On Anarchist Thought Crime and Property Rights

On the popular anarchist facebook page Anarchist Memes, an admin decided to exercise his private property rights in vocalizing his opinion that in a stateless society, unpopular opinions will not be dealt with peacefully.


“You think anarchism means we should all have some sort of right to say whatever you feel like?

So let me get this straight, people think that in a stateless society, everyone is going to allow others be a massive asshole whenever they talk? Without the police to uphold liberal ideas such as freedom to be bigot, I doubt people would tolerate intolerance with mere simple verbal disagreement.

Without state protection, oppression (from bigotry to patriarchy to capitalism) wouldn’t thrive as much as it does now. That’s sort of the point of the anti-state position of anarchism. “

In this short space, Anarchist Memes has shown us clearly why property rights are a necessity: So that individuals have a certain sphere of autonomy in which they can be themselves in any manner they desire. It is this communist’s dream that one day, anyone the commune deems as a threat can be easily shut up by whatever natural forces we allow to wreak havoc on the “bigots,” who are of course never themselves humans or victims of abuse.

To this style of anarchist, the brutality of the state lies in the protection of property rights, rather than the absolute and total destruction of them. As a left-libertarian, I wish to smash the state in order to free the individual. Soon, these communist anarchists imagine we shall be rid of the state, and that is when we can take care of the true dissidents. Anarchism to them is not freedom or liberation, it is punishment of thought and speech criminals.

Of course, in a free society racists, sexists, ableists, ageists and speechists will not have to be tolerated equally because of autonomy-enabling property rights. Under this model, social resistance to hateful viewpoints is entirely peaceful. We do not limit the autonomy of another, but we merely withdraw our consent from his influence on us. The individualist does not wish to control the thoughts of others, but finds the collectivistic basis of bigotry abhorrent and chooses not to associate with it. She does not expect the rights of another to decrease at the expense of her offense. She only expects equal freedom to express herself.

Property rights are ultimately the tool of individualists, though. To the anarchists who seem to believe in the divinity of the will of society, the concerns of the individual mean nothing if they do not approve. All thought must be bureaucratically investigated, and then a glorious calculus shall be applied to determine how much less you now “need” as a result of your views. Perhaps it is your free time, your car, your house, your life.  In the case of the commune the property rights of bigots, I am on the side of the latter as an individualist. I say this not in defense of bigots, but in defense of myself and in defense of any minority who sees their equal freedom receding. Property rights are an enforcement of equality and autonomy. The society run purely on social capital is a danger not only to bigots but to all who wish to be free.

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