Every anarchist I know is, deep within, an optimist. That observation is often unbelievable to the casual observer, what with our frequent expressions of anger and frustration toward government and other forced collectives. But, beyond those frustrations lives an almost universal belief that one day an event, or a series of events, will occur setting into motion the elimination of government which will be replaced by a society based solely on voluntary connections.
While it would be nice to believe that on one special day the Statists will simply give up, recognize the errors of their ways and capitulate, such a belief is Pollyannaish at best and dangerous at worst. Sea change does not come as the result of intellectual debate. It is never a matter of semantics. And, regrettably, it never comes peacefully. And, to that end, a voluntary society will result from nothing less than a revolution, most likely several. And, for that reason, many anarchists are optimistically naive.
If I am right, then under what circumstances might people rise up and throw off their chains? I do not know, but I see more incidents in modernity that evidence there are some who are ready, not necessarily to overthrow a government, but to defend themselves against government aggression.
Here are three events, all recent, all within the United States, any or all of which could be a beginning of the move from Statism to Voluntaryism.
Kansas v. The USSA
Guns. Governments don’t like them, except when they have all of them, in which case they like them very much. And they want all of them because they find their citizens to be such pains in the ass, especially when those citizens are armed. Unfortunately for the current owners of the United States, its founders had a healthy fear of tyranny and recognized that when everything else fails to stop the powerful from abusing power, guns are an important, even necessary, alternative.
Currently, Obama and his anti-gun, full-Statist minions are trying to reform the debate by reforming history, asking questions like, “Just how many guns, and of what type, do Americans need to hunt animals? And how big do our magazines need to be to protect ourselves against our neighbors?” Disturbingly disingenuous. Jefferson and other Founders wrote extensively on the issue. The purpose of the Second Amendment has nothing to do with killing animals or your neighbors. Guns are for we the people should the government have to be overthrown. And yes, you need a lot of guns and big magazines to get that job done.
A few State governments, closer and more responsive to their constituents, have gotten the message and passed laws to insure citizens inside their borders will not be deprived of their Second Amendment rights, as was done recently in Kansas:
“It is unlawful for any official, agent or employee of the government of the United States, or employee of a corporation providing services to the government of the United States to enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States regarding a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the state of Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas. Violation of this section is a severity level 10 nonperson felony.”
In short, Kansas is saying that if the federal government attempts to govern firearms in that State, those doing the enforcing will end up in the State penitentiary. This seems legally defensible on at least a couple of levels. First, States have the power to nullify federal law if it is violative of the Constitution. Second, by attempting to regulate only arms firearms manufactured or owned within Kansas, the State may be successful in avoiding the assured federal argument that gun regulation falls under its Constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce.
Needless to say, Obama, through his gun-running Attorney General, disagrees, and had his minion Holder scribble a not-so-subtle threat to Kansas’ governor Sam Brownback saying the feds won’t honor Kansas’ law, considers Kansas’ attempt to protect the Second Amendment rights of its citizens is itself “unconstitutional,” and that federal agents will “continue to execute their duties,” which translated means they will kill anyone who gets in the way of their gun grab.
The makings of an armed conflict are in place.
Adam Kokesh and the March on DC
Adam Kokesh, former Marine and now a well-known libertarian activist announced on Facebook last week that he is planning a nonviolent protest in the District of Columbia which has some of the most stringent (and arguably most unconstitutional gun laws in the nation, allowing residents to possess only registered firearms on their own property, and forbidding them to carry them in public).
“We will march with rifles loaded and flung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated and cower in submission to tyranny,” Kokesh wrote. “Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington. We are truly saying in the subtlest way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”
Kokesh was brutally honest when he refused to predict what might happen if the police move in with force. And force is exactly what should be expected in light of a warning from DC Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier that her own armed forces will meet them at the border as will the US Park Police.
Later, in a pathetic attempt to co-opt the massive publicity Kokesh is receiving for his effort, a video producer for FreedomWorks is leading a parade of supposed libertarians using toy guns, and even had the chutzpah to schedule his a day earlier. He should just have everyone carry white flags and get it over with.
The makings of an armed conflict (at least in the case of the Kokesh march) are in place.
Cody Wilson, the Anarchist Behind the World’s First 3-D Printed Gun
Cody Wilson, a 25 year old law student at the University of Texas, has created a functioning handgun produced by a 3-D printer. Using electronic blueprints and plastic, Cody’s company, Defense Distributed, gives anyone with plastic and a printer the opportunity to make their own gun.
And, his ideas go well beyond making a buck on the idea. He recently observed, ” . . . [the pistol is] undetectable, but more importantly it’s unobservable by institutions and countries and sovereigns . . . This might be a politically important object . . . Really I see the battle as one of just trying to remain human and against you know massive forces, anonymous forces of discipline and control that we can’t really understand. I don’t think there’s a massive conspiracy. But I do think the self is under siege and I think liberty itself is under siege . . . ”
Sounds reasonably close to a call to revolution, but more a call to life without the State:
” . . . what this project’s really about . . . fuck your laws, you know what I’m saying? It’s stepping up, it’s being able to go, you know what, I don’t like this legal regime [and] I neatly step outside of it.”
Do you believe the feds will intervene on 3-D firearms? Yeah, me too.
And that will likely leave thousands of 3-D printed weapons in the hands of those who want to keep them while the government will determine, horror of horrors, they are unregistered and subject to seizure.
The makings of an armed conflict are in place.
A Commonality in Events
These developments, each different with varying geneses, share an important commonality, or at least potential: an armed response to State aggression. In the case of the Kansas governor, it is a turf war between governments. With Adam Kokesh, it is an in-your-face attempt to force the government to acknowledge rights under the Constitution or arrest him for exercising those rights. And, for Cody Wilson it all about individual freedom, various Amendments be damned.
Some readers of these stories will reel backwards in horror. The very suggestion that the end of violence will result from violence is abhorrent to many who subscribe to the non-aggression principle, but history tells us that change, real change, results from revolutions, from standing up and saying, “no more,” and then defending against the onslaught of the State as it retaliates to crush dissent.
Which brings me to the point: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Chairman Mao said that, and while he was wrong about a lot of things, he got that one right and every anarchist and libertarian should remember it, too, not with a view toward primary aggression to accomplish a political goal but to understand that the State will aggress against those who question its legitimacy, especially those who are prepared to defend themselves – like Brownback, Kokesh, and Wilson.