From the White-PillBox: Part 29. Achilles Heel edition 3
Anarchist influencers are finding ways to leverage the vulnerabilities of many of the State's Achilles Heels.
This is the third in a sub-series of the White Pill essays examining some of the State’s vulnerabilities. This installment continues the discussion about the State’s weak spots presented in the previous two essays, and identifies some human White Pills - people in the anarchist space actively striking at some of these Achilles Heels 1.
The two ways their contributions are important
The people featured are contributing to the effort toward a free society by employing two parallel strategies: demolition work, and foundational work.
These strategies deal with the State. Their focus is today, when the State is still in the way. In particular, they target the State’s weaknesses and exploit them, in order to help reduce its influence. This helps clear the path forward.
These strategies help lay the groundwork for some necessary foundations 2 of a stable stateless society 3. They seek to smooth the way for that evolution. Their focus is the future, when the State can be disregarded because its debris has been cleared.
There is a White Pill here: the State is blind to its true destiny (irrelevancy and extinction), acting as if it will exist forever. In a sense this delusion is the ultimate Achilles Heel. The State is impotent to forces (natural or strategic) leading humanity to an eventual stateless society (or at minimum, stateless regions).
The human White Pills
Kinsella’s work covers both strategies.
Demolition work - Intellectual Property (IP) 4
He has written and spoken extensively on the illegitimacy of IP, clearly articulating how IP slows human progress and causes genuine human suffering and death. He takes a principled stand that IP is not something to be fixed, but should be abolished outright, immediately, in all its forms.
Demolition work and foundational work - Bitcoin
Cryptocurrency is comprised of various contemporary innovative technologies. There are already legal threats to crypto, which, if successful, would harm or even destroy it. Kinsella works to protect the cryptocurrency space, in particular from IP threats.
These efforts contribute to demolition work. Defending crypto from IP helps secure its broad acceptance. This in turn undermines government’s monopoly on money (the fuel that permits the State to persist).
But his efforts are also foundational, helping advance one of the pillars of a free society: money that is decentralized, non-inflatable, secure and private. It is a wheel that need not be reinvented along the way toward a stateless society 6.
Foundational work: law
As freedom-oriented enclaves emerge, their legal order will form. They will need principles that operate (somewhat) similar to the common law, in which law grows organically out of real-world adjudications of disputes, criminal acts, etc. Kinsella has participated in efforts on this front as well. He has explained why IP is inconsistent with a moral stateless society. And he has produced extensive work on how law would be handled in a free society.
Malice is a master at undermining one of the State’s key Achilles Heels: public respect. He uses popular media to relentlessly expose the illegitimacy of the State. He mercilessly ridicules the State and its defenders.
Largely as a result of Michael Malice’s influence, anarchism is working its way into mainstream conversation. He commands broad audiences across platforms: he hosts his own highly popular podcast; regularly appears on Glenn Beck’s podcast; is a popular author (including his recent The Anarchist’s Handbook); and is a genuine Twitter virtuoso (@michaelmalice).
Dave intelligently articulates the freedom message, in particular pertaining to the evils of the State. His podcast has a wide audience and he also makes regular appearances on popular forums such Fox’s Kennedy, Joe Rogan, and Tim Pool. His particular talent is explaining issues in an engaging way, with common sense, and in plain English. Yet his arguments are well grounded in the fundamentals of the anarcho-capitalist philosophy.
This strategy defies the State’s traditional and near-absolute control over information. Podcasts and other forms of alternative media do an end-run around the corporate media (a key handmaiden of the State). Dave Smith leverages this well, proving that in our age of the Internet, the State’s centuries-long domination over allowable thinking is at its end.
Dave has also been mentioned as the possible Libertarian Party candidate for president in 2024. Now, it is true that running for office is operating within the State’s own playing field. However this too is an Achilles Heel strategy. Dave has stated that the purpose of such a project would not be for actually holding office. Instead it would be to communicate the freedom message to the broadest possible audience. Time and again, Dave has labeled himself as an anarchist, and expressed the clear and explicit message that the State is illegitimate. This message, delivered in an articulate and principled way across major media, could prove to be a significant strike to the State’s myth of legitimacy. Moreover, his talents as a comedian would prove a useful tool. In election cycles, politicians are often portrayed by their opponents as clowns and buffoons. One could foresee Dave Smith taking this to a new level, exposing statists of all parties, as well as the press, as emperors with no clothes.
Tom Woods elegantly combines both strategies of demolition work and foundational work. Via his highly popular podcast, Tom broadens the appeal of libertarianism across the spectrum - from academics to the common person. His influence does demolition work by smashing common presumptions and myths about the State. He does this with a style that consistently belittles and denigrates the State, helping to chip away at the public perception of its legitimacy.
But his work is foundational as well. He promotes home schooling, which helps prepare a strong and less statism-indoctrinated generation. He promotes entrepreneurship to give people the opportunity to thrive, despite the State.
Perhaps his most significant form of foundational work is his recent School of Life. In its short history it has already developed into a community of support and goodwill. It provides practical advice and opportunities in both business and personal arenas.
While its primary goal is to help the like-minded navigate and thrive in today’s world, it is, by design or not, achieving foundational work for a free society. It is showing that community can exist and thrive parallel with conditions of statism. It is demonstrating in real-time that voluntary associations are peaceful and productive. It is validating the spontaneous, natural order of freedom, as the project grows organically in unanticipated, creative directions.
Altogether, it is a good example of how free societies emerge absent a State. It is a White Pill of its own…a present-day glimpse of how social evolution will play out without the irrelevant State in the way.
Scott is one of libertarianism’s most articulate anti-war spokespeople. He makes frequent appearances on popular platforms and debate venues. He has written several anti-war books, and is editorial director of Antiwar.com. It is not an overstatement to say that he has declared war on war. His depth of knowledge on the history of war as well as current events is encyclopedic.
War serves the State well as a tool of control. Traditionally, war was always a handy way to stir up broad public support for the State, while distracting people from the other societal messes it created. But war (at least the large scale variety) has become generally unpopular. There is a greater awareness that it never ends well. War is a fast growing and significant State Achilles Heel.
Scott Horton keeps war on the front burner. With every interview, article or book, Scott hammers at this Achilles Heel, reminding the public of the horror, uselessness and waste of war. The State’s role is explained in grim detail. He shows how the State’s justification for each conflict is false or fabricated, and always political. He explains the context and dynamics at work, and why they never justify war.
In Scott’s war against this Achilles Heel, the State has a formidable enemy.
Larken Rose is a highly popular anarchist. His central theme is communicated in virtually all his work. Specifically, he hammers at the ultimate root cause of the State: the indoctrinated idea that the State itself has moral legitimacy. He points out that this is a cult-like belief that, for most everyone, impedes their ability to think critically about the State. Indeed, virtually everyone is already an anarchist according to their private moral intuitions and in their social interactions. We are simply trained from birth to hold contradictory views when it comes to government.
Larken’s major book, “The Most Dangerous Superstition”, clearly explains the myth of the State. He has done countless speeches, articles and videos on the subject, explaining the issue from hundreds of different perspectives.
He offers a seminar called “Candles in the Dark”. This is designed to help anarchists more effectively communicate the principles of non-aggression and self-ownership. It explains the psychology behind people’s belief in the myth of the State, and shows how to bring out people’s “inner anarchist”.
There are few anarchist communicators who better strike at the very root of statism (a mere belief in people’s minds) and help guide them out of that fog.
This demolition work attacks the State’s institutional legitimacy. Like the belief in Santa Claus, as each person wakes up from their false belief in the State, there is little fanfare. And once it ends, there is no need to replace it with another myth. This is why the State’s apparent legitimacy is actually a serious Achilles Heel.
If mankind survives statism, then a free society is in its future. But we often make the mistake of assuming the transition to a free society is also reserved for the future.
But the most efficient way to deal with the State is by dealing with its Achilles Heels. And that is being done right now, by real people.
Our White Pill is that the transition to a free society is already underway.
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It should be noted that the particular people mentioned are only a few among the many who are doing significant work in the liberty arena.
The absence of a State is itself insufficient. Foundational principles are needed to make it sustainable. For example, it needs an organically evolved form of money that cannot be arbitrarily inflated; it needs voluntary private law (to deal with disputes and injustice); it needs principles rooted in self-ownership, private property and the non-aggression principle (NAP).
And it needs a culture of self-sovereignty. Specifically, a general respect for individual rights. This entails most people having respect for the self-ownership and property of others, and expecting reciprocal respect from others in return.
This is not far-fetched. In their private lives, the vast majority already live that way. Of course there will always be a small minority of criminals (since there is no utopia). But this is not distinctive to a stateless society: we have plenty of criminals under statism. But a free society has an advantage: it is absent a State, so criminals cannot increase their power exponentially by holding political office.
There are historical examples of stateless or near-stateless societies. Many evolved private property and voluntary justice norms quite similar to those theorized in modern anarchist/libertarian scholarship. However these foundational structures were insufficiently matured and robust; they could not prevent the return, or outside intrusion, of the State.
Summarizing from the previous essay, as to why IP is an Achilles Heel: the State must limit human choices, because as people have more and better choices, eventually the State is crowded out into obscurity. So the State is incentivized to squash innovation, and IP is the perfect tool for this. IP also highly strengthens large entrenched companies, who are in turn major structural supports for the State.
This makes IP is an Achilles Heel: undermining it is an efficient sling to Goliath’s head.
This is not to predict that a stateless society will necessarily adopt Bitcoin, or even cryptocurrency as we know it today, as its form of money. Bitcoin checks many of the boxes for a sound form of money, but further innovation could develop other options as well.