T Nation

A Message to Libertarians


What does it mean to be free?

The anarchist is not free. The anarch is free. What is the anarch?

"The Anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist." - Ernst Junger

Think about that for a moment and you'll understand what it is to be free.


Not even the anarch is free in this world. We are all slaves to reality.

But then what becomes the best course of action?


Concern yourself with your own liberty. Don't try to assemble some system for universal liberty. Real freedom actually entails not just freedom from but also freedom to - ie, the freedom to infringe upon the rights of others.


That's fine, but what if reality divines to place you in a situation where you are not free to decide.

Perhaps, stuck in an ocean in the middle of a hurricane?

What then is the correct course of action?


I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you're in the middle of the ocean then you are free despite any danger. Can you elaborate on what you mean?


Freedom is a concept concerned exclusively with man's relationship to man - free from (other men); free to(exert you will on other men) - I don't see how man's relationship to natural environment is relevant.


Think about that for a moment and you'll understand what it is to be free.


So freedom is freedom from other men and freedom to exert one's will on the natural environment? In practice this is not a meaningful definition because:

  1. Men are social animals and desire to live with other men - it is also advantageous for them to do so.

  2. Land and natural resources are scarce and men are in competition for them.

Therefore, "freedom" is only meaningfully understood in terms of man's relation to other men.


Monarchists don't exist. It is impossible to argue against your own right to self-ownership because every argument you make is a piece of evidence for the existence of self-ownership.

The empirical evidence of self-ownership will always exceed any evidence presented in arguments to the contrary.

Therefore monarchists are just insane people and a monarch is the one that monopolizes force most effectively among those insane people.

An anarchy is just a description of a self-consistent reality and an anarchist is someone who acknowledges that reality.


Nope. If you believe in the divine right of kings God owns you and the king is God's representative here on earth. Additionally, you can also believe in self ownership and voluntarily cede self sovereignty to a monarch.

That's really a theological argument and is beyond the scope of the discussion.

Insanity is entirely relative. If someone believes himself to be a monarch and his subjects believe it too then for all intents and purposes the realm is not an asylum.

Actually an anarchist is proffering a political system he claims is achievable. The anarchist does not accept reality - the anarchist is insane. The anarch recognises reality, does not propose some utopian political system. The anarch is sane.


You can believe whatever you like, but if their is no evidence, you are wrong. If you ignore evidence, you are insane.

It's not a theological statement, it's a mathematical one.

Literally, every differential part of every verbalization an individual makes is made under their own power.

The integral whole of those differential parts WILL always be greater than any evidence generated by it.

That is a mathematical fact.

Believing something contradicted by scientific(observational and empirical) evidence without putting forth a larger body of empirical evidence is insanity.

Anarchy literally means 'against rulers' so it cannot "proffer a political system", because political literally means "of the citizens" and you must have a government rule over some domain to have citizens.

"some utopian political system" is a strawman just the same.


I haven't actually stated what I believe. The only thing I have stated is that the belief that anarchy is a realistic organising principal is insane because it ignores the evidence of the nature of man and the political.

Self ownership is theological in the sense that you either own yourself or God owns you. The answer to that question is theological.

Again, free will is a theological and/or ontological question. I haven't expressed an opinion on it one way or the other.

If anarchism is not proffering an organising principal for man then it is merely a theological/ontological question of self sovereignty. There's also the question of whether you believe that you should be free from rulers or everyone should be free from rulers. Of course "should" is synonymous with "ought" and therefore implies belief in an organising principal or at least the abolition of one.

On the contrary, that's the whole point. Part of the difference between an anarch and an anarchist is the latter believes in a utopian political system and the former does not. The anarch is the ultimate realist and is exclusively interested in his own liberty.


Question: Who was freer? Rosa Luxemburg or Benito Mussolini?


Once you stop talking about specific individuals... the rules change.

Although I'm pretty sure that is what you're getting at.

That is why, IMO the better government structures we have available to us are the ones who place the most power closest to the individual, and furthest away from the central collective as possible and still function.


Why does the title say "Libertarian" and then you reference mostly "Anarchy." Libertarians want a limited or reduced government role, not anarchy. Anyway, I say, have yourself an anarchy burger and hold the government please.


A couple of reasons. Firstly, the libertarian right today is mostly grounded upon the political ideology of Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard - essentially anarchists. Secondly, conservatives, minarchists and anarchists today all equate "freedom" with "freedom from the state" - so even if they're not actually anarchists they all see anarchism as a kind of theoretical ideal to some extent. Albeit, traditional conservatives generally understand the concept of "freedom from the mob" as well.


That's part of it yes.

That's part of my critique here. "The individual" is really just a stand in for the collective. Individual is singular. An individual can be free - singular. The individual - atomised collective - cannot.


Human beings are social creatures who live on a planet with limited resources. There is no way to get away from some system of group decision making and some system that provides for dispute resolution that provides outcomes that are acceptable. Total anarchy--at least in a populated world with limited resources--does not provide any level of acceptable outcomes and does not represent some sort of utopia. And there is no such thing as complete freedom in a populated world with limited resources.


I agree entirely. Anarchism is an infantile political ideology. Although a dictator approaches the ideal of individual liberty. A dictator is an anarch - the dictator is concerned with his own liberty and not the liberty of others.


Maybe off the main track, but: would it not be possible for a dictator to be concerned with the liberty of his citizens from foreigners; as well as from each other, to some extent? Or should that only be understood as the dictator's liberty to shape the world more to his liking?