Publisher’s Note: Pete at WRSA asked me to complete this interview for him. He has been kind enough to link to my bloviations here at ZeroGov and this is the least I could do. I can entertain any further questions on my blog or at WRSA.
1) Tell the readers about yourself and your experiences.
I’m a retired Army officer who has served a number of tours in neo-imperialist shitpits planet-wide with the Legions and as a contractor. I have a BA in Political Economy and an MA in Asymmetric Warfare (Resistance and Rebellion).
I am the founder of Zerogov.com and have two published books on Amazon with a fiction novel of Fourth Generation Warfare on the horizon called The Cancer Club.
I live in the American Southwest with my wife and the mother of our five children (who keep boomeranging back home).
2) When did you first notice politics?
As a volunteer for Greenpeace in my distant youth, steeped in the misconceptions and naiveté of a system that actually worked to benefit the Helots it farmed on the tax plantations. The rest of my life would teach me otherwise.
3) How did your political thinking evolve over time?
My philosophical and intellectual journey from a mushy post-WWII liberal to a libertarian was greatly influenced when I attended Humboldt State University in the northern reaches of Absurdistan, known to most as California after a stint in the Navy. My formative experiences in the USN would shape the conditions for the transformation anyone in military life can bear witness to. HSU was where you went if you thought Berkeley was too right wing and oppressive. I happened to fall under the academic thrall of two Austrian economists hiding in the basement of the Economics Department. The collectivist nature of the student body and the Sovietized professoriate would go a long way toward forcing a deeper defense of my emerging individualist worldview. This also set me on the path to historical revisionism and a complete deprogramming of all the learned nonsense I had forced into my skull through years of government mind laundries.
Among libertarians, I am a one-digit minority in completely rejecting statist constructs and government as legitimate moral vectors of human relationships. I think the idea of limited government is absurd on its face and deeply flawed in all its assumptions. There is absolutely no historical precedent for it east or west. Politician is just a more neutral word for violence broker, nothing more and nothing less.
The research I embarked on to examine the American Founding forced the realization that the Constitution was a devilishly clever slave document and that the 18th and 19th century abolitionists asked all the right questions but ultimately stopped short of the right answer; I read hundreds of books to include consuming the six volumes of Liberty Fund’s Founders Constitution (which I gave as a gift to Fred who runs the Revolutionary War Veteran’s Association and the Appleseed program to get it off my shelves). Several things really turned me around to include Royce and Spooner but when I read the massive three volumes of the foreign relations between the states from 1775 to 1787 as a preamble to finishing the Anti-Federalist Papers, all the pieces fell into place.
No matter how well-intentioned the document that “binds”, human psychopathy will inform the entire political structure at the expense of the Helots subject to the apparatchiks’ wishes and diktats issued.
How many shelves of regulation are groaning in various government offices across the fruited plain whose touchstone is innocent words like “general welfare” and the “commerce clause”?
I tend to refer to myself as an abolitionist instead of an anarchist because the latter term makes most folks fill their pants in fear and misunderstanding.
I also think my military training, experiences and saturation in the incredibly dysfunctional and sclerotic American and Western war machines showed me the futility of socialism working and the apex factor of war-making in expanding state control over every facet of human transaction. My eyes were forced wide open as a combat tourist around the globe as described earlier.
4) Who do you consider your top five influences in that evolution, and for each, why?
I’m going to make this more accessible by listing intellectual and philosophical influences on my thinking and worldview. If folks read my essays at ZeroGov, they can get hundreds of recommendations for further elucidation in the concepts and brain zephyrs that have shaped my liberty journey.
First and foremost, philosophical Stoicism from Seneca to Epictetus to Aurelius to Shackleton and everything in between, these are the original abolitionists, the true believers and Socratic drillers of human self-government. Again and again, I go back to these foundational thinkers to really divine the fundamental constructs of a just society based on the atomistic individual.
Austrian economics from the early school under Menger to von Mises and even better in Rothbard; a whole crop of new Austrian observers are on the scene to further mine and research all the implications that are playing out in this nadir of human civilization. These are the bright lights that illuminate a path out of the murderous thought-rubble that passes for thinking today in academia and the government-media complex. When matched against the scientific axioms being discovered in chaos theory and complexification, it makes sense at the individual and meta-level. Per economics, keep in mind that all macroeconomics is merely a sophisticated academic rationalization for government intervention and the throttling of individual volition and incentive. For better or worse, I have never finished an Ayn Rand book nor do I break bread with Objectivists.
Libertarian historical revisionism from Lysander Spooner to Harry Elmer Barnes to Jeffrey Rogers Hummel that plumbs history to divine the one golden thread that runs through it continuously: it all comes down to power and the consolidation and expansion thereof through the initiation and aggressive monopoly of violence. It was Gibbon who opined there were only five Roman rulers who retained a patina of humanity in their conduct of the state over the course of seven centuries. Five. The Gods bless Cincinnatus.
Military history and the evolution of irregular warfare; there is no more compact and interdisciplinary pursuit of history and human action than military history. When you tease out all the factors both obvious and sublime, it paints a vivid portrait of how state murder machines behave and why warfare is the health of the state. It also offers hundreds if not thousands of ingenious and mostly unheralded lower register forces in the irregular warfare arena who best these numerically and technologically superior behemoths time after time. I offer the current Middle Eastern troubles for the Western military as Exhibit A that technology may not be the deciding factor in any warfare that is not cosmic in its dimension. For a snapshot, I would urge you to read Arthur C. Clarke’s short story Superiority from 1951.
Finally, the evolution of my secular if innate antinomian attitudes leading to my dismissal of the state as anything more than slavery animates most of my thinking now. Once I shed any pretense of party affiliation or getting misty when a colored rag is flying at half-mast accompanied by bad music, I no longer feel shackled by the fog that is necessary to genuinely feel patriotism or a heart-felt connection to my wardens and zookeepers. I can’t go back from the moral standard I have planted in the ground despite all the Rube Goldberg attempts by the usual suspects to bring back the Constitution or take DC back or any of the other delusional nonsense.
Buppert’s Corollary to Acton’s Axiom is “that power attracts the corruptible and absolute power attracts even worse”. If you wish to rule over others as a statist, you will justify all manner of barbarity: fining, kidnapping, caging, maiming and killing of those who resist the tender assignations of the mandarins of the state.