I recently came across a some additional information about Autarchism on Libertarianism Wiki, and thought I’d adapt some of it here, along with some of my own characterization of the ideology, based on my extensive research and ongoing further development, for those who would like to better understand the Toward Autarchy theme.


Autarchism

Autarchism (from Greek, meaning “belief in self-rule”) is a political philosophy that upholds the principle of individual liberty & self-reliance, rejects compulsory government (statism), and supports the elimination of government in favor of ruling oneself and no other. Advocates of the philosophy are autarchists (from Greek, meaning “one who believes in self-rule”), while the state in which everyone rules themselves and no one else is called autarchy (from Greek αὐταρχία, or autarchia, meaning “state of self-rule”).

Autarchists

Robert LeFevre, founder of the Freedom School in 1956 and Rampart College in 1963, and in the late 1970s co-founded the Rampart Institute, and author of many books including The Fundamentals of Liberty, was a self-proclaimed autarchist. He distinguished autarchy from anarchy, the economics of which he felt entailed interventions contrary to freedom, in contrast to his own laissez faire economics of the Austrian School. In his essay Autarchy Versus Anarchy, he writes:

“…the anarchist philosophy is internally contradictory. It professes a sparkling and shining individualism, at which point I warm to the arguments. Then it advocates some kind of procedure to interfere with the processes of a free market, e.g., elimination of interest and rents; denial of the right of a man to own land, or to own land beyond some stated amount; abolition of profits; placement of management control in the hands of workers through democratic processes conducted within factories, and so on. . .while I agreed with the anarchists on their antagonism to state authority and on the merit and primacy of the individual, I rejected their arguments in other areas. It was my contention that a man must be free to acquire honestly all the property he can or will, to use it or abuse it as he pleases, once it is his; that he must be free to worship as he pleases or not to worship at all; and that the imposition of force upon him when he is peacefully and harmoniously carrying out his own objectives is destructive of the productive and creative capabilities of the individual.”

“Personally, I deplore the negativity implicit in the idea of no rule. All men are ruled by some one or some thing. The implication of no rule is that men are released from all control, all restraint, even all morality, purpose, or responsibility. Such is not desirable. Nor is it possible. As Rose Wilder Lane says in The Discovery of Freedom [: Man’s Struggle Against Authority], All energy operates under control. Whether it be the energy of an electron, a hurricane, or a man, energy is controlled.

“…the idea of no ruler must be applied within a limited framework if it is to have any meaning at all. Realistically, each person rules himself. Anarchy might well imply the absence of self-control, yet even the anarchist controls himself in terms of his own beliefs and aims.

Many persons who think of themselves as anarchists, in the sense that they oppose external political control of their property and actions, are seeking a realistic framework in which they can control their own creative and productive procedures. Many other people deprive themselves of entrance into an area of inquiry which would be inspiring to them because the doorway has been labeled anarchy, which they reject as it is equated in their minds with violence and destruction.”

“Personally, I do not want a condition of no rulership. I want a condition in which each man is the absolute ruler of himself and all he rightfully possesses. If this is desirable, then it follows that I must direct my energies so as not to impose my will on others even though they may be imposing their wills on certain properties not their own, or on persons other than themselves. I must not seek to become their ruler even as I cannot condone their efforts to rule me and what is mine.

If a word can be found to convey the meaning I intend, it must mean self-rule; the absolute sovereignty of the individual over himself and all that belongs to him.

Fortunately, there is such a word. It is autarchy.”

In addition to Lefevre, Ralph Waldo Emerson, though he did not specifically refer to himself as an autarchist, is considered to have espoused autarchy; in his essay Politics, he states:

“Hence, the less government we have, the better, — the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy; the appearance of the wise man, of whom the existing government, is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation. That which all things tend to educe, which freedom, cultivation, intercourse, revolutions, go to form and deliver, is character; that is the end of nature, to reach unto this coronation of her king. To educate the wise man, the State exists; and with the appearance of the wise man, the State expires. The appearance of character makes the State unnecessary. The wise man is the State. He needs no army, fort, or navy, — he loves men too well; no bribe, or feast, or palace, to draw friends to him; no vantage ground, no favorable circumstance.”

In reference to Emerson, Philip Jenkins stated in his book A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES that:

“Emersonian ideas stressed individual liberation, autarchy, self-sufficiency and self-government, and strenuously opposed social conformity”.

And Robert D. Richardson Jr. stated in his book Emerson: The Mind On Fire that the anarchy Emerson had in mind would, in fact, be autarchy:

“He does not mean chaos, of course. A better word for the anarchy Emerson has in mind would be “autarchy,” rule by self. He went on to say “Every man stood on his own feet, was his own governor.”

See also the essay Autarchy, or, the art of self government in a moral essay: in three parts, with the author listed merely as “G.B.,” attributed to George Burghope. [I’ll be adding more to this section at a later time, after acquiring and reviewing the essay.]

My Own Characterization of Autarchism

In my article What Does “Toward Autarchy” Mean?, I wrote the following:

“I believe that Autarchy is a better term than Anarchy, for the simple reason that Anarchy is defined as “no rulers”, which can easily be perceived as people not even ruling themselves—i.e., total lawlessness, violence, chaos and riots in the streets, an unfortunate misperception that we are all familiar with—whereas Autarchy means “self-rule”, which is not so easily misperceived.

In addition, I’ve taken the liberty to expand upon the notion of self-rule to include self-liberation, self-discipline, and self-mastery.

I also believe Autarchy is the only ideology that addresses both sides of the “liberty coin”: the rights/liberty side (which most everyone is eager to talk about), as well as the responsibility/duty side (which, of course, is often ignored).

Further, I use the term “Toward Autarchy” in reference to our progress along both the continuum of personal development—moving away from dependency/addiction and toward self-mastery/enlightenment—and the continuum of freedom across broader society—shifting away from tyranny/slavery and toward liberty/freedom. I believe that our progress (or lack thereof) along the one, greatly influences that of broader society along the other.

That being the case, I’ve come to believe that each individual working to develop and master him- or herself, and then living and leading by example, is the ideal way for all of us to eventually achieve a free, peaceful, and prosperous society.

And this process would of course be incremental in nature; thus, just as we would support any incremental progress “Toward Autarchy” (self-mastery, or self-rule) that each individual manages to achieve, we should also support any incremental shift “Toward Autarchy” (self-rule, or liberty) that broader society manages to achieve.

For more about Autarchism, see the following articles:

What Does “Toward Autarchy” Mean?
The Fundamental Difference Between Anarchist & Autarchists
Toward Autarchy: Back To Basics…Because United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Toward Autarchy: Personal Enlightenment
Toward Autarchy: The Subjective Approach to Interacting With Others
Autarchy: The Balance Between Individual Sovereignty & Collective Cooperation
Thoughts: Autarchy vs. Anarchy, Individuation vs. Individualism, & Addiction vs. Enlightenment

Toward Autarchy on Facebook

And Finally, please “like” my Facebook page Toward Autarchy, to follow my continuing research and development of the ideology.


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