We Have Nothing to Fear but Government Itself

Column by Alex R. Knight III

Exclusive to STR

The recent conviction of Bernard von NotHaus, founder of the Liberty Dollar, which had provided a gold and silver-based alternative form of currency to U.S. government-sanctioned Federal Reserve Notes (pieces of paper backed by nothing of any value whatsoever; thin air) since 1998 demonstrates quite clearly where Amerika currently is.  Observe and absorb fully the following quote from U.S. District Attorney Anne Tompkins, taken from the Evanston Times (Indiana):

“’Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,’ U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. ‘While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,’ she added. ‘We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.’”

This statement, filled with a brazen arrogance and abysmal ignorance so sacrosanctly evil it staggers even the most jaded mind, shows us all that we are now under direct threat. 

The State must be completely abolished.  Period.  Now.

Easily said, perhaps.  Not so easily done.

Why is this?

Many if not most of us, as children, were afraid of the dark.  After mom or dad or whoever tucked us in for the night and turned out the lights, before sleep our minds would wander incessantly over the vague shadow-shapes in the room.  These hulking forms would become bogeymen of every conceivable type, lurking in the closet, under the bed, behind the chair in the corner.  Likewise, as we got older, we began to recognize that these fears were mere products of the imagination, brought on by the overarching causual fear of the unknown.  We began to see that a dark bedroom is just that, and nothing more.  Our fears now, if we harbor any at all when we get up in the dark of night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, are limited to stumbling or barking our shins on an unseen piece of furniture.  We have assimilated the dark as merely a condition of the world in which we live, and not some reality-altering sorcery that besets hosts of paranormal monsters upon us as soon as the sun sets each evening.  Except, perhaps, when we read well-written horror fiction...but that is another matter for a different venue.

But this, I expect, is why government survives.  When any anarchist proposes that government be replaced by a voluntary free market in goods and services, the average mainstream individual recoils as if they are once again a tot in that benighted bedroom.  They instantly envision a world in which they, their families, their possessions – and their very lives – are no longer safe.  They envision a landscape of warfare, killing, bloodshed, chaos.  They experience, quite simply, the fear of the unknown.

And like the goblins and ghouls of childhood, this is entirely irrational.

Government, we are told from earliest childhood, after all, is the very repository of peace, order, justice, and the one enabling factor that allows human progress to continue.  Yet, the most cursory examination, in ways far too numerous to cover in a single essay, demonstrates conclusively that this is anything but true; that in fact government – both as an idea and manifest institution – is the polar opposite of all of these things, and further, affords the individual no choice but to comply or be harmed.

However, government is and can be seen.  A society without government, for the most part, cannot be so easily discerned – albeit elements of one are evidenced all the time in any number of daily human interactions.

Thus, the retreat of the average person away from the proverbial dark room, away from the unknown, the uncomfortable, the new and the strange. 

And straight into the arms of that which, I submit to you, should be the object of everyone’s greatest fear.  The brutal thieving, murdering, lying beast known as government.  More money will be stolen from you by force at the hands of this monstrosity during your lifetime than all other persons or organizations combined.  More of your personal liberties will be curtailed by it than by any other affronting source.  You are at greater risk of being kidnapped and/or killed by its minions than by any other league of criminals, vigilantes, bandits, or “terrorists.”

The line of reasoning goes on and on.  And the evidence is abundantly clear to anyone with an open and honest mind.  Yet, traditionally, the anarchist is reviled for exposing this truth.  And bodies and minds back away – back to the parasite that feeds off of them vampirically, and without mercy.  Madness.

Stop fearing the end of your slavery, the end of usurpers and tyrants who dictate your life to you as if they had any legitimate right to do so.  Take back what is yours, what always has been yours.

Stop fearing real solutions.  For in truth, you and I have nothing to fear but government itself.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 153

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales.  He has also written and published poetry, non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues.  He currently lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University.  Alex's Amazon page can be found here, and his work may also be found at both Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  His MeWe group can be found here.


Suverans2's picture
    "We Have Nothing to Fear but Government Itself"

"Government" is a bogeyman, it is an artificial entity.

    "... in fact government...affords the individual no choice but to comply or be harmed."

Sheesh, Alex R. Knight III, that statement, only perpetuates the fear! Folks, there's nothing you can do "but...comply or be harmed".

    “If you think you're too small to make a difference, spend the night with a mosquito" ~ Dalai Lama
Paul's picture


I think fear of the unknown is one motivator, for this embrace of tyranny, but another motivator is shame:

Suverans2's picture

That's pretty much what Herbert Spencer said, Paul.

"...in the majority of men, there is such a love of tried arrangements and so great a dread of experiments that they will probably not act upon this right [to ignore the state] until long after it is safe to do so."

Paul's picture

Thanks for the link, Suverans. Outside of a use of the term "anarchy" I disagree with, it looks on target, and an excellent resource.

Suverans2's picture

You are very welcome, Paul.

As I am sure you will concur, we seldom will agree with every word usage by any author.

Regarding Herbert's use of the word “anarchy”, we must remember that this was written c.1851, so to get a feel for the meaning of that word, in that time frame, we must use a dictionary of that era.

With that in mind, here are the 5 words Noah had with anarch as the base in his 1828 dictionary. http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,anarch The words in these definitions that will grab people's attention are: confusion, revolt, and disorder. This is to be expected because the word “anarchist” got its boost into modernity from the French Revolution.

    Meanwhile, we will hate Anarchy as Death, which it is; and the things worse than Anarchy shall be hated more! Surely Peace alone is fruitful. Anarchy is destruction: a burning up, say, of Shams and Insupportabilities; but which leaves Vacancy behind. Know this also, that out of a world of Unwise nothing but an Unwisdom can be made. Arrange it, Constitution-build it, sift it through Ballot-Boxes as thou wilt, it is and remains an Unwisdom,-- the new prey of new quacks and unclean things, the latter end of it slightly better than the beginning. Who can bring a wise thing out of men unwise? Not one. And so Vacancy and general Abolition having come for this France, what can Anarchy do more? Let there be Order, were it under the Soldier's Sword; let there be Peace, that the bounty of the Heavens be not spilt; that what of Wisdom they do send us bring fruit in its season!-- It remains to be seen how the quellers of Sansculottism were themselves quelled, and sacred right of Insurrection was blown away by gunpowder: wherewith this singular eventful History called French Revolution ends. ~ The French Revolution, by Thomas Carlyle

It will be an uphill battle, every step of the way, trying to supplant, in the minds of the world's population, this negative perception of that word, (probably planted there by rulers and wannabe rulers), with a positive one.

AtlasAikido's picture

Re: Paul's "Outside of a use of the term "anarchy" I disagree with?

I see Suverans2 noticed this as well. And I have to concur that the above did stand out as an odd comment.

This is an anarchy site (last time I looked, but then maybe I need to look again, perhaps I am assuming?). Hmmm

What part of the following is Paul in disagreement with? Is the term "political atheist" ok? Is there a concept for an "on target and excellent resource" BUT disagree on the term?

Inquiring minds would like to know? But more importantly if one enjoys being here and living here and reading our works then what's with the disagreement? And why no clarification?

And oh yes...and I do not think I have disagreed with ANY of your articles--if you are Paul Bonneau? So damn it, Paul. Please post a supporting link next time, or change your id so one knows one is dealing with the same? And can refer to your articles?

Something like: http://www.strike-the-root.com/there%E2%80%99s-no-such-thing-as-statist by yours truly (PB) would have helped someone understand where you are coming from. Perhaps you have a favorite that comes to mind? I am thinking of the article you wrote about statist on one side of town and us on the other... and to let them be. Please supply that link. So feel free to add yourself as a 4 point to the 3 I set below as another way of coming at this.

1. Carrie Burdzinski identifies good reason why SOME Objectivists do not apply the following principles.
“Objectivist Resistance to Anarchy: A Problem of Concept Formation?”
Column by new Root Striker Carrie Burdzinski.

2. It is at times like this useful to imagine how a truly laissez-faire--hands off--society, one entirely emancipated from the shackles of state coercion, might exist and operate. Morris and Linda Tannehill examine this very idea in The Market for Liberty: Is Government Really Necessary?

The Statist will ask but how will you do this and that and this and so forth?


How, the statist is heard to question, might common disputes find resolution without the currently preferred monopoly of the state's courts?

What about private monopolies that would ruthlessly jack up prices and bleed us working-class proletarians to death?

By what means might a laissez-faire society offer protection from foreign aggressors?

How might the personal liberties underpinning the whole system be protected if it were not for the tireless work of the state's police and its myriad other law-enforcement agencies?

In response: "Freedom is not only as moral as governmental slavery is immoral," the authors write, "it is as practical as government is impractical."

The Tannehills argue persuasively, the free market provides solutions that governments would never dream of. "The big advantage of any action of the free market," contend the Tannehills is....see link

Freedom, Naturally
Mises Daily: Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Joel Bowman

The part I particularly liked was this:

Whenever there arises in conversation the mere suggestion of a totally free, laissez-faire market — the possibility that human beings might even be able to survive (much less thrive) without the safety net of state control — apologists for "benevolent government" invariably step atop their soapboxes and ask, "Yes, but who will provide education for the masses, if not the public schools?" or "Who will care for the sick and weak, if not the public hospitals?"

Indeed, these are questions that deserve thoughtful, honest answers. But these questions assume realities that are not in evidence.

They suppose that "the public" (i.e., the state) actually has money to "provide" these services, rather than, as is actually the case, first having to expropriate (steal) it from private, productive individuals. Furthermore, the fallacy of benign governmental control relies on the idea that governments can provide essential services more reliably and cost-effectively than the private sector.

In other words, the government's obligation to provide essential services is more reliable and effective than the private sector's opportunity to provide essential services. Admittedly, this debate does not lend itself to easy, black-and-white conclusions.

But as the Tannehills argue persuasively, the free market provides solutions that governments would never dream of. "The big advantage of any action of the free market," contend the Tannehills,

is that errors and injustices are self-correcting. Because competition creates a need for excellence on the part of each business, a free-market institution must correct its errors in order to survive. Government, on the other hand, survives not by excellence, but by coercion; so an error or flaw in a governmental institution can (and usually will) perpetuate itself almost indefinitely, with its errors being "corrected" by further errors. Private enterprise must, therefore, always be superior to government in any field.

(It is worth mentioning here that corporations acting in collusion with the state are not private enterprises as the Tannehills define them. They are simply entities that have co-opted the government's "gun-for-hire" to do their dirty work for them. Think Wall Street "bailout" recipients and their army of DC lobbyists. Indeed, think any institution at all that seeks unfair protection or promotion from the state.)

Freedom, Naturally
Mises Daily: Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Joel Bowman

3. Furthermore: Pro-government teachers, preachers, beneficiaries, lawyers, journalists and employees all insist that the word "anarchist" means one who favors "chaos" and violence. That is a LIE.

It is not just a lie, it is the opposite of the truth; for it is government that causes chaos and violence. So to help clear the confusion, let's define these terms.

Government, as used on this web site, means an organization that governs those within its power. If you're within reach of a government, it is taking some of the decisions that affect your destiny. There are possibly better ways to define government; but that will do for now.

Anarchism, in contrast, means "absence of a ruler". It's one of a series of words derived from Greek: "monarchy" is government by one person, "oligarchy" by a few persons, "plutarchy" by some rich persons, and so on. The prefix "an-" means a negation or opposite, and the suffix "-archy" means "rule", hence "anarchy" means rule by no persons. An "anarchist" is one who believes society runs best when nobody rules or governs it; when each of its members makes 100% of the choices that affect his or her life and therefore none at all of those affecting anyone else's.

Naturally, pro-government people hate that idea, because they would not be able to strut around ruling other people or live off their labor. So they do all they can to discredit anarchism. As above, they lie; they try to redefine the word, to scare people into supposing that it means "chaos". On this web site, we'll examine the true source of chaos and violence.

To compound the confusion, some people call themselves "anarchists" but openly destroy the property of, and call for controls over, the peaceful behavior of those they hate - so proving that they really favor government. So we have to recall the definition: a genuine anarchist doesn't want to rule anyone, except himself. We love freedom - and not just for ourselves. We're happy for everyone else to enjoy it too.

Welcome, therefore, to this site and the following ; it introduces Anarchism and hopefully removes all confusion. We hope that after reading what it's really all about, you'll re-think what's on target and what is not.

11A119 The War on Liberty by Jim Davies, 5/31/2011
Zero Government Blog

Suverans2's picture

G'day AtlasAikido,

Though I have not been authorized to speak for Paul, I don't believe he was objecting to the use of the word anarchist, he was, like you, (I believe), against its use in a negative connotation. He, like you, apparently believes that it should only be used in a positive way.

And, my point was that the word anarchist will "mean", to the 6.79 billion people (2009 estimate) of the earth, what the majority of those 6.79 billion people "believe" it means, and that is "one who favors "chaos" and violence".

    AN'ARCH, n. [See Anarchy.] The author of confusion [chaos]; one who excites revolt [violence]. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language [Bracketed information added]

(Go look at the rest of these http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,anarch when you have a free moment.)

Now, we can disagree with that all we want to, but that will not change, in the minds of most people, the "negative perception" of the word. In order to change the deeply entrenched "negative perception" of that word to a "positive perception", we would have to somehow convince the majority of those 6.79 billion people to think the exact opposite of what they now do. Honestly, my friend, what do you believe the odds are of actually accomplishing that superhuman feat? And, even if we could, through some monumental effort, change the general perception of that word to a positive, would it have been energy well spent? I, for one, think not.

AtlasAikido's picture

Hi, Suverans2, agree, the word anarchy certainly has been co-opted. May I propose a better word and it is "Abolitionist". This was pointed out to me and I believe Lysander Spooner used it.

The Abolitionist Argument in 35 Seconds

Call Me an Abolitionist, Please

Yet in conversation I point out that I am a Trader and do not even go to the level of the Abolitionist issue although it is there and can be pulled up--at least the principles--to counter the word anarchy being used in the negative. And I use the ideas of Stephan Kinsella to speak to how copyright cartel monopolies are actually destructive and unproductive to division of labor societies as is was the train of usurpations of "The Real Lincoln" (authored by Thomas DiLorenzo).

This leads to fun conversations about freedom in the fashion industry--and others--and how embracing and using the ratification of ideas that emulation (copying), innovation and its diffusion, adoption and improvement are life giving and move one's own world incrementally forward, individual by individual and are certainly more profitable than policing one's customers and calling them pirates as Disney does (whilst making block busters such as "The Pirates of the Caribbean").

"How a world without copyright would exist”?

"The Real Lincoln" conversation leads to the works of Hamilton and Mercantilism--the British are already here--and how that led to the Fed Reserve and the Economic hitmen/jackal police state ties; and William Grigg's name soon comes up and perhaps his article on the Quantum of Suffering (On the real military-welfare-oil complex connections of James Bond's Quantum of Solace movie).

And then it is UNusual that one is NOT requested to write down the names of this site (Strike the Root) and The Daily Bell, Lewrockwell.com and Mises.org And it is redundant to re-state but these are Anarchist or Anarco-Capitalist or Anarco-Libertarian sites. LOL

AtlasAikido's picture

Suverans2, Paul is NOT Paul Bonneau according to the user profiles. (Could NOT post the links as it triggered spam editor).

The article uses the term anarchist in a positive fashion, even if it is taken to be negative by some. This is an anarchist site (last time I looked). But then Paul could clarify this, which is what you and I requested in the first place.

I prefer Agorist to abolitionist or anarchist.

Living Free in an Unfree World: Stefan Molyneux at Libertopia 2010

Suverans2's picture

Greetings AtlasAikido,

Thanks, but I can't say that I ever thought that this Paul was Paul Bonneau. I believe there are at least three Paul's here at STR, so it can, perhaps, be a bit confusing.

This Paul was referencing the word anarchy being used in a negative fashion in Herbert Spencer's, The Right to Ignore the State, where Herbert wrote: "In a thoroughly vicious community its admission would be productive of anarchy."

Regarding the word "agorist", I particularly like this from Wikipedia, "Agorists...consider property rights to be natural rights deriving from the primary right of self-ownership." To be more precise, all of our natural rights are derived from the primary right of self-ownership.

Sorry, couldn't edit this with the link to The Right to Ignore the State embedded. Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted.

Suverans2's picture

I don't believe the words agorist/agorism have been co-opted either. OneLook Dictionary Search has 19,317,398 words in 1063 dictionaries indexed and it only has one, single, solitary source, (Wikipedia), for a definition for these two words.

Sorry, couldn't post this with the link to OneLook Dictionary Search embedded. Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted.