Peaceful People, Modern Society and Paleo Principles

I think a number of readers get a bit uncomfortable when we wander off the diet, health, conditioning and other closely related subjects on this blog. On the other hand, isn’t the Paleosphere replete with blogs and other resources devoted exclusively to diet, to recipes, to workouts, or some combination?

I never wanted to specialize, and the primary reason for that is because my own great leap forward in health has been so multi-faceted, and too, I hate feeling boxed in. I have often related that hand-in-hand with the brief intense workouts and paleo-like diet, that I also got off the cable news addiction, talk radio addiction, financial news addiction, and hand-wringing-over-politics addiction.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. — H.L. Mencken

And then I began sleeping like a baby again — and guiltlessly so, in great splendor. So: isn’t that another piece of the overall paleo puzzle?

But why cherry pick, since I’m also not going to go "live like a cave man?" Because "Paleo" is in some sense a philosophy; or, rather, a framework of knowledge & principles whereby one assembles a foundation from whence a modern philosophy might be built, and we want that: modernity, advancement, improvement. The last thing I want paleo to represent is static stagnation, or primitivism, squalor, separatism. And while so many of us have done marvelously in constructing a modern approach to food choices, exercise choices and entertainment, fun and relaxation, how many of us have extrapolated some of that deep evolutionary understanding of our own humanity to how we might best conduct ourselves as free animals in a modern society?

It’s too bad I have to deal in labels that don’t quite clearly convey what I mean. …And there’s probably no word in the world more loaded, more misunderstood, more confused, more bi-polar, than: anarchy. I mean, for most people, it’s hard to even see the word without finishing the phrase: "& chaos." Much was made of Lierre Keith’s recent assault at the hands of "anarchists." But was that an essential description or would "bullies" might have sufficed and been more accurate? Ok, ok, let’s answer the implicit question: what kind of "anarchists?" Well, none at all, from my perch. They were really just your run of the mill communists & deep socialists (redundancy alert!) and all applicable varieties therein. I’m not going to belabor the point here. More accurately, they’re nihilists.

Let me explain. Suppose there were some in our society who had a problem giving up the fun & jolly Santa Claus myth by around age five or so. Such a condition might motivate the formation of "asantaists" as some epistemological position (or ethical and political if "santaism" went along far enough). So what is an "asantaist?" How about a group that wishes to destroy by force, if "necessary," all vestiges of the jolly old man with a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly? Sure, they’re "asantaists" alright, but aren’t they more importantly bullies, nihilists, spoilsports, party-poopers and…vegans? And how do they compare with the down-to-reality "asantaists" who just want to talk sense? Or, those who wish simply to admonish you — but only if you’ll listen — that willingness to entertain fantasy in one area might carry over to others and end in real harm? We’re talking about a bi-polar condition surrounding the same concept: brutality & force vs. peaceful persuasion and freedom of association; opposites, in fact. But even so, they are to some extent both still "asantaists."

So there’s a one-paragraph metaphor that I think pretty much describes the essential problem with the word "anarchy."

Are you interested in where this is going? I hope so. If not, that’s cool and there’ll be more Food Porn or Dietitian Ridicule or SatFatGood soon enough. But if so, do you have 10-15 minutes to inform yourself in some radical, but eminently peaceful, political philosophy that might make the rest of this far more valuable in terms of considering alternatives to the political and social status quo? From a seemingly unlikely source: an old friend; a realtor in Phenix, AZ, with a pretty deep background in things classical, Hellenic, and Greek. Greg Swann; SplendorQuest: A real-estate professionals’ guide to anarchy in the USA.

If you would, please go read it and return so the quotes I use will make more complete sense. Now that we’ve dismissed the nihilist anarchists as, essentially, mostly engaged in nihilism, how about the next branch? These guys — and I used to be one of them — are super "free-marketeers." They’re so super-free-market that when they noticed that governments exist by force & coercion, preventing competition in governance — a monopoly of force, coercion…destruction — that they drew the natural & obvious conclusion: the problem is with monopoly. We need a lot more force & coercion — competition over it — which, by virtue of "market forces," will somehow result in not more but…less destruction. Yep. Don’t like the government you have? Fine. Hire another and go to war with the former. That’ll be peaceful.

I know I’m glossing over finer points but it’s only as a means to get to where I want to be. First, here’s Greg outlining the foregoing in his way.

In general, advocates of free-market anarchism will insist that the polities they envision will be entirely voluntary. I dispute this claim. The two best known defenders of free-market anarchism — David Friedman (son of Milton Friedman) and Murray Rothbard — both envision free-market police forces that would engage in violent trespass onto private property and forceful coercion of individuals suspected of having injured other members of the polity. I think this is simply thoughtlessness — the failure to have thought through the unwillingness of each member of the polity to volunteer for this kind of abuse. But, to my knowledge, Janioism is the only argument for free-market anarchism that foreswears system coercion both of members of the polity and of strangers who might find themselves subject to the dispute resolution systems of a Janioist polity.

Sorry; as I said, you’ll need to read his post to decode some of that.

So let’s get back to the Paleolithic. How did we get here? What were we like? What sort of social framework did we evolve in? Modern society is certainly far different, but is that advancement, or something else?

If it’s something else and I think surely it is, then it’s that we’ve conditioned ourselves to be slaves, but slaves of the worst possible kind: slaves who live in the fantasy that they’re really free. Moreover, and get ready: modern "social food" is cannibal food. When someone says "socialism," I immediately think: "cannibalism." But no one could dispute that cannibal isn’t paleo, so what gives? Do I jest, much? Well, what does give? Isn’t that a vestige of primitive savagery — cannibalism — that we could put aside — at fucking least, please! — instead of figuring out loopholes?

I think it’s an interesting parallel that rather than slaughter certain animals for their meat, we domesticated them so we could milk them and derive far more value over a lifetime. I have no idea how widespread human cannibalism may have been in the Paleolithic and beyond, but did agricultural civilization represent, essentially, a trade — even an unconscious, evolutionary one — of cannibalism for slavery? "Don’t worry, we’re not going to take your fingers & toes — or bleed you outright & eat your liver. Instead, you get to be a citizen. And hey, in a few thousand years, you’ll even get to vote!!! (oh joy). But wait! There’s more. You’ll also get this combination spaghetti pot, clam steamer…and, you’ll get to vote to live at everyone else’s expense! Now how much of your freedom will you give up?"

And so we come full circle, from real cannibals at times to metaphorical cannibals who get to vote on it: who goes into the pot & who gets to feast.

But let’s get back to the question. How did we get here? Who are we? Where can we go from here? Greg, again:

Almost everyone is sane and normal. Few people understand egoism as I defend it, but that’s simply because the forces of evil in our civilization do everything they can think of to smear ideas like egoism, individualism, capitalism, anarchism, etc. Their dominance games will not work without your active, continual surrender, so they indoctrinate you from childbirth to submit to their authority, to fear and resist your own desires, to yield to them in any conflict, to be their perfect little slave at all times. And it works, too. Not only do you sacrifice fifty percent or more of every dollar you produce, you will defend with righteous indignation your glorious servitude.

So until Part II, you glorious slaves! I’ll write about how we could be and how best we might engage in political activism of sorts, towards breaking the chains. There are distinctions to make.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. ToddBS on March 24, 2010 at 18:20

    I guess I don’t really understand the distinction between anarcho capitalsim and free-market anarchy. It seems a matter of semantics to me. I read the SplendorQuest article (last night, in fact. And subsequently saved it as a pdf) and what he describes there seems to me to be a free market composed of free individuals.

    I don’t claim to be a student of philosophy by any means. In fact, I cherry-pick things from various sources that I find to be in alignment with what I already hold true. I suppose in some attempt to put a label on my own philosophy. I doubt I’ll ever find a label for it though as I find tidbit truths in multiple places.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 13:39

      “I guess I don’t really understand the distinction between anarcho capitalsim and free-market anarchy. It seems a matter of semantics to me.”

      I wasn’t really aware there was much of one, if any, at least amongst many who seem to use them interchangeably.

      I tend to shy away from A-C as a label because capitalism tends to imply corporatism which is itself a creation of the state, is protected by the state (corporate veil from personal liability) and for the largest ones, beneficiaries of the state.

    • Michael on March 26, 2010 at 01:19

      I guess I don’t really understand the distinction between anarcho capitalsim and free-market anarchy. It seems a matter of semantics to me.

      There really isn’t much difference in the terms. I don’t like anarcho-capitalism because so many people confuse state capitalism with free market capitalism and they aren’t even close. Further, while I think a truly free society would look a certain way, the fact is free people can organize themselves any way they want, as long as it is done without coercion, and some folks may choose to be in a society that is not “capitalistic”.

  2. Jared on March 24, 2010 at 18:20

    I’m sorry, but this world described in your link is far too fantastic, and I mean that in the sense of fantasy.

    This works on the small scale. It has no place in the reality of 300 million. It’s completely unworkable, which is why we get governments forming in the first place. Groups of people get too big, you start not knowing everyone, or there are other groups of people that you don’t are about that you can come and take something from by force.

    I think you might be better off making our government better, than mental masturbation like this…. That’s all it is. It makes you feel good, but it doesn’t accomplish much. Please, come back and reason in reality…. This complicated, reality that has way too many people and is a smelly, dirty mess of bullshit. Yeah, it’s hard, but at least it isn’t a fantasy…

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 13:54

      “I’m sorry, but this world described in your link is far too fantastic, and I mean that in the sense of fantasy.”

      Yea, it’s almost as bad as the fantasy of believing one lives in the “land of the free.”

      “This works on the small scale. It has no place in the reality of 300 million.”

      Works for whom? Last I checked, I wasn’t particularly interested in what “works” for you, or for anyone else. Go right ahead an y’ll get yer werks on. Just leave me and anyone else not interested in your working werks out of it. Simple pimple. Now if you and your working werks have something I might value, then we might be able to work out a trade. If not, not.

      “…which is why we get governments forming in the first place.”

      Yea, they’re like natural resources, like oil wells that wen struck, gush forth. It’s not anything like a bunch of individuals getting together and dominating other individuals through force & coercion, or anything like that.

      Any idea how “government” got started in the first place?

      “…our government better…”

      Whose government? It’s not mine. It’s merely a thug that steals half of what I produce and threatens to fine, imprison, or kill me if I don’t submit to its brute force & domination. That’s just a thug.

      Oh, and “better” to whom? And at what? Better at domination, brutality, theft, invasion?

      “….it doesn’t accomplish much.”

      For whom?

      • Jared on March 25, 2010 at 14:11

        If you honestly believe you earn everything that you make, go do exactly what you do in Zimbabwe and see how much money you make there.

        Without the United States of America Bill Gates or Warren Buffet would never be Billionaires. This government that you are so offended by provides security of markets, of currency, as well as physical security. Being well off means you benefit the most from this protection.

        Without government I could come and take whatever you have by force, and you would have no recourse. If you own a home, have a family and a collection of possessions, you are much better off paying your taxes and living than someone who has nothing. Without government, there would be nothing stopping the have-nots from taking from the haves.

        That sounds like it would make people more equal, right? The problem is, this economy that we have set up works better because it rewards people for trying to have more than their neighbor. We are more efficient because of this competition. We all have more because of it. I’m not saying that it can’t be improved, but without it, there is a huge loss of efficiency. With a huge loss of efficiency we do not have the life expectancy that we no enjoy. Before our technological advancements (that are only possible because of government), the argument would be without government, many people could not survive, the population of the world would have to decline very dramatically, and that only helps the people who are still around.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 15:05

        “…go do exactly what you do in Zimbabwe…”

        You mean the bigger kleptocracy than the US, the one where Mugabe kicked all the honkies off their farms. That one?

        Wow, you make awesome points.

        Yea, yea, I know. I owe it all to Uncle Sam, just like Mom & Pop back in the neighborhoods owed all of their prosperity to the protection afforded them by Don Vito Corleone and in a sense they’re right. If they hadn’t payed their “taxes” they would surely have been less prosperous.

        “…would never be Billionaires.”

        An unsupportable assertion that belies a laughable ignorance of history, that people can’t possibly accumulate wealth without some group of people getting together, dominating those same wealth accumulators and stealing a lot of what they’re accumulating.

        I pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes that if I didn’t pay I could reinvest in my company, hire more people and have a bigger payroll that the $100k I pay monthly to employees now. You just have a fundamental lack of understanding about what really creates, preserves and protects wealth.

        “Without government I could come and take whatever you have by force, and you would have no recourse.”

        You crack me up. Why can’t you do it right now? Is some magic force stopping you? Do you really, seriously fear the cops & government as deterrent more than the six loaded weapons I have within a six-second reach at my house and my skill in using them…

        You’re just a silly little one, aren’t you?

        “If you own a home, have a family and a collection of possessions, you are much better off paying your taxes and living than someone who has nothing.”

        No argument there. I’m not interested in squalor, so just like Mom & Pop, I pay off the Don so that he doesn’t destroy my life. Just like you. The difference is that I live in the fantasy that it’s a big protection racket that doesn’t need to exist while you live in the reality that the Don is really your protector, true benefactor, and the source from which springs forth all of your wealth.

        “Without government, there would be nothing stopping the have-nots from taking from the haves.”

        You didn’t read much of that background link, did you? If you did, you must have a serious problem with reading comprehension. Listen, what is magical about government? What do you think it is, beyond an poorly organized group of individuals.

        And have you never heard of private security? Private security in all its form from alarms to surveillance to patrols to physical presence is, in fact billions and billions and billions of times more effective at actually PREVENTING crime than is the police who, as my friend often says, that “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

        The police exist primarily o generate revenue for the state via traffic citations and to show up after a crime has taken place, report, investigate and turn over to prosecution.

        They call this process deterrence and you can look around to see how effective it is. About as effective as governmental dietary guidelines.

      • Jared on March 25, 2010 at 17:11

        You are quite simple-minded…. I feel like you can’t think past the group of people that you know, or care about. There are 10’s of millions times more people than that. This utopia without government is simply not in our nature.

        You should probably admit a couple of things to yourself, they might be enlightening:

        1. You did not make your situation the way it is. Most of your success is due to luck. The fact that you were born in the United States (or any developed country) is far and away the biggest factor to your success. There is nothing else that you could have personally done beyond that to make a greater impact. You do not own your success. You owe it to your community. Your community is made possible by your government. Without the roads, money, research, defense, common structure, community of wealthy people, you have nothing and you’ve probably already outlived your life expectancy under such a situation.

        2. The government prevents these mobs you talk about from existing, a good government. That is the beginning of violent competition. The government allows us to compete non-violently. To be honest, yes, the government is what is stopping me from taking what you have (were I in need). I respect that we have agreed as a society that there is one institution dispensing justice, and it isn’t me. If we were living in the anarchy as described, I would have little qualms in expressing my alpha male ideals and putting someone like you who insults me in their place. If you looked stronger than me, I would just outsmart you. No, your arsenal next to your bed won’t save you. I’m smarter than you, and you’re the victim. I don’t have to fight you on your terms. You are the one who has, you don’t want anything from me. I’m glad we don’t live in such a world. You’re completely naive to think without a government that homocide would not increase by at least an order of magnitude. This is a world that does not value life. People would be much quicker to kill each other, and with our technology, have the means to where strongest doesn’t even matter, only who is willing, who has the least scruples.

        In our world, people worry about unborn fetuses…. In the world described, people would worry about staying alive to raise their kids. A much, much greater fear of death is far deeper slavery than paying your taxes. I’m pretty sure you can afford it. So quit whining….

      • Michael on March 26, 2010 at 01:32

        You are quite simple-minded…. I feel like you can’t think past the group of people that you know, or care about. There are 10’s of millions times more people than that.

        And you “care” about these 10’s of millions of folks? That is one heck of a feat. But my guess is that you define “care” as thieving from one set of folks so as to be able to take “care” of those 10’s of millions of other folks in one way or another. Ah yes, theft is okay if it wrapped in compassion.

        This utopia without government is simply not in our nature.

        Oh I don’t know about that. There seem to be many historical examples where this “utopia” worked just fine.

        Your community is made possible by your government. Without the roads, money, research, defense, common structure, community of wealthy people, you have nothing and you’ve probably already outlived your life expectancy under such a situation.

        Well frankly Jared you have it backwards. Gov’ts by definition produce nothing. They are funded by the fruit of a productive society. Without a productive society there can be no gov’t. Production of some sort must precede predation (i.e. taxation) of any sort. Society is not equivalent to the state and it existed before the state.

      • Michael on March 26, 2010 at 01:35

        Oops, pushed the submit button before I was done. Probably just as well. It is 1:30 in the morning where I am and I need some sleep. I may have missed the height of the activity of this thread anyway but will be back in a few hours, LOL!

      • Richard Nikoley on March 26, 2010 at 09:41

        “You’re completely naive to think without a government that homocide would not increase by at least an order of magnitude.”

        Wow, that would be quite a feat since, what is it, Michael, something like 130 million murders by government pre-20th century and about 170 million in the 20th century?

        “I’m smarter than you”

        That may very well be but you might want to do something about your ignorance on this issue.

      • Tim Starr on March 26, 2010 at 00:24

        Actually, Zimbabwe’s booming now that its central bank has shut down & stopped issuing currency.

    • Tim Starr on March 26, 2010 at 00:21

      I love the “It doesn’t scale” argument against anarchy, since one of the most undeniable examples of anarchy in the world today is at the global scale, since we have no global State, and yet we don’t have everyone in the world at war with each other all the time (contra Hobbes).

  3. Maleficarum on March 24, 2010 at 19:09

    I look forward to the days of a zombie apocalypse when we can fully embrace our cannibalistic heritage.

    I actually get what you are saying… and I disagree that discussions like this are “mental masturbation.” Understanding what could be in a “perfect” or “fantasy” system is the first step in learning how to improve our imperfect real-world system. Ayn Rand would be a proud cannibal.

  4. suzan on March 24, 2010 at 19:23

    I’m not really sure what you are getting at with this post in relation to Paleo eating, but maybe part II will clarify. I have a couple of random comments that might or might not be relevant, but hey, it’s a blog and we get to comment, even if the comments aren’t so great. Some may believe that we are free, but yes, we are slaves. The psychopaths that run the world have money, power, and really bad weapons to keep us enslaved. But my mind is still my own, no matter how much brainwashing went on in there (and still no doubt goes on) over the years. There’s still a free “me” in there, who is learning to not allow the psychopaths bother me all that much anymore. I really can’t be an Objectivist or a true Anarchist because I have given up glorifying selfishness. Caring about others has freed me from that old slave called ego, which can get pretty demanding at times. And this opinion of mine isn’t a result of the brainwashing, rather it comes from a lifetime of personal experience and pondering. I ponder. A lot.

  5. zach on March 24, 2010 at 19:37

    I hate the government. They are a criminal class of thugs in uniform. I refuse to fly. Looking at the slaves taking off their shoes for surly, usually obese rentacops gives me palpitations. All because some assholes in the government-military-industrial complex demolished some buildings. Now Obamacare. I guess all we can do is get the states to tell the feds to go to hell. Buy ammo too.

  6. Ray Sawhill on March 25, 2010 at 09:43

    Fun musings. You might get a kick out of a recently deceased Brit named Colin Ward, who spent his life as an “anarchist propagandist.” (He actually called himself that, cheerfully.) His book “Anarchy in Action” is a classic.

    One of his main points is that anarchy isn’t a pipe dream, it’s that voluntary association is how most of life already takes place.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 10:36

      “You may think in describing anarchism as a theory of organisation I am propounding a deliberate paradox: ‘anarchy’ you may consider to be, by definition, the opposite of organisation. In fact, however, ‘anarchy’ means the absence of government, the absence of authority. Can there be social organisation without authority, without government? The anarchists claim that there can be, and they also claim that it is desirable that there should be. They claim that, at the basis of our social problems is the principle of government. It is, after all, governments which prepare for war and wage war, even though you are obliged to fight in them and pay for them; the bombs you are worried about are not the bombs which cartoonists attribute to the anarchists, but the bombs which governments have perfected, at your expense. It is, after all, governments which make and enforce the laws which enable the ‘haves’ to retain control over social assets rather than share them with the ‘have-nots’. It is, after all, the principle of authority which ensures that people will work for someone else for the greater part of their lives, not because they enjoy it or have any control over their work, but because they see it as their only means of livelihood.

      “I said that it is governments which make wars and prepare for wars, but obviously it is not governments alone – the power of a government, even the most absolute dictatorship, depends on the tacit assent of the governed. Why do people consent to be governed? It isn’t only fear: what have millions of people to fear from a small group of politicians? It is because they subscribe to the same values as their governors. Rulers and ruled alike believe in the principle of authority, of hierarchy, of power. These are the characteristics of the political principle. The anarchists, who have always distinguished between the state and society, adhere to the social principle, which can be seen wherever men link themselves in an association based on a common need or a common interest. ‘The State’ said the German anarchist Gustav Landauer, ‘is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution, but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.”

      • William on March 25, 2010 at 14:04

        “‘The State’ said the German anarchist Gustav Landauer, ‘is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution, but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.”

        Ahh, I get it now. Guess I missed this one at Lew Rockell. Rothbard et al may have conveyed this very message, but somehow managed to elude me. Interesting how words so concise can have such an impact. Ol’ Gustav may help in my aforementioned “crossover.”

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 14:36

        Yes, William.You can’t get to “anarchy” through imposition. That’s just a state of a different color. The path to anarchy is a personal path of forming new relationships, new assciations, new attentions that have as little or nothing to do with the state as possible.

        Most people have no idea of how anarchistic their lives already are. For most of us, the state has almost nothing to do with most of what we do.

        The real fantasy is that most people will give credit for their peaceful, mostly anarchist life to…the state “America the Beautiful,” just like an athlete gives God credit for his wins.

  7. Don Matesz on March 24, 2010 at 20:32


    Thanks for that link, one of the best expositions I have read on agorism. Attackers of agorism remain stuck in believing that “government” exists apart from the individuals who carry out systemic coercion on those of us who would rather live and let live. As Greg wrote, agorism already exists, it is how things actually get done, and those thugs who claim to “govern” only interfere with spontaneous social order.

    “Making government better” what a crock of corn grits. To make “government” better you’d have to make people better, i.e. make them so that when they have socially sanctioned power over others, they don’t abuse it. Good luck on that.

    John Stossell did a great job in one segment showing how in the wake of the Katrina disaster, people spontaneously helped one another, particularly via voluntary organizations like Habitat for Humanity, but “government” i.e. people exercising authority actually blocked recovery, and recovery would have occurred much more quickly if the goons had not interfered.

    • chris on March 25, 2010 at 17:37

      In addition, the government in the from of FEMA did a poor job due to complicated bureaucratic processes as a result of our overly litigious, entitlement mindset. The National Guard on the other hand, unencumbered by consensus-decision-making-policy saved lives and property; which is of course the first function of (a free peoples’) government.

  8. suzan on March 24, 2010 at 20:54

    I’d rather enjoy gazing at your previous steak photo than put too much energy into thinking we can make the government better. Oh, yeah, sometimes I might still consider a thing or two, but most of the time I just smirk cynically and ignore.

    Like Tolstoy said, “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.”

  9. Junglist999 on March 25, 2010 at 12:03

    Another useful anarchist thinker/activist is the later Murray Bookchin – good summary of his work found here by Damian White, he’s also edited a Colin Ward Reader which I believe is coming out soon.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 13:36

      Meh, a lot of these guys look like commies to me or at least strong egalitarians.

      While I fully agree that corporatism is pretty much an arm of the state, at least for the big ones that deal in essential goods & services, private property and wealth accumulation are essential for a truly free society.

  10. Michael on March 24, 2010 at 22:50

    I consume municipal water, go to public school, I ride on public roads on buses provided by the city, I can leave my house without fear of it being plundered because public officials insure what is legally mine is protected. Fuck the government – they are enslaving me. And they are enslaving you too and you don’t even know it you ignorant fool!

    • Dave, RN on March 25, 2010 at 13:36

      Your mother is a brave women. I have the utmost respect for those that survived the holocaust, and those that didn’t. That whole situation was an example of a government out of control, and a populace that didn’t care and looked the other way in many cases.

      Are we to the point of surviving our government? I hope not.

      I don’t think we are “slaves” but there are times that they force us to do things that they think is for the “greater good” and they cross the line and are trying to be our mommy and daddy because they think they “know better” than us, and we can’t be trusted to make good decisions for ourselves. That’s when I get upset with them.

      • Jared on March 25, 2010 at 14:17

        I think most people need a mommy and daddy.

        I think the more we learn about ourselves, the more we need some kind of outside help to get us to do what is good for us in the long-term.

        For instance, humans naturally procrastinate, without forcing people to save at least some of their money, there would be many people who would not do it, and them not doing it would make the people who do worse-off. Same thing with health care.

        We need deadlines. We need structure. Especially when our procrastination, laziness, or even intentional cheating effects others.

        I’m not saying social security or health insurance the way we have it are the correct solutions, I just think something like them is necessary. I would prefer if we had our own forced retirement savings accounts than social security. Or our own health ‘insurance’ savings account that we have ot start in our 20s when we don’t have many health expenditures but will use in our 70s and 80s when we do. I would like something like that. But just because these solutions aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they aren’t better than nothing….

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 15:07

        I’d rather all those people who fail to provide for themselves…die. Quickly, please.

      • Laurie on March 25, 2010 at 16:08

        That’s going in my favorite quotes list.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 16:14

        Then do you want most of the population to die off, including the disabled, handicapped, mentally ill, elderly, etc.?

      • Laurie on March 25, 2010 at 16:29

        Why would you assume that they or their families cannot provide for them(selves)? I grew up with a great-grandmother living in my household. She died at 89. My family provided for her and she helped out as she could. Why do we insist on a government to take care of those that should be taken care of by their families?

        I just had this discussion with a pro-health care bill co-worker. His mother has type II diabetes, completely controllable by good health maintenance. Instead, she chose to eat poorly and not take her medication, resulting in the loss of both of her legs. She is on Medicaid because her two sons refuse to take responsibility for the care of their mother. Why am I responsible for paying into a system to take care of this woman? I don’t wish death on her, but I do wish she and her sons had taken steps to make sure she followed a sensible diet and did not become several hundred pounds overweight, which resulted in exacerbating her disease.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 16:31

        Want? I want them to provide for themselves so they don’t. I also don’t want to be their safety net if they don’t or if shit happens, any more than I want a mortgage in the lives of others for my shortcomings or fuck-ups.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 16:37

        “Why am I responsible for paying into a system to take care of this woman?”

        As opposed to letting her die from her own ignorance?

      • Jared on March 25, 2010 at 16:57

        And in doing so, you’d fill the place with sick, poor, homeless people. I’m sure they would just accept their fate and die. There wouldn’t be any change in the crime rate. I’m sure they would just say, yeah, we deserve to die, all of those other people worked harder than us….

        Your ideology is completely blinding you to the optimization problem here. Not only that, but it’s incredibly naive…

      • Laurie on March 25, 2010 at 16:58

        She has two very well-educated sons to keep her from dying from her own ignorance. Again, why is she my responsibility? I am responsible for myself, my family, my friends, and anyone else that I want to help. I have taken care of and helped many family members and friends. If we are talking about primal/paleo properties here, then that is how it should be, in my opinion.

        As a high school teacher, I am well aware of the shifting of responsibility from the individual to the system. It is not doing anyone any favors.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 17:04

        “She has two very well-educated sons to keep her from dying from her own ignorance.”

        So only disabled people without familial support or resources should die?

      • Laurie on March 25, 2010 at 17:14

        Sigh. I would think that the cases of people having NO family or friend support would be very slim IF people took responsibility for their family and friends. If people took responsibility for the people directly attached to their lives, then I believe that we would be more willing to expand that altruism to our “tribe” members. Having the government force us to be “altruistic” fosters apathy and disdain for those that need to be helped. I have supported several people in my local community. I’ve never met them, but I gave money, food, time to several local causes that had no government overseeing bodies to waste the precious resources.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:29

        “as opposed to letting her die of her own ignorance?”

        Dan, I can’t think of a person in the world who’s going to try to stop you or anyone else from helping her or anyone else.

        Is your desire to help others so great as to actually, personally, materially help them, or only so great as to agitate to force others to help them?

        I help others. Some family. Some friends. Employees to the tune of $100k per month. How much are you REALLY doing for society? Or do you just like to talk about it.

        Incidentally, if I weren’t flushing tens of thousands per year down the IRS and CA shitter, I’d be helping a lot more people and businesses I value.

        Instead, I am forced to pay for that which I value not, pay less for values others would willingly pay more for, and pay more for values than anyone would be willing to pay for.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:34


        Some people are just mechant and that will always be the case. What I don’t want is incentives to make bad people out of otherwise good ones.

        Those sons might have done the right thing for their mom had they known no one else would have been there.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:39


        U don’t know how many different ways to tell you and everyone else that I don’t give a fuck.

        Do you understand?

        You cannot make me value the rotti
        G sores of strangers. Potty, maybe, but I havey own life and my own values to pursue.

        Go be Mother Terresa if you want. Maybe you’ll get a sainthood out of it. Nobody is going to try to atop you.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:46


        I think the funny thing is the assumption the nobody was wling to help the average derelict beggar you see on the streets.

        In many, many cases they simply ran through all the help they could get from family, then they exhauswd what they could get from local community, church outreach, etc.

        At a point, you just have to cut people loose so they can go be poster boys for all those happy to use them as props for their guit-inducing agendas. But not really help them. Only attempt to force others to.

        Way more fun. Attention grabbing, and makes one look so “caring.”

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 17:52

        @ Richard,

        “I think the funny thing is the assumption the nobody was wling to help the average derelict beggar you see on the streets.

        In many, many cases they simply ran through all the help they could get from family, then they exhauswd what they could get from local community, church outreach, etc.”

        This is actually one of the reasons I like the social safety net. I generally don’t help beggars / panhandlers / random homeless folks because I know my taxes are already doing so. If homeless folks aren’t using the government services that are already available to them I doubt I could do much more to help them anyway. I’m obviously not equipped to treat their mental health or addiction problems.

      • chris on March 25, 2010 at 17:54

        That’s what contemporary, American (neo) liberalism has lost sight of. We are supposed to know best what needs to be done in our own lives and communities. We are supposed to be better able to solve the problems we face on the ground locally than the folks who are 3000 miles away in Washington DC.

        And ultimately the best solutions float to the top and people then vote with their feet. BUT when the federal government gets its hands into everything well then there’s no where to go.

      • Tim Starr on March 26, 2010 at 00:26

        It’s trying to make the world foolproof that populates it with fools. If those unable to fend for themselves or persuade us to support them of their own free will don’t like it, they can be shot like the looters they are.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 26, 2010 at 11:19

        @ Dan

        “I generally don’t help beggars / panhandlers / random homeless folks because I know my taxes are already doing so.”

        Or, being pissed down the toilet. Yea, great idea. When people have burned through all available help via family, friends, church, charity, local community outreach, all those closest to the situation, then let’s steal money from absolute strangers to the four corners of a nation and piss away even more money, with the “appropriate” large cut going to the middle man.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:48


        Well good for you. CD will figure in part II. I’ll also reference Ghandi & King.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 26, 2010 at 11:31

        “BUT i also realize i have benefitted from the efforts of strangers who came before me.”

        …Thus, we should be forced under threat of imprisonment to pay off the federal mob.

  11. William on March 25, 2010 at 00:26

    You Voluntaryists/Agorists/Anarcho-Capitalists are the Sirens enticing Jason and the Argonauts to shore, while in search of the golden fleece. The idealist in me often visits and converses with you folks. The dreamer in me wants badly to cross over to your world for the duration of my life. Your rhetoric exhilarates me, and captivates my senses. Your world is deliciously wild, yet thoughtful and organized. The universe you reside in is the most compassionate I have ever wrapped my mind around. But everyday, I see a Hobbesian world where evil exist. Of course beauty is just as prevalent, and I certainly would not want a Hobbesian solution, for leviathan is present more than ever. I guess the realist which resides in my body just isn’t prepared to make the crossover… not just yet. I truly hope to be in a frame of mind someday where my confidence level is such that I can leave the world of gut-wrenching daily news, and be among thinkers who have transcended others morality, and dangerous if not evil totalitarian ideas. Until that happens, I’ll remain with the minarchist libertarian label, with a smidgen of… yes, a very small dose indeed, of conservatism.
    Wish me luck.

    • Anthony on March 25, 2010 at 11:10

      William, I should have read your comment first before posting mine below. You eloquently capture what I was trying to convey:

      “But everyday, I see a Hobbesian world where evil exist. Of course beauty is just as prevalent, and I certainly would not want a Hobbesian solution, for leviathan is present more than ever. I guess the realist which resides in my body just isn’t prepared to make the crossover”

      Very nicely done.

  12. paul on March 25, 2010 at 02:29

    It’s all just fantasy. You are not a slave Richard, you and all the rest of the anarcho capitalists can go and live on your own in the woods and just look after yourself and your 25 carefully chosen friends and family anytime you want.

    If you want Rush concerts and sous vide and the internet and cars then you need society. You may not like it but if you live in society you have to play by the rules the rest of society chooses for you. If we say to you that if you want to be in our gang then we want a contribution from you, well then that’s they way it is. But you don’t have to stay. You are free to leave anytime.

    No society on earth is going to let you freeload. Just cherry pick the bits you like and not’t pay what we decide is your fair share.

    Richard having followed your blog for a while now, it seems to me you have a vary nice life, much much better than you would have if you had to provide everything yourself. If you want the benefits of modern society, then you have to (to some extent) be a small cog in a very large machine. Most people know that they give up an element of self determination but are happy to do so. It’s not a con, we like it this way.


    I’ve read a lot of this anarchist bollocks because I’ve got a very close friend of mine who spouts the same kind of rubbish. Why should I have to pay tax, bla bla bla… think about it, what you get if you have competing governments is not some kind of anarchist utopia what you get is Somalia. Trust me you wouldn’t like it there.

    • Chaohinon on March 25, 2010 at 05:02

      Please stop conflating “society” with “government”. Society is defined by voluntary association, whereas government is defined by coercion.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 16:28

        Society implies organization. Organization leads to reputation, hierarchy, law and governance.

        Is enforcing contracts coercion? How about social contracts?

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 16:39

        What’s a social contract? Don’t bother answering until you ca produce signatures.

        As to the rest, read Greg Swann’s post I linked to.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 16:41

        The ballot system requires signatures.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:20

        Ballots, Dan? Well, gee, I don’t vote. Not interested in a 1/300,000,000 th say in my own affairs.

        Besides, I wish to preserve my moral right to complain. And thanks for making that point for me.

      • Tim Starr on March 26, 2010 at 00:30

        None of which requires a State, all of which can, has, and does occur w/out a State.

    • Tim Starr on March 26, 2010 at 00:29

      Society != State. Society came first, State came later. States result when societies get conquered & the defeated can’t escape but become captives to their conquerors. Societal wealth also precedes the State, otherwise there’d be nothing for the State to conquer.

      As for Somalia, I seriously doubt you’ve ever been there. I knew a man who moved there from the Netherlands, married into one of the clans, and liked it very much. It certainly has its drawbacks, but it’s doing quite well compared to the rest of east Africa.

  13. TPSW on March 25, 2010 at 03:15

    I think I see where you might be going with this to link to a paleo lifestyle. I will not try to make your point here but will add a little about what I observe. Those pursuing this paleo-style are living a bit more off the grid, buying food at farmer’s markets where I don’t seem to be paying taxes, and basically running against the conventional wisdom grain. The vegans that attacked Lierre Keith represent the coersive, their attack on her is just the apex of oppression we may soon face in food politics. The biggest current step of food oppression on a grand scale has just been passed and a path to try to force me to eat what “they” think is best for me is being constucted. Sorry if this makes no sense but I started reading this at 4:30 am and now I have to go shower to travel that place where I trade my efforts for items tradeable for that which I desire.

  14. Melissa on March 25, 2010 at 06:14

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Just like our bodies didn’t evolve to eat grains and they “confuse” our bodily systems, we didn’t evolve to live in cities with millions of people. We evolved in tribes of about 100 people and in that state we don’t need government, our inate sociality and tribalism do the job. Their are also no possessions to protect.

    This just doesn’t work with thousands, millions, and billions of people. But I refuse to become an anarcho primativist, discarding all the great things we have done as a species in this state. I take the most important principles of freedom that are most workable in our current state, and push for those.

    I think, for example, pacifism is something we can work towards, which ironically seems to require overriding some strong tribal instincts. It seems from what I’ve read that early humans were nice to their own tribe, but didn’t mind bashing in the skulls of other tribes.

    All the people in this thread criticism the “idealism” and telling us to go live in the woods miss the fact that many of us are on the ground making things better. Many of the local foods and farmers markets that so many of us enjoy now simply weren’t there 15 years ago. The local foods movement is now big enough to legally challenge onerous regulations with some success and at least fight any new ones.

  15. John on March 25, 2010 at 06:17

    Blah blah blah Ayn Rand blah blah. Y’know, it’s kind of ridiculous to be over 30 and still be an Objectivist. The world is simply far more complex than this worldview makes it out to be.

    • damaged justice on March 25, 2010 at 08:10

      You’re right. Any sensible Objectivist, when sufficiently mature, becomes an anarchist.

  16. Ned Kock on March 25, 2010 at 07:12

    I liked this post Richard! It reminded me of William Godwin a bit. Please keep these insightful commentaries coming.

  17. AndrewS on March 25, 2010 at 09:10

    I don’t buy Greg’s argument that “if you ignore the coercive dogs, they’ll go away.” I agree that focusing on “the zero” doesn’t lead to happiness; that’s why I’ve shucked the home-theater-and-DVD-collection grind to live the 4HWW life, and why I don’t spend my time blogging about the insanity in the world (which I would consider Karl Denninger to do, not Richard). Actually, I consider most articles about insanity, such as the editorials at IBD, to be of little value. It feels like preaching to the choir.

    I’d rather read calls to activism. What can I do to prevent being thrown into the pot?

  18. Anthony on March 25, 2010 at 09:53

    Interesting and well-presented position by Mr. Swann. However, I notice that all of the folks who write of such reasonable utopias seem to be materially very well off. Perhaps that has something to do with their continued insistence that people will always treat other people well if they are looking out for their own self interest. Of course they think that! They live in a cushy world, with cushy people just like themselves.

    Try that voluntaryist-anarchist position of exchange will a large, angry,violent person that wants what you’ve got. It doesn’t work. And “filling that person with lead” as Mr. Swann suggests will only lead to Hatfield and McCoy generational violence on violence.

    Yes, these well-intentioned thought experiements do help move the average mind towards seeing more possibilities for human to human interaction. But the belief that most people are sane and benevolent and only a very low number of them will try to establish dominance over another goes against every thing that serves as the basis of the Paleo (Natural) World.

    Humans are animals that have evolved like all the other life forms of this planet. All other life forms establish dominace and heirarchy. The big dominate the small, the weak perish without the help of the strong, and while plenty of species demonstrate collaborative behavior, they rarely collborate together to kill other members of their own species.

    Paleo living is a great upgrade to many aspects of modern living and nutrition, but no matter how much comfortable, wealthy business owners and real estate agents proclaim the opposite….the lower down the food chain you are (me) the more you realize Candide and Hobbes were both right: Tend your own garden in this nasty, brutish, and short world.

  19. Sam on March 25, 2010 at 10:48

    Virtually all metabolic processes are governed by complex interactions (a highly non-linear biochemical hellhole of complexity, actually…) of many genes and variances of gene expression.

    So even strong selection pressures since the beginning of the Neolithic can barely nibble around the edges of diet metabolism (lactase is of course the posterchild case but there are others such the gene mutations that have increased dietary folate requirement).

    Oxytocin receptor gene mutations are linked to increased generosity and altruism – and it applies just as well to non-kinship relationships. We can expect amazingly strong selection pressure (and very rapid spread throughout a population) of this sort of change.

    I think this change (and no doubt many others yet to be discovered) has to be taken into account whenever you start speculating about the social milieu we evolved in and how it might apply to modern societies (or actual psychology of individuals).

    Cochran and Harpending’s “10,000 Year Explosion” is good relevant reading on these kinds of recent changes – and the speed with which they can spread in modern populations.

  20. Pharm on March 25, 2010 at 11:30

    “slaves who live in the fantasy that they’re really free”

    This really resonated with me.

    There is no doubt that we are all slaves. Most just don’t know it, somewhat because it doesn’t feel that bad. That is how good the establishemnt is at selling the “american dream.” Who are the real benefactors of your hard work and time? Are you getting ahead, or do you only think you are getting ahead? They have learned that “happy” slaves are more productive. I am not saying it is an aweful existance, but we are far from free.

  21. Manveer Claire on March 25, 2010 at 11:47

    I know for those that work jobs they hate, it does feel pretty bad, the whole being a slave thing. I’ve worked enough hard manual labor in factories/warehouses to know how horrible an impact it can have on health and zest for life.

    The town I currently live in is full of a lot of miserable people. Mostly cause they come from other countries, and English is not a first language, if one at all. They have no choice but to lift boxes for 10 hours a day.

    Most people are afraid of automation, but I see it as a good thing. The sooner technology eliminates the labor class, the better.

  22. Junglist999 on March 25, 2010 at 11:59

    Colin Ward was a font of knowledge which he lived – anarchism in action.

  23. Flying Burrito on March 25, 2010 at 11:59

    That H.L. Mencken quote rocks and pretty much says it all with such tremendous economy.

  24. Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 16:19

    How is “the government” any different than “the private security force that has accumulated the most power?”

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 16:38

      Well when profit making businesses turn to predation in ignoring their general business charter to generate profits for owners/investors then we can worry about it.

      We’d just have another one again, kinda like the one now that destroys businesses every day of the week.

      Ever dealt with a state AG or the FTC?I have. Ever dealt with the Gestapo? I feel as though I have.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 16:56

        “Well when profit making businesses turn to predation in ignoring their general business charter to generate profits for owners/investors then we can worry about it.”

        This has already happened. Governments are basically just suites of private enterprises that have been written into law. That’s exactly why lobbyists end up being so influential.

        If you started everything back over from zero, certain businesses would once again become so successful that they would eventually accumulate enough power to codify themselves back into law. Which is, after all, the best way for them to fully capture a market.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:31

        Good. That should take a while.

      • Dan Linehan on March 25, 2010 at 18:27

        Probably less time than you’d think. If Tyson and Monsanto hire Xe and take over the food supply, then what?

      • Richard Nikoley on March 26, 2010 at 11:22

        Have you seen Food, Inc. Over 70% of the food supply is in the hands of a very few giants, and they didn’t even have to hire a private army to do it.

        Your cherished government did by being always and forever on the take. Do you have any idea how many former BigAgra execs are now making policy in the FDA, DOA and other alphabets making food policy?

  25. Jacob Mogey on March 25, 2010 at 17:04

    Is it your belief that anarchism has no concept of the public interest?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2010 at 17:40

      Jacob: let me ask you a serous question and please think about it: whose public?

      • Jacob Mogey on March 25, 2010 at 18:47

        I don’t think that’s a serious question. However you choose to understand the word “public,” I don’t think you will deny that it exists as a concept. While the details differ, you can see evidence of this all over the globe, going back a long, long time. So, my question stands. Your question seems to be implying that the idea of a “true” public does not exist. I would agree, as would anyone who has taken a course on Plato, but I want to draw your attention to the imperfect manifestations of the ideal that we see all around us.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 26, 2010 at 11:29

        It’s a serious question alright and Tim Starr already alluded to the answer in his very first comment.

        So let me ask it this way, then: How come American public policy isn’t just as equally focussed on French, Chinese, German, Japanse, etc. “public interest” as it is with our own?

        How concerned was Lincoln et al over the “public interest” of the 600K Americans who died circa 1865?

        How about the “public interest” of the British, circa 1776?

        C’mon, smart guy.

      • Jacob Mogey on March 26, 2010 at 16:28

        I don’t think you read what I wrote. I said that I agree that “public” is a slippery word, and that it is impossible to speak of a “true” public. But the fact that the concept is imperfectly applied doesn’t prove anything significant with regard to this discussion. Your questions certainly don’t constitute an argument for disregarding that concept in its entirety.

      • Tim Starr on March 26, 2010 at 16:44

        The concept of “interest” doesn’t scale. What concrete course of action or policy can you really say is in the interest of a “public” defined so as to include the billions of people on the planet?

      • Jacob Mogey on March 26, 2010 at 16:48

        None, which is what I’ve been saying. My question is, what significance should we draw from this lack of perfect application?

  26. Elliot on March 26, 2010 at 07:47

    Excellent post. I started reading your blog long before it was “Free the Animal”–I probably followed a link from Billy Beck or another individualist. I get why you avoid the stressful hassle of arguing politics. I’m glad to see you making remarks now and again, to keep things more interesting.

    Now that Health Care Deform has been passed, I’ve been following the all-too-predictable angry backlash, in particular the Window War which has got the perpetrators of this atrocity all in a twitter.

  27. alain on March 26, 2010 at 07:52

    James Arthur Ray one of the creators of “the secret” write about what for him is the best diet in his last book harmonic wealth guess what he is paleo eating meat vegetables and nuts things are evoluating….

  28. Alan on March 31, 2010 at 07:22

    Mark Sisson’s litheness and muscularity are do-able with willpower-driven self-improvement plans.

    Such tight platysma muscles and teenaged-position malar fat pads at age 55, i believe are not. Too many standard deviations away from the mean.

    He might have been born with some super-freaky lucky genes. However, the statistically more likely scenario is: a good surgeon.

    And nothing wrong with it.

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