Freedom Isn’t Free

There are a number of misconceptions about anarchy, one of which is the idea that there are not consequences for your actions. This is false. Believing that government is the only arbiter of justice is an insult to the concept of justice. We have established that ethics can be derived rationally, so we can then rationally determine what constitutes a violation of those ethics and what might constitute a just resolution to the violation. As individuals capable of rational thought, we do not need one organization with a monopoly on force to tell us how to live or arbitrate disputes.

In our modern society, we are so conditioned to believe that the reasons people do not commit crime is because of the police that we lose our understanding of morality or our natural internalization of it. If police presence was really the reason for low crime, then in areas with the most police there would be the least crime. In fact the opposite is true. In white suburbia, there are maybe three cops that patrol localities of 30,000 plus people, and there is virtually no crime. There may be occasional property crime, but certainly no murders. However, if you look at inner city Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, there are hundreds, if not thousands of cops, and crime is rampant. Police presence is a symptom of criminality, not its remedy. So why then are the peaceful places peaceful and the violent places violent?

The answer lies within the people that live in the respective areas. The individuals that live in the suburbs are more capable and thus more apt to internalize morality. Earning money requires deferral of gratification, whereas stealing it results in immediate gratification. Earning money guarantees a steadier stream of consistent and potentially increasing income, whereas theft guarantees nothing. Earning money requires cooperation and respect of your fellow individuals, whereas theft requires only that your fellow individuals do not know you are the thief. If you have the capacity to rationally understand this, then you are far more likely to live in the suburbs, or a community of respectively low criminality.

In order for anarchy to succeed we need to live in a world where a plurality of people understand the aforementioned concepts and are willing to respect them. Thankfully, we do live in such a world. The majority of people, at least in America, do not commit crimes because they know they are wrong. Despite what your initial thoughts might be about your fellow citizens, if you put them to task, they will not steal from you, murder you, or rape you. In fact, they will most likely be as opposed to those ideas as you are. This is a good thing. It means we do not need to convince people of morality; we simply need them to recognize that most other people agree with and share their outlook on the topic. Recognizing this, all of the systems necessary to arbitrate disputes will arise organically. We have the power to thrive in a state of anarchy, all we need to do is have the courage to recognize it. Only then can we flourish!

Why Anarchy Gets a Bad Rep

What if I told you the Constitution is a non-binding document that has done nothing to stop the growth and power of the government? What if I told you police are not required to defend your life or property? What if I told you that taxation is theft, war is murder, and mainstream media is propaganda, all legally authorized by the government? What if I told you the word government means “mind control?” What if everything you have been taught to believe is a lie? What if it is not just a lie, but an intricate system of obfuscation designed to completely control you and extort from you your productivity? What if you are nothing but a free range slave within the confines of your tax farm, with nothing more than the opportunity to vote for a different face to your tax farmer every few years?

What if patriotism is an intentional form of deception designed to gin up support for a system that seeks only to control you and dominate the world? What if “fighting for your freedom” actually means oppressing and killing innocent people in foreign countries? What if soldiers aren’t heroes? What if cops aren’t there to serve and protect, but to brutalize and exploit? What if they are the enforcement arm of a system of complete tyranny over the individual? What if the system is so terrible, and yet good at obfuscation that the officers enforcing the laws honestly believe they are doing good and you respect them for it? What if politicians running for office actually have good intentions when they start out, but it is the nature of the system to corrupt anyone that touches it? What if power is more addictive than crack cocaine, and once you have had a small taste of it, you want only more?

What if everything I just said is absolutely true and you refuse to believe it? What if you are so conditioned to believe you are free that when actual freedom is presented to you, you reject it because you think it is evil? What if you have the capacity to be responsible for your own choices and control over your own property? What if you are better than anyone else at allocating your time and money? What if you are capable of resolving disputes without violence? What if you can see a violent coercive monopoly on the use of force for what it is; an elaborate extortion, racketeering, and murder organization that you have been conditioned to not only accept, but worship?

What if there was a better way and you knew what it was? Would you not seek it out and want to share it with as many people as possible? Would you not see the beauty possible when individuals are allowed to determine for themselves how best to live their lives? Would you believe me if I told you this system is anarchy? Would you believe me if I told you a world of exclusively voluntary interactions would allow humanity to truly flourish? Would you help me spread this message so one day our children can inhabit such a glorious world? Will you join me in my love affair with human flourishing?

Anarchy Is Everywhere

I write about a variety of topics, and I have not yet touched on all of them. I do this because I have a wide variety of interests and because there are so many interesting things in the world I wish to learn. I seek a somewhat high degree of competency in those things as well because I believe that is the only way to truly understand and appreciate them. I write about all of these things in the guise of anarchy because anarchy is everywhere.

Anarchy is defined as the absence of coercive control. In your life, almost every decision you make is made in a state of anarchy. From your choice in breakfast food to the house you live in to the car you drive to the place where you work, and to the person you love, these choices are all made in a state of anarchy. No one is threatening violence against you if you choose to eat cereal over a bagel for breakfast tomorrow. Likewise, no one is going to hang you if you marry the love of your life, even if your family disapproves. Now, you may say that all of these choices are freedoms, and if we are truly free, we have the freedom to make those choices. With that I would agree.

It is only within a state of anarchy that we are truly as free as possible to live our lives as we see fit. Think about all of the myriad of choices you are going to make today, tomorrow, Friday, next week, next month, next year, and ask yourself, am I making this choice free from violent coercion? If so, then you are making that choice in a state of anarchy. Through anarchy we achieve freedom, and through freedom we flourish. I hope you join me in my quest for anarchy so that all of humanity may flourish.

 

What Is Economics?

Traditionally, economics is defined as the study of how individuals allocate scarce resources. While this is an accurate description, it is not adequate. Individuals do allocate scarce resources, but in order to do so they must act. Subsequently, if we are to completely understand economics, it is those actions we must endeavor to understand. This is why economics in actuality is the study of human action.

In economics, we take as a given that humans act. One cannot acquire bread without taking action to do so. If we could manifest matter out of nothing, not only would we be defying physics, but we would live in a fictional reality closer to that of Star Trek. Given that within our reality resources are scarce and humans must act in order to thrive, let alone survive, it is those actions with which we must concern ourselves. We discussed the three requirements for human action in Why We Do What We Do. Assuming those requirements are met, the individual will act.

We are not concerned with why they act, as in what are their internal motivations. Why someone values chocolate ice cream over vanilla is not within the realm of economics. The fact that they have a subjective value is. All values within economics are subjective relative to the individual. It does not matter why someone will choose chocolate over vanilla, however, the fact that nine times out of ten they will make that choice is something that falls within the realm of economics. It is an outcome that is quantifiable and it tells us valuable information about the subjective preferences of the individual. We can take these preferences and collectivize them with the preferences of hundreds or thousands of other people and conclude that all things being equal, more people prefer chocolate to vanilla. This is not a value judgement on chocolate or vanilla, however, if you are a grocery store owner, it will indicate that you should stock more chocolate ice cream than vanilla.

All voluntary exchanges necessarily leave both parties better off. This is also a given within economics. It is a given because it logically makes sense that the only way I am going to give you my apple for your orange is because I want your orange more than I do my apple and you want my apple more than you want your orange. There is no other logical conclusion. Could it be that my fruit preferences are indifferent between apples and oranges, but you hate oranges, and because I value your happiness over my own fruit consumption I make the exchange? Certainly, but we are still both better off because of the exchange. You are happier, and I am happier because you are happier.

Humans are funny with their subjective valuations, but they will always act in a way that will result in them increasing their perception of happiness. Will they always be right? Not necessarily, but happiness is the end goal. This is why self-knowledge is so important; the more you know yourself, the more likely you are to be happy. We will discuss economics more in future posts, but for now, this is a good place to start.

The Importance of the Independent Self Within a Relationship

I was talking with a friend of mine at work today about the importance of self-identity within a relationship. She recently went through a breakup from a relationship that lasted two years, and was having a hard time finding motivation or anything to get excited about. I started asking her about what hobbies she had or what interested her. She seemed to be at a loss for answers. This is not uncommon, but it is something that she needs to remedy if she wants to find meaningful connection and motivation for life. So often it happens when we are in a relationship that we lose sight of who we are as individuals. Certainly, when you enter into a relationship, your decision making processes change, but you should not forego who you are as an individual for the sake of the relationship. The right person will love you for who you are as a unique person, not for the parts of yourself you are willing to sacrifice for the relationship. A truly great relationship is one in which your partner loves you for who you are, not who they think you are, and you love them for the same reasons. This is the ideal, but how do we find it?

The answer lies within finding ourselves. What makes you special? What are your hobbies, interests, and meaningful life pursuits? More importantly, what are your virtues? Virtues are attributes such as honesty, integrity, curiosity, empathy, compassion, strong work ethic, and any other attribute that describes consistent actions that improve the wellbeing of the self and others. Lying, deception, anger, hate, these are attributes that do not make you or other people better, and they should be eschewed as often as they are confronted. If you find someone that is constantly lying to you or simply won’t tell you important details about their life, run away as fast as possible as those are huge red flags. But, I digress. Why do we need to know these things about ourselves?

Through self-knowledge we gain an understanding of the world. The better we know ourselves, the better able we are to know the world. How do you know if someone has empathy if you do not have empathy yourself? If you are not curious, a curious person may seem annoying to you. However, if you are consistently trying to empathize with others, or struggle to tell others the hard truths but do it because you know it will be better for them, then you are able to recognize these attributes, these virtues in others. Not only that, but you will appreciate them. So, when you are on your next date, and the person across from you stutters or mumbles because they are nervous, instead of thinking they are weird you will be able to empathize and sympathize with them, thus deepening your connection.

Hobbies, or more specifically personal pursuits, are incredibly important as well. Whether you are learning the guitar, running a chess club, or like me pursuing strength, your ability to dedicate yourself to a pursuit you value is reflective of your ability and willingness to commit to other things you value, such as a relationship. Meaningful pursuits teach you a considerable amount about yourself. You are going to face adversity. There will be chords you struggle to learn or weights you cannot pick up, but your willingness to persevere demonstrates your strength of character. It gives you valuable skills so when you get into an argument within a relationship, you are able and willing to work through the conflict. It teaches you that there is reward for your effort on the other side of that struggle. Personal pursuits also help you stay attached to your independent sense of self within a relationship.

It is very common for individuals to lose themselves within a relationship. People stop hanging out with their friends, stop playing guitar, stop pursuing strength; they stop doing the things by which they defined themselves previously. It is important to be fully present in a relationship and to fully give yourself to your partner, but you must maintain a self to give. You must resist the impulse to give up everything you are as an individual for the sake of your partner. This leads to two people melting into an arbitrary goo of what was once individual people. Neither of you particularly cares what you do, where you eat, what movie you see, how you spend your free time, or how you define your relationship. You simply end up on the couch ordering pizza and watching Netflix every Saturday night, complaining about how boring your lives are. You stop having sex, and then you stop having any sort of a relationship at all. You are an empty vessel devoid of all vestiges of uniqueness or purpose to life. You have to start over, and you have to start first by defining again who you are as an individual.

Instead, maintain your independent self, and bring that with you to your partner when you are together. If you love seeing live music, don’t stop that passion. The right person will go with you to shows, even if he or she is not that into live shows. This is because you are valued as the unique individual you are with the passions and interests you have, and your happiness is their main concern. If your partner likes obscure sporting events, watch them with him or her. The passion, excitement, and joy from your partner will make the experience far more enjoyable, regardless of whether or not you like seeing competitive cheese rolling.

For success within a relationship, find yourself first, and then be that person every time you are with your significant other. Your partner will appreciate you more for it, and if they don’t, knowing to move on becomes easy. Find your independent self, and you will find happiness.

Rights, Do We Have Them?

Definitions are important in order to ensure proper understanding. If I say my favorite fruit is an orange because I love the crisp crunch and bitter sweet taste as I bite into its green flesh, you are going to look at me like I am strange. Clearly what I am describing as an orange is actually a granny smith apple, and the concept of orange is different between the two of us. This is why the analogy of comparing apples to oranges makes sense. In my example, I am literally confusing an apple with an orange. This makes for very poor conversation, so I will always try my best to present the best definition possible for ideas I am discussing. That being said, I will now address the question at hand; do we have rights?

A quick Google search of “What is a right?” will return the following definition that is most pertinent to our discussion: “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.” When we think of rights, we think of the right to life, liberty, happiness, freedom of speech, to bear arms, and in more common dialogue, the right to healthcare or education. Let’s break this down a little bit. If we have a right to life, we are entitled to live, which means other people are obligated to not interfere with our life. This puts a claim on the actions of others. If I have a right to the freedom of speech, then others are obligated to let me speak in a public forum. If I have a right to healthcare, then doctors and nurses are obligated to treat me when I am ill or injured. A right, by definition, obligates others to affirm a claim I have as a living person. So, where do rights come from?

Natural Law would have you believe that your rights come from your humanity. You are a human being, so you are entitled to life, liberty, and property. This means other people are obligated to not interfere with your life or your freedom so long as you are respecting the rights of others, and to allow you to acquire property as long as you are not violating the rights of others. These are called negative claim rights as they do not require any positive action on the part of other people. However, these rights still place an obligation on other people. If you were on a tropical island with no other people, your need for rights would not exist as there would be no other people there. What about healthcare or education?

The United Nations has declared healthcare to be a basic human right. This means that other people are obligated to give you healthcare; doctors and nurses are obligated to give you care. Education is also often referred to as a human right. This means teachers are obligated to teach you. In fact, I would argue that if education is a human right, then anyone that knows more than anyone else is obligated to educate the less knowledgeable. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing this? I digress. These rights would be positive claim rights as they require positive actions on the part of other people. Doctors and teachers must intervene in your life and expend their time, energy, knowledge, and resources to give you something. This certainly does not seem just. Are we doomed then, to live an unjust life in an unjust world?!

That seems a bit hyperbolic, so let me put an end to this rhetoric of rights. Rights, as a physical entity, like say your shoes, do not exist. They are purely a construct of the human mind. Worse yet, they are a fabrication, and an elaborate one at that. Not only is the right to healthcare a farce, but so too is the right to life. There is no real difference between positive and negative claim rights as negative claim rights still place an obligation upon other people, even if that obligation is simply to do nothing but recognize that you are a person. At its worst, the right to life could be construed to mandate that all potential life has a right to life, meaning all eggs in a woman must be fertilized and granted life as a human. This would bind all living people to perpetually living for the not yet born, thus putting precedent on creating new life over living your own life. As rights to not exist, they are neither useful nor helpful in understanding our relationship with reality or each other. Instead of having a right to life, simply recognize that we exist, and any attempt to interfere with our existence from others violates the non-aggression principle. For more on that see my post, The Moral Framework. With all this talk of rights, who benefits?

Qui bono? That is the phrase we should always ask when unraveling a complex philosophical structure meant to deceive us. Who benefits from humans believing that we have rights and that they must be recognized and respected by other people? Why, those that enforce the rules for respecting those rights; governments and politicians. If I can convince you that you have an illness, and I am the only one with a cure, are you going to buy that cure from me? Of course you are! You get to feel better, and I get to take advantage of your ignorance. Governments have a direct incentive to grant the people as many rights as they can conceive of as those same governments will grow in size, scope, and revenue in order to preserve those rights. You have a right to life? Here’s a system to make sure people aren’t killing you. You have a right to property? Here’s a system to make sure people aren’t stealing from you. Oh, and we have to steal from you to pay for it, but we are going to call it taxation. What’s that? You want a right to healthcare? Of course! Here you go! You just have to wait six months before you see a doctor. You have a right to healthcare, but no one said you have a right to healthcare right now. Oh, and you definitely have a right to education. How else are we going to prevent you from thinking critically about any of our laws or your “rights” unless we indoctrinate, I mean educate you about them or how wonderful we are for providing them to you?

There is also the Positivist legal theory. This states that all rights are granted by the government. You can do only what the law allows you to do, and all power resides within the government to grant freedoms. You have the right to live because the government has given it to you. You have the right to speak as long as the government says it is OK. While this approach is more honest about the nature of rights, it is morally corrupt and logically inconsistent. To address the latter claim first, we know that ownership is defined as exclusive control over an object. In this case, we are referring to your body. If the government is the sole entity that can grant you the right to speak or move or live, then you are not the owner of your body. This is a contradiction of reality and it cannot stand. Governments understand this, which is why they use the threat of violence at the barrel of a gun to enforce their laws. This is also why this approach is morally corrupt. Enforcing the notion that the government has the authority to grant rights to people requires a violation of the non-aggression principle, and this is morally wrong. Positivism also fails to grant humans rights. So, what is the answer?

At this point, we can unequivocally say, “No, we do not have rights.”  Do you know the saying, “beware of strangers bearing gifts?” The government is one big entity of strangers, and the gifts they bear are called rights. Reject their rhetoric wholesale lest you get caught up in their convoluted mess of what rights you do or do not have and when, where and how. Instead recognize two simple truths. One, rights do not exist so you do not have them; and two, the ten scariest words in the human language are these, “I’m from the government, and I am here to help.”

 

Why We Do What We Do

Have you ever wondered why people do what they do? Why do people act? Ludwig von Mises set out to answer just that question in his fantastic work, Human Action. In that book, he lays out three requirements for human action. First, you must have an unease with your current situation. Next, you must perceive a better situation. And, finally, you must believe that positive action will get you from where you are to where you want to be. These can be somewhat confusing, so let’s break them down.

Do you like your sofa? If you do, are you likely to go out and buy another one? If you don’t like your sofa, are you considering getting a new one? Not liking your sofa is an example of unease with your current situation. You do not like your sofa, so you want to relieve your unease with it.

Assuming you don’t like your sofa, how do you know can improve your situation? Perhaps you saw a commercial on TV for a new sofa, or you went to a furniture store. This is a presentation of the second requirement for human action; you perceive something better. If there were no new sofas, you would not pursue getting a new one, and therefore would not act. In our scenario you do see a new sofa, however, this is still not enough for you to act.

The last requirement for human action is the belief that positive action will get you from where you are to where you want to be. Where do you want to be? Sitting on a new sofa! Where are you now? Sitting on a crappy one. How do you get a new sofa? If you already have the money saved, you go buy a new one. This belief that going to the store and purchasing the new sofa will get you the new sofa results in you going to the store and buying a new sofa.

Consumer goods are an easy representation of this concept, however, it is just as valid with all of our actions. It applies to why we go to work, why we eat food, what food we choose to eat, the friends we have, the places we live, the relationships we cultivate, everything. If you can work through this framework, you can understand why you do what you do and why other people do what they do. I will go into this in further detail in subsequent posts. Thank you for reading, and I hope you stay tuned!

The Curious Case of a Meaningful Life

Life is a series of random events. Your life has been a series of random events. You did not choose when you were born, who your parents were, or where you lived. You did not choose the house you grew up in, the school you went to, or the food you ate. You may have gotten to choose your friends, but that was limited by where you lived and what school you attended. As you grew up, you may have been able to express more preferences over the food you ate, who your friends were, the classes you took, or the extracurricular activities in which you participated, but you were still limited by the location of your house and your family, as well as their income. If you graduated high school, you may have faced the first real choice that was all yours; going to college.

Don’t get too excited, though, because like all the other events in your life, this one was not all of your doing either. The choice to go to college is dependent upon your intellectual aptitude, as is the college you go to. If you don’t like school, college is a bad idea, so you don’t go. If you like school, but aren’t intellectually gifted, Harvard is out of the question. Even if you are intellectually gifted, Harvard is expensive and may be out of the question anyway. You are also limited by your personal interests. If you love graphic design, going to a school that specializes in engineering would probably not be the best idea. Let’s say you do decide on a college that suits you, what then?

From that point on, all of the friends you make, and even if you find someone special and marry them, all depends on the fact that you chose that particular university. Let’s say you are a trained engineer upon graduation. You are not likely to get hired on somewhere as a Cold War Historian. Your current and future job opportunities are restricted to engineer, lest you get retrained or receive advanced training in a related field. You could also do something that is a far simpler occupation, like selling men’s shoes, but that would be far less money, so the choice is not likely to be made.

Did you find someone special along the way? Did you get married? Are you planning on having kids? The kids you have with your spouse are a random combination of your DNA, so even though you chose to have kids, you do not get to choose the kids you have. Did you choose your neighborhood, or was it the most affordable option in the nicest neighborhood outside of the city in which you work? Did you choose the route you take to work every day, or is it simply the fastest option given the outlay of the roads? Did someone cut you off on your way? Did they do this to spite you, or did they do it because they are a bad driver in a hurry? Did it make you late to work or cause a collision? These are all random events. You have some choice in the matter, but the vast majority of the circumstances surrounding your choices are out of your control. So, why am I bringing this up?

The human brain is a pattern recognition machine. It is so good at taking the randomness of our environment and organizing and codifying it to make sense of everything that when we see certain patterns or symbols regularly we stop consciously recognizing them. We do this with stop signs on a regular basis. If one said “Spot,” would you notice? Probably not. This is also why traffic cones and signs are bright orange; you are more likely to notice the change. But, how is this relevant to the topic at hand?

We like to believe that everything happens for a reason. The truth is, we ascribe meaning to all of the random things that happen to us. This is how we cope with a reality that is completely random and chaotic. We seek order externally, and we create it within our own lives. We have places for our dishes, our cleaning supplies, our clothes, our garbage, and even the rooms in which we sleep every night. We set up schedules so our bodies can operate optimally, and so we can interact with other people effectively. We eschew randomness at every opportunity. We even avoid people that are flakey and cannot show up on time or cancel on plans often. If you are like me, you have found that the more regimented and regular you can make your life and behaviors, the greater your functionality and chances of success are. These are choices I have made, and I value them. I have chosen to give them meaning.

Another, and possibly detrimental, occurrence when trying to make sense of our random world is to believe in a guiding power. God, or some other spiritual entity, has a plan for all of us, and what happens to you is what is best for you according to their plan. This is an incredibly dangerous mindset to cultivate as it takes away the agency you do have for the choices you make. If some supernatural entity has the control over the things in my life, then it doesn’t matter what choices I make. Everything happens for a reason, and it is all according to his plan. So, I will just go along for the ride. We become passengers in our own lives. I would argue this leads to a great deal of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. While we may not have complete control over our lives, there is great power and self-satisfaction in knowing we have the capacity to make the best possible choices for ourselves within the circumstances before us. Let that empower you.

As we progress through the randomness of life, remember, anything that has meaning in our lives does so because we have chosen to give it. A meaningful life is something entirely of our own creation. Take time to think of all of the people, places, events, and objects in your life that you value. Why do you value them? What is the meaning or significance they hold in your life? How have they changed who you are, and was it for the better or worse? How have you impacted the lives of others? Are you a meaningful person in the lives of other people? If you are, know that you are because they have chosen to make you so. We may live in a world of random events, but there is strength and power in knowing we have the capacity to choose how those events and people impact our lives. Use that power to make your life better. Give meaning to the events that make you better, and give meaning to the people that give you meaning in their lives and want the best for you. Your flourishing is within your own capacity.

What We Really Want From a Relationship

Relationships are one of the greatest expressions of anarchy we experience every day. We have relationships with our parents, our friends, and our significant other, should we have one, and all of them have one thing in common; they are voluntarily chosen. As a child, you cannot choose your family, but when you become an adult, you are free to choose if you want to associate with your family of origin. You do get to choose your friends from day one, and you do get to choose your significant other. You also get to choose if you want to have children and start your own family. You must keep in mind, however, that the children you have did not choose you as parents, so you have to be as awesome to them as you can be so it is as if they would have chosen you. That is a story for another time, however, so before I get too off topic, I should get to the purpose of this post.

I spend a fair amount of time on online dating sites, and despite the fact that they are all set up like Amazon selling you the best version of possible partners you can purchase, I have not been successful in finding someone. I have, however, made some good observations. Most profiles of women read something like this. “Hi! I am an exciting and interesting person who does exciting and interesting things. I like a fun night out, but I also like to spend a fun night in. I like to go on adventures, but I also like to be low key. I’m looking for someone to share my life with!” Pardon my generalities, but that is how most of the profiles read. The reason for this is twofold. One, the person wants to appear as normal as possible, and two, the person wants to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. While this strategy increases the likelihood of receiving potential mates, it does not increase the likelihood of meeting the right mate. This leads me to my point.

What we want out of relationships is not to have some to share our lives with, or to adventure with. What we really want is someone that sees us for who we are, the good and the bad, and accepts us for all of it. This is true for friendships as well as for romantic relationships. We may advertise how awesome we can be for another person, but in truth, we do this because we want to find someone who sees how awesome we really are. We are not all awesome in the same way either. If that were the case, we would all be homogenous interchangeable sex robots with no particular regard who we spend time with, sleep with, or have kids with. Thankfully that dream of the authoritarian left is not a reality and life is far more exciting!

It is because we are all so unique that we spend so much time worrying about finding a special partner, and we put so much emphasis on the necessity to be seen for who we really are. Most people are not consciously aware of this necessity, but they pursue it anyway. Often their attempts at achieving it are misguided and backwards, but sometimes it does work out. When someone starts out trying to be as appealing to as many people as possible, the weeding out process gets extreme. However, if a person were to be as specific as possible with their description of themselves and what they are looking for, then perhaps we would all be better at finding that special someone. Of course, you cannot find what you do not know you are seeking.

If we are to find true happiness and a loving relationship with the right partner, we must be honest with ourselves about who we are and what we are seeking. Instead of being as general as possible in your dating search, be specific. If you like analogies, then try this one; dating is like traveling. You know you are going on a trip, and there is a specific destination intended, however, the vaguer you are, the more likely you are to get lost. If, on the other hand, you know the exact GPS coordinates of your destination, you will be sure to find it. Unfortunately, people are not points on a map, so finding who suits you best is not going to be that easy. This is why self-knowledge is so important. If you know what you like and do not like, what makes you happy and what does not, then you are more likely to find the person that suits you best.

You should never compromise who you are or what you believe for the sake of a relationship that you think will make you happy. This is a recipe for disaster. If you are not true to yourself, you will never be happy. This is as true in relationships with people as it is in relationships with institutions. This is why anarchy is so important in all aspects of life. It is also why it is so challenging. It is easy to believe you have no influence over large, distant, and seemingly powerful institutions like governments, and it is hard to believe how much power you have over the personal relationships in your life. When you realize that the governments have power only because of your tacit compliance with them, you start to see them for the house of cards they are. When you realize the people in your life are only there because you have chosen to let them be there, you start to see how powerful you really are. Embrace that power, and define your life and your relationships in the ways that make you the happiest. You owe yourself that much.

The Necessity of Choice

If I put a gun to your head and tell you to rob a liquor store, are you guilty of robbery? No. By placing your life under threat of death, I have removed all choice from you, and subsequently all agency. Anyone who tells you that you still had a choice is clearly demented as they think death is a viable option. Agency is moral responsibility for your actions. Without agency, there can be no virtue as the morality of the choice is removed from you. This is why government and all of its actions are morally wrong. Everything the government does comes at the threat of death or as a result of it.

Do you pay your taxes? I do, but not willingly. I pay them because I know that if I refuse, eventually a man with a gun will come to my house, threaten my life, put me in chains, kidnap me, and place me in a cage. If I refuse, or attempt to defend myself, he will shoot me. I have no agency in the action of paying my taxes. This is also why taxation is theft.

Now, you may say the government does some good things with the money it steals from me and everyone else in the form of taxation. Even if the money stolen in taxes goes to feed poor, blind, starving, AIDS ridden children in Africa, it is still an immoral act as the funds are ill-gotten gains. When the government provides welfare for the poor, retirement funds for the old, and education for the illiterate, it is not committing a moral action. The ends do not justify the means. Even if you support what the government is doing, you are not making a moral choice. No matter how much you delude yourself, you do not have agency in what the government is doing, and therefore neither you, nor the government is making a moral choice.

This is why anarchy is the only moral political ideal. Every individual has full agency for his or her choices, and morality falls squarely on his or her shoulders. If you choose to help the illiterate become literate, the poor get food, or the old live comfortably, you are acting morally because you have the freedom to choose not to do those things. Likewise, if you choose to rob that liquor store, you are responsible for that immoral act. Anarchy is the only system that allows humans to reach the full potential of their agency, and it is therefore the only system that can achieve human flourishing.