They think my stance on Voluntaryism (all human interactions should be voluntary) or anarchy (which means “without Archons” or “without rulers”) was accepted uncritically, rooted in some deep pain or experience that caused me to distrust authority of all kinds and essentially run to its opposite.
I don’t believe that’s true for me.
I had loving parents, including a compassionate father. I’ve worked for great bosses without a notably bad experience among them. For a time during and after college, I was part of what could be called an authoritarian or dogmatic religious ministry, which employed me for 6 years. One can certainly argue that experience seeded the roots of my distrust in authority, but ultimately, looking back on that time with as little bias as possible, it was mostly filled with deep friendships, love, and community. There was no physical or verbal abuse, just some frustration that I had to “get permission” to “court” my later-to-be wife Corinne (there was no dating in this community). I make no excuses for how controlling this environment was with “deciplers” and pastors who injected their perspective into all walks of life, but I personally wasn’t all that effected by it compared to other stories I heard later. I barely dated in high school and never had sex in college or anywhere else prior to being with my wife, and much of that time was long before joining this organization. Some of the benefits Corinne and I enjoy in our marriage over seventeen years later come from that innocent intimacy fostered by that environment (I’m her first as well). It wasn’t all that bad.
So where does this distrust of authority come from?
At the risk of being scoffed at by those who understand all such positions are, essentially, emotional ones which are later justified with logic and reason, I’ll argue my current stance on authority came from logic and reason. I started watching videos about anarchy and voluntaryism from people like Larken Rose, Stephan Molyneux, and others. I read books like The Most Dangerous Superstition and For a New Liberty. I watched debates between anarchists and minarchists and saw how the “we just need a little government” camp wasn’t internally consistent with its own views. I attended events like the Porcupine Freedom Festival, Anarchapulco, and Burning Man. I started building Decentralized Autonomous Community software with blockchain technology. I started using and greatly benefiting from cryptocurrency which is essentially money without rulers.
Yes, there are rules in all of these systems, but there are no rulers. There is governance but no government, if you think of government as having the defining characteristic of a monopoly on the initiation of force in a geographic region.
I came to accept the belief that humans can own and rule themselves. I absorbed and meditated on the idea that human freedom is one of the greatest things possible because it allows for the highest ability to function. Liberty allows our consciousness to evolve as we take on the full weight of personal responsibility and acknowledge our interdependence as a social species, no longer forcing compliance or consensus through archaic threats of violence or imprisonment. Voluntary means you have to be a good, supportive member of your community because you can’t force anyone to do anything.
This mindset, like many indoctrinations, requires a bit of brainwashing. One might also argue, this is the default state which was replaced with a meticulously structured (and possibly poisoned) society bent towards authoritarianism at every level of social interaction. This is what the mind needs to be washed free of to accept the radical idea that harming others to get what you want is not okay. That it’s never okay.
I’ll end this long post with a final note. If you’ve ever appreciated my views on freedom and my efforts to build a more free, voluntary society, maybe dip your toes in the water of authoritarian-free thinking. Embrace the cognitive dissonance that will certainly arise, almost violently, within your mind to reject these “dangerous” concepts. Suspend your disbelief long enough to be submerged and see if the result leads to more empathy, compassion, and understanding that all life is sacred, and we can’t dominate each other in an attempt to justify anything. There are better tools and systems we can employ which result in no violent rulers.
Will there be challenges and obstacles? Absolutely. Will we need visionary leaders to “change things from the inside”? Of course, and friends of mine like Brock are trying to do just that (can you imagine the increase in freedom the policies a burner President implementing the ten principles would bring to the world?). Will the net result be an increase in the ability to function and is that ultimately what we are here existing to explore? I think so.
To get a glimpse of the types of content I’ve been consuming for many years to think as I do, watch this video:
Watch it with an open mind and an unbiased perspective of history. Let go of the position that you have which makes you feel you are moral because you obey.