Anarcho-Tyranny in 2022

How the Regime uses Disorder to control society

“Sheep do not need to fight for themselves; they have shepherds who do it for them, until the day comes when the shepherds lead their sheep to slaughter.”
— Sam Francis

Over the last few years we’ve witnessed race-obsessed discourse, rationalized mob violence, endless rioting, calls for “defunding the police,” government-enabled criminality, the innocents criminalized, and other bewildering developments. One is tempted to blame it all on collective psychosis or a sort of social pathology that defies internal logic and fundamental order.

But there is an underlying logic at work. In unleashing havoc on communities and in punishing those who confront it, the ruling class is executing a political strategy — a combination of anarchy and tyranny, captured under the term anarcho-tyranny — i.e. a method of oppression that strengthens their power and targets political enemies.

The term ‘anarcho-tyranny’ was coined in the 1990s by Samuel Francis, who argued it reconciled civil disorder with oppressive government. As he wrote, anarcho-tyranny is “the combination of oppressive government power against the innocent and the law-abiding and, simultaneously, a grotesque paralysis of the ability or the will to use that power to carry out basic public duties such as protection or public safety.” A follower of James Burnham, Francis believed that the “managerial revolution” established the sociological, economic, and cultural conditions for anarcho-tyranny. He emphasized our dependence on bureaucrats and experts, which resulted in a “managed pacification” and the “usurpation of previous autonomous social functions.” Anarcho-tyranny as a natural outgrowth of modern bureaucracy. Bureaucrats engineer a “fake problem” to perform “fictitious functions” to “foster the illusion that the state is doing its job.”

Anarcho-tyranny is at its clearest in criminality and law enforcement. When crime is a leading public concern, civil authorities will “change subtly the definition of crime by expanding it to include the innocent and the law-abiding, and to avoid any serious challenge to real criminals.” This functions by creating easy targets to prove that they are “doing something,” while leaving alone the real criminals, thus forming a feedback loop: “The anarchy that anarcho-tyranny breeds thus serves as the rationale for the tyranny it builds.”

The anarcho-tyranny of Francis’ days however has morphed into something more sinister. The pacification, the feedback loop, the fake problems, and the targeting of innocents remain, but the relation of anarchy and tyranny has evolved into a method to oppress political enemies.


Anarcho-tyranny is not a political ‘system’ like ‘anarcho-capitalism’ or ‘anarcho-syndicalism’. The anarchical element is not itself anarchist. Rather, this element refers to the space made available for lawless destruction, harassment, and violence.

Anarcho-tryanny is better understood, or defined, as a method of oppression in which a political regime facilitates civil disorder, and uses social and state power to pathologize or criminalize any independent resistance to that disorder in order to terrorize its political enemies and to manipulate the rest into supporting the regime and its political goals.

Stated simply, the Regime uses disorder (anarchy) to terrorize its opponents and uses state power to protect the anarchical element and to crush any resistance to disorder (tyranny). This oppression serves the regime’s political and social goals. Disorder, in other words, is a feature, not a bug, of the system.

Since this method requires a disorderly element, there must be a group of people willing to be disorderly on their own initiative. Disorder itself cannot be the official policy of the Regime; for if it were, the anarchic element would be de jure state actors. Their disorderly conduct must be self-willed. The ruling class can then deny responsibility for the disorder, while at the same time maintaining the background conditions for it. The best anarchic element is an aggrieved minority. This allows the ruling class to frame the disorder with measured positivity and redirected blame.

In the United States, this anarchic element is composed largely of black Americans. For complex reasons, blacks in America, considered as a group, are reliable sources for criminality, and their criminality increases when constraints diminish. Despite being around 13% of the US population, blacks have consistently committed over 50% of the homicides for decades, and it is getting worse. In 2020, according to the FBI stats, blacks committed nearly 57% of all known murders. Even the left admitted that the “Ferguson Effect” — the theory that negativity toward police reduces “proactive policing” and, in effect, increases crime — is likely true. Less constraint means more crime.

As Heather Mac Donald reports, murders increased by nearly 37% in 2020 among large to medium-sized cities. Mac Donald quotes a police lieutenant from the Minneapolis Police Department: “Proactive police work is dead.” Murder in Minneapolis increased by 72%. In addition, over the last couple years, as district attorneys have declined to prosecute low-level crime, a string of thefts, including smash-and-grab robberies, have occurred across the country, especially in San Francisco and in Chicago. Not to mention of course the Black Lives Matters riots of 2020.

There is more to the story of black criminality, but what is important here is that black Americans, considered as a group, are more willing to conduct certain types of public disorder (violence, petty theft, vandalism, looting, rioting, etc.) when constraints are reduced. For this reason, they serve as the anarchic element of anarcho-tyranny in the United States.

The members of the Regime — bureaucrats, politicians, philanthropists, celebrities, academics, journalists, pundits, and corporate executives who exercise social, economic, cultural, and discursive power — are of course not themselves disorderly. They instead present themselves as the aristocratic class, full of manners, civility, goodwill, and discipline. Nonetheless, they are responsible for creating the anarchic background conditions that make disorder possible. Their job is to facilitate the disorder, usually in two general and mutually supporting ways: by encouraging it, and by removing barriers to it. The Regime encourages disorder mainly through discourse, viz., in the ways that they talk about the disorder and the people conducting it.

Example: when a white person does something to non-whites, immediately the incident is framed in terms of racial groups (i.e. an oppressor group doing something to an oppressed group). When non-whites do something to whites (and the incident cannot be ignored) on the other hand, the incident is instead framed not in terms of groups but as an isolated incident, i.e., as an incident between non-racialized individuals.

It is this racialized discourse that permits the Regime to make several rhetorical moves. By selectively ignoring, downplaying, or rationalizing public disorder, almost immediately after any incident, the regime assumes a particular narrative, depending on the demographics involved. Any condemnation of non-white behavior is qualified with demands that we “understand,” have “sympathy,” “listen,” or recognize white “complicity.” Condemnation to the “oppressors” or the “system” is redirected. Rioting becomes “righteous rage.” Vandalism is downplayed and theft seen as simply “property damage.” Those who are quick to condemn, recognize patterns, or state statistical facts, finally, are the racists.

The discourse around the 2020 events is a shining example of such principles in action. Think of the infamous “fiery but mostly peaceful protests” statement while a building was literally being set on fire behind the MSNBC reporter. Or when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex tweeted that “the whole point of protesting is to make (sic.) ppl uncomfortable”; the list goes on: the widely shared 2020 Vox article (though originally run in 2016) titled, “Riots are destructive, dangerous, and scary — but can lead to serious social reforms,” whose subtitle reads: “To prevent violent uprisings and protests, we need to take their causes seriously”; Slate calling rioting a “proportionate response” claiming that “destroying a police precinct is a reasonable reaction.” Rolling Stone publishing an article (in both 2014 and 2020) asking the readers to “rethink property destruction”; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying “People will do what they do,” commencing on the BLM mob tearing down of statues; Nikole Hannah-Jones famously denying that property destruction is violence; “Please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful” (Chris Cuomo), and finally NPR running a feature on the book literally titled In Defense of Looting.

The most recent example though is perhaps the media’s response to the Waukesha massacre, in which Darrell Brooks (who is black) plowed into a Christmas parade with his SUV, killing six white people, including two children. Despite an accessible video of the incident clearly showing Brooks accelerating into formations of parade participants, the news media repeatedly framed the event as an “accident,” with the Washington Post and New York Times blaming the “SUV,” failing to mention that Brooks on his social media promoted violence against white people and rapped about “yeh we terrorists” and being “killers in the city.” Only a week after the incident, US Senators from Wisconsin issued a statement requesting that people stop talking about Waukesha, claiming that doing so constitutes “exploiting” the incident for “political purposes.” (They of course made no such request on behalf of Kenosha following the incidents involving Jacob Blake or Kyle Rittenhouse.)

But discourse only indirectly encourages disorder. Rioters, looters, and criminals in general are not cued by the news media. The discourse just clears the way for the principal facilitator of disorder, namely, by removing barriers to it.

District attorneys are crucial to this effort. Using “prosecutorial discretion,” DAs drop or reduce charges, or they outright refuse to prosecute certain low-level offenses. Chesa Boudin, the district attorney for San Francisco, campaigned on refusing to prosecute “victimless crimes.” The result is a San Francisco inundated with crime. Almost daily you can encounter a new video on social media showing thieves ripping items off shelves in broad daylight.

Then there’s of course the campaign to “defund the police,” which has gutted important proactive policing programs, such as plainclothes officers and “stop-and-frisk” policies. Negative rhetoric towards police and hastiness to prosecute officers have led to the Ferguson Effect across the country. Lawmakers, judges, and prosecutors have set low bail requirements, endangering the public. Just two days before the Waukesha massacre, Milwaukee’s district attorney, John Chisholm, set bail for Brooks at $1,000 for allegedly running over his child’s mother with his car.

Celebrities and politicians, meanwhile, have encouraged the public to donate money to bail protesters out of prison, most notably then-VP Kamala Harris encouraging her followers to “chip in” to an organization that posts bail for rioters. Celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo, Seth Rogan, and Steve Carrell also donated at the time, just to name a few.

The list goes on and on…

When disorder arrives in a community and civil authorities fail or refuse to restore order, private citizens instinctively want to act independent of civil authority to restore order. Imagine an old Western sub-genre in which a community finds the courage to defend and free itself from the roving bandits that terrorize their community only to have the federal government step in and confiscate everyone’s weapons or hauls off anyone who confronts the bandits. This is the tyranny side of modern anarcho-tyranny.


The Pentland case, or Kyle Rittenhouse’s and Jake Garder’s for that matter, is a good example of anarcho-tyranny. A man, acting independent of official authority — an authority either unable or unwilling to deal with disorder — confronts an individual in his neighborhood displaying potentially dangerous behavior and he attempts to pressure the unruly man out of the community. But instead of dealing with the man terrorizing the community, the authorities target the protector. By nationalizing the news, the Regime has effectively sent a message to all white men: you cannot confront disorder in your neighborhood; you must trust the authorities, even when the authorities do nothing.

The twin action of anarcho-tyranny — facilitating disorder while using power to deny any opposition to it — creates a unique type of terror in communities. One has to fear not only the criminality but one’s own natural instinct to set things to order, to protect what is one’s own. It forces helplessness upon a community and pathologizes masculinity. As Sam Francis puts it: “In anarcho-tyranny we are habituated to an entirely passive role in securing our protection from criminals.”

Humiliation is the point. Subjected to criminality, deemed criminals for opposing it, and forced to “trust” in the authorities. It’s like a dark comedy. But what is the purpose of this terror?

Though several motivations are likely at work, the prevailing purpose is to undermine our sense of place; the feeling that this is mine and this community is ours. Masculine independency and self-willed action for oneself and one’s community is deemed dangerous, obsolete: a pathology. Under attack is the felt sense of owned space. A pacification of spirit and of self-assured presence, and the suppression of self-respect and the will to face danger by one’s own resolve. After being pacified, our feeling of place is stripped from us, our resources extracted, and our will to live smothered. As the professor said above, the “protection of whites or white property” is part of the “hubris of whiteness”. Displacing the heart from place is essential to eradicate whiteness and to achieve justice. 

The principal target of anarcho-tyranny, in terms of manipulation, is of course the affluent, white, female liberal (AWFL). Oddly enough, these women typically live in urban areas, the very places where criminality has terrorized communities. How does more crime, encouraged and permitted by Democrats, bring more women to vote for Democrats? To a pathological degree, these women affirm that whites are to blame for negative non-white behavior. That is, they are most susceptible to the discourse, as listed above. This is evident from the countless articles addressed to white women about being “better allies” and acknowledging that they have “benefited from white male patriarchy.” 

One would think that the people most affected by the regime’s facilitated disorder — black people — would rebel against this Regime, recognizing that they bear the brunt of the facilitated violence, vandalism, and destruction. But, for whatever reason, Blacks are and remain the most reliable Democratic voters, even after Democratic policies have wrecked their neighborhoods. The Regime, therefore, can encourage and remove barriers to disorder and gain more support from those most affected by it.

Anarcho-tyranny is but one part of a broader project, largely motivated by a ‘feminine’ version of egalitarianism. Since the Regime perceives white men as animated by constructs of rugged individualism and natural hierarchy formation — that is, capable of agonistic self-organization — it must ‘pacify’ white men by eliminating independent agency and suppressing competitive, spontaneous coordination. This supposedly ensures a “fair” and “cooperative” system of organization. All of life is thus subjected to credentialism, institution-conferring “expertise,” risk-aversion, and strict rules of conduct that disincentivize masculine, competitive expression. In the end, men can succeed only if they are effeminate or female-adjacent (viz., they participate under feminine terms) and tip-toe around the authorities constructed to maintain feminine space.

There is no doubt that Americans are currently living under anarcho-tyrannical conditions. The situation only worsens by the day. In response, we can vote for strong district attorneys, police chiefs, and sheriffs who resist lies. But if they want to defeat such Regime, Americans must come together first as fellow neighbors, resist the pacifying forces of our day and refuse to live by lies — especially lies about ourselves. As Edmund Burke said, “Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy.”

Stephen Wolfe is a postdoctoral fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.

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