The Attitude of an Anarchist

September 9, 2012

by Tom Finnigan

Editor’s Note: This is the finest description of anarchy I’ve seen. Enjoy, but embrace anarchy.

Anarchy is about attitude as much as philosophy. Below is a contrast between a conservative attitude toward government and the anarchist’s attitude toward government. Do you have the attitude of an anarchist?

Conservatives show deference toward political authority; anarchists show defiance toward political authority. Conservatives respect politicians; anarchists revile politicians. Conservatives see voting as their patriotic duty; anarchists see voting as a waste of time. Conservatives feel an emotional attachment to democracy; anarchists think democracy is a farce. Conservatives think the Constitution is sacred; anarchists think the Constitution is a dead letter. Conservatives would feel honored to meet the President; anarchists would feel like showering after meeting the President. Conservatives love Ronald Reagan because he believed in smaller government; anarchists despise Ronald Reagan because he enlarged the government. Conservatives see sex scandals as an embarrassment to the nation; anarchists see sex scandals as entertainment for the nation.

Conservatives take pride in U.S. history; anarchists deconstruct U.S. history. Conservatives are moved when they hear the National Anthem; anarchists just want to start the game already. Conservatives pledge allegiance to the United States of America; anarchists declare independence from the United States of America. Conservatives think unity is important; anarchists think unity is dangerous. Conservatives detest draft dodgers; anarchists admire draft dodgers. Conservatives grieve for soldiers killed in wars; anarchists grieve for civilians killed in wars. Conservatives disparage conscientious objectors; anarchists are conscientious objectors. Conservatives think dissent is unpatriotic; anarchists think dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Conservatives ridicule conspiracy theorists; anarchists are conspiracy theorists.

Conservatives fear an out-out-of-control population; anarchists fear an out-of-control government. Conservatives think drugs are destroying society; anarchists think the war on drugs is destroying society. Conservatives respect government law; anarchists respect natural law. Conservatives think it’s wrong for people to pick and choose what laws they want to obey; anarchists feel a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws. Anarchists might help a teenager trying to score some beer; conservatives would threaten to call the cops. Conservatives worry about what their neighbors do behind closed doors; anarchists worry about what cops and prosecutors do behind closed doors.” Conservatives think everyone should pay their taxes; anarchists think no one should pay their taxes. Anarchists feel excited about breaking the law; conservatives feel guilty about breaking the law. Conservatives feel safe in the presence of law enforcement; anarchists feel threatened in the presence of law enforcement. Conservatives grieve for the federal agents killed during the Waco siege; anarchists grieve for the civilians killed during the Waco siege.

Conservatives fear instability; anarchists fear tyranny. Conservatives value order; anarchists value freedom. Conservatives think about what’s practical; anarchists think about what’s right. Conservatives want to take over the State; anarchists want to smash the State. Conservatives want reform; anarchists want revolution. Conservatives fear extremists; anarchists are extremists. Conservatives take interest in elections, budget proposals, and constitutional amendments; anarchists take interest in secession, nullification, and civil disobedience. Conservatives worry about what would replace the existing political order; anarchists are willing to roll the dice.

The attitude of an anarchist can be summarized as follows: contempt for politicians; rejection of nationalism; disrespect for the law; and a willingness to make radical changes to the status quo. If you share these attitudes, you might be an anarchist. If you reject the philosophy of anarchism, you should still consider adopting the attitude of an anarchist if you want liberty. Attitude is more important than philosophy when it comes to rousing the masses from their slumber. Eastern Europeans did not erupt against communism because they had recently learned about Mises’ economic calculation argument. They did it because they were tired of living in a police state and weren’t going to take it anymore. The attitude of an anarchist says, “Don’t tread on me.” It is inspiring. It is contagious. It is the hope of humanity.

Tom Finnigan lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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