Left-Libertarians and the Ring of Power

Column by Glen Allport.

Exclusive to STR

Whoever cannot hit the nail on the head should please, not hit it at all. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Image of The Ring of Power from Wikimedia Commons

– 1 –
If I had the Ring of Power, I would only use it for GOOD!

 

Recently, I was reminded that to at least some extent, left-leaning libertarians and anarchists do not understand that compassionate social goals cannot be achieved by the violence and coercion of the State. Love, compassion, and brotherhood are in a different realm than politics and political power. We absolutely do need more love in this world, but using State coercion in service of love can only backfire because coercion is diametrically opposed to love; it is cruelty rather than compassion. Furthermore, psychopaths are drawn to the coercive State like flies to offal – which is why everywhere we look today and in history, those at the top of government structures are more interested in Power than in love and compassion.

To the elite, love and compassion are for campaign ads and political promises, but Power is the name of the game. Back in the 20th Century, George H. W. Bush, "Bush the First," ran on a campaign slogan of a "kinder, gentler" America. Shortly after taking office, he gently invaded Iraq, killing over 100,000 civilians. Nobel Peace laureate Obama is so excited about bombing Syria that it would be cute if he were a puppy dancing around its owner expecting a treat, but – well, he isn't. He's a politician who wants to murder yet another group of mostly-civilians in a pipsqueak far-away land that is no threat to the most powerful nation on Earth.
 

– 2 –
Civil Society Requires Non-Aggression

Back in 2006 I wrote Call Me an Abolitionist, Please, in which I pointed out that "civil society requires nothing less than complete abolition of initiated coercion." I added that:

"All excuses, schemes, and rationalizations for initiating coercion against others only create more coercion. We've tried 'the divine right of kings.' We've tried 'dictatorship of the proletariat.' We've tried 'democracy.' It doesn't matter how you dress it up: initiating force or threats of force against peaceful human beings is a crime, and creates nothing but injustice, violence, and misery. Using the term 'abolitionism' points out that ALL forms of initiated coercion must go; belief that it is necessary or benign to initiate coercion for this or for that reason, or in some special manner, is delusional and dangerous."

My assumption at the time was that most – not all, but surely most, I thought – of those calling themselves "anarchists" understood the need for following the Non-Aggression Principle. Increasingly, I wonder how widespread that understanding really is. In my 2006 column, I did point out that "anarchist" is a term with a perplexing variety of meanings, including more than a few at odds with the Non-Aggression Principle. Indeed, to the public at large (not to mention to the State and to the corporate media, which works hard to reinforce this), the definition of "anarchist" is essentially the same as "terrorist."

Below, a list of Anarchist "schools of thought" as found at Wikipedia's page on Left Anarchism:

Black · Buddhist · Capitalist · Christian · Collectivist · Communist · Egoist · Existentialist · Feminist · Green · Individualist · Infoanarchism · Insurrectionary · Leftist · Magonist · Mutualist · National · Naturist · Pacifist · Philosophical · Platformist · Post-anarchist · Post-colonial · Post-left · Primitivist · Queer · Social · Syndicalist · Synthesist · Vegan · Without adjectives

STR readers may be interested to note that Henry David Thoreau is associated in this list with Anarcho-pacifism which, as you would expect, does not advocate the use of force or violence to achieve its goals. But again: several of those schools of thought do advocate using force to eliminate economic disparity, racism, or other real or perceived problems. Many who consider themselves left-libertarians, progressive-libertarians, or who use other freedom-related labels to describe themselves have the same mistaken idea: basically, that compassion, equality, or other desired states and actions can be successfully imposed by State Power, and that using Power "in the right manner" would increase or secure liberty.

The truth is that any group which advocates or sanctions aggression – the initiation of force or coercion – in service of their goals is harming the cause of liberty, which means also harming mankind. Aggression is cruelty; it never leads to anything positive.

To advocate aggression is to advocate continued use of Power in the sense Tolkien, and Mao for that matter, used the term. Chairman Mao (R.J. Rummel's #1 mass murderer of the 20th Century) famously pointed out that "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"; Tolkien wrote a huge fantasy adventure centered around the need to destroy a magical, highly addictive and corrupting Ring of Power. Peter Jackson's gorgeous film version of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings includes Gandalf reacting to Frodo's offer to give Gandalf the Ring: "Don't tempt me, Frodo! Understand, Frodo – I would use this Ring from a desire to do good . . . [long pause] . . . but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine."

Frodo is the hero of Lord of the Rings because he alone is not tempted to use the Ring to achieve his goals, and is not even tempted to maintain possession of the Ring. Frodo WANTS to be rid of it, and – knowing that until the Ring is destroyed, it will endanger everyone on Earth – Frodo undertakes a long and dangerous journey to the volcano at the heart of Mordor, the only place where the Ring of Power can be destroyed. At the end of the tale (spoiler alert), Frodo does indeed destroy the Ring, utterly, by throwing it into the magma at the heart of Mt. Doom.

Get it straight, pro-aggression "anarchists" and "libertarians": You cannot use Power to achieve your goals, unless your primary goal is to perpetuate the evils of Statism. Yes, I know: you only want to use the Power for good. (So did the followers of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.) But you, and those who come after you, would be wielding a power so "great and terrible" that, frankly, it may have already destroyed the world. Please don't make things even worse, which is all you CAN do by violating the Non-Aggression Principle.*
* Yes, if the world is ALREADY destroyed, things can't get any worse – ultimately. But things certainly could be worse than they otherwise might be in the meantime, before the end, and besides – maybe we aren't yet actually doomed. Sounds Pollyana-ish, I know (see here and here for a jolt of reality), but perhaps mankind will get lucky.

Do you want to oppose racism, homophobia, child abuse, central banking, factory farming, and genetically modified kittens? Glad to hear it. Right on, brothers and sisters!

I'm totally with you, but please oppose the evils of this world without using aggression or initiating violence. Especially, please do not expect, ask, or propose that government Power be used in the service of your goals; all you are doing in that case is arguing that Tweedle-Dee instead of Tweedle-Dum should be installed as The Decider (video, 3 min 57 sec; Jon Stewart). Either way, State aggression rolls on – and soon enough, psychopaths gain the upper hand (as they always have) because who else, really, is willing to scratch and claw and lie and cheat and even kill to attain the Power of the State?

As long as State Power exists, it will be co-opted and eventually taken outright by those who want Power over others – by those exactly like today's power elite and like the dictators, kings, presidents, coercive busy-bodies, corporatist and mercantilist titans of industry, and other tyrants who have made life so brutal, poverty-stricken, and harsh for most of mankind since the dawn of recorded history. Only coercive government allows for such evil on a national and global scale, and it must be ended, in the same way that chattel slavery was ended. All excuses for why coercive government "must" exist are misunderstandings and sophistries.

 

– 3 –
Love and Freedom are Equally Necessary, but Different in Kind

Love (including compassion, brotherhood, a sense of connection to others) is yin to freedom's yang, and the two parts of that duality must be thought of and handled differently.

Liberty is defined by actions and requires enforcement. Violations of the Non-Aggression Principle (coercion and fraud, such as rape, murder, home-invasion robbery, environmental destruction, and other real crime) must be widely seen as wrong, prevented by non-coercive means (education, private security firms, social norms, and contract law, to name just a few) and corrected when they occur (again, contracts, security firms – including use of force when necessary – and other means). The Market for Liberty is an excellent place to start if you haven't considered the idea of non-State provisions of law, dispute resolution, and other "government services." The Voluntary City is another good resource, in this case for real-world examples of "government services" supplied instead by civil society (i.e., by voluntary means).

Note: coercive funding, meaning taxation and fiat currency, is the foundational evil that the rest of the State's wrongdoing rests upon. Why would anyone expect customer satisfaction in a situation where the customer's money is taken at gunpoint, no matter how the customer feels about the "services" being provided? Coercive funding is why we all pay for war, for torture, for subsidies and special treatment of many kinds to the nuclear industry and to most other large industries. Coercive funding is the only way you could be made to pay for such things and for every other harmful thing our multi-trillion-dollar empire does. Why isn't the State spending its stolen money the way YOU think it should be spent? A few moment's thought should bring you the answer.

In contrast to liberty, love is an inner state and cannot be enforced, but instead requires emotional health. In turn, that requires gentle, appropriate treatment at the earliest time of life and throughout childhood, including real-time satisfaction of basic needs. Coercion is never useful in creating love – seriously, what are you doing to do, point a gun at someone and force them to love you? To feel compassion? To snap themselves out of homophobia or racism or a generally mean-spirited world-view?

"Ah," but you say, "we can use coercive government Power to make people ACT as if they were compassionate! And we can take money from them and spend it compassionately!"

That misconception – that coercive Power can be used for good – is how we got public housing ghettos and Obamacare and Bush's No Child Left Behind and the long-running War on Drugs (gotta save people from the nightmare of drug use!) and America's aggressive "wars for peace" and the NSA and Homeland Security and pretty much every other boondoggle and tyranny we now have. All of it is supposedly for our benefit and protection, but the results are quite different.

It is hard to rid oneself of the addicting, something-for-nothing lure of using State Power to end the evils (whatever you perceive those to be) of this world. One thinks of Captain Pickard on the U.S.S. Enterprise telling a subordinate to "Make it so!" – and like magic, the thing is done. But real-world history shows the truth: Violence, coercion, and stolen money are not the path to a better world.

There is a better way – a way that actually reduces tyranny and evil instead of increasing them.

 

– 4 –
The Path to a More Compassionate World

How then to increase the amount of love in the world? How to ensure that needs are taken care of and to move society in the direction of brotherhood and decency and kindness?

The answer is simple, if not necessarily easy: Without using aggression, advocate and work for both love and freedom.

By "freedom" I mean real freedom, including abolition of the coercive State – voluntaryism, in other words. I would say "anarchy," but as we have seen, most people, including many in what would appear to be the freedom movement, are convinced that aggression is perfectly fine if used in service of goals that they, personally, agree with. We will never get anywhere that way; using aggression "for good reasons" is exactly what we have now.

By "love" I mean the inner experience of love, which includes a sense of connection with others and which leads to positive attitudes and behaviors engendered by that inner experience. I do NOT mean government programs supposedly aimed at compassionate goals.

How to do that, exactly? By fostering institutions and attitudes that value both compassion and human rights (i.e., freedom or liberty), including especially for the young. Entire books could be (and have been) written on the subject, so – as I am already running long here – I won't attempt a more detailed answer in this column but will suggest further reading. Among my own columns, consider:

Shield and Strength: The Power of Love, Part 2

The Doctrine of Love and Freedom

Anarchy or Minarchy is Only Half the Question

Anarchy or Minarchy is Only Half the Question, Part 2
(especially section 7, "Bringing More Love and Freedom Into the World", which includes a discussion of A.S. Neill's approach to children at Summerhill School in England)

The Abolitionist Argument in 35 Seconds

Free Societies in the Real World

Feeling, Emotion, Intellect

Websites and books, starting with one of my own:

The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity

For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence by Alice Miller

The Biology of Love by Arthur Janov

Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence by Robin Karr-Morse (Author), Meredith S. Wiley (Author), Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (Introduction)

Summerhill School – Founded in 1921 by A.S. Neill and still in operation today, run by Neill's daughter Zoë. The essence of Summerhill is, I think, nicely conveyed in this short quotation by Neill:
"Well freedom in my school is, do what you like as long as you don't interfere with somebody else. Put it this way. If a child doesn't want to study mathematics, it's nobody's business; it's his own. But if he wants to play a trumpet when other people are sleeping, that's everybody's business. That's license." ~ A.S. Neill
~ conversation between A.S. Neill and Maria Montessori, Redbook Magazine, Dec 1964, reprinted as "Radical Private Schools" in This Magazine is About Schools 1(1), Apr 1966, p19 [as quoted in Wikipedia]

Sudbury Valley School – a famous day school modeled after Summerhill (which, however, is a boarding school)

http://johntaylorgatto.com – John Taylor Gatto is the author of The Underground History of American Education

Love and freedom: if we are to get anywhere, libertarians and anarchists will need to take BOTH sides of the duality seriously.

 

 

 

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Glen Allport's picture
Columns on STR: 105

Glen Allport co-authored The User's Guide to OS/2 from Compute! Books and is the author of The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity. He maintains paradise-paradigm.net. This is one in a series of columns on the human condition.

Comments

mhstahl's picture

Glenn,

I am afraid that I must take issue with some of your characterizations, and especially with those made by Ms. Goldenberg in the article linked above. Certainly there are strains of "anarchism" that condone or even promote aggression.

I have not, however, known that to be the case with "left-libertarianism" and ESPECIALLY not with Kevin Carson in particular, whom Ms. Goldenberg ignorantly libels for daring to make a trenchant, and accurate, comparison between the theoretical true "free market" and theoretical communism. She clearly read the title of his piece, saw the word "communism" and decided that was enough to demonize him with a talk-radioesque tirade that must have coated her keyboard with spittle.

No, what I've read from left-libertarians is not an endorsement of aggression, but instead a different understanding of what constitutes aggression than you have. To them(and me) "property" as we understand it is problematic EXACTLY because it relies upon organized government force to exist AS WE CURRENTLY KNOW IT! That doesn't mean there will not be property; simply that it would be vastly different in its aspect.

Now, you can disagree with that view, but it is a misrepresentation to claim that it constitutes a call for aggression.

Indeed, I challenge you to find anywhere, in all of his writings, where Kevin Carson has ever called for initiating aggression. He certainly did not in the article(s) linked by Goldenberg. I would encourage you to read his piece, and compare his attempt to analyze aggression with Ms. Goldenberg's jingoism:

http://c4ss.org/content/12561

http://c4ss.org/content/13461

I will say that I agree with one thing Ms. Goldenberg wrote; I too would be ashamed to be in the same room as John Bolton...though I'm afraid she was ashamed that that monstrous war-hawk was booed...remind me again who's against aggression?

Please take no offense as none was intended. Your piece was well written, and there is much within it that I endorse, but I truly think that your critique was far, far, off the mark, and I felt compelled to challenge both it and the defamation of a writer for whom I have much respect by Ms. Goldenberg. 

Best,

Mike

Jim Davies's picture

Mike, I'm not familiar with the gentlemen named, but wonder if some of the differences here can be accounted for by the too-wide use of the label, "left-anarchist."
 
In the early days of the modern movement Murray Rothbard went out of his way to build bridges to folk on the Left, like Karl Hess, and his only criterion was that they were anti-State. Later, he was saddened to find they (though not Karl) deserted that cause in favor of womens' lib and ecology issues etc and then could no longer work with them.
 
I'd suggest that criterion is sound, and might add this: that if someone calls himself an anarchist but then uses violence against innocent people, then (alone) he's a fraud. So for example the noisy "anarchists" in Seattle some years ago, protesting a WTO convention, smashed shop windows while demonstrating. Likewise anarcho-syndicalists, when proposing to seize a business from its owners, call for violence. They are attempting to rule someone, so are not true an-archists.

mhstahl's picture

Hi Jim,

I'm curious how "womens' lib and ecology issues etc" are positions that require aggression? It seems to me that both movements are at their heart protests against aggression.

I will agree that "left-anarchist" covers quite alot of ground-some of it quite unsavory-but then so does "right-anarchist" or libertarian-case in point, Goldenberg's apparent affection for the vile John Bolton in the article Glen linked.

I will go even farther than that, however. When I read Kevin Carson(I provided links to two of his works above), or Tom Knapp, or any of the posters at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) I find a much more sophisticated understanding of aggression coupled with a far deeper analysis than I see with Rothbard, or Block, or the LRC gang. This is especially true of the only real bone of contention between the two-the thorny issue of "property."

Your example of "anarco-syndicalists"(who are not left-libertarians) is useful here to illustrate the point, even though I don't endorse their point of view at all. Rothbard would claim that the business "owners" rightfully possess their "property" because they "homesteaded" it. They built it from scratch through the voluntary action of the market, etc.

That sounds great, except it is utter, complete, and total fairy-tale bullshit. The "owners" of corporations have the implicit and explicit backing and protection of government every step of the way-from the inexcusable protection from personal liability to the subsidization of security and transportation and the unconscionable barriers to market entry by competitors.

Rathbard, as do you and I, hated all of that coercion and force in the market, but he loved its result so much that he contrived a moral system such that it would allow for a market that theoretically would appear nearly the same by attributing wealth garnered through naked violence by proxy to "homesteading"...a concept that NEVER happens in the real world.

Rothbard hated the state, but loved what it wrought through "facilitating"(read "gun to the head of competition") business.

I think he knew what he was doing, by the way, and while he is often accused of courting the "left"...he was really pandering to the "right" all along. He was too powerful a thinker, and too knowledgeable about history, not to recognize the weakness of his property theory.

"left-libertarians"*, on the other hand simply hate the state and its coercion, and have the courage to describe a free market where making a living would be easy, but becoming very wealthy would be virtually impossible...since no one "facilitates" business and no one will provide shelter from liability, competition, or subsidize security and transportation.

I am not all that familiar with anarco-syndicalism, but I do know when they talk of "seizing" businesses they justify it by ponting out that those businesses grew and are able to have employees because of coercion and violent barriers to market entry. They do not, as I understand it advocate state seizure, but rather that the workers already actually own the plant-much in the same way slaves could have justly seized a plantation. Personally, I think that it is a step too far, but they do have a valid point about coercion in the market.

At any rate, what I read from Glen, and especially the linked Goldenberg article, was a very general condemnation that appeared to me to be based in ignorance of the philosophies being condemned. That is what I sought to clarify.

Mike

*Called that only in the US, and only because Rothbard appropriated the term that pre-dates him by a century-in the rest of the world they are simply libertarians.

Jim Davies's picture

Mike, I don't think I wrote that womens' lib etc "require aggression", but that Rothbard parted company with the far-left after they weakened their admirable anti-State position in regard mainly to the Vietnam war, and focused there instead.
 
However, I'll do so now; I think they do involve aggression. To demand of government that it forces employers to pay above-market rates to female employees is an aggressive act. To force anyone to maintain his own (land) property in a way other than he wishes to is also an act of aggression.
 
I'm unable to share your critical view of corporate ownership. I'm not interested in the present-day laws but very much in how such things will be in the coming free society; and I think it quite likely that a group of people with a common interest will often pool some resources and set up as a company, with stated, limited liability. What can be wrong about that? - they pool 100 gold ounces, say, and advertise that if things go wrong they will not be liable for more than that amount. You don't like it, you're free not to trade with them; to pick a competitor if you prefer, whose stated liability limit is 1,000 ounces. Or one with no limit at all, except the owners' personal assets.
 
If any such exist, that is. I suppose it's not probable, but also not impossible; I understand Lloyds, the insurers, operate that way even under the present régime. Very successfully, over a long period.
 
I'm certainly unable to agree either with your "They built it from scratch through the voluntary action of the market, etc.... sounds great, except it is utter, complete, and total fairy-tale bullshit." Don't know what has been your experience of building businesses, but mine tells me that it's an up-hill, high-risk grind that is obstructed by government at every turn, and very often done initially without a corporate shell, just as a "dba" in which the sole-prop's assets are all exposed. After it begins to succeed, then it often becomes urgent to protect those assets and change, at least, into an LLC; government sets the terms of even that kind of protection but there's no alternative. With predator lawyers like John Edwards at large, it would be plain foolish to do otherwise. And that's no fairy tale.
 
You mention c4ss, and they look pretty good to me. If you're happier in their company, I'll be sorry to see you leave us but wish you well.

Jim Davies's picture

Here's a P.S.
 
From the Libertarian Forum, Vol II #6, March 15th 1970: The New Left, RIP.

"Perhaps the patient is not totally dead, but surely it is “medically dead”; the brain is long gone, the heart and spirit are failing fast, and what we are left with are the final reflexive convulsions of the corpse: the mindless and febrile twitchings of such pathetic and decaying groups as the Weathermen and the Patriot Party, the feeble high-camp of Yippie guerrilla theatre, the arrant nonsense of Women’s Liberation. The heart and body of the New Left are gone."

Glen Allport's picture

>At any rate, what I read from Glen, and especially the linked Goldenberg article, was a very general condemnation that appeared to me to be based in ignorance of the philosophies being condemned.
    No, I don't think I'm ignorant of Left-Libertarianism. I have great sympathy with the GOALS of Left-libs and I realize that many Left-libs do believe in following the NAP, but there ARE (and I'm sure you know this) plenty of self-styled libertarians and anarchists who think State coercion of one sort or another is sensible or necessary in any number of situations in daily life, in business (the entire EPA and FDA are good examples), and elsewhere. As just one example, here's a bit from Wikipedia's page on Left-Libertarianism: "Most left libertarians support some form of income redistribution on the grounds of a claim by each individual to be entitled to an equal share of natural resources.[58] A number of left-libertarians of this school argue for the desirability of some state social welfare programs.[59][60]"  Mike, using the STATE to redistribute income and to create and run social welfare programs is an excellent way to begin turning a free nation into something like what we have now. Lord of the Rings is an excellent symbolic depiction of how good people and good intentions become corrupted and create unintentional horrors when they succumb to the false idea that they can use coercive, centralized Power for good; long term, it never works out. Compassion, fairness, and other positive social goals must be (and absolutely CAN be) pursued and attained by non-State means. 
    Mike, I wrote the article because I've encountered dozens of people over the years who CALL themselves anarchists or libertarians yet who advocate government coercion of some sort or other -- and that might include Goldenberg, whose linked column makes it clear she prefers (but isn't necessarily ON) the right-libertarian, "conservative" team -- I don't know enough about her to say more at the moment (see my earlier post below mentioning that I have removed the link, btw). But I didn't link to her column because I agree with everything she says; I linked to it because her discussion of the problem triggered my desire to write THIS column, which I thought I'd made clear. Regardless of the content of Goldenberg's column -- which I did not discuss at all -- the point is valid and worth talking about that many people who think of themselves as, or at least call themselves, "libertarians" or "anarchists" do not support the Non-Aggression Principle. I agree with your earlier comment that there are grounds for discussion on when the NAP is being violated and when not, but my quarrel with some in the leftist freedom movement goes beyond that.
    If the terms "libertarian" and "anarchist" are ever to have actual meaning, the freedom movement needs to address the situation head-on.

Glen Allport's picture

Hi Mike, I've removed the link; I don't have a detailed response to your comment right now (and proving a negative  - in this case, that Carson doesn't, somewhere and at some point, advocate State aggression - can take awhile) but I certainly don't want to link to anything that might slander another person. So, link gone. Thank you for taking the time to bring this to my attention.

Thunderbolt's picture

Glen: Beautiful essay. Coercion begins in the crib, with footprints, naming and vaccinations. SS numbers are assigned as early as possible. Forced imprisonment begins at age five or so.
Statist indoctrination is begun then also. A disturbing quandrey became apparent to me in high school: bullies could only be deterred with force. After my father gave me a pistol at about age 15, I no longer had to come home bloodied. Having it on me was sufficient to stop aggression, except from the teacher who viciously paddled me for talking in class. I could not sit for a week or more.
If America is to restore its historical character as a nation of free individuals, we must reject the idea that violence, in and of itself, is bad. Violent self defense is not only our right as human beings, it is our civic duty as free Americans. We each have an obligation to stand up to evil, and to defend what is right. Violently, if needs be. Robert Heinlein. I should have shot the teacher. More than fifty years later, I am still convinced.

Paul's picture

Harry Browne called this the "If I were King" syndrome. Incongruously, Browne did run for president...

There is another more positive way of looking at this phenomenon. In the old days libertarians and anarchists were ignored. These days everybody wants to be one. Sure, a lot of them fall short, but having some half-assed libertarians is better than not having any because it is irrelevant...

Anyway a lot of them will work out the inconsistencies in time and become more true-blue.

I have no issues with "left-libertarians" and "left-anarchists". Since I think panarchy is the correct path, they are just another variety of polity. The more correct way will work out in the end when people have examples to look at and the ability to make real choices between polities. It may be that anarcho-capitalism "conquers all" though example, in time. It may also be that several quite different polities will remain popular, with anarcho-capitalism being only one of them. You cannot be a true anarchist and not allow for either outcome to happen.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Hi, Jim. I am always suspicious of hyphenated libertarians--whether the left of right variety. To me, libertarianism has always differentiated itself because of its adherence to principles. I've never trusted anyone who says they are "libertarians but..." or "I lean toward libertarianism..." or I'm a "paleo-libertarian..." or a "conservative libertarian." All of these people instinctively realize that the conventional parties are intellectually bankrupt, so they want to separate themselves from the stinking herd. They want to be big fish in the small pond. They want to be slightly edgy. But they won't commit. They don't get it. And they don't know how old their tune is. With such people, it is ALL about their leftism or conservatism or whatever-ism. It's never about liberty, which they do not discuss. It's their wrinkle. They're not much better than the gun-owner fascists who oppose prostitution. It is all vanity vanity vanity. Underneath, they really don't like the fact that people of all stripes can function in an anarchistic society, so they are creating divisions before it even happens.
 

Bob Robertson's picture

Glen, an excellent article, thank you.

I would make one correction: Frodo, in Orodruin, loses his battle with temptation and claims the Ring for himself. It is only the treachery of Gollum biting off Frodo's finger along with the Ring, and then _accidentally_ falling into the lava, which finally destroys the Ring.

No one who doesn't refuse the One Ring right away isn't corrupted by it.

This is a much better commentary on the corrupting nature of Power than to try to say that while all the big shots would "inevitably" be corrupted, one little country man would not.

Glock27's picture

Glen--A hefty piece. I understand and empathize with all you have said, but reality instructs us that love is an individual act and I would include it is one that is learned. If you don't learn love it is not possible to express it. Violence I believe is part of the natural make up of the human being, it is the essence that keeps us alive as individuals. The suppression of violence is something we teach ourselves to do or are taught the lesson from some other coercive force. An example might be hunting. It is an act of violence and aggression against wild animals. I go out, shoot the animal of my choice or trap it. I bleed it, gut it, skin it and let it cure followed by butchering and devouring it at my dinner table. This is violence and aggression. Even at a hard stretch of the imagination yanking a carrot, or beet, or tomato from the vine or soil can be considered an act of aggressive violence for it takes a coercive force to remove the item. Violence is at the heart of self preservation. Too often I have noted this emotion erupt on this site and it seems a contradiction to the intent and desire.
As time passes I come more and more to believe that freedom and liberty "come from the barrel of a gun". Forgive me, but I have read a lot into your piece and I can feel your passion, however I am not convinced that it will function in a society that wants everything given to them and the only way that is achieved is to take it from someone else and take it by force. I vaguely recall at the beginnings of this nation an attempt at communal efforts to support the group failed because there were members whom refused to work. Well that quickly changed when everyone was allotted a portion of land to forage for themselves and there would be no provisional assistance from the others of the community. Forced to work to survive, and I would say from the barrel of a gun.
These are just some of the thoughts I had when I read your piece and they are in no way intended to be critical, but rather observations on my part. I feel what you are saying, but I just don't feel it will ever happen. Humans are probably the most violent creatures on the face of the earth and if this is true what chance does freedom and liberty have except by individual choice and maintained at the barrel of a gun?