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Yes, Beck Is an “Anarchist”

This morning on his radio show, Glenn Beck was talking about being accused by Media Matters of either being an anarchist or suggesting that the Founding Fathers were themselves anarchists. He did say that he had stated that he and/or the Founders were “two steps above” an anarchist. But in his perhaps too-lengthy clarification of that, he was describing “anarchy” as (paraphrasing) “turning over cars and setting them on fire and shooting the police,” etc.

Beck is not correct on the real meaning of “anarchy.” It literally means “no ruler.” In the more modern era, we can say that anarchy is the absence of a State, or a formal government, or maybe even more precisely, an absence of a formal, organized compulsory government. Theoretically (and in some areas of the world, they have existed), communities can make their own governments, but not make them compulsory, only voluntary organizations. In my view, that does not make a State, because I (personally) define a “State” as a compulsory government that usurps control over all those within a particular territorial area.

When Beck describes “anarchy” as “turning over cars and setting fire to them and shooting the police,” that says nothing as far as whether or not there is an absence of government, compulsory government or a “ruler.” More accurately, “turning over cars and setting fire to them and shooting the police” is criminality. Destruction of property and harming of human life is criminality. Criminals, psychopaths, aggressors and property invaders and intruders do those things, irrespective of whether there exists a State, or compulsory government, or a “ruler.” However, we have seen that the State as it exists today and especially for the past century, and its agents have been the most egregious violators of life, liberty and property ever in World History. And that’s a fact.

What we who advocate true freedom and a society that respects individual rights, private property and free markets in the absence of coercion and aggression, believe should exist is something called natural order, something that Hans-Hermann Hoppe has referred to quite a lot in his writing and lectures, particularly in his book, Democracy, The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. Here is the Intro to that book at the Mises Institute.

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