforms, buildings, and clearly identifiable agents (targets) to carry out its edicts.

Resistance movements throughout history have usually aimed to take over and become the government. So while individual fighters might not suffer those hindrances, the organization behind the fighting that sought to become the State has needed some public presence.

An anarchist resistance movement need not suffer any such hindrance. To overthrow a government and replace it with nothing, one need only make a place ungovernable.

While 0.6 percent of a population could outman police and military, even defeating it in a day with nothing more than pistols, it would not necessarily accomplish this goal. It would in fact run the risk of dominating the populace without even the say so of an election. That threat exists regardless of what anarchists do. Should some tiny fraction of the population today opt to impose a communist dictatorship, lack of any active resistance to that imposition would allow it to take place.

A Culture of Resistance

The above stated insecurity of the current political model should rightly scare people. Society as it stands is just half a percentage point away from an imposed dictatorship at any given moment. Governments throughout history have proven incapable of preventing this, as we’ve seen from countless communist and other uprisings throughout the world.

The model for security then, be it for anarcho-capitalism or any other way of life, must be a culture of resistance. A population that is willing, able, and even eager to defend its way of life against any threat thereto. This was once the case in the United States, and hence the old “gun behind every blade of grass” quote commonly thrown around. A society where as little as 5% of the population was willing to defend themselves against State aggression would render government of any sort impossible, be it democratically elected, or imposed by insurrection or invasion.

That is a model that not only does away with the problem of the State as we know it, but presents an insurmountable obstacle to both the common criminal, and foreign invaders in the future. For a foreign power to invade anarchist territory and attempt to impose its will upon them, they would require such an impractical amount of force that even the domestic government was incapable of bringing to bear. If the domestic government, the institution which raised the people in their public schools, indoctrinated them into flag worship and all the rest, is incapable of suppressing that society, then a foreign invader with a new flag and foreign language is going to have an even harder time.

It should come as no surprise to us that our political masters actively discourage this sort of thing by way of propaganda, gun control, medication, and a myriad of other obvious and not so obvious tactics. What comes as a shock to me, is the way anarchists engage in the same behavior, demonizing every act of violence no matter how justified. The overwhelming narrative in libertarian media today, is “peace at all costs” while simultaneously ignoring the definition of peace. One who is coerced day in and day out is expected to remain passive against his aggressor. To lash out violently, or even to make mention of doing so, will see him scolded, and ostracized.

This sort of discouragement is destructive toward the goals of liberty. We need to promote a culture of resistance. Music, video, talk, and other mediums of entertainment should glorify resistance. It should make resistance look “cool”, instead of heinous. It should promote and reward rugged masculinity instead of feminizing men into sniveling genderless social justice brats. We should make martyrs not out of strong armed robbers like Michael Brown, not of helpless victims like Eric Garner, but of cop killers like Eric Frien, Jerad and Amanda Miller, Justin Bourque, and Paul Ciancia. Let us not give into race baiting, or glorify helplessness and victimhood. Instead, let’s remind people who the enemy is, and show the world that his omnipotence is a farse.

 

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  • Infinite Limit

    The fact that virtually no one (that I know of) raises this issue besides Chris, while understandable, means the entire movement is way behind on the use of defensive force. If people condemn Chris and people like him for stating the obvious (and more imminent), then we haven’t even completed step one–that is, admitting there’s a problem. The State has overwhelming force, and the best we have is a bunch of gun owners glorifying said ownership and refusing to use them defensively or even consider a plan for when push comes to shove. Decentralized defense is likely the best option, but this is only true if decentralization is not isolated and random.

    In short, we need a contingency plan. If we can’t even approach step one, this is impossible and will certainly be the death of us. Whether we actually have to resort to it is immaterial–the fact that it’s a legitimate (and significant) possibility should be enough.

    • Matthew Reece

      Chris is not alone. Check out my articles “Involution, Then Revolution” and “Police assassinations versus the non-aggression principle”.

      • Infinite Limit

        Damn. Wish I had found you earlier. The police assassination article is especially well written because it refutes point by point the common criticisms of defensive force against government agents.

        My only criticism is that a lot of people will confuse retaliatory violence with aggression and, therefore, an initiation of force. I don’t know if you’ve touched on that in the past, but I think including that would be helpful. That, and I actually used to think that.

        • Don Duncan

          One mistake some Libs make is assuming we have to sell ZAP (NAP) with an act or argument that works on all or most, immediately. For example, your criticism correctly assumes “a lot of people” will misconstrue and mischaracterize defense as aggression. But that is not a flaw in the act. It is a willful blindness on their part. They are self-deceiving to protect a faith in force and rulers/ruled. You must not assume they are honestly “confused”. Piers Morgan has been given definitive arguments pointing out the futility of gun control, but he refuses to consider these because he is protecting an emotional belief by sacrificing truth. Some people are not open to argument or any proof on some beliefs. They express this blindness as a false confusion. Don’t you be confused.

    • Coralyn Herenschrict

      Also might want to check out “Understanding the Fear of Self-Defense and Revolution” by Brandon Smith on alt-market.

  • You ever read about the Spanish anarchist revolution of 1936 Chris? They wernt exactly our breed (Mixing with collectivist’s) which is why they dissolved but I think they provided a good example on how to get the job done.

    • Christopher Cantwell

      Can’t say I have at any length, I’ll make a point to check it out.

  • Twadger Badger

    Love it! The role of allegory and metaphor in the folk tales of the dissident underground in the USSA: telling the stories of those who heroically fought back.

  • lowell houser

    I think there is way to avoid violence, it’s just completely insane – COLONIZE MARS.

    Hear me out because I’m dead serious. Ayn Rand had Galt’s Gulch. Heinlein had Luna. But here in the reality, we have Mars.

    There is absolutely no reason for any government on Earth to put a base on Mars because there is no military value in it. There is no reason for any corporation to go to the trouble because there’s nothing on Mars worth the expense of going there to send it back. In fact the only people on Earth that have a potential stake in a Mars colony are in fact those that hate the state because there is no escape from the state on Earth. There’s no reason for any of them to chase us there.

    First colonize Antarctica in flagrant violation of the UN treaty against it, and use the lessons learned and equipment developed to do the same thing on Mars. We build a whole new stateless society in the most inhospitable place on Earth just to prove we have been right the whole time, and we use it as a launch platform to leave this place behind.

  • Richard Chiu

    The problem with a “culture of resistance” is that it involves resort to force in settling conflicts (which of course you have already mentioned) and thus you are left with the dilemma of either defining and maintaining strict and consistent standards governing when a conflict may be resolved by force, or of having a great deal of uncertainty about when you may cross someone’s line for settling a conflict by force, which tends to involve both a severe ‘chilling effect’ on advocacy of one’s own interests and a lot of people dying because they didn’t expect someone to react to a given conflict of interests by resorting to force.

    That could have been said in more than one sentence, but it would have taken longer what with the necessary additional statements placing the parts in relationship to one another. Maybe I’ll reiterate it in more shorter sentences later, after I emphasize the problem.

    Constitutionalists (whom you regard as essentially indistinguishable from Statists) don’t have an essential problem with defining and maintaining strict and consistent standards for when the use of force is acceptable in resolving a conflict of interests. They do of course face the daunting task of actually trying to lay out a comprehensive categorization of all kinds of conflicts, and then identify which ones justify the resort to violence on the part of one party. The task of maintaining this standard by killing violators* while distinguishing them from those who used force in an acceptable manner is also daunting, requiring a lot of reliable cooperation among members of the armed class of society (U.S. Constitutionalists expand that class to include nearly all adult citizens, but other constitutions are possible). However, given a minimally reasonable categorization of which conflicts do justify a party to resort to force, it isn’t that hard to round out your posse. Difficult, to be certain, but it can be done. The same applies to establishing the standards for determining whether resort to force is justifiable in any given conflict. It requires a lot of careful, principled thought, which not everyone can do, but there are people who can do it ‘well enough’ to convince everyone else that they know what they’re doing.

    These established standards of when a party to a conflict is justified in resorting to force, and when such resort is unjustified violence, are laws, whether or not you want to admit it. They fulfill all the essential philosophical requirements for being laws, including the one that matters most, they function as a license to kill anyone that violates them.

    If you are against laws in principle, then it is essentially incoherent to attempt to define and maintain a set of standards which, by the act of defining and maintaining them, necessarily function as enforceable laws. Thus it appears that an anarchist must accept the alternative “of having a great deal of uncertainty about when you may cross someone’s line for settling a conflict by force, which tends to involve both a severe ‘chilling effect’ on advocacy of one’s own interests and a lot of people dying because they didn’t expect someone to react to a given conflict of interests by resorting to force.”

    Unless you clearly and carefully define a third option. Which is possible, but not entirely obvious to everyone, hence the need for careful and clear articulation. For instance, there is the possibility of accepting as a reality the idea of religious martyrdom being a ticket to heaven (one of several, to be sure), while the murderers of martyrs would be disqualified from entry. If humanity ever develops past the Singularity, it is probable that at least some effort will be made to ‘resurrect’ persons who have died for the sake of admirable convictions and give them a place of honor in the post-humanity community. Whether or not that will include religious convictions as admirable is more uncertain…unless someone founds a religion of the Singularity, or just adopts an existing religion as the “officially sanctioned religion of the Singularity”. It is (by nature) impossible to foresee what sort of methods or success a post-Singularity community will achieve for such a resurrection of those they consider to have been saints, but at least it does introduce a standard of behavior which does not need to be enforced by any currently existing human agency.

    Most people didn’t believe in the Singularity back when there was a lot more apparent cause for optimism about such a thing occurring eventually. I was always too much of a realist about human nature to ever really believe humans could achieve it, or build machines capable of achieving it. I think far fewer people believe in the Singularity after the last decade or two. I don’t see any indication you’re one of them (or are eager to start or adopt an official religion of the Singularity), so I’m not proposing that this is the third alternative you would or should advance. I’m just pointing out that there are third alternatives, and by accepting the clear necessity of using force to resist the State (or even common criminals) while rejecting the resort to a system enforceable laws, you are stuck with an unattractive vision of anarchy (the precise vision which generates most of the emotional opposition to the idea, in fact), unless you can come up with a clear third alternative.

    Which goes a long way to explaining why most anarchists would rather pretend that there are non-violent solutions for all conflicts of interests which demand resolution. Even though that means embracing either the fantasy that psychopaths are going to stop trying to make everyone else miserable with governments or that psychopaths governing everyone is a conflict which doesn’t need resolution.

    *I mentioned “killing violators” without the usual niceties about having a system of deciding whether a violator is persistent or likely to reform and redress past violations, often involving trials and terms of imprisonment/parole, because I take it as understood that such niceties only obscure, rather than fundamentally alter, the basic issue of using force, one side must escalate the force involved until the other is unwilling or unable to out-match it, and this usually involves death or at least the clear willingness of one party to kill the other to finally resolve the conflict if no other resolution is offered. While the threat of a non-maiming injury may exact compliance in some cases, there are in fact people who will not comply short of the threat of death, including those who will only ever comply if you count whatever cooperation you can exact from the remains of their body after death.

    • Coralyn Herenschrict

      Free market systems would addresses the very concerns you raise around uncertainty surrounding guidelines for acceptable use of force. Exactly because that’s indeed a social problem that needs solving.

      Anarcho-capitalists fully endorse private law in the form of rules of behavior featuring clear rules with associated penalties and dispute resolution methods voluntarily agreed to in advance by all parties before entering the private property on which they apply.

      If a person can simply “follow the law of the land” in a statist society, he can simply “follow the rules of the house” in a voluntary society. No PhD in libertarian philosophy required.

      Responsive to popular demand for simplicity, such a system of justice would almost certainly be far easier to understand and fairer than the current monolithic, byzantine, bureaucratic state system of justice.

      • Richard Chiu

        I think that you’re missing an important aspect of the principle of the free market…that it is free, in the sense of being confined to strictly voluntary exchanges of goods.

        Violence, by its nature, is not voluntary, and is not a good. Where violence is exchanged at “competitive rates”, the free market cannot exist at all.

        Yes, you can have a free market in dealing with the violence originating outside of your community, buying and selling “forced conflict resolution services” and the tools of that trade. But when you have members of your community who engage in competitive exchanges of violence, you cannot have a free market.

        And while it isn’t necessary for anyone to have an institutional credential of expertise in libertarian philosophy, it is at least necessary for everyone in a community to be able to generally agree when and why violence is necessary. And such agreement, whether or not you think it can exist among libertarians (and I believe that it can…if they are all sincere co-religionists, though that is for purposes of this discussion irrelevant), does not currently exist and cannot come to exist simply by denouncing the illogic of it not already existing.

        If it were just a matter of going with the general consensus, then Cantwell should be the one to bow to the majority opinion that violence is never justified for any reason. The reason he doesn’t is because that is a fatally flawed premise that won’t work even if all libertarians were to go along with it. There will still be statists and other criminals outside of the libertarian community, and it will be necessary to respond to their violence. But the fact that there can be a consensus that doesn’t work illustrates the problem.,..it isn’t enough to say “let’s all agree to get along” if getting along means settling on measures that do not work in reality.

        If Cantwell, or anyone, wants to get a consensus on a course of action then the burden of proof falls on those proposing it, to explain in detail how it works.

        It isn’t an impossible task (it certainly is more difficult if you decline appealing to religious ideas about a reward in the hereafter–the usual refuge of charlatans, but still not impossible). It is a necessary task.

        • Coralyn Herenschrict

          This is the classic minarchist argument for needing a state. It’s specious. Like food or shelter, violence is absolutely a good – a hugely expensive good to produce and employ. That is exactly how its use gets governed in nature.

          “Free market” doesn’t mean absence of violence. It means bearing the full costs of employing violence, both the material costs and the costs to relationships with other sovereigns. Bearing such costs will reign violence in precisely to the point of bona-fide self-defense of property because only that use of violence optimizes productive outcomes vs. any other.

          Currently, nation-states themselves are completely free, i.e. existing in a state of anarchy. They engage in competitive exchanges of violence with each other in a free market. There is no global leviathan overlord imposing standards for violence on them. Yet the world doesn’t implode in bloody chaos over different use-of-force standards. Why?

          Because there is an “invisible hand” at work regulating the use of violence. It arises from nothing but self-interest and the nature of reality. The inherent costs of employing violence compared to the benefits of productive trade, negotiation, compromise, and respect for others’ territory and property heavily incentivize the latter amidst Darwinian competition.

          Same dynamics would occur among individuals if allowed to live as sovereigns. If you can’t see this, then pretend you could keep dividing up countries to make smaller and smaller ones until you reached country sizes of 1 person. At what point along the way would the dynamics of anarchy stop working?

          • Richard Chiu

            “Yet the world doesn’t implode in bloody chaos over different use-of-force standards.”

            Umm…you might want to check your sources. Yes, the standards of behavior between States which regard violence as an acceptable form of international intercourse do reflect the concept of competitive exchanges of violence. After every major “implosion in bloody chaos over different use-of-force standards”, the governments which survived intact tend to have some agreement about when to resort to force over each other, which is the historical origin of alliances. But if you are seriously suggesting that this is an acceptable exercise at the interpersonal level than I have trouble understanding why you aren’t a statist.

            Actually, I have trouble telling whether you’re a statist trolling me for being critical of how governments behave in relationship to each other and the people in their own nations. If so, then well played, if not…well, sorry.

          • Coralyn Herenschrict

            You seem to interpret the handful of nation-states engaged in armed conflict at any given time to be evidence anarchy does not work. However, I interpret the hundreds of nation-states peacefully coexisting in trade as evidence anarchy works.

            Moreover, I believe state authoritarian rule is precisely to blame for why nation-states attempt aggression at all. Their political leaders personally reap the benefits of war but offload its costs onto their subjects, to the overall demise of the country. Anarchy requires decisionmakers bear full consequences for their own actions in order to work.

            I don’t disagree with you that people can only peacefully interact as a community if they agree on force standards. I disagree with your implication such shared standards can’t be voluntarily negotiated among individuals joining, leaving, forming, and dissolving communities at will employing full freedom of association. No outside authority dictating universal force standards is required.

          • Richard Chiu

            Actually, the hundreds of nation-states peacefully coexisting in trade at any given time can only happen when you have a major regional power imposing a Pax [pick your imperialistic nation]. Right now America is the heavily armed giant on the block, in a few years it won’t be. Beijing does not intend for China to take up this role outside of the Asian Pacific, so there won’t be one.

            In either case, that is a model of government, not anarchy. Past American governments made an effort to seem accommodating and reasonable to enough other major powers to minimize the amount of blood and treasure spent in war enforcing the regional (and eventually global) order, but that is only one possible model of effective empire/hegemony.

            I never said that common standards can’t be negotiated, just that not everyone will negotiate them, partly because a substantial fraction of the human race falls below the minimum IQ necessary to adopt rational solutions in the face of instinctive impulses. Problem-solving intelligence, the ability to see a novel problem and figure out an effective solution without resorting to trial and error, starts at about 130. People below that, (which is the vast majority of humans) need to rely on others to solve their problems for them, or resort to trial and error. When negotiating interpersonal conflicts that might lead to killing, trial and error heavily incentivizes a very cautious assertion of personal interests, which is why most people put up with government (or anyone else) infringing on their rights.

            There are also the 1% of psychopaths and 4% of clinical sociopaths, along with a variable population of histrionics and borderline personalities (histrionics and borderlines tend to have environmental influences, including the lack of a strong sense of definite community standards governing behavior, when raised in an environment completely absent such standards nearly all women and a significant fraction of men develop these personality disorders). Mere deficiency in problem-solving intelligence isn’t the issue with the dark quartet of personality types, they simply have fundamentally different ideas about what is and isn’t a problem and what counts as a solution.

            Also, when ejecting someone from your community makes them a target of violence by yourself and all the other members of your community, it isn’t exactly a completely non-violent act, nor is it ever completely mutually consensual.

            Now, if you were planning to simply kill everyone that didn’t have an IQ over 130 and no dangerous personality disorders…I’m pretty sure that would qualify you as a psychopath.

  • Rothbardian Slip

    I agree that killing the people who threaten you with violence would be self defense. How do you organize a resistance without being targeted and thwarted by the state? How do you stop more bad actors from filling the vacuum created by killing the current bad actors? I know question two has probably been answered. I missed it. I also know question one is asked millions of times each day, although maybe not out loud.

    • Richard Chiu

      Cantwell answers the first question by suggesting unorganized resistance, a “culture of resistance”. This is actually workable and has been demonstrated many times in history, and probably more often in unrecorded history…which might illustrate one of the dangers for those who like having history.

      I currently belong to the “culture of resistance”, having dared the authorities to do their worst while making no secret of my intention to do my worst (including the worst of others on my behalf) in response to such an event. I was targeted by the state for expressing my disagreement with the proposition that they had authority to enforce laws they did not themselves obey, and suffered pretty significant injuries, though they didn’t quite manage to kill me (by the way, Nietzshe is full of shit). I made it clear to them that I had no intention of bowing to their delusions of grandeur even if they managed to kill me, and they would only make more enemies by doing so. Eventually, they decided to ignore me.

      Death would have been kinder.

      If you don’t feel that way, then don’t try it. Being willing to die for your principles only ‘works’ if you’re actually willing to die. And if you’re really that willing to die, then being ignored rather than killed doesn’t count as ‘working’.

      On the question of preventing more bad actors from filling the vacuum created by killing the current bad actors, the answer is the same. You create a culture of resistance so that the killing of bad actors is an ongoing and permanent disincentive to bad actors who would rather not be killed, and a mechanism for continuing to remove those that are too stupid or insane to care that their bad actions will result in their own deaths.

      • Rothbardian Slip

        I have my own way of resisting at the moment. Mine consists of home schooling my son, bartering, paying cash, unbanking, using the underground economy wherever possible, not voting, etc. It’s an obviously non-violent resistance. While I’m not making any plans to step it up in any way, I still am interested in how we could, theoretically, organize an actual violent revolt. As of now the government spies on our every move and claims the right to suppress our every action. They can indefinitely detain us, blow us up with drones, put us in psych wards, shoot our dogs, burn down our homes, take our shit, whatever they want to do to us, it seems they just do. It appears to be in their intrest to crush dissent violently and visibly whenever it is found. Of course it’s one of their goals to appear omnipotent and all seeing. That helps them avoid having to defend their power. It reminds me of a movie I watched with my son. A bunch of Penguins were hungry and had arrived at a cliff at the edge of the sea. They all waited to see who would jump in first and if a seal or whale would eat them. Again, how does one go about organizing a mass revolt without getting swatted by the state? I don’t see how it could be done without getting eaten.

        • Richard Chiu

          Well, there is also the question of whether it needs to be done. For the last twenty years, the collapse of the dollar has been a mathematical inevitability. In the last few years it has become an imminent reality.

          A fairly large fraction of the apparent power of the current regime will evaporate rather suddenly once it can no longer pay those who do its bidding, and is seen as having fundamentally betrayed those who trusted it for material support.

          So the real question for most might be, not how to resist the government while it still has the power to pay the mercenaries who support it, but how to survive in the aftermath of the global economic catastrophe resulting from the imminent dollar collapse. Self-sufficiency in production of food, shelter, and other necessities of life is worth a look, despite the current adverse regulatory climate (and why do you think that the government is so terrified of ‘preppers’ anyway, eh?).

          You are also going to need to look into self-sufficiency in defending yourself and your possessions from those who have not prepared. Some of those might pretend to be taking what you need for your own survival on behalf of “the government” (‘greater good/posterity/community/some other bullshit’), but its already pretty clear that they’re only taking it for themselves. It will be even more obvious in the wake of a dollar collapse.

          Changing to a more self-sufficient lifestyle may imply a change in location as well as learning new (or rather, old) skills. It is helpful if you move to an area where more people are prepared, including in the necessities of their defense, or at least to where there are fewer who are not prepared.

          But organizing a mass revolt isn’t really necessary, Beijing has already carefully laid the groundwork. The problem is just going to be surviving it, since making it possible for Americans to survive the collapse of the global economic system wasn’t really a high priority for those planning all this. They really only care that China emerge as the central nation again. Oh, and that “nation” now means “stuff that belongs to the party”.

          • Rothbardian Slip

            I hope you’re right.

  • Sam Cru

    “There exists no shortage of people who have absolutely zero intention of
    witnessing or bringing about the abolition of the State, who
    nonetheless talk about it a great deal for these reasons. For a couple
    of bucks or a brief stroke of the ego, they will senselessly distract
    anarchists with inane fantasies of a brighter future they have no
    intention of bringing about.”

    I instantly thought of Jeffrey Tucker.

  • matriarch morlock

    Don’t forget leadership is worth a lot more than a few pawns. It doesn’t take much to do a bit of research to figure out where they normally hide. They’re normally soft targets too

  • matriarch morlock

    Please cut me some slack. When I see tucker next I will advise him to cut back on the bourbon breakfast and invest in a sidearm. I will do it

  • Here is an analogy about why people have pretty much given up on the idea of the practicality of the use of force. If this were a cowboy versus Indians game, we are the Indians and the staties are the cowboys. End game: the long knives keep coming.

  • AnarchoCap

    The state robs us, rapes us, and kills us right? so wouldn’t that make a revolution SELF DEFENSE?! so violence against the state could technically be justified.

  • autonomous

    I take issue with the premise with which you begin, ” The State is an institution that claims the lawful and moral authority to initiate force and defraud people out of property.” At least some of the founders of the United States, and at least some of the current political class, especially at the lowest rungs, believe that the function of the state is, and should be limited to, the protection of the natural rights of citizens. I have no doulbt that many of the founders, and certainly many if not most of today’s political class operate much closer to the theory that you stated than the one that I pointed out. None-the-less, such tatters as we have left of constitutional protections that we started with at least remain our natural possession and should be publicly claimed and acted upon, rather than assumed to have either died or never have existed.
    I not only take issue with your premise, I take issue with subsidiary premises, such as that we have “political masters”. I assert that I don’t have political masters, and that any who claim to be master are not masters and do not have just claim to think so. They have sufficient force at their disposal to kill or imprison me, but they do not have sufficient force to to be my master. Patrick Henry was not speaking alone, nor with absolute bravado, when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Many of his compatriots, then and now, choose liberty over death.

  • Robert Gough

    Explained right in the article. People would rather hold out than fight. If a culture of resistance is what we need, then I would say at least in some cases the III%ers group is the beginning of a (hopefully) evolutionary change on resistance. Decentralized resistant response forces. AKA individuals who give a shit.