Questions and Answers
Are you Crazy?
Aren't Borders Needed?
Can Politics Help?
Can't we Just Limit Government?
Corporations: Would they exist?
How About Immigrants?
How About Roads?
Isn't This a "Jungle"?
Might not Wages Fall?
Might People Own Guns?
This is Utopian!
Who are You, Anyway?
Who'd Issue Passports?
Are you crazy? No. "Crazy" describes someone whose behavior or thinking is irrational - for example, his opinions do not rationally follow from his premises, or his premises bear no relation to reality.
The crazy ones around here are those that observe the massive chaos and destruction wrought by governments always and everywhere, yet who support their continuance so as to avoid chaos and destruction. Yes, that does mean that most of the world is mad.
Who are you, anyway? It doesn't matter, except to those who wish me harm; so I decline to answer that. Adopt the world-view presented in these pages because it makes sense, not because of who presents it.
Isn't this a "jungle"? - that is, aren't you abandoning centuries of progress towards social justice and reverting to a dog-eat-dog society where only the fittest can survive?
Answer: the very opposite. Compassion, today, is compelled - and thereby suppressed and twisted by government; which pretends to give (stolen) money to the poor, but actually gives it to the bureaucrats who heartlessly make the poor line up for their largesse (in the USA, only 6% of tax revenues go to poor people.) Liberated from that wicked hypocrisy, true human compassion will revive and do its good work.
Not that there will be much work for it to do, thanks to the almost unimaginable prosperity that will develop as shown under "Benefits".
How about Roads? Roads are vital to commerce, and it is said to be impracticable to collect fees from users to compensate the road operator. So must not government own them, and finance them by taxation?
Answer: certainly not! Most early American long-distance roads were built privately by companies for profit, and revenues came from tolls; the very name "turnpike", referring to the pole that was turned after a traveller had paid the toll, is still widely used today. Subsequently the government industry displaced them by falsely promising that in "public ownership" (an oxymoron, of course) travel would be "free" - as in "freeway."
Lies, built upon lies. Freeways today are not free in any sense; travellers are not even free to choose whether or not to wear a seat belt. They pay through fuel taxes, at whatever rate is calculated to finance whatever the government chooses to spend on road maintenance; and the quality of that maintenenance varies from good to appalling, exactly as one would expect from an enterprise operated in the political arena instead of in the market arena for profit.
Furthermore in their very beginnings, government roads are all constructed on land seized by "eminent domain" laws, which form perhaps the most egregious violation of freedom in the whole body of American Law. In the word "freeway", "free" is trampled underfoot.
When roads are liberated from government grasp and owned and operated by competing operators for profit, that market will quickly find efficient ways to charge for their usage and deliver quality facilities for optimal prices. That's what markets always do, and always will. The technology for charging small sums - the alleged lack of which was the first objection, above - already exists, and has done for over a decade. As in supermarket checkouts, lasers can scan bar-code decals on vehicles, while cash booths can collect tolls from travellers not wishing to acquire a decal.
That's merely one example, of course, of how the market might produce a simple, efficient way to finance good roads. Another intriguing one might be that oil companies might sponsor a road. "Welcome to this beautiful scenic highway, provided FREE for your enjoyment by the Exxon- Mobil Corporation. Safe trip!" Naturally, the owner would provide gas stations along the route only of his own brand.
Might not Wages Fall? Wages held artificially high by law, or by unions operating under legally-granted privileges, would indeed take a tumble in a free market - where labor will command what it's worth to the employer, neither more nor less.
Since all boats rise on a rising tide, as general prosperity massively increases this will hardly matter - see Benefits and Free Markets - but yes, those whom government has enabled to steal (be overpaid) will suffer a loss relative to honest workers. Such is the justice of the market.
Immigration Would Swamp Us, Yes? Foreign residents would indeed rush to a free, anarchist country. Humans do prefer freedom! Even the partial freedom available in America attracted an enormous tide of immigration that helped its population expand by a factor of 70 in two centuries.
But that's not at all the same as "swamp". Migrants will arrive in search of better jobs and business opportunities, relative to their origins (there'll be no "welfare magnet", of course.) If and when those cease to be "better" they will cease to come. Conversely if they continue, that proves that there is a market demand for fresh labor and the continuing inflow will be welcome by definition.
There is, of course, ample "room". Population density in America is about one two-hundredth that of Hong Kong, yet both countries prosper.
Aren't Borders Needed? No; the less formality, the better. All property would be owned by someone, so real people would own the land and roads bordering a non-free area. Those border residents would protect their property in part by posting notices facing outwards to advise all potential visitors that they were about to enter a government-free zone, and spell out the implications (rather as on this site.) If they enter anyway, as residents or tourists, they would be rightly treated as aggressors by the justice industry, were they to try to govern one or more human beings.
Can Politics Help? - to bring about a free, anarchist society, that is?
Well, maybe, somewhat. For sure they must take place behind the steps described on the page titled "Practice" and even then the help is very limited.
The Libertarian Party alone has aims and principles that favor ever-smaller government, and over the years it has made a very significant contribution to educating the public - making it aware that a freedom alternative to Demopublican statism does exist. However a political party is about getting elected to power, not about operating a school, so that success is incidental to its raison d'être. Even so, if its candidates were elected and stayed true to those principles it might perhaps use political power to abolish political power.
That's the best that might occur, but even if it did there's a very serious problem; that would impose freedom upon a minority that does not understand it or want it. So, the very best a political victory could achieve would completely violate the self-ownership principle at the very moment of instituting self-ownership! That cannot possibly be right.
Then there are some other reasons why political action should at most be secondary to Homework, Evangelism and Non-Support.
ONE: However noble at its founding, the LP may compromise its principles (and has done, to a degree) in the difficult process of getting elected. Any political party is subject to losing its focus. If it won power and then failed to use it to abolish power, all the dedicated work would have been wasted.
TWO: A single entity such as the LP presents a single target to government, which time after time has shown it will retain its own power at any cost, including the half million it killed in the US War of Southern Secession. Infiltrators may dilute its effectiveness, new election rules may choke it off from the voting process, successful leaders taken out.
THREE: The very act of taking part in the electoral process grants validity to that process; whereas in truth and logic it has none whatever. Some think compromise to attain the end desired is justified; but it's a dangerous course to chart. Finally,
FOUR: The LP has tried very hard indeed ever since 1972, with many outstanding candidates, but has never achieved more than 1% in a Presidential election even though survey after survey show that at least one-third of the US population shares most of its beliefs. Perhaps politics simply doesn't work.
Who'd issue Passports? Absent government, would any member of an anarchist society be able to travel abroad, for pleasure or business? - for all foreign governments demand passports, issued by a member of their passport-issuing club. Several answers will emerge.
ONE: it will fast prove extremely profitable for all foreign governments to welcome tourists and business people from the highly prosperous, new anarchist country, so they will rapidly solve what is actually their problem. Passports are nowhere necessary - none were used, prior to the late 19th Century - so their usage may well fade away.
TWO: If some foreign governments don't, and one wants still to travel there, buy a passport from an obliging small nation in need of money. They already sell them. Such documents place no obligations on the holder.
Corporations: Would they exist? Corporations are created, licensed and regulated by government. They have certain privileges that individuals do not, including tax breaks and automatic exemption for shareholders from liability exceeding their share of the capital; and they sometimes get grants of monopoly in their trade, as did AT&T for half a century.
So, since government (with its taxes - and tax breaks!) would not exist in an anarchist society, nor would corporations as we know them.
Nothing, however, would stop any group of individuals agreeing freely to pool their capital so as to form a business - nor to call it a "corporation" if they so chose. It would be free to contract and trade with whomever so wished, on any terms mutually agreeable including terms regarding liability. If it served that market well, conceivably it might come to dominate for a few years - but there is no case on record in which even one of today's corporations maintained a monopoly for much longer, without the help of government to exclude competition. Long-term monopolies, therefore, would not survive the rigors of the marketplace.
So: corporations might exist, but they would bear little resemblance to the large faceless industry giants we see today. Instead they would arise as a result of real, free capitalism and not the State Capitalism now prevalent.
Can't we just limit government? No; not even if that were desirable, and this site has shown that, like a small measure of cancer, it is not.
The best attempt in history to do it was that of the US Founders, with their Constitution; and now look at the result!
But the reason why this cannot be done is not just that it's been tried but always failed; for that allows the possibility that one day, someone might do it right. Nobody ever will, and of that we can be certain.
Rather, the fatal flaw in the idea is that if (arguendo) Government A were in some manner limited by Party B, Party B would instantly become the actual government, in the subject area or jurisdiction; A would be displaced, for government is that which has final authority. But then, by whom would Government B be limited? - Party C, obviously. And Government C? - by Party D, and so on ad infinitum.
That's an infinite regression, and is absolutely impossible because the human population is finite. Therefore, "limited government" is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron.
What's "Anarcho-Capitalism"? It's a synonym for true anarchism.
We use it sometimes when folk would be otherwise confused by the spoutings of socialists, who for some reason masquerade as anarchists! - to clarify that we have nothing in common with them.
Capitalism (see the Free Markets page on this site) in its true sense describes a society in which all transactions occur under voluntary contracts. There is no imposed compulsion. Therefore, it alone is consistent with the absence of government. Socialist schemes of social engineering and redistribution depend wholly on government force, no matter how often its adherents call themselves "anarchist".
This is Utopian! That's not phrased as a question, but an assertion; but that's often the way this sentiment is delivered - unencumbered by any process of reason. Nonetheless, I'll offer a reasoned response.
"Utopia" is understood to be a state of affairs incapable of survival. That is, even if it were implemented fully, it would necessarily and rapidly fall apart. Theoretically desirable perhaps, but never realistic; unstable.
Stability is always a function of satisfaction. If all members of some human organization are comfortable and pleased with it, there is literally no motive or mechanism that might disturb its continuing existence; as in Newtonian physics, a state of motion or non-motion continues indefinitely until and unless some contrary force is applied. Planets have spun in the same paths for millions of years.
So the question "Is anarchism utopian?" reduces to this: would members of an anarchist society be satisfied with it? If not, it would be unstable; but if so, then it would survive indefinitely. "No justice, no peace" is often quoted, but its converse is "True justice, true peace" - and the page here on Justice shows why only an anarchist society provides true justice.
As shown throughout this site, an anarchist society - one in which all inter- personal transactions are strictly voluntary - is inherently satisfying to all its members. At the root of human nature is the need and ability to rule oneself; anarchism permits everyone to rule himself. At the very core of any human conflict lies resentment against some externally imposed rule or force; anarchism provides no way for external force to be applied.
The pages on Peace & Harmony, Free Markets and on Benefits show why human satisfaction would be maximized in an anarchist society, while that on Chaos & Violence shows how it is minimized in one infested by government. Accordingly, this common but mindless objection is turned on its head: as 5,000 bloody years of history attest, an Utopian society is one ruled by government. There has never been a stable one yet.
Might People Own Guns? Of course! There being no laws, anyone who wanted a gun would buy one, and carry it anywhere in any way he or she pleased. Much as was the case, in fact, in one of the lowest-crime periods in history: the American Frontier, in the 19th Century.
Firing or using a gun would be something else, for the noise could scare people (which might be an act of aggression) and bullets obviously injure or kill people (likewise only more so.) Therefore, before using a gun the owner would need to think carefully: am I sure my action will not impose upon another peaceful human being? If it would, then he would need to make it right, as the Justice page discusses. For that reason a parent will want to teach young children how to control any gun to which he or she has access, and not allow solo handling until good marksmanship is demonstrated.
The same considerations (only progressivly more so) apply to ownership of weapons more lethal than handguns, rifles and machine guns - which are useful for Defense and for deterring the small amount of private crime that might survive in an anarchist society. In particular, at the extreme the question may arise: why not the private ownership of nuclear weapons?
The answer to that unlikely question is the same: if such a weapon could prevent or deter an aggressive act, by all means keep one handy. But in its nature, that is never the case; nukes are too powerful for that purpose. They kill and maim bystanders, not just aggressors; and so the user necessarily commits aggression on those bystanders. Governments apparently do not care about that; many of them have rushed to develop nukes and other WMDs and two (the British and US Governments in 1945) have actually used them for real.
Nukes and other WMDs are, then, weapons fit only for such grossly immoral parties as governments, and it is very hard to imagine anyone in an anarchist society wanting to buy one; it is entirely irrational to annihilate one's potential customers. Their only use (and disarmed, at that) would be in a horror museum about the Age of Government.