Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Column on Why I'm nearly an anarchist

Confession of a Near-Anarchist

Tibor R. Machan

No, I am not really an anarchist in the sense of believing neither in law
nor in government. I think both are good things, properly conceived,
established, and maintained. That would be pretty much along lines
sketched in the Declaration of Independence, following the idea of John
Locke, developed further by Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Ludwig von
Mises, Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick and a host of other classical liberals and

What has turned me into a practicing anarchist, one who has no respect of
the actual legal order under which he lives?at least not some of the now
salient and dominant elements?is how far the country?s laws?including the
way its Constitution is understood by the Supreme Court? have strayed from
the principles of the Declaration.

The USA has by now become something of a representative tyranny, meaning,
those elected by some of the people?not a whole lot of them, if you do the
math?are imposing their will on us all and, yes, the Supreme Court and the
rest of the courts are backing up this vicious charade. Under the
circumstances I have virtually no respect for the law.

Oh, I still consider it my obligation to obey much of the criminal law,
which basically prohibits direct violations of individual rights. Even if
these violations didn?t comprise the substance of the law, I would abstain
from committing any because they are substantially just. Don?t murder,
anyone, don?t steal from anyone, don?t assault anyone, do not trespass on
other?s property, etc., and so forth?these deserve loyalty.

But when it comes to all the powers that the various governments of our
country?federal, state, county, municipal?have managed to accrue to
themselves (with much complicity by a lot of the citizenry), they are
plainly unjust, virtually the opposite of what government ought to be in a
society of free and responsible human beings. We now have a nearly
completely paternalistic state; and the highest court of the land provides
it with transparent rationalizations in case after case, with but a few
decisions falling in line with the basic political ideal set out in the
Declaration (probably by accident). (In that document we find some
enlightening ideas about how such a government may?even ought to?be
overthrown because it has gotten thoroughly corrupted.)

Yes, other places around the globe are often a lot worse, although not in
all respects, when it comes to the quality of their legal order. But
America has become depressingly corrupt in what might be considered its
very own terms?what with all its laws banning this and imposing that on
everyone, punishing citizens mercilessly for perfectly peaceful activities
that various bullies in or out of government (including the courts) wish
to control, regulate, regiment. That is, frankly, an outrage in a country
that started with such marvelous notions as everyone having an unalienable
right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How, given this clear
statement in the founding document, is it tolerable for politicians,
bureaucrats, judges, and justices to sanction subjecting us all to myriads
of absolutely vicious edicts, edicts about conduct that is none of anyone
else?s business but that of the persons who perform it (and perhaps of
their intimates)?

Think of it?this is supposed to be a free country, one in which adult men
and women get to run their own lives, dispose of their own resources, for
better or for worse! But, instead, it is one in which people are
constantly tyrannized?supervised mostly by various ambitious incompetents
when it comes to their commerce, their professional affairs, what they
consume, with whom they associate, and nearly everything else (except, to
some extent, what they say and write, although with government-backed
political correctness running rampant, that, too, is under serious threat).

So then why obey the law at all? Well, for one, they have the weapons to
back up their petty but accelerating tyrannies, let?s not forget about
this. You resist strongly enough, you may be shot, period. Then, also,
there is hope?the hope for improvement, for the eventual recovery and
restoration of the ideals of the Declaration, the abandonment of the mad
dash for the reactionary system of top down government (with the minor
modification that instead of monarchs, we will have committees dictating

Yes, I merely comply with the bulk of the law, I follow it because I
don?t cherish being in jail and being silenced in my admittedly modest
efforts to arrest and reverse these trends so that the ideals of the
Founders get a good chance finally?not because the Founders were angels
but because by all accounts they were right, beyond any reasonable doubt.

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