Last Updated: June 25, 2006
Wolf DeVoon is an interesting character even by anarcho-libertarian standards. He is equal parts scholar and activist. Wolf is also a free man in both theory and in practice, which is very rare.
He has at different times graduated college, attended law school, produced articles, books, and films, been personally ostracized by Ayn Rand and received critical praise for his insightful work and writing in the field of natural law and moral philosophy. He is also very funny, sarcastic, and a pleasure to read. Unlike many scholars of the anarcho-libertarian movement, he has eschewed a safe and easy sinecure at a webzine, think-tank, or a position on a university faculty.
Instead Wolf has written, experienced, succeeded and failed at trying to move the concept and practice of individual liberty from the treatises and novels and into the actual world. For all his efforts, I am personally very grateful. Most of Wolf's writing has been on the web, and so given the Internets' s ephemeral nature, has been scattered about. My goal here is to round it all up in one place on the web so it will be available to scholars, activists, and the intellectually curious. It is not all-inclusive so if you know of an article, forum or blog posts by or about Wolf, or anything else of note, please send it to me and I will include it here if possible.
Please send e-mail here.
Page 1 Ali Massoud's introduction to DeVoon's life, work, and some biographical details. Also his latest articles.
Page 2 Here you will find DeVoon's drama, fiction, filmography, and a list of every job he has ever had.
Page 3 DeVoon's Laissez Faire City Times Articles published from 1997-2001.
Deeds, Not Words
Get out of America now. While you can. Really.
"I'm an adjuring devil of sorts. I warned you to flee six years ago, three years ago, and finally a few months ago. I pleaded that you should think of and for yourself; to cash out and scram with your libertarian loved ones; to find a quiet rural homestead as far as possible from the United Snakes and its crowded, snarling, crime-ridden cities. There is no joy in guessing the horror that awaits you in Los Angeles or Detroit when the crash comes, as it must, a day or an hour after the first mushroom cloud rises from the Persian mainland or perhaps the Potomac."
A short exposition on what "help" a person actually needs and why.
"Even my worst decisions turned out well in the long run. I sleep the sleep of the just -- about three hours or so with nightmares of prison, vicious ex-girlfriends, hallways and elevators that go nowhere, guns that jam, thugs who win, always pursued and outnumbered, doomed to failure. I wake and listen to the radio or watch TV, count the days remaining and symptoms of declining health, then drift off again. On a good night, I harvest two or three tumultuous escapades."
The Architecture of Liberal Democracy
"Perhaps my understanding of liberal democracy seems odd, since there no longer exists an example of free and equal society under law. The United States betrayed its legacy of liberty. Corporate graft, political horse trading, reckless military adventures, and paternal regulation of private conduct voided the U.S. Constitution repeatedly. All that remains today is democracy without liberty, without common law, without recourse to equity or fixed principles of justice. Our courts no longer examine the merits of a case. They strictly apply statutes and precedents. Public officials and legislatures are deemed irresponsibly, unchallengeably sovereign. Individual Americans are no longer free and equal as a matter of right. Money talks, but nothing trumps pork barrel deficit spending and hand on heart bipartisan flag-waving." (pdf)
The Meaning of Liberty
"No one has a right to your happiness except you. Emotional hostages do not grow, transcend, build, nurture, or make fresh discoveries. They are imprisoned in the past. If there is any plausible merit in Jefferson's right of revolution and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, surely it's an inalienable individual right to judge what constitutes one's joy and to shamelessly seek it. That's the core purpose of Jeffersonian separation of church and state. If you put clerics in power, the pursuit of individual happiness is kaput.."
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
"Living free has its awkwardnesses. It offers almost zero leverage to project power and influence. No power to raise an army. Insufficient influence to force a billion Catholics to utter slightly different magic words."
"Big surprise, admirers of non-aggression end up endorsing coercive government. Their agenda is peace through institutionalized repression, no different than Hobbes or Hitler. The NAPsters comprise an impressive majority, spanning Islam, Christianity, Anglo-American democracy, and Austrian economics. What's wrong with this picture?"
The Freeman's Constitution
"Lasting political change is possible, and that we can create new institutions, in particular a public legal system without a state, comprised of private law courts whose organization is left mainly in the hands of practicing lawyers. I know that doesn't sound fair, because it treats law as the privileged domain of those skilled in the art. But if you banned the practice of medicine because doctors dominated its science, I don't think you'd be very pleased with the result."
The Rule of Law
"The rule of law has nothing to do with a sovereign state, except in the narrow sense that such states exist and when they comply with the rule of law they are viewed as 'legal persons' (litigants)possessed of competent legal standing to sue or be sued with the presumption of innocence, no greater or lesser in legal character than a single infant child. States are checked by asserting your personal right to freedom and justice -- i.e., constitutional legal rights that no state may lawfully abridge."
"We distinguish human rights as a set of natural liberties belonging in justice to mankind, and only to mankind, because the human understanding is a function of individual effort and a long series of self-determined choices in the conduct of one's life."
The All-Purpose Illustrated Guide to Female Women
.. Is sexist, politically incorrect, ribald, risque, scandalous and even pornographic. Or so say some bluenose types. Anyhow, after much soul-searching and trial and error the DeVoon Archive is now making it available to the public again as a pdf document. It is a monumental work coming in at just under 130 standard print pages so be patient whilst waiting for it to download and open, okay? This especially applies to you folks with dial-up connections. From the APIGFW:(pdf)
" MDFs will forgive an amazing amount of stupidity if you do two things fairly consistently: (1) Never fake reality; and (2) Never 'toy' with her. Reality is real, and the only way you can function successfully in life is to make a good-faith effort to grasp and act on what's real. If you love her, tell her so. If you don't, say so. If you're bored, be bored. Her love and respect depend on your willingness to be absolutely candid. Believe me, this is the only way to get what you want (which is primarily to jump her bones on your terms). It is not necessary to be in love with her, or to make a ton of money, or to be exceptionally polite. Women don't fall in love with 'nice guys'; they want a Real Man."
The Hardest Part of Making "Nice Girl"
DeVoon tells us everything he knows about love, sex, and movies. Everything he knew in 1987, anyhow.
"In fact, women are more inclined to smile at the ugliest and most morally incompetent speicmens of makind -- at the former, because their hearts automatically go out to them in sympathy, and the latter because everyone loves a rogue. Being neither, I learned early in life that I do not inspire female approval. I get a vacant glance occasionally, and that's about it."
When to Speak About Religion, in Public or Private?
Here's the bottom line. Voltaire was deemed a heretic and forced into exile for publishing a paper in which he observed that the London Exchange had among its members Jews, Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Protestants, and unbelievers who were bitter religious 'enemies' but traded with one another every day, all day long, because they never discussed or took notice of each other's religion. Commercial markets work best with a wide margin of toleration. At every high tech company in Silicon Valley, you'll find Chinese, Hindus, Christians, and Brights working side by side as colleagues. Religion is not an issue in the workplace (not even in Hollywood).
How to Be A Bum
"Being a bum is difficult and dangerous work. This is why the whole world urges you to be comfortable and prosperous, instead of being a bum. Family, friends, government agencies, neighbors -- everybody wants you to be something other than a bum. They help you to go to school, meet important people, find a job, continue your education, pay your bills on time, and acquire as much stuff as possible (houses, cars, straight teeth, mutual funds, trips to Mexico and a new computer)." Living on your own terms will not make you very popular with friends or family.
10 Nice Things About Directing
An essay from Wolf DeVoon on the creative process.
"Although it would appear that cash, resumes and nice clothes would give an advantage, it is my experience that the world automatically distrusts any film promoter wearing $500 suits, and automatically respects a scruffy-looking Artist. The key to success is the story vehicle and production package you are proposing. They want to know what's in your heart, not your wallet, and how you intend to shoot it, not the list of names you can drop. You will be judged as an artist and a technician, not as a showpiece of social grooming."
Walking to Ayrshire
Wolf shares his insight and his bile while hoofing it to the nearest airport in order to flee a untenable situation.
"I don't care any more about justice. I'm satisfied that justice cannot go out of existence. It's manufactured by consequence, implicit in every word and deed. It's deaf to our dissembling lies, except as a bullshit detector. Motives are nothing. There are five billion people in the world, with five billion dead and five more on the way. If you feel entitled to take hostages, try taking somebody else. I don't want to play. My loyalty is to myself from now on. If you force the issue, I'm prepared to fight for freedom and I have no inclination to fight fair in defense of liberty. Consider yourself warned."
The 95 Targets-A Modest Proposal to Trim World Population by One Percent
DeVoon decides to usher humanity into the Age of Reason no matter what it takes. (And yes it's a satire.)
"If our program seems terrifying, you do not understand history. Tens of millions died in World War I and World War II. Millions die each year from disease and poverty, inflicted on them by corrupt government and evil madmen. Since my basic proposal is to trim world population by only one percent (the evil one percent in government), it is no worse than the horrors perpetrated by Adolph Hitler and FDR, Pol Pot and Richard Nixon, Sani Abacha and Oliver North, who used the same stupid rationale every time. They killed tens of millions of peasants and condemned hundreds of millions to slavery. By comparison, I'm giving every peasant ample warning in advance. It is not necessary for anyone to die or starve to death. All we want are your tabernacles. The Age of Religion, source of human misery, is over."
The Power of Creativity
"In terms of pure creativity, an ignorant savage is better equipped to face the black Unknown than a trained scientist. Where a scholar would see recurring patterns and well-known phenomena, at least an idiot devoid of knowledge has an even chance of creation. Ignorance may never be blissful, but it certainly multiplies the probability of creation. When you consider that all religion, fable, mythology, art and romance arose from human creativity, in the absence of or in contradiction to known fact, the Unknown seems indifferent, at best, to wisdom. The fastest way to stop someone from playing with matches is to cite 'conventional wisdom.' "
Flag, Faith, and Family Values
"Legendary tough guys like Winston Churchill saw the wisdom of guarding and nurturing little ones: "There is no more far-seeing investment for a nation than to put milk, food and education into young children. If you add to that respect for law, knowledge of the traditions of the country and love of freedom, you have at any rate the foundations of national survival," he told the Carlton Club in 1939, just two months before war was declared and Britain's national survi val was sorely tested."
A letter to a friend.(pdf)
"Let's say that infants and animals need help because I loathe suffering, and I advocate capitalism because it is the most humane social system. If it were the law of the land to save drowning mice, no doubt I would be campaigning for a Deluge to thwart law-enforcement. I privately chose to save one mouse on one occasion in my own kitchen. As goofy as it is, that's the moral meaning of capitalism and private liberty. You do as you please with your own mice."
"...at home there is no imam to supervise your piety, no gang of thugs at your back, no faceless victim to clean up your spilled milk or to berate with newly imagined grievances. In private, you are intimately and exclusively confronted by the only person you have a right to obey or resent: yourself. Privacy is the situational source of all growth, improvement, education and morality. It is the fountainhead of art. It is the workshop of philosophy."(pdf)
The Case for Anarchy
" It does not connote social chaos or general lawlessness. It does not imply ownership in common. The crucial, defining characteristic of anarchy is the abolition of one particular institution -- an allegedly "sovereign" government that claims a legal right to impose its will upon private citizens."
What Right to Exist?
"My own take on this is that the State of Israel has clearly forefeited whatever claim it once had to lawfully exist. No state can be allowed to assert "undefined borders," and no state validates itself by waging war on a subjugated and disenfranchised ethnic enclave. I cannot condemn people who blow themselves up -- an act of final, irrational despair against an unbeatable foe." (pdf)
A Writer's Temple
"I did very little to achieve possession of a writer's temple. You can set one up for about 30 cents, and it's completely portable. I've carried this particular temple around the planet with me for the better part of two decades. It fits with any decor (although a bare room is best). Here are the specs:" (pdf)
A Public Person
"There's nothing worse than being the center of attention, nonstop 10-12 hours every day, three days a week, week after week, welcoming a stream of admirers who traveled five or ten thousand miles to meet me." (pdf)
"But I'm certain of two things. I am not female. And I love music." (pdf)
Life is complicated sometimes. (pdf)
"I'm not thinking of the meek, who never rise to the challenge, who end up in the back row with their heads bowed, subsisting on crumbs and begging for forgiveness. I'm thinking of you and me --- average guys in the middle of the pack, joining a footrace already in progress, with Al Gore and Ted Turner way out in front. This is the situation most people are in. You have two arms, two legs, a second-class brain and a burning desire to succeed. If you were born in America, the struggle for survival is a solved problem. If you were born in Western Europe, the struggle for survival has been temporarily postponed by a feat of public finance prestidigitation. Five or six years from now, who knows? --- but it's a cinch you won't have to face the horrors of homelessness in Sao Paulo or medical care in Kinshasa. The fact that you're surfing the Web speaks volumes. Your physical survival is not in jeopardy, sonny. You're in the running, and the question is purely an issue of greed." (pdf)
The Practical Problems of Happiness
"Although it's tempting to say that happiness is produced in concert -- i.e., a glow of romance or social intercourse -- I think the root of it taps a personal quest. For the man who wants nothing in particular is never satisfied, and the man who wants a preposterously selfish result is never satisfied with anything less. I have been both. I suspect that the arc of life implies both, because we begin as ignorant children, and it takes time to discern which pinnacle is personally mine to renounce as an impossible dream. Happiness, of course, is getting that which was forbidden forever and then suddenly, incredibly mine!"