SODOM & GOMORRAH: This follows two articles that attempt to demonstrate that Dr. Mises and Dr. Hayek were closet fascists. The fear of knee high leather boots might be the only reason the acclaimed Mises Institute doesn’t have a swastika on their coat of arms. Naturally this author is joking. Libertarians really do believe they’re fighting fascism; in fact, their very sincerity is what’s so frightening.
The careful reader of the previous articles will note that, at most, it was demonstrated that the liberal international order we see embodied in the United Nations and the uncompromising mindset of the progressive are all logical outgrowths of classical liberal thought (which is why we may agree with the libertarians of today when they say they’re the heirs of that tradition). There was not, however, a clear demonstration that libertarian government leads to tyranny as the modern reader understands it. It leads to a tyranny of the soul, a tyranny of our own personal interests trumping every other concern, and a tyranny of a liberal international order seeking to evangelize by force. But these are all tyrannies the modern reader will either fail to notice, actually agree with, or attempt to stamp out with a liberal application of liberalism. That police state with the concentration camps and mass arrests that everyone likes to invoke whenever TSA gets grabby is still yet to be seen.
This article attempts to show you one vision of what happens when the anarchists take power. Now naturally a real anarchist will contest that last sentence – anarchists don’t “take power”, they’re “against power.” These are simply the words of an anarchist who is not yet in power. Revolutionary movements are all centered on power, even if that power is attained with the end goal of eliminating power. Unlike other writers on the so-called right, this author won’t tell you that the revolutionaries secretly want to oppress you. They want to free you from oppression. Their very sincerity is what’s so frightening. So we should briefly look at one of the most sincere, well-meaning groups of revolutionaries: those who ran Soviet Russia for over 70 years.
Very few people on the right will tell you that the Soviets weren’t tyrannical. With all the gulags, mass murders, and secret police activity they are a perfect example of tyranny and fear. Despite what anti-crowd sentiments we have, we may agree with the crowd this one time: the Soviets were about as tyrannical as they come. But it is inaccurate call them “statists” or the outcome of “big government.” But we may say that they are the logical outcome of Marxism practically applied, while agreeing with the political scientists who say that they betrayed the original Marxist position, but we would be going to far if we agreed with anyone who says that the Revolution looked nice on paper but just didn’t work out as planned. (The last statement is particularly disgusting; it seems to invite a second attempt.) Instead of focusing on the size of their state, this author takes a different stance: there was no state in the Soviet Union.
The word “state” comes from the Latin status meaning “a manner of standing, position, condition.” In Primitive Indo European it was a root meaning “to stand.” When the word was used to describe government, it began to stand for a supreme political and civil authority. In English today, we use this word interchangably to describe government as well as generally unchanging conditions. Even when we say that something is in a state of disarray, it’s typically assumed that it will stay that way until something or someone intervenes to change the situation into another state.
Revolutionaries have historically identified themselves as members of movements. They may be the relatively mild mannered rights/labor/gender movements we see today, or they could be socialist and anarchist movements. But they all move when they’re in these movements. It makes sense; progress is thought of as a movement toward a better state of being, or more specifically an infinite movement toward infinite perfection. There’s never any stop in the march of progress, it is a continuous process (and needs to be in order for the revolutionary movement to exist – should the leadership become satisfied, a more radical base will grow impatient and take over). Because progress is continuous, these “better states of being” aren’t really lasting conditions, but stepping stones to more bliss. To really get to the point of what I’m saying, a movement is the very antithesis of standing. Every revolutionary cries “peace, peace” but there is no peace, since peace is rest and there can be no rest in an eternal movement. So in the sense of “a manner of standing, position, condition” we can say that revolutions cannot be pro-state.
Answering the claim that revolutions, particularly the one wrought by the Soviets, oppose “supreme political authority” is a little trickier. As Carl Schmitt wrote, “Although the Bolshevist government repressed the anarchists for political reasons, the complex to which the Bolshevist argument actually belongs contains an explicitly anarcho-syndicalist chain of thought.”  In other words, though the Soviets stamped out other revolutionary movements, their identity rested on an anarchist base. For the ideas of Marx, Sorel, Proudhon, and Bakunin to hold the status of sacred texts in the Soviet intellectual system, this system had to fundamentally agree with the revolt against authority contained within these authors. Schmitt writes further, “For Proudhon and Bakunin, anarchism meant a battle against every sort of systematic unity […] The concrete individual, the social reality of life, is violently forced into an all-embracing system.”  When the individual is forced to confront all authority as evil, that individual has become completely anarchic; when that individual is constrained by the logical conclusions of anarchy (i.e. total destruction, total disunity) their intellectual system has grown to become totalizing, totalitarian.
However, we must refrain from calling this intellectual system an “authority.” Nor can we, for long, say that it has “power” over people. Hannah Arendt wrote a piece that explored the differences between the words, power, authority, force, strength, and violence. She said that people use these words as synonyms since we associate them with individuals making other individuals do things, but this is inaccurate because there are different means of persuasion.  To summarize: power is when people act in concert to accomplish goals, authority is an unquestioning recognition of truth, force is “the energy released by physical or social movements”, strength is a quality that relates to the character of a thing or person that’s independent of them, and violence is the instrumental use of physical persuasion.
The Soviets began by dismantling the Czar’s government and establishing syndicalist councils called soviets, which were gatherings of workers. These quickly degenerated and the country fell into a state of social atomization and totalitarianism.
How did this happen? The movement exists as a cohesive unit capable of acting. Internally, at least, the movement has power. It multiplied this power so that it can have the instruments of violence at its will, which it uses by force to get people to think that the intellectual system is an authority. However it is not and cannot be an authority since its basis rests on the ultimate, perpetual questioning of authority. Left to itself, the movement will always consume its own (Stalin always follows Lenin) as this questioning is carried out. With the disintegration of all authority, the violence itself assumes power. Under a system of perpetual surveillance and mass arrests, which were carried out by the movement, social atomization begins to isolate individuals from each other. Anyone can be an informant and so everyone is alone. There is no power, even in the secret police, since no one can act in concert. We are left with nothing but violence and the fear of it, we are left with totalitarianism. What have we learned? It isn’t about the size of your state but the motion of the ocean.
 Schmitt, Carl. The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 1988), 65
 Schmitt, Carl. The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 1988), 67
 Arendt, Hannah. On Violence. (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Publishing Company, 1970), 43-46