This entry is ultimately about how I’ve grown as an Anarchist. You see, I’m kind of on my own this weekend. My family is visiting relatives, and I’m stuck here to fend for myself. In looking for something to do, I remembered that Adam Kokesh was in the midst of his 2016 freedom tour and that he was supposed to be nearby soon. Unfortunately, that was apparently last week. I missed him by a week.
For those who don’t know, Adam Kokesh is an Iraq War veteran turned Anarchist and anti-war and anti government protestor. He has a long history of activism which I can’t do justice to here, but some of the things he’s done have included a flash mob dance to protest a dancing prohibition at the Jefferson Memorial, being arrested for smoking marijuana at a marijuana legalization rally, attempting to organize an armed march on Washington, and being arrested for loading a shotgun at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC.
I ran across Adam at a formative time in my life. While I was always a libertarian leaning individual, being active in Ron Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign was really starting to drive home the idea that government was evil and destructive and that humanity needed to move past it. I caught on to Adam’s podcast, Adam vs. The Man. Now, the show was often deeply flawed in quality, but here was a guy saying stuff that really resonated with me. He was telling me that aggression was illegitimate and that it was possible for people to solve problems non-violently. It was all good stuff.
As a teacher, I teach in government schools, Adam was most helpful when we were covering The Constitution and civil liberties. When we were talking about the second amendment, I showed a news clip of Adam’s arrest after the Freedom Plaza incident. I then had students compare that to a video of an open carry activist’s encounter with police in Portland, Maine. Both incidents were similar in that they involved an individual in public possession of a firearm. While the Portland activist received an apology for being wrongfully detained, Adam had a SWAT team deployed to arrest him. I was able to demonstrate to students how different localities respected civil liberties differently.
Most inspiring to me were a series of podcasts put together while Adam was incarcerated. After the freedom plaza video, Adam was put away for a considerable length of time. Still, while in jail, he put out three or four full length podcasts. Now, those podcasts were pretty terrible. The audio was horrible, being delivered through the prison phone systems. And the content was spotty. Adam didn’t have access to outside news and couldn’t really comment on current events. He was able to give some insightful commentary on what life was like in prison. The big thing though was that, for a time, the government wasn’t able to shut down his show. They tried to shut him up. He kept talking. That was the real message. It was kind of a Cool Hand Luke move, letting them know that even in prison, they weren’t the boss of him. Try though they might, Adam wouldn’t be silenced.
So, where am I now? The guy just doesn’t do it for me anymore. He wrote a book while he was in prison. While he goes on and on about how it’s the most important thing ever, I listened to the audio book, and it’s nothing special. For me, it’s mostly the style of writing. He could benefit from a contraction or two. He’s also really excited about running for President. In 2020, his platform will be the orderly dissolution of the federal government. Isn’t he supposed to be an Anarchist? How does running for public office jive with that?
I guess that that’s my real thing. Lets put aside the fact that the whole idea of his running for president is farcical. He is basically arguing for smaller government, and that is a dead end. He is arguing that dissolving the federal government is a step in the right direction because you have more of a say in a smaller and localized government. The flaw that I see though is that smaller government is still government. Some of the worst affronts to liberty happen at the local level. Obama doesn’t care what color my house is painted. Obama has better things to do than take down my clothesline. Obama never did take my guns. But local governments have claimed authority on all of them. And governments expand. That’s their nature. The federal government is just the hydra’s head. Two more will pop up and, they’ll grow to be just as monstrous as before. Finally, if he wins, and if he’s successful, hasn’t he then legitimized the government. Won’t using the government to bring about positive change be proof of government’s effectiveness? Government cannot be gradually reduced or modified through itself. The only answer is its total and complete abandonment.
So, at this point, the guy’s not really relevant to my life. I used to get all excited about the stuff he said and did. Now? Meh. But isn’t that the point? The whole idea of Anarchism is that hierarchies are bad and that authority is illegitimate. The guy’s gone off the rails. I’ve gone my separate path. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t know the guy. I’ve perhaps interacted with him once or twice on Facebook. But again, he got me on my way to where I am now. And while I can’t follow to where he’s going, I like to think that that’d be fine with him. I’m in a better place, and he’s partly to thank.