Tu Ne Cede Malis
It’s been a month, and I’m back tonight with what I hope you will find to be a thoughtful, important post. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been watching what has been going on in this country politically with various emotions. Some of you may be happy that Trump is our president. Some of you may be furious. Some, like me, may be generally ambivalent, although I maintain that I sincerely fucking hate the Clintons.
You guys know by now that I’m an anarchist, and most specifically that I’m an anarcho-capitalist. Ask most AnCaps and they will tell you that anarcho-capitalism is the only true anarchy. I’m not going to hammer out the finer points of that argument because I know that probably none of you care, although I will say point-blank that you need to steer clear of anarcho-communists (or as your grampa called them, “Commies”) and anarcho-immoralists (“red marketeers” – think “A Clockwork Orange”).
It is entirely likely that a lot of you don’t really know what exactly an anarcho-capitalist is, beyond that it’s a far-out version of libertarianism. In a nutshell, AnCaps do not believe in the state because the state must necessarily use coercion with people, and that violates the Non-Aggression Principle (the NAP). They believe in free and voluntary association, property rights in the sense of self-ownership and land (homesteading) rights, and they believe that the functions of the state can be effectively privatized. Whether or not you think any of this sounds crazy or not is irrelevant, as I’m just laying out the basics of what Ancapistan is all about.
I am proud to be an anarcho-capitalist. I would never say otherwise because that would be dishonest. I feel, in a lot of ways, that my anarchism was hard-won, from an intellectual standpoint. It took me a long time to get where I am, and I have a lot further to go in my learning, but I love it, and it is something for which I feel a genuine passion. I never felt like it was something that I needed to be ashamed of.
As it turns out, not everybody is enamored with the term “anarchist.” Actually, a lot of people think of “anarchist,” and they hear The Sex Pistols start playing and the IRA hucking car bombs at people or some masked marauders in Eastern Europe burning down buildings, shooting policemen and soldiers, and raping women in alleys. Perhaps not the most savory image. But like it or not, that’s what people think of when you tell them that you’re an anarchist, at least most of the time. I’m guilty of that, too – I assume they mean AnComms, and I don’t blame people for disliking them.
Well, with things going the way they have been in American politics, AnComms are far more welcome than AnCaps, apparently, even though the first group will burn out your business and break your car windows and the second will… Probably just write a blog, fight with some commies online, and then go work on the software that they’re writing. AnCaps aren’t known for their propensity to even congregate.
The American left, however, has reached a point where they are, for the most part, clapping their hands over their ears and resorting to screeching about safe spaces, Hitler, and oppression whenever someone says something that they don’t like. They shout down speakers at conservative events, march on Washington for rights they haven’t lost (and which government doesn’t grant, anyway), and just generally make a nuisance of themselves. Or so I thought.
I thought that it was just a bunch of overprivileged college kids wanting something to bitch about. I really did. I thought it was going to go away. I honestly never thought that I would see something like this.
This flier came out of the University of Kansas (KU). I do not know who provided the picture, and I do not know whether this came from a left-leaning student group or from the university itself. I only know that it is real, and it was being distributed around the campus last month.
I am on a list.
Did you read it? Did you read what it said? “Given the violent and dangerous nature of groups such as this…” “Coded language.” “…they are most susceptible to being recruited by neo-nazi (sic) and other hate groups.” “Call the Office of the Provost.”
I would be lying if I said this didn’t scare me when I first read it. I actually read it several times and wondered how it came to be that I would be getting thrown in with neo-Nazis. I honestly don’t even know what half of those symbols are or what they mean. I just saw “anarcho-capitalist” in with “white supremacist” and “neo-Nazi” and it scared me. Is this what they think I am?
The answer, of course, is yes. There are people in this country that think, because I disapprove of safe spaces, think intersectional feminism is completely fucked, and because I don’t subscribe to statism or collectivism, that I am somehow akin to a German fascist. If they knew or understood the first thing about those two concepts, they would know that if there is one thing a true anarchist cannot be, it is a statist or a collectivist. I reject both of those notions absolutely. I reject fascism absolutely.
For that, I am on a list.
Because I believe in free enterprise. Because I don’t believe in tariffs. Because I don’t believe in the aggressive American foreign policy. Because I don’t believe we can tax ourselves into prosperity. Because I want to audit the Fed. Because I don’t want redistribution of wealth. Because I believe that welfare has disproportionately harmed minority communities. Because I believe that children should have two parents. Because I like shooting guns. Because I don’t believe campuses are unsafe places where men are lining up to rape women. Because I don’t vote and don’t want a president.
For that, I am on a list.
I forwarded the flier to the Bro-Co a few hours ago. His reaction was the same as mine: shock and yes, a little bit of fear. We both expressed concern for our children. How will they, likely having the same beliefs as their parents, navigate a world run by these kinds of people? And I know what he was thinking but never said: What if we’re doing wrong by them? What if we are making their lives worse and not better? Worst of all, what if… What if it goes this way, to a real police state? What if some day the brownshirts come knocking on our doors and take us away and take them somewhere else? What if they throw us behind bars for thought crimes? What if that happens? Will we have failed them worse than if we had just let them grow up “normal?”
I thought about my grandpa, and the Bro-Co did, too. He wondered if maybe this wasn’t the way Grandpa felt about the world we inherited, that he was a little bit afraid for us. I’m glad, in a way, that he didn’t live to see this – not when he rubbed elbows with Death so many times fighting against it in WWII. I think it sicken him to think that his grandkids were on a list, not because he was ashamed of us, but because he would be angry at the existence of such a thing in the first place.
Once I’d had a day or two to mull over my reaction, I decided that, although it made me nervous, I wasn’t going to be afraid. I maintain what I said: I am proud to be an AnCap. I know that I am not any of the things that the person(s) who made that poster wants you to think I am, and the people that know me will know by my actions what and who I am. I will continue to call statists out on their bullshit lines, badly used statistics, logical fallacies, and egregious use of the terms “fascist,” “(neo-) Nazi,” and “Hitler.”
Ludwig von Mises left Austria because he was a Jew when the Nazis were coming into power, and not just a Jew, but a Jew that opposed statism. He fled to Switzerland to continue his work in economics, but eventually he and his wife decided to immigrate to the U.S. Within six years, he had written his magnum opus in a language previously quite foreign to him, and he laid the foundations for the modern advancement of economic liberty. And so, in the grand tradition of the bravery of Mises speaking truth to power, I leave you with his personal motto: Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior. Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.