Rand Paul

The Anarchist Who Became President

Which occupant of the Oval Office flirted with anti-authoritarian ideas in his youth?

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The Kentucky senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul tweeted this last night:

Twitter

"Rothbard" refers to Murray Rothbard, the founding father of the "anarcho-capitalist" school of libertarianism. Rand Paul's years as a teen old enough to drive would have lasted from 1979 to 1982, so this would be well before Rothbard's retreat late in life to the paleo right; the future senator would have been getting a full blast of Radical Caucus-era Rothbardianism. I would have liked to have heard those conversations.

Several presidential candidates, and even presidents, have had close encounters in their youth with one sort of radicalism or another. (Barack Obama, for example, has written about his days in the student left.) But setting aside Paul, who didn't necessarily agree with everything the economist in the back seat was saying, I am aware of just one major American politician who ever took an interest in anarchism, though as far as I know he never used the a-word to describe the worldview he was exploring. The writer who inspired him was Leo Tolstoy, who in addition to being a novelist was a radical pacifist and anti-statist who believed "the anarchists are right in everything."

Here's how the politician described his phase years later:

The Big Chill

At the end of my junior year [Albert Upton] told me that my education would not be complete until I read Tolstoy and the other great Russian novelists. That summer I read little else. My favorite was Resurrection, Tolstoy's last major novel. I was even more deeply affected by the philosophical works of his later years. His program for a peaceful revolution for the downtrodden Russian masses, his passionate opposition to war, and his emphasis on the spiritual elements in all aspects of life left a more lasting impression on me than his novels. At that time in my life I became a Tolstoyan.

That's a passage from RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. It's always the fellow you least suspect, isn't it?

Nixon wasn't the only world leader of the 1960s and '70s to have flirted once with anti-authoritarian ideas. The young Mao Zedong fell in with a group of anarchists who introduced him to the works of Bakunin, Kropotkin, and, yes, Tolstoy. The old pacifist's body must have been spinning at an accelerated rate in the Nixon/Mao era.

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122 responses to “The Anarchist Who Became President

  1. Which occupant of the Oval Office flirted with anti-authoritarian ideas in his youth?

    Hitler?

    1. Welp, Almanian’s done it again.

      Shut it down.

      1. *enjoys watching everyone walk away dejected*

      2. He’s going to break it if he keeps playing with it like that.

        1. IS that why there’s hair growing on my palms?

          Oh, wait, you meant….never mind….

      3. PS You know who else “did it again”….

        1. Britney Spears.

          Pshaw, that was easy.

          1. I’m glad I have audio disabled on my workstation.

        2. Richard Thompson, with an Elizabethan chord progression.

  2. Everybody flirts with anti-authoritarian ideas when they are young and relatively powerless. It’s what they do once they aren’t that matters. And most of them don’t stick to those anti-authoritarian ideas. At all. What a surprise.

    1. Are you telling me that “a man who is not liberal when he is young has no heart – one who is not conservative when he is old has no brain” – words to that effect?

      Pshaw! (does anyone say that word any more? besides me?)

      1. I prefer Pfft

        1. Pffthtbbbbttbbttttttttt with lots of spittle

          1. Must be Bill, the cat.

    2. That’s why libertarians are like teenagers. They’re still in their immature rebellion phase. They don’t understand that as adults, government is their parent. Like teenagers, they feel that they don’t need to ask permission and obey orders from their parents who know best. Stupid libertarians, still rebelling against authority. Just like teenagers.

      1. No no, it’s not like that. It’s ok to rebel against authority, but you have to do it in an intelligent and mature manner, like the progressives do. You stick your fingers in your ears, scream in people’s face and spit on them. That’s the way it’s done you childish libertarians.

        1. Oh yeah. Tolerance. I forgot.

        2. But you also have to make sure that the authorities you rebel against have very little actual power over you, or are at least very unlikely to punish your rebellion.

          1. Right, evil corporations are the correct target. Or conservatives and other wrong thinkers. NEVER government officials, those are the good guys.

            1. More recent correct targets include individual photographers taking pictures of large loud groups in public spaces, because the first amendment only applies to those who are backed by violent mobs.

        3. Close. You’ve got the correct style, but what is as important is rebelling against the right authority.

          I believe there are two main considerations:

          (1) The authority is weak-minded, and will cave to your demands.

          (2) The authority isn’t doing what you would do, if you were the authority.

          See? Its all about being principled.

    3. That’s odd. I generally transitioned the other direction. I usually put it down to having my own affairs to worry about. Then again, it could be that I lack both a heart and a brain.

      1. Same here, although i attribute it to a little thing i call “being a grown-ass responsible adult human being.”

      2. There is generally an inverse relationship between one’s likelihood of being a leftist and one’s understanding of economics. I don’t mean knowledge of economics. But an actual understanding.

      3. I’ve always had a pretty good anti-authoritarian streak. But my political leanings shifted from some sort of vague liberalism based on dislike of conservatism to pure “fuck you, leave me alone”.

    4. Mussolini was a also an “anarchist” early in his life.

  3. Once again Nixon has me outclassed. I think I was still a fairly uptight Randroid minarchist my junior year at Whittier.

  4. That’s a passage from RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. It’s always the fellow you least suspect, isn’t it?

    TR is who I would least suspect.

    1. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

  5. Uhh, Thomas Jefferson? George Washington?

    1. +1 tree watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    2. Anarchists? Didn’t they, you know, help to create a government?

      1. From the blog post:

        Which occupant of the Oval Office flirted with anti-authoritarian ideas in his youth?

        It’s arguable, with solid evidence to back it up, that a lot of these guys were definitely flirting with anti-authoritarianism in their youth and it was pretty clear that Thomas Jefferson was trying to create a minarchist government.

        1. You think I have time to read the sub-headlines?

          1. It’s ok, I’ve been guilty of posting comments about my mother.

            1. A lot of people on Yelp have been posting comments about your mother, too.

  6. Rand, can you mention the non-aggression principle in the next debate, that would blow everyone’s mind

    Yeah, it would blow their minds alright, and in they wouldn’t understand what the fuck he’s talking about, because they’re retarded.

    Sorry, but there’s a time when reality must be faced, and it’s that time.

    I’m not saying don’t do it, but it will have no effect on the dumb electorate sheep.

  7. Nixon was a Quaker.

    I remember Tolstoy wrote fondly of Anabaptists and Quakers in “The Kingdom of God is Within You”. Most people take that statement as a separation of church and state (God doesn’t rule through governments, his government is in your heart). To Tolstoy, it seemed to have been a statement of Jesus’ anarchism. The only righteous government is the good conscience in every individual–and that conscience is something that can be appealed to and influenced in the unrighteous.

    This led Tolstoy to embrace pacifism–and, indeed, led him to take Jesus’ admonition to turn the other cheek seriously. In “The Kingdom of God is Within You”, he makes a short remark about how what the Indian independence movement needed to do was embrace turning the other cheek. An Indian newspaper editor in South Africa took it upon himself to write Tolstoy to ask him to explicate on the issue. Tolstoy wrote a letter back in what was later published as “Letter to a Hindu” in which he laid it all out.

    Gandhi, who was a young activist in South Africa at the time, read it and asked Tolstoy if he could publish the letter in his own newspaper. The rest is history.

    1. “Gandhi, who was a young activist in South Africa”

      And raging racist apparently.

    2. Anna Kerenina was better.

      1. I prefer anna kournikova.

  8. In “A Letter to a Hindu”, Tolstoy argued that only through the principle of love could the Indian people free themselves from colonial British rule. Tolstoy saw the law of love espoused in all the world’s religions, and he argued that the individual, nonviolent application of the law of love in the form of protests, strikes, and other forms of peaceful resistance were the only alternative to violent revolution. These ideas ultimately proved to be successful in 1947 in the culmination of the Indian Independence Movement.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Letter_to_a_Hindu

    There are good reasons to believe in Jesus, and one of them is that when people apply his principles to the real world, there are consistent and amazing results.

    1. Tolstoy saw the law of love espoused in all the world’s religions

      when people apply [Jesus’s] principles to the real world, there are consistent and amazing results.

      Hmm…

      1. Well, then just go ahead and give away all your earthly possessions and go follow some dude around in the wilderness. See how that works out. I can’t wait for the report.

        1. Once in my younger days I abandoned all my earthly possessions to go and follow some hairy dude wandering around in the wilderness. Then the acid wore off and it turns out I was following a bear. I did learn the answer to the question as to whether or not a bear shits in the woods, so it wasn’t a total loss. I also learned not to trust that fucker Chad when he tells you it’s safe to do three hits because it’s not very strong.

      2. “Tolstoy saw the law of love espoused in all the world’s religions”

        That law of love he’s talking about is what you might think of as “conscience”. Even IF IF IF Objectivism were a religion, with its hailing of “selfishness” and everything, I’m sure Objectivists would dismiss the idea that they’re immune to conscience. Being immune to conscience is a psychiatric condition, and I think he’s saying that no religion teaches its adherents to be immune to conscience.

        The principles I (and Tolstoy) were talking about are found in the Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy railed against organized religion, but he thought the Sermon on the Mount was the shiznit. It was principles not principals for him; and those principles were espoused precisely by someone specific.

        1. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

          But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

          And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

          And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

          Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

          Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

          But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

          That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

          “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

          Matthew Chapters 5-7, KJV

          1. Tolstoy applied these principles to India. Gandhi used these principles to chase the British out India. MLK used them to get rid of Jim Crow. I would even argue that the Arab Spring used them to get rid of several dictators–where decades of terrorism had failed. No matter the religion of the dictators, these tactics espoused in the Sermon on the Mount were effective because all religions share some form of conscience.

            I fact, plenty of Christians would argue that the Sermon on the Mount is the very essence of Christianity. And even if those tactics espoused in the Sermon on the Mount are also espoused by other religions to some extent, those tactics are also central to Christianity.

          2. I tell my children, when they are reciting some verse from the New International Version, that Jesus spoke in Old English.

            1. KJV is the version I learned in. It’s the book I learned to read from. And the language is beautiful.

              You also start to lose some of the meaning in modern English. For instance, …

              “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

              But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

              The difference between “Ye” and “you” is central to the meaning, here. He’s saying that the government says “a” but I’m saying to you as an individual “b”.

              And “[You] have heard it said…but I say unto [you]” loses all that distinction between the second person singular and the second person plural.

        2. OK then.

          I’m just pointing out the inconsistency of, “all religions have this love principle” alongside, “Jesus introduced this love principle.”

          1. One is that all religions have this love principle.

            Jesus introduced the tactics by which that love principle can be made to work to our advantage.

            Newton didn’t invent gravity.

            He showed us the mathematics to describe it so we could use it to our advantage.

    2. other forms of peaceful resistance were the only alternative to violent revolution

      That seems tautological, doesn’t it? Geez, the alternative to violence is non-violence? Who knew?

      What they don’t mention is that peaceful resistance is generally ineffective at generating real change, unless the violent alternative is real and present.

      1. “What they don’t mention is that peaceful resistance is generally ineffective at generating real change, unless the violent alternative is real and present.”

        Wouldn’t that be a total refutation of libertarianism?

        We’re not here to use the government to change people’s hearts. We’re supposed to let individuals regulate themselves from within their hearts.

        The government changes when enough individual hearts want it to change. If people want to smoke marijuana, why should the government be involved in trying to stop them? If people decide to stop, it won’t be because we used violence in the WoD. It will be because enough people generated real change by changing other people’s hearts and minds.

        Heaven is a place without death, but it’s also a place where everyone lives by the ten commandments–voluntarily. That’s Libertopia, too. You’re not going to create heaven on earth using the government. You initiate real change by changing people’s hearts.

      2. Christianity originated and grew under the Roman Empire. They didn’t need government to initiate real and effective change. The more they were persecuted, the greater they grew. Feeding Christians to the lions in the gladiators’ ring made them ever more popular. This girl is innocent! How can this be okay? Civil disobedience as we presently have it started when Christians started refusing to bow to a statue of the emperor. In the end, you couldn’t be the emperor unless you were a Christian. You probably still can’t be President unless enough people think you’re nominally Christian. That’s an example of real and lasting change.

    3. That sounds more like a good reason to apply Christian principles to the real world than to actually believe in any particular thing.

      That does relate to a question I have about religious faith, though. Does it matter if what you believe is actually true?

      1. Does it matter if what you believe is actually true?

        Sure. If it were incontrovertibly proven to me that no God exists or ever existed, then I have zero incentive to be anything but the most selfish prick ever. I have enough smarts and cunning to be an absolutely manipulative asshole, and get everything that I want from people before tossing them aside and moving on. In a world without an absolute moral authority, I would have no problem using tactics considered “good” along with tactics considered “evil.” It becomes an economic risk assessment at that point, all in the furtherance of hedonism.

        1. Which is a reason why, although I am not religious at all, I’m reasonably happy that some people are since the prospect of consequences in the afterlife does seem to help keep some people in line.

          1. There are a few things that absolutely surprise me about atheists and agnostics (full disclosure: I was agnostic prior to becoming Christian).

            What’s the point of getting married? It seems like a really huge burden for not that much gain, if taken out of the religious context. In fact, sex seems really overcomplicated in modern society for atheists and agnostics. We have reliable birth control, so it seems that sexy fun time would be something to be shared fairly freely. The whole song and dance seems really unnecessary.

            Why sacrifice? This also seems counter intuitive to me to give up something for myself, just to give it to somebody else. It’s one thing if you are compassionate and help somebody out who has a flat tire on the road, but I’m talking real, lasting sacrifice. Seems pointless to me because you only have a limited lifetime, and you don’t get to take any accrued good will with you to the grave. It seems like instead of working hard to sacrifice for others, I’d want to use the product of my hard labor to benefit myself.

            The above two questions lead into the third: What’s the point of families? I get the instinctual desire for children (especially the maternal desire), but in this welfare state society, the family seems rather obsolete. I couldn’t care less, in an atheist/agnostic mindset, if my morals and principles are passed on to the next generation. I’ll be in the grave before they come to power.

            I ask these questions because (cont.)

            1. (cont.) when I was agnostic, I saw no point in getting married, only “sacrificed” when it would play to my advantage in the long run, and really didn’t care about creating/having a family. Those things seemed to get in the way of living a successful and fun life.

            2. Why should there be a point to anything? Why would you assume that the universe has purpose or meaning outside of what people create?

              People sacrifice because it makes them feel good about themselves. People get married either for preferential treatment with taxes, or just because they want to (often because of our innate jealousy and possessiveness). People have families because they want to (or can’t be bothered to avoid it).

              More importantly, most people actually care about other people and can imagine the world still existing after they die. That right there provides plenty of reason for people to be decent to each other and care about things beyond their own immediate satisfaction.

              It’s great that religion helps to keep some people in line. But I find the suggestion that it is the only reason why people would care about the things you mention rather disturbing. It is pretty clear that there are loads of atheists and agnostics on here that have just as strong a moral sense as any religious person.

        2. Trshmnstr, can you not comprehend the idea that you might not be the “most selfish prick ever” because you don’t want your only life to follow that path? I don’t murder people because I fear punishment from God in the afterlife, but because murder is wrong. I know that I wouldn’t want to be murdered and that makes the moral choice simple.

          I can be manipulative and conniving, also, but don’t want to be “that guy” with the only life I have. I suspect that you are not that different and that you would act as you do even without the fear of eternal punishment in the afterlife. I do not wish to look back upon my life and have produced nothing more than my own pleasure because, like most people, I dislike that kind of person. Why would I want to be the kind of person I don’t like?

      2. After death ?

        Yes.

      3. “That does relate to a question I have about religious faith, though. Does it matter if what you believe is actually true?”

        It depends on what you mean by “faith”.

        There’s something like faith in science, but they don’t call it “faith”. They call it “uncertainty”.

        In science, anything you believe can be revised given new and compelling data that contradicts what you “know”. In that sense, everything you know is uncertain. It could change tomorrow!

        Science is more certain about the earth orbiting the sun (rather than vice versa) because it’s been thoroughly scrutinized. Science is less certain about string theory–in fact, they’re still trying to devise good ways to test string theory.

        Do I believe that Jesus turned water into wine, walked on water, and raised the dead?

        I don’t really have a way to test that knowledge. I feel much stronger about my belief that peaceful protest is more effective at bringing about change than terrorism–because I think the latter has been thoroughly tested.

      4. There is no faith without some level of uncertainty–just like there is no science without some level of uncertainty. I believe things to the extent that they have been scrutinized, and even after they have been scrutinized, there remain qualifications. Sometimes, it’s my understanding of the text that’s lacking. When I learned about how the Bible was compiled and where the creation story originally came from, my beliefs about it changed. Given the science, I was already thoroughly uncertain about the creation story anyway. So, in short, my beliefs about the Biblical story are and should be uncertain–uncertainty is what I’m talking about when I talk about faith. My beliefs about science are revisable given new and better knowledge, as well. This is all as it should be.

        Absolute knowledge and absolute error is a false dichotomy outside of theoretical mathematics. Reality is a never ending spectrum of various levels of uncertainty.

        1. Seems to me that there is quite a bit of evidence to give you reason not to believe that the Bible accurately describes things that really happened, starting with the fact that the people who wrote it mostly hadn’t been born when the events described actually happened.

          But I’m not really asking about whether you can actually know that what you believe in is actually true. But whether it really matters. I’m not trying to pull a “gotcha” on religious people by asking the question. I am really curious about the phenomenon of faith. Probably largely because i really don’t get it at all. Why believe one thing rather than another if you aren’t going to use actual evidence to support your beliefs? So why believe, say, that Jesus died for our sins and was literally resurrected, rather than that Allah wants you to conquer the world and enforce a uniform religion on everyone? Other than the evidence that one belief system has led to quite a few good things in the world and the other has lead to a lot of violence and bloodshed, what reason is there to believe one or the other?

          1. “Why believe one thing rather than another if you aren’t going to use actual evidence to support your beliefs?”

            They do have actual evidence to support their beliefs. It just isn’t conclusive evidence.

            The other part of it is that whatever else religion is, it’s also an evolutionary social adaptation. People are brought into systems of faith that worked well for their ancestors for evolutionary reasons. They find that it still works for them for the same reasons.

            Jesus put together a system of ethics that works for them. They try it out in their lives (experiment), and it works for them (results). That’s evidence. When you test the essentials of the faith, and they work for you, that is evidence. It isn’t necessarily objective evidence–although other people have had similar results for 2,000 years. It isn’t conclusive evidence–but then even in science, evidence is never comprehensively conclusive.

            It is still evidence.

            1. Think of it this way: Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend or significant other that says she loves you? How do you know she loves you if you don’t have any evidence?

              The correct answer is that you do have evidence. You observe the way she treats you. Is it possible she acts the way you want because she wants your money, or children, or to impress her sister, or because she’s afraid of being alone or for some other reason other than that she loves you?

              Of course it is! But you might decide to believe she loves you given the evidence plus some measure of uncertainty. Isn’t that what we all do?

              That measure of uncertainty is what Christians are calling “faith”. Faith is not belief without evidence. Faith is what you choose to believe despite the uncertainty–but realize that uncertainty permeates our entire existence.

              The question you seem to be asking is about why people believe certain things, and my answer is that it’s the same reasons they believe anything else. And like with everything else they believe, they have varying degrees of uncertainty.

  9. I miss Tricky Dick.

    1. I was about to write a comment about how despite some of his more loathsome policies and action at least Richard Milhouse Nixon was smart and competent. I look at the presidents since I became an adult and none compare in pure competence. There is plenty to dislike about Nixon, but at least he’s wasn’t a feckless waste.

      1. He pulled out of Vietnam when I was 17. I can forgive a whole lot of evil on Tricky Dick’s part for keeping me out of that hellhole.

        1. Likewise.

          I was the first year to get assigned a number but no one got drafted.

    2. Nothing says “anarchist” like wage and price controls. Or Henry Kissinger.

  10. When I was in high school, the authoritahs got really pissed off at us young heathens one time. They ordered that all of us for the entire week, when we got out little break periods… what were those called, study periods? Anyway the times when we all would go outside to smoke weed or whatever. They commanded us to spend that period in the gymnasium, listening to lectures about how bad we were and how we needed to correct our behavior. So no one complied. Except this little minion of kids, I’m talking less than 10 kids, maybe 5 or 6. We would go by and peek in the doors and laugh at them, the goody goody kiddies. I think they are all Senators now.

    1. I never set foot outside – we weren’t allowed to. We didn’t have “study hall” either. Just classes.

  11. Nonsense, the authoritarianism of private property and capitalism (or is that kkkapitalism?) is incompatible with anarchy.

    (See some FAQ somewhere)

    1. While that is probably true in some sense, the authoritarianism of preventing private property and capitalism from happening is even less compatible with anarchy (if you believe anarchy is an actual possible alternative to what we have now).
      I prefer to think that anarchy is just reality and it is systems of archy that are illusory.

      1. systems of archy

        Excellent band name.

      2. If we’re going to get serious…

        Lefties are correct here, there is a system of authority with private property (that’s why it works so well!) Many libertarians would be more honest if they took a step in the Right direction and openly admitted they were pro authority, only the correct/moral/cost-effective authority, not some arbitrary state.

        Any system, even left-wing anarchist ones, also require authority. Usually an incomprehensibly massive one resembling something out of Lovecraft. But they can get away with being hypocrites so it doesn’t matter.

        1. If I had a nickel for everytime someone claimed anarchy means opposing all authority, all hierarchy or all uses of force, I’d be rich I tell you. Yes the leftwing “anarchists” require a state to impose their systems of redistribution, but actual anarchists like anarcho-capitalists or agorists et al do not reject hierarchy, authority or non-aggressive violence.

          Moreover the word ‘anarchy’ itself means “without rulers”, it does not mean “without laws, rules, force, or authority”. Basic. Stuff.

          1. This just looks like tussling over who the true or actual anarchist is.

            Most self-professed “anarchists” have been of the left, so I’d say ipso facto they’re the actual ones. And they, almost unanimously, don’t consider “anarcho-capitalism” to be anything more than a contradiction in terms. If you want to debate with them, good, have at it. In my experience their smell is unbearable. So, much like “liberal”, I’d just let it go.

            But I can think of several anarcho-capitalists/market anarchists/voluntaryists/agorists, etc… who openly do reject hierarchy outright and authority in name. Shockingly, they’re on the left side of the bandwagon.

            1. This just looks like tussling over who the true or actual anarchist is.

              If we’re going to have a category called “anarchist”, there can exist an objective definition. This is the nature of categorical truths. Since the leftoid anarchists do not have a belief in what could be called “without rulers”, they are not actually anarchists. It doesn’t really matter how long they’ve been claiming to own that category, they objectively do not since they invairably favor having rulers of one form or another. That is if we are going to use the word’s most agreed upon and objective definition.

              But I can think of several anarcho-capitalists/market anarchists/voluntaryists/agorists, etc… who openly do reject hierarchy outright and authority in name. Shockingly, they’re on the left side of the bandwagon.

              Then they are not anarcho-capitalists. Again, the meaning of words matter. You can’t have capitalism if you don’t have property rights and you can’t have property rights without having authority over your property. You can’t even have children without a hierarchy.

              I’m sorry that all these groups and individuals that you supposedly talk to claim to be anarchists without actually fitting the bill, but that doesn’t change the categorical truth of the matter. If you’re so confused, read more on the subject.

              1. “If we’re going to have a category called “anarchist”, there can exist an objective definition.”

                Sure, but it’s irrelevant. People don’t tend to care about etymology or categorical truths. I don’t get a bee in my bonnet when some fucker calls a strawberry a berry (or a fruit).

                “Then they are not anarcho-capitalists. Again, the meaning of words matter. You can’t have capitalism if you don’t have property rights and you can’t have property rights without having authority over your property. You can’t even have children without a hierarchy.”

                And to the anarchists, or “anarchists”, you can’t have capitalism without the state. (“Capitalism” itself was a term coined by a socialist) so it’s definition isn’t the most concrete. Meanings do matter, but they can also change. At a time it was great to be Gay, then not so much, now it’s come full circle.

                “I’m sorry that all these groups and individuals that you supposedly talk to claim to be anarchists without actually fitting the bill, but that doesn’t change the categorical truth of the matter.”

                Historically, they are the “anarchists”. Even if they don’t meet the categorical truth they (leftoids) have been holding the banner longer, can we agree on that?

                1. I don’t get a bee in my bonnet when some fucker calls a strawberry a berry (or a fruit).

                  No one is arguing that you have to get a “bee in your bonnet”, but what I’m saying is that person is incorrect. You, in telling others what anarchy means, are saying things that are false. I’m just pointing it out. You may in fact have a bee in your bonnet since you’re still here defending your use of the term.

                  Historically, they are the “anarchists”. Even if they don’t meet the categorical truth they (leftoids) have been holding the banner longer, can we agree on that?

                  Did I disagree with you on that point? I’ll actually repost what I wrote in response to this line of reasoning, since you must have missed it;

                  It doesn’t really matter how long they’ve been claiming to own that category, they objectively do not since they invairably favor having rulers of one form or another.

                  If an anarchist is a person who believes in some sort of system of governance “without rulers”, then a person who generally asserts that there “ought to be rulers”, is not an anarchist.

                  1. Rothbard was right the first time:

                    “We must conclude that the question “are libertarians anarchists?” simply cannot be answered on etymological grounds. The vagueness of the term itself is such that the libertarian system would be considered anarchist by some people and archist by others. We must therefore turn to history for enlightenment; here we find that none of the proclaimed anarchist groups correspond to the libertarian position, that even the best of them have unrealistic and socialistic elements in their doctrines. Furthermore, we find that all of the current anarchists are irrational collectivists, and therefore at opposite poles from our position. We must therefore conclude that we are not anarchists, and that those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical. On the other hand, it is clear that we are not archists either: we do not believe in establishing a tyrannical central authority that will coerce the noninvasive as well as the invasive. Perhaps, then, we could call ourselves by a new name: nonarchist. Then, when, in the jousting of debate, the inevitable challenge “are you an anarchist?” is heard, we can, for perhaps the first and last time, find ourselves in the luxury of the “middle of the road” and say, “Sir, I am neither an anarchist nor an archist, but am squarely down the nonarchic middle of the road.””

                    1. I’ve never read that particular quote but that’s interesting. Murray definitely evolved in his use of terms over time, since he essentially coined the term “anarcho-capitalism” to begin with and those that carried on his intellectual torch, like Hoppe or Salerno, invariably identify anarcho-capitalism as a philosophy that exists under the larger umbrella of libertarian philosophies and ideologies.

                    2. “Murray definitely evolved in his use of terms over time, since he essentially coined the term “anarcho-capitalism” to begin with and those that carried on his intellectual torch, like Hoppe or Salerno, invariably identify anarcho-capitalism as a philosophy that exists under the larger umbrella of libertarian philosophies and ideologies.”

                      Hey, I never have figured out why he had a change of heart on the term, but it did happen when he drifted Left. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

                      Anarcho-capitalism, like Market Anarchism, Voluntaryism, Agorism, Libertarian Anarchism, Private Law Society, etc… all fit under the Libertarian umbrella. Hoppe, Caplan, Long, Casey, Konkin, Kinsella, and Carson have all taken Rothbard’s ideas to slightly different places. But they’re all relatively similar.

                    3. Hey, I never have figured out why he had a change of heart on the term, but it did happen when he drifted Left. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

                      He drifted away from the left in his later years actually. Early on he thought there was more potential for expansion of libertarianism leftwards rather than rightwards. He thought the left had more fellow travelers to basically ally himself with. In his later years, he saw the left as intellectually bankrupt and stated that he deeply regretted his years trying to libertarianize lefty politics. That’s why he fancied himself some kind of “paleo-libertarian” or “paleo-conservaitve” in later life.

                      I agree that all those schools of thought you named do indeed fit under the libertarian banner. Except for the “market anarchism” name, which seems to be a term claimed by two distinct camps of mutually exclusive self-described anarchists.

                    4. “He drifted away from the left in his later years actually. Early on he thought there was more potential for expansion of libertarianism leftwards rather than rightwards. He thought the left had more fellow travelers to basically ally himself with.”

                      Right, I’m (half-jokingly) suggesting he changed his mind on being an “anarchist” to attract more lefties. My only evidence being the timeline. Some 20 years later he did indeed drift back towards his starting point of the right.

                      “In his later years, he saw the left as intellectually bankrupt and stated that he deeply regretted his years trying to libertarianize lefty politics. That’s why he fancied himself some kind of “paleo-libertarian” or “paleo-conservaitve” in later life.”

                      I disagree with Rothbard on a lot, but I think he was correct in his regret. And his latter day approach was marginally better.

                      “I agree that all those schools of thought you named do indeed fit under the libertarian banner. Except for the “market anarchism” name, which seems to be a term claimed by two distinct camps of mutually exclusive self-described anarchists.”

                      OK, that’s fair enough. Same time next week we’ll discuss the history and etymology of “libertarian” it itself is claimed by many distinct groups. It’ll be a hoot.

            2. If I go into Walmart and buy something from them I am voluntarily accepting their authority to charge whatever price they set and their demand that I pay that price. I am free to reject that authority by refusing to shop at Walmart, I am not free to demonstrate my rejection of their authority by just going into Walmart and stealing whatever I want. Walmart is not free to grab me by the collar and drag me into their store and force me to buy stuff. There’s only one merchant who claims the authority to demand that you purchase their goods and you are not free to haggle over the price or just walk out of the store.

              /random thought, not necesssarily relevant

              1. You had me at;

                If I go into Walmart and buy something

                and you can stop right there. If you go into Walmart and engage in an exchange, you’re recognizing their rightful ownership of their property while simultaneously asserting your own right to your property. A system that rejects all rightful authority is a system where all the humans are dead.

            3. By the way, I’d love it if you could point me towards one single anarcho-capitalist theorist that rejects all hierarchy and authority in society. Thanks.

              1. Long, Carson, Johnson (RadGeek), Chartier…

                Check out C4SS, they constantly talk about empowering unions to undermine the hierarchy. Smart fellows no doubt but too much of a worker fetish in my opinion.

                1. Long, Carson, Johnson (RadGeek), Chartier…

                  Without a first name I don’t know who Long is, but as for Kevin Carson, Charles Johnson and Gary Chartier these are people who find a great deal of value in tussling over the proper nomenclature for their beliefs.

                  First off, they identify as “left libertarian anarchists”, which any right-minded libertarian would not even qualify as a species of libertarian. They do not identify as anarcho-capitalists, nor have I read anyone who says they do represent that strand of thought.

                  Secondly, all of them have argued that they should more properly be called “socialists”, borrowing from the definition of the word as was known to Locke. They might more properly be called “mutualists”, which are just communists with a pacifist bent and a rejection of the Marxist theory of history and property.

                  Thirdly, their beliefs do not preclude property rights or markets (which are hierarchical). And where hierarchy is concerned, they don’t want to abolish it but rather they believe “hierarchies” will fade away after injustice has somehow been eliminated. And they’re wrong, they have profound misunderstandings of concepts like “hierarchy” and “rights” that mean they’re not even speaking the same philosophical language when they say things like “I’m a market anarchist”.

                  1. But again, these aren’t anarcho-capitalists, you just cited some leftoid libertarians whose beliefs are closer to that of Noam Chomsky than any ancaps or agorists. These categorical and conceptual errors are entirely worth tussling about because if no one knows what the other person is talking about, communication is pointless. And worse yet, some guy will get on message boards explaining what anarchy means to other people while not actually having a clue what it means himself. So unless you think the spread of ignorance is a good thing, it’s worth arguing about.

                  2. Roderick T Long. (I think he’s written for Reason)

                    “First off, they identify as “left libertarian anarchists”, which any right-minded libertarian would not even qualify as a species of libertarian.”

                    We’re going to have to stop right here.

                    Sam Konkin (or Kkkonkkkin), (the founder of agorism!) was explicitly a left libertarian anarchist. And outright said libertarianism is properly understood a leftwing political philosophy.

                    I think it’s quite clear that you’ve got a lot to tussle with already.

                    1. Sam Konkin placed himself on the left side of the boat to be distinguished from Robert Nozick and minarchists in general. Basically he thought of right libertarians as the ones who are pro-statism. You’ll notice however, that he has far more common ground with Murray Rothbard (who also considered himself vaguely leftoid until his later years) than he does with Noam Chomsky. Agorism differs from anarcho-capitalism in it’s approach, not in doctrine. Left and right aren’t terribly helpful waypoints. But far be it from me to insist you attack my argument at it’s heart rather than the tertiary points.

                    2. Konkin called himself a “Left-Rothbardian”, so no. He was willfully to the left of Rothbard, the Rothbard of the 60’s and 70’s to boot. (When he was at his furthest to the left). Read the NLM, his views on wage labor particularly.

                    3. Like I said, agorists are different from anarcho-capitalists in their approach, not their doctrine. The fact that he considered himself a “Rothbardian” speaks volumes to this point. His addendum of the word “left” to that moniker should also not be surprising for a guy who considered the word to be a byword for revolutionary philosophy and belief.

                    4. You could say that about “Left Market Anarchists” too though.

                      “His addendum of the word “left” to that moniker should also not be surprising for a guy who considered the word to be a byword for revolutionary philosophy and belief.”

                      They also shouldn’t be surprising given his views on labor in a free society.

                      I’ve got to say though that article was terrible. Have you ever heard or read an anarcho-capitalist shunning anyone who does not accept big business?

                    5. I’ve got to say though that article was terrible. Have you ever heard or read an anarcho-capitalist shunning anyone who does not accept big business?

                      Admittedly, anything with “wiki” in it’s name should be taken with a grain of salt. I googled “left Rothbardian” to see what that entails exactly, having not read anything of Konkin’s that discusses the name and that article, among others came up. But no, I’ve never heard of anarcho-capitalists being particularly fond of “big business” above other scales of business.

            4. You are right. It is just definitional tussling. Not really useful.

              But we are right, and they are wrong, so fuck em anyways.

  12. kkkapitalism?

    I’m totally stealing that. It goes so well with RepubiKKKan, KKKorporation, and KKKochtopus.

      1. Oh no! KKKen is cccoming to kkkill me!

      1. We should just start inserting “kkk” into every word that has a k-sound in it.

      2. Might be a tad too close to reality.

        1. What do you mean, Takkk KKKakkk?

          1. It’s not particularly good satire if the party really had an unhealthily large number of KKK members.

            1. That’s the southern democrats!

              1. Reversal. My satire is poor. The qualifier “southern”, simply put, means “bad.” And bad “democrats” aren’t true democrats.

                So even the Klansmen outside of the South who registered, voted for, and ran as “democrats” weren’t. They were just Southern.

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  14. Never go full Rothbard.

  15. If you don’t limit yourself to Americans, you might mention that Mussolini was an anarchist before he was a fascist.

    1. He translated Kropotkin into Italian!

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