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‘Anarcho-Capitalists’ Seen as Cousins of the ‘Patriot’ Movement

By Leah Nelson on December 12, 2012 - 10:46 am, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Propaganda

Back in 1978, when the world was young and “Saturday Night Live” was only in its third season, a young comedian named Steve Martin took to the stage and told his audience how to become millionaires and never pay taxes.

“First … get a million dollars,” he said. “What do [you] say to the tax man when he comes to [your] door and says, ‘You have never paid taxes?’ Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: ‘I forgot!’”

Porter Stansberry, an “investment advisor” with a knack for lining his own pockets, used a slightly different strategy in 2003. When the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) came to his door and accused him of making over a million dollars selling false “inside tips,” the self-aggrandizing financial guru claimed that it was his First Amendment right to tell his subscribers whatever he wanted — even if what he wanted to tell them was, as the SEC put it, “baseless speculation and outright lies.”

The courts disagreed. In 2009, after years of very public litigation, a federal appeals panel upheld the SEC’s charges and fined Stansberry $1.5 million.

Stansberry — who had enjoyed some respect in financial circles and whose First Amendment argument (though not his conduct) was endorsed by respected news outlets who feared the case would set a precedent for punishing the press for publishing incorrect financial analysis — did not take the verdict well.

He did not stop peddling advice — but these days, it’s about more than get-rich-quick schemes. Evidently soured on the government by his brush with the law, Stansberry has turned from scam artist to antigovernment radical, using various Internet publications to mix dubious investment advice with apocalyptic warnings about a coming era of tyranny that will destroy America.

His most recent insight? According to a YouTube video distributed across a multitude of far-right websites and discussed with great seriousness by figures like antigovernment conspiracist Alex Jones, President Obama is planning to overthrown the Constitution, implement socialism, and seize a third term in office.

According to Stansberry, Obama won’t even have to use force to do it. Instead, the president plans to buy his third term with untold profits gained from mining America’s vast shale oil deposits, which will lead to an era of extraordinary prosperity unlike anything America has seen before.

“All of this new wealth,” Stansberry says, “will seem like a gift from the Prophet Muhammad to the administration of Barack Obama.”

And his supporters will eat it up. Once the black gold really starts flowing, Stansberry claims, the president will execute a Hugo Chavez-like power grab, distributing money and favors to friends, cronies, and political allies, who in return will cheer for him in the streets as he seizes an unconstitutional third term — and, possibly, even a fourth — in office. During his reign of terror, Obama will replace America’s market economy with a socialist dictatorship and “punish and tax those who work hard,” using the wealth they create to “buy favors and luxuries for millions of Americans … who have done nothing to earn it.”

America, of course, will be ruined.

Stansberry is not the only ultra-libertarian to promote such ideas. One of his most prominent fellow travelers is Doug Casey, an antigovernment “investment guru” who on Nov. 29 told subscribers to his newsletter that being a taxpayer in America today is analogous to “being a Jew in Germany in the mid-1930’s.”

On the surface, Casey (who often cross-promotes Stansberry’s articles on his various websites and newsletters and who is described by Stansberry as a friend and mentor) seems a cheerful misanthrope, whose breezy manner and self-deprecating wit (he often says Uncle Scrooge McDuck is his hero) is a refreshing change from the pompous grandiosity of his close cousins in the far-right “Patriot” movement.

But scratch that surface and it’s clear that this self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” who in 2009 outlined a plan to privatize a small country and take it public on the New York Stock Exchange, is courting the same audience of government-fearing radicals. Though he puts a fresh face on tired conspiracies and a new spin on old animosities, Casey’s message is the same: The government is your enemy, and if you don’t prepare, it will destroy you.

If you stripped the Patriot movement of its pseudo-legal rhetoric, conspiracist malarkey and allusions to supposed Christian virtue, you’d end up with an ideology much like the one espoused by Stansberry, Casey and their compatriots. Often described as “anarcho-capitalists” or “voluntaryists,” their belief in essence is that government — any government — is by its very nature tyrannical and unnatural. They propose instead an essentially stateless society in which all relationships, economic and otherwise, are voluntary and untaxed. Services like roads and mail delivery would be built and maintained by private entities that would charge market-based fees for those who desired to use them. Government in any recognizable form simply would not exist.

In some respects, Casey and Stansberry’s rhetoric sounds like laissez-faire capitalism taken to its logical extreme. But Casey, Stansberry, and similar ideologues espouse beliefs that are even further out than that.

Mainstream conservatives often allege that the balance between states’ rights and federal power has tipped too far towards the latter, with the federal government exercising powers the framers of the Constitution never dreamed of. But Casey actually believes that the Constitution itself “was essentially a coup.”

Explaining this assertion in the same Nov. 29 newsletter in which he compared being an American taxpayer to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, Casey said: “[T]he delegates to what we now call the Constitutional Convention were not empowered to replace the existing government — only to improve upon the Articles of Confederation between the then-independent states. The framers of the Constitution drafted it with the notion of a national government already in place.”

They “calmed fears of loss of state sovereignty by calling the new government the ‘United States of America’ – a verbal sleight of hand that worked for over half a century. Then the southern states decided to exercise what these words imply, their right to leave the union … and the wrong side won.”

In other words, as Casey sees things, the Constitution and its built-in plan for a national government caused the Civil War.

“I’ve always suspected that U.S. and world history would be different – and better – if those delegates had done as they were told and just smoothed over the rough spots in the Articles rather than replaced them with the Constitution,” Casey explained in an April 2012 article. “Greater independence among the states could have led to more innovation, and I doubt there would have been the unpleasantness of 1861-’65. People with differing ethical values and economic interests would not have been forced to obey the same laws.”

Translation: Confederate partisans — people whose “ethical values and economic interests” included buying, selling, beating, raping and killing other human beings whose skin color happened to be different from their own — were unjustly stopped by overweening federal power that was built into the Constitution from Day One as part of a long-acting stealth coup to steal power from the states.

This is one place where Casey and portions of the Patriot crowd very definitely part ways.

Patriot ideologues tend to revere the Constitution — at least up to the 14th Amendment — as an almost divinely inspired document, and talk about the founding fathers as near-infallible prophets. In some ways, Casey’s pseudo-history of the United States is the political inverse of the one promoted by Christian pseudo-historian David Barton, who contends that the American Revolution was fought to free slaves and that the founding fathers “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution” and chose creationism. Casey, who once described Santa Claus as “God on training wheels” and who jokes about saying grace to Crom, the fictional deity featured in Conan the Barbarian, would not likely get along well with Barton.

Yet in a Venn diagram of antigovernment extremists, Barton is one of the few who would fall clearly outside of the overlap between Casey- and Stansberry-style anarcho-capitalism and Patriot ideology.

The areas of overlap, particularly with the radical “sovereign citizens” movement, are significant – and not unknown to adherents of anarcho-capitalism, or “voluntaryism,” as it is called by some. Carl Watner, who has been publishing a newsletter called “The Voluntaryist” since 1982 and who appears to be the godfather of Casey and Stansberry’s hyper-antigovernment ideology, grapples with many of the same issues that sovereign citizens do.

In a 1994 article titled “Un-Licensed, Un-Numbered, Un-Taxed,” Watner wrote approvingly of what he called “conscientious objectors” (sovereign citizens, as readers of this blog would call them) “who prefer to remain individuals rather than embrace a statist system which licenses, numbers and taxes them in hundreds of ways.”

Watner’s essay focused on the “Embassy of Heaven,” an Oregon-based sovereign citizen group and church that sells fake passports and licenses for so-called “Ambassadors of Heaven.” As Watner explains it, members of the “Embassy” consider themselves to be residents of Heaven and subjects of Christ – and like ambassadors from anywhere, they reason, they are entitled to live within the United States without being subject to its jurisdiction.

Voluntaryists and sovereign citizens are not identical. One difference Watner identified between his approach and that of the Embassy of Heaven “is that the church relies upon the Christian religion as its bulwark in resisting the State.”

Not all sovereign citizens belong to an organization like the Embassy of Heaven, but many do carry licenses identifying them as members of nonexistent nations – a concept Watner does not approve of, as it suggests that people properly ought to carry identification in the first place.

“Whereas the Church says its members are not residents of the state, thus escaping its jurisdiction, the voluntaryist says that the state should have no jurisdiction over any one at all,” he wrote. “The state is a coercive institution, completely at odds with the moral laws that decry thievery, slavery and murder. Evil in any form should not be legitimized, so the voluntaryist refuses to grant validity to the state’s claim of jurisdiction, even over residents.”

Still, he managed to find common ground with the “conscientious objectors” of the Embassy of Heaven: “Voluntaryists believe in challenging the state head-on, yet they and other conscientious objectors share a common philosophical insight with the members of the church: might does not make right. The state rests on might: therefore it should be rejected.”

The Embassy of Heaven, therefore, “will then receive our praise for living by the voluntary principle, even if we do not choose to personally endorse it by becoming a member.”

Today, Casey, Stansberry, and other like-minded ideologues continue Watner’s tradition of conceding overlaps between themselves and Patriots, even as clear disparities exists. The two ideologies do appeal to much the same audience – and sometimes, their representatives share the same stage.

At 2012’s “FreedomFest,” for instance, Casey was listed as a keynote speaker together with a plethora of Patriot bigwigs, including Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News personality and 9-11 “truther” who thinks the government was behind the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and G. Edward Griffin, co-author of a popular Fed-bashing tome called The Creature from Jekyll Island. FreedomFest was organized by Mark Skousen, a friend of Patriot ringmaster Glenn Beck and nephew of the late W. Cleon Skousen, a hugely influential figure in Patriot conspiracist circles.

And at “Libertopia 2012,” Casey was a listed speaker along with Larken Rose, a blogger who made news in 2011 with an post titled, “When Should You Shoot a Cop?” which proposed that it is acceptable to kill law enforcement officers if you perceive them to be violating your constitutional rights. Also featured at Libertopia was Ryan William Nohea Garcia, an “ambassador” for the ultra-libertarian SeaSteading Institute, which envisions building custom floating countries in international waters.

Stansberry also has shared platforms with Patriot nabobs. For years, he was a financial columnist for WorldNetDaily, a Patriot-leaning online publication with a theocratic bent that specializes in antigovernment conspiracy theories, end-times prophecy and revisionist histories of the Civil War. And this November, he appeared on the “Alex Jones Show” to promote his prediction about Obama’s supposed secret plan to run for a third term. The same episode featured commentary from Edwin Vieira, a Patriot grandee and militia supporter who in 2005 called for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, saying that the conservative jurist’s opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute “upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law.” Also appearing was Lew Rockwell, a libertarian commentator and blogger with a long history of promoting neo-secessionism and other extreme-right ideologies.

The Patriot movement is noteworthy for its followers’ forceful assertion of the right to bear arms, and form private militias willing to face down tyrannical government forces when the time comes. In contrast, Casey, Stansberry, and their sympathizers make a lot of noise about opposing violence, stressing the need to bring about their desired revolution through education and activism.

But in a 2011 essay titled “The Corruption of America,” Stansberry began to sing a very different tune. “The nation will soon face a choice between heading down the path toward fascism … or turning back the power of government and restoring the limited Republic that was our birthright,” he wrote. “What gives me confidence for the future? Gun sales, for one thing. U.S. citizens legally own around 270 million firearms – around 88 guns per 100 citizens (including children) today. That’s a hard population to police without its consent.”

Sounding very much like his Patriot cousins-in-arms — and very little like a proponent of nonviolent resistance — he continued: “[I]f the government attempts to take our guns … my opinion would change immediately. … But that’s one right the Supreme Court has been strengthening recently.”

“It gives me hope,” Stansberry said, “that most people in America still understand that the right to bear arms has little to do with protecting ourselves from crime and everything to do with protecting ourselves from government.”

  • aadila

    Deah, I don’t think Frederick Douglas envisioned paying smaller salaries to teachers of students of color than teachers of white students within the same school district. Doing nothing doesn’t solve that problem, which goes directly back to slavery.

  • aadila

    Bruce Guthrie,

    Government also gave you the opportunity for a free public education. Government made sure first responders were there in case of a fire or other emergency. Government was there to make sure your place of employment did not expose you to unsafe conditions. Government was there to ensure that your food was of edible quality and that your medicine was tested and found safe before consumption. Government was there to make sure your sewage didn’t accumulate on your street and that your water was drinkable. Government, through the judiciary, was there to appeal to if your rights were violated or you were cheated in a transaction. No, it is not a perfect institution, but having government is very much preferable to no government at all.

  • Aron

    Deah, when you can bring us sources a little more reputable as Lew Rockwell and some obscure Nigerian economist, then we’ll talk.

  • deah

    I understand those who are opposed to the “leave me alone/everything private” way of speaking that many libertarians use, and it’s true that some of us need to improve that to include the networks, community organizations, and mutual aid societies that most of us do believe constitute a thriving, dynamic, involved life that cares for those around us.

    I wasn’t going to comment here, but since I ran across it elsewhere tonight, I want to mention this Frederick Douglas quote (new to me), which uses much of that same “let them alone” language. Of course, that language does not mean the interdependence of humans is unimportant.
    “What shall be done with the four million slaves if they are emancipated?… Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone. They suffer by ever interference, and succeed best by being let alone.”

    As for that interdepended-ness, check out the Robert Wicks article ‘Anarchy and Chaos in Black Communities’ or, while I’m on the topic of black anarchists, the very extensive Wilton D. Alston archive

    I just became aware of the Nigerian economic professor George Ayittey’s blog

    At any rate, I (a woman, btw) hope you commenters are open minded enough, charitable enough, to consider that maybe – just maybe – this discussion is much broader, and involves many more thinkers and writers around the globe, than is presented in the SPLC’s blog.

  • Bruce Guthrie

    I’m against racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. But let us remind ourselves that Rosa Parks sat on a government bus. Harriet Tubman was prosecuted by the government. More recently, the federal drug war has massively racist impact. And then there is war, and the bad US foreign policy. Face it, the government is not our friend. That is why I am an anarcho-capitalist. I’m also a huge fan of Doug Casey, and a subscriber to his investment newsletter. Calling anarcho-capitalists racist is really foolish. As is hoping that the government will ever take the side of the poor, or minorities.

  • Erika

    i’m pretty sure that rather than a divorce attorney, an anarcho-capitalist would pursue “Second Amendment solutions” to end their marriage

    (and yes, i realize that marriage and divorce are products of the state and in anarcho-capitalism therefore there would be no marriage which lends more creedance to my belief that these anarcho-capitalists are mainly men’s rights mysognists but i still think the point holds (in fact that the anarcho-capitalists are men’s rights mysognists makes domestic violence much more likely)

  • Aron

    Rey and Erika, you make good points. Though I must say that some of the AnCap rants were getting pretty funny, if only for their wackiness.

  • Erika

    Aron, it was actually much more intelligent than most of the recent comments by anarcho-capitalists

  • Reynardine

    Aron, you don’t suppose they have something on autopilot, do you?

  • Aron

    How did that last post make through moderation? I don’t think anyone here is interested in finding divorce lawyers in Las Vegas.

    That’s the first real spam I’ve seen on the site. It doesn’t bode well.

  • Reynardine

    Mr. Otto, by now, attacks like yours are such a cliché that they don’t even deserve rebuttal.

  • Erika

    That should be the right size, Rey :)

    On another note, i still have to marvel at the psychology involved in anarcho-capitalism. Here you have people who totally distrust government – yet, they want to have private corporations conduct all of the functions of government. Hence, private security guards, private armies, etc. In fact, they even advocate giving private companies powers that are much more extensive than what governments do today and would rightly be condemned by privacy advocates.

    i recently read something by a self proclaimed anarcho-capitalist advocating for private toll roads using microchip technology to track movements of the car and automatically deduct the tolls from a bank account or a credit card account (although as usual the anarcho-capitalist gave no details on how you would be able to have a bank or a credit card when the banker could just flee with all of your money or the consumer would be free to tear the credit card statements up and toss them in the trash and never be forced to pay).

    Of course, forcing everyone to put satellite tracking technology on the windshield of their car to track where they drive has some pretty major privacy concerns. No doubt, the anarcho-capitalists would be the first to howl if the government provided such a program – imagine a government supercomputer somewhere with all of your personal travel and financial information on it somewhere. They would actually have a point that that would be an extremely scary development. Some religious types might even claim that that mandatory window chip for driving is way too close to the Mark of the Beast for comfort.

    But to the anarcho-capitalist, despite the major privacy concerns such a consideration would entail, it would be perfectly okay to have that – if rather than government satellites, government roads, government microchips, and government computers, the satellites would be owned by a private company – say Halliburton. They would have no problem turning up all sorts of potentially intrusive private information which can be used against them to Halliburton. Of course, to me, giving Halliburton all of my private information is much scarier than the government. See, there are controls like laws, oversite, judicial review, and elections to provide protection against the government from setting up such a system and even then to keep them from misusing it. Halliburton would have no such controls.

    And in any case, the reason why the gas tax was chosen over toll roads to fund roads was that it is way more efficient. The gas tax is included in the price of gasoline paid for by the consumer. Its actually a very efficient tax (much cheaper and more practical than toll roads) – its also been way too low for decades according to every mainstream economist which encourages overconsumption and has not been able to keep up with road mainatanance – but anyone who thinks that giving Halliburton the control over roads will make things better is delusional.

    That is the real face of anarcho-capitalism. Even the anarcho-capitalist probably realize that advocating taking several economic steps backwards to a barter economy makes them sound stupid – so instead their solution to the obvious lack of money is to go with much more intrusive solutions. i’m sure that somewhere there is an anarcho-capitalist arguing for an actual Mark of the Beast where people must have a microchip inplanted in them to buy or sell anything. Really – what would BungalowBud say about that? i doubt it would be “its okay because its not the government doing it” :)

    What the voluntary doctorine ultimately comes down to is essentially the equivilent of homeowners associations. That again makes me suspect that the anarcho-capitalists never ever bought a house. Homeowners associations are voluntary associations where people give up their right to use their property in the name of increased property values. In many people even pay extra for the privilege. Many do maintain some sort of benefit – maybe lawn mowing, a clubhouse, a pool, rent a cops, etc. However, people must give up their rights to receive it – for example, in a homeowners assocation you often must paint your house a certain boring color. That for me is already a dealbreaker because i want to paint my house in watermelon pink with bright green trim. Your lawn must have a certain type of grass (and kept extremely neat). Only approved flowers, bushes, and trees allowed. Noise levels are heavily restricted (much more so than normal) with private security guard patrols to enforce them. Some restrictions that homeowners assocaitions have would be blatantly unconstitutional if done by a government – such as restricting visitors, banning flags, signs (even political signs), lawn decorations, visible holiday decorations such as Christmas lights, sometimes even bumper stickers on cars. In fact, all of the restrictions are designed to assure a certain type of ant-like conformity of the residents.

    The fact that such developments which restrict everything and assure ant-like conformity of residents (which i remind you, people have to pay extra for the prvilege of giving up their rights) are popular really should show you the flaw in your thinking. Already people are voluntarily giving up their rights to have higher property values, more prestige, a better school district (almost all of the houses in the best school districts here are subject to those riduculous agreements). Only a fool would assume that even if people enter into voluntary agreements that it would not be more restrictive of rights than is currently the case in the U.S. Especially since the most common instace of voluntary assocaitions (Homeowners Assocations) are in fact much more restrictive than the rules set up by the government. And of course, only a fool would enter into a voluntary agreement when there is no recongized enforcement mechanism.

    The fact that you anarcho-capitalists would tolerate extreme restrictions in freedom and extremely intrusive actions as long as they are done by corporations and not governments says all we need to know about you. i hate to break it to you, but even with no government, the rich are not letting you into their clubs. And they are going to be able to afford mercanaries to keep you out.

    And while i said that Mr. Peak seems really young, i looked at his website again and he’s almost as old as i am so he should really be old enough to know better. So read young as “immature” and likely “inexperienced in the real world” – if Mr. Peak is still around (and for all other college students/recent college graduates out there), a word of advice – no matter how desperate you get, law school is not the solution :)

  • Joel Otto

    Erika, you sound like you are really mad at someone. It’s not me. You don’t know me. You sound like you are full of hate and lashing out blindly. I don’t vote Republican. I don’t believe in violence against women. You have created a straw man argument. Look that up, then re-read my posts. Are you being willfully ignorant, or do you have difficulty with reading comprehension and following simple trains of logic?

    Voluntarists are not as you are describing. I haven’t met anyone, Republican, Democrat, or Communist who meets your stereotypical description.

    Majority rule doesn’t work for finding facts. Just because all your friends are telling you that you are right, doesn’t make it so.

  • Reynardine

    One of these little sand sharks, Erika, about the size that can scoot into shallows and bite people’s ankles.

  • Erika

    No Joel, you are seeking to destroy civil society. Civil society is government and laws. Forcing people to have to carry guns around to protect them is the very definition of a lack of civil society. In fact, what you really want is to turn the entire world into a real life version of Grand Theft Auto. But in real life, when you get blown to bits or shot repeatedly you do not show up at the hospital having generated a new life.

    To entrust your rights to self help, unenforceable “voluntary associations,” “private contractors” (mercanaries), large corporations, and ultra wealthy individuals is stupid and silly. There is no other way to put it.

    And rey, thanks for the shark – it better be a small shark breed though, my mantal isn’t that big (and hopefully no anarcho-capitalist tries to steal it) :).

  • Reynardine

    And a solid gold fountain pen, filled for good and all with Endless Ink, to Kiwi!

  • Reynardine

    Because I never got around to it last week, I hereby award a solid steel Hammer and a solid steel Sickle to Ruslan. Their workmanship is superb, but they are not tools. They’re weapons. Ruslan, you clearly know how, where, and to whom to apply them. Bon appetit (so to speak)!

  • Reynardine

    A life-size solid platinum Sharkie to Erika this week, to hang over her mantel.

  • Erika

    Joel,. your clinging to your childish gun obsession like a security blanket and spouting every riduculous and easily refuted argument from the NRA basically proves my point. Every argument you make is based upon an incorrect premise. Ultimately all that remains is sheer insecurity and lack of trust of people.

    The fact is that your main objection to government seems to be that in a Democratic government you sometimes lose. Rather than acting like an adult about it, you act like a little child who wants to go home and cry to mommy that the mean girl is picking on you. Given that your position is compltely and totally nuts it is easily understandable.why the majority of people reject it.

    Ultimately you and the other anarchy-capitalists position is nothing but a temper tantrum. You rant and rave that you live in a totalatarian society and yet you want to adopt principles that would inevitably lead to totalatarianism. Of course, the sum total of your complaint seems to be that you have to pay taxes – what do you think you’d have to pay if you lived without government? You’d have to pay a private company for every service that the government provides – likely a much higher price.

    You’d also constantly live in fear because you know that there will always be someone out there with more guns, better guns, a better shot, etc. who could shoot you and take your things without legal consequence. Maybe you’d pick on the weaker some and maybe even get to fulfill your obvious dream by shooting some people.

    The fact is that nothing will be leveled – instead billionaires will have their own private army and with no government force to stop them they will send in your private army take your precious bodily fluids oopsie, i mean guns and enslave you.

    Your gun does nothing to protect you – those who live by the gun, die by the gun. Many very free societies (often much freer than the United States in many respects) have strict gun control – and more peace and prosperity than the U.S. The U.S. is also a very prosperious country but not always peaceful primarily because insecure morons like you cling to your guns like a security blanket through some childish fantasy that you with your deer rifle could hold off the 101st Airborne Division.

    While we are overall a very free country (if you are white) – evidenced by the fact that we tolerate anti-government wackos like you. The fact is that we have an atrociously high murder rate and an atrociously high number of people in prison. Of course, because you are only concerned with rich white people who don’t want to pay taxes (and your entire complaint comes down to “i have to pay taxes and if i just shoot my neighbor because i don’t like the music she listens to, i’ll go to prison” – i’m also guessing that there are quite a few icky perv pedophile types in the anarchocapitalists ranks as well who object to the fact that the government doesn’t let them rape children (which after all, would be perfectly legal in the anarcho-capitalist world – the fact that rape would go completely unpunished in an anarcho-capitalist world is likely why the anarcho-capitalists tend to be male).

    Of course, it is extrmely doubtful that you care about the fact that you would give a free reign for rapists and pedophiles because the primary victims of them will be women and you simply do not care about women. After all, they just laughed at you in high school and continue to laugh at you today – because you insecure little boys in man’s bodies are completely icky. Yuck! In fact, it is hard to imagine a more mysognistic position than seeing guns as a solution to the domestic violence problem. At best, the woman will wind up in prison or a mental hospital (you do realize that battered women syndrome qualifies as a mental illness and that rather than getting off a woman who prevails on that argument will be found NGRI and sent to a mental hospital right?) for taking the law into her own hands rather than going through legal channels to escape her batterer – at worst, the woman will wind up dead. Guns are a primary cause of the domestic violence problem and that is amply proven by statistics. Most batterers are in fact armed and use the guns to threaten the victim and often the children so she is placed in fear and cannot escape.

    Guns might be useful for hunting, but place them in the hands other than legitimate authority and they are nothing but a tool to create create terror and oppression. Whether that illegitimate authority is a non-democratic government, a criminal, a terrorist, or a little boy in a man’s body who imagines himself a cowboy but is really a want to be vigilante does not matter – in every case, guns are being used for the purpose of oppression. You do not want your gun for protection – you want to use your gun to oppress people. Quite simply, you want to use the gun to get your way. Your gun is not there for protection – there are other much more effective ways to have protection than handguns. Having a dog is much more effective protection for your house than having a gun – and that is well shown by statistics. Buglar alarms are also fairly effective and inexpensive as well. Both dogs and buglar alarms will not accidential shoot your daughter coming home from her date either.

    Your side reveals its true motive by not going with open guns (which if purely for defensive purposes is what you want. To quote Dr. Strangelove “what good is a Doomsday device if no one knows you have it?” – its the same with a gun. If you were being purely defensive with your guns, you would walk around carrying your shotgun or wearing a holster just like the real (movie) cowboy that you dream of being. Instead you want to have concealed weapons – your justify that by saying then the criminals will not know who is armed, but the fact is that a concealed weapon only serves as a weapon of offense. There is no legitimate protection purpose to have a concealed weapon – it is not even good defense or personal protection if you are concerned because the gun may not be easily assessible. It is also merely reactive rather than proactive. The fact is the reason why you morons want concealed weapons is precisely because they are offensive weapons. You gun nuts dream of being able to shoot someone. The concealed weapon is there so you can.

    And proving what a childish infantile idea you anarcho-capitlists have, when people point out how childish and unrealistic anarcho capitlistm is and how such a system would destroy itself quickly you react with all the charm, wit, and alliance to facts that you’d expect from a preschooler throwing a temper tantrum.

    But i guess you guys want to arm teachers so when that preschooler gets out of control in her tantrum, the teacher can just shoot her. And i thought that being paddled was bad :P

    Most people grow out of throwing temper tantrums as they grow older and mature – not you anarcho-capitalists. That is perfectly consistent with the fact that your entire governmental system is based on an idea so childish that it is difficult to believe that anyone is actually stupid enough to believe it.

    Yes, capitalism and the “free market” can bring great things if the market is balanced through a strong and fair tort law and/or governmental regulation to assure competition and safe products. In fact, i basically agree with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Learned Hand, and Richard Posner that a strong and fair tort law would be preferrable to government regulation since a strong and fair tort law would provide better incentives for companies to adopt new innovations when government regulation does not keep up with technologies. The fact that businesses – including gun manufacturers and dealers but this is especially bad in the pharmaceutical industry – now are successfully lobbying for immunity from tort suits if their products comply with government laws and regulations (which already are largely written by the large corporations themselves) which may well become outdated. However, we do not have a strong and fair tort system and it is probably impossible to obtain since litigation is expensive and deep pockets will always have an advantage. That is why governmental regulation is needed – otherwise, the free market system would destroy itself.

    All of that governmental regulation that you hate did not destroy capitalism – it saved capitalism. It was not designed to protect big business – it was designed to set up a contervailing power which can (at least in theory) stand up to big business (see also unions).

    You anarcho-capitalists would simply remove the middle man and create government by corporations. In political theory there is a name for a government where corporations and the government are merged into one. Let’s see, what was it?

    All together now: Facism.

    That is the real face of anarcho-capitalism. And if you think that once Exxon Mobil and Wal-Mart take power directly they will let you keep your guns you are delusional. After all, with a gun you might rob the cashier at your local Wal-Mart and that threatens their profits which according to you anarcho-capitalists is worse than killing someone. Smile when the jack booted government thugs from Wal-Mart take the guns and ammunition (which ironically enough you could have bought there)

    Good thing that its likely that every adherent to anarcho-capitalism in the world has posted their screeds here – and of you guys, Mr. Peak was the only guy who showed any intelligence and politeness (of course, as a supporter of ESOPS he was also a bit of an anarcho-socialist and he was young and extremely naive – but he seems to mean well). the rest of you just seem to be looking for an excuse to turn your guns on unarmed people with no legal consequence and to not have to pay taxes. The rest of you anarcho-capitalists have all of the substance and charm of a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.

  • Hank Kerchieff

    This is such an accurate and informative article. I’m glad I spent my time reading it. Often, when I see someone on the street with a Gadsden flag or a shirt with a picture of an economist like Mirray Rothbard or Milton Friedman, I avoid them as much as possible. These people are not fit to live in our society. Most of them are dangerous!

  • Joel Otto

    Erika said:”…the only thing which firearms make equal is the ability to kill someone in a fit of anger. Or to shoot an unarmed person by mistake. Or to shoot people for fun.”

    Erika dear, have you no concept of self-defense? It is so sweet that you live such a sheltered life. Like a child. Even though you hate guns and don’t want to carry, you benefit from those who do – police, soldiers, and armed citizens. Because some of us carry, criminals can not be sure it is safe to make you a victim.

    What would your response be to a violent assault on yourself or a loved one? Dying for your belief in “macho insecurity”? Why do you think police and soldiers have guns? More insecurity? Or do wimps with guns become real men when wearing a uniform of the state, the better for you to lick their boots.

    Real men and women do solve their disputes without resorting to violence. It is called civil society. Voluntarists such as myself seek to expand civil society. As soon as government becomes involved, civil society ends. Everything the government does is based on the use of force. Criminals and governments resort to fraud and violence. Good guys with guns discourage that.

    Do you think there was no violence, no crime, and no murder before guns were invented a few hundred years ago? Have you seen the crime statistics from Japan and Great Britain where guns are illegal? Criminals can still get guns, and when they can’t they use knives, clubs, or brute force. The whole point of a gun is that it is just as effective for a weak person as a strong one, unlike fists.

    Erika, have you ever been to a shooting range and met some of the “…scared little boys who dream of living out the worst action movie cliches without thinking of the consequences.”? First, you may find that the shooting sports are fun and challenging, and then you may find that shooting enthusiasts are some of the nicest people you could meet. Prejudice based on stereotypes is ugly regardless of your target, as anyone on the SPLC site should know.

  • Reynardine

    Well, well, look at that, folks! When the ancaps can’t wear us down with the argumentum ad nauseam et ad infinitum, they have tantrums and throw balls of [Hays Office].

  • Gregory

    Looks like it is 2008/2012 all over again, with the Paultroons now rechristened as AnCaps. Lots of sound and fury on the intertubes and then….. nothing. How did that rEVOLUtion work out?

  • Aron

    Shazbot and Joel,

    If the AnCaps are so smart and we’re all so stupid, why is it you’re considered the fringe of the fringe, and we’re mainstream?

    You can keep beating that dead horse as long as you want. Erika dissected every single one of your arguments. And yet you continue to call her a liar.

    Now please tell me which of us is committing the Big Lie?

  • Joel Otto

    Political power comes generally from the consent of the governed, since the political class is always a minority. Anarcho-capitalists recognize that majority choice doesn’t change the morality of an action. We seek to expand this understanding to a larger audience, and we are succeeding. Theft, threats, fraud, assault, and murder do not become moral acts simply by majority approval vested in agents of the state.

    Erika’s fallacious, naive, and puerile attack is typical of those opposing an armed citizenry. Guns are not a necessary part of violence. They do change the balance of force whether they are actually fired of not.

    Because most people are good, and vicious criminals relatively rare, expanding a simple means of self-defense to the general populace places criminals at a disadvantage. An armed populace is also less likely to tolerate totalitarian measures from the political class, leading to a more peaceful and prosperous society.