“If you want a vision of the future, picture a boot stamping on a human face….forever” – George Orwell, 1984
If this quote didn’t immediately find itself permeating your brain while reading Lew Rockwell’s Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, I encourage you to re-read 1984. With that being said, we must make an edit to the quote – it’s not a vision of the future, it’s an unfortunate picture of the present. For too long, we’ve lived under the thumb of the totalitarians blindly accepting their depredations because “[it] didn’t happen to me”. Jefferson rightly notes, “that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
It’s clear that we need a revolution, not of violence but of words. The pen is truly mightier than the sword and the real checks and balances on perpetually expanding government across the world are not the Magna Cartas and the Constitutions, it’s books like Lews, ones that spread the reality and expose the State for what it truly is – a malevolent entity, hellbent on enriching itself at the expense of the rest of us.
Utilizing Hazlitt’s prose and Bastiats insights, Rockwell has taken the task not of confining logical rigor solely to economics but to a more esoteric, yet equally important topic of Anarcho-Capitalism. The book is short – not of content, as it packs a solid punch in the sub 200 page manifesto, but on pages, as the prose reads so cleanly and the topics so well illuminated that when you’re finished, you’re surprised how little time has actually passed. Building upon the solid foundation of the likes of Rothbard with additional theoretical inputs from Spooner, Molinari and the great Hans Hoppe, Rockwell takes us on a memorable journey down a path that some have never discovered. He begins the narrative utilizing the structure of production, laying out his own personal journey to the Anarcho-Capitalist thought and ending on “How Would it Work” a practical application of the theoretical construct. With that being said, Lew reminds us of this throughout, this is NOT the theoretical foundation of the movement, For a New Liberty and the Ethics of Liberty are the groundwork, but this is a brilliant “Lesson” on why this movement is necessary and growing by providing real examples of how the current American regime is so tortuous and so disastrous for the world that there is only one survivable alternative – Anarcho-Capitalsim.
I don’t want to spoil the readers enjoyment of the material by simply offering a summary of the loaded content, but Lew effectively shows the path of the State’s destruction through the Central Bank and it’s disastrous consequences of unifying Big Business with Big Government and completely dismantles that which we can’t utter in polite society – facism. He doesn’t simply utilize pure conjecture much like so called “convention wisdom” but provides actual examples of State offensives and the “Stateless” alternative to such actions.
The truth always wins in the end – but it tends to take much longer than we expect. Spooner, Molinary, Mises and Rothbard didn’t live to see their ideas literally come to fruition; but they didn’t have the Internet and the massive rapidity to which great information can travel to the masses. They also didn’t have Lew’s book – let’s expedite the process of truth spreading and announce to the world, that liberty in our time is truly possible!
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.