Anarchy is Old

Discovering and developing the anarchist mindset over the last few years, all these ideas seem to be new and novel to me.

Yet, while researching the history of the concept of voluntary interaction instead of force, I am finding that the ideas I encountered first through modern anarchists like Larken Rose or Stefan Molyneux are not really new, but that these people stand on the shoulders of others that have carried the torch of personal liberty before them.

Just as for me personally the ideas become clearer and more obvious with the time I am exposed to them, so the ideas themselves have become clearer and self-evident through the attention they get from thinkers and philosophers through history, and will, most likely, continue to develop.

Today I watched a video made in the 80s that I want to share here…

It helped me find another resource that I will now research further – Emma Goldman. Thanks to the internet and mp3 I can now fill my time in the car with the study of a very early anarchist.

Another proponent of the idea of personal liberty who I am still wrapping my mind around, is Richard J. Maybury. (Thank you, Nicole, for introducing me!) He does not call himself an anarchist, even though, judging by his ideas, he probably is one, or at least close to one. It would be hard for me to understand why, if one understands the inherent dangers of governmental powers, one then would continue to support it, even on a very limited level. If rape is bad, then you want to get rid of it and don’t keep a little bit of it, just in case there is a psycho who needs to let off some steam.

So, Richard, I call you as an anarchist, even though it would be nice to have a word for the proponent of a stateless society that is not also a synonym for the initiator of chaos and mayhem. This brings up a point that is also made in the movie above: using the concept (and word) of patriotism as support for one’s country as well as its government, while in fact the two are very different things.

I can certainly love my country and everything it is – thus being patriotic – without also supporting those people who are claiming it – unjustified, I might add – as theirs, including all the workforce in it. Thinking of it, I believe that, in order to be patriotic, I would have to do everything possible to rid a country claiming to be free, of the elements that try to enslave the people living in it.

But back to Richard Maybury. I just finished his book Whatever Happened to Justice, in which he explains the difference between natural (common) law and political law.

One little tidbit jogged my mind.  It is an example for the fact that under natural law all people are treated equally, including government officials. I want to quote this here:

The Criminal Justice Museum in Rothenburg, Germany, has a copy of the Sachsenspiegel, the common law of the Saxons, which was used as a top law-book from 1220 until 1900. It explained how to bring suit, inheritances, property rights, guardianships, and so on. So that illiterate persons could read and understand, each law was illustrated with a picture.

Exhibits in the museum show that German law was especially hard on government officials who were caught committing fraud. In Augsburg, Germany, if the head of the government mint were caught debasing and inflating the coinage, the penalty was loss of a hand. If his inflation amounted to more than 60 pfennigs ( 4.8 ounces of silver, about $25 in today’s money) he was burned at the stake.

Consider this in light of our current situation where politicians print money as if there is no tomorrow, thus debasing and inflating our money. I wonder how many of our “elected officials” would run around without hands and char-coaled.