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Interview: Libertarian ants and statist cockroaches

Stephen Aaron Grey: His debut novel Ant Farm, to be released on August 30, addresses many contemporary issues primarily, though not exclusively, from a libertarian perspective.
Stephen Aaron Grey: His debut novel Ant Farm, to be released on August 30, addresses many contemporary issues primarily, though not exclusively, from a libertarian perspective.

There are many ways of communicating the libertarian message of freedom to people who may have given it little thought. One way is to describe their current status as little more than mindless worker ants in a colony ruled by statist cockroaches.

But suppose the ants rebel against their enslavement? What would that be like?

Stephen Aaron Grey addresses that question in his book Ant Farm: A Novel About What’s Bugging Society, on sale August 30. Described as a re-imagining of George Orwell's classic Animal Farm Grey sets out to explore "political and social issues from a bug's eye view."

Grey studied cinema and world religions in college, has worked as the international nightclub DJ "Freaky Flow" and is now an author. Libertarian News Examiner went looking for more in this exclusive interview.

You seem to be a Jack-of-Many-Trades. What else do you have on your resume?

Well, between DJ-ing several times a month in different cities, and writing and recording music (all under my "Freaky Flow" moniker), plus writing this book, I don’t really have time for much else! But I will be aiming to do a bunch of book signings for Ant Farm over the next few months in many of the cities that I’ll also be DJ-ing in.

Can you give us a nutshell description of Ant Farm?

Sure! Basically, it’s a fictional (but familiar) tale about a free society that deteriorates into an authoritarian society.

How did you come to write the book?

Well, during my 20 years on the road, DJ-ing events around the world, I’ve taken special notice about how different societies function under different conditions. I’ve supplemented my own eye-witness experiences with many, many, many hours of reading and listening about different global cultures and civilizations. I’ve come to one ultimate conclusion: When you let people live their lives freely, things just tend to turn out better. But when you try to control people, and force them to do things against their wills, even if you mean well, unfortunately, things tend to turn out worse.

So I’ve read a lot of books and listened to a lot of lectures about these kinds of subjects, but almost all of them have been dry, data-filled, non-fiction pieces. I wanted to write a philosophy book that average people, and even young adults, could relate to.

Well, I thought back to junior high school and remembered a book that we had to read back then called Animal Farm, by George Orwell, about a bunch of animals that take over a farm and try to run it with each of them being considered equal to everyone else. For me, this was the genesis of the concept for Ant Farm.

Your press release says "many pundits would consider him a libertarian." Would you describe yourself as libertarian?

No, because so many people have a different definition of the word. Some people call themselves libertarian, and also think that the US government should be involved in several foreign military operations. Other people call themselves libertarian, and disagree with this sentiment. If I were to call myself libertarian, how would someone know – without asking me to elaborate – if I fall into the former category or the latter one? For this reason, I prefer not to use terms that can be defined very differently to describe myself. Instead, I’d rather explain to people where I stand on any particular issue, and that is always coming from the position of voluntary interaction, rather than supporting interaction backed by state-controlled, monopolized aggressive physical force.

What's next for your Jack-of-Many-Trades resume?

Well, I will certainly continue DJ-ing several shows through the fall. I also have a few more book ideas that I’ve begun to explore, so I guess we’ll see where those lead me!

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