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Larken Rose

or: The "authority" on "authority"

Let's start hardcore:

The Complete and Undeniable Truth - Larken Rose

Can you handle it?

Larken Rose on the initiation of violence

Larken Rose is a common sense thinker. That's all he does, really. That he happens to be able to elucidate the nature of "authority" is a byproduct of common sense thinking and allowing himself to bring the logical contradictions in his belief system to the forefront of conscious thought. Many people, going back thousands of years, have been able to express the same notions, but Larken has truly turned it into an artform.

Larken spent a year in a cage (minimum-security prison cell) for the victimless "crime" of not submitting papers (not even "not paying taxes") to the IRS, as he explains in the following video:

Larken Rose goes to jail for Rule 861

Larken Rose went to jail for a year for a misdemeanor charge based on his BELIEF that he was not obligated to pay, NOT that he didn't pay!

The Most Dangerous Superstition

Larken Rose's book The Most Dangerous Superstition is possibly the most important book ever written, and sums up what Larken is all about:

When someone looks out at the world and sees all manner of suffering and injustice, stretching back for thousands of years and continuing today, he invariably blames such problems on someone else's hatred, greed, or stupidity. Rarely will someone consider the possibility that his own belief system is the cause of the pain and suffering he sees around him.

But in most cases, it is.

The root cause of most of society's ills--the main source of man's inhumanity to man--is neither malice nor negligence, but a mere superstition--an unquestioned assumption which has been accepted on faith by nearly everyone, of all ages, races, religions, education and income levels. If people were to recognize that one belief for what it is--an utterly irrational, self-contradictory, and horribly destructive myth--most of the violence, oppression and injustice in the world would cease. But that will happen only when people dare to honestly and objectively re-examine their belief systems.

"The Most Dangerous Superstition" exposes the myth for what it is, showing how nearly everyone, as a result of one particular unquestioned assumption, is directly contributing to violence and oppression without even realizing it. If you imagine yourself to be a compassionate, peace-loving, civilized human being, you must read this book.

The "punch line" of the book is this:

The belief in "authority," which includes all belief in "government," is irrational and self-contradictory; it is contrary to civilization and morality, and constitutes the most dangerous, destructive superstition that has ever existed. Rather than being a force for order and justice, the belief in "authority" is the arch-enemy of humanity.

Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition

It follows with this:

Of course, nearly everyone is raised to believe the exact opposite: that obedience to "authority" is a virtue (at least in most cases), that respecting and complying with the "laws" of "government" is what makes us civilized, and that disrespect for "authority" leads only to chaos and violence. In fact, people have been so thoroughly trained to associate obedience with "being good" that attacking the concept of "authority" will sound, to most people, like suggesting that there is no such thing as right and wrong, no need to abide by any standards of behavior, no need to have any morals at all. That is not what is being advocated here — quite the opposite.

Indeed, the reason the myth of "authority" needs to be demolished is precisely because there is such a thing as right and wrong, it does matter how people treat each other, and people should always strive to live moral lives. Despite the constant authoritarian propaganda claiming otherwise, having respect for "authority" and having respect for humanity are mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed. The reason to have no respect for the myth of "authority" is so that we can have respect for humanity and justice.

There is a harsh contrast between what we are taught is the purpose of "authority" (to create a peaceful, civilized society) and the real-world results of "authority" in action. Flip through any history book and you will see that most of the injustice and destruction that has occurred throughout the world was not the result of people "breaking the law," but rather the result of people obeying and enforcing the "laws" of various "governments." The evils that have been committed in spite of "authority" are trivial compared to the evils that have been committed in the name of "authority."

Nevertheless, children are still taught that peace and justice come from authoritarian control and that, despite the flagrant evils committed by authoritarian regimes around the world throughout history, they are still morally obligated to respect and obey the current "government" of their own country, They are taught that "doing as you're told" is synonymous with being a good person, and that "playing by the rules" is synonymous with doing the right thing. On the contrary, being a moral person requires taking on the personal responsibility of judging right from wrong and following one's own conscience, the opposite of respecting and obeying "authority."

The reason it is so important that people understand this fact is that the primary danger posed by the myth of "authority" is to be found not in the minds of the controllers in "government" but in the minds of those being controlled, One nasty individual who loves to dominate others is a trivial threat to humanity unless a lot of other people view such domination as legitimate because it is achieved via the "laws" of "government." The twisted mind of Adolf Hitler, by itself, posed little or no threat to humanity. It was the millions of people who viewed Hitler as "authority," and thus felt obligated to obey his commands and carry out his orders, who actually caused the damage done by the Third Reich. In other words, the problem is not that evil people believe in "authority"; the problem is that basically good people believe in "authority," and as a result, end up advocating and even committing acts of aggression, injustice and oppression, even murder.

The average statist (one who believes in "government"), while lamenting all the ways in which "authority" has been used as a tool for evil, even in his own country, will still insist that it is possible for "government" to be a force for good, and still imagine that "authority" can and must provide the path to peace and justice.

People falsely assume that many of the useful and legitimate things that benefit human society require the existence of "government." It is good, for example, for people to organize for mutual defense, to work together to achieve common goals, to find ways to cooperate and get along peacefully, to come up with agreements and plans that better allow human beings to exist and thrive in a mutually beneficial and non-violent state of civilization, But that is not what "government" is. Despite the fact that "governments" always claim to be acting on behalf of the people and the common good, the truth is that "government," by its very nature, is always in direct opposition to the interests of mankind. "Authority" is not a noble idea that sometimes goes wrong, nor is it a basically valid concept that is sometimes corrupted. From top to bottom, from start to finish, the very concept of "authority" itself is antihuman and horribly destructive.

Of course, most people will find such an assertion hard to swallow. Isn't government an essential part of human society? Isn't it the mechanism by which civilization is made possible, because it forces us imperfect humans to behave in an orderly, peaceful manner? Isn't the enacting of common rules and laws what allows us to get along, to settle disputes in a civilized manner, and to trade and otherwise interact in a fair, non-violent way? Haven't we always heard that if not for the "rule of law" and a common respect for "authority," we would be no better than a bunch of stupid, violent beasts, living in a state of perpetual conflict and chaos?

Yes, we have been told that. And no, none of it is true. But trying to disentangle our minds from age-old lies, trying to distill the truth out of a jungle of deeply entrenched falsehoods, can be exceedingly difficult, not to mention uncomfortable.

One can buy the book from Larken's site or Amazon US, or read it in PDF format for free. (Larken also accepts donations.)

Larken on the other uses of the term "authority"

Quoting TMDS again:

(The term "authority" is sometimes used in ways that have nothing to do with the topic of this book. For example, one who is an expert in some field is often referred to as an "authority," Likewise, some relationships resemble "authority" but do not involve any right to rule. The employer-employee relationship is often viewed as if there is a "boss" and an "underling." However, no matter how domineering or overbearing an employer may be, he cannot conscript workers, or imprison them for disobedience. The only power he really has is the power to terminate the arrangement by firing the employee, And the employee has the same power, because he can quit. The same is true of other relationships that may resemble "authority," such as a craftsman and his apprentice, a martial arts sensei and his pupil, or a trainer and the athlete he trains. Such scenarios involve arrangements based upon mutual, voluntary agreement, in which either side is free to opt out of the arrangement. Such a relationship, where one person allows another to direct his actions in the hopes that he will benefit from the other's knowledge or skill, is not the type of "authority" that constitutes the most dangerous superstition, if it constitutes "authority" at all.)

The other meaning of "authority", which refers to expertise, is problematic in the sense that this kind of "authority" functions as a gatekeeper of the possible. Researcher James Corbett has introduced a new term to distinguish this type of "authority": expertology. By relying on "authorities" of any kind (whether experts on a particular subject or people who believe they have rights that others don't), we get into such binds as a language based on "subject-verb-object" and entrap ourselves in all manner of disempowering belief systems.

Anarchist philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend already figured this out, calling the idea epistemological anarchy. Feyerabend "felt the exclusive dominance of science as a means of directing society was authoritarian and ungrounded" — and this is exactly what we are also pointing out.

There may be some legitimate notions of "authority" in particular fields or contexts, such as cryptography — a context in which an authority means a "trusted third-party" — but even in such cases it is likely that the term was merely borrowed from other fields that did refer to the illegitimate notion of "authority".

Larken's "Unlocking the Cage"

Larken has been working on an interactive project he tentatively titled "Unlocking the Cage":

I thought I should start giving people more info about the project I'm just starting, with the working title, "Unlocking the Cage." The purpose is to create an INTERACTIVE process, which works even better than a one-on-one discussion, to help people escape the mythology regarding "government" that we were all taught. This project was basically just a dream for the last year, until the Freedoms Phoenix Funding Center came along, and made it into a real possibility. Here is the main page on the funding center for the project: http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Funding/Project/000010/Unlocking-the-Cage/

But beyond that general description, I wanted to start giving more explanation of what this project will entail, and how it will work. Again, the idea is based on many hundreds of discussions I've had over the past 18 years with people who still believe in "government," seeing how they react and respond, seeing the things which make them defensive and make their ability to reason shut down, and so on. (I say "they," but I used to be one of them, and I definitely include my own escape from authoritarianism as a lesson in what has to happen in order to help people see reality.) So let me explain a few of the challenges that "Unlocking the Cage" is designed to overcome, and how it will do so:


The linked funding project page for "Unlocking the Cage" states:

I recently started formulating a very ambitious idea for a project which I didn't think would ever happen, mainly because it would take a massive amount of time and effort to complete, with little potential for monetary profit. However, I also believe it would yield the fastest and most effective "deprogramming" from statism, for the greatest number of people, of anything I've ever seen.

It can be very difficult to get people to question their assumptions about "government" and "politics" without them feeling attacked and getting defensive. (I've been on both sides of that discussion.) However simple the principles and concepts may be, if someone is psychologically invested in his viewpoint, changing his mind is not easy. After 18 years of having one-on-one discussions with many hundreds of statists, I believe I've gotten quite good at gently nudging people through discussions which, in a lot of cases, end up changing how they see the world. Videos, articles, books, speeches and other one-directional forms of media are very limited in that they can only throw ideas at people, which may or may not stick. But being able to use a few basic lines of questioning which I've developed over the years, most people who believe in "government" can be brought to see inherent contradictions inside their own heads. But even in an ideal setting, with no pressure and plenty of time, with someone who is willing to talk and think, and with me making a concerted effort to not get argumentative, my success rate is still nowhere near 100%. More importantly, I can only do it with one person at a time, which is almost worthless in a world of several billion authoritarians.

Until recently I assumed that the back-and-forth adaptiveness of in-person discussions was impossible to mass replicate. But the purpose of "Unlocking the Cage" is to do just that: to create an interactive process which a billion people can go through at the same time, but with each person's experience being as unique, fluid and "customized" as a personal conversation, but with even less opportunity for argument or conflict. A user can go through the process at his own pace, whenever he wants, with no peer pressure or stress--not even the stress of having one other person there. The challenges to the project are only 5% philosophy and principles, and 95% human psychology--seeing what gives rise to misunderstandings, emotional reactions, confusion, defensiveness, and other things that interfere with rational thought, and avoiding those pitfalls.

Regarding the funding goal amount, when I say a massive amount of time and effort will be required to do this, I'm not kidding. This isn't just a video, or a book. It is an intensely interactive experience which adapts to the viewer's responses to questions, using a complex if/then logic flow chart which borders on artificial intelligence, in a virtual reality setting which feels like one fluid discussion, though the discussion changes depending on how the user responds to different questions. Having had many hundreds of such discussions with people, I now believe that the conversation can fit into a formula of sorts, albeit a very complex formula, in the form of a multi-dimensional logic flow chart. The program would essentially be a "virtual me" (only far better), able to follow the conversation where ever it leads, with the ideal questions, the ideal wording, the ideal explanations and clarifications, and the ideal presentation every step of the way, regardless of the direction in which the user decides to take things. (It would also be a better face and a better voice than mine leading the user through the discussion.)

I could easily spend twenty pages describing all the factors and considerations which will go into making "Unlocking the Cage." Hopefully the above conveys the general idea, and I can elaborate more for anyone who wants me to. I doubt the project would be finished in less than a year of pretty intense work. My ending date is my best guest, though the funding goal would enable me to work on it for two years--which should be plenty of time--along with allowing me to pay one other person for some part-time assistance.

This project is taking shape during 2015:

"Government On Trial"

It is high time that those in mainstream academia be challenged on the authoritarian mythology they continue to teach. So I am launching a Kickstarter project to do exactly that. (Watch the video for more details.) I encourage anyone who understands and embraces the concepts of self-ownership, non-aggression and voluntaryism to support and share this project. (If I exceed my funding goal--even far exceed it--I will simply include more and more teachers and professors in the campaign.)

Here is the link to the project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1919817865/government-on-trial

Undoing Authoritarian Indoctrination

An update and progress report on the interactive project for gently and effective deprogramming statists.

Sampling of Larken Rose videos

These videos should be more than enough to convince even the most indocrinated statist, as long as he/she holds truth and honesty as a higher authority than "authority":

Larken on how extraterrestrials would see "authority"

Larken Rose - Mass Mind-Control

This is a video of Larken Rose's presentation at the Free Your Mind Conference in Philadelphia, PA on April 10, 2011. Larken clearly explains the illusion of human "authority" in a unique and dramatic way.

Larken on the absurdity of the situation

Larken illustrates the absurd degree to which the control system is based on the manipulation and molding of our belief systems:

The Tiny Dot

A situation too weird for 99.999% of people to adequately explain.

The Tiny Dot Explained - by Larken Rose

How To Be a Crook - Larken Rose

Larken on what it actually means to "wield power"

If You Were King | Larken Rose

Wouldn't it be great if YOU were in charge of everything? You could fix the world! Maybe. Maybe not.

Larken on the Constitution of no authority

I'm Allowed to Rob You!

Want to see a piece of paper that gives me the RIGHT to rob you? You don't believe there is such a thing? Are you SURE you don't believe it?

For hardcore (but open-minded) Constitutionalists experiencing strong cognitive dissonance, Larken recommends the book No Treason: The Constitution of no Authority by Lysander Spooner.

Larken on confused Constitutionalists

Five Bogus Excuses for Opposing Freedom

A response to "5 Reasons Why I'm not An Anarchist," by Austin Petersen.

Larken on limited government

Minarchism: Great Start, Horrible Finish

This is for all those who complain about how I constantly bash minarchism, the Constitution, and other "limited government" myths. Don't worry; I'm almost nice this time.

"It Can't Happen Here!"

This video is for all those who imagine that there is some sort of magic that renders the United States immune to the tyranny that has plagued every other major empire in history.

History... Debate: Larken Rose vs. Tom Willcutts (Anarchy vs. Authority)

A debate on the concepts of "authority", "government", and the "state", featuring author Larken Rose vs. attorney Tom Willcutts.

Larken on the natural right of self-defense

A video companion to an article that stirred a lot of emotions and cognitive dissonance:

When Should You Shoot a Cop?

This is my infamous "When Should You Shoot a Cop" article, as read by me, with way cool visuals and other stuff added by the cool dudes at CopBlock.org. Let the emotional tantrums begin!

Jury nullification

Larken explains the hidden power of a jury:

Jury Nullification: Anarchy in Action!

For all the times I've bashed "political action," there is one thing that almost looks like "working within the system" that I actually agree with, precisely because it's fundamentally an anti-authoritarian act.

Larken on voting

The primary premise behind the idea of democracy, voting is not as much about the metaphorical idea of having one's voice heard, but is rather more of an act of violence:

My Sympathies

Here I address some of the important concerns expressed by Democrat and Republican voters, and then give my heart-felt sympathies for your anxiety (sort of).

Larken on slavery and freedom

Top videos striking at the heart, or root, of the problem/challenge:

Statism: The Most Dangerous Religion (feat. Larken Rose)

Warning: Graphic content. With English, Dutch and Polish subtitles.

Limits = Freedom?

After reading an article critical of anarchism, titled "We Need Limits To Be Free", I was hoping to have a live discussion/debate with the author, Dr. Robert Owens. That didn't work out, so I made this video instead.

Government Is Santa Claus (Larken Rose Whooping Statist Ass!)

[Published on Feb 24, 2015] Larken Rose doing his thing - Kicking Statist Ass! Larken Rose is known for debunking the most dangerous superstition, Government. He is a Voluntaryist/Anarchist and a tax protester, as well as an author of several books. Larken promotes the concepts of self-ownership and a voluntary society.

Free, in Heart and Mind

In between all the philosophizing going, it's worth mentioning some very encouraging things happening on a more instinctive, gut level, in a whole lot of people. There are lots of emotional sparks out there who just need a little intellectual fuel to become beacons of true freedom.

The "Josie the Outlaw" project can be found here: http://www.josietheoutlaw.com

Five Stupid Complaints About Freedom

I rarely even try to respond on an individual basis to all the pro-statism articles and videos out there, but in this case, a man named Steve Shives has so succinctly exhibited the common hypocrisy and insanity of the cult of "government," that it's worth a direct response. His video can be seen here:

Five Stupid Things About Libertarians: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJwN-EwBOgM

This video is my response to that.

You're Not the Boss of Me!! (Full Version) feat: Larken Rose

STOP VOTING for Other People to Give YOU " THEIR " Permission to be FREE!