Peace Requires Anarchy


Peace Requires Anarchy

“A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist.” – Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement

“Because the state necessarily commits aggression, the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist.” – N. Stephan Kinsella, What Libertarianism Is

“Anyone who actually believes in the principle of non-aggression — the underlying premise of libertarianism — must be an anarchist, as it is logically impossible to oppose the initiation of violence while supporting any form of ‘government,’ which is nothing but violence.” – Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition, p. 145

“There is no peace now, and there will never be peace, so long as one rules over another.” – Voltairine de Cleyre, An essay printed in the book Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre-Anarchist, Feminist, Genius (I am yet to identify the particular essay)

“Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.” – Murray N. Rothbard, The Anatomy of the State

“Market Anarchism is the doctrine that the legislative, adjudicative, and protective functions unjustly and inefficiently monopolised by the coercive State should be entirely turned over to the voluntary, consensual forces of market society.” – Roderick T. Long, About Market Anarchism

Brute Physical Force

“When you were made king and appointed to be in charge of everything you should have said no. When offered the opportunity to rule and command your fellow man you should have turned it down. If given power over others, what you should have done with that power is nothing—absolutely nothing. Because power via brute force cannot fix the world.” – Larken Rose, If You Were King

“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations.” – David D. Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom, p. 7

How To Achieve A Free Society: The Beliefs of the Masses are More Powerful than Any Government

“Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.” – Etienne de La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience, p. 47

“It is necessary to recognize that the ultimate power of every government—whether of kings or caretakers—rests solely on opinion and not on physical force. The agents of government are never more than a small proportion of the total population under their control. This implies that no government can possibly enforce its will upon the entire population unless it finds widespread support and voluntary cooperation within the nongovernmental public. It implies likewise that every government can be brought down by a mere change in public opinion, i.e., by the withdrawal of the public’s consent and cooperation.” – Hans-Hermann Hoppe, On the Impossibility of Limited Government

“Why don’t we have libertarian anarchy? Why does government exist? The answer implicit in previous chapters is that government as a whole exists because most people believe it is necessary.” – David D. Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom, p. 83

“Historically, States do not dismantle willingly or easily. While they can disintegrate with startling speed, as in Russia in 1917 or France in 1968, almost always new States arise to take their place. The reason for this, I believe, is that men cannot bring themselves to believe in the practical feasibility of a society in which perfect liberty, security of life and property, and law and justice can be attained without the coercive violence of the State. Men have for so long been enslaved by the State that they cannot rid themselves of a Statist mentality. The myth of the State as a necessary part of social reality constitutes the greatest single obstacle to the achievement of a libertarian voluntarist society.” – Joseph R. Peden, Stateless Societies: Ancient Ireland, April, 1971 The Libertarian Forum [PDF] p. 3

“If states have everywhere been run by an oligarchic group of predators, how have they been able to maintain their rule over the mass of the population? The answer, as the philosopher David Hume pointed out over two centuries ago, is that in the long run every government, no matter how dictatorial, rests on the support of the majority of its subjects.” – Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty, p. 66 (PDF page 77 of 432)

“Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.” – David Hume, Of the First Principles of Government

“The vigilante movements that were so common in the American West and the decisions by many to establish and enforce their own custom-based laws illustrate an important point about a valid legal system. Vigilantes re-established law when government officials were ineffective or corrupt and, therefore, in violation of the law. The power of law is not absolute, even when it is in the hands of a government authority. As Hayek observed, ‘the allegiance on which this [rules established by a legislature, or government] sovereignty rests depends on the sovereign’s satisfying  certain expectations concerning the general character of those rules, and will vanish when this expectation is disappointed. In this sense all power rests on, and is limited by, opinion.'” – Bruce L. Benson, The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State, p. 321, quoting F. A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, vol. 1, p. 92

“Contrary to popular opinion, even totalitarian dictatorships are dependent on the population and the societies they rule.” – Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship to Democracy, p. 20 (PDF page 28 of 102)

“[A]ll governments can rule only as long as they receive replenishment of the needed sources of their power from the cooperation, submission, and obedience of the population and the institutions of the society. Political defiance, unlike violence, is uniquely suited to severing those sources of power.” – Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship to Democracy, p. 30 (PDF page 38 of 102)

“The degree of liberty or tyranny in any government is, it follows, in large degree a reflection of the relative determination of the subjects to be free and their willingness and ability to resist efforts to enslave them.” – Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship to Democracy, p. 20 (PDF page 28 of 102)

“There’s one thing that’s been ‘learned’ maybe from Tunisia and Egypt that I think is a mistake. And that is that the existing ruler has to resign. He doesn’t have to resign. You take all the supports out from under him; he falls. No matter what he wants to do. This is the distinction in the analyses between nonviolent coercion in which he has to resign, but he’s forced into it, and disintegration when the regime simply falls apart. There’s nobody left with enough power to resign.” – Gene Sharp, How to Start a Revolution (2011) documentary

“The [hunger] games provide that key elements that every state, no matter how powerful or fearsome, absolutely must have: a means of distracting the public from the real enemy. Even this monstrous regime depends fundamentally on the compliance of the governed. No regime can put down a universal revolt.” – Jeffrey A. Tucker, Democracy Is Our Hunger Game

“Modern tyrants and their enforcers are always outnumbered (and often outgunned) by their victims by a factor of hundreds or thousands. Yet tyrants still maintain power, not because people lack the physical ability to resist, but because, as a result of their deeply inculcated belief in “authority,” they lack the mental ability to resist.” – Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition, p. 103 (PDF page 97 of 200)

Also see:

The Kind of People In Power

“The probability of the people in power being individuals who would dislike the possession and exercise of power is on a level with the probability that is extremely tender-hearted person would get the job of whipping-master on a slave plantation.” – Frank H. Knight

“[T]he most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, From a letter to Christopher Tolkien

“[The State is not] a social institution administered in an anti-social way. It is an anti-social institution administered in the only way an anti-social institution can be administered, and by the kind of person who, in the nature of things, is best adapted to such service.” – Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, The State, p. 37

“In the ideal socialist state power will not attract power freaks. People who make decisions will show no slightest bias toward their own interests. There will be no way for a clever man to bend the institutions to serve his own ends. And the rivers will run uphill.” – David D. Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom, p. 58

The Law

“In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” – Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

“The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.” – John Locke

“The law is justice.” – Frederic Bastiat, The Law


“My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs).” – J.R.R. Tolkien, From a letter to Christopher Tolkien

“We were born in a dark age out of due time (for us). But there is this comfort: otherwise we should not know, or so much love, what we do love. I imagine the fish out of water is the only fish to have an inkling of water.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, From a letter to Christopher Tolkien

“When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” – Thomas Paine, Reflections on Titles

Other Quote Collections

The Voluntaryist

Strike the Root

Antiwar (List of 100, originally posted here)

Idealistic Politics

If you know of any other great quotes please feel free to share them in the comment section below. Thanks!

3 thoughts on “Quotes

  1. That’s great about Tolkien. I think I recognize the anarchy quote. But I must’ve read it a very long time ago, because if it was recent, my current ideological leanings being fairly new, it would have more readily stuck in my mind. I’m currently re-reading the Silmarillion, the first time having been a good ten years back.

  2. I read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit when I was about 12-14 years old, but I’ve never The Silmarillion. I’m not sure if I would rather re-read LotR now that I’m older (and have examined my political views) or if I’d rather read the Silmarillion. Of course I could read both if I want, but which should I read first? Hmm.

  3. I would recommend the Silmarillion. It’s a little, shall we say, esoteric at first, but it’s a very good read, assuming one is interested in how things came to be or why things are in the Hobbit and the LotR. I’m rereading it mainly because of the upcoming Hobbit movies. After I’m done with it, I’ll be moving on to the Unfinished Tales (perhaps even more esoteric than the Silmarillion, but dealing more with men than with elves), and finally the Hobbit again. The good thing is I’ve got two years to read them before the final installment of the Hobbit films comes out.

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