Against Anarchy

Anarchy: Should we care what the ancient Greeks meant by it?

Those who like to deploy the word anarchy often tell me that it merely means “no ruler.” This is indeed what the ancient Greeks meant by the word. But…

  • I’ve never had a conversation with an ancient Greek
  • I’ve only conversed with modern Americans
  • And to them the word anarchy means something very different

It means lawlessness, chaos, disorder, criminality, and an absence of institutions.
Words are defined by their current usage, not by their ancient origins. No person who adheres to the Zero Aggression Principle should ever describe him or herself as an anarchist. The current meaning contradicts the principle.
For those of us who want true governments, and therefore advocate a stateless society, labels like voluntaryist, anti-statist and post-statist should be preferred.
Copyright SymbolCopyright (c) 2013 by Perry Willis. Permission to distribute this article for educational purposes is granted, if done with attribution to the author and the Zero Aggression Project. Permission to use for commercial purposes is denied. You can find a full explanation of our copyright policy here.

Show Comments 83


  1. Perry has astutely observed that contemporary terms and their definitions are under continuous social construction. Terms such as ‘libertarian’ and ‘anarchist’ have changed greatly in America during periods of less than twelve decades, dependent upon who was using them and when. It is only a matter of time before ‘anti-statist’ and ‘post-statist’ too become meaningless terms. The language of English, prior to 1066, was a German language without a single word ending in ‘tion’. Ten centuries later, English is more than a hybrid between German and French. The great vowel shift has made the language unrecongisable to English speakers of a thousand years ago. When we consider that Indo-Aryan is only 8,000 years old, from which all European, Central and South Asian languages today sprang, we can see the difficulty for words to retain meaning.

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      You’re quite right Bob. That’s why we think there is a continuous need for entrepreneurial activity in the area of language. We must constantly defend certain words, criticize others, and sometimes create new ones.

      1. What? Are you serious? I have been following you guys since the beginning. I pretty much agree with everything you say. But..We have a problem with this one. Words mean what they mean. Admittedly you have your job to do, and I have myne. Note, I spell mine with a “y”. Doesn’t change the meaning of the word. My job is to point out the misuse of words. My job is to expose the fraudulent [criminal] and intentional abuse of the English language. i.e. “Person”, for the purposes of the Income Tax means a corporation. There is nothing wrong with the government redefining a word in the laws that it passes. The problem is, the “intent” for changing the meaning of the word, and the application of that new meaning [as it applies to JUST THAT LAW]. The “effect” of changing the meaning of the word “person” for the “purposes of the Income Tax” is…REAL persons do not know or comprehend that the new meaning changes the law and changes the true application of the law. In other words, the government redefined the word JUST for that law. So, ONLY corporations are liable for the Income Tax. The law clearly says so. The trouble with that is, the government illegally applies the income tax on corporations to individuals, REAL people. The other problem is, REAL people are misled [fraud] into believing that the meaning of the word “person” means THEM, when it clearly does NOT apply to them. This, of course, is all tied up in another fraudulent [felony and act of treason] use, or rather misuse of the word “income”. Income, in the Tax Code, law, means corporate profits. This is clear to anyone with any knowledge of law and English!
        I will not elaborate further in this regard. I am certain that you get the idea that I am expressing…truthfully and accurately.
        The government and the Media have long been engaged in manipulating the English language and practicing deception with criminal and immoral intent. I call this the Socialist Collective Agenda. I call those, in government and the Media, who practice the bastardizing of the language: criminals and traitors. Another word I use is; Mindbenders. It is wrong and it MUST be stopped. That’s My job.
        Words mean what they mean…or they are gibberish and babble. The government and the Media have been practicing, intentionally and criminally, gibberish and babble for many decades. This is not in dispute. They have even admitted to it.
        In closing, changing the meanings of words is wrong, and most often done intentionally to create hysteria, to manipulate the people, to instill delusions in the minds of the innocent and gullible. This is simply NOT acceptable.

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          We agree that “words mean what they mean.” Meaning is determined by current usage, not ancient usage. This is the point of the article. Current usage has added layers of meaning to the word anarchy. The old “no ruler” meaning is probably the least important connotation at this point. To most people the word anarchy now means lawlessness, chaos, and disorder. There is only one institution in society that fits most of these definitions — The State. The State is ruled by no one, is lawless, and fosters disorder. We make this point more fully here. It’s okay with us if you disagree.

          1. Although the meaning of anarchy has been changed, likely manipulated, it is not the word that I express, it is what the word represents, similarly as money. Although I agree that the word tends to incite certain emotions it is still beneficial to inform what the word meant. This shows the fluidity of words and the danger of living by them instead of what they represent, and that like money and statute or anything else political today they can and will be manipulated. To accept the idea that words are fluid implies that unlike mathematics, there is no truth to words or their meaning. Wait, I guess today the use of mathematics is fluid as well as it applies to debt, unemployment, etc. Should we ignore mathematics as well? Your point is taken but I hope you can see that consistency in application must be upheld for truth to be understood and ascertained.

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            Hi Jeff. Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure the word anarchy really works for us even if we apply only the old “no ruler” definition. It seems to me that the only institution that truly has no ruler is The State. No one really controls The State. It is completely unregulated, ungoverned, and lawless. The idea that the voters control it is a fantasy. By contrast…
            The kind of governmental institutions we favor have a great many rulers. They are directly and powerfully ruled by the consumers they serve. I think we’ve had things backwards. The State is anarchistic, while those of us who argue for non-state institutions of governance are really the advocates of true government. These ideas are dealt with in a more complete way on our homepage. Thanks again for the comment.
            Perry Willis

          3. Actually words are defined by their etymological roots my brotha, current use in contrast of the origin or purpose is ignorant and obviously defies the very inception of. Lexiconographers can accept whatever definition they like but the Moon still isn’t made of cheese (metaphorically speaking of course). Truthfully, in FULL disclosure, etymology even overlooks the fact that words are a combination of individual symbols which hold a dualistic meaning beyond the recognized phonetics; one being overtly practical (phonetics) while the other remains esoteric. Our written languages are subsets of ritualistic intended Sumerian cuneiform. That fact respectfully squashes any rebuttal within the context of the original argument.

        2. What do you suppose anarcho-capitalist (libertarian) means when used by Jeff Berwick of “The Dollar Vigilante” Galt’s Gulch, Chile?

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            I’m not sure Cliff. If you could link me directly to a place where he uses the term I might be able to give you an opinion.

  2. My dear friends, I love this site already. Much to dwell on. Great thinking.
    (In the page “Anarchy: Should we care what the ancient Greeks meant by it?” do you really meant “ant-statist”? My first assumption is it is a typo for anti-statist, but I’m new to the narrative………)
    “For those of us who want true governments, and therefore advocate a stateless society, labels like
    ant-statist and post-statist should be preferred.

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  3. Voluntaryist, I feel sounds much more palatable to the common ear of the citizenry. Also, it provides a natural step in conversations towards the principal it’s self. The voluntary nature of association needs to be recognized as essential to the principal’s of Anarchy and Zero Aggression. Still it holds the truth of Anarchy with out turning off the average ear with buzz words that have yet another negative connotation such as statist or anti. Some love their keepers and anti-state style phrases will be rejected as extremest before you get another word in their ear. Voluntarism is the proper administration of authority from one man to another.

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      Voluntaryist is an excellent term, and you will probably see us make use of it. By contrast, anarchy is a terrible term. We think it’s inaccurate, as described in the article. We also think the term applies more appropriately to The State itself, as we describe in our heuristic “Against Anarchy — Why The State is Anarchistic.” We hope to persuade libertarians and voluntaryists to start changing how they use this word, anarchy. We should never apply this word to ourselves. We should apply it to the statists instead. In addition, we think we should embrace the word government, as described in the heuristic “Pro-government and Anti-state.” Finally, we intend to promote the term “Post-statist.”
      Perry Willis

    2. I’ve been reading Carl Watner and Wendy McElroy for about a dozen years online, and have some of their books. I consider myself, and try each day to live up to being, a good anarchist who places the ZAP above all activity. I truly resent the deliberate distortion of words by government which come to us through organic life as humans. Why should I accept government’s re-definition of the word “anarchist”? The currently-held, popular interpretation of the word “anarchy” is alien to the original denotation of the word, and my spite for everything “government” requires that I renounce the government’s debauchery of a noble word.
      Same goes for the word “Militia”. One could offer the same argument about that word, because the government has distorted its meaning in the perception of the group mind.
      Being an old guy, I prefer to use original definitions and usages of words. It would be a victory for mankind if just those two words were set free to be themselves once again in our language. I’m only one little guy, but I’m one who will proudly use those words and let the masses find out later that they’ve been bamboozled by “change agents” of the statist one-world-government idiocy of a politically-correct fascist-socialist police-state.
      Elias Alias

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        Thank you for comment Elias. You are certainly free to continue calling yourself an anarchist if you choose. And other people are likewise free to interpret that word as they prefer. This is the problem. Words are defined by current usage, NOT by their original or historic definitions.
        The current definition of the word anarchy was NOT dictated by “government.” The “government” had nothing to do with it. The marketplace of ideas redefined the word anarchy out from under you.
        Now, you can certainly try to change the definition back to the old meaning if that’s how you want to spend your limited time. BUT…
        Even that old meaning doesn’t match your beliefs very well. Anti-statists still believe in rulers. We simply think that consumers should rule the institutions of governance (police, courts) rather than the other way around.
        Seen in this way, it is actually The State that has no ruler, because it sits at the top of a hierarchy, with nothing above it to control it. No one rules it. No one controls it. The State is lawless. The State foments disorder. The State is anarchistic in every sense of the word, both old and new. Thus…
        It is really we anti-statists who are the advocates of true government, because we want to banish initiated force, and have institutions of consumer controlled government.
        I think this way of looking at things is both linguistically correct, and more fruitful for persuasion.
        You are, of course, free to continue doing as you prefer, and we will do likewise.
        Perry Willis

        1. A really interesting (and sometimes useful) free service is called Word of the Day, offered by Merriam-Webster (m-w.com). You get a word delivered each morning to your inbox with definitions, usage examples and, quite often, etymology. A recent one, a decent example of shifting definitions, is “stymie” which started out as a Scottish technical term for the situation in golf where one player’s ball blocks the other one from reaching the hole. Now its meaning is almost entirely metaphorical.
          One from my own life experience is “sensuous”. I remember being told in high school that “sensuous” was a recent construct to denote “having to do with the senses” because “sensual” had been hijacked into meaning “erotically experienced”. Now I see “sensuous” being commonly used as a synonym for “sensual”.
          Sigh. You can’t stop ’em!
          So, yeah, the words proposed here are great ways to deal with what’s happened to “anarchy”. For now, anyway.

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            Great observations Paul. I would add that dictionary definitions often lag significantly behind changes in common usage. This must necessarily be so, because the usage must change before the dictionary can change. This can lead to strange debates about what words really mean. One person asserts that a word means x, and another says it means y, and then uses the dictionary as an authority. I think the word anarchy is one where the dictionary has lagged way behind changes in usage.

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          Distortion of words can certainly be a form of manipulation. But words also evolve without any intention to manipulate. The word anarchy evolved away from its original Greek meaning because self-proclaimed anarchists started throwing bombs at people. The original meaning was doomed from that point, and no manipulation by government or anyone else was required to cause that change.

  4. Good points! The “conversation with an ancient Greek” is dang convincing.
    Now, I believe there are compelling reasons for others to use the term “anarchy”:
    – It has a long, rich history of writing and thought and even people (eg. Henry David Thoreau), and there are many like-minded communities who are still using it.
    – When communicating with people who trust us, the use of the word may actually provoke more thought and inspection due to it’s shock value, prompting thoughtful people to investigate further.
    Your points are good, and I may now be convinced to use anti- or post-statism. (Congrats on getting a great Google ranking for the latter!) Please at least consider avoiding derogatory use of the term “anarchy” (and “anarchistic” is weird, anyway) in favor of “chaos” or “disorder” or “turmoil” so that you don’t add to the negative view of others who really are in your camp… we can use all the allies we can get! Thanks in advance. 🙂

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      Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful comments Trent. We hope to persuade others to adopt our analysis of this word. This does not mean that we want to create enemies among those who still want to carry the label. But why should any such disagreement result in any such division? We must all work according to our own sense of the right.
      Perry Willis

  5. Speaking of evolving language, I find the use of “heuristic” here to be surprising, if not confusing. The apparent definition you’re applying doesn’t square with any I’ve ever encountered before, nor does it square with any dictionaries I’ve consulted. As I’ve always understood the word, and as the dictionaries also put it, the word refers to the method of learning by trial and error and has nothing to do with acting from fundamental principles, which is, I gather, how you mean it.
    There must be a word for what you’re describing, but I can’t think of one other than “actng from first principles” itself, although that clearly lacks the conciseness you’re striving for.
    I hope others aren’t confused by it as well.

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      The definition we’ve used was drawn from Wikipedia. It comports with my own personal experience of how the word is used. I don’t think it’s necessarily inconsistent with “principles derived from trial and error.” Only a few of our “heuristics” would actually qualify as first principles. Most of the rest are bits of logical analysis — tools for thinking about things in a clear and consistent way. I’ve most often heard the word heuristics used in relation to chess. Chess heuristics are logical rules. Many were discovered through practice, but they all have logical explanations (Knights on the rim are grim, etc). Most importantly, the good chess player has to think heuristically, and that’s the type of thinking we want to foster with regard to The State. I think a heuristic from Thomas Sowell applies here — “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” If heuristic isn’t the perfect word for what we’re trying to do, it’s very, very close.

      1. Count me as another vote against “heuristic”. In computer science we use it much like your chess example, meaning one of many possible good approaches to a particular problem, or tactics to use that aren’t inviolate but are guided by experience… so it’s use here seemed odd. Just another data point.
        I suggest guidelines or principles or foundational concepts or definitions (for good government thinking).

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          1. Ah, good to hear of the work! I was worried since the last blog entry was last October. I used a link to one of your items in an email just yesterday, so I’m glad you’re still active with it.

          2. Dropping the word “heuristic” is a good example of heuristic methodology, I would note with more than a tinge of irony.

  6. Interesting thread. Part of our problem, as I see it, is that we let certain people control the definition of a word without providing a vigorous and possessive defense of that word. Without adhering to the original definition of words, our language becomes difficult to understand, and subject to confusion when a word means one thing to one person and another thing to another person. This is particularly true of the English language, which is one of the most volatile and ever-changing languages on the planet. This has led to misunderstandings of such great historical documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Who amongst you knows that the phrase “pursuit of happiness” in the 18th century didn’t mean the pursuit of whatever makes you happy? In the 18th century the phrase “pursuit of happiness” meant the freedom to pursue whatever peaceful means were available to improve your lot in life. The ability of the federal govt to regulate commerce in 18th century didn’t mean the ability to control the production of commerce. It originally meant the ability to prevent protectionist measures of one state against another. Statist thinking has also allowed the State to reinterpret the entire Constitution, creating all sorts of exceptions to the law by reinterpreting what the law meant in a manner convenient to the present government.
    The word “liberal” also took a huge hit when we allowed Progressives to redefine the word. “Liberal” used to mean what we would call a “Libertarian” today and in fact has become almost the exact opposite of its original. We try to maintain the original term by redefining early liberalism as Classical Liberalism, but it has been tainted by allowing the word “liberal” to be corrupted from its original usage. The word “anarchy” is another such word that we have allowed the Statist to corrupt. It simply means “without a govt”, nothing more and nothing less, and can cover an entire range of states from lawless chaos to a true libertarian-like society. But we have allowed the State to redefine the word to mean only one facet of anarchism. Once a word describing a movement or philosophy has been ruined by State redefinition, we typically try to rename the movement or philosophy, hence the term anarcho-capitalist, voluntaryist, or agorist to replace our definition of anarchy, which all convey the same meaning. Since we always seem to let the Statist define our usage of certain political words, we will be constantly redefining ourselves as the Statist takes over a word to nullify its original significance.
    I would posit that rather than abandoning the use of a perfectly good word when the State or statists attempt to change its meaning, we should be vigorously defending it and constantly reminding people of its true meaning. We have lost much of our freedoms today because of our refusal to defend freedom and its concepts and have allowed the State to so redefine the meaning of words that a significant proportion of our population actually thinks they are still the most free people in the world, when in fact we have far less true freedom than at least 12 first world nations.

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      I generally agree with you Rand. I think we must fight for clear language. Sometimes this will mean working to preserve old definitions, but sometimes it will also mean abandoning words entirely. I think we must do this in the case of the word anarchy, because even the original meaning of the word does not suit our purposes.
      We do not advocate a world with no governmental institutions. We advocate a world of consumer-controlled governments that do not initiate force. We do not advocate a world without law or regulations. We advocate a world with laws and regulations based on the Zero Aggression Principle. Most importantly, we do not advocate a world with no rulers. Instead, we advocate a world where institutions of governance are themselves ruled by the consumers they serve. Finally, it is really The State that has no ruler. The State is anarchistic in every sense of the word, both old and modern. Thus…
      We must reject the word anarchy NOT only because it has been redefined, but because it most accurately defines our enemies, and NOT ourselves.
      Perry Willis

      1. Your point is, Perry, Fools speak because they have to say something, Wise-men speak because they have something to say.
        I refuse to cajole to the lowest denominator as they are not whom I speak to. If your point is to merely incite the masses then I can understand but I refuse to dumb down my understanding of language and definition to appease ignorance. I am an aspiring Anarchist. I have NO faith in my elected officials to govern as I would. THAT is the definition of an Anarchist. One who would do better should they not be governed. If we were an Agrarian society things would be much simpler but we are a consumerist society which is wholly determined upon pop-culture and modern production, which both I despise.

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          We do definitely disagree Michael. You oppose consumerist society and I embrace it. Consumers are rulers. The customer is always right. This is a form of rule of which I highly approve. Do you also disapprove of juries, adjudication services, security firms, homeowners associations, and voluntary regulatory institutions like Underwriters Laboratory. These institutions likewise provide rules and governance. Do you really reject these institutions, even though they are voluntary and initiate no force? If you accept any of these institutions then you are not an anarchist, however much romantic appeal that term may hold for you.

        2. Are we then to believe Perry’s definition that the Constitution, a document constructed of “old” concepts and words has little or no value simply because it is read and understood by today’s word definitions? I say no, it is indeed the people which need education to understand what history teaches and what words mean..if not, we may never be able to understand anything it has to share…or standards to abide by.

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            Hi Richard. Thanks for your comment. No Constitutional words have been redefined by public usage to my knowledge. Many of the words have been ignored by many people, and some have been reinterpreted by the Courts, but this is NOT the same thing as a general change in usage. It’s one thing to fight for the meaning of words against a few judges. It’s quite another thing to fight for the meaning of the word “anarchy” against the common usage of the whole world.

      2. OK, you may have lost me (only on one point) here. Maybe I’m just late to the post-statist skool bus, but I don’t advocate “consumer-controlled governments” because I don’t advocate any organizations that I would call “governments” at all. All proper governance should, and will post-state, come from within each institution, for that institution — and then, as a fall-back, from other institutions if the internal mechanisms within one of them should fail. But it won’t come from “a government”; rather, from the natural workings of each institution.
        Another way of putting my point is that any organization having some functionality which we currently identify as part of “government” will also have other functionality. It won’t exist purely to govern. No organization will be devoted solely to ruling people.
        What sort of organization is it that would call itself a government, but not be a state? Please describe this. Do you mean, for example, a security company which specializes in restraining and subduing problematic individuals? But such a company has no general presumption of legitimacy for its actions; it can only continue to operate to the extent that its behavior meets with general approval. The same is true for any other company offering services now associated with the state. So I don’t see how the label of “a government” would apply to any of them. They are each just service providers.
        I will mull over your view of the term “anarchy”; you present a strong case. However, I think you may be pushing things too far trying to get the phrase “a government” to apply within a post-state environment. It would be neat as a secondary support of your reversal of the word “anarchy”, but it will take more than convenience to persuade me of its fitness.

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          Hi Jamie. You ask a good question. If governance means rule then government is indeed a bad term for institutions like juries, homeowners associations, and Underwriter’s Laboratory. If, on the other hand, governance merely has to do with systems of defense and order, then government is a great word for the governance provided by juries, associations, etc.
          I submit that the ease with which we use the term governance implies the need for the word government to describe the non-state institutions of governance that we favor.
          In addition, there is the problem that RULING PEOPLE implies the initiation of force, which is crime, which is the opposite of defense and order. Thus, The State is (mostly) NOT providing governance and cannot therefore be a government.
          Our movement has had the problem of appearing to be anti-law, anti-order, anti-governance, when in fact we are the supreme advocates of law, order, and governance, properly understood. I suggest that we can correct this problem by distinguishing between government and The State. This approach is explored in more depth in the mini-articles on our home page. Thanks for your comments Jamie.
          Perry Willis

  7. This is not too different from unborn child. I personally think the term pre-born is more accurate, and certainly less contradictory. I realize, however, that pre-born child is not likely to catch on anytime soon, even among fellow pro-lifers. Essentially stymied by the culture, I am left with the choice of using my term and hoping folks understand anyway, using unborn child, or (even more distasteful to me) using the dehumanizing term fetus. For now I use unborn child, unless speaking or posting to groups that already see my reasoning for using pre-born child.

  8. Actually I don’t even like the term “true governments” that you seem to prefer. In today’s parlance a “true government” to most people is exactly what we have now. I prefer to make the distinction between “Involuntary Governments” and “Voluntary Governance.” When I advocate a free market in all things (not just commerce but all human interactions) people object that an unregulated market is too dangerous. I point out that a free market is in fact regulated by every person who interacts in it and the result is “voluntary governance.” If words are defined by their current usage I do all that I can to help redefine “government” to reflect its true nature by calling it what it is: “criminal gang.”

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      I like your term voluntary government. But I’m not fond of the term involuntary government. People want government because they want order, including the protection of their rights. If something is involuntary then rights are being violated, and disorder reigns. This is NOT government in my book. Nor does it reflect what people fundamentally want from government. I prefer my formulation — an institution that violates rights is not fulfilling a governmental function. It is a criminal institution. I think the proper name for such an institution is The State. I am pro-government, but anti-state.

  9. You may have missed that I used two very similar but distinctly different words, which may ultimately doom their usage. I reject the word “governments” entirely but accept the word “governance.” We all inescapably live under the rules of some form of “governance” — personal governance, religious governance, social, governance, moral governance, etc. for far more of our days on earth than we live under the rules of “governments.” I live most of my life based on the “governance” of my own moral principles, not because “governments” say something is right or wrong. To me the term “involuntary government” is a needless repetition since governments are involuntary by their very nature — based on coerced taxation or some other form of tribute to The State. In my book anti-government and anti-State are the same thing! But I love this website and always link to your ZAP heuristic whenever I talk about the Zero Aggression Principle in my articles.

  10. I understand completely everything you’re saying here. In fact, it’s basically the same arguments I’ve been making in online forums & blog threads for years. That said, I’ve never shied away from the label of “anarchist,” indeed I often use the well-known circled-A “anarchy” symbol as my avatar image on many such sites (I’ve even been considering getting it tattooed on my forearm or bicep as of late). And it’s not that I’m unaware of the popular misconceptions regarding the term & the emotionalist reactions it often evokes – I suppose I embrace the term & it’s symbolism not just in spite of that, but to some extent even because of it.. It often elicits curious questioning by people who are taken aback that someone who claims to favor peace, individual rights & rule of law could at the same time honestly advocate “anarchy,” & thus provides the opportunity to explain fundamental concepts & open a mind, the necessary first steps to freeing it.

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      Hi Steve. The reason you cite for using the term anarchy — to spark educational conversations — is the only good one I can think of it. I use the phrase “I’m pro-government but anti-state” for exactly the same purpose. So I appreciate what you’re doing. But I think it’s even more beneficial to turn the word anarchy against the statists. Consider….
      Who rules The State, really? What laws must The State obey, really? In the end, I think the term applies more to The State, than it does to what you and I believe, and there is much to be gained by making this point. For further insights on this I recommend our “No Anarchy” mini-article.

  11. The clue for 38-across in today’s New York Times crossword is “Complete lawlessness”, and the answer is “anarchy”. I’ve been thinking about this and wondering if it’s accurate. On the one hand it plays into the misconceptions discussed here … the visions of burning buildings and riots in the streets … but on the other hand it might, in fact, be accurate if one takes “laws” to be the product of The State.
    The challenge in the latter case is to get people to realize that an orderly, smoothly-functioning society can be achieved without the intervention of the coercive State and its “laws”.
    Just what I thought was an interesting sidebar for this discussion.

    1. No, I believe the word for that would relate to another Greek word, nomos, rather than ‘archy’. In Christian theology, an antinomian is one who regards no law, not even common moral law: don’t steal, murder, etc. Anarchy simply means no top-down system, just as monarchy means rule by one person, usually a king, theocracy means rule by God, or more often by His ‘representatives’, and democracy means rule by ‘the people’.

  12. See “TheDollarvigilante.com for anarchist expat areas. Also Anarchast for videos by Jeff Berwick. Cliff

  13. I shall continue calling myself an anarchist. It’s not hard to provide a basic definition of what I mean by the term, or why anarchy and anomie are mutually exclusive. It seems that whatever term we use, the hard part is convincing the statists that society does not need statism, and would flourish much better without it.
    But, if others want to call the state “anarchist” in order to shock them into listening, that’s totally fine by me (so long as they also take the time to note that there are those of us who, despite calling ourselves anarchists, do support law and order).
    Alex Peak

  14. I totally disagree that the original definition is irrelevant. It is instead TOTALLY relevant. Surely you know that the original definition, from the Greeks was (and remains)t No Ruler, from which No Government logically follows.
    The correct definition does NOT include “lawlessness, chaos, disorder, criminality, and an absence of institutions”. They are merely theoretical Effects, not the definition, of the word Anarchy. Since few if any human beings have experienced only being Ruled, the Effects of anarchy are unknown, not proven,
    Despite that truth, yes we see those assumed Effects are now part of the supposed definition at most any dictionary we search. So we corrupt the language to meaningless, as in “what is a liberal, or ‘progressive’ and even right/left, conservative/liberal, and today they’re trying to get rid of male/female.
    So I am an anarchist, choosing to call that Voluntary, at my website http://no-ruler.net/ where I’m just about to publish a Page (not a post) called Anarchy as the lead Page up-top. Deal with that!

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      Hi Dean. Thanks for your comment. You are certainly free to call yourself whatever you choose. But words are defined by usage, NOT by their origin. As such, meanings evolve. So I hope you won’t be surprised if people continue to mean something else by the word than what you mean by it.

      1. Fine. So go ahead and actually coin a word and it’s definition, and be content to have others believe the definition is wrong. Poppycock!

  15. So, how would YOU, Perry, describe in today,s terms what the old meaning of ‘anarchy’ means.

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      I think there are two good terms to use…
      Voluntarist or voluntaryist — they are good concrete words indicating that all human interactions should be voluntary.
      Post-statist — a person who favors non-state institutions of governance. We have a Mental Lever mini-article about this term.

  16. Sovereign governments attack sovereign governments, even when they are censored by the majority of other sovereigns worldwide. Given the resources, e.g., the military might, all nations threaten violence against each other, make and break treaties with reckless abandon becoming immoral murderers. No nation is held in check by international law, only by fear of losing a war or suffering a citizen backlash.

    Therefore, the citizens who support their rulers are the ultimate control. When they fail to limit their rulers the result is an economic and social collapse. Sometimes it is physical destruction, as in Nazi Germany.

    I observe that sovereign nations demand respect for their sovereignty but will violate other nation’s sovereignty, e.g., by trade wars if they think it’s feasible. They are hypocrites, without respect for laws. This creates uncertainty, chaos. It makes them anarchists, by their definition of the word.

  17. I am an Anarchist to the core. I was born this way and have the intellectual integrity to remain this way regardless of the objections any other human’s mythomane opinions.

    Which is exactly what this nescience is. A mythomane opinion.

    PROPOSITIONAL LOGIC is a function of human cognition. EVEN an ego as large as this piece of rhetoric demonstrates is not BIG enough to overcome the very LOGICAL structure & function of all human communication.

    Yes in fact the ORIGINAL definition of ANARCHY will always be the definition of ANARCHY for fuck sake. That is why the word was invented. And ALL words are inventions given very specific meanings at the time they were invented to convey a VERY SPECIFIC idea.

    You can speculate, bloviate, and opinionate until you grow old and die and LOGIC will never change. Only the ego’s of men change and the depth of their intellectual honesty and integrity.

    Your rhetoric about shifting definitions as human ignorance and sciolist imaginations pretend to understand what they are ignorant of throughout history is patently ridiculous.

    Anarchy ONLY means WITHOUT RULES and Anarchism WITHOUT RULERS and that’s proven science… So keep your wild imagination in your mind. You are extolling puerile propaganda that is patently intellectually lazy and pseudo-intelligent.

    What makes you think that there is no definitive Logical structure to human communication? I have a deeply held suspicion of EVERY literate human being that is entirely ignorant of Propositional/Predicate Logic. In fact it infuriates me. The intellectual hypocrisy and cowardice of fools who pontificate that IMAGINATION is the fundamental logic upon which language and all human communication of OUR TEMPORAL DIMENSION operates is flat out INTELLECTUAL COWARDICE!

    Words are the LOGICAL OPERATORS humans INVENT to transmit IDEAS from one mind to another. Why? Because the Vulcan Mind Meld is FANTASY from some undisciplined Ergo unscientific human’s IMAGINATION. Science most certainly is MOTIVATED by imigination… Imagination that has been VETTED by the discipline of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD! Which is exactly what the term ‘SCIENCE’ is reduced from linguistically.

    LINGUISTICS is a discipline of SCIENCE that OPERATES on LOGIC exactly like every other discipline of scientific inquiry. It DOES NOT in anyway operate on opinion.

    ALL the Predicate Logic ever invented by the human mind DOES NOT IN ANYWAY WHATSOEVER CHANGE the Propositional Logic it is dependent upon. It ONLY ‘conditions’ it for specific applications of use.

    A particular VERNACULAR of language only MODIFIES the usage of words in conversation – That DOES NOT change the ORIGINAL DEFINITION it merely is ADDED to it FFS and the CONTEXT of the dialog in which it is USED defines the meaning. And even then ONLY for that particular VERNACULAR.

    What is even more important though… This post DEMONSTRATES this exactly.


    ZAP is a Philosophy and it always will be nothing more.

    No man’s ideas are another man’s burden for fuck sake. That’s the essence of freedom – Self preservation – ergo I will fucking kill you if you interfere with my freedom.

    What always puzzles me about lame arguments like these is the repugnant denial of presence-of-mind that is requisite of thinking this way. One must deny their own self-awareness to make such an inherently logically fallacious statement.

    The Propositional Logic of Government is a Master/Servant relationship NO MATTER WHAT PREDICATE LOGIC YOU LAYER ON TOP OF IT!

    Deny it until you fade away… It will NEVER change. Choose to be a dishonest intellectually lazy coward or choose to stand on the irrefutable Logical Truth.

    That’s the RED FUCKING PILL.


    1. Communication is about accurately conveying a message, Hardcore. If your audience interprets your words differently than you intended, you have failed—even if you believe they are wrong in their interpretation. If I tell you that Bob is gay, do you assume that he is happy or that he is a homosexual? Regardless of the original meaning of the word, if the audience takes from your statement that Bob is homosexual, you have been misunderstood.

      1. Clearly you have a great imagination, but zero education in Propositional/Predicate Logic and believe that imagining that you do somehow qualifies the nescience of your unqualified opinion.

        Please do not be offended by my decisive resolve. My education is Computer Science – specifically Logic/Cognition/AI

        All human language written and spoken operates on Propositional/Predicate Logic. That is irrefutable fact – not anyone’s nescient opinion.

        Well over 80% of the literate people on this planet are ignorant of the Propositional/Predicate Logic that defines language and your foolishly logically fallacious false narrative is an axiomatic demonstration.

        If you intend to engage me in discourse on the topic of Logic – you need a lifetime of education as frame-of-reference just to be moderately articulate or informed on the level you imagine you are yet DEMONSTRATE that you are not.

        1. Clearly your pomposity has led you to an erroneous conclusion. I have the same educational background you do and have spent my life using it. Rather than address my point, you have deliberately avoided the issue by resorting to an ad hominem attack based on unfounded assertions.

          Which is it, HZ, is Bob happy or homosexual? And when you assume incorrectly, are you big enough to admit to the underlying communication failure?

          1. There is no pomposity in Propositional Logic. That IDEA originated in your mind and YOU make the logical fallacy of inserting it into the dialog.

            Moreover, your contrived accusation of ad hominem attack where none exists is yet another logical fallacy to the PREMISE of MY argument.

            I set the premise in my post NOT you. That Premise is axiomatic for any literate reader. If their cognitive capability misunderstands that AXIOMATIC premise – I AM NOT ACCOUNTABLE. They are – BECAUSE THEY ARE READING IT AND ALL READING COMPREHENSION OCCURS IN THE MIND OF THE READER… The writer has ZERO control over the intellect of the readers… As this puerile nonsense elucidates.


            If you want to have discourse about “SPEAKING” specifically, than make your argument to the original post… Because it is IRREFUTABLE non sequitur of the PREMISE of my argument.

            You commented with non sequitur of my premise, affirming the fallacy with a straw man fallacy, and a false narrative using circular reasoning to affirm the non sequitur.

            You do know it is logical fallacy for you to assume that you have my education/experience? No you do not have my education and professional experience in Logic… I do and yours is non sequitur to the argument until you Demonstrate it!

            The logic of every word we write is axiomatic – so please stop denying the Logical truth and exaggerating puerile offense. That is intellectually childish as well as disingenuous.

            “WHERE” exactly is this ad hominem attack on your character in lieu of addressing the fallacious logic of your non sequitur of my argument?

            I have done nothing but address the axiomatic Propositional/Predicate Logic of your words as YOU have written them. That is not ad hominem – even if you are offended by it.

            Offense originates in the mind of the offended and I don’t read minds… Do you?

            I precisely addressed ONLY the logic of your words. That is not ad hominem.

            Ignoring your logical fallacious rhetoric and instead calling you a fucking moron, would be ad hominem… Unless of course you are demonstrating being a fucking moron. Then it would not be ad hominem and an objective observation – even if unfavorable or negative.

            But lets be honest… ad hominem is an informal fallacy of logic that merely avoids an argument. A straw man argument using circular reasoning is a false narrative… and you are using it to affirm a NON SEQUITUR of the premise of MY argument.

            When you actually respond with a sound logical argument that IS NOT logical fallacy of my argument/premise I will have something intelligent and worthy of the discourse the premise of my argument invites.

            If you want to address spurious non sequitur find someone vapid to take the bait. If you wish to have discourse in response to my argument restate your argument civilly and without logical fallacy or there IS NOTHING INTELLIGENT TO DISCUSS.

      2. The wonderful thing about language – when we don’t understand we can’t fake that we do because it’s obvious we don’t, and when we do understand it’s obvious that we do. That’s what axiomatic means.

        Consider that language is familial/tribal in origin linguistically and spreads among humans very quickly as a basic function of ‘cooperation’.

        Now consider that two different familial groups from distinctly different origins have two completely different languages and want to interact.

        How do they initiate communication?

        How do they agree on what each language means to the other?

        Consider that all language has a subjective and objective logical context in reality.

        The fundamental agreed upon objective Propositional Logic – and the subjective conditional Predicate Logic.

        In your initial response you manage to craft a 23 word sentence of incomprehensible Predicate nonsense with only three words of Propositional Logic… that is knuckle dragging philistine troglodyte idiot nonsense in every way!

        Finally – I will answer the only rational question you manage to ask – Though the manner in which you propose it is utterly moronic because you attempt to fake what you demonstrate you do not know. That is the difference between what I write and what you write. The logical definition of reason.

        Intelligent people do not operate on assumption. I would demonstrate civil intelligence and ask for clarification of anything someone said that was unclear to me. That is what civil intelligent adults do.

        The BURDEN to UNDERSTAND any activity in MY brain; THEREFORE everything I read, or I hear, or I listen to is MINE alone! The same is true for everyone psychopath!

        If clarification were not available I would accept that I do not know… Nor is it important I do. Nor is it any of my business!

        In all candor I personally would never think or act as you suppose and demonstrate here… Like a fucking fool.

        1. I’ve never seen someone work so hard to avoid understanding a simple concept—clearly, Perry’s point is beyond you. In my experience, when someone resorts to name calling and other unfounded insults, it means they have run out of meaningful things to say. Please enjoy the sense of superiority you have created for yourself, the rest of will be relieved of your arrogance.

          1. Thank you for once again demonstrating exactly what I have written. At least there is integrity in your puerile hypocrisy.

  18. To be ruled is to allow yourself to be enslaved, to forfeit your sovereignty. If I join a club, sign an oath to obey the rules, I am not ruled by the club, i.e., I have not agreed to be subjected to violence, threats, fraud in all matters. I may follow the rules or not and pay consequences but the consequences are limited. That is as much a part of the contract, even if not stated, as the written rules. It is an unwritten code of civil society that the initiation of violence, threats, and fraud are unacceptable. Any written rules that contradict this are null & void. We call this “rights”.

    But in the current worldwide political paradigm the opposite is true. While protection of rights is the goal, the means violates rights. So when people use the word “government” or “govern” they mean by the initiation of violence, threats, and fraud. It does not logically follow that all government must follow this paradigm, but the alternative paradigm, rule by voluntary consent, reason, rights, and choice is not conceived of generally. When it is, it is dismissed without proof as social chaos, no government, no rules. The implication is that only one form of government exists, and the opposite is not a government.
    I can be governed without being ruled, without being subject to the initiation of violence, threats, and fraud.

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