Apr 272015
 
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Button to End Government

The Happiness of Society Is the End of Government

Q) If there were a button you could press that would immediately end government would you do so?

A) This is a fairly common thought experiment amongst anarchists, voluntaryists, libertarians, and freedom lovers in general. Literally hundreds of hours a year are spent debating and discussing the wisdom of this question, with (as usual) as many viewpoints as there are participants in the discussion (if not more). But I’ve yet to hear such a discussion that really addresses the issue in a rational or “realistic” manner (with realistic in quotes simply because one has to accept the reality of such a button in the first place).

What’s missing from these discussions is the specifics of what the button would actually do. Because my answer (and many others I believe) will vary greatly based on the definition of terms. There are two terms in particular that need to be pinned down in this case: “government” and “end”.
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Jun 172011
 
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Ask An Anarchist

Ask An Anarchist

Welcome back to Ask An Anarchist. The ongoing series where I respond to questions about anarchist philosophy.

Q) As an anarchist/voluntaryist/[other term for anti-government person] should I vote?

A) Short answer: you should do whatever feels right to you.  As an anarchist myself, I’m not in the business of telling other people what they should or should not do.

The long answer is, as usual, a bit more complex…

Many anarchists have come to the conclusion that voting itself is either immoral or just plain evil.  Many of these believe that voting is condoning the action of the state.  Some claim that every vote is, in and of itself, an act of violence because you’re either voting for someone else to use the violence of the state to force their will on others, or directly enacting laws that will be enforced with the violence of the state.  I have some questions for those who hold this belief…. Continue reading »

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Jan 122009
 

Had he lived, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 80 years old this coming Thursday.

If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

That is, by far, my favorite Martin Luther King quote.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite quotes of all time, by anyone.  And it is that philosophy that I honor on the third Monday of January each year. Martin Luther King clearly inspired millions (of all backgrounds) and had a massive impact on not only the United States, but on the world.  But I’m left wondering what he would have to say about the America of today.  As I wrote in honor of MLK’s birthday last year, 40 years after his assassination, Americans are still slaves.  This year, I’d like to focus on the issues that made Martin Luther King famous: civil rights and the advancement of blacks in American culture.

In 1939 Martin Luther King was a 10 year old Atlanta resident who had already traveled to Europe and had sung with his church choir at the opening of Gone With The Wind.  Meanwhile, roughly 87 percent of blacks in America were living in poverty. By the time Measure of Man was published in 1959 (still years before the Albany movement, Birmingham, and the March on Washington), poverty amongst black families had dropped a full 40 points to 47 percent and the incomes of blacks relative to whites had more than doubled.

1963 brought the March on Washington and the famous “I Have A Dream speech which will be quoted with such abandon in the next couple of weeks, 1964 was, of course, the Civil Rights Act, 1965 saw “Bloody Sundy” in Montgomery, AL (often cited as the turning point for the civil rights movemement in the United States – King was notably absent, BTW), this was followed numerous failures and cancelled marches in Chicago and then, in March 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.  The following year the poverty rate amongst blacks in America had fallen to roughly 32 percent (where it remained well in to the 1990s).

Which all leads me to question just why there’s a national holiday for this man.  Of course, we have a strange way of celebrating it…

In 1990 President George Bush (the first) invaded Iraq on Martin Luther King’s birthday.The day after America observes MLK’s 80th birthday the first black President will be inaugurated. King would, no doubt, be proud. But let us not forget that Barack Obama will not only continue the current invasion of Iraq, but has also come out in support of National Slavery!

Is this what Martin Luther King was fighting for?  Is this what you are honoring on this national holiday devoted to him?  Honestly, I think next Monday will just be another day of my distancing myself from as much of the celebration as possible.

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Jan 092009
 
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Welcome back to Ask An Anarchist. The ongoing series where I respond to questions about anarchist philosophy. This is an easy edition for me to write as Michael Wiebe of Libertarian Anarchy has done all of the heavy lifting.

Q) Do you not care about poor people? Without government assistance and programs they wouldn’t be able to survive!

A) Of course I (and other anarchists) care about the poor. I, for one, am one of the poor.  But one of the reasons I’m an anarchist is because I know that, however well intentioned, government intervention does far more to hurt those in poverty than to help them.

Check out Micahel’s Government Against the Poor, for a better worded explanation of the above statement than I’m likely to write any time soon.  BTW, I discovered that post through the monthly Market Anarchist Blog Carnival which is well worth reading each month if you’re interested in attaining more personal freedom and better understanding the true problems of government.

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Dec 222008
 
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For some time now, I’ve been considering starting a series of posts answering questions that I’m often asked as an anarchist.  Kind of an Applied Anarchy FAQ, or a “How To Guide” for living free.  Tonight I got a phone call that lead directly into this series…

Q) Would you lie or cheat to get out of a parking ticket?

A) No.  Of course not because lieing and cheating are wrong, plain and simple.

The Situation-

My ex got a parking ticket at San Jose’s Christmas In The Park because her bumper was “several inches” into a loading zone.  A friend told her to back the car up so that it was legally parked, take a photo, and submit that as proof that she was, in fact, legally parked.  When she balked the friend suggested that I would do so (assuming the kids were not around to winess the poor life lesson) because as an anarchist I don’t respect the laws anyway.

He’s right that I think the laws are ridiculous, but I don’t believe any principled person should lie or cheat regardless of the situation.  As an anarchist I would have two choices: ignore the ticket completely or go to court and fight it on the basis that the law is unjust oppression of my rights as a sovereign human being.  I, most likely, would follow the former course, but I have promised Zaira that I would stay out of jail until she’s an adult, and, ultimately, ignoring the ticket would end with me in jail because violent kidnapping is the only option the government has to enforce its will on the populace.  Given my promise, I would pay the ticket.  However, in the past, prior to having a child to care for on a regular basis I not only would, but have merely refused to pay tickets and, when violently dragged into court, argued that the law was unjust.  Of course, that always ended in jail time.

Which is why I’m moving to New Hampshire where I will have fellow freedom lovers to stand alongside me when I refuse the tyrannical government’s edicts.  But that’s too much to go into in this post.

As an anarchist I believe that people are capable of governing themselves.  But with this freedom comes responsibility.  The only way a truly free society will ever prosper is if the people that populate it follow a moral/ethical code and take personal responsibility for their actions.  Lying, cheating, and faking evidence is not taking personal responsibility.  It is, as the friend readily acknowledged, weaseling out of ones responsibilities in order to save a few bucks.  That is not at all what anarchy is about.

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