22A039 Freedom vs. Force by Jim Davies, 9/27/2022
There are only two ways in which we humans can interact and cooperate: by agreements or contracts among individuals after reasoned discussion, or by the enforcement of rules imposed by a master or masters. Those two ways can be called "market" and "government" respectively. For a long time past, while both are present the second has predominated and is doing so increasingly.
The first of them long pre-dates the second. Spencer Wells reckons it was 50,000 years ago when our species enjoyed an evolutionary leap in intelligence and migrated out of Africa to populate the world, and for the first 40,000 years after that, no trace of government has been found; hence, the various nomadic groups followed the market principle, cooperating on the basis of reason and agreement. When (occasionally) a common decision was needed, it was reached by consensus.
Then about 10,000 years ago government made its début, and history ever since has been the story of them making war upon each other. So notice: while human ingenuity brought progress during the whole period, for 80% of our existence it was unimpeded by any system of laws and their enforcement. In my view that progress would have been vastly greater but for the impediments imposed by rulers; a theme developed in my book Denial of Liberty.
Warfare necessarily follows the presence of government, because once rulers have a domain, their motive in life is to develop, protect and advance it so as to extend their enjoyment of power. There have been so many wars I don't know how to catalog them all; the US government alone has fought 115 in 240 years, for an average of one every other year; and some continue for many years.
The misery and death caused by these inter-government wars can be illustrated by the biggest ones fought during that same period:
The progression is sinister; each major war has quadrupled the kill of the one previous (4 - 16 - 64.) If there is a WW3, perhaps 256 million will die, and that's not impossible to believe, for governments have thousands of nuclear missiles ready for instant use.
It's quite true that in a market-only society disagreements are bound to arise, tempers are bound to be lost, and not every dispute will be resolved peacefully by the competitive justice industry that will develop; in other words, some krime will probably occur. Some murders, alas, will probably take place, though for good reasons the rate of them will be far lower than today.
But even today's murder rate is exceeded many thousands of times, by government killings as above.
Suppose you had an appliance that delivered a nasty electric shock every time you tried to use it; and repeated expert attempts to fix it had all failed. Would you not throw it out? So on that basis alone, it is astonishing to me that anyone can possibly wish this deadly organization to continue to exist. Why is not everyone an anarchist?