We are at war

9 December 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in philosophy, war | 24 Comments »

“The State, completely in its genesis, essentially and almost completely during the first stages of its existence, is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors.”

— Franz Oppenheimer, The State, 1908 (emphasis mine)

“The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner. On the negative side, it has been proved beyond peradventure that no primitive State could possibly have had any other origins. Moreover, the sole invariable characteristic of the State is the economic exploitation of one class by another. In this sense, every State known to history is a class State.”

— Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, the State, 1935 (emphasis mine)

“In Western Europe, as in many other civilizations, the typical model of the origin of the State was not via a voluntary “social contract” but by the conquest of one tribe by another. The original liberty of the tribe or the peasantry thus falls victim to the conquerors. At first, the conquering tribe killed and looted the victims and rode on. But at some time the conquerors decided that it would be more profitable to settle down among the conquered peasantry and rule and loot them on a permanent and systematic basis. The periodic tribute exacted from the conquered subjects eventually came to be called “taxation.””

— Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 1973

If we accept the thesis that the states arise and have arisen, not through the hocus-pocus of “social” “contracts”, but through conquest, and are perpetuated as systems of exploitation — especially, to use Nock’s terminology, “of one class by another” — does it not follow that we are at war?

Does it not follow that all people living under state domination and exploitation ought to rebel, right now?

Does it not follow that all of the state’s edicts, decrees, laws, proclamations and regulations which affront the sensibility of the individual, the tribe, the family, the neighborhood, ought rightly be ignored, denounced, ridiculed and overthrown?

Does it not follow that state agents are the enemy and deserving, perhaps qualifiedly in some cases, of the same response given to those who violate a peaceful person, a peaceful tribe, a peaceful family, a peaceful neighborhood?

And yet this does not happen. It does not happen despite the noble efforts of generations of philosophers, revolutionaries, scholars, activists and teachers.

The whole planet has been conquered. The whole planet has been being conquered, and held under conquest and exploitation for the benefit of the smallest, most despicable number, for a great many centuries.

They live. We sleep. And it is we who live the nightmares.

  1. 24 Responses to “We are at war”

  2. By George Donnelly on 9 December 2009

    Nicely said, thank you. You are right. Let’s start defending ourselves.

    I wish you would move back. I want to live in a community with market anarchist folks – the real ones, not the in-name-only ones.

  3. By Mike Gogulski on 9 December 2009

    @George: Dress me in a sombrero, or in a bear costume, and meet me at a border somewhere, and I might consider it. Joking asied, I share this desire.

  4. By George Donnelly on 9 December 2009

    Just say the word and I will assist you in crossing the border and transporting you to some destination inside the US. I might be able to help you get into the Americas as well (via Colombia perhaps).

  5. By Jim Davidson on 9 December 2009

    Yes, agreed. Me, too.

  6. By Jim Davidson on 9 December 2009

    See also:

  7. By John on 9 December 2009

    I agree that we are at war. I disagree about the nature of it. Most people don’t even consider the possibility that the state might be illegitimate, and they fervently support it when it is enforcing what they think are “just laws”. People disagree on what just laws are. Whatever the origins of the state in general, or in any particular place, government itself is civil war. I may (and do) say that ultimately the state is illegitimate, but the state has crowded out competition in the protection racket, so when I am in danger, I call the cops. They fund their activities with armed robbery, but what option do I have? I’d rather have the state out of the business of marriage, but the political climate of today means that I’m on the side of those who want to impose gay marriage on the rest of the population by force. Again, what choice do I have? The culture war is literally a war. People in (U.S. context) states where they build military hardware usually don’t give a shit about a bunch of dead brown people half a world away. That’s the reality we live with today. I may not personally engage in direct violence against others, but I still depend on violence imposed on others to live. Imagine that abortion is murder. Imagine the opposite. Imagine that the environment which we must depend on to survive is systematically being destroyed by an alliance of big business and government. Imagine the opposite. What in the world can it possibly mean to be “peaceful” in this situation. There is absolutely a ruling elite of parasites who live off of us, but it doesn’t erase these issues.

  8. By Mike Gogulski on 9 December 2009

    @George: –Begin PGP Private Key Block– ASDFAS($598a9jksjfa945n9aw4m 89aw8er5m 9aw4859 au8wer9 aw4ur59au8w459 uaw45 4w495n8c aw90485ac 0w8etr5n a90wu84r5a —

    @Jim: Love that. More, please.

    @John: It’s hard to find your precise thrust here, but if it’s something like “we all live in a goddamned, motherfucking sinfully ugly world”, then, well, I agree. I’ll suggest, though, that in saying “I disagree about the nature of it” that you’re forgetting the value of “education” in securing the interests of the conquerors upon succeeding generations.

  9. By ShouldPointOut on 9 December 2009

    No one has seriously been implying that modern states are based on social contracts. To say so is very dishonest.

  10. By babette on 9 December 2009

    Excellent article! My question is: How do the people revolt when their own military play along?

    How often have I heard “Support our Troops”? It makes me puke.

    Or this: “I don’t support the cause, but I support our troops.”

    Strikes me as similar to: “I’m ready to give up my liberty so I can be free.”

    Orwell must be chuckling.

    When the “cause” stinks to high heaven why are those who “join up” to perpetuate a lie not reviled?

    As long as there are sadistic morons willing to fight, die, and kill, for their zionist masters, there will war without end.


  11. By Mike Gogulski on 9 December 2009

    @Babette: “How do the people revolt when their own military play along?” By demonstrating to them that they’ve been pointing their weapons in the wrong direction.

  12. By Donald-Darrel: Forsyth on 9 December 2009

    Arise, arise children of the Light

    Arise, arise children of the Light
    Rub from your eyes, the slumber of the night
    Burst forth from the conceptual shackles of your mind
    Reach deep within your heart, and remember what it means to be kind
    Let your affection flow as a subtler shower and bless
    Those who you meet who feel less, and sink into the mire and the mess
    Be the glorious shining being you are meant to be
    Strive to grasp your hidden power and be free
    Throw off the hypnotic lies that scream at you from control
    Shield yourself from false promises, which undermine your glow
    You have forgotten your greatness in this fog of forgetfulness
    But I am here to remind you not to be a slave to this
    Rise up, rise up brother your destiny is not about being lost
    Your destiny is about the inevitable victory that has a hidden cost
    But it is of the greatest merit and reward you engage
    In this war we all must wage, against the limits of the cage
    Brother awaken the secret sacred place within
    Enter into the light of your Self, and let your journey begin
    You have come here with a purpose so don’t be fooled by fools
    Don’t be deceived by their high tech tools, and their brain dead schools
    Arise, arise children of the Light
    Rub from your eyes the slumber of the night
    Brother the almighty resides within your illuminating mind
    It stirs your heart with the inspiration to be gently and be kind
    Remember the longings of youth when you were young, passionate and alive
    Don’t let the deceptions, scams, frauds and lies distract you, strive
    Strive to reach the Highest, you can succeed, once your mind is freed
    Let me plant within you this sacred seed
    Let it grow, let others know of this divine deed
    That the almighty has hidden heaven deep within
    So you must all dive deep past the dark veil and swim
    In the course of time you will find a treasure I promise is true
    Imbued in the most amazing loving summer sky blue
    Arise, arise children of the Light
    Rub from your eyes the slumber of the night

    Donald-Darrel: Forsyth

  13. By John on 9 December 2009

    I think, perhaps, the best answer would be a post of my own. If I get around to it, I’ll post a link here.

  14. By babette on 10 December 2009

    Hi Mike!

    How do you propose we do that?

    After almost a decade of destruction Obomba can still find 30,000 killer morons to do his, and his bosses’ bidding. Don’t they have access to the internet?

    The mindset of the ordinary soldier is not like yours and mine. He is usually poorly educated, of lower IQ, comes from a lower-class background and was brought up on violent video games, add raging hormones to the mix = Armed psycho.

    If any of them could read they’d be aware by now of what their masters think of them ie. Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy. …

    Besides mercenaries get paid huge salaries and flaunt the best “equipment” to kill innocent bystander at intersections etc. Wouldn’t you be ashamed of your rags and peashooter and sandbag strapped to your ass?

    Would you, Mike, risk life&limb to stand guard over poppies (fields) which are processed into heroine and is only one of the CIA/Pentagon/USgov’s ways of oiling the war machine?

    See, Mike, you’d have to have profound delusions of “heroism”, or be dirt dumb, or pathologically sadistic or suffer from deep-rooted inferiority complex…actually, all of them at once, which is so often the case, to obey orders to invade and occupy a sovereign nation based on LIES. You’d have to be a fantastic sicko to kill/maim innocent people based on LIES.

    That pretty well sums up your average soldier. Women in the military are the above-mentioned X 2, but that’s for another day.

    In conclusion, we can pray none of them return alive or, at the very least, let them return in a vegetative state and unable to inflict further harm on anyone.

    Besides, when there are no more flesh & bone soldiers, the globalists/zionists will perforce have to expose their top-secret weapons to the world!

    What a show that’ll be!

    Best Regards,

  15. By Rod Smith on 10 December 2009

    The whole ‘at war’ thing is a bit opaque. I have no desire to be at war with the state (or anyone else, for that matter). Its far preferential, efficient, and effective to just concentrate my limited time and life energy on this planet to making choices that are mine and mine alone.

    Yes, the state is everything you say it is, but at the same time it has very limited resources, and it tends to focus those resources with vicious disregard on those who declare war on it. States are ridiculously inefficient (a good thing) so they rarely focus attention on people who just stay off of the grid, who live their lives in peaceful voluntary interactions with other peaceful individuals, and who don’t pose a threat to state aspirations.

    Fortunately there are countless ways in which any individual can just live a free life, accepting the consequences as free people do, by just acting like a free person every single day. I choose to just live as if I were free, and as a result I feel free, act free and live free. I also accept the fact that there are consequences to that from time to time – and those are mine and mine alone.

    Yes, I am constantly assailed by taxes on items I purchase and by laws that I feel are arbitrary and ridiculous, but I can also do a lot to just avoid all of them by barter and building a independently sustainable daily life, far away from the silly laws that pertain to people who choose to be subject to them. (Just by not having a car, you have successfully dodged 99% of traffic laws and gasoline taxes, for example.)

    That’s where I’m at with all of this. Freedom, more and more recently, seems to me to be something that will be determined simply by the choices I make every day. Nobody can give me freedom, or take it from me. Its mine – along with all the consequences.

  16. By George Donnelly on 10 December 2009

    I suppose if food from any source were taxed 100% you would argue that one could simply hide and try to avoid it or otherwise suck it up and bear it.

    Your argument reminds me of the folks who claim a flat national sales tax would be a voluntary measure.

  17. By babette on 10 December 2009

    Dear Rod, Nice read. But here’s some advice: Don’t get too far off the grid, and don’t get others to organize with you in a “free-living, off the grid” commune/community.

    Remember what the gov. did to the Branch Davidians and others for wanting to “live free and off the grid.”

    Gov. despises freedom of the individual. One straggler, here and there, is ok. But groups of people who prefer to live “off-the-grid” are in danger of getting shot/roasted.

    None of us is truly free.

    Whatever freedom one can muster comes from having NO debts, living frugally whilst preparing physically and emotionally to do with even less.

    If Copenhagen goes through, we’ll all have to.

    Best Regards,

  18. By babette on 10 December 2009

    One more thing, Rod. The having “no car” was a laugh. Do you think everyone lives in warm climes with food markets a few blocks away?

    What of those who in colder regions where necessities are miles away? Do we ride our bikes in blizzards to fetch groceries or go see a doctor?

    Cars are not a luxury, but a necessity, in some places. But we’ll be forced us to give them up, you’ll get a good glimpse at misery, not freedom.

    Serfdom for everyone, except the “elites” of course.


  19. By Rod Smith on 10 December 2009

    Hi All,

    I’m not really trying to make an argument, sorry if it came across as that. I was simply stating that in my experience the level of freedom I actually feel in real life is far more a product of my own choices than anything else.

    With the food example, if food were taxed at 100% I’d just grow my own and completely avoid all imposition on my food freedom.

    I actually have a car. The example I used was just that – an example. I guess it was a bad one, because as babette mentioned, most people (including me) actually need a car to get around and its not a luxury item.

    Here is another (hopefully better) example … A few years back the state here decided that everyone had to have a boating license, and register their boats even if they were under a certain length. (even jetskis etc). The charge to make this law was led by a group of state officials who had fancy cabins on a popular lake, and they didn’t like jetski noise – I’m not kidding.

    I owned a 16′ Zodiac, and used it all the time for fishing and exploring. At first I really got upset about the new stupid law. But then I turned it around and simply decided to live AS IF I were a free person and totally ignored the licensing and registration laws. I did so for four years before I sold the boat for personal reasons.

    During that time, I told nobody. I didn’t brag about it. My boat had an old number printed on the side from someone else, which I guess looked sort of official. Most of the people I boated with got the license, and they never new I didn’t have one. Nobody even noticed.

    I just decided to live completely free from all state restrictions on my boat – simple as that. If I had been stopped by the coast guard, I would have probably received a fine; a consequence that was mine and mine alone to deal with. Once I came to totally accept every consequence that came with living like a free-boating man, the anger and fear seemed to slip away.

    And no, I have no interest in forming some sort of commune where people isolate off the grid. No interest at all in that. This is just a personal perspective I hold, and its kind of a work in progress, actually.

    Starting this January, the state has decided that it will be illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving a vehicle. Once again I (and everyone here) will have to decide – am I going to live like a free man and accept the consequences of ignoring the ‘law’? Am I going to get angry and work to defeat this one stupid law and devote my time and life energy to that… or am I just going to live … free?

    From my perspective, if you fight all your life to change the state, you’re probably not going to get very far. But just devote the same energy to changing yourself and your mindset and your circumstances … and I think you’ll actually live freer than 99% of the people on this planet. Is it perfect? Nope. Nothing is perfect. But at least I appear to have A LOT of control over myself and my choices … I seem to have very little control over what other people do.


  20. By babette on 11 December 2009

    I think I understand you better now, Rod.

    Perhaps many of us actually live “free,” as you describe it, without even realizing it.

    Thanks you, Rod.

    Best Regards,

  21. By Sunni on 11 December 2009

    Bravo, Rod! Very well put.

  22. By Jim on 12 December 2009

    Above, “No one has seriously been implying that modern states are based on social contracts. To say so is very dishonest.”

    Thomas Jefferson seriously implied that contemporary states were based on social contracts: that all men are created equal, with inalienable rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    People seriously quote that shit and seriously believe it. They pass around little printed copies of the constitution and declaration of independence. The constitution for that country Jefferson helped found says that “we the people” did ordain and establish this constitution for these united States of America.

    People seriously imply that the constitution is a contract, a modern nation state’s social contract. People seriously believe that governments give a shit about consent. Therefore they insist that everyone should register and vote. People seriously believe that classical liberalism makes sense.

    Maybe none of the people you know, but quite a few. I don’t believe that classical liberalism ever worked, and I believe that it is mistaken to suppose that governments care about consent. What Alvin and Heidi Toffler wrote about surplus order in 1990 is more true than ever.

    Governments exist for the benefit of those who run the government, so they can take property from the unwary for their own use. Whether you’ve encountered people with “Restore the Republic” or not, they are out there, and they really think they can get classical liberalism to work, if only the right people were at the reins of the state.

    I met a social activist who was active in the 1960s and 1970s. Her generation helped end the military draft (for which a great many people have failed to thank her) and helped get Nixon to resign and exposed the Pentagon papers and helped end recruiting for the CIA and military on many college campuses, etc. And she believes that “government can be a force for good” if only the right people run it.

    It is very sad. But people really do believe this nonsense. And the state really is not worth having.

  23. By Jim on 12 December 2009

    Rod, I think your perspective is a valuable one. If every action and activity is taken in terms of how the state sees it, then one is not living a no-state life.

    I like your idea of going ahead with living free and avoiding and ignoring the state as much as possible. I think that’s good agorism. I made up a backronym Avoiding Government and Operating Realistic Individualistic Sensible Markets.

    Your idea about living off the grid is not of any consequence to me. I live partly on the grid, mostly off – I don’t own property or vehicles in my name. I think each individual has to choose for himself how to live.

    Certainly there are difficulties with being exposed like the Branch Davidians were in a collective trying to live apart. On the other hand, check out Cappadocia for people living far from the state for hundreds of years. Entire communities entirely hidden underground. Amazing stuff.

  24. By Jeremy on 12 December 2009

    Use neurolinguistic programming against the bastards.

  25. By P.M.Lawrence on 14 December 2009

    That quotation from Oppenheimer is materially incomplete. Here is a fuller one, drawn (slightly edited) from his wikipedia article:-

    The State, completely in its genesis, essentially and almost completely during the first stages of its existence, is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors.

    No primitive state known to history originated in any other manner. Wherever a reliable tradition reports otherwise, either it concerns the amalgamation of two fully developed primitive states into one body of more complete organisation, or else it is an adaptation to men of the fable of the sheep which made a bear their king in order to be protected against the wolf. But even in this latter case, the form and content of the State became precisely the same as in those states where nothing intervened, and which became immediately ‘wolf states’.

    Oppenheimer was clearly trying to emphasise the nature of the states that arose. However, no matter how accurate the description of their nature (which it is), selectively quoting the first paragraph on its own makes out that states only arose through conquest. Oppenheimer was forced to qualify that and admit that they sometimes arose after the manner of the fable.

    Certainly that does not affect the nature of states, but the selective quotation earlier, and even Oppenheimer’s own downplaying, obscure several things:-

    – The actual historical facts mean that many, perhaps most, original states did indeed begin in that pre-emptive way rather than through overtly visible conquests; Rome, the ancient kingdom of Israel, the Gupta Empire, and no doubt others have traditions to that effect. Plus, of course, there were many instances of consolidation, Oppenheimer’s other pathway to states.

    – By only considering the risk of overt conquest, people will not hear any warning of the other ways of reaching states (pre-emption – unwitting suicide as self-defence – and consolidation) and they will risk falling prey in those ways, just as the revolting Americans did.

    – And specific arguments such as the ones in this thread risk “trying to prove too much” and/or they risk relying on things that are not actually true to prove their point, when they could actually be made sound by resting them on the nature of states. That is something that is independent of any origin in conquest, because it shows up regardless. That is, the arguments here fail because they go further than they need and/or because they rest on the often false assumption of past conquest, when they could quite easily be recast to rest quite soundly on present oppression.

    The pursuit of truth should not avail itself of convenient error.

    comments rss Comments RSS

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Core Dogma