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.
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.
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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