There Will Be No Victorious State

Column by Alex R. Knight III.

Exclusive to STR

One of the most absurd characteristics of democracy to me is the unspoken yet obviously present belief on the part of all active participants that ultimately, one day, through enough intellectual persuasion – or even underhanded political tactics so often openly engaged in – a single ideology will prevail, trouncing in some final imagined electoral victory any and all other voices, ideas, desires, motivations, and ambitions once and for all time. A unilateral consensus broad enough to withstand any future assaults will be achieved, allowing for the unmolested (or at least not seriously threatened) reign of a single party or group for the rest of all time. But it gets even better.

Of course, anyone familiar with my philosophical stance knows that I regard all governments – not just so-called democratic ones – as absurd and barbaric. And not the least reason for which is because every one of them is predicated upon the concept of applying some measure or another of aggressive violence against certain groups at certain times in order to attempt to bring about certain socio-economic outcomes.

If there exists a better definition of both evil and insanity, I’d love to see it. And yet, this is precisely what is called, in academic terms, “political science.” Dr. Josef Mengele is no doubt grinning with approval at this artfully sanitized label from the very depths of Hades.

Average Americans constantly battle each other over what is so euphemistically called “public policy.” They get in each others’ faces, and go for each others’ throats. And all over what the “law” ought, or ought not, to allegedly be.

The “law.” An opinion, dreamed up by and agreed upon by some bureaucrats, and enforced with violence. Including the lethal kind.

There will always be conflict in the world. Human beings are very disagreeing, if not always disagreeable, creatures when they congregate. In one sense, this is both beneficial and necessary: Unless everyone agreed on everything objectively true there is to know, no kind of scientific progress could be made. Hence, humanity would stagnate, and ultimately perish. Disagreement and failure are literally the only means we have available to ascertain the truth about the world and universe around us, and thus, survive. When we disagree about the subjective, this is most often in the form of harmless preferences, in which there is no real “right” or “wrong” answer: e.g., I like ham on rye, you prefer peanut butter and jelly. I dig The Who, you’re more of a Led Zeppelin fan. There are no rights or wrongs in these cases because no one else’s person or property is affected. Whatever choice is made, no aggression takes place.

Now one might argue that the end of the State in favor of a voluntary society involves aggression in itself, since it deprives those who wish to live under government rule of that choice, just as those – like myself – who wish to live without such governance are similarly deprived of such a choice. But such an argument falls flat, and for the following reasons:

A voluntary society means first off, an absence of initiated aggressive force. Whereas, a State’s very foundation depends upon aggression in order to exist. Further, the supposed “right” to governance implies that there is also a “right” to direct such unprovoked initiation of aggression against others. If so, by what authority? Can anyone claim to possess such with any measure of legitimacy? And further, if those who desire governance wish to band together within the context of a voluntary society and create such conditions exclusively among themselves – without the unwilling participation of even a single person – they’d be more than free to do so. However, such speculation may be simply academic: In order for a voluntary society to be such, enough people would have to concur on its basic premises so as to make any remaining believers in statism a minority comparable to the number of today’s voluntaryists. In other words, a complete reversal of the present paradigm – and nothing less – will suffice.

This is why programs of instruction such as this are so vital, along with other educational resources like Strike The Root. But it is also why there will never be a victorious State. So long as the paradigm of initiated aggression is accepted and generally tolerated, the end result of most conflict in the world will be utterly destructive -- whereas the disagreements most inherent to a voluntary society would likely bear the productive fruit of both reason and progress.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 113

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales, including Tales from Dark 7.  He has also written and published poetry; non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues; and is former Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.  In 1998, he was awarded Activist of the Year for that organization.  He now lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University, and looks forward to living in a governmentless society of liberty.

Comments

Thunderbolt's picture

Beautiful, well-reasoned essay. Thanks, Alex.

Glock27's picture

A voluntary society will never exist out of the sheer fact that there are too many people interested in advancing their self-aggrandizing agendas to control the people. To make up and generate stupid, idiotic, selfish, self-centered rules, regulations and laws that denigrates all human beings that do not fit into their category of the elite. The elite have controlled from the beginning of time and out of thousands of years of this form of governance there is not a single solitary chance that a voluntary society will ever have a chance to exist.
Even if there were documentation to demonstrate that a voluntary society would succeed, the elite will not permit it to come about. They will put up every road block they can generate to assure that they stay in control of the masses, telling us how much salt we can have, how big our drinks can be and how much of our hard earned money must be given up to support the lazy, helpless masses who want free lunches.

mhstahl's picture

I tend to agree with you, Glock.

I really don't see this sort of society coming about on a large scale without some sort of major upheaval-too many people get too many goodies(and I mean the powerful, not the poor)from the status quo.

Albert J. Nock spoke of a "remnant", a small group of people who knew how people were suposed to live, who would help guide such a society...after the present one blew itself apart in some fashion. To me that is a respecable goal.

I don't think you should be quite so pessimistic, though. If government ever gets out of the way of space exploration, there is the potential for virtually unlimited resources, which might well spell the death of government as we know it. I doubt I'll live to see it, but it is a comforting thought.

Nothing is set in stone, the future is totally unpredictable.

Best,

Mike

Glock27's picture

How is it possible to argue with this proposition? If I were a liberal or socialist there would be many aspects to argue, but my despicable disgust for the structure of government makes me so completely angry, if I were a nut case I would devise a manner in which to dispose of such a sick system. I follow events so I will have an idea of what to expect or anticipate from these Skexies Reference "Dark Crystal).

Will there be a revolution? Whether one arises or not I don't know, but I do know I will be prepared, even if we face a "Road Warrior" society which I truly see as a distinct possibility--bad dogs with the ability to see the advantage in developing a cadre of like minded violent people to achieve a territorial level of control exists as a clear possibility.

My preparations for the worst to come has fallen off due to the expense of items; yet what does this have to do with the government. I believe a lot because it forces people to do unnatural things. Because people are unpredictable I almost believe this scares me more than governments. It is a dilemma for me. Who do I protect myself against--other people or the government. The government worries me because of what it does to the people, it worries me because so many are illiterate, self-centered, self-aggrandizing morons. They do not have the intelligence to foresee what their actions are going to do to their own children and grandchildren. Other than psychopaths who else cares that little about their on geneology. None of them give one iota of a thought about how their grandchildren will react to their stupid actions. They are an I, Me, Mine, consciousness.

I know many on this site are strong supporters of no boarders. Those who support this position I believe have not given serious consideration as to what it fully implies. Accuse me of an over active imagination but I see drug cartels dividing out swaths of territory for themselves, I see militant groups taking control of large sectors and actively hacking off heads with dull swords or machetes. There are so many horrible possibilities that just thinking of them is scary.

Everything pronounced on this site is pleasant and desirable, I see it as an ideal but there will be no peace until there is justice and we can see how the justice system is operating now and for the future.

P.S. I am a pessimist by nature. If I didn't have bad luck I'ed have no luck at all", and thanks for the response. I really appreciated it more than you can realize.

Respectfully

Currently I am trying to survive on Harry Brownes Book "How I found Freedom in an Unfree World"

Samarami's picture

Glock:

    "...Accuse me of an over active imagination but I see drug cartels dividing out swaths of territory for themselves, I see militant groups taking control of large sectors and actively hacking off heads with dull swords or machetes. There are so many horrible possibilities that just thinking of them is scary..."

Glock, you have just outlined the premise that keeps that element you so vigorously rail against in power (or I should say the individual psychopaths that make up that element -- the "element" is only an abstraction). The "Power Elite" know that a well manipulated majority will never see through such swindles as the "drug war". And that majority -- who will fear and whine about the violence brought about by the prohibition of drugs -- makes up the group who will keep those few in power by the creation of cartels.

Gary North had a good treatment of cartels some years back -- this article dealt primarily with the Federal Reserve, but the principle applies to all monopolies and cartels ("the state" being the largest and most heinous). Cartels do not rise up by their own steam -- they are created by those predators who make up "congress" and "the government".

Understand: a "cartel" cannot exist without the favoritism enacted by governmental legislation and/or regulation. If Walgreens and/or Wally World and/or your local head shop were not prevented by the violence of the state from selling certain herbal stimulants such as opium or marijuana, there could be no "drug cartels".

There would be no "...actively hacking off heads with dull swords or machetes...".

And I can tell you this: I am not "...a strong supporter of 'no borders'". In order to be a "supporter of no borders" I would first have to be a supporter of and adherent to the white man's governmental machination called "the state". I'm not. I see borders and boundaries as fictitious lines in the sand -- often with a grizzly history of death and dismemberment and destruction to form and sustain and maintain said impediments to free and unhindered travel. For the benefit of those "elite" you find yourself in such angst over.

And that, my dear friend, is exactly what STR is all about -- to expose those fallacies of thought. As I stated in a recent comment, my philosophies have changed substantially since coming aboard forums such as STR. But I had to become willing to uproot many of my previous misunderstandings and allow myself to accept new and undeniable truths to bring that about.

Sam

Glock27's picture

Samarami: Argue with you. Not a chance

To summarize I have come to believe that the human being is the most violent, psychotic, sick, demented, arrogant, cheating, lying, deceitful species on the planet. It is not so much about government as it is about people. History has demonstrated time and again, as you know, that there is always a fart in a bottle somewhere that wants to own and control everything within a given boundary he establishes as his own. Once he does this he is ready to go out an conquer other lands just as Rome did. If you walk down the street in some areas wearing the wrong combination of colors you are dead. Some sections you hear gunfire and you hit the floor. You sell drugs because if you don't you become dead. Refuse to join a gang and you are dead. Everything is so "Alice in Wonderland"

Angst doesn't even come close to how I feel. I stock pile food, ammunition, firearms, traps and etc against a coming holocaust hoping that my efforts will come to naught. You see Sam. I even have enemies here. Of all places you might anticipate the people would be logical and reasonable towards the unwashed masses. But it is not true. Each has an agenda and if I get in the way I am blacklisted--take no prisoners. Some members here I guess spend their lives immersed in this. I can't afford to commit to that level of fanaticism. I spend my time trying to figure out how to stay safe. As I live and visit STR I begin to notice more and more that the human being is the problem. A government, like you say, is a fiction, but I begin to discover other governments. If I am remotely correct then all the premises and ideologies amalgamated by STR are for naught, it is just a different form of "Facebook" or "Twitter" or whatever.

Earlier in my adventures here I kept trying to go for solutions which I have now come to realize would only be another form of government.

Amen

Samarami's picture

mhstahl:

    Albert J. Nock spoke of a "remnant", a small group of people who knew how people were suposed to live, who would help guide such a society...after the present one blew itself apart in some fashion. To me that is a respecable goal.

Lew Rockwell's page reprinted the "Remnant" portion of Knock's writing some months or years back. It's an excellent read. You can read it here.

Sam

mhstahl's picture

Alex,

I don't know that I agree with the premise that "democracy" is ever really an attempt to form a "consensus." Instead, it seems more inclined to the opposite-compromise. This can be a good thing, however, in most cases in practice it devolves into a morass of spittle and barely thought out assertions.

The issue of an "imposed" voluntary society really is not about aggression, but rather how one defines aggression, and its "initiation." Here there is room for wild variation-all the way from Hoppean total property "rights" to pure communism(and that comes with its own 51 flavors of what constitutes "aggression.")

The non-aggression axiom is a wonderful tool for pointing out the capriciousness of government, but it is less useful theoretically unless it is fully defined. What do you mean by "initiating aggression" exactly? Physical violence? Trespass? Theft? Can a person claim land or goods as a conceptual extension of themselves, and defend them accordingly? If so, what are the limits of this?  Or, is land not ownable by individuals? Something in between?

The problem is that by specifically defining what is otherwise a blue sky concept, you must base such a definition on a variety of philosophic and even metaphysical premises-to the complete exclusion of all others, since they, by default are "aggressive" based upon your philosophical beliefs....which is a catch 22, since your view is aggressive to them, even if they have, or wish, no government.

Generally, these definitions are centered around the concept of "property", and it is an old discussion- Proudhon was right on all three counts when he wrote that "Property is theft...Property is freedom...Property is impossible."

As such, I would point out that states rely upon a monopoly of force,  rather than "aggression." To me, a true "voluntary" society would have no such monopoly-it certainly would still have force. "Property", and "aggression" would likely be defined customarily in a hundred different ways in a hundred different places.

"Force" is objective, "aggression" is subjective. Defining the subjective as objective, and backing it with force (monopolized or not) is....aggressive.

A well written essay, that to me begs for a deeper analysis.

Best,

Mike

Paul's picture

Nah, Alex, I'm not buying it. Either that or I'm not understanding it. :-)

The question of legitimacy is irrelevant. Even if we don't think rulers have it, lots of other folks do. Or at least they give the rulers a pass on the point (actually I think more people do this than anything else).

I didn't get this point at all:
"And further, if those who desire governance wish to band together within the context of a voluntary society and create such conditions exclusively among themselves – without the unwilling participation of even a single person – they’d be more than free to do so. However, such speculation may be simply academic: In order for a voluntary society to be such, enough people would have to concur on its basic premises so as to make any remaining believers in statism a minority comparable to the number of today’s voluntaryists."

First, those who want rulers might NOT exclude anyone who is unwilling, just as today. They, or at least a subset of them, may want to include such people, e.g., "National defense is so important that everyone has to pay for it." The point is not that tyranny against the unwilling will evaporate; but that it can be, with a good chance of success, resisted (through either violent or non-violent means). I certainly don't think that the 1% now unwilling has to turn into 99% before we can make any progress. I think it probably has to increase somewhat, but nowhere near that level.

I continually go back to the model of religion. For centuries it was thought impossible that one religion could exist side-by-side with another. Yet today it is mostly a non-issue (with of course some exceptions in the Middle East and a few other places). We don't see American Catholics burning American Jews at the stake. I believe we will eventually make the same sort of evolution in the political sphere. The statists will still think the anarchists are wrong, maybe even "barbaric" - and vice versa. They just will (mostly) refrain from physically attacking each other.

Glock27's picture

Paul: I believe your point is well taken here, and what you have pronounced seems to concur with my idea that it is not government which is the problem, it is People. One thing you left out was media, a dynamic force that influences all the putty headed heard. Bring in Tom Cruze, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, all authorities on events and circumstances and the people will bow down and submit because these synthetic politicians have the answers and the power to sway the putty minded masses.

My question has to be "Who in their right mind wants to be governed?" Only those influenced by the synthetic politicians and the media.

Thanks for your perspective.

Samarami's picture

Good presentation, Alex. But you're treading precariously close to the late Delmar England's "Insanity as the Social Norm":

    If there exists a better definition of both evil and insanity, I’d love to see it. And yet, this is precisely what is called, in academic terms, “political science.” Dr. Josef Mengele is no doubt grinning with approval at this artfully sanitized label from the very depths of Hades.

I've always agreed with Paul's philosophy: it's none of my concern what you believe -- whether you're a strong religionist or atheist or somewhere in between. When I chide you for your religion-ism or your atheism I realize I'm off base (unless you're attempting to coerce me in that regard) -- but march on to perdition nonetheless.

By the same token I come to web forums for the purpose of sharing ideas; and, in the process, can become quarrelsome over nit-picking if I'm not discerning. Not a few excellent presenters I truly miss here at STR -- some of whom became disgruntled over some fulmination or other, took their bat and ball and marched off.

I freely admit that my philosophies have undergone considerable metamorphosis since I began these exchanges some fifteen years ago. That's quite an admission for a near-octogenarian for whom change is difficult.
If I feel intimidated by what you believe and/or practice, that's my problem -- not yours. If I can't stand the heat I should stand away from the flame (and not be a "flame" myself : - ] ).

It's none of my business if you wish to head up a commune of sorts with whatever sets of rules your adherents will stand for as long as you don't use force or political action to sweep me along with your crowd. That's the key -- once you deign to coerce me into your practices or regulatory "isms" I will pull hard against your attempt to encroach onto my liberty.

One more thing: Glock stated:

    "...A voluntary society will never exist out of the sheer fact that there are too many people interested in advancing their self-aggrandizing agendas to control the people..."

I strongly recommend John Hasnas' "The Obviousness of Anarchy". (pdf) A voluntary society already exists.

I am a sovereign state. And I exist. I think. So I will serve as your prototype as a "voluntary society".

It is through the sharing with y'all and England and Hasnas and Harry Brown and many others that I can say that. I no longer find myself wailing and gnashing teeth (to few teeth left) over the demise of "Our-Great-Nation" (which is a gross contradiction in terms anyhow).

Sam

Glock27's picture

Sam: John Hasnas has a beautiful way of expressing his thoughts. I obtained the book in which his article appeared. There are more fantastic thoughts that live inside the book; the tragedy, they live inside the book.

What does it take to get a syndicated program of Anarchy, Voluntarist, libertarian, and etc on the multi-media outlet. If this level of thought could be broadcast across the nation on a daily basis I think a real possibility of true freedom could be taught to the dark side of the unwashed masses. I am beginning to believe this is a possible answer to enlightenment...if it can survive, and if it can find sponsors.

mhstahl's picture

I think it is already there, Glock.

There is no shortage of libertarian themes in pop-culture. Think of movies like The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings(albeit watered down from the books..), or any post-apocalypitic film. On TV, Longmire has a strong libertarian streak, as, of course, did Little House(that show ended with the residents blowing up the town rather than submitting to a government backed corporate buyout, and stuck with an individualist, voluntaryist, theme throughout.)

The X-Files.

House.

Sherlock Holmes in the books and stories is an un-declared, but almost total, anarchist-movie and TV reditions screen out some of this, but that nature of the character remains-and he is the hero....and is the inspiration for many detective characters. Indeed, almost all programs at some point showcase defiance of authority in some fashion...and celebrate it.

My point being, it is not quite as dark as you think out there.

Best,

Mike

Glock27's picture

Mhsthal: Thanks for the supportive perspective. As I mentioned. I am probably more pessimist than optimist.

There are so many young people out there who have absolutely no comprehension of what the government is doing to them and those supposedly teaching them are as illiterate as the kids they teach. I hate to admit it but I too was there at one time.

Everyday the news of some sort spells doom and gloom and I become captured going nuts about why in the fuq don't people wake up and see what is happening to them. Cook county, Illinois is headed for gun confiscation at this moment--more innocent people left to the wiles of the criminal element other than their government. I only hope something of this nature (STR) can reach enough to turn things around. If it were not for people there would be no government. yet it seems as if some form must exist.

Thanks for your supportive comment. I never seem to see the obvious, only because I am not well versed, just well frustrated.

again thanks Mhsthas.