The Attitude of an Anarchist

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.

Copyright © 2012 by

9 Responses to The Attitude of an Anarchist

  1. Sebastian says:

    “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.”

    As the philosopher said, the beginning of wisdom starts with the proper definition of terms.

    Rejection of nationalism is not an Anarchic attitude unless one uses the (fallacious) definition “Nationalism = State Worship”.

    A Nationalist is someone that seems himself as part of a Nation…not a Country. The planet has several nations without a country (and State) and many countries who hold several different nations within their borders.

    A Nation is a group of people that share a heritage, values, language, culture, etc; a “Folk” if you will. A nationalist is someone who strives for the sake of the People he or she identifies with. Political predilections or lack of them do not fit into the equation. It is perfectly possible to be a Anarcho-Nationalist.

    To say Anarchism, by definition, opposes or rejects Nationalism is an untruth. What it truly rejects (besides rejecting the State itself, of course) is the State posturing as the one true & ultimate expression of a Nation, or several Nations, and pretending to hold their best interests at heart.

    If you are for the People you belong to but against their State masters, you are still a Nationalist.

    If you are pro-State and think your People should sublimate their wants, desires and interest to it, you are a Statist Anti-Nationalist.

  2. Jim Klein says:

    “Feh” to this essay…more collectivism, hardly what we need. There are only individuals out there. Plus, a few of the claims are downright false, even generally speaking.

    Philosophically, this was an interesting one: “Conservatives value order; anarchists value freedom.” This makes it sound like those are in opposition, which itself is false. I’ve been touting this marvelous (and intricate!) essay on that very point…

  3. Pat Hines says:

    Sebastian has the long and short of it. An anarchist does not have to reject nationalism at all. He isn’t, and I am not, speaking of the faux nationalism exhibited by both the German National Socialists and the Italian Fascisti; both of those countries were propositional nations, not genuine ones.

    Many people forget that neither Germany nor Italy were super nation states before the end of the 19th century. Italy has a large, strong secessionist movement today, the Lega Nord.

  4. sofa says:

    The opposite of anarchist is statist, not conservative.

    Also, the simple 2dimensional representation struggles to capture the diversity. The CW2 cube abd polygonal models handle the differences better, explain comonalties between otherwise diverse groups, and explain more real world occurrences.

    For example, different flavors of conservative are flushed out in the CW2 cube; social, financial, legal, foreign affairs).

    But, to each his own (model and terms and otherwise).

  5. Ben says:

    I read this on Lew Rockwell. I thought it was brilliant. And here I thought I was a Liberatarian…

  6. Burner says:

    Let me add one to your list:

    Conservatives believe in a broad ideology that realistically achievable and appeals to many if not most people, and under which the western world achieved the most rapid and dramatic increase in quality of life for the average human being in the entire history of mankind. Anarchists believe in a hyper-idealized, impractical, and improbable ideology which has been shown by history to be a dramatic failure since its first incarnation at the dawn of man.

    Oh by the way, it’s clear you have no idea what conservatives believe and half of the beliefs you attribute to them are held by liberals. And the other poster is right, the opposite of an anarchist is a conservative.

    Step away from the window, go back to sleep.

    • Burner says:

      The opposite of an anarchist is a statist. Damn it.

    • dumpdc says:

      Burner, ol’boy- I don’t give a shit what “conservatives” believe. The only thing that matters is WHAT THEY DO…and what they do is tax and spend and kill millions around the globe. You are right, though. Half of the beliefs I attribute to “conservatives” are indeed held by liberals. THEY BOTH BELIEVE THE SAME F**KING THINGS. Anarchy is probably unworkable since too many human beings like being slaves. Sounds like you fit right in a slave mentality. Russ

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