Fear and Loathing of the State in Las Vegas

what an anarchist looks like to a Homeland Security camera hidden in the ceilingCharles’s Las Vegas Anarchist Café is in the news. (CHT François Tremblay.)

Of the two standard tones newspapers take toward anarchists (condescension and alarmism), the story takes the former, which I guess is preferable to the alternative. At any rate, hey, it’s free publicity.

(Also, check out the comments section for the usual mixture of reasoned discourse and yahoo idiocy.)

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65 Responses to Fear and Loathing of the State in Las Vegas

  1. Roderick June 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    A couple of afterthoughts:

    1) I wonder whether Bovard really is a self-described anarchofeminist like the story says?

    2) Hey, wasn’t John Galt “copper-haired”?

  2. Joe June 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    The photo displays condescension visually. It’s taken from above, as if from a throne.

  3. Robert Paul June 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    That picture sure gives off a cultural lefty vibe!

  4. Kregus June 4, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    “So any institution which gives some people control over others is not acceptable to anarchists.”

    1. I think that this is just another “anarchist” bullshit. Your DRO’s would have a real control over peaple. So called “anarchism” is just atteritorial competing goverments. Atteritorialism is the only key difference from libertarian minarchism. Why territorial government (Randian no taxes state) is “archon”, but atteritorial is not? Think about it.

    2. Where is the difference between private property/communitarian municipalism and state? In both cases you can: restrict competition on territorial dominium, collect rent/taxes, expel peaple from teritory – like it or leave it. Seriously, where is the difference?

    Better term for “anarchism” is “oligarchy/polyarchy” of “natural elites”, or communitarian slavery and centralized syndicalist state.

  5. MBH June 4, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Two different thoughts:

    (1) The Galt analogy would work better had the president not said today that, “No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion…” We are hardly living under the rule of a Mr. Thompson.

    (2) It is heartening to see attention paid to someone teaching methodological individualism. I just hope that the focus remains on the mindset–not statelessness. After all, what would happen in a world without a state, but filled with people who are psychologically dependent on conventional institutions?

  6. Brandon June 4, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    The sub-headline is wrong, unless Radgeek is a law-hating nihilist.

  7. Anon73 June 5, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    I’ve never really liked reporters since that one B5 episode “The Illusion of Truth”. Mostly the come off to me as either greedy hacks that will write anything to sell a paper, or else mindless servants of the state parroting its dogma and carrying out its instructions (fox news is sort an “overachiever” in that both of these descriptions fit).

    • Roderick June 5, 2009 at 1:07 am #

      What reason do you have for thinking that Obama is talking about the distinction between customary & common law, as opposed to talking about democratic vs. non-democratic regimes (where democracy just means elections and such)? This seems like the most massively charitable interpretation conceivable.

      In any case, when the guy dressed like a stormtrooper starts acting like a stormtrooper (as Obama has analogously done by bombing civilians, covering up evidence of torture, upholding rendition, state secrets, and state immunity, and resisting the prosecution of torturers — to say nothing of his disastrous economic policies), I lean toward thinking he is a stormtrooper — even if he starts reciting whole pages from Murray Rothbard, Kevin Carson, or Leo Tolstoy.

      • Roderick June 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

        3) You can also see Charles performing a magical incantation here.

    • Roderick June 5, 2009 at 1:10 am #

      I should also point out that if you blow the Death Star up while it’s hovering over the Mises Institute, you also blow up the Mises Institute — which seems suboptimal.

      • Joshua Lyle June 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

        Ah, I shall treasure that image forever more.

    • MBH June 5, 2009 at 1:46 am #

      Hahahah! OK. You didn’t mention that. Maybe then the objective would be (a) to steer it over an administrative building far enough away, then (b) to blow it up.

      What reason do you have for thinking that Obama is talking about the distinction between customary & common law…

      I’m thinking of his words within the larger context. He’s in Egypt. He’s trying to reconcile Islam with America, Christianity, Judaism, etc. He tells Israel that extending settlements is unacceptable. He tells them that Palestinians are entitled to a state of their own. I know AIPAC members who are losing their minds because of these mere words. I always thought that Stormtroopers supplied unconditional support for Israel. I thought that was a crucial link in the power structure.

      You’re right that I’m being overly generous to interpret power-through-consent as customary law. But, if religion/faith/dogma composes some of the glue that holds common law in place, then these cross-religion talks with the world sure do scrape at that glue.

    • MBH June 5, 2009 at 2:01 am #

      Oops. You were talking about dismantling the Death Star there. Here you’re talking about blowing it up.

      • Aster June 5, 2009 at 10:40 am #

        Ok, if I ever write something primarily dealing with Charles’ political philosophy, I’m using this image. It totally rocks.

        I don’t think drama matters in hermetic magick- it’s all about how concepts bounce off against each other in your mind. For the chthonic variety, this isn’t bad form from what I can see- flow state, palms spread. I was always taught you keep a relaxed position and take off your shoes(=) and socks.

        (=)Why is the whole world obsessed with shoes?

        • Roderick June 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

          Why territorial government (Randian no taxes state) is

        • mb2p June 6, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

          You know, the funny thing is that I actually wrote that for the *specific purpose* of dealing with this very argument that you are making, which I have heard before several times. To repeat: anarchism is the negation of social hierarchy and coercion first and foremost — without knowing that, those objections are understandable, but otherwise you’re just playing word-games.

      • Roderick June 5, 2009 at 11:52 am #

        Why is the whole world obsessed with shoes?

        As I recall, this is explained in Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

        • MBH June 5, 2009 at 12:19 am #

          You would agree that few people understand the distinction between customary law and common law. Those in power–typically–have a vested interest in erasing the line between the two. When someone in power calls attention to the distinction, then it’s probably fair to say that they aren’t typical. I can’t imagine Mr. Thompson saying something like that. Just as I can’t imagine Chancellor Sutler saying something like that. Just as I can’t imagine any character with a vested interest in maintaining the power of common law saying something like that.

          I very wise man once said something like this: “Imagine that the Death Star is hovering above the Mises Institute. Would you say that it was necessarily wrong if I dressed up like a Stormtrooper in order to blow up the thing?”

          We never consented to the existing power structure. Never. But if we’re to overcome it, then many more people have to become aware of it. Even it that means learning from someone who has infiltrated the Death Star and is dressed like a Stormtrooper.

      • MBH June 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

        Not to be confused with the importance of towels.

    • Roderick June 5, 2009 at 2:04 am #

      Well, Bush said some of that stuff too. The hawks mostly didn’t mind because they assumed (rightly, I think) that he didn’t mean it, or perhaps more precisely that he meant it in some constrained and compartmentalised way that would have relatively little effect on policy.

      Admittedly Obama talks a better talk on this stuff than Bush does. If we’re lucky, he’ll walk a better walk too — which he might well do, since when you consider how bad Bush was it’s not hard to top him. But “better than Bush” is a pretty feeble accolade.

    • Roderick June 5, 2009 at 2:06 am #

      Here you

    • Roderick June 5, 2009 at 2:07 am #

      steer it over an administrative building far enough away

      Heh, I know exactly where I would steer it.

    • MBH June 5, 2009 at 2:14 am #


      • Roderick June 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

        The photo displays condescension visually. It

    • MBH June 5, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

      This from Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic.

      How would you categorize the peaceful overthrow of a hawkish government? International polycentrism?

  8. Bob Kaercher June 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Overall, I thought that was as decent a blurb as one could reasonably expect on anarchists.

  9. Soviet Onion June 6, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    Testing gravatar feature. Am I personable yet?

  10. John Q. Galt June 6, 2009 at 3:48 am #

    I hope there is thick libertarianism involved. I want my chronic mastrubation to online porn to be considered for official left-libby protection.

  11. Aster June 6, 2009 at 7:07 am #


    Of course. Left-libertarianism should support every individual’s right to sexual liberty and- qua grounds, strategic, and consequence thickness- his or her liberation from the irrational prejudices of mankind. Certainly, this includes virtually-aided ‘mastrubation’, altho’ I prefer words such as ‘self-pleasure’. We are sexual beings and the world would be a better place if we were all able to exult in our human potentialities.

  12. Marja Erwin June 7, 2009 at 12:18 am #

    Testing… not the best picture, but okay for now.

  13. Ray Mangum June 11, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    Gotta love the barely-concealed condescension in mainstream journalism. “Anarchists: They’re not Dangerous, Just Ineffectual.” Still and all, when was the last time Benjamin Tucker was mentioned in the news?

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