Last week I read a wonderful essay by Foo Quuxman on Daily Anarchist titled, Why I’m an Anarchist (link below) and it inspired me to review my own path to embracing Anarchy. There is very little commonality between Foo and I with regard to background, upbringing or what brought us to similar conclusions and viewpoints. There appear to be millions of individuals who research and test the various political, social and economic philosophies available to each of us, who then select a philosophy that fits their world view. I however did the exact opposite. I began with the preference of being the sole Master of my life and fate and only discovered it had both a formal name and rich history after decades of living according to its precepts.
Let’s be clear and forthright. For at least a century the acts of violent individuals and groups have been incorrectly labeled as Anarchy and/or Anarchists. In its proper and simplest terms Anarchy means “without government.” Until recently most people, even here in the USSA spent most of their lives in Anarchy (the absence of government). That’s not intended to imply that there was no government(s) but to point out that most activities of individuals were free from government interference and voluntary. Think about it. Aside from going to a government school (if you did) most people had very little interaction with government(s) unless they happened to work in government. So our lives were full of Anarchy whether we appreciated it or not. Forty years on, you can’t even call, text or email a private thought or moment with another person on the planet without some government(s) intruding on your personal business.
I’ve Been an Anarchist My Entire Life…
…but it wasn’t until I learned the true and original meaning of the word that I embraced it. Up until about twenty years ago I identified my political, social and economic views as Libertarian. In fact I first joined the Libertarian Party around 1985 and ever since then, when I have voted I’ve refused to throw my vote away on any lesser evil represented by the One Party system pretending to be a Two Party System. I was reminded of this when my daughter asked for advice regarding the 2012 elections. My guidance was simple:
Do you homework.
Vote your conscience.
Never cast a ballot for any candidate or issue you aren’t familiar with or understand.
Since I raised my daughter as a single custodial father, I know that she shares many of my libertarian views, but I also know that being twenty years old she has little interest in politics. I never asked my daughter if, or how she voted in the election; I knew that she would abstain because of the first and third bits of advice I shared, “Do your homework” and “Never cast a ballot for any candidate or issue you aren’t familiar with or understand.” In June of 2013 I was able to confirm my suspicion that my daughter hadn’t voted. I was the Project Manager for the development of a Political Data Mining system for Liberty Candidates, and our database was seeded with records provided by the State of Michigan. This data included, by registered voter every election they had cast a ballot in going back over a decade. As I was testing our developing system I punched in my daughter’s name and was not surprised to learn that she hadn’t even bothered to register to vote. I wish more clueless citizens did the same rather than accelerating the rise of Idiocracy in the world.
I’m an Anarchist because I know through experience that every soul on the planet can manage their own affairs better than any third party. Even Statists on the political Right, Left and Center know this to be true in their heart of hearts; if it weren’t true they wouldn’t always demand and expect preferential treatment for themselves and their circle of influence. The unfolding Obamacare debacle is a great example – every individual and group with enough pull to receive an exemption demanded an exemption and got it.
The Young Anarchist
In order for anyone to appreciate the intrinsic goodness of Anarchy, one must first be exposed to the evils of tyranny. For many of us, and surely many more in previous generations, our first exposure to tyranny was within our own families. My parents were Old School Catholics who married in 1950. Not because they were in love (though they may have been) but because my mother was pregnant with my sister so the socially proper course of action was a Shotgun Wedding.
My father was a tyrant long before I was born in 1960, the sort of man who we would describe as a Male Chauvinist Pig in the 1970s and a Misogynist in these supposedly more enlightened years of the 21st Century. My mother, my sister, my brother and I as well as anything that existed within the boundaries of our well manicured suburban residential lot was the private property of my father and he was always ready to remind each of us of this fact. Yes, each of us were the property of the king of this particular castle and could be treated in any manner the king decreed. While my siblings and I seldom were beaten the few times we were was enough to instill a strong deterrent to getting caught doing anything that would unleash a repeat performance. My mother wasn’t so lucky. Or perhaps she was the source of my Anarchy genes, for she refused to be subjugated by my father’s tyranny even after being beaten many times. By the time I was eight or nine years old cops intervening in what were termed “arguments” between my parents were a regular occurrence.
Because Husbands were deemed to own the chattel known as wives not too very long ago (this was a legal as well as cultural phenomenon), the 1960s were boom times for tyrants and shrinks. If a wife refused the commands of her husband, the husband would call the family physician, explain the situation and then the physician would prescribe one, two or six of the newly developed psychotropic medications for the wife in order to cure her of her independent willfulness. Being new, these Uppers, Downers and Sideways-ers had effects that weren’t very well known or documented. Auto accidents, injuries around the home such as slicing fingers that too closely resemble carrots while preparing dinner were common and unrecognized side-effects of Better Living Through Chemistry.
When a young potential Anarchist is treated to, exposed to or witnesses injustice they do not become Young Republicans. Their views and actions become far more rebellious than they were previous to such exposure and in time they deny the tyrant power over them. Young Anarchists cling to values and principles that most would consider positive such as Truth, Justice, Humane deeds, Protecting the Weak and generally doing the Right Thing for the Right Reasons. Not exactly the characteristics that come to mind when the words Anarchy or Anarchist are encountered in contemporary culture. But that too is changing. Slowly but surely the true character of Anarchists is being spread across the globe.
The Young Adult Anarchist
Having spent eighteen of my formative years rebelling against a tyrant it should come as no surprise that as soon as I could flee tyranny, I did. I left home at 18 and never went back. But the world is full of tyrants, many petty and some lethal and you will find if you haven’t already that government(s) attract petty and lethal tyrants at all levels, while the same values Anarchists developed drive them away from any desire to control or coerce others. Anarchists are more likely to prefer seclusion in peace than crowds with various levels of desire to control others.
Young Anarchists continue to rebel. I did. I refused to accept any law, regulation, rule or authority that did not make sense to me personally after careful review and exploration. I should point out that any personal choices I make based on such analyses are subject to review and revision as more information or experiences warrant. Marijuana and Alcohol? I made my own choices in my teens. Mandatory auto insurance? When I can afford it and when it makes sense. Mandatory seatbelt use? Yeah, right. Mandatory fishing license? When I can afford it. Obamacare? Never! The bottom line to all of these adult choices is that I made them and accepted full responsibility for my choices. No one can make you do anything without your cooperation.
Responsibility, Self Sufficiency, Self Reliance and Clear Values are the foundations of Anarchy in adulthood. Rebellion remains but it is tempered with decades of life experience to guide which battles are worth fighting and which should be walked away from. The high ideals and values developed as a child remain and are acted upon. Protecting those unable to protect themselves. Aiding others without expectation of reward when able. Making a difference where and when you can. You will be tested.
Your vocational and career choices are where the Anarchist feels most comfortable. Having developed self sufficiency and self reliance you are able to explore many options and opportunities others would shy away from because you know from experience that even if everything goes wrong you will survive and thrive another day.
Intimate Relationships are likely to be tricky because you treat your partner as an equal. Minor disagreements are easily handled but major life-altering decisions are just as likely to see you moving forward alone at least temporarily. You end your relationships honorably and often remain life-long friends with your ex(es).
You may have to defend yourself or others from a violent attack, so be prepared. I studied Karate and Aikido during my college years, and was grateful twenty-five years later when I was able to effectively defend myself and my dog against an attacker with a brick in his hand.
You will be called upon to act in accordance with your Anarchist values. For me this means leaving the country of my birth after more than half a century to begin a new life of liberty over 10,000 miles away. Hence the Boot-Strap Expat Adventure, a 13,200 mile road-trip.
Why I’m an Anarchist
Unlike those who choose Anarchy after serious research and contemplation, my life experiences made me an Anarchist in the most noble sense of the word. Now that I know what I am, I love learning about all the wonderful anarchists of the past and meeting fellow anarchists today.
Why I’m an Anarchist by Foo Quuxman of Daily Anarchist http://dailyanarchist.com/2013/12/28/why-i-am-an-anarchist/
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7 thoughts on “I Didn’t Know I Was An Anarchist Until I Learned What the Word Meant”
So you know the difference between a libertarian minarchist and an anarchist then?
Yeah. About six months.
I don’t know about others, but in my case I was an Anarchist and agorist before I learned the various terms. Minarchist? Not me. The only things government does well are things we can do without.
Governments at all levels are the root of all of our existential crises if you dig deep enough. I’ll be posting more about this particular experiential knowledge this week.
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It took Ron Paul’s campaign in 2008 for me to discover that my political philosophies fell under the category of libertarian, when I took notice because a fellow Bible-believing Creationist King-James-Bible-believer in a discussion list mentioned hanging out Ron Paul banners on a highway bridge. Then I discovered that I was more an Austrian economist than Keynesian, starting with the fiat money issue, while engaged in Ron Paul discussions. By the time 2012 rolled around I discovered the anarcho-capitalist writings at the lewrockwell blog, and it became clear that this was actually the Christian Biblical philosophy as applied to “political philosophy” that I had almost discovered back in radical 1960s student days, when I thought myself and my Russian teacher –who had fled Stalin’s Soviet Union– were the only anarchists on campus. (The other radicals were Marxists and socialists almost all, a few others that seemed to be only about stopping anti-Semites).
It’s come together. My passion, and it seems my calling, is to proclaim liberty to the captives of the involuntary servitude of taxation and the serfdom of man’s kingdoms of all kinds.
I’ve been a card-carrying Libertarian (big “L”) since the mid eighties, so Ron Paul is a great model or exemplar of what a representative should be in my view.
I’m also a Pagan Mystic who finds incredible lessons in the Jewish/Christian Bible that are below the Onion Skin that Fundies and Litties (fundamentalists and literalists) try to force down everyone’s throat. As far as I’m concerned the only difference between Jihadists is whether they prefer Moses, Jeshua (Jesus for those Xtians that don’t know what his actual name was) or Muhammad. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths, or based on the Old Testament and all of them (in their sacred texts) proscribe the slaughter of Men, Women and Children as well as the animals belonging to these Men, Women and Children in the name of a God (Yod Heh Vah Heh, Jehovah, Allah, etc) for not accepting his primacy even though this god admits there are indeed other gods of which he is “jealous.”
And don’t get me started on the Abrahamic Goddess Ashura who was worshiped up to and beyond the time of this Jesus Feller so many are excited about. What do you think the “Mother of God” and Holy Spirit are? Here’s a clue, the Goddess that gave birth to us all.
If you seek Liberty and breaking the chains of tyrants, you won’t find it in the Bible. I suggest you look elsewhere.
Libertas was the Roman Goddess of Liberty, from which we derive the word.
Justicia is the Goddess of Justice.
Columbia is the Goddess of Liberty.
Ma’at is the Goddess of Universal balance, Justice and Liberty… Sensing a pattern here? Anyone?
As a Pagan Mystic I can get along with just about anyone until they threaten to burn me at the stake, so I encourage you to continue your efforts to “proclaim liberty” to all that will listen. Just keep in mind that in the 17th Century, Baptists were exiled from Massachusetts for not being Xtian enough.
You have inspired me to write a blog post about how I discovered that I too am a lifelong anarchist.
Enjoyed yours. Thanks a bunch for sharing.
And Thank You for being self-aware and sharing the nature of Anarchy with others.