Robert Anton Wilson and Karl Hess: Subversion for Fun and Profit: http://t.co/vMMuxdPN69 via @youtube
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I am testing with this and following tweets this Twitter to WordPress plugin: http://t.co/SStoLWmiAM.
I’ve now read virtually everything by Ernst Juenger that’s been translated into English, except for the last half of The Adventurous Heart (1938), which I’m still reading, and Copse 125: A Chronicle from the Trench Warfare of 1918 (1925), which arrived in the mail today. Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD, had this to say about The Adventurous Heart at the beginning of a chapter in his 1980 book LSD – My Problem Child describing acid trips he took with Juenger in 1951 and 1970:
Radiance is the perfect term to express the influence that Ernst Jünger’s literary work and personality have had on me. In the light of his perspective, which stereoscopically comprises the surfaces and depths of things, the world I knew took on a new, translucent splendor. That happened a long time before the discovery of LSD and before I came into personal contact with this author in connection with hallucinogenic drugs.
My enchantment with Ernst Jünger began with his book Das Abenteuerliche Herz [The adventurous heart]. Again and again in the last forty years I have taken up this book. Here more than ever, in themes that weigh more lightly and lie closer to me than war and a new type of human being (subjects of Jünger’s earlier books), the beauty and magic of Jünger’s prose was opened to me — descriptions of flowers, of dreams, of solitary walks; thoughts about chance, the future, colors, and about other themes that have direct relation to our personal lives. Everywhere in his prose the miracle of creation became evident, in the precise description of the surfaces and, in translucence, of the depths; and the uniqueness and the imperishable in every human being was touched upon. No other writer has thus opened my eyes.
On the other hand, after reading Juenger’s Preface to Copse 125 this morning, only now do I finally understand why Juenger’s reputation remained so controversial throughout his long lifetime, and why in certain circles he was vilified as the godfather of German fascism. My reading of Storm of Steel (1920) did not explain this judgment, nor did my reading of Total Mobilization (1930), and I had begun to suspect that Juenger had simply been misrepresented and slandered. Here, for example, is a representative passage from the latter work:
The Kremlin’s old chimes now play the Internationale. In Constantinople, schoolchildren use the Latin script instead of the Koran’s old arabesques. In Naples and Palermo, Fascist police regulate the pace of southern life as if directing modern traffic. In the world’s remotest, even legendary lands, houses of parliament are being ceremoniously dedicated. The abstractness, hence the horror, of all human circumstances is increasing inexorably. Patriotism is being diluted through a new nationalism, strongly fused with elements of conscious awareness. In Fascism, Bolshevism, Americanism, Zionism, in the movements of colored peoples, progress has made advances that until recently would have seemed unthinkable; it proceeds, as it were, head over heels, following the circular course of an artificial dialectic in order to continue its movement on a very simple plane. Disregarding its much diminished allowances for freedom and sociability, it is starting to rule nations in ways not very different from those of an absolute regime. In many cases the humanitarian mask has almost been stripped away, replaced by a half-grotesque, half-barbaric fetishism of the machine, a naive cult of technique; this occurs particularly where there is no direct, productive relation to those [pg 138] dynamic energies for whose destructive, triumphal course long-range artillery and bomb-loaded fighter squadrons represent only the martial expression. Simultaneously, esteem for quantity [Massen] is increasing: quantity of assent, quantity of public opinion has become the decisive factor in politics. Socialism and nationalism in particular are the two great millstones between which progress pulverizes what is left of the old world, and eventually itself. For a period of more than a hundred years, the masses, blinded by the optical illusion of the franchise, were tossed around like a ball by the “right” and “left.” It always seemed that one side offered refuge from the other’s claims. Today everywhere the reality of each side’s identity is becoming more and more apparent; even the dream of freedom is disappearing as if under a pincers’ iron grasp. The movements of the uniformly molded masses, trapped in the snare set by the world-spirit, comprise a great and fearful spectacle. Each of these movements leads to a sharper, more merciless grasp: forms of compulsion stronger than torture are at work here; they are so strong, that human beings welcome them joyfully. Behind every exit, marked with the symbols of happiness, lurk pain and death. Happy is he alone who steps armed into these spaces.
That does not sound fascistic to me. But in Juenger’s Preface to Copse 125, published five years earlier, we find reflections on WWI such as these:
Those frightful landscapes were our daily surroundings where destruction ruled over all and nothing stood except the might of the soul that no force can subdue. In one thing alone we were great — in our aims that dwarfed the individual and made his life and fortunes of no account. Thousands died for an acre of ground, for a bit of trench, for a copse or a village — and rightly; for the shaping of a world still hidden in the future was bound up with the gain or loss of scraps of ground like these. And the length of the war only heightened its intensity.
To stand thus, night and day without a breathing space, always on the alert; to answer the great and utmost question of fate by the offer of one’s own life — must not that be an education that goes deeper and lasts longer than any other? And over and above it all to see the tangible success, the hoped-for and well-earned reward sunk in shipwreck utterly unforeseen — this is the severest trial that can be laid on a people, as on any single person who feels himself in heart and soul bound up with it. He who can pass a test like this shows that he is born for command and is fit for the exercise of power.
Certainly no one who is not carved out of the hardest wood goes on unshattered from such a schooling, and it is only in the day of distress that a nation can tell whether it has men at its disposal. We, too, have no lack of those who, like the Frenchman, Barbusse, regard war as a material affair and, turning its negative side outwards, endeavour to run up on the other a temple of peace and happiness. They give as their reasons devastated towns and frightful sufferings — as though our highest duty was the avoidance of pain. They have no mind to accept the responsibilities that demand sacrifice of such corruptible treasures as life and property when a nation’s greatness and its ideas are at stake. It is here, though, that the greater moral strength lies, and there is no doubt on which side the materialists are to be found.
An Amazon customer review of Copse 125 I found helpful remarked:
If you simply follow Junger, you’ll also be interested in this, because it’s exactly the sort of thing he was trying to disavow in his later years.
. . .
While I’m a fan of the man and everything he accomplished in a long and storied life, he was a pretty slippery character. That was true before the concept of the ‘anarch’ had been fully developed, and it’s definitely on display here.
. . .
This is Junger before he got burned by the ascent of the Nazis. This book amply documents why he was able to do what he wanted in occupied Paris, and why On the Marble Cliffs wasn’t banned by the Nazis. I don’t mean to smear him as a true-believer, but he did sow the seeds for the ascent of the NSDAP through his contributions to the post-war marketplace of ideas. He was definitely pro-Germany, pro-military, and anti-democratic. He wasn’t a loyal Nazi, but he was definitely a Right Wing intellectual who was proud to wear these attitudes on his sleeve when it mattered.
In Juenger’s partial defense may be offered Albert Jay Nock’s book about the causes of WWI and the Treaty of Versailles, The Myth of a Guilty Nation (1922).
Incidentally, Storm of Steel, while brutally honest, is not quite the cold and pitiless chronicle of war it’s sometimes made out to be. In includes, for example, this passage:
It was a relief to me, finally, to have the foe in front of me and within reach. I set the mouth of the pistol at the man’s temple — he was too frightened to move — while my other fist grabbed hold of his tunic, feeling medals and badges of rank. An officer; he must have held some command post in these trenches. With a plaintive sound, he reached into his pocket, not to pull out a weapon, but a photograph which he held up to me. I saw him on it, surrounded by numerous family, all standing on a terrace.
It was a plea from another world. Later, I thought it was blind chance that I let him go and plunged onward. That one man of all often appeared in my dreams. I hope that meant he got to see his homeland again.
The occupants of a row of dugouts along the side of the path also ran away. I encountered one such as he was just about to leave the last one. . . . Outside it lay my British soldier, little more than a boy, who had been hit in the temple. He lay there, looking quite relaxed. I forced myself to look closely at him. It wasn’t a case of ‘you or me’ any more. I often thought back on him; and more with the passing of years. The state, which relieves us of our responsibility, cannot take away our remorse; and we must exercise it. Sorrow, regret, pursued me deep into my dreams.
Furthermore, although Juenger’s ideas and those of the National Socialists in the years between the wars coincided in some points, Juenger was never guilty of their anti-Semitism. He wrote in his journal on June 7, 1942, after seeing during a stroll on a Paris street for the first time the newly imposed yellow star worn by Jews: “I consider such events, even within one’s own personal history, as marking a date that cuts deeply into the record. Such a spectacle does not pass without leaving a reaction in its wake — and immediately I felt embarrassed to be in uniform.”
I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the complete text of Total Mobilization online a couple weeks ago, and even more pleased a few days ago to stumble on a substantial online excerpt from Juenger’s The Forest Flight (1951). Juenger’s figure of the Anarch evolved from his earlier figure of the Forest Fleer, described in this essay. Not only the stark contrasts but also the continuities in this essay with Juenger’s thought in Copse 125 are revealing:
New conceptions of authority and great concentrations of power have arisen. In order to resist them, we require a new conception of freedom transcending the anemic abstractions we have come to associate with this term. The first prerequisite for this new awareness is that man must not content himself with being left in peace; that he must be ready to risk his life. In that case, we shall soon learn that even in the states in which the power of the police has become overwhelming, independence is by no means extinct. The armor of the new Leviathan has its chinks which must be constantly sought out, an activity requiring both caution and audacity of a kind hitherto unknown. This suggests that elites are about to begin the struggle for a new freedom which will require great sacrifice and which must not be interpreted in a manner unworthy of it. In order to find analogies we must go back to ages of strength, say, to the period of the Huguenots or of the guerillas as Goya saw them in his Desastros. Compared to these, the storming of the Bastille – an event which still provides nourishment for the current notion of freedom – appears like a Sunday stroll into the suburbs.
. . .
The arguments change, but stupidity sits forever in judgment.
Men were brought before its tribunal first, because they despised the gods; then because they did not recognize a dogma; or again, because they offended against a theory. There exists no great word or noble thought in the name of which blood has not been spilled. The message of Socrates resides in the conviction of the invalidity of the verdict which testifies to a standard transcending the human scale. The true verdict was spoken long before the trial began and took expression in the exaltation of the victim. The trial is perennial, and the philistines who sat in judgment then may be met today on every street corner and in every parliament. The idea that this might end has always distinguished the shallow thinkers. But human greatness must be reconquered again and again. It triumphs whenever man masters the onslaught of vulgarity in his own heart. Therein resides the real substance of history; in the encounter of man with himself, that is to say, with his own divine power. That must be understood if one wishes to teach history.
. . .
In Germany, resistance against authority is, or was, especially difficult because, from the days of legitimate monarchy, the population preserved a modicum of respect for the state. Hence the individual found it difficult to understand why the victorious powers prosecuted him, not merely by means of a blanket accusation of collective guilt, but also as an individual for having, for example, continued in his profession as a conductor of an orchestra or as a public official. Although this state of mind produced some grotesque results, we must not treat it as a mere curiosity. It is indicative of a new feature in our world, in which foreigners may accuse the individual as a collaborator with popular movements, while political parties try him as a sympathizer of unpopular causes. The individual is thus placed between Scylla and Charybdis; he is threatened with liquidation either because he participated or because he failed to participate.
Hence, a high degree of courage is required which will enable him to defend the cause of justice all alone, and even against the power of the state. It will be doubted whether such men can be found. Some will appear, however, and they will be wanderers in the forest (Waldgänger). Even against his will, this type of man will enter the historical scene, for there are forms of coercion that leave no choice.
. . .
Let us assume that a small number of truly free men are left in a city or state. In that case the breach of the constitution would carry a heavy risk. In this sense, the theory of collective guilt is justified, for the possibility of violating a law is directly proportional to the degree of resistance it encounters at the hands of freedom. An attack on the invulnerability and, indeed, on the sanctity of the home would not have been possible in old Iceland, in the form in which it was possible as a purely administrative measure in Berlin in 1933, in the midst of a population of several millions. As an honorable exception we should mention a young Social Democrat who killed half a dozen of the so-called auxiliary police at the entrance of his apartment. He still partook of the substantial Old-Germanic sense of freedom which his opponents celebrated in their theories. Naturally, he had not learned this from the program of his party.
Let us suppose, furthermore, that the authorities would have had to expect an incident of this sort in every street of Berlin. In that case, things would have been different. Long periods of peace and quiet favor certain optical illusions. Among them is the assumption that the invulnerability of the home is founded upon the constitution and safeguarded by it. In reality, it rests upon the father of the family who, accompanied by his sons, appears with the ax on the threshold of his dwelling. This truth is not always apparent, however. Nor is it to be construed as an objection to the constitution. It is simply that the old saying still holds: the man must vouch for his oath; the oath cannot vouch for the man. The German has been reproached for his lack of resistance to official acts of violence and perhaps justifiably. He did not yet know the rules of the game, and he felt threatened from other directions where there has never been any question of basic human rights. Those who died in a hopeless struggle, unarmed, and in defense of their wives and children, are, as yet, hardly noticed. But their lonely destruction will become known. For it counts as a weight in the scale of history. We, who survived, must see to it, however, that the spectacle of coercion which met no resistance shall never be repeated.
. . .
The great experience of the forest consists of the encounter with the Ego, with the self, with the inviolate core and essence that sustains the temporal and individual appearance. This encounter, so decisive for the conquest of health and for the victory over fear, is also supreme in its moral value. It leads to the primal basis of all social intercourse, to the man whose example defines individuality. In this sphere we will encounter not only community but also identity. This is the symbolic meaning of the embrace: the Ego recognizes itself in the other human being in the saying, ”This is you.” The other can be the beloved, the sufferer, or the helpless victim. In giving help, the Ego helps its own immortal essence and confirms the basic ethical order of the universe.
Countless men are alive today who have traversed the nadirs of the nihilistic process. They know that the mechanism reveals itself as an ever-greater menace, that man has entered into the interior of a huge machine which has been designed for his annihilation. They have learned that every form of rationalism leads to machine-like mechanism, and every mechanism to torture as its logical consequence, a fact which the nineteenth century failed to grasp. A miracle must take place if a man is to escape from such whirlpools. And this miracle has taken place times without number when among the faceless numbers there appeared an individual and gave succor. This was the case even in the prisons and, indeed, especially there. In every situation and in his relation to every man, the individual can become the brother – this is his genuine, his sovereign, trait. The origin of nobility was the task of protection – protection against the threats of beasts and monsters. This is the token of the aristocratic being, and it shines forth in the guard who secretly gives a piece of bread to a prisoner. Such actions can never cease, for the world subsists on them. They are the sacrifices upon which it rests.
. . .
Even if one is prepared to accept the worst case of breakdown, there remains a distinction between light and darkness. Here the way rises into high realms, towards a sacrificial death or to the fate of one who falls fighting; there it sinks into the lowly spheres of slave-camps and slaughter houses where primitives murderously unite with technology. There destiny is absent, and only numbers exist. Having a destiny or being regarded as a statistic: this is a decision that is forced on everyone today, but which has to be taken individually. The individual is just as sovereign today as in any other period of history, perhaps even more so? As collective powers gain ground, the individual becomes separated from the old, established associations and stands alone. He now becomes the opponent of Leviathan, even its conqueror, its master.
. . .
Mention here of individuals refers to true human beings, without the overtones the idea has attracted over the past two centuries. The reference is to the free human being as God created him. This human being is not an exception, does not embody an elite. He is in fact concealed within everyone, and differences only arise out of the degree to which the individual manages to implement the freedom granted to him. As a thinker, a friend, as one who knows and loves, one has to help him achieve that.
It can also be said that man is sleeping in the forest. In the moment when he awakens and recognises his power, order is restored. The higher rhythm of history can generally be interpreted in terms of the human being periodically rediscovering himself. The powers that want to mask this are sometimes totemic, sometimes magical, and sometimes technological. Then rigidity increases, accompanied by fear. The arts petrify and dogma becomes absolute. But the spectacle of man removing his mask has repeated itself since earliest times, to be followed by joy, the reflection of freedom.
I was formerly perplexed by these passages in Ernst Juenger’s Eumeswil (1977), as translated by Joachjm Neugroschel:
The positive counterpart of the anarchist is the anarch. The latter is not the adversary of the monarch but his antipode, untouched by him, though also dangerous. He is not the opponent of the monarch, but his pendant.
. . .
The anarch, as I have expounded elsewhere, is the pendant to the monarch; he is as sovereign as the monarch, and also freer since he does not have to rule.
The dictionary was no help, and I concluded that my perplexity was due to an error in translation. But upon reading this passage in Juenger’s first and still most famous work, Storm of Steel (1920), as translated by Michael Hofmann, my perplexity was alleviated:
I also brought back my holed helmet, and keep it as a pendant to the other one that the lieutenant-colonel of the Indian Lancers had worn when leading his men against us.
From my post yesterday quoting Ernst Jünger’s Eumeswil (1977):
It is not only the fit who survive, but also the honest. The fact that these two survivals do not coincide in time goes back once more to Genesis, to the separation of the Tree of Life from the Tree of Knowledge.
Needless to say, when praying, the anarch neither requests nor thanks. Nor does he seek a magical force in prayer. How many ardent prayers have not been heard? As a historian, I linger in the cells of the condemned; as an anarch, I would like to offer them posthumous solace; and I know that the guilty need this even more than the innocent.
I was in the dungeon with Boethius and in the temple with Marie
Antoinette when her hair turned white. I was there when the mob was howling outside and the father put on his prayer thongs. The child groped for his hand. But neither the father nor the child was heard.
From an account by Stuart Hood, the first English translator of Jünger’s Auf den Marmorklippen (On the Marble Cliffs) (1939), of his conversation as a British officer in Germany with Jünger following the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945:
Of Jünger I knew that he had been much wounded, much decorated, as a very young officer in the 1914-18 war and had written of his experiences in a book published in English as Storm of Steel. It was, I seemed to remember, a description of war as the ultimate experience, an example of the military mysticism on which Fascism had drawn. Knew too that he had written a work called Der Arbeiter (The Worker), which I believed to be an approving account of the totalitarian society and of the concept of ‘total mobilization.’ . . .
One of the expectations many people had had was that when the Nazi regime collapsed literary works would emerge which had been hidden away under the dictatorship – the results of the ‘inner emigration.’ It was an expectation that was not fulfilled. It was all the more surprising to find in [Marmorklippen] what was clearly a coded but easily decipherable picture of a tyranny that had marked resemblances to the Nazi state. It had, I noticed, been published in 1939. This seemed to me to be a literary act of considerable courage. . . .
We spoke about his political past. He had, he said, at one time – long ago in the Twenties – thought that the National Socialists had something to offer Germany but he had been mistaken. He had therefore distanced himself from them. Such political honesty was rare at this time; the usual assertion was ‘Ich bin nie PG gewesen’ (I was never a Party member). Was Marmorklippen, I asked, to be thought of as an attack on Hitler and his dictatorship? No, he said, it was aimed at tyrants in general. But it had had a certain importance – thus when his son was in trouble with the authorities he had gone to see a high official to try to help the boy. During the interview a copy of the book lay on the desk between them. It was never referred to.
According to Wikipedia, Ernst Jr. was imprisoned in 1944
After the war, Jünger was initially under some suspicion for his nationalist past, and he was banned from publishing in Germany for four years by the British occupying forces because he refused to submit to the denazification procedures.
Jünger died in 1998 at the age of 102, but to this day his reputation has not outlived accusations of fascism. Compare this review today of a new book by Yvonne Sherratt titled Hitler’s Philosophers:
Dr Sherratt provides compelling studies of the philosophers who fled or died rather than play along with Hitler. . . . There was also Hannah Arendt, brilliant student and sometime mistress of Martin Heidegger, who managed to escape round-ups in an almost miraculous fashion. And it is Arendt who brings us back to the most puzzling and disturbing feature of this story.
Heidegger embraced Nazism with apparently complete enthusiasm. He was a genius: Dr Sherratt calls him “Hitler’s Superman” but asks the question whether Hitler could possibly, with his “pernicious” and ignorant views attract to his cause someone so gifted. The answer was yes, and it was Heidegger. She recounts how in 1929 Heidegger had complained about the “Jewification” of his university — the word he uses is Verjudung, one that peppers the pages of Mein Kampf.
On May 1, 1933, three months after Hitler came to power, Heidegger had joined the Nazi party in a blaze of publicity at the University of Freiburg, where he was professor and celebrated for his work in metaphysics. He had taken the precaution beforehand of disembarrassing himself of Arendt who, being Jewish, was not an ideal bedfellow. Heidegger made a speech protesting his devotion to National Socialism, and described the urgency of the need to Nazify Germany’s universities. His reward was to be made rector of Freiburg, with an inauguration ceremony that he underwent in Nazi uniform and whose programme had the words of the Horst Wessel Lied printed on its back page. He then proceeded to remove all non-Aryans from the university. With the philosopher’s approval, Brownshirts toured the campus and conducted military exercises there. Heidegger was such a disaster in his new post that even his loyalty to the party and the Führer could not preserve him in it for more than a year.
Heidegger endorsed the corruption of the German legal system under the Nazis. He also supported censorship. He maintained his devotion to Hitler until 1945, which ensured he would retain his chair and continue to have his books published.
With the fall of the Third Reich, so began Heidegger’s attempts to exculpate himself. He was outraged that there was a suggestion that he should be subject to denazification hearings, “singled out for punishment and defamation before the eyes of the whole city — indeed the whole world”. Despite the zeal with which he had supported the Nazi party and its doctrines, Heidegger was classed merely as a fellow traveller, given emeritus status, and allowed to continue to teach.
That, though, was only the beginning of his good luck. His rehabilitation continued, and was managed not least by his former lover, Hannah Arendt. She argued the case for Heidegger around the world. She celebrated and promoted his genius. Heidegger had fallen in 1934 from the rectorship at Freiburg not least because his nationalism was considered to be too “romantic”, and not of the Darwinian/Nietzschean variety favoured by the Nazis. He claimed to have found Mein Kampf, in parts, repugnant. What seems to have motivated Arendt in taking up the cudgels in favour of her former lover and teacher was not so much that she believed any of his excuses, but that the flame of their former relationship was rekindled when she met him again after her exile.
Whatever her motivation, the results were sobering. Heidegger died in 1976 with his reputation as intact as it could possibly be. Dr Sherratt describes him as being now the “star” of continental philosophy. The Jewish thinkers such as Arendt, Benjamin and Adorno, whom Nazis like Heidegger drove out of the country, are more peripheral. We like to pride ourselves on having finally disgraced and marginalised Nazism. Perhaps we should not be so sure.
See also, because this blog used to at least sometimes be about the practice of law, this post by Scott Greenfield:
The players in our system all have the potential to cause criminal defendants much grief. From the cops, who can lie and manufacture evidence, to the prosecutors whose discretion can be colored by how much they hate us or want to make us look like chumps, to the judges who decide critical motions or, if it comes to it, the length of time our clients are guests of the government, we have far more people, and far more powerful people, to deal with than any civil lawyer can imagine. And they’re all easily angered. And they tend to get miffed pretty easily. And they tend to take it out on us in ways we can never prove.
. . .
Here’s the 411: Blawgers who take a stand on anything real open themselves up to retaliation. We make ourselves targets. We take risks. Huge risks. And sometimes, we get spanked hard for what we do.
More than once, while I’m sitting on a hard bench waiting for my case to be called, will a clerk come from behind and whisper in my ear that the judge didn’t appreciate what I wrote last week. More than once has a prosecutor greeted me with a sly smile and ”I saw your blog the other day,” just to let me know that he can’t wait to take me down a few pegs.
Readers have no clue the risk blawgers take with every post.
Not all “blawgers,” mind you. I see the criminal defense lawyers on twitter whose bio says they’re blawgers, though I’ve never read them. I sometimes stop by to see what they write, and cringe at the insipid blurb from the paper with nothing remotely approaching thought or insight. Just words murdered without purpose, exactly as their marketer told them to do. They take no risk. They take no stand. They serve no purpose.
But those of us who try to write something that provokes thought and challenges the powerful take risks every day. Sometimes I think I’m nuts, putting things online that will almost certainly anger someone who I will someday have to stand before. I ask myself, “what am I thinking, taking the risk of stating an opinion publicly that will come back to bite me in the ass?”
. . .
Criminal defense blawgers make choices too, and the ones who stand for something have made the decision to do what they can to make our system better for everyone, even if we face personal consequences for what we write. Kris Kristofferson wrote “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” We’ve got everything to lose, yet we stand up anyway. And we do it for freedom.
After I have stood behind the bar all night, it may already be light out,
often close to noon, by the time I awaken – but I am still lying in the dark,
for I sleep behind a thick curtain in the alcove. I then spend another quarter
hour in bed before getting up.
If I say, “in order to pray” it may sound strange. Of course, this word is
quite worn, and it has been corrupted by the padres. Religio, as we know,
harks back to a word (re-ligo) meaning “bond”; and that is precisely what
the anarch rejects. He does not go in for Moses with the Ten Commandments
or, indeed, for any prophets. Nor does he wish to hear anything concerning
gods or rumors about them, except as a historian – or unless they appear to
him. That is when the conflicts begin.
So if I state, “in order to pray,” I am following an innate instinct that is
no weaker than the sexual drive – in fact, even stronger. The two are alike
insofar as foul things can happen when they are suppressed.
Regarding this need, the anarch is again no different from anyone else.
But he does not like to attach himself. He does not squander his best
energies. He accepts no substitute for his gold. He knows his freedom, and
also what it is worth its weight in. The equation balances when he is offered
something credible. The result is ONE.
There can be no doubt that gods have appeared, not only in ancient times
but even late in history; they feasted with us and fought at our sides. But
what good is the splendor of bygone banquets to a starving man? What good
is the clinking of gold that a poor man hears through the wall of time? The
gods must be called.
The anarch lets all this be; he can bide his time. He has his ethos, but not
morals. He recognizes lawfulness, but not law; he despises rules. Whenever
ethos goes into shalts and shalt-nots, it is already corrupted. Still, it can
harmonize with them, depending on location and circumstances, briefly or at
length, just as I harmonize here with the tyrant for as long as I like.
One error of the anarchists is their belief that human nature is
intrinsically good. They thereby castrate society, just as the theologians
(”God is goodness”) castrate the Good Lord. This is a Saturnian trait.
Natural law has been twisted every which way – from legitimation to
brutal violence to a paradisal idyll. This is grounded in the possibility of
reading anything at all into nature. “It is everything at once.” Well, fine;
then let every human being get his own bit from Being.
The random and the arbitrary begin in the realm of molecules. There must
be a crack in the universe from the very start. The very word “nature”
contains a “nay.” Genesis offers marvelous hints, but only rumors, as if a
shepherd had been listening at an unclosed door.
Lawfulness must be sought in the atoms and even deeper, including our
own atoms. From these depths, the ethical and aesthetic judgment reacts to
the finest variations. That is why injustice usually appears as ugly. The
dangers increase in the ascent, as on a tightrope without a safety net, or as on
the Sirat, that sliver of a bridge across the chasm of hell. Never is the
temptation to summon the gods more powerful and never is there greater
merit in resisting it.
As a historian, and only as such, I am a positivist. Lawfulness is valid so
long as it is observed and can be observed. A good conscience – though not,
of course, in the form of moral arrogance – is one of the prerequisites. It is
not only the fit who survive, but also the honest. The fact that these two
survivals do not coincide in time goes back once more to Genesis, to the
separation of the Tree of Life from the Tree of Knowledge.
Needless to say, when praying, the anarch neither requests nor thanks.
Nor does he seek a magical force in prayer. How many ardent prayers have
not been heard? As a historian, I linger in the cells of the condemned; as an
anarch, I would like to offer them posthumous solace; and I know that the
guilty need this even more than the innocent.
I was in the dungeon with Boethius and in the temple with Marie
Antoinette when her hair turned white. I was there when the mob was
howling outside and the father put on his prayer thongs. The child groped for
his hand. But neither the father nor the child was heard.
Nevertheless, prayer comes from an innate drive. It is more important
than food and drink, since it testifies to more than transient life. It takes us
behind the bleak stage set with which knowledge disguises the universe.
Water is seen differently in retorts than in the aqueducts leading to big
cities, and differently again in the ocean – and as the water of life in prayer.
The padres set great store by addressing prayers to personal gods:
“Genuine prayer exists only in religions in which there is a God as a person
and a shape and endowed with a will.”
That was stated by a famous Protestant. The anarch does not want to have
anything to do with that conception. As for the One God: while he may be
able to shape persons, he is not a person himself, and that he is already a
A neuter One is beyond our grasp, while man converses with the Many
Gods on equal terms, whether as their inventor or as their discoverer. In any
case, it is man who named the gods. This is not to be confused with a high-level
soliloquy. Divinity must, without a doubt, be inside us and be
recognized as being inside us; otherwise we would have no concept of gods.
“For a God reigns within us” (Hölderlin). “ONE is the start of everything”
(Philolaus). “A God is the greatest among gods and among men, not
comparable to mortals in shape or thought” (Xenophanes). “A whirlwind of
multiple shapes detaches itself from the Totality” (Democritus).
And, over and over again, Heraclitus. We should not make a fuss about
the numinous; it lights on everyone – every man has his Sinai and also his
Since my last post over a month ago, I have spent the time I could have been blogging reading or rereading The Only One and His Own, Angelus Silesius, Storm of Steel, The Glass Bees, and Characters and Characteristics of William Law: Nonjuror and Mystic. I would have liked to disparage Orin Kerr’s second of two posts on the prosecution of Aaron Swartz, and to draw different implications than those drawn by the Georgetown law prof who stated in the New York Times the self-evident truth that the Constitution is of No Authority, but time got away from me.
I am prompted now to write (albeit briefly) by Eugene Volokh’s post yesterday, aptly titled Harshly Criticizing Judges (or Others) for Their Past Conduct = Crime?, about a unanimous Indiana Court of Appeals decision published last week. Incidentally, I’m again impressed by Volokh’s uncanny ability to confront the outrageous in the law without outrage.
It occurs to me that by the logic of this decision this very blog, People v. State, the very theme of which is to point out the criminal nature of most of what is done in the name of the spook whose name is the State, could get me not only kicked out of the law business, a possibility I don’t fear, but also convicted of a felony. It further occurs to me that I myself could name off the top of my head three judges whom I consider (based on well considered and readily articulable facts) “child abusers” in the sense clearly meant by the defendant whose conviction was upheld by this decision. Incidentally, the author of this decision dissented from an Indiana Court of Appeals decision which would have overturned the conviction and 45 year sentence of an innocent man but which was itself gratuitously overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court.
To conclude this otherwise brief post, let me quote Stirner in The Only One and His Own on liberty of the press:
Do I perhaps hereby show myself an opponent of the liberty of the press? On the contrary, I only assert that one will never get it if one wants only it, the liberty of the press, i.e. if one sets out only for an unrestricted permission. Only beg right along for this permission: you may wait forever for it, for there is no one in the world who could give it to you. As long as you want to have yourselves “entitled” to the use of the press by a permission, i.e. liberty of the press, you live in vain hope and complaint.
“Nonsense! Why, you yourself, who harbor such thoughts as stand in your book, can unfortunately bring them to publicity only through a lucky chance or by stealth; nevertheless you will inveigh against one’s pressing and importuning his own State till it gives the refused permission to print?” But an author thus addressed would perhaps — for the impudence of such people goes far — give the following reply: “Consider well what you say! What then do I do to procure myself liberty of the press for my book? Do I ask for permission, or do I not rather, without any question of legality, seek a favorable occasion and grasp it in complete recklessness of the State and its wishes? I — the terrifying word must be uttered — I cheat the State. You unconsciously do the same. From your tribunes you talk it into the idea that it must give up its sanctity and inviolability, it must lay itself bare to the attacks of writers, without needing on that account to fear danger. But you are imposing on it; for its existence is done for as soon as it loses its unapproachableness. To you indeed it might well accord liberty of writing, as England has done; you are believers in the State and incapable of writing against the State, however much you would like to reform it and ‘remedy its defects.’ But what if opponents of the State availed themselves of free utterance, and stormed out against Church, State, morals, and everything ‘sacred’ with inexorable reasons? You would then be the first, in terrible agonies, to call into life the September laws. Too late would you then rue the stupidity that earlier made you so ready to fool and palaver into compliance the State, or the government of the State. — But, I prove by my act only two things. This for one, that the liberty of the press is always bound to ‘favorable opportunities,’ and accordingly will never be an absolute liberty; but secondly this, that he who would enjoy it must seek out and, if possible, create the favorable opportunity, availing himself of his own advantage against the State; and counting himself and his will more than the State and every ‘superior’ power. Not in the State, but only against it, can the liberty of the press be carried through; if it is to be established, it is to be obtained not as the consequence of a petition but as the work of an insurrection. Every petition and every motion for liberty of the press is already an insurrection, be it conscious or unconscious: a thing which Philistine halfness alone will not and cannot confess to itself until, with a shrinking shudder, it shall see it clearly and irrefutably by the outcome. For the requested liberty of the press has indeed a friendly and well-meaning face at the beginning, as it is not in the least minded ever to let the ‘insolence of the press’ come into vogue; but little by little its heart grows more hardened, and the inference flatters its way in that really a liberty is not a liberty if it stands in the service of the State, of morals, or of the law. A liberty indeed from the coercion of censorship, it is yet not a liberty from the coercion of law. The press, once seized by the lust for liberty, always wants to grow freer, till at last the writer says to himself, really I am not wholly free till I ask about nothing; and writing is free only when it is my own, dictated to me by no power or authority, by no faith, no dread; the press must not be free — that is too little — it must be mine: — ownness of the press or property in the press, that is what I will take.
“Why, liberty of the press is only permission of the press, and the State never will or can voluntarily permit me to grind it to nothingness by the press.”
Let us now, in conclusion, bettering the above language, which is still vague, owing to the phrase ‘liberty of the press,’ rather put it thus: “liberty of the press, the liberals’ loud demand, is assuredly possible in the State; yes, it is possible only in the State, because it is a permission, and consequently the permitter (the State) must not be lacking. But as permission it has its limit in this very State, which surely should not in reason permit more than is compatible with itself and its welfare: the State fixes for it this limit as the law of its existence and of its extension. That one State brooks more than another is only a quantitative distinction, which alone, nevertheless, lies at the heart of the political liberals: they want in Germany, i. e., only a ’more extended, broader accordance of free utterance.’ The liberty of the press which is sought for is an affair of the people’s, and before the people (the State) possesses it I may make no use of it. From the standpoint of property in the press, the situation is different. Let my people, if they will, go without liberty of free press, I will manage to print by force or ruse; I get my permission to print only from — myself and my strength.
If the press is my own, I as little need a permission of the State for employing it as I seek that permission in order to blow my nose. The press is my property from the moment when nothing is more to me than myself; for from this moment State, Church, people, society, etc., cease, because they have to thank for their existence only the disrespect that I have for myself, and with the vanishing of this undervaluation they themselves are extinguished: they exist only when they exist above me, exist only as powers and power-holders. Or can you imagine a State whose citizens one and all think nothing of it? It would be as certainly a dream, an existence in seeming, as ‘united Germany.’
The press is my own as soon as I myself am my own, a self- owned man: to the egoist belongs the world, because he belongs to no power of the world.
With this my press might still be very unfree, as e.g. at this moment. But the world is large, and one helps himself as well as he can. If I were willing to abate from the property of my press, I could easily attain the point where I might everywhere have as much printed as my fingers produced. But, as I want to assert my property, I must necessarily swindle my enemies. ‘Would you not accept their permission if it were given you?’ Certainly, with joy; for their permission would be to me a proof that I had fooled them and started them on the road to ruin. I am not concerned for their permission, but so much the more for their folly and their overthrow. I do not sue for their permission as if I flattered myself (like the political liberals) that we both, they and I, could make out peaceably alongside and with each other, yes, probably raise and prop each other; but I sue for it in order to make them bleed to death by it, that the permitters themselves may cease at last. I act as a conscious enemy, overreaching them and utilizing their heedlessness.
The press is mine when I recognize outside myself no judge whatever over its utilization, i.e. when my writing is no longer determined by morality or religion or respect for the State laws or the like, but by me and my egoism!”
Norm Pattis asks you to “imagine how you’d react if you walked into a courtroom to face a jury of 12 souls with skins as dark as my client’s. Some part of you would feel betrayed, I am sure of it.” (You are presumably white.)
I’m white. Back in law school at the University of Wisconsin I participated in a moot court competition. The topic was the constitutionality of affirmative action in law school admissions. We had to argue both the “pro” side in front of one panel of three of our fellow law students and the “con” side in front of another panel of three of our fellow law students. Personally, after examining both sides, I had arrived at the opinion that if state-funded law school had a legitimate purpose it was not primarily to provide an education for people who wanted to be lawyers but to provide lawyers for the people, and that therefore affirmative action in law school admissions was constitutional, for the same reason that affirmative action in hiring correctional officers, to better reflect the racial diversity of the people being “corrected,” made all kinds of sense and was constitutional.
But imagine my surprise when I walked into the appointed classroom to argue the “con” side and was confronted by an all-black panel of my law school peers. (The law school had affirmative action but few black students.) Part of “my” argument (it didn’t originate with me) was that affirmative action “stigmatized” minorities who are accepted to law school, tarring all of them with the suspicion that they are not really qualified and were only admitted because of their race.
Maybe it was just me, but this argument didn’t seem to go over well with the panel.
Some part of me did feel betrayed.
I just finished reading Juenger’s novella On the Marble Cliffs (1939) yesterday. Published when he was 44 or so, it’s a great book, although unsurprisingly not as great as Eumeswil (1977), which was published when he was about 82. (He died more than 20 years later, in 1998, at the age of 102.) Next I plan to read the work for which he is still most famous, Storm of Steel (1920), published when he was about 25.
The copy of On the Marble Cliffs I read (which I bought from the seller in “fair condition,” for a more-than-fair price, compared to the alternatives) was published by Penguin Modern Classics in 1970, with an Introduction written by a George Steiner in 1969, the year of my birth. Assuming this Wikipedia article is about the same George Steiner, Steiner wrote the Introduction when he was about 40, and is 83 today. He would have been about 10 when On the Marble Cliffs was first published in Nazi Germany in 1939. According to Wikipedia:
Steiner’s first formal education took place at the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly in Paris. In 1940, during World War II, Steiner’s father once again relocated his family, this time to New York City. Within a month of their move, the Nazis occupied Paris, and of the many Jewish children in Steiner’s class at school, he was one of only two who survived the war.
According to another article in Wikipedia:
[Jünger] served in World War II as an army captain. Assigned to an administrative position in Paris, he socialized with prominent artists of the day such as Picasso and Jean Cocteau. His early time in France is described in his diary Gärten und Straßen (1942, Gardens and Streets).
Jünger appears on the fringes of the Stauffenberg bomb plot. He was clearly an inspiration to anti-Nazi conservatives in the German Army, and while in Paris he was close to the old, mostly Prussian officers who carried out the assassination attempt against Hitler. He was only peripherally involved in the events however, and in the aftermath suffered only dismissal from the army in the summer of 1944, rather than execution.
His elder son Ernst Jr., then a Kriegsmarinecadet, was imprisoned that year for engaging in “subversive discussions” in his Wilhelmshaven Naval Academy. Transferred to Penal Unit999, he was killed near Carrara in occupied Italy on 29 November.
Steiner’s Introduction, borrowing from Jünger’s journals, is not flattering. He writes:
Admirers of Ernst Jünger, apologists for the right-wing elitism and nationalist mystique he advocated in the 1920s and 30s, have hailed [On the Marble Cliffs] as anti-Nazi. It has been widely asserted that this arcane fable is the only major act of resistance, of inner sabotage, carried out by German literature under Hitler. Jünger himself has been more circumspect, and rightly so. . . . Even the bestial image of the Flayer’s Copse is less trenchant or unambiguous than might appear. The analogy with the concentration camps about which Jünger had heard and intimated a good deal as early as 1939, but against which he never raised a public cry, is evident and graphic. . . .
. . . At the nadir of the Reich, Jünger still joined other Knights of the Order of Pour le merite in commemorative ceremonies in Berlin. . . .
. . . Watching a raid on the Renault works in March 1942, the chevalier of the marble cliffs comments that several hundred are reported slain and over a thousand gravely hurt: ‘but seen from my quarter, the affair looked rather like stage-lighting in a shadow-theatre.’ This is the focus of the dandy. I mean the word in its strong, condottiere sense, as comprehending asceticism and cool courage. The dandy confronts the sum of life but keeps it at gauntlet’s length. Like his counterparts in the dramas of Montherlant, there is one temptation only which Jünger finds it really difficult to resist: . . . the temptation to despise human beings. . . .
A ‘twentieth-century classic’? Perhaps so. And in an almost mathematical sense. On the Marble Cliffs is a theorem of limitation. It enacts the precise incommensurability between a certain cast of abstract humanism or high civilization and the realities of modern terror. In its ritual tranquillity, in its candid suggestion that flight into archaic utopia (the domain of privacy, of aesthetic and antiquarian cultivation) is the only way out, Jünger’s legend embodies a tragic failure of nerve. . . .
The incapacity to feel lest feeling grow corrupt and banal is perhaps the paralyzing dilemma of a classic, necessarily elitist culture. [On the Marble Cliffs] has importance as a statement of this dilemma. The nocturnal word which Jünger himself applies to this condition is tristia. Through it blow the coldest winds from Limbo. Robbed of his only child, seeing Germany collapse into hideous abjection, Ernst Jünger attends a final, absurd meeting of local Nazi officials. He watches Hitler’s thugs scheming their last act of murder or getting ready to scurry for cover. Yet no cry, no leap of rage escapes him. He notes in his diary: ‘I lack the capacity for hatred’. There have been too many moments in our savage time when the absence of hatred is the same as the absence of love.
Thus Steiner’s Introduction is an indictment of both the book and the man. I know not how one can judge the man. The following excerpt will suffice to defend the book:
At the sight I felt tears start to my eyes, but they were such tears as fill us with wonderful exultation together with their sorrow. On this pale mask from which the scalped flesh hung in ribbons and which looked on the fires from the elevation of the torturer’s pike there played the shadow of a smile intensely sweet and joyful, and I knew that on this day the weaknesses had fallen from this noble man with each step of his martyrdom, like the rags of a king disguised in beggar’s weeds. Then a shudder ran through my inmost heart, for I realized that he had been worthy of his forefathers, the tamers of monsters; he had slain the dragon fear in his own breast. Then I was certain of something which I had often doubted — there were still noble beings amongst us in whose hearts lived unshakeable knowledge of a lofty ordered life. And since a high example leads us in its train, I took an oath before this head that from that day forth I would rather fall with the free men than go in triumph among the slaves.
The following thoughts are “final” not in the sense that I’m promising not to write anything else about this great novel by an extraordinary man, but in the sense that they relate to a couple interesting things Juenger did in its closing pages. So, Spoiler Alert!, although this is the kind of novel that I don’t think is spoiled by knowing in advance how it turns out.
First, the “tyrant” who rules Eumeswil, the Condor, is revealed in the final pages to be himself a “forest fleer,” deciding to go on a Great Hunt “beyond the desert and into the woods,” along with his right-hand man (the Domo, who feels uneasy about the whole thing) and a retinue including the narrator. As the narrator had explained earlier in the novel, the anarch lurks in everyone, including the monarch, and power is burdensome for the anarch. “[E]veryone is anarchic; this is precisely what is normal about us.”
Second, we learn from an epilogue to the narrator’s “notebooks” written by his brother years later that no one who went on the Great Hunt was ever heard from again. We know from these notebooks that this brother is a “typical liberal,” and that the narrator when he was alive gave the phrase “capital punishment,” as well as “freedom of the press,” a wide berth at the family table, for if he had voiced even the slightest criticism he would have laid hands on his brother’s “most hallowed treasure.” But the brother in his epilogue writes:
Reading these pages has thrown me into an inner conflict — between the private man and the historian. My brother did not love his family. Such was his peculiar character. But we loved him. His presentation is larded with judgments and, in my opinion, misjudgments that would justify my burning it as a private person; I have thought about it. Burnings take place with every legacy, perhaps to purge the deceased’s image in our memories, perhaps for the sake of his family.
I, however, am a historian and come from a family of historians. My dear brother — one of the titles he loved was “historian by blood.”
Eumeswil is widely and justifiably regarded as spiritual autobiography, but with this epilogue, written in a different voice than the one we have heard throughout, Juenger reminds us again that what we have read is a novel, and that its fictional narrator should not necessarily be identified with Juenger himself. Thus, it was misleading of me to title some of my recent posts which quoted from Eumeswil “Ernst Juenger on Capital Punishment,” or “Ernst Juenger on Benjamin Tucker.” Thus, it would also be a mistake to regard the narrator of Eumeswil as intended by Juenger as a model for how a person should live his life.
The literary figure of the “anarch” as expounded by the fictional narrator of Eumeswil is striking, but is put in perspective and in its place, as a figure among other figures, by the epilogue. It can be cut down to definitional size as follows: Anarchy is rulerlessness. Rulers are human beings who have the right to make laws for others. The anarch understands that there are no rulers, and sees that society is rulerless.
The anarchist, by contrast, according to the narrator of Eumeswil, emphasizes the will at the expense of the substance. (What exactly then the anarchist wills can be guessed at and stated by individual self-described anarchists, but does not appear to lend itself to precise definition, since the anarchist’s presumed goal — Anarchy — is the presently existing reality.)
The narrator arguably makes too much of this distinction between the anarch and the anarchist, or makes it too dogmatically. Would the pure anarch lift a finger to help or make others see what he sees, as Juenger himself did with Eumeswil and other novels? Would he say aloud, at the family table or elsewhere, that unnecessary killing is morally murder?
The reader of Eumeswil will have to judge for himself, and I think this is precisely what Juenger intended.
There are jurists and even theologians who advocate capital punishment as the last resort of justice. Others reject it as immoral. Both sides have good reasons. Both call upon statistics, which, as usual, can be exploited every which way. Numbers should be kept aloof.
This controversy passes the anarch by. For him, the linking of death and punishment is absurd. In this respect, he is closer to the wrongdoer than to the judge, for the high-ranking culprit who is condemned to death is not prepared to acknowledge his sentence as atonement; rather, he sees his guilt in his own inadequacy. Thus, he recognizes himself not as a moral but as a tragic person.
. . .
With the spread of atheism, death grows more horrible, since annihilation is total and irrevocable. Death is overrated, both by the person suffering it and by the person inflicting it. Repentance, too, is secularized. It no longer relates to the evildoer’s salvation before he passes away into the cosmic order; now it signifies his obeisance to society and its legislation.
. . .
The anarch knows the fundamental law. He also knows its falsifications. He realizes that atonement is his due for misdeeds against it. The state has tricked him out of the right to pass this judgment; it is obligated to carry it out on his behalf.
Instead, one sees eunuchs convening in order to disempower the populace in whose name they presume to speak. This is logical, since the eunuch’s most heartfelt goal is to castrate the free man. The results are laws demanding that “you should run to the district attorney while your mother is being raped.”
They cheat a man out of the blood that expiates murder, just as they rob him of the gold attesting to his share of the sun, and spoil the salt that, as the spirit of the earth, unites all free men.
While the distinction between the anarchist and the anarch is critical, I don’t necessarily think it’s that stark. I see similarities between Juenger’s concept of the anarch and the concept of the Remnant set forth by Albert Jay Nock (in his essay Isaiah’s Job and in the last few paragraphs of Our Enemy, the State), who did describe himself as an “anarchist” and who along with Lysander Spooner was already far and away my favorite “political” thinker until I came across Juenger. Juenger for example in Eumeswil had good things to say about Benjamin Tucker, citing approvingly his expression “Anarchy is Order” (which actually predated Tucker and is often attributed to Proudhon), which is the basis for the red circled-A in the right sidebar of this blog. I expect I will now be using the word “anarchic” and “anarchy” more often and the word “anarchist” less often or not at all. There is a tension and arguable contradiction in an anarch PUBLISHING a book like On the Marble Cliffs, or Eumeswil for that matter. Such books have an EFFECT, and are not written only for the author. They are benevolent and generous with their insight. They blow the cover of the “master spy” to whom Juenger compared the anarch. They are not without risk to the author, especially in the case of On the Marble Cliffs. I think Stirner really hit the nail on the head with his concept of the insurgent and insurrection, and his relation of these concepts to Jesus and the first Christians.
Here is the passage in Eumeswil about Tucker I was referring to:
It is especially difficult to tell the essential from that which is similar to and indeed seems identical with it. This also applies to the anarch’s relation to the anarchist. The latter resembles the man who has heard the alarm but charges off in the wrong direction.
However, the anarch lurks in the anarchist, as in anyone else, and so, in the wasteland of their writings, they often score a hit that confirms that statement. At the luminar, I plucked out utterances that could have been signed by Stirner.
Take Benjamin Tucker, a true don Quixote, who, in his Liberty, one of the small anarchist journals, tilts at the windmills of the “riffraff of future governments”:
“Whatever the state socialists may claim or deny, if their system is accepted, it is doomed to lead to a state religion whose expenses must be borne by everyone and at whose altar everyone must kneel; a state medical school by whose practitioners everyone must be treated; a state system of hygiene that prescribes what everyone must eat and drink, what everyone must wear, and what everyone may or may not do; a state code of ethics that, not satisfied with punishing crime, will suppress everything that the majority may describe as vice; a state system of education that will outlaw all private schools, academies, and universities; a state elementary school, where all children are educated collectively at public expense; and finally, a state family, with an attempt to introduce scientific eugenics. Thus, authority will reach its peak, and monopoly the supreme display of its power.”
That was penned in the Christian year 1888, way before a like-minded Irishman sketched the horrific image of such a future. Poor Tucker — he died very long in the tooth, during the first year of World War II; he had lived to see the triumph of the authoritarian state in Russia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
Throughout his writings, I stumbled upon statements that were unusual for an anarchist, such as “Anarchy is order” or “Attend to your own affairs; this is the only moral law.” That is why he regards all efforts at “suppressing vice as intrinsically criminal.” Here, an anarch smashes through the anarchist system. By comparison, individualist anarchists like Most, who rejoices whenever a ruler is blown up, are mindless firecrackers.
In the past I’ve said that what makes a Christian a Christian is not believing that Jesus rose from the dead and/or is the Son of God, but rather adhering to what Jesus himself said was the greatest commandment: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul; and your neighbor as yourself. It recently occurred to me however that the word Christian itself already implies more than this. In response to a tweg for a word better expressing my position @landfillpoet suggested Jesuit. The confusion calling myself a Jesuit would engender initially appealed to me, but I eventually modified his suggestion and settled on Jesuite, defining this word as follows:
One who adheres to the ethical and spiritual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but who does not profess to know or “believe” as Christians do that Jesus was the Christ or uniquely God Incarnate. Cf. Jesuism. See also William Law and Leo Tolstoy. However, like Thomas the Apostle, the Jesuite while skeptical is open to future revelations and correction, and so may be called a doubting Thomist. The Jesuite like the Jesuit is partial to casuistry, though not to the moral laxity it has been reputed to excuse.
But what is the heart of Jesus’ spiritual teachings? I find it in these words: “Before Abraham was, I am.” Now, these words almost got Jesus stoned, and inter alia are why Christians profess to believe that Jesus was the Christ and uniquely God Incarnate, but they can be interpreted differently.
There is no doubt that I owe my father my existence — assuming
that existence actually deserves gratitude. The tremendous wastefulness in the universe gives one pause to think. After all, aside from me some ten thousand others were awaiting their turn in the map room.
My father could give me existence, but not Being. I was in the
latter before my birth, nay, my conception, and I will “be” in it
after my death. Being comes into being through Creation, existence through procreation. The father “provides” existence by procreating. In procreating the son, he demonstrates Creation symbolically. He is given a priestly office; a great appeal is propagated through time, echo by echo.
An obligation to the father cannot be denied. It is normal for the father to sacrifice the son; this establishes the basis for myth, religion, history. It is normal — but it is not my job to decide whether it is right; such questions lead away from the main path. As a historian, I have to deal with the order of facts. They abide — what is right and legal changes. In this regard, I benefit from freeing myself from moral and religious bonds. Even Moses, when I summon him to the luminar, must answer to me.
And here is another passage illustrating the Jesuite:
That was my mood in the construction, and I became even more joyful when the first nuts were falling — with thuds that I could distinguish from all other sounds. It was a knocking, a heralding. That is my favorite kind of prophecy. Not an empty promise, but a phenomenon, a small handsel, something material. I am like Saint Thomas: Show thy wounds! Then I stand firm.
I am an anarch — not because I despise authority, but because I need it. Likewise, I am not a nonbeliever, but a man who demands something worth believing in. On this point, I am like a bride in her chamber: she listens for the softest step.
I can see him sitting there and smoking, a delicate profile. The sketch that Friedrich Engels drew from memory in London captures only the middle part of the face: the straight nose and the fine mouth. It was revised by the media service in the luminar. The new version also had the high, though less receding, forehead, which is Stirn in German. And indeed, he, Johann Kaspar Schmidt, had been nicknamed Stirner by one of his fellow students at the University of Königsberg; later on, he used the pseudonym “Max Stirner.”
His signatures are likewise delicate; one notices that the final stroke sinks with the years. Incidentally, he died not by his own hand but from a fly sting that became infected. A banal life: misspent in profession and business, a failed marriage, debts, a regular tavern table with the standard blabber preceding the German revolution, a high-level philistine – the usual stuff.
His literary output – essays and critiques in newspapers and journals – is equally unimportant; it was already forgotten during Stirner’s lifetime and would have been consumed by the firestorms had it not been preserved by the luminar. Yet these little leaves, which, in times of crisis, sprout like mushrooms from the humus and then perish, are invaluable for the historian who wishes to study ideas in statu nascendi. They are covered by the rubble of revolutions.
And the Marx-Engels pamphlet attacking Stirner – Saint Max, a folio manuscript of several hundred pages – also very nearly disappeared. By the time it was excavated, it was already well gnawed by the mice. Engels had entrusted it to a cabinetmaker named Bebel. The luminar restored the text.
The manuscript was begun in 1845 of the Christian era, the year when Stirner’s magnum opus, The Only One and His Own, was published. This study is the exception I mentioned above. Thus, the polemics must have sprung from an immediate impression.
. . .
The characteristic feature of the great saints – of whom there are very few – is that they get at the very heart of the matter. The most obvious things are invisible because they are concealed in human beings; no thing is harder to evince than what is self-evident. Once it is uncovered or rediscovered, it develops explosive strength. Saint Anthony recognized the power of the solitary man, Saint Francis that of the poor man, Stirner that of the only man. “At bottom,” everyone is solitary, poor, and “only” in the world.
It takes no genius to make such discoveries, only intuition. They can be granted to a trivial existence, they are as clear as day. That is why they cannot be studied like systems; they are revealed through meditation. To get back to the art of archery: it is not certain that the most skillful archer has the truest aim. A dreamer, a child, a crackpot may be the one who pulls it off. Even the bull’s-eye has a midpoint: the center of the world. It is not spatial, it is hit not in time but in the timeless interval. One of Stirner’s benign critics (he had few of these; but lots of enemies) called him the “metaphysician of anarchism.”
. . .
Stirner, incidentally, is no solipsist. He is the Only One, like Tom, Dick, or Harry. His special trait is simply that he recognizes himself as such. . . .
. . .
Now just what are the cardinal points or the axioms of Stirner’s system, if one cares to call it that? They are only two, but they suffice for thorough reflection:
I. That is not My business.
2. Nothing is more important than I.
. . .
The rebukes against him concentrated – nor could it be otherwise – in the reproach of egoism, a concept with which Stirner himself never fully came to terms. Still, he annexed it, often replacing Einziger (Only One) with Eigner (owner, proprietor). The owner does not fight for power, he recognizes it as his own, his property. He owns up to it, appropriates it, makes it his own. This process can be nonviolent, especially as a strengthening of the self-awareness.
. . .
What had touched me so deeply? Stirner’s arrow grazed the point at which I suspected the presence of the anarch. The dissimilarity presupposes a very subtle distinction, and, I believe, Vigo is the only person in Eumeswil who could make it. After all, he instantly caught the difference between owner and egoist. It is the same as the difference between anarch and anarchist. These concepts appear to be identical, but are radically different.
. . .
To draw an important demarcation, we had envisaged a comparison between the Only One and the Superman. It would make little difference whether, as Mackay assumes, Nietzsche, Old Gunpowderhead, was acquainted with Stirner’s work – ideas float in the air. Originality lies in rendering them – in the strength of the tackling and shaping.
First of all: The Superman recognizes the world as the will to power; “there is nothing else.” Even art is a will to power. The Superman joins in the rivalries of the world while the Only One is content to watch the spectacle. He does not strive for power; he dashes neither after nor ahead of it, because he possesses it and enjoys it in his self-awareness. This recalls Far Eastern empires of images.
Naturally, because of external circumstances, power can fall into the hands of the Only One as well as the anarch. But power is burdensome for the Only One. Periander, tyrant of Corinth, “inherited it like a disease” from his father. Incidentally, it strikes me that certain features of Periander and also Tiberius, especially in their good times, are to be found in our Condor, though in the effete and ahistorical framework of Eumeswil. I have already said that the anarch and the monarch have a polar resemblance; basically, each contains both.
Secondly: the famous “God is dead.” By then, Old Gunpowderhead was forcing an open door. A universal awareness was unveiled. That explains the sensation he caused. The Only One, on the other hand: “God … is none of my business.” That leaves all doors open: the Only One can depose or impose God or let the matter rest – whichever he likes. He can show him the door or “form an association” with him. As with the Silesian mystic, “God cannot be without me.” Like the Biblical Jacob, the Only One can wrestle for power until dawn. That alone is the message in the history of God’s redemption plan.
(Keep in mind my definitions of Left and Right, or rather Karl Hess’, from my Definitions page.) Some would say yes, but the main reason for this estimation seems to be that Adolf Hitler respected Juenger for being a stone-cold bad-ass in WWI and then writing about it unapologetically in Storm of Steel (1920), and for hating the Treaty of Versailles. In fact, Hitler respected Juenger so much that he restrained members of his inner Nazi circle who wanted to visit harm on Juenger for writing On the Marble Cliffs (1939), which was widely interpreted at the time of its publication as a pointed allegorical attack on Nazism and the Fuhrer himself, from doing so. A related reason for this estimation of Juenger as a right-winger seems to be that he survived WWII without suffering martyrdom, despite eventually serving in Hitler’s German army in occupied France, and then refused to submit to the de-Nazification procedures imposed after the Allied victory on the grounds that he had never been a member of the Nazi Party. Never mind, among other things, that his own son did suffer martyrdom on the battlefield, after being assigned to a penal battalion for subversive conversations at his naval academy, or that placed in charge of monitoring the mail Juenger at great risk to himself destroyed letters that would have gotten their writers killed.
Granted, in his novel Eumeswil (1977) Juenger through his narrator creates a sympathetic portrait of the so-called “tyrant” of Eumeswil, the Condor, who overthrew by military force the previously-reigning “tribunes,” but I interpret this not as an endorsement of “tyranny” or monarchy per se, but as an indifference towards forms of government combined with an entirely justified contempt for modern “liberal” “democracy.” Here is a representative passage:
While I was shaving, the tub filled up. I prefer seawater. Pumped from a great depth, it is significantly cooler than at the beach. The Domo has its chemical and biological quality tested; it is intact. Since all rivers flow into the sea, its water must have more curative power than any wellspring. In addition, there are the tiny organisms on which others feed, all the way up to the whales, and which shine in the breakers with phosphorescent power. No physician knows what they also mean to us-in any case, I break my fast with a hearty swig of seawater and I gargle. Nothing, in fact, is better for the teeth; I once heard that from the fishermen and simple people who dwell by the shore. Their life-style is the old thrifty one that is pleasing to the anarch. They also harvest their salt from the ocean by scraping it from the cracks and hollows in the rocks where it crystallizes. This was prohibited under the tribunes; they regulated everything down to the last detail. Salt, at the hundredfold price, had to be bought in their government stores. They also mixed in additives that their chemists praised as useful, even though they were injurious. The fact that men with such minds consider themselves thinkers is forgivable; but they also claim to be benefactors.
The beach was patrolled by customs officials, who ambushed the poor. This measure was particularly odious, for gold and salt ought to be every man’s untaxed due as the pure equivalent of his labor, just as he pans gold from the riverbeds or scrapes salt from the cliff. The Condor made both legal, and this was one of the first measures that established his popularity.
A little generosity is worth more than a lot of administration. The tribunes were redistributors; they raised the prices of bread for the poor in order to make them happy with their ideas-say, by building extravagant universities whose jobless graduates became a burden to the state (hence once again to the poor) and never touched another hammer.
The pauper, so long as he does not think parasitically, wishes to see as little government as possible, no matter what pretexts the state may use. He does not want to be schooled, vaccinated, or conscripted; all these things have senselessly increased the numbers of the poor, and with them, poverty.
Allen v. United States, 588 F. Supp. 247, 404 (D. Utah 1984), rev’d on other grounds, 816 F.2d 1417 (10th Cir. 1987).
I’ve changed the tag-line of this blog from “Fairly Undermining Public Confidence in the Administration of Justice” to the title of this post, which was also the tag-line for my Comment in the Wisconsin Law Review way back in 1999.
Who says Twitter is a waste of time? First, I owe to it and Jeremy Weiland @jeremy6d my discovery of Ernst Juenger, whose work has led me to no longer describe myself as an “anarchist.” Then, in response to an appeal I broadcasted for a definition of socialism that is both authoritative and sympathetic, fellow anarchic Midwestern lawyer David S. D’Amato @dsdamato answered the call with exactly what I was looking for, the following definition from Benjamin Tucker:
Socialism is the belief that the next important step in progress is a change in man’s environment of an economic character that shall include the abolition of every privilege whereby the holder of wealth acquires an anti-social power to compel tribute.
I’ve added this definition to my Definitions page. Of course, there are other definitions of this word, such as this one from Single Taxer Max Hirsch, which is both more comprehensive and narrower than Tucker’s.
Thanks to a pointer from Jeremy Weiland @jeremy6d, I’ve lately been enthralled by the work of Ernst Juenger, one of the most extraordinary men of the 20th Century. Indeed, Juenger’s life almost literally straddled the 20th Century, with its beginning in 1895 and its end in 1998 at the age of 102. Here is an interview with the man towards the very end of that long life:
I’ve been reading Eumeswil, which he wrote in 1977. It is unfortunately a difficult book to find in English for less than a few hundred dollars, but it can be found here quite cheaply. It is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. I’ve also started Storm of Steel (1920), and On the Marble Cliffs (1939) is in the mail.
I’ll have more to say about these books in the near future.
Prompted by the example of Bad Quaker Dot Com and the suggestion of @landfillpoet, I present below a list of my own sometimes peculiar definitions of words commonly used on this site, which I intend to elaborate upon in the near future and occasionally revise:
AGORIST: One who participates in the underground economy and thereby undermines the State, whether or not he does so with the revolutionary goals of Agorism in mind.
ANARCH: “The anarchist is the antagonist of the monarch, whom he dreams of wiping out. He gets the man and consolidates the succession. The -ism suffix has a restrictive meaning; it emphasizes the will at the expense of the substance. . . . The positive counterpart of the anarchist is the anarch. The latter is not the adversary of the monarch, but his antipode, untouched by him though also dangerous. . . . After all, the monarch wants to rule many, nay, all people; the anarch, only himself.” (Ernst Juenger)
ANARCHY: Rulerlessness. See, e.g., John Hasnas, The Depoliticization of Law.
CAPITALISM: ”That economic condition in which there is a class of capitalists, roughly recognizable and relatively small, in whose possession so much of the capital is concentrated as to necessitate a very large majority of the citizens serving those capitalists for a wage.” (G.K. Chesterton)
CONSERVATISM: “a habit of mind which does not generalize beyond the facts of the case in point. It considers those facts carefully, makes sure that as far as possible it has them all in hand, and the course of action which the balance of fact in that case indicates as necessary will be the one it follows; and the course indicated as unnecessary it not only will not follow, but will oppose without compromise or concession.” (Albert Jay Nock)
COMMUNALISM: “a theory or system of government in which virtually autonomous local communities are loosely bound in a federation.” (Murray Bookchin)
GOVERNMENT: The art and process of securing unalienable rights. Governing is therefore the antipode of politicking / law-making / legislating / ruling. Government is force, and therefore derives its powers from the consent of the governing rather than the governed. An equal right to land is among the unalienable rights with which all people are endowed, and therefore securing this right by means of a Single “Tax” on the unimproved value of land is a just power of government.
JESUITE: One who adheres to the ethical and spiritual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but who does not profess to know or “believe” as Christians do that Jesus was the Christ or uniquely God Incarnate. Cf. Jesuism. See also William Law and Leo Tolstoy. However, like Thomas the Apostle, the Jesuite while skeptical is open to future revelations and correction, and so may be called a Doubting Thomist. The Jesuite like the Jesuit is partial to casuistry, though not to the moral laxity it has been reputed to excuse.
JUSTICE: The absence of crime. Vices are not crimes. “Crimes are those acts by which one man harms [and intends to harm] the person or property of another.” (Lysander Spooner) Punishments are objectively crimes and are only just insofar as they prevent or somehow undo crimes.
LEFT: ”[T]he side of politics and economics that opposes the concentration of power and wealth and, instead, advocates and works toward the distribution of power into the maximum number of hands.” (Karl Hess)
LIBERTARIANISM: The limitation of governing to the necessary; implemented procedurally by the Presumption of Liberty, the Presumption of Innocence, and the Rule of Lenity.
RADICAL: Preferring a root-account of things. The antithesis of superficial. (Albert Jay Nock)
RIGHT: The side of politics and economics that supports the concentration of power. (Karl Hess)
STATE: “the name of the coldest of all cold monsters.” (Nietzsche, The New Idol) As war is the extension of politics by other means, the State is the continuation of conquest by other means. While government’s defining purpose is to secure unalienable rights, the State’s defining purpose is to violate them to benefit the ruler and/or the ruling class. In fact, the State is nothing more than a fraud perpetrated by the rulers to convince the ruled that the rulers have the right to rule. In fact, ruling is itself the greatest of crimes, and defines the State.
From Wikipedia, regarding what some unnamed contributor calls “[o]ne example of the politicization of science”:
The case was originally scheduled for 11 September 2001, but was delayed as a result of the terrorist attacks.
In the appeal, Ms. Kjolsrud “concedes she had not read the brochures before filing her action.”
My involvement in this case came about as a result of being contacted by a representative of a pro-life organization in Fargo who had become aware of the brochures. At the time I was living in the Chicago area, but in preparation for the lawsuit went to Fargo, at which time I met, among other people, the eventual plaintiff, who was associated with this organization. The organization originally intended to be the plaintiff in the lawsuit, pursuant to North Dakota’s false advertising statute, which, like a similar statute in California, allowed “any person” to bring suit on behalf of the general public to enjoin false advertising. I did not want the case to be about pro-life vs. pro-choice, and therefore suggested that the pro-life organization would not be the optimal plaintiff for the suit, which “any person” could bring. The eventual plaintiff knew exactly what the complained of paragraph in the brochures said before filing her action, because I told her in a phone conversation when I had returned to Chicago. This was explained to the North Dakota Supreme Court at oral argument. Pursuant to the plain language of North Dakota’s false advertising statute, a blind person could have brought on behalf of the general public a suit to enjoin false advertising. In California, a blind person still could.
A jury has awarded a woman over $5 mill based on the defendants’ failure to adequately disclose the evidence linking Hormone Replacement Therapy with increased breast cancer risk. Those interested can compare the issues and evidence in this case with the case I’ve made for medical malpractice lawsuits against abortion providers who fail to disclose the evidence linking induced abortion with increased breast cancer risk.
Ken at Popehat recently explained that his current hiatus from blogging has to do not only with blessed busyness on behalf of clients but also with the real life reactions of a menagerie of nut jobs that some of his blog posts and pro bono work have provoked. Similarly, I have been distracted by practical matters but also have good reasons to believe that some of my posts here have persuaded some who probably think of themselves as fine upstanding pillars of the community that I am a nut job. This latter observation does not dissuade me from speaking the truth as I see it but has convinced me that in the short term I need to stop taking cases in a particular county and especially certain types of cases in that county, and in the longer term I need to retire altogether from this whole law business at a younger age than is customary. (Hence the “practical matters” I’ve been preoccupied with.)
My efforts at the inception of my legal career to stop the lies being told to women by the State and by the abortion industry about the evidence linking abortion with increased breast cancer risk really fucked me up. They led me in the first instance to turn down several job opportunities most lawyers would give their left nut for, opportunities which would have taught me indispensable skills law school ignores, and after the debacle these efforts resulted in led to alcohol abuse, which led to flirtation with drug abuse, a life detour that was particularly toxic when combined with a series of jobs I regarded as beneath me. Granted, a better man would have recovered and picked himself up immediately after this soul-crushing blow.
Still, I regret nothing, while recognizing that I am a deeply flawed human being who aspires to get his act together before he dies. Those who would judge me should first read my crazy Comment published by the Wisconsin Law Review and distributed to every member of Congress by a Congressman / M.D., and my briefs filed in the North Dakota Supreme Court for the Red River Women’s Clinic false advertising case. Such a judge might still conclude, as apparently did all the judges on the North Dakota Supreme Court, that I’m nuts. But by our judgments we are judged, and all these judges will answer to God for their judgments, as will I.
The Book of Ecclesiastes turned me towards Jesus when I first read it at the age of eighteen while serving aboard the dry docked USS Kitty Hawk, and in recent days I’ve returned to it. “How dieth the wise man? as the fool.” We are all rapidly heading back to the same place. But to the extent it matters, at the end of the day, whether at the end of my life or at the forthcoming end of my legal “career,” I will proudly set that career, despite all my mistakes, and there have been several grievous ones, against that of all the “fine upstanding pillars of the community” any day.
I will blog again, in another month or so if not sooner.
A Tweeter said yesterday that beyond belief in the non-aggression principle (“NAP”) it was unwise and presumptuous to assert “anarchists think” anything, implying that the NAP is the essence of Anarchy. Now, I’ve said something similar myself, and personally happen to subscribe to the NAP, but pointed out in response that by definition the essence of Anarchy is not non-aggression but rulerlessness, and cited Georgetown professor John Hasnas’ essay “The Depoliticization of Law” as a good exposition of what “rulerlessness” means. I cited Max Stirner as an example of a famous and influential anarchist who did not subscribe to the NAP. Stirner wrote:
Whoever knows how to take, to defend, the thing, to him belongs property.
What I have in my power, that is my own. So long as I assert myself as holder, I am the proprietor of the thing.
I do not step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as my property, in which I respect nothing. Pray do the like with what you call my property!
The time [in which Jesus lived] was politically so agitated that, as is said in the gospels, people thought they could not accuse the founder of Christianity more successfully than if they arraigned him for ‘political intrigue’, and yet the same gospels report that he was precisely the one who took the least part in these political doings. But why was he not a revolutionary, not a demagogue, as the Jews would gladly have seen him? [...] Because he expected no salvation from a change of conditions, and this whole business was indifferent to him. He was not a revolutionary, like Caesar, but an insurgent: not a state-overturner, but one who straightened himself up. [...] [Jesus] was not carrying on any liberal or political fight against the established authorities, but wanted to walk his own way, untroubled about, and undisturbed by, these authorities. [...] But, even though not a ringleader of popular mutiny, not a demagogue or revolutionary, he (and every one of the ancient Christians) was so much the more an insurgent who lifted himself above everything that seemed so sublime to the government and its opponents, and absolved himself from everything that they remained bound to [...]; precisely because he put from him the upsetting of the established, he was its deadly enemy and real annihilator….
“The term ‘Philosophic Anarchist,’ as Fred Schulder justly said, is merely a cloak for a great many who hate to be considered fools, and yet haven’t the courage to admit that they are opposed to present society.”
I came across the quote in the title of this post when I took it in to my head to Google “Single Tax Anarchist.” My idol Albert Jay Nock was one, as was Leo Tolstoy. So were Ralph Borsodi, lawyer Bolton Hall, and Fred Schulder. (Hall and Borsodi were originators of the back-to-the-land movement.) The quote in the title of this post is from a letter from Emma Goldman to Bolton Hall (in an exchange in which in my opinion Goldman gets the better of Hall). Schulder expressed [CORRECTION: Actually, he didn't. See the first comment below.] a similar sentiment here:
But prudence is understood to be a virtue, and since the publication of Stirner’s book we are not supposed to care much for virtues. Jesus Christ, whose words I have been quoting, was not prudent. He cared no more whether intelligent public opinion respected him than he did whether it spared his life. He would sooner utter a word that would receive the contempt of thousands, and the indifference of other thousands more, and enlighten a few, than a word which would receive the respectful attention of all the wise owls and open-mouthed sparrows in Palestine and enlighten nobody at all. Hence his ultimate influence on the course of human life and thought was greater than Gamaliel’s. Those who care more for conveying an idea than for getting a respectful hearing may let his example encourage them to see if anything can be said for the more sweeping use of words.
“We . . . take no position on the constitutionality of sanctioning . . . a lawyer’s unmitigated expression of disrespect for the law . . . .”
“Nothing like that was going on in this case.”
In my last post I wrote: “Every act of force is an instance of ‘rule.’” Upon further consideration I’m not sure I think that’s right. The reason the question is important to me is that the standard dictionary definition of Anarchy is “without rulers,” and I’ve got a big red circled-A prominently displayed in the right side bar of this blog. I also follow Albert Jay Nock in thinking that “government” is not incompatible with Anarchy but is incompatible with the State. I understand a “government” to be a group of people who exercise force to secure rights, while States exist to violate rights and thereby benefit the ruler or the ruling class. Doesn’t a government, though, by exercising force to secure rights, necessarily “rule,” which would mean that where a government exists Anarchy doesn’t? On further reflection, I don’t think so. The distinction is subtle but real and significant. Discerning and enforcing a rule is not the same as making and enforcing a rule, i.e. ruling. Also, proposing a rule which only applies to those who willingly consent, as is typical in purely voluntary associations, is not ruling either. So a government which limits itself to discerning and enforcing rules which it does not itself make does not “rule.” From where then would such rules come from? Ultimately they could only come from the laws of natural justice, and customs to the extent they reflect those laws, the most important of which is the presumption against using force and violence. Now, of course a government can be corrupted into a State, by making rules, i.e. ruling, while pretending only to discern them in the laws of natural justice. But ideas nevertheless have consequences, and perhaps if these principles had been written into the Constitution, and more importantly enshrined in the hearts of Americans, we would today have governments instead of a State.
There, where the state ends — there only begins the man who is not superfluous: there begins the song of the necessary, the single and irreplaceable melody.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
“[W]hen it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”
Government will [settle disputes in an anarcho society], deriving its power from the consent of the governing. Every act of force is an instance of “rule.” Therefore pure anarchy cannot exist in this world. Anarchy is a truth that exists in the mind and in a society to the extent that truth is understood by its members. That truth is: Coercion is evil and should only be used when necessary and a group calling itself a “govt” has no more and no less right to use force than anyone else.
Anarchism isn’t pacifism. Force is evil but sometimes necessary, and therefore justified and not immoral.
I’m becoming persuaded that “Anarchy” amounts to limitation of force to the necessary + seeing that “authority” is illusion.