At the time in 2013, I had no idea who “The Bad Quaker” was, and had just been introduced to anarcho-capitalism (or abolitionism) days earlier. It was the first PorcFest I attended, and my mind swirled with new ideas and excitement. The Bad Quaker’s talk was the best slap in the face I ever got. While David Freedman gave me the practical introduction to true liberty, the Bad Quaker gave me the philosophy of freedom. It would be another year before I realized the important role of that philosophy.
This is because I still thought that most people were interested in facts and truth. But when there is no philosophy behind a person’s beliefs, it gets harder to nail down what is a fact, and what is truth. That is why I have been shifting towards promoting the philosophy of freedom, rather than the facts of freedom.
And if listening to the Bad Quaker was a welcome slap in the face, listening to Bill Buppert this year was a needed kick in the butt. I had written about how all government is slavery, but it was more of a gimmick, an attempt to spur people’s thoughts based on the jabbing title that almost everyone is pro-slavery. Then I listened to Bill and was like… oh I get it, we really are all slaves. And on Bill’s website ZeroGov.com, he interviews Ben Stone, the Bad Quaker.
Ben Stone said in a moment of clarity he realized, “that coercive government wasn’t just a bad idea, but it was the actual source of evil in the human experience. You can’t have a coercive government and freedom at the same time. They are mutually exclusive concepts.”
And this is something that took me a long time to realize as well. People ask a lot of questions to anarchists about how negative human behaviors would be regulated without a coercive force called government. But even though there would be a market response to the demand for justice, this year I started to realize that many of those negative human behaviors are created by government, in examples set by the sociopaths who gain power. So while only a fraction of the population has no “conscience”, they are the ones teaching the rest of the population how to act.
Your podcasts draw from a deep well of historical knowledge and understanding, what lessons can be gleaned?
I think the most important thing to understand about history is that almost every aspect of the government-approved narrative is either an outright lie, or it’s so deeply twisted that it doesn’t even remotely resemble the actual events it depicts. State-approved schools intentionally teach history using a method that makes it as boring as possible while leaving a perverted view that almost always glorifies some government “Great Man” as the hero. But once you’re set free from that mind numbing schoolhouse history, and you start to view the human story as it actually happened, it becomes a never-ending journey into fascinating ages gone by.
And I think this point is often understated. I had seen the public school system as the machinery available to initiate indoctrination when the time came. I now realize it has long been indoctrinating kids into the type of citizens governments want. The fact that teachers are not “on board” with this indoctrination once convinced me that it was not yet happening, but I realized that teachers do not have to be willing tools of the state in order to carry their agenda forward.
Just the format of sitting in a classroom, being bored by history and literature and thus giving a negative pavlovian response to learning, has a large effect on the process of indoctrination. Public school teaches a student to spit out whatever was put in. The facts don’t matter, remembering what your teacher “taught” you is all that matters. This makes people vehemently against new ideas when they oppose what they have been taught by some “official”. It brings back the idea that “I will fail if I don’t spit back whatever was spit at me”.
Do you agree that Randolph Bourne’s “war is the health of the state” is a major theme of world history in the West?
I largely agree with Bourne. I would call war the vital signs of government, and I would extend that to the tyrants of the Far East as well as every other culture where coercive government has been tolerated. The fear that “Hannibal is at the gate” has been the excuse that tyrants have used throughout history. The key is to convince people that the devil you know is better tha[n] the potential of being conquered by a foreign devil. So long as people buy the lie, governments grow and war continues.
Mull that over. War is not in the best interest of anyone on the battlefield. The government actually concedes this point, why else would soldiers have to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. And this is also a good reminder that Statism is a religion where we still use human sacrifices as an offer to save us from evil. We at home only passively allow war because we have bought the lie, and don’t want to invite a worse slave-master onto our plantation, because we already have Stockholm Syndrome for our own captors.
I’ve never been interested in the quick easy answer to a question. My brother used to say about me, “Don’t ask Ben the time of day, he’ll tell you how to build a watch.” He meant that in a derogatory way, as an insult.
My answer to him was always; “If you have your own watch you won’t keep bothering me with stupid questions.”
When I try to have an engaging discussion with someone who has decided I’m wrong before the first word leaves my mouth, they generally interrupt every 5-10 words in an attempt to derail my point. They ask questions like, “who would punish criminals” and then interject, “how do you know that?” at every mention of how the market works. Is it bad to question what someone is telling you? No. But it is ignorant to not even hear out a full progression of one’s point before calling into question its basis.
Economics is a science, and there are sound principles that can be applied to certain situations. Telling me “You don’t know that” when I attempt to explain how a market would respond to a given problem is like telling a person discussing evolution that he doesn’t know for sure if natural selection created the opposable thumb. Are the ideas up for debate about how exactly they can be applied to a situation? Of course. But telling someone they don’t know something because you are too lazy to follow their logic is stupid. Instead, if you disagree, explain how the opposite could be true. But most of the “you don’t know that” people are not interested in truth, they want to prove you’re wrong without having the intellectual capacity to explain why they think your wrong.
And let me just say this is completely different from disagreeing after you have heard the argument, and offering a constructive rebuttal to the argument, based on more than the purported ignorance of the presenter. Not every idea can be explained in one sentence. The media has worked hard to make sure that no one pays attention long enough to have a thoughtful debate. In fact the definition of debate has changed to mean a competition between two people who each believe they can yell the loudest, and strategically compete to get in the last word, no matter how idiotic it may be.
I’ll let Ben Stone, the Bad Quaker wrap this one up:
I often say that coercive government exists because there is a current market demand for coercive government. I am a salesman for freedom, but currently governments prohibit freedom. I deeply believe that once the market for freedom reaches a point, no amount of aggression will be able to maintain this prohibition.