Moderation Can Be Vicious

Compromise is often a good thing; it’s often useful to meet people halfway on something so everyone can at least be content enough to settle some disagreement and not fight anymore. And when someone shows no ability or willingness to bend at all, he will often be seen as hard-headed, stubborn, even extreme.

However, the idea that compromise and “moderation” are always automatically good things is completely bogus. (A lot of you can probably guess what I’m going to say next.) When it comes to freedom versus statism, there can be no compromise. “Slavery lite” is still slavery. “Minarchism” is still advocating a coercive ruling class (that’s what the “arch” in the word means: ruler).

And there’s a reason that compromising on such things for the sake of “getting along,” or to avoid “infighting,” is logically ridiculous. Any amount of authoritarianism is, by definition, not “getting along.” It is fighting. It is violence. To accept a certain level of state aggression, in the name of “peacefully coexisting” with minarchists, is not only unprincipled; it is logically stupid. To accept that people should be violently dominated, to a supposedly “moderate” or “reasonable” degree, is, by its very nature, the opposite of peaceful coexistence.

So no, anarchists cannot, and should not, try to compromise or “get along” with statists, for the simple reason that every single statist in the world condones the initiation of violence against others. Thinking that compromising and being polite to such people, and letting them have “just a little bit of government,” is going to result in peace and harmony is a little like telling a mass murderer, “Well, I disagree with your viewpoint and what you condone and do, but let’s just agree to disagree, and we’ll get along fine.” No, we won’t.

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Larken Rose is an anarchist author best known for challenging the IRS to answer questions about the federal tax liability of citizens, and being put in prison with no questions answered. He is the author of The Most Dangerous Superstition.