Adam Kokesh, a veteran of the Iraq War turned journalist and activist, has just been arrested in Texas. This is not Adam’s first arrest. As an outspoken journalist who has made his career speaking out against the immorality of government and committing public acts of civil disobedience, he’s been locked in a cage more times than I can even name. You can see many of them on the internet. I’ve seen him cuffed on three separate occasions, each time for a non-violent offense in which there was no victim. Once it was just for dancing! Another time he got arrested for being at a pro-cannabis event where tons of people all sparked up joints in a park to protest the stupidity of criminalizing a plant. The crazy thing is that Adam didn’t even touch a joint and had no cannabis on his person that day– he was simply arrested because he is a prominent figure who happened to be there.
This latest arrest, however, may carry heavier consequences than his previous run-ins with the law. According to Jail Records Search, he has been charged with possession of controlled substances (three counts) and tampering with evidence.
The entire arrest, which took place on the highway while Adam was driving his RV, was recorded. Adam stays totally cool and chats casually with the officers. They actually pulled him over twice, letting him go after the first stop, but then coming after him again with a canine team.
We can speculate that his semi-celebrity status and long record of defiance of the illegitimate government caught the attention of the authorities after the first stop, and they mobilized quickly to get him again, assuming (from his support of legalizing cannabis) that he’d be carrying something. It’s also relevant to note that Adam had, only an hour or so before his arrest, officially announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party presidential run in 2020. His platform is “Adam for Not President,” with the claim that he’s only running for this position so that he can abolish the federal government completely. More on that later.
Whether or not he was actually carrying criminalized substances is totally irrelevant, in my view. I don’t doubt he was. The point is that he harmed no one and yet still he is locked up. Unacceptable. We live in a society that puts innocent people in jail while war criminals responsible for the deaths of millions hold positions of power and influence in society.
I first heard of Adam back when he had an RT show called Adam vs. The Man, and I met him in person for the first time in Mexico, at the Anarchapulco conference. He invited me out to his homestead in Arizona, which I visited later that year. I wrote about that experience here on Permagora, following with an article about proof of jurisdiction, a concept that I learned about from Adam’s struggle with the county where he resides.
Whether it concerns the development of a homestead or traveling down the road with some plants or mushrooms, the real issue here is whether or not the state (or county, or nation) has any right to interfere with the lives of peaceful people who have harmed no one. Violating the mandates of self-proclaimed authorities has become synonymous (in the minds of far too many people) with the concept of crime, to the point where most people would simply shrug and say, “well he shouldn’t have broken the law.”
But how, I ask you now, did the state/government come to be in this position of power, where they hold all our lives in their hands? Where did they get the right to rule us? From whence is their authority derived? The deeper you dive into this idea, the harder it is to actually pinpoint the difference between legitimate rule of law and exploitation by violent gangsters. In the old days, the authority of the state was justified by the concept of the divine right to rule. God chose kings to carry out his will on earth. This idea is laughable now, but the source of the modern state’s authority is equally absurd. Some dudes in wigs wrote out a document in fancy cursive, and because of that, the state has authority to levy taxes, draft the youth into wars, and lock people in cages for not following their mandates.
Something that is important to remember is that hardly anyone advocating the voluntaryist philosophy is claiming that there is no such thing as real law, or that people should free to do whatever they want without consequence. Crime is real. Non-consensual violence, murder, and rape are crimes. Even in a completely anarchist society, prohibitions against these acts would be enforced, by whatever form of organizational bodies have been created by the affected communities. Locking people in cages may not be the best way to deal with crime, but it may well be justified sometimes, if for no other reason than keeping dangerous people away from others. The critical distinction is that such drastic forms of reprisal are only justified when an actual crime has been committed. To have a crime, there must be a victim, not just a self proclaimed authority whose preferences have been defied. If a group of people tasked with administering the affairs of any given community decide that they don’t want anyone to wear yellow, and I wear yellow anyway, what are they going to do about it? If they send armed enforcers after me to abduct me and lock me in a cage, then they are a government, their society not consensual and their rule illegitimate. The truth is, no legitimate body of administrators would make rules or laws over something so arbitrary.
The difference between rules and agreements can be difficult to define, but the non-aggression principle is the root of all legitimate agreement making. If someone can demonstrate that harm is being done to them, the community is then obligated to intervene, perhaps to make an arrest and issue a judgment. How that process looks is up to each community to work out. But if no harm is done, no state/community involvement can be justified.
The non-aggression principle is simple enough to understand, and most people live by it in their day to day lives, but when we attempt to apply it to society as a whole, it becomes very difficult to see the notion through to its conclusion. It’s an ongoing conversation, and there are certainly obstacles to undoing the centuries of rule by force to which humanity has been subjected. This is the work of the voluntaryist community, and Adam Kokesh has long been a leading voice in that conversation. His arrest is but one of thousands, if not millions, of the same ilk. More people than I care to even think about are wasting their lives in jail over stupid laws that protect no one, and our society is far worse for it. It’s time we stand up to the illegitimate authorities that impose these atrocities on us.
As for Adam, I don’t know what will happen with him. He’s scheduled to speak at Anarchapulco again next month, though he might not be liberated from his imprisonment by then. For those who want to support Adam, you can contribute to his legal fund. For those who would like to learn more about Adam’s work, you can check out The Freedom Line, where you can find a free copy of his book Freedom, which he wrote while in jail for yet another victimless “crime.”
When Adam announced that he'd be running for president (or not president), he took some flak from the anarchist community, in which government is universally held to be illegitimate and changing the system from within is not generally considered to be a viable option. I certainly wouldn't run for president, even if I thought I could win, but I think Adam is at least in a position to make a ruckus and reach lots of people, bringing powerful ideas to the conversation in the otherwise fairly conventional scene of party politics. Just as Ron Paul made an enormous impact on the country during his presidential run, introducing voluntaryist ideas to millions, I think there is something to be said for getting into puppet show, even if there's no hope of winning. To learn more about Adam’s run for (not) President, check out his page. Much love to all the people out there fighting for freedom!