Why I am not specifically a voluntaryist

Mike Gogulski


Maybe it’s nothing more than a definitional quibble, but…

Carl Watner, who has operated voluntyarist.com for long years, provides a definition of what a voluntaryist is, front and center:

Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society.

Carl has done amazing work in collecting and promulgating anarchist literature. The amount of learning I have obtained and that others have benefited from via his work — as writer and archiver — is incalculable. Carl’s one of the good guys. One of the guys, indeed, who I can count on to wind up on the right side of the barricades, come the revolution. I heart Carl Watner.

However, I can’t but quibble with this definition. I might well prefer non-violent strategies for the attainment of a free society (and the political will certainly never be acceptable). But I am not going to rule out violent, bloody, homicidal strategies to get there, if such turn out to seem essential.Perhaps this is not what Carl means with his definition. Perhaps the preference, the advocacy for such does not preclude other paths. But I read this definition, and the words of many other self-proclaimed voluntaryists, and see a commitment to non-violence above all other things.

I am not so committed.

I don’t really advocate the strategies as such. I want the end results. Of course I am keenly aware that ends do not justify means. But when one recognizes that the world is ruled by criminal gangs, one ought take into account all legitimate actions for the elimination of crime and criminals.

If the achievement of a free society is to require that a million bleeding heads of torturing tyrants, damnable dictators, pandering politicians, sadistic generals, privileged policemen, criminal soldiers and psychotic, irresponsible “servants” be hoisted on pikes to surround the palisades of the free cities, count me in for the headsman’s role, for I will not dwell in my ice-cream-and-flying-ponies fantasies so long as to preclude my own action toward the attainment thereof.

Would that neither you nor I ever face such choices. But we should be ready, should our realities eventuate as such, to know what we will do.

Do you?


brainpolice: Everything about “the state” that one may have initially set out to oppose can be repacked in a new, relativized framework, and libertarianism ends up looking like a shallow and hypocritical doctrine to the extent that it does this. And it often entails a strange line drawn in which anti-statism and non-aggression is treated as an absolute categorical imperative, while beyond this dividing line all questions of value are left to relativity. I’ve never seen a libertarian sensibly rationalize this line.

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