On September 17, 2013 I attended a lunch lecture hosted by the Division of Medical Humanism & Ethics and the University of Louisville Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the Kornhauser Library Auditorium on the campus of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The speaker, Joseph J. Fins, M.D., M.A.C.P., serves as The E. William Davis, Jr., M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College, the chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and the Director of Medical Ethics at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. His talk was entitled Neuroethics and Disorders of Consciousness: When Rights Come to Mind.


Even though I, bizarrely, did not take notes during Dr. Fins’s excellent presentation, the content of his discussion — describing the differences between the oft-confused consciousness disorders (locked-in syndrome vs. minimally conscious state vs. vegetative state vs. persistent vegetative state vs. permanent vegetative state vs. chronic coma) — rapidly entangled in my mind with the Marxist concept of “false consciousness”, which ultimately inspired me to pen this article speculatively diagnosing the disparate cults of non-anarcholibertarians with specific disorders of consciousness.


What are consciousness disorders? Consciousness disorders are disease states exemplified by abnormal access consciousness (A-consciousness, the objective ability to access information in the mind for verbal report, reasoning, or behavioral control) and/or phenomenological consciousness (P-consciousness, the subjective raw awareness of being conscious). Here I briefly define the previously mentioned disorders of consciousness:

  • A locked-in syndrome is technically not a consciousness disorder but, instead, is a condition in which a patient has normal A- and P-consciousness but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes.
  • A minimally conscious state (MCS) is a condition of severely abnormal A- and P-consciousness in which minimal but definite behavioral evidence of self or environmental awareness is demonstrated.
  • A vegetative state (VS) is a condition in which patients with severe brain damage are in a state of partial arousal rather than true awareness (limited A-consciousness, absent P-consciousness).
  • A chronic coma is a condition of unconsciousness (absent A- and P-consciousness) lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli or light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle, and does not initiate voluntary actions.


Which non-anarcholibertarian groups are (un)worthy of diagnosis? I suggest the following groups: classical liberals (variants include minarchists, Objectivists, and members of the Libertarian Party in the United States), left and right anarchists (variants include anarchocommunists, anarchosocialists, and anarchofascists), monarchists (such as Prince Albert II of the Principality of Monaco, King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and mainstream statists (variants include democratic socialists [such as the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the United States], communists, and fascists).


So, if anarcholibertarians have normal A-consciousness and P-consciousness (the baseline assumption), which non-anarcholibertarian cult suffers from which consciousness disorder? After a disturbing amount of thought on this subject, it seems to me that left and right anarchists might be afflicted with locked-in syndrome, classical liberals might be afflicted with MCS, monarchists might be afflicted with VS, and mainstream statists might be afflicted with chronic comas. Why? Because left and right anarchists see the true nature of the State but advocate inappropriate solutions due to ideological incoherence, locked-in syndrome (normal consciousness but paralyzed except for eyes) seems the most appropriate diagnosis. Because classical liberals do not see the true nature of the State and rarely propose libertarianish policies, MCS (severely abnormal consciousness) seems the most appropriate diagnosis. Because monarchists love the State and implement pro-human, just, and wealth-maximizing policies only by accident, VS (limited A-consciousness and absent P-consciousness) seems the most appropriate diagnosis. Because mainstream statists worship the State and loathe humankind, which is evidenced by enthusiastic enactment of anti-human, unjust, and wealth-destroying policies, chronic comas (unconsciousness) seems the most appropriate diagnosis.


In conclusion, non-anarcholibertarians may suffer from varying disorders of consciousness ranging from locked-in syndrome to chronic coma. What is the treatment for these nasty diseases? The only cure is recognition of the true nature of the State.