Have you ever taken a personality test? I had to take one several years ago as part of an employer’s training program, doing different versions of the Myers-Briggs test and being scored an INTP or an INTJ. My scores for Thinking and Introversion were at extreme ends, I favored my Intuition over my Sensations, but I was on the border when it came to Judging and Perceiving. After several Jordan Peterson podcasts, I finally got curious and took the “Big Five” test, and found I’m super high in Openness (100%), high in Conscientiousness, low in Extraversion, low in Agreeableness, and high in Neuroticism. Reading the analysis, my Big Five personality description is consistent with the Myers-Briggs results. There is an uncanny accuracy in how these tests described who I am–what I’m good at, what I struggle with, how I am in relationships, how I am at work, etc. Of course, I know these tests have been criticized as kind of a grift–like a fortune teller that gets the subject to unwittingly reveal what they hope for in the future. Obviously, the realm of psychology is more art than science, but I believe there’s a lot of value in these tests: the value of better knowing yourself. Take the tests yourself and see what they say.
Self knowledge is the subject of this post. After many long posts on history, economics and politics, and some attempts at fiction, as well as one level-setting post where I discussed myself and the website’s evolution, I want to return to the basic premises I start with as I take this intellectual and creative journey in Armchair Mutineer. In other words, these are the things I know about myself as the author of this website.
Why the Name “Armchair Mutineer”?
My mutiny is against the state and how this society has been constructed and organized. I bristle at anything promoting collectivism, violence, and coercion. I see no reason for outmoded concepts like nationalism, religious devotion, laws regulating individual choices, taxes on private property, policies that solidify racial classifications, etc. But my rebellion is a passive one. I adhere to the Non-Aggression Principle. I dwell in the world as it is, meaning I have to follow the laws imposed upon me by the state and pay the taxes the state demands. There’s far too much cronyism and regulation, but I take part in the economy as it is. I have to publish this website anonymously because I’m a corporate executive with a day job and I want the money. I have bills to pay and want to accumulate capital, so being a full-time activist is not in the cards (at least as of the date of this post).
However, for the time being, I can be free in my expression. For now, I can read, I can explore podcasts and YouTube, I can think, and I can write.
I go with anarchist, voluntarist, and atheist. The “left or right” discussion is a pointless one, just a silly game of branding and labeling, but, that said, obviously I’ve not emerged from the right wing. I want to see the liberal tradition taken to its farthest extent, maximizing the liberty of the individual, so I do not stop at libertarian or classical liberal. I think the future of humanity is not just better off in an anarchist world; I think collectivism will eventually cause the end of humanity as it promotes conflict between groups for the ultimate benefit of the exploitive, sociopathic, power mongers sitting atop collectivist hierarchies. The safer and superior route for all of us is one in which as many individuals as possible enjoy lives of maximum liberty.
I’m aligned with any libertarian, voluntarist, anarcho-capitalist, Randian Objectivists, left-wing libertarian, or right-wing libertarian. In general, I would live in any of the worlds envisioned by their repertoires of belief over the one I live in now. Debates are fine, but I’m bored by the conflicts between pro-liberty organizations, be it the Mises Institute excoriating Reason and Cato, or Randian versus an-cap debates, or trying to impose purity tests on each other. Wouldn’t the energy be better directed at the 95% of the world that doesn’t believe in any of this stuff?
There’s a place for all of these groups as they all contribute to winning converts to the liberty movement: we need policy experts to influence elites, we need legal experts to deal with the law as it is today, we need journalists to provide a counterpoint to the corporate press, we need idealists to provide us with convincing polemics, we need the Libertarian Party as a marketing arm in retail politics, and we need academics to give us intellectual firepower. The state is not going to cease existing overnight; fantasies of “cessation” may end up be worse than what we have now (congratulations, you are now a citizen of the People’s Republic of New York or the Baptist Free State of Alabama). Anarchy is evolutionary and not revolutionary. This is going to be a long game.
There’s a lot of trial and error in something like this. The website’s earlier posts tried to be newsy and journalistic. There were angry posts. There were poorly reasoned points. Worse still, there were inaccuracies. Finally, I’m also learning and I am not afraid to change my mind. So recently I added “BB Regrets” to call out those past shortcomings.
Posts became longer, highly edited, and far more researched. I’ve always had a strange mix of interests: history, futurism, political philosophy, political economy, politics, and economics/finance. All of these topics to be viewed through the lens of an anarchist, voluntarist, and atheist.
The approach is obviously a varied one. There can be long-form essays. There can be academic papers. There can be short-opinion journalism. But fiction…why fiction?
On one hand, I start with the world as it is and history as it happened. In this sense, states and huge collectivist religions played their roles in history and human civilization. My project is not to retcon history to assume away the Federal Reserve and the welfare state. However, on the other hand, in fiction the world’s history could be anything. Going into a fictional universe lets me show and not tell. This aspect of the website is far slower to evolve but will play a central role.