IPFS Larken Rose

More About: Philosophy: Anarchism

Scared of Freedom

There are a lot of people who consider themselves freedom advocates, who, with righteous zeal and indignation, vehemently rail against the injustice, corruption and oppression "government" continually spews forth. However, many of those same people, when they hear someone suggesting life without the monstrosity called "government," will immediately go into turbo-backpedal mode, insisting that some "government" is needed, that we need to work to fix the system, and that we need a good "government," that just does good stuff, and protects us, and so on.

The situation is a lot like a battered spouse, who is given the opportunity to escape her abuser, but who insists that she can't leave, that he really loves her, that she needs him, that the relationship can be fixed. Such a response shows that, as much as the abuser is a nasty scumbag, there is also a serious problem in the mind of his victim, which enables the abuse to continue.

So it is with statists who just want a nicer, gentler "government." They don't actually want freedom. In fact, they are scared to death of freedom, which is why they refuse to give up the very beast that they are constantly condemning and complaining about. They insist that "government" is needed to protect people, to maintain liberty and justice, and do nothing more. The fact that the gang called "government" has never done that, anywhere in the world, at any time in history, doesn't shake "limited statists" from their faith in the idea that that "needs" to happen.

Those who glorify the Constitution, for example, don't like to accept that it utterly and completely failed to keep the beast "limited." Those who still focus on voting don't like to admit that democracy has utterly and completely failed to lead to freedom or justice. Those who still advocate limited "government" don't like to admit that there has never been any document, any ritual, any system or plan, that has resulted in an actually limited "government."

Those who speak of getting back to the Constitution refuse to see that the Constitution was just another tyrant trick. Aside from the obvious example of slavery continuing under the Constitution, the thuggery of the new "servant government" became evident very quickly. Four years after the Constitution was ratified, the new tyrants created an extortion racket ("tax") related to whiskey, and then used the violence of the state to crush resistors. Eleven years after the Constitution was ratified, the new tyrants were locking people up for criticizing "government" (under the alien and sedition acts). The document has been used an excuse for tyranny since it was written. Why is there any reason to believe that trying the same thing again (as if that's even possible) would work out any better the second time around?

More to the point, why would someone who advocates a puny, weak little "government," that does almost nothing, be so utterly terrified of having no "government" at all? Again, the excuse is usually that we need some form of "government" to protect us. But that is not what "governments" do, and it never has been. You might as well argue that your town needs a carjacker in order to protect you from car thieves. How can we "need" "government" to be what it never has been, and how can we "need" it to do what it has never done? And why would anyone expect, or even hope, that that will ever change?

Every gang called "government" commits extortion, and calls it "taxation." Every gang called "government" threatens and bosses non-violent people around, and calls it "law enforcement." Ron Paul recently stated that the only proper purpose of "government" is to promote liberty. The only trouble is, not only has there never been such a "government" in the history of the world, but by definition, there can't be. If there was an organization that only defended individual liberty, there would be no reason to call it "government." It would have no power to "tax" and no power to "legislate." In fact, it would have no power, no rights, and no "authority" that you don't have all by yourself. It wouldn't have a monopoly, and it couldn't force people to fund it. It would be a private security company, or many of them. Nonetheless, when someone like me advocates what "limited government" people say they want--organizations that only defend against aggression--most people can't handle it. In fact, they won't even allow themselves to think about it.
A while back I made a deal, offering to send anyone a copy of my book, "The Most Dangerous Superstition," on these conditions: the person has to read the book, and then, if it changes the way they see the world, they pay for it; or if it doesn't, they send the book back. Over a hundred people have paid, after reading it. Of the four books I've gotten back, three of the books looked a lot like the reader never made it halfway through.

It's a small book, the wording and concepts in the book are quite simple to follow, and the people agreed to read the whole thing. So why didn't they? Because they have been indoctrinated to the point where there are some things they literally don't dare to think about. When their minds start to approach something completely outside the authoritarian paradigm they were raised in, they mentally flinch, and back away. And, I'm sorry to say, most people who consider themselves freedom advocates are the same way. I'm even more sorry to say, I was that way myself for many years. I still insisted on pretending that there is such a thing, or at least could be such a thing, as legitimate, purely defensive "government." I now realize that there isn't, and there can't be.

If your ultimate goal is to be bossed around and coercively controlled in a limited manner, to be extorted and robbed in a limited manner, and to have everyone around you victimized by similar theft and aggression in a limited manner, then I guess we have different goals. You see, I want you (and everyone else) to be free. All the way free. Not robbed at all. There is a fundamental difference between being a free human being, and being the property of a relatively benign, compassionate master. If you're still advocating "government," you're only shooting for the latter. And you won't even get that.

To those of us who were trained to be the subjects of a ruling class (which was almost everyone), the idea of a world of equals can be a foreign, disturbing concept. Heck, it's even called "anarchy," in case you weren't scared enough of it already. And there are some who are trying hard to keep it so that, even if you're one of those people righteously pontificating about how evil and destructive "government" is, you won't actually get to the point of advocating true freedom, or even to the point of being able to think about it rationally. Freedom is unpredictable and scary, and the psychological security blanket known as "government," despite its horrendous track record in the real world, feels so much more comfortable and predictable.

The promise of an omnipotent good guy, who will make everything fair and safe, is so tempting that even otherwise rational people still try to hallucinate such a thing into existence. They insist that we need the magical (and mythical) entity called "government" to keep us mere mortals in line. And when the monster they create turns around and stomps on them, oppresses them, extorts them and assaults them instead, they then say that we need to modify the monster, or maybe even get a new monster. But if you suggest life without the monster, those same people freak out. "We can't have live without any monster at all! We just need a wise, compassionate, limited monster!" The success of authoritarian indoctrination can be seen in the fact that even many of those being eaten by the monster will continue to defend the monster's existence.

Well, if the evils done in the name of "authority" and "government" ever get so bad that you are willing to re-examine a few fundamental concepts and principles, then read "The Most Dangerous Superstition." Until then, keep trying to cage the omnipotent monster that you created, and that you continue to create, and see how well that works.

Allow me to end with a low blow: All of you out there horrified at all the oppression and injustice going on--the police state lunacy, the murderous war-mongering, the socialistic robbery and state control of everything--remember the seed that this grew from. The Constitution. This is what "limited government" becomes when applied to real life. How do you like it so far? To those who say that a stateless society will never work, how has the "stateful" society been working so far? To put it another way, "government" sounds good in theory … but it will never work.  
< snicker >


20 Comments in Response to

Comment by
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I am surprised that every one of these comments is dancing around the real problem. Yes, the "PUPPET GOVERNMENTS" that are quite literally owned by the huge multi-conglomerate corporations only make the laws and rules and regulations that are bought and paid for by the corporations. Governments are not the boss. Corporations are. Corporations have their"PUPPET GOVERNMENTS" make laws to protect them from you, not to protect you from them.

Comment by Ed Price
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Yes, it is absolutely time to try freedom from oppression. But, implementing freedom might force others to be free, even if they want to use their freedom to remain in partial slavery. There is only ONE way that real FREEDOM can be implemented.  After all, it was freedom that...

1. allowed SWAT to execute Jose Guerena (SWAT used their SWAT freedom to execute him.);
2. way back in the early 1900s, a small group of people used their freedom to start the Federal Reserve Bank;
3. Congress used (and still uses) its freedom to abstain from repealing the Fed;
4. people throughout America use their freedom to ignore important Proposition material in favor of a bunch of piddly Propositions that don't really change things much;
5. Hitler used his freedom to start the thing that became WWII.

And you can go on and on with the multitudes of ways that freedom-loving people used and still use their freedom, both to enhance the freedom of all, and to take away the freedoms of others.

Can you find a true benefactor who has power? Is there a real method for forcing true freedom down the throat of everybody? How do you keep a good benefactor from becoming a tyrant once he has come to power? And what is the method that really works to keep a free person from becoming a tyrant?

There is really only 1 way. But until that way comes about, forms of Government similar to the the constitutional Governments in the USA are probably the best bet. But only if a good percent of the people wake up and use them correctly.

Comment by Unsheepled Michael
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 It  time  we  tried  freedom :)  ONCE

We  have  had  all other  ad  nauseum - 

millions  of  former statist are begging for  real  change :)

Comment by Ed Price
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What is so hard to understand about this?

What would happen if all the governments of the world voluntarily disbanded today, right now? Wouldn't that be wonderful? Wouldn't it be terrific if we could all get on with our lives without the threat of a government to harm us anymore? But here is the big question: If it happened this way HOW LONG WOULD IT LAST?

How long would it take for a few of the people to become thieves and start to steal from their neighbors? And when each thief received his just rewards - punishment or death - from every individual neighbor he was stealing from, how long would it take before several of the thieves realized that they needed the strength of numbers in order to have success in their thievery?

When the thieves get together and form gangs, that is GOVERNMENT. When the honest people realize that they can't, individually, withstand the thieves' government, they MUST form a government of their own to fight the thieves' government.

Do the honest people love the idea of taking time out from families, businesses, jobs, the pleasures of life, just to form a government for their own self protection? Certainly not! Who wants to do this? But it is a requirement, in some cases, just to be able to survive.

The government of the honest people succeeds in destroying the government of the thieves. In fact, it is so successful that the honest people think that they might have use for it in the future. So they DO NOT dissolve their government when they should. This is where the problem starts. Why?

The shrewder of the thieves that are left, and some of the honest people who become corrupt, wiggle their way into the good government and slowly corrupt it, turning it to do the exact thing it was designed to prohibit.

So, what is the answer? Government, in some form, is here to stay, just as freedom and liberty can never completely die... except in the death of all people.

Personally, now that I understand the above, I am in favor of limited government, and punishment for the truly guilty and freedom for the truly innocent, with mercy for all where there is doubt about their guilt.

If our present Governments cannot or will not be corrected, they will fall. Their falling will not necessarily happen at the hands of the honest individuals who are being harmed in all this. It may happen simply because the Governments become so corrupt that they collapse from within - their own members fighting among themselves and destroying each other.

Comment by Jukit Babalu
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Larken,  dont ya know u can trust a man who calls himself "pure trust"? Pure meaning pure in troll, err... i mean soul? Whats amatter wit choo? Lol

Boy do we all need more brothers like you... who we all can really... trust 

send me an email using hushmail please

Jukit babalu



Comment by Christopher Broughton
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Anarchism IS limited government, or governance, to reject anarchism is to abandon any meaningful limitations on government.

Comment by Christopher Broughton
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Larken, the phenomenon you are describing is "Stockholm Syndrome."

Someone below commented that absolutely no government is impossible, this is true, but anarchism does not advocate NO government, or governance, anarchism holds that only invasive people should face governing force against them, for example: Taxation. When the political class claims it has monopoly authority to extort money from peaceful individuals, and use that money to "provide" services that some of those taxed do not consent to funding, this is NOT an example of just governance, or just power derived from the consent of the governed, this is an example of extortion. A just government is one that is not funded by extortion, and just governance can be justly performed by ANYONE, not just the political class. Even a rapist is governing the actions of their victim as they hold them down, and violate them, this is analogous to the kind of "governance" anarchist oppose.

Anarchist law, and governance would be voluntarily funded, and only punish wrongdoers. Anarchist law would punish the rapist, and the extortioner, but leave the peaceful homesteader in peace. Anarchist law is logic, and reason based law, based on the non-aggression principle, the law of equal liberty, etc..., statist law is law based on the principle of the divine right of kings, or the divine right of majority, it is based on the whims of the political class.

Comment by Olde Reb
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 freedom imposes responsibility

Comment by Bob Podolsky
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I applaud another great article by Larken Rose!

For a more detailed look at the relationships between ethics, law, and government, read http://titanians.org/ethics-law-government/ .

For an understanding of exactly how and why government cannot be "fixed", read http://titanians.org/b-o-r-g-%e2%80%93-the-robot-we-call-government/ .

If, after reading the two articles above, you still think we need government, you might as well stop calling yourself a "freedom-lover" - because in fact you're a happy slave - hopelessly trapped in the MATRIX.


Comment by Larken Rose
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Holy smokes, GrandPoobah. "Government" doesn't stop the psychopaths. It deifies them, and puts them on thrones. How well did the myth of "government" protect people AGAINST psychopaths like Stalin, Mao, Lenin, Hitler, Moussilini, Pol Pot, etc.? Creating a ruling class--a bunch of people thought to have the RIGHT to forcibly control others--can and will NEVER be a protection against psychopaths. Instead, it will increase their capacity for damage a million-fold. Just how much murder, torture, terrorism, theft and violence must be perpetrated in the name of "authority" before people give up the looney notion that "government" is what PROTECTS people from evil-doers??

Comment by Missouri Boy
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To Larken and Pure Trust,

This is a wonderful debate, please keep it going.  Both of these trains of thought are informative and worthy.  It sounds like the problem may be just the definitions of government, anarchy, freedom, liberty, and love.  Very interesting! 


Comment by Doug Nusbaum
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do a search on the topic orwells boot. I will be number 1 on all the engines. look for factotum or nusbaum. I discuss some of this problem there. Here are two points. The problem of the commons, and the problem of psychopaths (1 to 5% of the population depending on your definition) for whom you, Mr. Rose, are food. You are either live food (cattle) or dead food (steak), but because of his leadership abilities and complete lack of remorse you will end up as his food.

Governments are merely ways, that often fail, to control those psychopaths. and I would like to take you up on your offer with the additional proviso that if I can use your book in a new paper that I am writing, I will still pay you for it even if it does not change my view. 

Comment by charles steiner
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I agree, Mr. Larken Rose. I agree with you and that freedom is about anarchy, because no limited government ever remains limited and government cannot be trusted -- ever - to simply "protect and defend" individual rights. I also agree that most people do not want freedom. I know an Iraqi guy who even tried to kill Sadam Hussein in order to be free and yet now, in America, after being rescued from death and living in the U.S. for more than a decade, he still thinks "limited government" is good and necessary for "rights" and "education." I am glad you understand freedom and that human beings were not meant to be ruled by anyone but ourselves.

Comment by Ed Price
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Since pure freedom is an idealistic notion - something that cannot exist in this life - what is the alternative? Isn't "liberty" about as close as one can, practically, come to freedom? And even "pure liberty" is something that is, by its nature, almost entirely idealistic.

The only way to remain free when others use their freedom to enslave you, is to fight to destroy their freedom... the freedom they are using to enslave you. If they happen to be big and strong, you just might need help in your fight. When you join with others in a common cause that supports freedom and fights involuntary servitude, you need organization, procedure, due process... you need government.

Nobody wants the problem of government. But it is far better to have it than to lose your freedom.

Comment by Ed Price
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Thanks, Larken.

The point is that complete lack of Government cannot exist longer than about 2 seconds. Why not? Because, if all the governments of the world fell this second, there are a bunch of greedy SOBs that would immediately start making plans about how to take over. And they would be implementing their plans the next second.

Since we cannot individually withstand all of these Overlords and whatever groups of followers they might put together, it is to our best interest to have our own "organization" in place to counteract them.

Who wants to have the complicated life of having to put a proper government together just to fight the overlords? But, if there happens to be freedom for a little while... IT WON'T LAST. Look at the Bonnie and Clyde story.

Freedom in weakness does not stand. "Government" is only another word for organization. However, in the United States of America, the word "government" is taking on new meaning.

Comment by Ed Price
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All people are similar. Everybody needs air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, clothing, shelter, and love.

People are all dissimilar in that nobody needs the above in the same quantity and the same quality at the same time. Government is simply a method to see that nobody forces his quantity and quality of needs on anybody else.

The problem with the U.S. Government is that, it has not been THE American government, for a long time now. It has been overthrown by other forms of Government that are not so favorably inclined towards the people. Among these are: the Fed banking system, Big Pharma, Big Military, and even individual, greedy Congress people and Presidents.

Comment by Larken Rose
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PureTrust, you're projecting again. One who seeks to do away with the superstition of "government" is obviously not trying to BE the new "government." (Duh.) Again, you are going into emotional fits, to avoid looking at your own belief system objectively. I want NO ONE to rule you, and because of your fear of freedom and reality, resulting from your authoritarian indoctrination, you decide that that means that I want to rule you. Does that really seem rational to you? That is the type of delusional denial which cult beliefs like "government" often lead to. I want you to be free. You want us both to be the property of a "loving" master. And you imagine me as the threat. That's just sad. Stop condoning your own enslavement. Or at least stop condoning mine.

Comment by Larken Rose
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Sorry, "PureTrust," but your analogy was entirely bogus. Your hands and feet aren't sentient, and your brain doesn't control them via commands backed by threats of violence. The myth of "government" is about threats and coercion, not love. My wife and I don't issue demands at each other, trying to cage the other for disobedience. You are a prime example of who the article was about. You're so scared of reality, a world of equals--no slaves and no masters, just self-owning mortals--that you hallucinate and voice truly bizarre, delusional things. (At least you're not alone in doing so.) You have no idea what "government" is, and your mind is doing everything it can to AVOID seeing what "government" is. You think a LACK of a coercive, aggressive, parasitic ruling class "only leads to destruction." Who do you suppose wanted you to believe such utter nonsense? You are the "battered citizen" the article was about, and I'm afraid you will not only be advocating your own enslavement, but mine, for the rest of your life.

Comment by Ed Price
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Show me a person who wants no government at all, and I'll show you a person who is already planning to take over when the current regime crashes. And what kind of government will he be?

Comment by Ed Price
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Big Government truly is not working as it should, but "government" truly DOES work. How can you tell? By simply looking at it work around you and within you.

The simplest form of human government is a single human being. His head (brain) is the dictator. His feet walk where his head directs. His hands operate according to what his head wants done. When he is hungry or thirsty, his head tells him what to do, and he does it. That's simple GOVERNMENT in action!

Why does a person get old and die? Because, at best, government NEVER works quite right. And at worst... well, the person doesn't make it to old age.

The second simplest form of human government is a family. Like all the other forms of government, this government NEVER works quite right, either. The ONE THING that makes this government work best is LOVE! So we have the Lov3lution.

Regarding "government," LACK OF government means only destruction (Just chop your head off and watch what happens.). Government with understanding about what government really is, and government with love, is best.

Now, what about FREEDOM??? If you truly wanted freedom, why did you get married? Freedom, government and love all work together to form liberty.

So there is a lot more to this whole thing than simple fear of freedom... or fear of Government, for that matter.