Robert Anton Wilson on Blowback, Anarchy, and Optimism

The following interview with Robert Anton Wilson was conducted in 2002. It’s Part 3 of a 4-Part series.

It took place after the publication of Wilson’s most overtly political tract, TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constiution. (TSOG stands for Tsarist Occupation Government.) Among the topics discussed in this segment: 9/11 and Pearl Harbor as blowback from American Empire; the “despised” (aka revisionist) historians Wilson was warned by high school teachers not to read (Harry Elmer Barnes, Charles Beard and James J. Martin); libertarianism, anarchism and contract-based societies; Wilson’s favorite anarchist influences (Tucker, Tolstoy and Kropotkin); globalization, corporatization and the transformative potential of the internet; and how Wilson remains optimistic despite never-ending war.

Most intriguing to me was Wilson’s assertion that he sometimes identified as a libertarian only because most people don’t understand anarchism. They assume anarchy means “throwing bombs,” he says. Wilson’s (anti)political self-identification varied after his outwardly anarchist period during the 60s and 70s. In one interview from the early 80s, Wilson says:

I’m a libertarian because I don’t trust the people as much as anarchists do. I want to see government limited as much as possible; I would like to see it reduced back to where it was in Jefferson’s time, or even smaller. But I would not like to see it abolished.

It’s refreshing to hear Wilson getting back to his radical roots in his latter years.

It’s also worth noting that by 2002, Wilson was suffering from the symptoms of Post-polio syndrome, a condition that plagues polio survivors years after their initial bout with the virus. Wilson nonetheless manages to maintain his characteristic wit and humor despite battling great physical pain, which he says in Part 4 of the interview was only managed through his use of marijuana.

The clip is about 15 minutes in length.


Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory