The Evil of Egalitarianism

Murray N. Rothbard delivered what is now a very famous essay at a conference on human differentiation held by the Institute for Humane Studies at Gstaad, Switzerland, in the summer of 1972.  It began thus:

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature

For well over a century, the Left has generally been conceded to have morality, justice, and “idealism” on its side; the conservative opposition to the Left has largely been confined to the “impracticality” of its ideals. A common view, for example, is that socialism is splendid “in theory,” but that it cannot “work” in practical life. What the conservatives failed to see is that while short-run gains can indeed be made by appealing to the impracticality of radical departures from the status quo, that by conceding the ethical and the “ideal” to the Left they were doomed to long-run defeat. For if one side is granted ethics and the “ideal” from the start, then that side will be able to effect gradual but sure changes in its own direction; and as these changes accumulate, the stigma of “impracticality” becomes less and less directly relevant. The conservative opposition, having staked its all on the seemingly firm ground of the “practical” (that is, the status quo) is doomed to lose as thestatus quo moves further in the left direction. The fact that the unreconstructed Stalinists are universally considered to be the “conservatives” in the Soviet Union is a happy logical joke upon conservatism; for in Russia the unrepentant statists are indeed the repositories of at least a superficial “practicality” and of a clinging to the existing status quo.

Never has the virus of “practicality” been more widespread than in the United States, for Americans consider themselves a “practical” people, and hence, the opposition to the Left, while originally stronger than elsewhere, has been perhaps the least firm at its foundation. It is now the advocates of the free market and the free society who have to meet the common charge of “impracticality.”

In no area has the Left been granted justice and morality as extensively and almost universally as in its espousal of massive equality. It is rare indeed in the United States to find anyone, especially any intellectual, challenging the beauty and goodness of the egalitarian ideal. So committed is everyone to this ideal that “impracticality” — that is, the weakening of economic incentives — has been virtually the only criticism against even the most bizarre egalitarian programs. The inexorable march of egalitarianism is indication enough of the impossibility of avoiding ethical commitments; the fiercely “practical” Americans, in attempting to avoid ethical doctrines, cannot help setting forth such doctrines, but they can now only do so in unconscious, ad hoc, and unsystematic fashion. Keynes’s famous insight that “practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist” — is true all the more of ethical judgments and ethical theory.  ~ M. N. Rothbard (1972)

The central concept of egalitarianism is that all people should be the same. Not only should they be treated the same and have the same opportunities as everyone else, there should be equal outcomes. The socialist-leftists among us believe that the very fact that there are more male plumbers than female plumbers proves that there is discrimination against females in the plumbing business. Now normally the egalitarians do not mention plumbing as the job has its off-putting aspects. No, they would rather say that the prevalence of males running international corporations proves that the business world discriminates against females since we all can imagine ourselves enjoying running a large corporation and traveling about in private jets to wonderful areas of the world.

Egalitarianism leads to collectivism or socialism of course, and that leads to impoverishing the masses. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is coming to visit the President of the United States. Both of these men are committed socialists even if neither care to admit it. Some argue that the egalitarian or the socialist has his “heart in the right place” or that he is working for the “good of all people”. It always turns out that there is some “elite” that has to “live large” and live well so they can enforce their supposedly beatific vision of life upon the rest of us. If egalitarianism was so wonderful it would not take armies of police and mountains of rules to accomplish.

I have been a close observer of education in America for decades. I have seen thousands of children who all exhibit great diversity in interest, ability, preparation, home life, and all sorts of other factors. I have watched as the educrats have decreed that “every child can go to college” and that teachers only need a great lesson plan to make sure that all children are working their way up to being proficient at calculus. Well, I am here to tell you that teaching even Algebra to a child who has very low cognitive ability is not possible. Trying is very painful to both child and teacher. It is also true that the teacher will not have much luck with the child that refuses to learn. We used to say that you could lead a horse to water but you could not make him drink it. The modern educrat says that better lesson plans will cure the problem — even if the kid’s home-life is horrible, his IQ substandard and he is drug addicted; such is the intelligence level of the people who are said to be “experts” in modern education.

But even worse, we no longer honor the many trades that an industrial society needs. Try telling an educrat that some kids will be great carpenters and they will seek to have you fired, and that includes the Catholic Schools where the object of their religion, Jesus, was himself a carpenter. Besides the fact that we no longer teach or honor the trades, we have laws preventing young people from getting a job and learning many life skills that having a job will teach. We have minimum wage laws that make it impossible for the young to get a job as they often are not worth the hourly minimum wage. We also have laws preventing children under a certain age from working period. The result is widespread unemployment of most of our youth. Some would say that is egalitarianism at its best.

The egalitarians have also pushed us toward an ever more generous welfare state. The idea is that since we are all equal but some of us are in poverty then it must be the fault of the society that these poor people have not succeeded in life and need help. At some point there may be arguments that we need a national wage where every single American gets the same pay. With the generous welfare state in place for decades we see horrific and dysfunctional lifestyles among the poor. We see generation after generation trapped in low income and living in crime ridden areas. One wonders if leftists really hate the poor or if they are merely blinded by their collectivist ideology.


Many people wonder why so many come here illegally. The welfare state is an obvious draw to people in other countries. You can deal with the illegal immigration in whatever way you want; but the central reason and draw is the welfare state. Let us not refrain from discussing the issue just because it hurts the egalitarian’s feelings.

The biggest problem with the idiotic idea of egalitarianism is that the government has tried to force equality of outcomes in all areas even though the people have natural differences in interest and ability. This has led to politics that deals mainly in groups. This has led to and increase in one group hating another. It is almost as if the government was running a “divide and conquer” operation.

The egalitarians may claim high moral ground, but the fact is that they are among humanities worst enemies. They seek to have everyone, but not themselves of course, live in equal misery. I consider that evil and not moral.

Selling Freedom to the Indoctrinated?

I began this blog years ago to be able to answer people that I encounter on Twitter. After all, Twitter is hard to use for any real debate as you only get a few words per tweet. On Twitter it is sometimes easy to be misunderstood or not be able be get your point across with all the nuances and caveats that any realistic position entails. For a long time now I have not had the time to engage people on Twitter along with the time to write about it. Well, today I have both.

The debate that prompted this post was among libertarians and/or anarchists. We find the state to be tyrannical, brutal, unnecessary, and evil. There are many ways to say this, but we did not talk about the nature of the state, what liberty is, our interpretation of the non-aggression principle, or how people would live in a world without the state (government) ruling us. We talked about “normal people”; those that don’t hate the state. Why the hell can’t the man in the street see that it is the state itself that causes most of our problems?

It was asserted that those who could not see that the state is evil and should be done away with were “willfully ignorant” of the truth. I took exception to that statement. It is not that I have never said words similar to that myself — we all get irritated at the statists and their state-worship; but I don’t think it is right to blame the victim of the massive pro-state propaganda that we live in for the outcome of so many thinking the state is the “protector” of all that is good and decent.

It is my opinion that the state and all its paid minions have used massive propaganda to sell the idea that the state is necessary to civilization. The state has deluded the populous into believing that mankind’s biggest enemy is the entity that brings him the benefits of modern civilization. I will delve into how this came to be in another post, but today I only assert that the state has, in fact, been very successful in making the average citizen believe that the state is benevolent, necessary, and inevitable. And for those who don’t buy all three of those things — the idea that the state is inevitable, evil or not, is almost universal in the world today.

I assert that we can not blame the victim of this near universal delusion. A modern man is born into a society that overwhelmingly believes in the inevitability of the state. A young person is more apt to question gravity itself than to question the state. A young person is apt to know no one at all who questions the state. He is apt to go though school without being exposed to the ideas of anarchism: real anarchism based on the non-aggression principle. A person is apt to have little exposure to the ideas of the principled radical anarchist. Many are ignorant of the truth of our enemy the state, but I don’t buy that they are “willfully” ignorant. I believe that most people are programed by society to believe the big lie that we need the state and so must put up with it.

Is that non-exposure their fault? No, it is the fault of the state and its minions — and those of us who know the truth. We must work harder to get the word out. One reason that I was in favor of Ron Paul’s message candidacy for the presidency was that he talked to a lot of young people about freedom and liberty. He planted seeds that have grown and will continue to bear fruit. I can’t hope to equal Ron Paul’s impact. I can only hope to enlighten my readers and my students. Regardless, I will continue to work for the demise of the state. I will re-dedicate myself to write more; even when so few read these posts. After all, I can only do what I can.


Can we be optimistic given that the state has such power? After all, they “school” the child in state worship in the “public” schools. The state has great allies in the main stream media, corporations, academia, and the churches.

Can we be optimistic? To answer, I note that a couple of years ago I mentioned that Murray Rothbard pointed out that before the 18th century in Western Europe there existed an identifiable Old Order called the Ancien Régime. It was feudalism marked by “tyranny, exploitation, stagnation, fixed caste, and hopelessness and starvation for the bulk of the population.” The ruling classes governed by conquest and tricking the masses into believing that it was “divine will” that the Kings should rule, plunder, and enslave. The Old Order was the great and mighty enemy of liberty and for century after century it appeared that the Ancien Régime  could never be defeated.

We know better now. The Ancien Régime is dead and gone and no one claims that God gave Kings the divine right to rule over others. The classical liberal revolution that triumphed in the 18th century (in the West at least) overthrew the Old Order. Well, we can win again and next time we will know not to allow even the seed of the old order to remain. We must root out the idea of the old order root and branch. We don’t face as hard a task as the original classical liberals did in the 1700s for we now know that it can be done.

I think we have reason to be optimistic. We know that the American Empire can not last and that it is so over extended that the end will come soon. We must do our best to educate the “common man” on the type of society that should replace the present evil. That is our job.

EPA as evidence against the state

I was reading this roundup of climate related news items when I stumbled over the following item about the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency.

Environmentalism Gone Mad: Retired EPA researcher and environmentalist, Alan Carlin, brings up certain disturbing issues about the EPA. EPA conducted a study on DDT and found no compelling evidence that ordinary use of DDT is harmful to humans. Yet, administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT, claiming that it may cause cancer. The ban and subsequent government and environmental group activities resulted in tens of millions of preventable deaths from malaria, mostly in poor countries. Carlin estimates the number of deaths to be about 50 million. The World Health Organization estimates that, today, about 500,000 die from malaria every year. This ban illustrates that one cannot assume the activities of the EPA or environmental groups are for the benefit of human health.

It is interesting that it almost always seems to be retired workers who are willing to blow the whistle on a government agency’s wrongdoing; and there are not many of those people either. Edward Snowden was not retired but look what happened to him.

I followed the DDT debate from the beginnings decades ago to the complete ban. The scientific facts that I looked at convinced me that the EPA was wrong as was the entire movement to ban DDT, but that is not the point of bringing it up at this late date — after all, the 50 million dead people can not be helped now. The thing that caught my eye was the fact that the agency itself could find no compelling evidence against DDT but the administrator of the EPA banned it anyway claiming it causes cancer. He saw no need to present evidence since he had none and he represented the government — obey you peasants.

I read this horrific example of the EPA and the government perverting science just days after I read the following headline:

EPA head: We don’t need to justify our regulations with data

It seems that the current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy took a drumming  when she refused to be part of any release of the ‘secret science’ her agency uses when drafting new regulations. She refused to release data on which her agency’s  regulations are based which is anti-science in the extreme. Sounds just like the DDT debacle.

If the above were not bad enough, I also read the following from the Wall Street Journal on how the EPA plays the court system to “win” even when it loses:

Editorial, WSJ, Jul 6, 2015

SUMMARY: Even though the opponents of EPA’s questionable anti-coal, mercury regulations were victorious in the Supreme Court, the EPA significantly damaged the US electrical generation system. “In 2011, the year the EPA proposed the anticarbon mercury rule that the Court has now ruled illegal, some 1,500 fossil-fuel-fired electric units were in operation. Only about 100 have not already closed or complied at a cost of billions of dollars.” The challenge to those states filing against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, requiring another 30% carbon reduction, on average, from the states, is “the snail’s pace of the judicial process in response to new rules lends de facto immunity to whatever the EPA wants to do, even if the conclusion is another legal defeat that arrives too late to make a practical difference.”


In other words, the EPA can do just as it pleases and the EPA does do just that. This sort of thing goes by the name tyranny when we see it in foreign countries. I suspect that you can see it is tyranny here as well. Did you really think the EPA was just about “protecting the environment”? Power corrupts.


As I have pointed out over and over in posts here over the years; the state is not your friend. The best you can hope for is the you don’t get tortured today. Perhaps the state is occupied with others and will leave you alone today. As Rothbard pointed out long ago, “the government does not in any accurate sense “represent” the majority of the people.”  In fact, the government is the people’s biggest enemy as today’s lesson from the EPA demonstrates.

Does the Constitution allow mandated veganism?

I was reading some tweets on Twitter and saw one person who is of the opinion that if we just followed the Constitution as written then we would be free as a bird. A bird in a cage perhaps, but the Constitution allows most anything. I remembered that a few years ago The National Review pointed out:

During oral arguments before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the constitutionality of Obamacare’s health-insurance mandate, the Obama administration’s lawyer, Beth Brinkmann, was asked whether a federal law requiring all Americans to eat broccoli would be constitutional.

“It depends,” she replied. But she could certainly envision cases where it would be.

That makes her only slightly less certain than Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, who was asked the same question during her confirmation hearings. Kagan, who will help decide the fate of Obamacare’s mandate, had no doubts that a broccoli mandate would be constitutional.

As you can see we have Federal judges that can see no limits to governmental authority at all and are very willing to state that opinion publicly.  Now if the Court believes that a law could make you eat broccoli, then what would be unconstitutional about a law that mandated total veganism? To take this just a little bit further, if the central government has the power to mandate that you not eat meat, what is the limit to federal power? Could the federal government mandate cannibalism? (see Soylent Green)

Logic dictates that there really are no limits imposed by the constitution. We have moved from a tiny representative republic to an Empire that is governed by a false type of democracy. I say false democracy because we can’t really trust the voting results. As Stalin said long ago, “it does not matter who votes, what matters is who counts the votes”.

We can move past the idea of trying to get an honest count in the voting results anyway. Democracy is just mob rule and the madness of mobs is a well known topic. Do we really want to live in a nation where 51% of the people could tyrannize the rest? Can we have a vote where we decide to euthanize everyone over 70? The constitution would not prevent it.

Now just because the constitution does not prevent anything the federal government wants to do does not mean you will never see the Supreme Court hand down rulings that seem to say that the federal government does not have the power to do this or that. All you are seeing is that the Court plays politics also and is swayed by the public opinion of the day — or the opinion of the elites of the day. These opinions also make the deception of the constitution look more real and fools the low information citizen.

A central question in political philosophy is the question “be who owns you?” Does the state own you? Can the ruling elite do with you as they please? Are you a slave to the state or to popular opinions?

The primary social evil of our time is lack of respect for self-ownership rights. It is what underlies both private crime and institutionalized crime perpetrated by the state. State laws, regulations, and actions are objectionable just because the state is claiming the right to control how someone’s body is to be used. ~ Stephan Kinsella

Modern Americans seem to think that slavery to the State is somehow any better than the old time slavery to another man. Slavery? Slavery you say? Yes.

Modern Americans are subject to the whims of the political fads of the times. The ruling elite and public opinion can change and things that used to be legal and common become illegal and horrible. Just think, when I was a kid my mother really used to let me go outside all day and play. I was all over a very large subdivision and in the woods behind the subdivision. Today mother would be arrested and lose her kids for what was a natural thing in the 60s.

The constitution is no protection at all. How could it be? The state itself decides what the constitution says; so there is not way that that piece of paper limits the state.

The state and our future

I have been watching American presidential elections since Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960 in an election that was probably really won by Nixon and stolen in Chicago. Of course no one cares now who really won that election and I doubt that history would have been much different if Nixon had won that year — other than the CIA would not have needed to assassinate Nixon for going soft on wars.

In the years since 1960 I have watched a government grow in size, power, scope, intrusiveness, and in raw brutality. The US state in 1960 would never have publicly admitted to torture, much less publicly defended the practice. But the growth of the US government over time did not start in ’60. Consider the following quote from decades before:

 “Government today is growing too strong to be safe. There are no longer any citizens in the world there are only subjects. They work day in and day out for their masters they are bound to die for their masters at call. Out of this working and dying they tend to get less and less.” H.L. Mencken

Law Professor Butler Shaffer once wrote:

“The central premise of much of my writing over the years has been that the psychopathic nature of the political establishment has reached a critical mass.”

It seems to me that the US central government has now reached a critical mass of corruption, cronyism, brutality, and raw evil.

The definition of the “state” that I have often seen is that entity that enjoys a monopoly on the legitimate use of force or violence within a given geographical territory. The USA is now claiming the right to use force throughout the entire world, and I don’t know how that will turn out given that other nations see the Empire as an overbearing bully. One thing we know is the the state, the USA in particular, depends on the regular exercise of using force and violence both inside its borders and outside its borders. It is easy to see the meaning of Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state.”

As we approach yet another presidential election, we have to ask ourselves if we really think that the outcome will change our future all that much. Given that the neocons have pretty much taken control of foreign policy in both parties, and they intend to keep us forever attacking some forever changing “enemy” that we “must” destroy to “keep our freedoms”. What freedom? The freedom to obey the state?

Consider the surveillance by the State of its own people as outlined by Edward Snowden. Consider the government’s control over eating habits, health care, schooling of the young, the rise the nanny state, and the fact the government asserts total ownership over the children. Consider that one mother was arrested for letting her kids go play in the public park that was across the street from her house. Oh my!

The state has increased its control and domination of the people with the increased militarization of police. They now have tanks, armored troop carriers, battlefield weapons, drones, and military helicopters. Who knows what all they have that we don’t know about? The police also have assumed the powers of an occupying army. They pull no-knock SWAT raids, they torture, they put people into prison without trials, they steal people’s assets, and there appears to be no real accountability. They police claim to be protecting us from “the bad guys” but it is the police that are the psychopaths and murdering bad guys.

This monstrous police state that is the USA started out as a “night watchman” small government in the style that the Classical Liberals thought would be constrained and controlled by the Constitution. I think we can all agree that the USA is in no way bound by the constitution — it is all in the interpretation you see. And who gets to interpret the constitution? Why the state itself gets to interpret the constitution. The failure of the experiment in a minarchist government does not seem to have registered on my minarchist friends. They still seem to think that some “night watchman” government can be instituted without it gaining ever more power over the people as time goes on. Nothing as blind as those who will not see.

The next election? It will have no more meaning than the babbling of an insane man who is talking to his imaginary friends. We can root for the “best candidate” if we want; after all I always have a favorite in the World Cup matches; but there will be no real difference in the two candidates running. It was once observed that if voting made a difference then it would be against the law. I hope you don’t think that observation was just humor.

Our future depends on the people waking up to the fact that the state is our enemy. We must educate people in the libertarian philosophy of the non-aggression principle. The modern state is only a few centuries old. We can overcome the modern state and find a way to live in peace without a tyranny brutalizing us at every turn. We can live stateless, and really that is our only path forward if we hope to survive and prosper.

Educate yourself, and then be willing to educate others that want to learn. It is our only hope.


Democracy is a Fraud

The founders of the U.S. were clear that they did not believe in “democracy”. In our modern system of “democratic” government you are allowed to vote but it does not make any real difference. No matter the outcome of the election, the power elites will get their way. Everyone gets to vote but all that does is to help ensure the compliance of the populace who are enslaved but think themselves free.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable…”
H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Third Series

The modern American democracy is dangerous to personal freedom. American democracy erodes the people’s understanding of natural rights and freedoms. I have seen every presidential race since Nixon and the winner does not make any real change in the course of the state. There has been no abatement in the growth of tyranny and cruelty by the state.

The State in the US has convinced almost the whole of the population that organized theft is the way to go rather than voluntary economic actions. The very idea of the non-aggression principle now seems foreign to most Americans.The government in America has merged the bureaucratic state with the large corporations; and that was called corporatism by Benito Mussolini. In other words, the American State is a fascist state. The corporate State will always end up enslaving its people. A small example is that a mother was recently arrested for allowing her children to play in a park across the street from her house by themselves. The State asserted its ownership of the children.

It is often claimed that governments (states) were originally established to protect the people’s freedoms. But it always turns out that the state works to gain ever more control over their citizens. The state becomes an overbearing tyrant. This is always true, but we never seem to learn from history. The whole idea that we need a government to take care of us is a false notion and a delusion. These supposed “protectors” have led to nothing but death, destruction, slavery, misery, and all the other evils the state brings.

In the United States, the instrument that controls almost everything, or at least tries to do so, is the State (the central government mostly). This power of the state is acknowledged even by those who love democracy, and they mistakenly believe (or falsely claim) that this great power is somehow controlled or at least shared by “the people”. The main way that “the people” are supposed to control the power of the state is by one of the two main political parties in the United States. One party is the Democratic Party which is the party of socialists. The other party is the Republican Party which is the party of fascists. Note that there is very little difference between socialism and fascism which may explain the old line that “there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties”. The two parties agree on virtually all of the fundamentals of totalitarianism starting with the belief in the supremacy of politicians, bureaucrats, and “experts” over the “the people”; and that the only good citizen is the obedient citizen. This is today’s  American Democracy.

While various minions of the state exercise their power over individuals like a school bully, they do not control the ship of state. Only a handful of the most powerful private citizens have any real say-so in respect to the large issues. These very rich and powerful men and women run the “democracy” and it is but illusion that “the people” control the state. Ordinary citizens naively believe they can fight the status quo though various action groups or getting involved in politics but they only contribute to the show that fools the populous into thinking that they are free when, in fact, they are slaves to the state. Some groups, giving the appearance of serious dissent, give “the people” hope that progress toward a more just society is possible and they thereby help the ruling elite even as they appear to be fighting them.

H.L. Mencken observed that the best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful. I believe that “best teacher” in my lifetime was Murray Rothbard. Read Rothbard and grow wise as to the nature of the state.

Anarchists: are we pacifists or not?

Leo Tolstoy wrote many novels, but he also wrote the non-fiction “City of God is Within You“. (1894) I would like to consider the idea of pacifism verses defense against aggression based on Tolstoy’s ideas in this very short post today.

Tolstoy’s book in large part deals with nonresistance to evil. Here is the money quote from chapter 10:

The champions of government assert that without it the wicked will oppress and outrage the good, and that the power of the government enables the good to resist the wicked.

But in this assertion the champions of the existing order of things take for granted the proposition they want to prove. When they say that except for the government the bad would oppress the good, they take it for granted that the good are those who are the present time are in possession of power, and the bad are those who are in subjection to it. But this is just what wants proving.

The good cannot seize power, nor retain it; to do this men must love power. And love of power is inconsistent with goodness; but quite consistent with the very opposite qualities:  pride, cunning, cruelty.

Without the aggrandizement of self and the abasement of others, without hypocrisies and deceptions, without prisons, fortresses, executions, and murders, no power can come into existence or be maintained.  . . .

. . . ruling means using force, and using force means doing to him to whom force is used, what he does not like and what he who uses the force would certainly not like done to himself. Consequently ruling means doing to others what we would not they should do unto us, that is, doing wrong.

… But ruling means using force, and using force means doing to him to whom force is used, what he does not like and what he who uses the force would certainly not like done to himself. Consequently ruling means doing to others what we would we would not they should do unto us, that is, doing wrong.

This non-resistance to violence and aggression principle is the main one that Tolstoy advocated in his book and one that later Gandhi used to liberate India from the British.

The argument is that since the good cannot or will not wield power then only the evil men will do so whether or not you have a State. Since having a State just magnifies the power of the evil men, then not having a state is preferable to having one. The many who claim we need the State for protection from the evil men ignore the utter magnitude of the actual existing violence and oppression practiced by governments all over the world right now. The wicked will use the awesome power of the state to amplify their oppression of the innocent. The hazards of the bullies in government far outweigh any hypothetical benefit that one might conjure up. In fact, I have rarely read a better reason to have no state at all than that offered up by Tolstoy in the above quote.

Those of us who follow the non-aggression principle argue that it is immoral as well as unwise to ever commit aggression against the innocent; but we believe we are morally justified in retaliation against anyone who launches an unjust aggression against us. I don’t think Tolstoy would disagree with that moral right; but he would argue that Christ forbade it. I suspect he would also argue that it is unwise to use violence to resist.

What are we modern anarchists to do? First, I believe that there are definitely times when retaliation is warranted and advisable, but there are times when non-aggression is the better policy. Gandhi’s use of non-violent resistance in India may be the prototype movement where violence would have been a disaster while non-violence was a definite winner. I would argue that the modern anarchist should not embrace pacifism but rather view total non-violence as a tactic that might well be the best route in a given situation. I recoil at the idea of announcing to the evil among us that they may oppress us in any manner they so choose without them fearing any repercussions.

If I find that in the next life I am told that I was wrong to ever resist evil by force, I’ll certainly ask for forgiveness — but until then, I expect to defend myself and my family if attacked. (where it is prudent to do so of course)