“The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and the military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy… If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government—and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.”
“Fantastic doctrines (like Christianity or Islam or Marxism) require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. Thus the fear and the hate; thus the torture chamber, the iron stake, the gallows, the labor camp, the psychiatric ward.”
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
“Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.”
I am opposed to the government death penalty; I am also pro-life which makes me blessedly consistent. I don’t trust the government to be able to have the responsibility to mete out the severest penalty and to do it either professionally or with no ill intent. In the smaller sense, the evidence is massive of the queue of innocents who have been shot, hanged and poisoned for crimes they did not commit. In the larger sense, government puts us all on death row and it is just a matter of time before the cops kill you in your home or vehicle or we suffer a massive die-off in America from an EMP burst that takes us from zero to 1850 in one second.
I use this preamble to frame my severe skepticism of the state doing the right thing…ever.
I am not opposed to the death penalty in my house if an intruder comes in to do harm to me or mine. I am a Flinter in temperament and predisposition. Most of the laws on the books are noxious, useless and liberty-draining in their essence. Malum prohibitum is the state saying don’t do that because I told you not to. A monstrous fallacy whose logic only serves to reduce subject populations to assessed rentals on their freedom that can be wrested away at the drop of the constabulary’s hat. I daresay that one could throw every statute book into the bonfires across the nation when Americans finally wake up and throw off their shackles of serfdom from the local to the national level and folks would not find themselves in danger but would stumble into prosperity.
Will commerce and everyday living really come to a screeching halt because the coproaches don’t show up to work or the sloth-like city landscaping crews refuse to shamble from their abodes to dawdle at make-work throughout the burgs of America? All of a sudden, the economic illiterates occupying the municipalities across the nation go on strike for higher wages and more vacation time for weeks, nay months; will the country stagnate and fold onto itself?
Things would be difficult for about 24 hours and then voluntarism, persuasion and cooperation would emerge as the factors that make life worth living. No utopia this and there would be scores settled and inevitable failures but only the individuals would be responsible and not the nameless strangers who lord over every facet of our lives like pawns on a macabre chess board.
Innovation has never once sprung from the mind of a mob. Ever.
The heavy hand of the state and its shambling yoke-tenders would be out of work and the country would revitalize itself. Tens of thousands of Americans would wake up the next morning and look to the east and exclaim: “You can go away now; we have awakened from our prison slumber.” Ed Abbey made me say this.
I found Edward Abbey’s 1959 thesis on “ANARCHISM AND THE MORALITY OF VIOLENCE” over the weekend while reading a small tome entitled “Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist” by James Bishop, Jr. I have been an Abbey reader most of my adult life and found his books amusing and penetrating. He held a lifelong distrust of all authority, especially the state and the thesis provides an insight into the flame that burned in him at a rather tender age.
What one learns about personal political evolution is that a road traveled to the right is far more traveled than the opposite direction. It is rare indeed for folks to age and yearn for more government instead of less. I am a skeptic of the Left-Right paradigm but use it to simply illustrate the purpose. It is far more descriptive to chart one’s philosophical predisposition on a quadrant chart at whose corners are interventionist, collectivist, non-interventionist and individualist on whose map I am located within the nexus of the last two. Abbey was a strange brew at times but consistency escapes most of us for everything we believe.
He was a desert dweller who found the vast emptiness, solitude and sheer ferocity of nature to be a welcome refrain from dealing with the hubbub of civilization and the attendant disease of intrusive government. His books are lyrical, intense and peppered with brilliance.
Kirk Douglas starred in a screen treatment of Abbey’s novel, “The Brave Cowboy” in the early 1960s called “Lonely Are the Brave”. It is a powerful and stark film treatment of a cowboy (the unacknowledged unconscious anarchist in American history) marooned in a 20th century which continues to ”fence me in”. Douglas looked at it as one of his favorite roles in his film career.
Abbey was fond of saying that “sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul”. He discovered anarchism at a tender age and sought to find the evolutionary blueprint for it in the earlier writings of Greek philosophers and everyone in between which his thesis is peopled with and he asks a central question: will violence lead the people from their subject braces and chains into freedom? He thought the answer was no but he was no pacifist, he was a staunch supporter of gun rights and considered himself something of the cactus in which one could only get injured if you screwed with something or somebody. If you read “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and later “Hayduke Lives”, his growing frustration got the best of him as some of his characters started to break the First Rule in the Code: Harm No One.