The Bad Quaker talks Abolition with Bill Buppert

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, 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.

[Check out the original article for the full interview.]

4 thoughts on “The Bad Quaker talks Abolition with Bill Buppert

  1. Ive been thinking about anarcho-capitalism and I’ve realized my hesitation about embracing anarcho-capitalism.
    As an analogy I’ll use the money concept.
    In my opinion it would not be prudent to get rid of the dollar bill as a currency for transactions. Going back to lugging your mule to the market is going backwards. But with the creation of a fixed currency I acknowledge a lot of problems have developed too that need to be dealt with but I wouldn’t advocate abolishment because most of us like a simple way to conduct a transaction without researching the value of what’s being traded. This frees up time for us to utilize whatever we’ve purchased.
    I feel similarly about fixed property rights and rule of law (specifically the basic rule of law currently in existence in the USA). By eliminating all basic laws and property rights we would be going back to lugging the mule. We know rule of law works. We know established property rights work. The problem is the expansion of the law into micromanaging everyone’s lives. Creating laws that have nothing to do with interfering with another’s basic rights. These things are not acceptable and need to be reigned in. The founding fathers felt this way also. They took from Britain what was working and left behind the rest.
    But to start over (and I do believe it’d be starting over because it would in every case always evolve into a centralized government monster again) would be wasting valuable energy reinventing the wheel. I would like to use my energy to get back to that sweet spot in US history that made this country the greatest place to live in the world. And then hopefully my great great grandchildren will feel the same way when the monster rears it’s ugly head again in another two hundred years if we can get it back now.
    This is my opinion. Thank you for listening.

    • Very interesting. And I can see the appeal. The dollar has worked pretty well, and so has common law. Now it would be indeed a nerve racking transition, to see if we could hold onto the value of the things that have worked, while eliminating the negatives: policing victimless crimes, devaluing of the currency, and forced labor to fund the government. But I don’t necessarily think that we would have to go back to lugging the mule if we don’t keep the current system.

      If you look at something like bitcoin, the idea that it could rise up and take the place of the dollar, without much social upheaval intrigues me. Of course it wouldn’t just be bitcoin, other alternative currencies would compete, with the best ones winning, and the worst ones losing. Eventually we would have many currencies I believe, and though some would come and go, there would be a market to standardize currencies (thus creating more currencies, that make their money buying and selling more volatile currencies in order to stabilize them, thus giving the stabilizing currency value). I think currency is an important way to best utilize capital, and as you said, make it so we have more free time, and don’t have to literally carry something around of value. However I have serious doubts that we need to be coerced into using one particular currency in order for this capital management system to work most effectively.

      And I think the rule of law is what the market wants, more-so than what the political class wants. If the rule of law has been preserved thus far, I honestly believe it is because the market demands it, and has the power to influence the law despite the government getting in the way. And I therefore must conclude that the demand for a rule of law, and property rights, would still exist without coercion on the part of the state. Since the way we interact legally now involves being forced to accept whatever decision courts hand down, and since the rule of law is not necessarily a positive for those courts, it seems “protecting their phony bologna jobs” is the only thing that protects the rule of law. This is the market, so the only difference without coercion is that only parties who had something to gain or lose would be involved in the legal interactions, and would need to come to an agreement. Now obviously a murderer would not come to an agreement with an accuser, but just as in this court system, we would be able to investigate (probably better) and present the case to whoever protects the murderer that they should allow him to be punished, or risk the market consequences, since the market wants law and justice for wrongdoers. Apprehending an actual murderer would be consistent with the non-agression principle, if there was no reasonable doubt he had not committed the crime.

      I value your opinion, and always love hearing it! Actually I have been meaning to ask you, Kerri, if you would mind if I used some of the old comment back-and-forths between us on other ancap discussions as a post? My idea was to post them unedited, since you bring up some of the best points against anarcho-capitalism from a libertarian perspective. Let me know what you think!

  2. Pingback: Voting. Do You Feel Empowered? I Feel More Hopeless than Usual. | Vigilant Vote

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