New, First-Step Book

A prerequisite for embracing market anarchism is to think rationally; a theme emphasized in the Freedom Academy. Once one abandons myths like that of government, the journey there is nearly over.
Strictly, it's not essential to abandon other myths, like the widespread one of religion - but it helps. Otherwise, one's mind is bifurcated; rational regarding the State, irrational regarding other superstition. And that's not a slur (well, not much); one of Francis Schaeffer's final books was Escape from Reason. He knew very well that reason sounds the death-knell of faith and tried to steer followers away from it.
Bifurcated minds are highly uncomfortable, so last month I wrote a short e-book to ease folk away from religion and towards rational thought. It's designed for people - young ones, often - who are considering joining a Christian church – for example, confirmation candidates. It tries to give a fair account of the religion and its denominations, but at each stage encourages critical evaluation of its claims. Members of other religions (eg Muslim refugees) would also find it an informative, objective and concise introduction to Christianity. And then to rationality.
It's called "Which Church (if any)?" and is offered here for a mere $3 per copy.
Anarchism gets an important mention, but only one since the book's focus is as advertised. So it's a kind of preparatory work; I hope it will get minds better prepared to consider a zero-government alternative.
If you have 17 nephews, nieces, children and grandchildren in their teens, consider making each a gift (that would be $3 for your own copy, plus $3 for each of them, total $54 - hey, I do have to eat) because a prepared mind will make further persuasion that much simpler.


DP_Thinker's picture

Jim, can you let me know when the links work to the sample page and to buy your book on paypal?

Jim Davies's picture

Ouch! The links work fine for me, and always did. I use Firefox. What problem did you see? Send me a PM if you like. The URL is

Samarami's picture


    “…He knew very well that reason sounds the death-knell of faith and tried to steer followers away from it…”

Presuming that “faith” is joined at the hip with “religion” is a major fallacy. In fact I see it as analogous to the ridiculous presumption that “non-aggression principle” is conjoined with statists’ epithet “disorder and chaos”; or affixed to any form of coercion –- such, perhaps, as “organized religion”, or one of the many dozen “isms” connected with anarchy that I’ve catalogued and listed here previously (including “market anarchism”).

Either or both are what we call “non sequiturs”. One simply does not follow the other, no matter how aggressively one asserts that it does.

Since you are one of my highly respected mentors, I’ve tried to put a finger on the uneasiness I’ve often felt when your presentation rolls around to “rational thought”. Call it “cognitive dissonance” if you will. I’d like for all your writing to be infallible.

But even I am not infallible. Quite. Yet.

I get the inkling you, in your kind, gentle manner, aggressively insinuate -- insist -- that to “be free” one must eschew all faith (“belief”) of every type and description and embrace a virtual atheistic mindset. You never say that, but it’s the cue that I get. And that if I don’t accept wholeheartedly your belief I remain ensconced in “myths”.

I can’t judge anybody’s rational thought processes, or how they come to see what they see. My ideologies have metamorphized in the past ten or so years, and I expect them to continue to expand as enlightenment sets in. I hope to grow emotionally and philosophically ‘till the day I die.

Anyone who knows me will recognize I am not a religious man. But I have faith. For one thing, I have faith there will continue to be a supply of oxygen in this room as I type. I have no idea how that’s all kept together. As an educator I could illustrate photosynthesis on a blackboard (“Power Point” nowadays), but I don’t understand the Grand Scheme of things or how it all balances out perfectly. No matter.

Not in any sense allied with “Creationism”, I laugh at “Evolution” – primarily because supposed intellectuals are swept into never questioning the premise (under penalty of death to their esteem, or so it seems), or the soundness of all aspects of the "theory". But that’s me, and has nothing to do with you or anybody else’s freedom or liberty.

A pathological nonconformist, I’m writing this so as not to ruin my image.


Jim Davies's picture

Sam, you lost me at "Presuming that “faith” is joined at the hip with “religion” is a major fallacy."
Religion of any kind is in its very nature irrational, and adherents admit it openly and sometimes proudly. Years ago, I founded a religion (I called it Elephtherianism, derived from the Greek for "freedom") so had to think out what religion is. I have no doubt at all that it's a system of belief that cannot be proven to be true. That is, something taken on faith.
(At that time - early 80s - I had not realized that the freedom philosophy IS rational, ie that it CAN  be proven true, rationally from first principles. Later I learned otherwise, so Elephtherianism is extinct.)
Schaeffer (you've read him, yes?) had no doubt on the matter: faith and reason are opposed. Thomas Aquinas tried hard to reconcile them, but failed. If you dig under the surface of Christianity, you'll soon encounter the admission that those theologs assume God exists, as a premise! And they are proud to do so! That is a gigantic leap of faith, and as soon as you push it, it falls over for it is riddled with internal contradictions.
The importance of it, IMHO, is not so much that rational anarchists don't need the superstition of religion hanging around our necks, but that the mind has to be divided. One part is rational - we recognize that government is a myth, and reject it - while the other part remains irrational. This bifurcation of the brain is not healthy. Some seem to get along okay, they keep themselves in two compartments. Fair enough; but I'm not about to recommend it.

Jim Davies's picture

At the risk of beating a dead horse and boring those uninterested in the subject, I'm going to have one more go at this.
Any religion bases its world view on faith; that is, a proposition which is not self-evident, a premise which CAN be refuted and which is therefore NOT an axiom. If it were based on an irrefutable premise (an axiom) then it would not be a religion but something else - a philosophy, or perhaps a system of moral advice.
Similarly any philosophy whose underlying premise could be refuted would not be a philosophy, but a religion.
That is the defining difference, between a philosophy and a religion. Therefore, when stating that it's a "fallacy" to join faith and religion at the hip, Sam, you are simply mistaken. Possibly, you have misunderstood the meaning of religion, faith, axiom, philosophy, rationality, or some subset of the five.
Test it this way, if you will: identify ONE religion whose basis (underlying premise) can not be refuted.
More than this, I say not; for I would be in danger of saving you three bucks.  Go buy the book.

Samarami's picture

Well, Jim, my friend. Seems we've flown right by each other without making contact -- which can be a good thing if you're piloting and not needing to refuel.

You and I are right close as far as the religion thing goes. Governmentalism ("statism") appears to each of us -- and to most root-strikers -- to be categorized under the heading "religion". I even go so far as to observe (and I believe you heartily agree) that "voting" is a religious rite -- and a violent one when taken to its final conclusion.

Neither you nor I will argue about the fact that psychopathic heads of religion and heads of state throughout history have engaged in incestuous relationships and concordats that have resulted in the massacre of millions -- billions -- of human beings. That's a verifiable actuality.

I'll even stand still for your bringing Schaeffer into the foray, if we're talking about the same Schaeffer. Seems he's the one who said: "...Fundamentalist belief grows brains incapable of dealing with the world as it actually is..." Can't say that I disagree with him, although that's none of my damned business, frankly.

And that's my point -- one of them. Each of us will see a thing in his own light. You have beliefs. So do I. For the most part I think they coincide -- that's why we're both here instead of one of us being over at AlterNet or some such. And, like the alcoholic trying to stay sober (it goes a lot easier if s/he can actively engage in helping others to achieve sobriety) we'd like to spread the freedom message and see the end of this insanity if at all possible. Don't know about you, but I just experienced my 25th grandkid come into being, and would like to see freedom break out while she's little and before tyranny takes over completely.

My last point: faith. You have faith. So do I. As I wrote last night, I have faith there will be a supply of "O" in this room while I type. I would die rather quickly if that supply disappeared for some reason (government-inflicted warfare, as if there were any other kind of warfare, for instance). Faith can be connected to "religion", but not necessarily. Few of us know everything about everything (thee and me excepted -- and I'm not all that certain about thee :-] ). That for which we depend but don't totally understand (rotation of the earth on its axis, for instance, remaining equidistant to that rather insignificant but very warm star we call "the sun") we accept as a matter of faith. If you want to call that an argument over definitions, so be it.

I'd like to help my son and perhaps my neighbor down the street who happen to have stumbled into "fundamentalist religion" to become free of tyranny and live sovereign lives free of coercion. But I know it is fruitless to attempt to dissuade anybody from their religion (especially adamant "atheists"), so the best I can do is live the life of liberty and sovereignty.

And help where I can -- when asked. Only when asked.


Jim Davies's picture

You did not take up my invitaiton to identify one religion whose basis (underlying premise) can not be refuted. I wonder why not.

Samarami's picture

I'm not a religious hobbyist, Jim. I have no time to "refute" anybody's religion -- including yours (were you to admit you have at least one indwelling compulsion that inspires you to ardently beat the drum over this or that ideal that I might classify -- rightly or wrongly -- as "religion").

But that misses my point altogether. Because you and I aren't in any disagreement about religion qua religion.

Delmar England, in fact, phrased it this way (and I totally agree):

    “No amount of scientific evidence will ever dispel a single religious notion. Until the mind is turned upon itself to understand the cause of this insanity, the life of an individual will count for nothing.”

    I wrote that about 30 years ago. I have seen nothing since to change the conclusion. Indeed, have seen the conclusion confirmed a thousand times over.

I urge any liberty seeking individual to read the entire essay. But be forewarned: if you sincerely plow into it you will discover the need for severe and brutal self-examination. Not an easy undertaking for those of us who think we've all the freedom and liberty knowledge in our left hip pockets. No sir.

England was certainly not what anybody could call "an acclaimed libertarian writer". I've found precious few "libertarians" who have even read him, let alone carried his admonitions to completion. I had a hard time discovering anything about him. He just didn't google. Per Bylund emailed me that somebody plans to catalog his writings, but no progress to that end have come into fruition that I know of.

Zilch. Which is why he was a libertarian "expert" in my book.


Jim Davies's picture

Sam, hobbyist or not, you are the one who asserted '"Presuming that “faith” is joined at the hip with “religion” is a major fallacy"' and after trying to explain to you the fundamental difference between religion and philosophy I invited you to name ONE religion whose basis can not be refuted.
You've ignored that invitation twice, despite a reminder; so I have to conclude that you are right to say that "we've flown right by each other without making contact."
I much regret that, but am at a loss to know how to do more. Let's end this exchange before other root strikers get bored beyond yawning point.

Samarami's picture

Of course to accept your invitation to name a religion whose basis cannot be refuted, in honesty, it would be necessary for me to peruse thousands upon untold thousands of religious doctrines or what they often refer to, I think, as "articles of faith" (which gives faith a bad name). Even among professing Chr-stians in this part of the world there would be many thousands. Among Baptists there are dozens. I'd hate to venture a guess as to how many "synods" claim to fall under the Lutheran mantle. And Methodists. And Atheists and Free Thinkers.

You could make the same allegation against the many, many thousands of "philosophies" you differentiate with "religion". Just in libertarian circles there are now almost (it may by now have exceeded) one hundred "ism"'s in the list I compounded, cataloged, and have posted a time or two here.

So I'll happily concede your point. I am not moved to denigrate anybody's beliefs or how they came to see things the way they do. As long as they leave me alone, which they probably won't.

That increases the challenge of remaining a sovereign state. Which keeps me young at nearly 80.

So at the risk of losing the faith in my dotage I'll readily agree to end the exchange. Thanks for being willing to engage me in combat. It's always fun.


(One lesson I hope I've indelibly learned: always, always highlight and copy any comment you make on STR before striking the "publish comment" button. Twice this morning I've been wiped out by "Druple is off the air. We apologize. Please try later". Then you have to try and remember the bullshit you were slinging all over again. :-] )

Samarami's picture

Forgive my furtherance of the beating of a dead horse. But I left one religion out when I tried to meet Mr. Davies' challenge. Purposely. Because I do try to avoid the eliciting of backbiting on libertarian forums. Really. :-[

And this one can bring out the backbiters.

But divinatorially, along comes Fred Reed, libertarian of libertarians, over at Lew Rockwell this morning. And Fred truly knows how to put religion in its place.

If you're bored you won't get past the first paragraph. Cognitive dissonance can bring on boredom, so I'll understand.

But if you're one of those who can admit, "I don't know" it's an essential read. Here's the link:


Darkcrusade's picture

Deity my forgive sin, but I do not see how. ~Socrates.

Jim Have you ever sinned?
If not, perhaps you are the second coming of Jesus:the Christ.

Socrates had a firm grasp on the problem.

He understood that if god was perfect, than Man could offend(sin) against His holyness and that offense required punishment (justice). But how could god be perfectly merciful without violating his
Perfect justice?

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Problem solved.

Religion is man's attempt to reconcile himself to a perfect god. All cultures seem to identify the problem. The solutions they grasp at appear to be barbaric. Virgin sacrice, child sacrifice , blood sacrifice.-

Perhaps you disdain god completely and insist he does not exist?
Than you would have to answer the three miracles.

#1Why is there something rather than nothing.
The truth of mathematics dictate that 0 = 0. You cant get a something from a no-thing.
1 =1 that "1" I would state is God. The first cause of the Universe. (UNI =1)

#2 How life comes from non-life? It takes life to sustain life. Dead material decide it had enough
Of just sitting around and decided to ambulate.

#3How that dead material contemplated rational logical thought.
If the Universe came from chaos, it couldnt have brought forth rational from the irrational
Or logical from the illogical.

Jim Davies's picture

Darkcrusade, it's a pleasure to find a comment from someone who understands religion. I'll try to answer you.
1. "Sin", as I understand it, is an action that offends God, or flouts his given law. If no god exists, it is therefore impossible for anyone to sin. Sin ought, I suggest, not to be confused with moral evil, whose source and nature I've written about here and elsewhere. (For example: the purported Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian God begins "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" and to violate that would be sinful but not immoral.) Therefore, your first question is based on a premise I do not accept, and which can certainly be refuted; accordingly, it's impossible for me to answer.
2. Your "greater love" quote from John 15:13 is indeed the basis of Christian ethics, and I explicitly reject it as the foundation of the fatal disease called "altruism." If followed consistently, it would produce a world in which all "good" people sacrificed themselves to death, leaving a residue of "bad" people to populate the Earth. Further, it is obscene in that to make it possible for some people to become "good" there has to be a segment of the population that is "bad", or in need of their sacrifice. Ayn Rand correctly identified altruism as the source of most if not all of the sickly excuses used by Pols  to redistribute what is earned. I suggest altruism is incompatible with self-ownership and individual sovereignty.
3. I do, indeed, reason that no god exists but (again) it's not possible to "disdain" a non-existent entity.
4 (a) The "first cause" argument is a bust. Premise: everything has a cause. Argument: therefore the universe has a cause. Conclusion: we call that first cause "God." Very neat. Now apply the premise to the conclusion, and enquire "what is the cause of God?" Answer: nothing. Result: the argument succeeds only in demolishing its premise.
4(b) Your premise here is that "It takes life to sustain life." Why? Admittedly SFAIK the exact process by which protein strings became capable of reproducing hasn't quite been nailed down yet, but we're getting ever closer. When that's done, will you abandon your creator myth? - a century or two back, there were very much larger gaps in human knowledge, all of which were attributed to "god." He was the god of the gaps, and the gaps are very rapidly shrinking.
4(c) Let it not be said that atheists fail to marvel; and this is one of the things at which I do marvel. I think it just wonderful also that an evolutionary process that is inherently cruel has produced at least one species with a sense of pity and love and compassion and (sometimes) intelligence. How? - I have no idea. Unlike your god, I make no claims to omniscience.
So buy the book, do. You'll know a lot of its content already, but possibly not all.

Samarami's picture


    '...Your premise here is that "It takes life to sustain life." Why? Admittedly SFAIK the exact process by which protein strings became capable of reproducing hasn't quite been nailed down yet, but we're getting ever closer...'

You're getting me excited, Jim. Who knows. Maybe "we" will get there before my time runs out. And I can perhaps look forward to another thousand years with a completely plastic body and somebody else's brain.


Jim Davies's picture

On the other hand, according to The Onion, Buddhism may have some merit.