Anarcho-Abolitionism: Carrying the Anti-Slavery Argument to its Logical End By Chris Dates

“Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”

~ Henry David Thoreau


Chattel slavery abolitionists stood in defiance of slavery. They argued that men do not have the moral right to own other men, and of course they were correct. The truth was on their side, and it was only a matter of time before the morality of the rest of the population caught up. Now, chattel slavery is seen as universally wrong, and the fact that this abhorrent institution existed for so long has left one hell of a scar on the moral history of mankind.

Despite all of the courageous efforts of the abolitionists, a particularly nasty form of slavery still blankets humanity. It is a dangerous form of slavery, because men have been tricked into thinking this form of slavery is the very pinnacle of freedom. The slavery that infects the world now is more of a free-range style of slavery; an evolutionary adaptation of human ownership. The ballot box is the master, but it is still the individual who is enslaved.  The tyrannous will of the majority has taken the place of the will of the single despotic master. The only civil recourse the individual has against this democratic offensive is to cast a vote himself in order to try and protect his life, liberty, and property. A feeble and incapable defense perhaps, but there are only two other avenues of recourse: peaceful secession, or violent revolution. One only happens when the other cannot peacefully be realized.

To wield power over an individual’s ability to choose is the same as wielding power over his body. It is the power of choice that makes us who we are. The body is the vehicle for free choice, and when the individual’s ability to freely choose is coercively forced, then the individual has become nothing more than an organic robot. An individual’s individuality spawns from the choices he makes; it is what makes up his personality. To remove the decision making from a person because you think he is too stupid or too selfish to decide for himself is to remove the very thing that makes him human. There is no point of having the freedom of movement if the individual does not have freedom of choice. Self-ownership is so much more than just ownership of the body, it is also ownership of the choices we make, good or bad. It is also the ownership of the consequences of those choices, good or bad. An example that we are all too familiar with: how many of you feel charitable on April 15th? I’ll bet not too many. The choice to give money voluntarily to the needy has been almost wholly removed from us. We did not freely decide to give, so we do not feel the goodness that usually accompanies the act of being charitable. This is what collectivists fail to grasp, and what most social scientists fail to admit. Nothing will fix the problems that face humanity, except for letting humans be humans. I have trust in humanity because I have trust in myself.

The collective is made up of individuals, so it’s power is derived from the individual. It is the only logical explanation. From taxation to secession, the group can only possess the powers of the individual. If the group claims the power of taxation then this means the individual has the power of taxation. This would mean that I have the power to not only lay taxes on my neighbor, I would also possess the power to collect, by force if necessary, the taxes I have laid on him. This is called theft, and having a super-majority of individuals who think it’s not theft doesn’t change the reality of it. Providing me with roads and schools with that money does not change the fact that  the money was stolen using force or the threat of force. To possess the power of secession is to possess the power to say no to the collective. Secession usually prompts thoughts of the separation of countries and nations. It’s almost always thought of as the fracturing of the collective; it’s never used in the context of the individual. If the individual does not possess the power to secede from the group, then the group does not possess the power to secede from the bigger group. The power of secession resides in the individual, but it is seen as absurd to take this position. I have actually been ridiculed by others claiming to be secessionists. The same argument that is used against the secession of the individual can be used against the secession of the collective. The insanity of this situation is that taxation is considered to be right, while secession is considered to be wrong. The reason it’s insane is because it’s perfectly backwards.

Secession down to the individual level would be considered to be anarchy and in the minds of most people chaos, but it is considered to be taking a stand for freedom when it’s done in a group. I don’t know where the breakdown comes from, but if an individual cannot hoist his own flag in defiance of the group, he is indeed a slave. If he cannot take his property and go home, then he does not own his home, his property or himself. This is why I am an anarcho-abolitionist/secessionist. I am for abolition and secession all the way down to the individual, it is the only moral choice. In order for one to be able to secede from the group, the group has to be able to identify the powers that reside in the individual, and also be able to identify the powers that collective could never possess, like the power to deny secession. That is the power of enslaving your fellow human, and no individual or group has ever possessed that power. To argue against secession is to necessarily argue for slavery, and that is what I stand in opposition to. Many people fear what would happen if this kind of thinking was ever embraced, but not me. I have studied history and I know the greatness the human race can achieve once they let each other be free.

I don’t have to prove freedom to be true; I only have to prove slavery to be false.

“[The average man] is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty — and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.”

~ H.L. Mencken

9 thoughts on “Anarcho-Abolitionism: Carrying the Anti-Slavery Argument to its Logical End By Chris Dates”

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  2. I talk to so many who get bogged down when they realize that self ownership cannot possibly be separated from self responsibility. And many of those can’t seem to make the connection to voluntary association and cooperation NOT being the opposite of personal responsibility, but a natural outcome of it.

    Most people have been conditioned for generations to believe that they should be “free” to do what they wish (to one extent or another), but that someone else should actually pay the price and bear the consequences if their choices are not good.

    Responsibility for consequences is the sticking point.

  3. Great article as usual, Chris; spot-on and simple. I don’t understand Gil’s [Editor delted] comment though, so maybe he can clarify.

    “If he cannot take his property and go home, then he does not own his home, his property or himself.”

    That sure looks right to me, so again I wonder what Gil is saying. Is he saying that we don’t really own ourselves because someone else will stop us from murdering him? That seems like a fractured conclusion, at best. Is “self-ownership” really under dispute here?

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  5. Thanks for the compliments everyone.

    I like concept of self-ownership. It implies rights as well as responsibilities.

    I’m not too sure what Gil was gettin’ after. Maybe he’ll fill us in. I don’t think I advocated for any violence with my essay, actually I think I argue for just the opposite.

  6. Anarchy is simply autonomy and self responsibility. What too many people today are conditioned to accept is the equivalent of forcing my neighbor to pay for my plumbing problems. Heck! It’s worse than that. It’s paying for a plumbers on-call fees because MAYBE that toilet will get stopped up and we can’t allow that to happen. I’ve challenged people with that sort of question and sarcastically asked “Now citizen it would be the neighborly thing to do so you don’t have a problem with that. Do you?” To which they’d say that was crazy and we’d both have a laugh. Of course it’s insane. But one thing is certain: the monkeys will draw weapons even upon unarmed people if threatened with no more luchre to steal. Only with sufficient numbers opposing their threats, and usually with enough firepower, can you make your position stand. No bullets need fly but the fact that they are there keeps the political simians in check. Notice they never attack anyone, in all aspects of life, they fear have the means to truly hurt them.

  7. Fantastic perspective as secession is never discussed with any credibility. The assumption is that secession is evil as the south was evil because they “wanted slavery”. To what degree is to be debated I’m sure.

    How does a man secede when to seced is to bring down the full force of the government dominated by the will of the majority?

    I will enjoy exploring your site and thoughts.

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