by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

The word “anarchist”, like the word “atheist”, says more about what you are not than what you are. If there were a better word than “atheist” to describe those of us who do not believe in the idea of an almighty, all-seeing, all powerful god, I would like to know it. Perhaps the word “deist”, as was used by some of the early American movers and shakers is not bad — it describes the idea of a “creator”, who having done his/her/its work then went on leave for the universe to work it all out — for eternity. No religion, just a dispassionate uninterested creator who wants to leave us alone.

But the word “anarchist”, in its popular use implies chaos and disorder. “Anarchy” in its other classical use means “without a ruler or king”. I am a peaceful anarchist, a loving anarchist, a person who believes he has one life and it is mine to live as I choose: the concept of self-ownership. I have come to this position after many years of wandering, pondering and learning, so I will share with you this journey.

Perhaps Hans Hoppe’s expression, “private law society”, is a better one — the idea that just as you can choose your brand of toothpaste and supplier of groceries, so might you choose your security and legal services supplier instead of having a government monopolist forced on you.

In the 1960’s finding myself in business with nothing but a minimum pass of Four B’s in the Leaving Certificate, I thought it might be prudent to learn about economics. So I went in to Dymocks book shop, found a big hardcover book with the word “Economics” on the spine and started to read it. Or I tried to read it. It made no sense to me. There were graphs and numbers and formulae and I could not understand it. “Too hard for me, this economics” I thought so I put it own and went on with learning to be a businessman. The book was by Samuelson.

Then in 1970 my brother Andy came back from a trip to America with a book by Harry Browne, How you can Profit from the Coming Devaluation, in which he correctly forecast the devaluation of the American dollar. And there was information in the book, economic information and ideas on individual freedom that made sense. I read another book by Harry Browne and wrote away for some of the books he recommended. These included works by Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Albert J Nock, Henry Hazlitt and more.

I thought I was on to something here. It all resonated and made sense, economically, politically, “spiritually”. But I was lonely and had no friends or fellow travellers on this path on which I had found myself. Then in 1975, a year of political and economic and electoral turmoil in Australia — the Whitlam era — I read an ad for a new political party: The Workers Party. An unlikely name, but the words and ideas resonated and so I went along.

The Workers Party was an unspectacular failure electorally and soon died; but what it had done was coalesce some lonely fellow-travellers and was the beginning of the libertarian movement in Australia.

In 1976 I got a note from Greg Lindsay looking for support for the creation of some sort of institution to explore and propagate the libertarian ideas and I sent him a cheque. Greg was delighted to find he had some support and we become friends and colleagues in The Centre for Independent Studies.

While my strong early influence was Murray Rothbard and his book For a New Liberty, I did not mind whether we had very small government or no government as long as things went in a less-government direction. And there were smarter people than me around — Professors and PhDs — so I put my weight behind Greg and the Classical Liberal views of the CIS. Actually in its early days, the first ten years or so, the CIS was quite radical and libertarian and fun.

CIS became increasingly “successful”, with growing financial support and increasing acceptance by the media and even by some politicians. In those days I thought that if Premiers and Politicians were taking interest, if the press was publishing CIS material, then the outlook was positive for a winding back of the The State.

In the mid 1990’s I started to question my assumptions about increasing apparent acceptance of CIS’s work and ideas: government continued to grow, taxation grew, regulations proliferated — what was going on? The politicians who would hang around CIS at times and who seemed to be “on side” (Bob Carr comes to mind), when they got into a position of power became intent on “politics”, on power, on elections, on tax-and-spend.

And CIS was less fun than it used to be when we were the “lunatic fringe”. We had The Big End of Town in the congregation; they gave nodding assent to the work, and they gave money. If you’re running an organisation with growing approval for your work, with some hungry mouths of academics to feed, you don’t tell them that their hitherto-held beliefs could be wrong. You confirm their beliefs, pass around the plate and urge support. CIS was becoming more and more part of the “establishment”, the Ruling Class.

I had suggested to Greg that a radical wing, a “CIS Extreme”, or a somewhat separated group of young radicals could be created, so as not to rock the “CIS Mainstream” boat, but at the same time attract the Young Turks it was losing, who would in turn have some cross-fertilisation with the “Establishment Conservatives”.

There is an expression “Management vs Enterprise” or “The Entrepreneur vs The Institution”. CIS was now an “institution” and its “management” did not want any boat-rocking entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are disruptive. Management and Institutions do not like disruption in what is so apparently “successful”.

When the GFC came and the political reactions were exactly the opposite of what a libertarian would want, I knew we had failed. Keynes prevailed, The Establishment won, CIS was more concerned with funding than real influence. “The Institution” was focused on its own preservation.

At this time I discovered The Property and Freedom Society and Prof Hans-Hermann Hoppe. When I learnt that Greg Lindsay and the Mont Pelerin Society had a dislike for Hoppe I knew I was on to something. The MPS is the Establishment of the Establishment Conservatives, the precious and self-righteous peak body of the Classical Liberals. They don’t like Rothbard or Hoppe, they tolerate Mises but prefer Hayek, they never mention Tannehill, David Friedman, or Nock. Rand is tolerated but not applauded. At the 2010 MPS meeting in Sydney I was underwhelmed with the content. There was a Panel of Think Tank Industry executives who dispensed to the audience their advice on how to succeed in this Free Market Think Tank Industry. “Succeed” seemed to mean to be like them, despite their failure to have much influence. This panel of “successful think tankers” seemed to be rather smug and self-satisfied. They were the Church Elders.

I have been to three conferences of the Property and Freedom Society in Turkey.

“Read Hoppe and Nothing is the Same”, so says Stephan Kinsella, a scholar at the Mises Institute, who is running a course on Hoppean ideas. Stephan Kinsella is also scholarly in his antipathy to intellectual property rights — patents and copyright law — a construct of The State and a reversion and clinging on to Mercantalist ideas that prevailed a couple of hundred of years ago when The King dispensed privileges.

About eighteen months ago I met Benjamin Marks at a dinner put on by Shaken and Stirred at which I gave this talk — “My Journey to Anarchy”. Benjamin and I clicked and he initiated Economics.org.au, the small weekly e-letter and website where I enjoy writing a weekly essay of ideas — trying to be provocative and controversial. This has been a most enjoyable outlet for me. And the good part is I expect to have no influence, or to change anyone. Any influence I may have had is a bonus. I do it for me. And sometimes I get some applause.

So this has been my journey; I feel now I have “arrived” at a comfortable place, devoid of political questions (if not of political interference). I have a good sense of self-ownership, at least mentally, morally and intellectually, if not physically, financially.

I enjoy practising as much responsible civil disobedience as I think I can get away with, and I choose mostly not to do things that require governments’ permission or approval. For pragmatic reasons I have a Drivers Licence, Passport, pay tax and comply in many ways.

People are very compliant and obedient and submissive. It would take about 5-10% of the population to practice responsible civil disobedience for the non-compliance to become so great that governments could not hope to bring everyone to heal. I emphasise the responsible side of civil disobedience, the important thing being that there are no victims, no injuries or property violations.

I like the words of Henry David Thoreau, the nineteenth century libertarian writer and teacher: “be a good neighbour and a bad subject”.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Holed up, hold-up and holdout
  36. The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
  37. Workers Party Platform
  38. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  39. Singo and Howard on Business
  40. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  41. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  42. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  43. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  44. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  45. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  46. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  47. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  48. The last words of Charles Russell
  49. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  50. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  51. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  52. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  53. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  54. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  55. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  56. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  57. Voices of frustration
  58. Policies of Workers Party
  59. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  60. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  61. Singo and Howard on Context
  62. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  63. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  64. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  65. Singo and Howard on Decency
  66. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  67. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  68. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  69. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  70. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  71. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  72. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  73. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  74. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  75. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  76. Bludgers need not apply
  77. New party formed "to slash controls"
  78. The Workers Party
  79. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  80. The great consumer protection trick
  81. The "Workers" speak out
  82. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  83. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  84. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  85. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  86. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  87. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  88. Singo and Howard on Young People
  89. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  90. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  91. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  92. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  93. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  94. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  95. Political branch formed
  96. Government seen by new party as evil
  97. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  98. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  99. Singo and Howard on Licences
  100. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  101. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  102. Singo and Howard on Voting
  103. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  104. Singo and Howard on Education
  105. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  106. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  107. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  108. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  109. A happy story about Aborigines
  110. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  111. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  112. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  113. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  114. The Discipline of Necessity
  115. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  116. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  117. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  118. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  119. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  120. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  121. The impossible dream
  122. Why can't I get away with it?
  123. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  124. Time for progress
  125. The loonie right implodes
  126. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  127. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  128. Censorship should be banned
  129. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  130. John Singleton on Advertising
  131. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  132. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  133. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  134. John Singleton defends ockerism
  135. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  136. The Census Con
  137. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  138. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  139. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  140. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  141. John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
  142. John Hyde's Progress Party praise
  143. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  144. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  145. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  146. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  147. Save Parramatta Road
  148. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  149. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  150. Singo and Howard on Unions
  151. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  152. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  153. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  154. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  155. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  156. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  157. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  158. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  159. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  160. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  161. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  162. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  163. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  164. The mouse will roar
  165. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  166. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  167. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  168. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  169. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  170. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  171. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  172. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  173. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  174. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  175. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  176. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  177. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  178. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  179. Product innovation comes first
  180. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  181. A party is born
  182. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  183. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  184. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  185. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  186. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  187. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  188. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  189. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  190. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  191. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  192. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  193. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  194. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  195. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  196. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  197. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  198. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  199. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  200. Return Australia Post to Sender
  201. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  202. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  203. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  204. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  205. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  206. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  207. Gortlam rides again
  208. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  209. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  210. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  211. Singo asks two prickly questions
  212. VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
  213. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  214. Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
  215. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  216. An Ode to Busybodies
  217. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  218. How many tits in a tangle?
  219. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  220. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  221. A speech from the Titanic
  222. A crime must have a victim
  223. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  224. Minimum wages the killer
  225. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  226. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  227. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  228. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  229. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  230. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  231. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  232. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  233. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  234. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  235. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  236. New improved moon
  237. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  238. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  239. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  240. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  241. John Singleton schools ad course
  242. John Singleton: advertising awards
  243. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  244. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
  245. John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare
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