Why I’m not an anarchist/voluntaryist
Well, I may have given across the impression that I am anti-government, period. The way I have written could cause someone to think that I’m not just against the modern governments, but against government in and of itself.
There are groups of people that are against government in a similar way. Some are called voluntaryists and others are called anarchists. Both sets of people are against the existence of the state or the government. And many may mistake me for an anarchist or a voluntaryist because I speak in opposition against world governments.
The question I have to ask myself is whether I am an anarchist or voluntaryist. In fact, I should ask myself if it’s even possible for me to hold such a philosophy.
What is anarchism? What is voluntaryism?
Voluntaryism is the belief that all human interactions should be voluntary and without coercion. So a voluntaryist would be against using force to get someone to do something. They would be against extortion or blackmail. All things should be consensual. It is against the initiation of force. Now it is not so idealistic as to think that everyone is perfect and all people do no wrong which is why it limits its restrictions to the initiation of force. It allows for self defence using appropriate force. But at its core is the principle of voluntary transaction.
Based on all this, a person who holds such a philosophy is against what government innately is. Why? Because government is essential force, coercion and imposition. “Do what I say, or else …” “Your money (in taxes) or your life!” Through no real contract (a social “contract” is not a real contract and has no real substance) or agreement, it dictates to people under threat of force what they must do. An astute person would realise that there is no real difference between a government on one hand and the mafia or a bandit/highwayman on the other except for the perceived legitimacy. People think it’s ok for a government to rob them and everyone else and to dictate to them and everyone one in the belief it’s for the greater good.
So that is a summary of what voluntaryism is and part of why it’s against government or the state.
Anarchism is a stronger team meaning the rejection of all authority.
I took this from a website (http://www.infoshop.org/AnarchistFAQSectionA1).
“The term anarchy comes from the Greek, and essentially means ‘no ruler.’ Anarchists are people who reject all forms of government or coercive authority, all forms of hierarchy and domination. They are therefore opposed to what the Mexican anarchist Flores Magon called the ‘sombre trinity’ — state, capital and the church. Anarchists are thus opposed to both capitalism and to the state, as well as to all forms of religious authority. But anarchists also seek to establish or bring about by varying means, a condition of anarchy, that is, a decentralised society without coercive institutions, a society organised through a federation of voluntary associations.” [“Anthropology and Anarchism,” pp. 35-41, Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, no. 45, p. 38]
Thus any attempt to assert that anarchy is purely anti-state is a misrepresentation of the word and the way it has been used by the anarchist movement. As Brian Morris argues, “when one examines the writings of classical anarchists. . . as well as the character of anarchist movements. . . it is clearly evident that it has never had this limited vision [of just being against the state]. It has always challenged all forms of authority and exploitation, and has been equally critical of capitalism and religion as it has been of the state.” [Op. Cit., p. 40]
It should be seen that this worldview is not limited to government. As it said above, it is not just “anti-state”. Whereas a voluntaryist should be fine with a person choosing consentually to have a master over themselves as long as it doesn’t impose its mastery on others who don’t want such authority, anarchism is against authority altogether, not just with regards to government but in aspects of life.
Could I be an anarchist? Can I be a voluntaryist?
The answer must be “no!” I couldn’t be an anarchist. Why? Because I accept an authority and that authority is God. As long as I believe in a God that sets moral rules and also judges us, then I’ve accepted an authority and thus I cannot be an anarchist in the proper sense of the word.
And I don’t reject authority per se. I respect the fact that my parents had some authority over me as a child and could see the legitimacy in their authority.
But I struggle to see the legitimacy of world governments today that protect and encourage the breaking of the Seven Commandments. Once a government not only does this but is also war-mongering, thieving, and unjust, as well as its courts of law, then its fate should be nothing other than either at least a revolution and a seizing of “power”, or, on the more serious side, having its officials and primary officer (prime minister or president) executed. Such an act wouldn’t ignore the complicit acts of its supporters or the supporters of the system that upheld it (like democracy), but at least it could do something to begin the possibility of a change. The main problem with such an act would be that without a rise in moral education and intellectual education amongst the masses, the same sort of system with a similar government or a worse one could just replace the old or dead group.
But either way, I struggle to see the legitimacy of immoral or unjust governments which covers most ones out there, if not all of them.
I know logically that the notion of some unseen “social contract” is a stupid idea or at least baseless. The notion of a contract that you do not sign, you don’t agree to, that you have no real consideration before you become a party in it, but that you just kinda fall into just because you live in a place is no true contract whatsoever. The fact is that those who accept the current system will impose their view on you: you’re made into part of the system whether you like it or not.
So although I don’t see any legitimate government authority, only coercion, I can’t be classed as an anarchist.
Another problem also has to be that since I accept the Seven Laws which seems to involve courts and a system of judges and “justice officers” (some may call them “police” but that has too much bad baggage) to uphold court decisions. This would imply capturing certain people without their consent and, if necessary, punishing them accordingly regardless of consent, even up to the death penalty. This definitely clashes with anarchism where morality is individualistic and subjective. This would seem to clash with the voluntaryist notion. Yet there is a reason why it doesn’t altogether clash with it. That reason is that there is still something called a contract in a voluntaryist system. And if someone agrees to a contract that has certain punishments, then ultimately, if a person breaks the contract and those punishments come into play, on the short term it may be coercive but ultimately it was done with the consent of the parties involved in the contract.
But some may claim that people don’t want to accept the system of the Seven Commandments and thus it would be imposed involuntarily upon the society. But this coincides with another personal conclusion of mine.
The era of the Seven Commandments
I look at what I can see of the world today, in terms of its people. And it is splintered, broken, scattered, everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. There are tyrants and murderers, fools and victim, and a whole wide range of people and viewpoints. I see one group trying to impose its view forcefully upon others and many times with disobedience ensuing or full-blown rebellion. I see one group trying to persuade another about the merits of its views, and always with various responses, from acceptance to rejection and everything in between. And the universe keeps spinning overhead. Life goes on.
I don’t think the world will change for the better until enough people – a significant enough portion – want it to and have the knowledge of how to get it done. In fact, it may have to be everyone coming to a certain realisation. Until then, there will always be strife one way or another.
It’s much the same way with the Seven Commandments and the righteousness contain therein. Until there is a worldwide change, there will never be worldwide acceptance of it. I’m not so much bothered with the modern Noahide movement, although it may have some place in the worldwide change that is needed. Maybe it won’t! It’s not about some religious group anyway. It’s about a much needed change in social consciousness with regards to right and wrong. It’s about Gentiles, regardless of title or label, creating and propelling such a positive change. I don’t know if it will only happen at the time when the Jewish identity called “the Moshiach” arrives (no, I’m not saying that he himself will do it, only that it will happen around the time he shows up – I’m not saying he won’t have a part to play in it either). But either way, a grand scale change is needed.
It is most likely that at whatever time the change occurs, a person’s submission to the Seven Commandments will be voluntary. It won’t be forced on the world but will be accepted, just as it says that the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of God, just as the waters cover the sea. So maybe in that day, the vast majority of human interaction will be voluntary. But there will never be a time when the world will be without authority as long as God exists, and that’s forever.
There are good points, but …
Just as in many worldviews, there are good points even if I cannot accept the whole things. For example, because anarchism is generally about not relying on authority or other people who claim to have rulership over you, it would seem to strengthen the notion of personal responsibility, something that the Seven Commandments are all about. It’s not about expecting someone else to be responsible for you. It’s not about an individual voting for a government and supporting that system, a system that inevitably leading to evil, and then that individual voter claiming that he or she is not responsible, it was the fault of the government. That sort of thinking is simple irresponsible (and quite widespread, e.g., people are quick to call Obama or Tony Blair war criminals, yet are not so quick to point the finger of responsibility at those who either voted them into power or helped maintain the system that got them into power). “Oh it was the government’s fault, not mine.” So the emphasis on personal responsibility is great.
The non-agression principle (not initiating force), which is normally promoted by voluntaryists and anarchists, is a great idea that helps a person to avoid the crimes of murder, injury, and theft and even prevents injustice.
But there are aspects of the worldviews that I just can’t agree with or that I notice. For example, as I said before, morality is such worldviews are individualistic and subjective. It is still a case of everyone doing what is right is his own eyes, moral chaos. Idolatry, blasphemy, and the sexual impropriety is all ok and nothing wrong with it at all. There is no real objective morality. There is no ruler, no one to set objective standards. So it’s just down to the individual to decide. I don’t agree with such subjectivity.
One thing to be noticed amongst this group or these groups is the amount of atheists involved in them, and it makes sense. It makes sense that, when espousing a view that rejects all authority (seemingly), God would have to be kicked to the curb. But that reveals a deep flaw within anarchism in that there is no moral authority, no objective standard. This is seen in the acts of one voluntaryist called Marc Stevens who does a fantastic job of showing how all that man made laws are is the opinion of some dude with the threat of force behind it and nothing else. He asks government official after government official, from policeman to lawyer to judge to the IRS, he asks “what evidence is there that your law applies to me simply because I live on this piece of land?”. And almost without fail, the reply boils down to a circular argument: “the evidence that the law applies is that the law says so” or “the law applies because the law applies”. And all that really boils down to is the some stranger wrote his opinion somewhere and there is absolutely no real evidence that the words of this stranger has any authority at all. Marc Stevens makes this point extremely well. Almost too well. Why almost too well? Because once the tables were turned and it was asked of him “then what makes murder wrong? Or theft? Or rape? Or any other act that involves imposing yourself forcibly on someone else?” He could only, in my eyes, fumble around for an answer, and the one he gave was unsatisfactory. Why? Because the point is that he is totally correct. Any opinion that a person makes, legal or otherwise, in a godless existence, has no authority whatsoever. There is no truth to knowledge or morality. If one man say “murder is wrong” then the next man says “well that’s your opinion, I’ll do what the hell I want.” Nothing one person says in and of itself obligates another to follow it.
And that is one of the hypocritical things about anarchists (speaking in the holistic sense that includes atheism). They can come across so principled and opinionated about what is right and wrong. One guy called Stefan Molyneux seems to take great pleasure, standing on his “infallible” raft of scientism and empiricism, in insulting the “God” concept and those that accept it and reject his atheistic creations myth, and yet he gets passionated and faux-irate when someone who believes in the state and in voting imposes their views on others by voting for their special person to extort others through taxation and the many offenses of the state. He feels so justified in bemoaning the immorality of religion, “backwards thinking”, and government, yet his morality is nothing more than, according to his worldview, only and simply an arrangement of molecules in his brain, nothing more and maybe less. Another anarchist, Adam Kokesh, holds such strong morals, going so far as to go to prison for showing one of many ways what Washington is inconsistent and ignorant in its appliation of the american constitution. It was only his act of rebellion that provoked the government officials to create other charges against him to keep him in prison for a longer time. Yet all his morality amounts to just the products of the chemicals in the brain of a beast fit only for survival. The rest is just illusion and air puffs.
In the atheistic universe, when you get rid of the decoration and the wrapping that we humans create for ourselves, the fancy illusions and the word play, when you realise what everything really boils down to, then you see things for what they are: the non-agression principle, the fight against oppression and coercion, the shrugging of authority, authority itself, the morality, written documents and lengthy speeches, the books and the activism, all of it is just a bunch of apes grunting about the flavour of a more yellow banana and complaining that other apes prefer the taste of a banana more green. It’s just the animal mind making a big song and dance about personal taste. It’s just that this animal mind is arrogant enough to think that it is so much better than before and has a grasp on the essence of “truth” (a concept that doesn’t exist properly in atheism, except as something that means “what the limited mind perceives and gets convinced of, but can never be shown to have objective reality”).
On the good side, it is great to have people who at least try to be moral. Nothing in the Seven Commandments demands that people have totally correct ideas and legally doesn’t prohibit the thoughts of idolators, idiots and atheists (these categories can overlap – yes, even atheists can have idolatrous thoughts and do idiotic things). So it’s great that atheists are against the evils of government. But normally they do it whilst 1) ignoring the fact that in atheism there is no such thing as objective evil or good and 2) insulting the “God” concept and 3) advocating acts that are still against the Seven Commandments.
So you may not be anarchist-proper. What’s your beef with the state?
My gripe with government has nothing to do with a rejection of authority. Don’t get me wrong! I do have my rebellious streak. It has nothing to do with any belief that all human interactions must be or should be voluntary. It would be a good ideal for us to aim for voluntary and consensual interaction but realistically it cannot be universal, at least not based on my experience.
My gripe with governments is their almost constant immorality in light of God’s commandments, against a basic standard of morality. My gripe with government is based on that basic standard which states that corruption, bribery, murder, theft, and the protection of forbidden acts shouldn’t be tolerated. And I don’t know a government that isn’t guilty of that. They still continue to bathe in the blood of the innocent whilst destroying the minds of its subjects on a subtle level and helping to continue the perversion and transgression of morality. When you make immorality public policy and law, then those that advocate the basic standard of morality will always seem like criminals.
If a government got it right – if it were possible for a government to get it right – then I would most likely be all for it.
But for now, I’m not an anarchist. I’m not a voluntaryist per se.
Someone could then ask: “then, David, what are you?”
And I would answer, “That’s a good question,” and leave it there.
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