Anarchy Begins at Home: The Blog Series Part 5 – The Real Hobgoblins

This is a blog post rendition of my 1-hr presentation at The 21 Convention in Austin, TX in August, right after I gave a 20-minute abbreviated version of same at the Ancestral Health Symposium 2012, in Boston, at Harvard University School of Law.

The previous three parts here: Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4.

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. – Milton Friedman

Our faith in freedom does not rest on the foreseeable results in particular circumstances but on the belief that it will, on balance, release more forces for the good than for the bad.Friedrich Hayek

People have a hard time accepting free-market economics for the same reason they have a hard time accepting evolution: it is counterintuitive. Life looks intelligently designed, so our natural inclination is to infer that there must be an intelligent designer–a God. Similarly, the economy looks designed, so our natural inclination is to infer that we need a designer–a government. – Michael Shermer

I concluded Part 4 of this series with a quote by H. L. Mencken:

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.

In other words, when you watch the local and national news, read the newspapers, read books on current events, read nutritional studies, etc…what you are are most often confronted with is the specter of fear. Watch out! But, but: fear not! We’re looking out for you.

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The essential question, however, is how does one discern a real hobgoblin from one that’s contrived? Or, perhaps it’s better to ask: why would hobgoblins be contrived in the first place? We can answer both questions. For the former, you need quality knowledge, i.e., the sort of down to Earth, reality-based knowledge our hominid ancestors relied upon to successfully evolve, migrate to all corners of the globe and spawn our pathetically incapable asses by comparison (save, a precious few). It’s both primitive and fundamental. It’s just plain observation of what’s around you and it’s very, very real. You can—and must—trust its validity. Your life depends upon it and reality in this context will never let you down. The only thing that will let you down is your own accuracy in interpretation, knowledge, experience. You don’t have the national weather service. You have you, and those others in your social sphere with experience in such real elements, if you’re lucky.

Hobgoblins are contrived because that’s what’s needed to keep you in fear. Moreover, you never really know, when the hobgoblin has passed you by, whether it was just by random chance, or that those “looking out for you” were effective. That’s always hit & miss, so what the Nomenclatura really need is hobgoblins in perpetuity. That way, it’s a never-ending war, and your devotion is needed to keep the forces of evil at bay and on the other side of the gates.

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A few real hobgoblins

The norm in a presentation like this is to tell you that all of the foregoing is the result of government meddling in markets. The problem is, save for perhaps inflation of fiat currency, all these things are simply not the exclusive provence of government. Many examples, but the Tulip Bubble of the 1600s is apropos. I doubt the government had much to do with that wild-ass speculation even indirectly.

Statists will drop context and agree, and tell you that’s why you need a government overseer. The problem there, as free-marketeers might point out, is that such economic calamities happen anyway, with government. Both, however, agree they happen “beyond government,” ….else why would commies insist we need government? We’re human, stupid in astounding ways…we love, adore and protect and double-down on a losing streak far too easily. So the real difference is that that those who have supplanted the State for God simply can’t come to grips with the reality that both are utter bullshit and that you, individually—and humanity, collectively—are simply better off on your own.

Shit happens. Deal with it.

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But we don’t. Nobody wants to deal with it. And whether it simply resolves itself over time—because everyone needs food, needs to get places, needs clothing and shelter every day—or whether some random State intervention is taken, one thing is for sure: blame will be assigned. The people always demand a “cause”—even if it’s over something that happened 14 billion years ago—and when it’s not obvious, you better make some “plausible” shit up if you wish to keep your status as an authority.

People are forever envious of greener grass. It probably began with thoughts of a sweeter bush…but I digress.

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These, not the underlying false authorities

Bogus authority is the real cause of real hobgoblins because, simply: we evolved to rely upon our own individual minds, and you have given yours up. I cannot state it more simply. You suffer because of your own default. You defer to authority and nobody is really looking out for you. That leaves nobody…until such point as you realize someone really has to, and you’re the only one left.

Those who’ve managed to uphold their authority over you—or whether you were taught as a child to defer to all sorts of people who wear fancy silly hats—succeed because of your low quality of knowledge (Part 2). Angels & demons…heavenly & terrestrial. Here’s another one: you’ve been indoctrinated your entire life to bite the hand that feeds you. What you never took account of is that the same hand feeds those authorities.

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Perish the thought

…One reason I consider this a valid endeavor for my paleo friends is that they—you—kinda have a leg up on most people and I do nothing if I don’t mine minds. It’s out of respect for you and not only that, but confidence in you over a long haul to come. …If not in principle or scientific rigor, they—Paleos—have accepted the logic of evolution (those not just posing or giving lip-service for expediency and market opportunity).

This is critically important and I have never, ever discounted the astounding realization that there now exists an increasingly popular and perhaps most effective dietary, fat loss, exercise, well being regime based largely upon a notion of the evolution of humans from hominids.

I laugh at idiots and sock puppets on my blog. I’m more atheist, anarchist and contrarian than all of them put together. But I also have more patience and love—that I do my best to hide—than all of them put together.

But, really, it’s always only just one mind at a time.

…Or, to state it in the context of this series: it’s incremental steps toward a higher quality of knowledge. Boring, but wholly necessary. You’ll never get anywhere good without it.

Or, you can loathe yourself in the classy light of a Manhattan Penthouse (once God & State get the lights turned back on).


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. B on November 2, 2012 at 01:47

    Banks and big corporations are one and you think the state is owned by them?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 2, 2012 at 07:24


      “Banks and big corporations are one and you think the state is owned by them?”

      It seems to me via your link that you’re suggesting the State _is_ owned by them.

      At any rate, it’s a whole complex question beyond the scope of my series, which is why I don’t discuss big corporations or the banks, but instead focus on technology and the goods and services that come from it in the context of a “free market.”

      Regardless if the size and influence of the mega-corps and banks, the State is still ultimately in charge, primarily because of two things:

      1. fiat money

      2. State charter for both banks and corporations (bank charters, statutory corp laws, public trading of securities)

      Also, the State has the ability to wage war and take massive police actions (brute force). On the other hand, banks and big-corp have enormous influence in rent-seeking behavior via their lobbying efforts, putting ex-politicians on the payroll, etc. It’s wholly incestuous. To me, it’s more like just different parts of the whole complex than that one owns the other.

      So to briefly sum it up, the problem with banks is fiat money (and state charter) and the problem with corporations is that they are State created legal entities, both to shield owners from personal liability and provide for a tightly regulated sphere in the realm of public trading of their securities, protecting investors from the folly of their ways.

      This is all a problem of the State, not a problem with technology, free markets or even large business or banking entities. If money were backed by tangible assets it would be far less susceptible to State manipulation via having a monopoly control on the money supply and if there was no such thing as a corporate entity (i.e., proprietorships and partnerships only), then owners would be far more careful in who their partners and investors were and if they wanted some protection against personal liability, they would have to purchase appropriate liability insurance.

  2. Eric on November 2, 2012 at 06:28


    I’ve lurked for a long time now (if that applies to blogs), and I’ve enjoyed the hell our of your writing/thinking out loud/recipes. Thanks for keeping it real.
    The thing that always bothers me about the idea of getting rid of government is this: How the do you keep it from re-evolving? Evolution works on more than just animals. There’s always going to be a guy with a bigger stick, so how do you stop him from getting together a bunch of other guys (with slightly smaller sticks than him) and beating the hell out of you and yours? Eventually, somewhere-somehow, it’ll happen, ’cause people are assholes, and taking seems easier than making. I’d love to think they aren’t, but it ain’t the way things seem to be.
    Is the only option complete conversion of the majority of people to anarcho-capitalists? Or a large enough minority to go and buy some islands (though that implies recognizing the legitimacy of some power capable of “owning” land that it doesn’t live on…), and let the rest sink?

    • Jscott on November 2, 2012 at 07:27

      “…’cause people are assholes, and taking seems easier than making. I’d love to think they aren’t, but it ain’t the way things seem to be.”

      This is why government is a bad idea. Having a system is fine by me as long as I can voluntarily involve myself without consequence of violence. The current system breeds assholes and the pheromone is fear. Without fear, violence shrinks and assholes remove themselves.

      “Is the only option complete conversion of the majority of people to anarcho-capitalists?”

      There are other strains of thought. The major point is by what authority to I get to run or even direct another person’s life?

      I believe it was Marie that stated a while back that it will take a shift in culture. Maybe something unknowable/unseen. That is macro. I find it best to deal with the micro. “Want to remove suffering from the world? Remove your own first. Then spread that around via action/being.”

      Thinking and talking about the macro is so much easier though! Entire corporations are built on it. And why not? Data is put out to the people at large. Average Joe now has thoughts! He gets to have an opinion on the Elections, economic condition, and international policy. Essentially, what he thinks you should be doing/thinking. This, while he gripes about not being paid enough, lack of ________, and his general lot in life. Pour another drink.

      What if he instead paid attention to his own life. If he shrank his world down. If he looked at his own inner asshole/fear monger/control freak. His own violence. What if he started internal anarchy? Perhaps as his life started changing he could spread that peace and quiet strength/love to his family. Then his friends. All voluntary of course. Acceptance if it is not time for the seed to take.

      This is what I get from Richard’s postings. It starts at home.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 2, 2012 at 07:40

        Jscott gets it.

      • marie on November 2, 2012 at 12:35

        Jscott, what you’ve described, what Richard advocates, is the way that culture change happens. It’s the only voluntary way I can see, actually, and was a response to someone who was looking to visualize how anarchy could possibly work ‘in practice’ on a large scale.
        However, changing the culture isn’t the Intent, it just may be a byproduct of living by one’s own ethics.
        There’s a lot of fear in a lot of the comment threads in this series that’s rather ironically coming from people who profess to ‘see’ the workings of violence-backed authority. It appears as contempt and even outright fear of ‘the others’, of ‘the majority’ …the morons, the rubes, the lazy-assed victim wannabes….
        Such commenters don’t ‘see’ that fearing each other and pitting people against one another is a central part of any fear/violence based system…and they’re doing violence along the way to their own senses of empathy, ethics and logic (there’s a wide distribution in human traits, just how superior do they think they are?!). Self-violence is the hardest to recover from.
        So I resonated with your point about acceptance when it isn’t time for the seed to take. Thank you.
        And maybe an old musical version of all that, because there’s really nothing new under the sun :

    • Richard Nikoley on November 2, 2012 at 07:28


      It’s only possible from individuals. It’s one mind at a time and it begins at home. I’m merely arguing for people to minimize their dealings with entities that deal in force, coercion, domination.

      In essence, the only solution is to gradually laugh the State out of existence.

      • Jscott on November 2, 2012 at 08:50

        “In essence, the only solution is to gradually laugh the State out of existence.” Fantastic quote.

        In the same vein…

        Exposure and transparency flips the tables a bit.

        True assholes thrive in environments that are opaque. Then they are able to provoke while holding a stick of power. Asshole-Type police officers are an example.

        Enter in video-cam phones. (Youtube it.)

        The violent enforcer now becomes a servant respecting “rights.”

        (Not an example of voluntarism so much as an example of how transparency from an individual level can shift things.)

      • Richard Nikoley on November 2, 2012 at 09:44

        Yep, Jscott.

        One of these days I’ll blog about transparency and ostracism, because I have a take in how they go hand in hand.

        Longtime fan of the way camera phones are holding people to account, since the media, as the putains of the power (“speaking truth to power” in the contxt of the MSM is about the biggest laugh ever), have done such a purposefully miserable job for decades. But bloggers and cam phone wielders don’t care about their access to power—never did and never will—and those who wriggle their way in become not worth listening to anymore anyway.

      • marie on November 2, 2012 at 12:53

        “Exposure and transparency flips the tables a bit”.
        Yes. In fact, the unprecedented exposure and transparency enabled by electronic technology, (once we get passed the joint curse of wide-spread Misinformation) is the only thing that’s giving me some hope that just maybe it is possible to live the way you want to live here without waking up to a boot on your head one fine dawn.
        Though, the guy in Buffalo NY last spring, who did wake up to a dawn raid of his family home for internet child pornography (they had the wrong guy) may dispute that.

  3. Jozef Varhaník on November 2, 2012 at 06:50


    Educate the society, one head at a time, although more and faster is always better, and hope for the best. Push and kick the process of evolution to weed off all assholes with “big sticks” and only produce the enlightened good guys capable of making good decisions. Those can keep their big sticks as you could then be pretty sure they will use them responsibly.

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