Rational Anarchism

Rational anarchism is a theoretical construct expressed by Robert Heinlein in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by the character Bernardo de la Paz. Relevant quotations include:

A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame… as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world…aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.

In terms of morals there is no such thing as ‘state.’ Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts.

My point is that one person is responsible, Always. If H-bombs exist–and they do–some man controls them. In terms of morals there is no such thing as ‘state’. Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts.

I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

Limiting the freedom of news ‘just a little bit’ is in the same category with the classic example ‘a little bit pregnant.

A managed democracy is a wonderful thing… for the managers… and its greatest strength is a ‘free press’ when ‘free’ is defined as ‘responsible’ and the managers define what is ‘irresponsible’.

Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: “Please pass this so that I won’t be able to do something I know I should stop.” […] was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them “for their own good” — not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.

Seems to be a deep instinct in human beings for making everything compulsory that isn’t forbidden.

Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory.

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