The voluntaryist creed, like ideas about gravity, Marxism, skiing, Christianity or cooking, is just that; an idea. We might also call voluntaryism a “theory” or “a way of life” or a “philosophy.” As with other “ideas” we ought to examine Voluntaryism and convince ourselves through logic, reason and evidence of it’s validity or invalidity as a way of life for ourselves. Let’s learn about Voluntaryism.
We all have different backgrounds and values, some of us have spent our lifetime in left or right leaning groups. Voluntaryism is a subset the freedom movement. It is an exciting journey and not a good fit for those of weak mind. It is for those with an open mind and a strong sense of morality.
There are many great people involved in the freedom movement, and there is much information available. Here at Openly Voluntary, we want to help you with your investigation!
Following is a course of a weekend’s worth of study about the voluntaryist creed for the curious and bright person, I hope you will find it to be enlightening.
I suggest that you be patient with yourself and with the authors/speakers/content producers I recommend. Some are long-winded, and like a typical book, 80% is “fluff” and 20% is the good stuff. You need not agree with each thing said. I ask that you just file it away in your brain as “undecided” and keep listening, reading or watching.
I am going to give you a lot of information and I encourage you not to push yourself too much. This journey is one that I think you will enjoy and I think your understanding and worldview will improve, but it is of course, YOUR choice. If you need to take a break for a few days or years, go for it. Philosophy will wait for you.
The path I have taken since 2008 has been a wonderful one, and I feel so much more enlightened than I did for the first 35 years of my life. I must warn you that ignorance IS bliss. While I feel far less ignorant, following an honest path, free of preconceived notions is not popular and is not great for one’s standing in the mainstream community. Nonetheless, here you go on your journey to learn about voluntaryism.
There are a number of mediums I will suggest below, from YouTube videos of lectures, animations and rants to books, articles and audio podcasts. I spent many thousands of hours sifting through “things voluntaryist“, and I will share only a tiny fraction with you, and I predict that well before you finish MY list, you will follow paths that are most interesting to you. This is good.
Hour One of Study
Is Limited Government an Oxymoron? Doug Casey & Tom Woods debate for 28 minutes:
OK, now for the first foundational point. Collectivism -v- Individualism. While Mr. Griffin is a minarchist and comes to different conclusions than voluntaryists do, he does explain the concepts of individualism and collectivism well. Enjoy this 22 minute video:
Not everything that every person from whom I enjoy learning says is accurate, correct, and logical or is exactly what I believe. I like to learn from many perspectives, shake them all up, remove what looks wrong, enjoy what looks right and form my own opinions. As you explore voluntaryism, I suggest not discussing it with folks until you have well over 40 hours of knowledge under your belt. 95% of arguments will go like this:
Me: “I just wonder if we might be better off without any government at all.”
Statist: “Yeah, that sounds good, but we have to have cops, military and who would build the roads? Some government is good, it just has to be constitutional. Without it the bad people would hurt the rest of us.”
Then, if you start to offer solutions to their questions about how people and free market private businesses might solve problems, defend themselves, build roads, feed the poor etc, the statist will find a tiny hole in one of your arguments and will use that as conclusive proof that a stateless society is stupid and that you are naïve. It is better to say that you don’t know.
Hour two of study
This 12 minute podcast is a quick rundown of what voluntaryism is:
Let’s plunge into a quick ice-cold bath of a 13-minute video to wake our brain up. This is a collection of bits and pieces of Larken Rose speeches over the years. It starts at 20 seconds into the video.
Congrats, you have waded through two hours of deep stuff. I say deep, but it is really kind of simple, just like the stuff your mamma taught you, right?
Hour Three of Study
The grand-pappy of libertarianism, Murray Rothbard was not at all times a voluntaryist, however he was an incredible thinker. This playlist of the first part of Anatomy of the State is enlightening, and you might come back to the whole book later on. Murray was a true intellectual.
Hour Four of Study
In my conversations with many people, I hear a common objection. Larken Rose, is his typical “tell it like it is” manner, exposes this fallacy.
Karl Hess, a kindly and brilliant man, said some wonderful things. RIP my friend. These are some of his quotes:
My friend and mentor Carl Watner, the man that is most responsible for popularizing voluntaryism from the 1980’s until his death in December 2020, wrote this wonderful article, “The Voluntaryist Spirit.” Listen to the audio version below.
Hour Five of Study
Many Voluntaryists are not Christians, and many voluntaryists are quite vocal about this. I was once like that, however I think that theists and non-theists can get along. Can a Christian be an Voluntaryist? Larken Rose interviews Dan McCreary.
Next, let’s consider a radical idea! The man in this video claims that he is allowed to rob you! What the heck? As you listen, please examine his logic and see if you can poke holes in it! While his title and conclusions are uncomfortable and sound silly, it does seem that he is correct, doesn’t it?
Hour Six & Seven of Study
Hour Eight to Ten of Study
Are you beginning to wonder if maybe “government” is not a good thing, does not have rights and maybe isn’t even real? Wait, isn’t that called “Anarchy?” What does “anarchy” mean?
“An” means “without.”
“Archy” means “rulers.”
The word is from Greek αναρχια meaning “without archons.” It does NOT mean without rules. A person who likes the idea of one person ruling everyone else is a Monarchist, a person who prefers two rulers would be a biarchist. A person who does not think that anyone ought to be the ruler of anyone else could be called an “anarchist.”
Notice that neither “an” nor “archy” have anything to do with tattooed people with mohawks burning cars in streets. lol Stefan Molyneux wrote a nice short book called Everyday Anarchy, which is available for free in audio format as well as pdf HERE or you can buy the book HERE.
Hours 10 to 14 of Study
Walter Block is a good libertarian philosopher and economist, and his wonderful book Defending the Undefendable is a must-read! You can either buy the book online, download it for free from mises.org
You have now spent less than 14 hours opening your mind to some “new” ideas. What do you think? Can you logically argue against any of the points made? I hope so! In the above links, various thinkers have tossed out some ideas, and I hope you take them with a grain of salt. None of these philosophers are perfect, and I have found it wise to take the good and leave the bad.
The above exposure introduced you to voluntaryism and some surrounding ideas. I will later offer more great links to learn more, and of course I hope that you do your own poking around and share with me videos, books and articles you find worthy!
Let’s now spend a couple of hours on a different topic, education. I sincerely believe it will be well worth your time. Visit this channel and play videos that appeal to you for a couple of hours. Interesting, huh?
- Serious books about the economics and philosophy related to voluntaryism:
- “The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat
- “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlit
- “The Most Dangerous Superstition” by Larken Rose
- “For a New Liberty” by Murray Rothbard
- “Constitution of No Authority” by Lysander Spooner
- I Must Speak Out by Carl Watner
- I Must Speak Out II by Carl Watner
- “Everyday Anarchy” by Stefan Molyneux, a former voluntaryist
- Novels with a strong libertarian leaning:
- “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
- “The Iron Web” by Larken Rose
- “Speculator” by Doug Casey
Thinkers and content worth checking out
Investigate Carl Watner, founder of www.voluntaryist.com.
Patrick Smith of Disenthrall, Libertarian Philosopher of the Year 2021
Tom Woods is not a Voluntaryist, however he is heavily Anarcho-Capitalist leaning.
Christian Moore of Liberty After Dark
Keith Knight of Don’t Tread On Anyone
I strongly suggest that you read the book, The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose.
Stefan Molyneux (No longer a Voluntaryist, however his 2015 and prior work is excellent!)
Lew Rockwell – https://www.lewrockwell.com
L. Neil Smith – http://www.lneilsmith.org/
Josie The Outlaw
Doug Casey is an Austrian economist and investor
Bill B. – http://zerogov.com/
William Norman Grigg – http://prolibertate.us/index.php?blog=7
Jim C. Babb
Keith Knight – https://odysee.com/@KeithKnightDontTreadOnAnyone:b
John Taylor Gatto – https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/
Books About Voluntaryism
Economics in One Lesson–Henry Hazlitt
Check out Bill’s suggested reading list! https://zerogov.com/2014/03/15/the-beck-library-liberty-and-the-state-by-bill-buppert/