Trial and Error

Nobody asked but …

Almost two months ago, I wrote a blog article in which I felt gratified that my teen granddaughters were experimenting with civil disobedience.  They participated in the worldwide climate strike.  It is OK if they took the wrong side, because they were right to speak out.  Experimenting is good.  The worst thing that can happen is that they might favor a wrong philosophy, but never re-examine that decision.  People who never re-examine their positions are candidates for the Darwin Awards.

In a more recent blog, I admitted to some egregious naivete, in the past, and I promised to address it directly in a future post.  In retrospect, I have always been an individually conscious voluntaryist, but I admit to the following mistakes along the way:

  • I liked Ike, but was too young to vote,
  • I would have gone all the way with JFK, but was still too young to vote,
  • I was atracted to the non-authoritarian hippy lifestyle, but I was anti-war (for the wrong reasons),
  • I was pro LBJ, before the Gulf of Tonkin incident,
  • I voted for Nixon, in the mistaken hopes that he would quickly end the Vietnam War,
  • I voted for Carter, in hopes of ending White House corruption,
  • Until 2008, I voted, believing in the system, and that the right POTUS would not be incentivized toward war, irrationality, and corruption,
  • Until 2000, I believed that history could show us examples of successful POTUS’es.
  • Now I know, beyond believing, that no human can be a successful master of other human beings.

Each of these mistakes taught me a lesson.  I will continue to try, and err, but I will not forsake my hard-won principles of anarchism.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Gillette Social Justice & An Attack on Voluntaryism Rebutted (40m) – Episode 269

Episode 269 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the new Gillette commercial admonishing men to be better men, in part by keeping other men under control; the patriarchal undertones of the Gillette commercial; the unfortunate oversights of not including women (mothers) in their admonishment in how boys are raised and the absence of striking the root issue of violent and coercive parenting practices; the claim that voluntaryism is “exploitation pretending to be anarchism”; where left anarchists make major mistakes in their critique of voluntaryist and anarcho-capitalist theory; and more.

Listen to Episode 269 (40m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc.

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Flying By: My Experience of 2018

It’s that time of year again! The time when the planet Earth is at that one particular spot in its orbit around the sun where a lot of us like to pause, reflect on our lives and the world we live in, and get wasted. So here are my own reflections on the year-that-was, 2018, and my experience of it.

In a number of regards my experience of this year was a boring repetition of the same-old same-old. I lived in the same apartment, worked the same job at the same location, drove the same car, and had the same friends, the same family situation and the same coworkers as the year prior. I don’t view that as being a necessarily “bad” or “good” thing, it just is. It is/was the bedrock of stability from which I can look at everything else.

Traveling-wise, this year I traveled out to Las Vegas, New York City, West Virginia, Michigan, South Dakota and Chicago. So I was able to get some traveling in this year, albeit each one of these trips was a little short trip. I had the most fun in Las Vegas, which is kind of what the city is designed for. But going to New York City was my favorite of them all, simply because: I ❤ NYC.

My time in NYC this year was also probably the most eventful time for me, as far as different big events crammed into a small period of time goes. During my time there I saw a few long-time friends of mine, I ended the friendship with one of those friends, I narrowly missed meeting up with some new friends of mine, I met up with someone who was once a member of a cult that I was once tangentially involved with that nevertheless had a huge impact on my life, I became disillusioned with NVC (which some people also call a cult), and I realized there that going to public anarchist events is a waste of my time. Oh, and I also saw the remains of real-life dinosaurs!

This year I got involved with a bunch of different things/groups that go by Three Letter Acronyms: PCT, NVC, NFP, DSA, LSC. With each of these I went through cycles of thinking that they were quite interesting and that I had a bright future with them, to eventually thinking that they were quite boring and overblown. My thoughts on all of these things now is that they each have their place in life and the world at large, but also that putting too much faith or importance in them is best described with a Two Letter Acronym: BS.

Belief-system-wise, my heart is still with The Beautiful Idea of anarchy/anarchism. There is no particular hyphenated ideology of anarchism that I am tied to, I am more interested in the whole thing in general. Yes, the whole social scene/subculture that surrounds anarchism is total shit, but I am lucky to have some friends who are anarchists as well as a body of thought that speaks to how I see life and the world at large.

Speaking of the world at large, 2018 has been a big year for Politics! I spent a lot of time paying attention to mainstream politics this year, mainly in the U.S., but also in some other countries as well. I view mainstream politics, particularly in the U.S., as being a kind of team sport, and this year I treated it as such. My team that I root for is the Democrats, and so as the scandals, investigations, testimonies and elections wore on, I cheered as my team scored points, booed when the opposing team scored points, and strategized as to how the next few moves can and should play out. I have no illusions that the Democrats, nor any other political party or politician, will ever bring us freedom, meaning, a brave new future, or anything else worthwhile. The whole system is based on deception, death, destruction and despair, it is all propped up with outright violence and the threat thereof, and while it all plays out the Sixth Mass Extinction Event for this planet is continuing on unabated. But team sports, be it political or otherwise, can be a fun way to pass the time, and so that was a game that I partook in this year as well.

Speaking of entertainment, in the world of science fiction Star Trek and Star Wars surprisingly were not that big on my mind this year. 2017 was a big year for me for both of those franchises, but not 2018. This year I would say that my favorite sci-fi TV show was The Expanse, my favorite new sci- movie was Prospect and my favorite new publishing sci-fi author was the wonderful Kim Stanley Robinson. Yes, I acknowledge that there are other genres out there besides science fiction, I just don’t see them as being interesting enough for me to write about here. 😉

Real-life science had an interesting year this year as well, what with SpaceX doing some cool things, a robotic lander successfully touching down on the surface of Mars, the first genetically engineered humans being born, and the details of our impending doom being laid out for all to see and ignore.

Speaking personally, one notable thing for me this year was that 2018 was the year that I turned 40. 40! There is no more pretending that I am a youngling anymore! Ten years ago, when I turned 30, I went through a huge existential moment of trying to figure out who I am and what I am doing in the world. Turning 40 was far less dramatic, more subdued, more accepting of my place in life. I wonder if turning 50 will be similar?

Happy New Year to all! And good luck to New Horizons as it flies by Ultima Thule!

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Propping Up State Violence

Classical liberalism was always a cosmopolitan doctrine. It supported the free movement of goods, capital, and people. It recognized states as propagators of destructive collectivism, as oppressors at home and war makers abroad. It sought to chain governments and limit their power and reach.

Its cosmopolitanism was not only preached, but embodied in some of its leading expositors. Two of the twentieth century’s greatest classical liberals, Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, were themselves international migrants. Milton Friedman was born in the USA, but his parents had migrated there from eastern Europe. These icons and their followers recognized that division of labor, specialization according to comparative advantage, and free trade, along with unrestricted migration and capital flows on an international scale, offered the best prospect for the greater prosperity and personal freedom of all the world’s peoples.

Libertarian anarchy, which grew out of classical liberalism and pushed it to its logical conclusion in favor of the complete privatization of economic life and the phasing out of the state, continued for a long time to be as cosmopolitan as its antecedent doctrine. But in recent years some anarchists have been misled by twisted and fantastical constructs to suppose that so long as states persist, they ought to employ their powers to keep migrants out and preserve some sort of imagined national cultural purity. This is a tragic turn, and it is having highly pernicious effects on efforts to oppose the state across the board and ultimately eliminate its evils altogether.

Classical liberalism and libertarian anarchism were never meant to prop up state violence against unoffending people in general, and certainly not against those whose only offense is peacefully crossing a state’s established border. I pray that the recent ideological wrong turn will prove transitory, that the fever will abate, and that all who cherish human freedom will again recognize that it can never be the exclusive property of any tribe, but must always be upheld as the rightful heritage of all human beings.

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Anarchy: The Science is Settled

In the latest issue of Nature, the world’s leading scientific journal, a team of paleontologists from seven top-rank universities has presented conclusive evidence from the fossil record that during the nearly 200 million years in which non-avian dinosaurs roamed the earth, anarchy was the prevailing political system.

To place their finding in perspective, the authors compare the era during which the modern nation state has predominated — only a few centuries — and conclude that the state is such a relatively short-lived and manifestly less successful system that those who describe it almost as part of eternal nature are scientifically cloud-cuckoo. In regard to the question of the viability and competitive strength of anarchism, they say, the science is now settled.

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It’s Too Late for Warlords

Many people have objected to libertarian anarchism on the grounds that absent the state, warlords would take over. But what is the state itself but a species of warlord? Without doubt, war making and preparation for war are, apart from looting the public, the state’s most important activities.

For this purpose the state employs legions of armed men and women to fight on its behalf and equips them with a terrifying arsenal. And without doubt, too, the state is a lord. It has issued countless thousands of dictates that it requires people to obey and has enlisted a great variety of police to enforce these dictates with violence as required.

If you fear a takeover by warlords, you are too late. It’s already a done deal. And you never got to enjoy even a single day of the glories of statelessness along the way.

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