Anarchism

Anarcho-Capitalism: So Crazy, It Just Might Work!

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George Mason University economist, and advocate of anarcho-capitalism, Bryan Caplan explains why details of the ideological history of human attitudes toward methods and techniques of government show that ideas that almost everyone dismisses offhand as nutty and impossible can and in fact have come to dominate our political culture.

I mean, you think anarcho-capitalism is crazy? Imagine how people used to react to democracy

Let Caplan explain:

Imagine advocating democracy a thousand years ago.  You sketch your basic idea: "Every few years we'll have a free election.  Anyone who wants power can run for office, every adult gets a vote, and whoever gets the most votes runs the government until the next election."  How would your contemporaries react?

They would probably call you "crazy."  Why?  Before you could even get to the second paragraph in your sales pitch, they'd interrupt: "Do you seriously mean to tell us that if the ruling government loses the election, they'll peacefully hand the reins of power over to their rivals?!  Yeah, right!"

A thousand years later, the planet is covered with democracies.  In most of them, defeated incumbents consistently make the "crazy" decision to peacefully walk away from power.  In long-standing democracies, this pattern is so familiar we take it for granted.  But we shouldn't.  The viability of democracy is an amazing fact that begs for an explanation….

Caplan then points out that in the modern world, a political leader who told his cronies their response to losing an election would be to start killin' would not be obeyed, but condemned as "crazy."

The lesson: "Crazy" is relative to expectations.  A thousand years ago, everyone was used to despotism.   No one expected a defeated incumbent to voluntarily hand over power.  As a result, refusing to hand over power didn't seem crazy.  Since it didn't seem crazy, incumbents who refused to hand over power after losing an election probably would have managed to retain power.  In modern Sweden, in contrast, everyone is used to democracy.  Everyone expects a defeated incumbent to voluntarily hand over power.  Refusing to hand over power seems crazy.  As a result, refusing to hand over power would end not democracy, but the incumbent's career.

Now, Caplan says, anarcho-capitalism sounds as nuts as to most everyone as democracy likely did in those days of yore:

"Do you seriously mean to tell us that privatized police companies will peacefully settle disputes, instead of attacking each other until one firm becomes the new government?!  Yeah, right!"

….Suppose however that a stable anarcho-capitalist system existed.  Then this logic reverses.  Since everyone is used to this system, people expectprivate police firms to amicably resolve disputes.  In such a setting, a CEO who advocates a war of conquest would seem crazy—and his pleas to his co-workers would fall on deaf ears.  In a stable anarcho-capitalist society, a war-mongering CEO doesn't get a war.  He gets fired.

Since we've never had anarcho-capitalism, this peaceful equilibrium sounds like wishful thinking.  But it's no more wishful thinking than stable democracy.  Both systems sound crazy when first proposed.  Neither can be stable as long as people expect them to be unstable.  But both can be stable once people expect them to be stable.

You could object: The expectations necessary to sustain anarcho-capitalism are highly unlikely to ever arrive.  But the same was true for democracy a thousand years ago.  Yet somehow, expectations radically changed and stable democracy arrived.  How did expectations change so dramatically?  It's complicated.  But can expectations change dramatically?  Absolutely.

As someone who was first exposed to anarcho-capitalist ideas 25 years or so ago, has written histories of the libertarian movement since then, and is quite confident (even without survey data) that the ideas seem far less crazy to far more people than he could have imagined then, I think Caplan has a point. (On a far narrower level of precipitous shifts in cultural attitudes toward "crazy," I think the progress of ideas such as gay marriage and marijuana's use as medicine or legalization recently are encouraging signs. Things do change.)

Part of the key to Caplan's "It's complicated" is the tireless work of ideological and economic education pursued by all the various thinkers and organizations and journalists and advocates working under the rough rubric of the "libertarian movement," whose history was told in my 2007 book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, and whose most recent surprising success was told in my book from last year, Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.

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  1. Of course, Anarcho-Capitalism must be preceded by the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie.

    1. I thought we were supposed to form an anarcho-syndicalist commune first!

      1. No, I need to be President-for-Life of the Galazy, with LTC(ret) John as my Star Marshall. THEN we’ll ban establish anarchy.

  2. One day authors who don’t include alt-text will be considered crazy.

    1. and cats will lie down with dogs

      1. And lambs will lie down with the barbecue sauce.

    2. And the commentariat will finally grow weary of your one-trick whining.

  3. Suppose however that a stable democratic capitalist system existed. Then this logic reverses. Since everyone is used to this system, people expect democratic governments to amicably resolve disputes. In such a setting, a President or prime minister who advocates a war of conquest would seem crazy – and his pleas to his voters would fall on deaf ears. In a stable Democratic capitalist society, a war-mongering President doesn’t get a war. He gets voted out of office

    It doesn’t make much sense does it? To believe that an anarcho capitalist state would be any different is to believe that people will somehow magically change if only they are associating in corporations not governments. That seems pretty stupid and utopian to me.

    1. That seems pretty stupid and utopian to me.

      Which is why change would never start with people like you. No offense, but if all you’re ever willing to do is say “Dude, that’s crazy” then there is no reason to expect you to want change.

      1. Change to what? Change from a world will people lose the urge to hate each other and do harm to each other? And you people make fun of Christians.

        What is it about a “corporation” as opposed to a government that makes people less likely to do harm to one another? You think private corporations would never wage war against each other. In 1910 people thought capitalist nations would never wage war because it wasn’t profitable. How did that work out?

        1. It’s like you read all the words in the article but didn’t understand the concept. You know what, I’m not falling for your trolling this time.

          1. How do I not understand the concept?

          2. Think of it this way, what is a black market but an anarcho capitalist one? In a black market you can’t go to the cops or to court to settle a dispute. There is no laws beyond your reputation as an honest person. And certainly killing is really bad for business. Yet, black markets are violent as hell.

            1. what is a black market but an anarcho capitalist one?

              A black market is so because a government has labeled it illegitimate. If there is no government to label a market illegitimate then people could freely participate in that market and develop whatever rules they wanted for doing so.

              1. But the effect of it being made “illegitimate” is to deny the market access to government services. You can’t call the cops. You can’t go to court.

                That is why black markets are so bad. That is why they are so violent. There is no way to resolve disputes other than through the gun. If anarcho capitalism worked, black markets, because they are outside of the interference of government, would be more efficient and more peaceful than regular ones.

                1. John black markets are aslo violent because you can’t publicise when you’ve been wronged, since if you do the state will come and victimize you a second time.

                  Most disputes never see the inside of a courtroom. Nor are they violently resolved. It’s only in areas where the state violently attacks people who do business openly that the violence you decry arises.

                  1. John black markets are aslo violent because you can’t publicise when you’ve been wronged, since if you do the state will come and victimize you a second time.

                    Of course you can. People know each other in the market. If I am a drug dealer and sell bad drugs, users are going to tell each other and stop buying from me.

                    1. If I am a drug dealer and sell bad drugs, users are going to tell each other and stop buying from me.

                      Where’s the violence?

                    2. When they show up for their money back and I tell them to fuck off Sparky. That is where the violence is. Or when my competitor decides it is easier to rob me or shoot me and take my customers than it is to out compete me.

                    3. So the violence appears when you move the goalposts. OK. You do realize that your scenario only involves violence because the government has made drug trade illegal, right?

                    4. No Sparky, it involves violence because there is no way I can go to the cops or do anything to deter people from robbing and killing me beyond threatening the same to them. Legitimate businesses don’t rob each other at gun point because they fear their victims calling the police. Black market businesses, since their competitors can’t go to the cops, have no such fear.

                    5. it involves violence because there is no way I can go to the cops or do anything to deter people from robbing and killing me beyond threatening the same to them.

                      Because the government won’t let you!

                      Holy fuck, you’re thick.

                    6. Because the government won’t let you!

                      Let me do what? If you have anarchy, there are no cops to call. So a black market is anarchy. I am not thick, you are a religious fanatic.

                    7. Are all markets inherently violent? All of them? Every single one? Or only those that the government “prohibits” people from taking part in?

                    8. Sparky, I’m doing you a favor… walk away slowly.

                      John is incredibly thick headed and once he plants his feet somewhere he will not be persuaded. As you originally said:

                      Which is why change would never start with people like you. No offense, but if all you’re ever willing to do is say “Dude, that’s crazy” then there is no reason to expect you to want change.

                      You won’t prove anything to John because he doesn’t want anything to be proven. Hence, why sarcasmic accurately calls him “Red Tony”.

                    9. I know. And I even said I wasn’t going to fall for his trolling. *shame*

                    10. Seriously?

                      The reason people kill over drugs is because drugs are WAAAAAY the fuck overpriced from the anti-drug enforcement structure. The risk/reward consideration is skewed out of rationality BY the government declaring them illegal.

                      Where were the huge drug gang fights before the War on Drugs?

            2. I don’t think you understand Anarcho-Capitalism. This short book by economist Robert Murphy will help you understand it better: http://library.mises.org/books/Robert P Murphy/Chaos Theory.pdf

      2. I don’t even like to get into debates about whether or not an-cap would work, because there is always the implicit assumption from the other side that the current system works. I would say based on current economic conditions, the violence done in the name of victimless crimes, the perpetual warfare state, and a whole host of other reasons, that democracy does not work worth a shit.

        1. Sure. But as an advocate for an-cap, you have to explain why those things would go away. If people like drugs being illegal now, which many people do, why wouldn’t they want drugs illegal in the areas they live in under an-cap? What you don’t think the Baptists living next door wouldn’t ever feel their oats and do something about the filthy pot smokers over the hill? I sure do? They feel the need to get the government to throw pot smokers in jail now. Why wouldn’t they insist that their local corporation do something about them in an ancap system?

          1. Exactly, John — that’s another assumption made by libertarians; that the “corporations” employing violence rationally leads to libertarian outcomes in how that violence is employed. Shit no. Start a libertarian protection service in Saudi Arabia — I’ll see how far that takes you when I start my Sharia-compliant protection business charged with bringing family members who convert to other religions, or women who don’t know their place, to heel.

          2. Exactly, John — that’s another assumption made by libertarians; that the “corporations” employing violence rationally leads to libertarian outcomes in how that violence is employed. Shit no. Start a libertarian protection service in Saudi Arabia — I’ll see how far that takes you when I start my Sharia-compliant protection business charged with bringing family members who convert to other religions, or women who don’t know their place, to heel.

          3. Why wouldn’t they insist that their local corporation do something about them in an ancap system?

            They probably would! Heck, it’s not even a thought experiment; there’s a real-world historical example of something similar–the KKK. Which, I should point out, existed in a democracy.

            The difference is that in ancap land, I could hire my own local corporation to protect me, whereas in the case of the KKK I would only have the choice of the one local government to protect me, and that government might very well be made up of KKK members.

            1. Sure RMA. And the good guys always win in those situations.

              1. The good guys don’t win in Democracy.

                For a criticism of an-cap to work, it can’t mirror the reality of 10,000 years of governments.

              2. And the good guys always win in those situations.

                Thank you for once again proving my original point, which is that not only must ancaps present a better alternative, but that they must present a perfect one.

        2. Try living in North Korea, then come back and tell us how bad democracy is.

          1. Are you suggesting that some systems, while flawed, might be better than others?

            1. Crazy, I know.

          2. The fact that there are worse systems of government does not disprove the claim that democracy fails to deliver what it promises.
            I’m not arguing one way or the other, but you have to define your standards for what constitutes a working system before you can argue with what RMA says.

            1. Yes, democracy sucks.

              In fact, it’s the worst except for all the other. Which is an argument for keeping government small.

              The fantasy is believing that eliminating government altogether won’t shortly be followed by some people deciding to become governors that act worse than democracy did.

              1. In fact, it’s the worst except for all the other. Which is an argument for keeping government small.

                The fantasy is believing that eliminating government altogether won’t shortly be followed by some people deciding to become governors that act worse than democracy did.

                The fantasy is believing you can keep government small. How well has that worked out for you?

                Fuck, I’m done with this argument that I just said I hate having. I am glad that people rushed over to prove my original point, though.

                1. It’s worked pretty damn well, actually. The US has survived for some 230+ years, and still has many aspects of the freedoms that it started with (albeit in atrophied form).

                  Medieval Iceland lasted some 200 years, and at the end of that period was deprived of almost all of its traditional freedoms quite violently by Norway, becoming a backwater of Europe for the rest of the Middle Ages.

                  Compare and contrast.

                  1. This is pretty damned well?

                    1. Compared to being an Irishman under English rule or an Icelander forced under the Norwegian crown? Hell yes.

    2. John, you exemplify Caplan’s point too perfectly!! In fact,…(scratches chin in contemplation)…He put you up to this didn’t he?!?

      1. It is not that we couldn’t have such a thing. It is that when we did, we would still have the same problems we have today. To believe otherwise is to believe that man can somehow be perfected by getting rid of government. And that is a stupid and utopian idea.

        1. To believe otherwise is to believe that man can somehow be perfected by getting rid of government.

          No, it isn’t. It’s to believe that man would be better off.

          1. Why would man be better off? He is still the same man. Still has the same flaws.

              1. You haven’t actually answered John’s questions. They aren’t idiotic, but legitimate queries.

                1. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

                  1. I can defeat the anarchists position with a simple question…

                    How do you deal with the next Hitler?

                    1. How do you deal with the next Hitler?

                      Three rounds of .308.

                    2. Who would be pulling the trigger?

                      I’m talking about a heavily armed, modern nation-state funded through their public coffers invading your anarchistic utopia to take your shit.

                      What do you do?

            1. Why is man better off under what we have now than under communism? Some systems are better than others, it woudl seem. I don’t know what’s better, but it is possible that an-cap could be better than the status quo. Your argument would appear to lead to the conclusion that no system is better than any other. I think it is fairly obvious that some systems work better with human nature (i.e. lead to more peaceful and prosperous society) than others.

              1. No Zeb,

                AnCap would would be much worse because it wouldn’t be anarchy. It would quickly turn into smaller more oppressive governments with even fewer constraints than the ones we have today.

                1. I think you are probably right about what woudl happen. Ethically, I’m inclined toward anarchism because I can’t find moral justification for government’s necessarily coercive aspects. But I will acknowledge that there is probably no way to get to anarchy that isn’t unpleasant, and even if you could get there, it wouldn’t last.

                  In any case, neither radically smaller government, nor functioning anarchy is terribly likely, so I’ll stick to my principles and call it as I see it.

              2. If an-cap is better than the status quo, then its superiority has not been shown empirically — and judging by this thread and what I have read from an-caps themselves, their theoretical underpinnings vis a vis outcomes are weak.

                1. Government has not shown to be superior, either. So, between the two, with no way of knowing which is superior, why would you stick with the one that centralizes violence, oppression and graft in every historical instance?

                  Capitalism has improved the lives of humans far more than government. Exponentially more. Magnitudes of order more. Does anyone seriously disagree with this?

        2. I kind of agree with you, yet at the same time how does the same criticism not apply to democracy?

          Democracy doesn’t produce anything remotely utopian. Why not have a despotism? Human nature is human nature and switching to democracy doesn’t just make it all go away. Under a democracy you still have all the same problems you had under despotism.

          While democracy won’t eliminate all our problems and produce utopia, it may mitigate them slightly and possibly it’s marginally better than despotism.

          Could the same not be true here?

    3. Although it seems to be true that democracies don’t go to war agianst other democracies.

    4. That seems pretty stupid and utopian to me.

      You don’t understand John,

      All the AnCaps have to do is create a New Man for the plan to work.

      1. And all you have to do is create a straw man.

    5. To believe that an anarcho capitalist state would be any different is to believe that people will somehow magically change if only they are associating in corporations not governments.

      Which all the more ridiculous when you realize that governments are a type of corporation.

      1. “Which all the more ridiculous when you realize that governments are a type of corporation.”

        The type that claims the power to kill anyone they want, and pay for it from funds confiscated from whoever they want.

        1. cor?po?ra?tion [kawr-puh-rey-shuhn] Show IPA
          noun
          1.
          an association of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members.

          Notice, being engaged in voluntary exchange within a free market framework is not part of the definition.

    6. “Since everyone is used to this system, people expect democratic governments to amicably resolve disputes. In such a setting, a President or prime minister who advocates a war of conquest would seem crazy”

      And can you name a single instance where the leader of a Democratic state (an actual Democratic state, not one which is democratic in name only) has openly and publicly called for a war of conquest?

  4. Wasn’t that exact argument made by David Friedman and possibly elsewhere in Anarchy and the Law by Ed. Stringham?

  5. The DMV will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes!

    1. No, I don’t agree to that. We’ll have to vote on who will be the first to face the firing squad.

      1. I’m torn between the DMV and Selective Service.

            1. Police apologists are the worst.

      2. The condemned can bid on who will go to the chopping block last.

      3. Vote?!! You and your quaint second millennium ideas! /anarcho-capitalist

  6. “Imagine how people used to react to democracy?” The thought experiment illustrates the point, and similar conclusions were also drawn by ancient and not-so-ancient political philosophers.

    A better question though is, “Imagine how people used to react to slavery?” The ruthless and hard-hearted would said that slavery was part of the general order of things; the addled would said the institution was benign; and others would said it was a “necessary evil”. All agreed that slavery had always existed and must of necessity always exist in the future.

    Perhaps it will be generally understood that such arguments are equally bogus when apologizing for the State.

    1. All agreed that slavery had always existed and must of necessity always exist in the future.

      Im not sure this was ever the case.

      1. For that matter, the statement isn’t true of democracy, either.

        I know people like to think that the US was the first to arrive at republican government, but there were extant republics all throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages — they were simply in the minority. They were generally nicer places to live than their counterparts.

        In contrast, I’d like to see a historical or present anarchy that wasn’t a complete shithole.

        1. Ive yet to see an example of a historic or present anarchy.

          Shithole, not shithole, does it exist?

          Somalia, for example, has many, many archies.

          1. That’s my point.

            There were plenty of historical examples of republicanism for the US’ founders to look at. In contrast, after over 10,000 years of human civilization there really isn’t much one can point to vis a vis anarchy besides places like Somalia on the one hand, “executive officer of the week” dystopias like revolutionary Ukraine and Catalonia, and the sort-of medieval anarchies like Ireland/Iceland. None of those places had particularly appealing outcomes from a libertarian point of view.

            1. That’s my point.

              Somalia on the one hand

              I think you missed my point.

              1. Your point is that anarchy doesn’t exist in Somalia because it’s really just a bunch of people lording over one another in hyper-localized enclaves.

                But what the hell else is anarchy, if not that? If it’s some magical pixieland where everyone gets along, all disputes are resolved peacefully, and everyone is fiercely libertarian, then that has never existed and will never exist. I don’t like to use the worst applied examples of a philosophy against it, but we are lacking in real-world examples of anarchy and Somalia (overplayed or not) is one such example.

                1. Except, you know looking at the empirical data we see that Somalia in its anarchist period (which is no longer going on) has improved more rapidly then its neighbors in quite a few statistical categories. Comparing Somalia to Eritrea in the same time period is a fair comparison. Claiming that a decade of anarchy didn’t create a utopia and thus anarchy doesn’t work is not reasonable.

                  Medieval Iceland sucked, but I think it sucked less then medieval France. You have to make fair comparisons, and when you do make fair comparisons you find that societies that trend toward anarchism do quite well.

                  1. But I would still rather live in even a shitty authoritarian country like Russia than Somalia.

                    1. But Russia was a modern Western nation before the Bolsheviks. Not as nice as England, but pretty decent. The more statism you have, the shittier your country gets. It’s why Chile is really awesome and Argentina is just coasting on past glory. So is America, for that matter.

                      Somalia was a shithole, and thanks to anarchy, is a slightly nicer shithole. We can tell this because Somalia’s neighbors have seen their statistical trends get worse, or stagnate.

          2. ROOOOOAAADDDDZZZZ!!

      2. Prior to the British abolitionist movement when and where was it ever not the case?

  7. In such a setting, a CEO who advocates a war of conquest expanding the company’s market share would seem crazy – and his pleas to his co-workers would fall on deaf ears.

    Crazy indeed.

    1. I am thinking if the CEO brings home the bacon, most people are not really going to give a fuck how he did it.

      Implicit in that statement is the idea that war is always self defeating and never profitable for either side. And that is a load of shit. War can be very profitable for the winning side. Think of Gangis Kahn as a CEO. I doubt his share holders would have fired him.

      1. Isn’t that pretty much how the Roman Empire worked? Take over an area, send its wealth back to Rome, and turn it into a fully functioning subsidiary of the Roman holding company.

        1. All a government is is the corporation with the last word in violence, and thus the power to plunder, in a given geographical area.

          That’s it.

          FYTW

        2. Pretty much. That is how most empires work. If you are good at it and ruthless enough, war is a hell of a profitable business. The problem is eventually you either run out of other people’s money or you run into to someone who is better at war than you are.

          1. Empires just getting too big seems to have been a problem for a lot of them as well.

  8. It is easier to plunder than produce.

    It is human nature to take the easy way.

    Because of this, those with the last word in violence will become plunderers, and they will use their power to plunder as a way to gain support.

    That’s just the way it is. Can’t change human nature.

    1. yeah. How do anarcho capitalists explain pirates? There is a good example of a democratic corporation that operated for profit. They used to elect their captains. And everyone got a share of the loot based on their contribution to the ship. They were entirely rational profit making enterprises.

      The problem with anarcho capitalists is that they tend to be smart nerdy people who think everyone in the world is just like them. Well not everyone is. Some people are dumb. Some have no skill in the world beyond their muscle and willingness to do violence. For those people, a peaceful life is a ticket to destitution. But a life of violence can be a chance at real fortune and power. What anarchists do not and never will get is the idea that violence is the rational choice for some people.

      1. What anarchists do not and never will get is the idea that violence is the rational choice for some people.

        What a retarded statement.

        1. What is retarded about it? Doesn’t it explain why people choose to be cops and prison guards?

          1. It’s retarded because it’s just like a government employee to say there is a group of people that will never understand something. John seems to believe that anarchists are a giant collective, because he only knows how to think in collectives. He also seems to believe that anarchists are stupid and don’t understand that people are violent. The retardedness of his retarded statement comes out in the “What anarchists do not and never will get…”

            1. Well then Sparky, tell us how an anarchist system accounts for the Jimmy Burkes of the world. The people whose only skill in life is stealing and committing violence?

            2. …it’s just like a government employee…

              ad hominem

              1. Wow, that really hurts my feelings.

        2. Are you retarded Sparky? Do you never get out? Why wouldn’t violence be the rational choice for someone who was both skilled at it and lacked the moral fiber to be bothered by committing it? Why do you think people join gangs? In the law abiding world someone like Jimmy Burke of Goodfellas fame was a semi literate orphan good for minimum wage jobs. In mafia he was a millionaire and one of the most powerful people in New York. What is irrational about that?

          1. And why wouldn’t the rational choice of regular people be just to kill Jimmy Burke and only Jimmy Burke? I don’t think anyone is arguing that every last single person is a good person who wants to live and let live, but a sufficient majority is sufficient. Kill a few Jimmy Burkes and the would-be Jimmy Burkes stop poking their heads up.

            1. Because some people are better at killing than others. Why didn’t one of Burke’s victims or competitors just kill him? He certainly dealt with people who were unworried about killing someone.

              In the end, people like Burke live short violent lives usually. But that doesn’t stop them from being violent. And it doesn’t stop them from screwing up the world for the rest of us.

          2. So…the present political system couldn’t do anything about Jimmy Burke’s murderous ways? Why, then do you think the present system is so superior?

      2. What are you talking about? The entire point is just that, they’re are very bad people in the world. Hence, power shouldn’t be concentrated, as it can (and shall) be taken advantage of.

        Anarchists, ancaps in particular, frequently point out exactly what you’ve said, some people’s calculus will lead to them using violence or “aggression.”

        They’re treated as technical problems, like, say, bears or other wildlife who don’t respect property.

        Please do your homework at least.

        1. They’re treated as technical problems, like, say, bears or other wildlife who don’t respect property.

          So in other words, an caps pretend that we can both immediately know exactly who these people are and that they will never attract a following or be any more trouble to deal with than a bear or a loan wolf. That is even dumber than I was giving them credit for.

          1. So in other words, an caps pretend that we can both immediately know exactly who these people are

            No dummy. When people like that start acting violent then some person or group of people kills him. If you’re going to use this as an argument against anarchy, then also use it as an argument against democracy.

            1. No dummy. When people like that start acting violent then some person or group of people kills him.

              So how do you determine who is in fact guilty of a crime with no laws and no courts? If you create such, you no longer have anarchy. If you don’t have such, you are left with vigilante justice, which is both unjust, and highly unpredictable.

              1. Only if you’re a fucking retard progressive who calls my CCW permit “vigilante justice”

                Nothing brings out the full retard in John like this topic.

                1. No dipshit. Your CCW permit allows you to defend yourself. But it does not allow you to hunt down and kill the guy you think raped your wife.

                  Are you really so retarded that you think every act of violence is easily and immediately attributable? Come on Virginia, why do you let ancap ideas make you stupid?

                  1. So everyone defends themselves, or hires others to do it….why do we need cops?

                    If someone murders my brother, I’ll either figure it out myself or hire a professional.

                    Socialist justice is no better than socialist healthcare.

            2. When people like that start acting violent then some person or group of people kills him.

              So an-cap = the Chicago way?

          2. Nope. Just like we don’t pretend there are only “loan” wolves out there.

        2. They’re treated as technical problems, like, say, bears or other wildlife who don’t respect property.

          Wildlife relocation. I’ve never seen the problem with treating people as they treat others. You don’t mind raping or robbing or killing other people? We’re gonna put you on this remote island inhabited solely by other people who don’t mind raping and robbing and killing other people. Have fun in your new home!

          1. You don’t mind raping or robbing or killing other people? We’re gonna put you on this remote island inhabited solely by other people who don’t mind raping and robbing and killing other people.

            How do you plan to do that? How do you plan to determine who in fact is guilty of such crimes?

            Without a system of laws and courts and such, how is it anymore than mob justice? Gee nothing could ever go wrong there. And with such things, it is no longer anarchy.

            1. Again, this has been painstakingly detailed, there *is* a system of laws and courts. If you don’t like the term “anarchy” for it that’s fine, I don’t either, but you could at least do a trivial amount of research before getting it spectacularly wrong.

              1. Tak Kak: you may not have been around for the last round of this, but apparently when a couple of buddies decide to get together and watch a ballgame, they’ve formed a government. Not to mention the teams themselves are governments.

                1. Which is fine as long as we understand the fundamentals.

                  Even anarchists disagree on what groups are to be called, some are fine with governments, others – like Peter Leeson – say governmental-organizations, private-defense agencies, clubs, etc…

                  Somehow it’s easy to see what they actually mean though, that is, if you actually want to.

            2. The plaintiff and the defendant each hire an advocate; the two advocates hire a third advocate. The three advocates adjudicate the case.

              1. The plaintiff and the defendant each hire an advocate; the two advocates hire a third advocate. The three advocates adjudicate the case.

                And when the losing side doesn’t like the results and refuses to pay?

                1. Then he can get out of dodge, because I’m not letting him shop at my store anymore.

                  1. In other words, ostracize the guy.

                    This is, by the way, the system used in parts of the American West, including among the “49ers” during the Gold Rush.

                2. “And when the losing side doesn’t like the results and refuses to pay?”

                  Tough shit for him, he accepted the risk so he doesn’t have an argument to stand on.

                  1. Tough shit for him, he accepted the risk so he doesn’t have an argument to stand on.

                    But he may have something more important to stand on, the barrel of a gun. Fuck you. I am bigger and badder than you and I make the rules. What do you plan to do about it?

                    1. So what?

                      Is your argument against all attempts at conflict resolution? Because might applies everywhere, always.

          2. Isn’t that how all of the Snake Blitzkin movies started off?

            1. “The name’s Plissken.”

              1. Call me Snake.

              2. Damnit.

                I totally lose points for that don’t I?

          3. You don’t mind raping or robbing or killing other people? We‘re gonna put you on this remote island

            Who’s the we in that construct?

            And what if that we fails and gets put on the island by the violent group?

  9. I don’t know that it’s ‘crazy’ to think ancap might work – in some places it might if the people are sufficiently naturally law-abiding yet fiercely protective of their liberty. As the man said, some ideas that were once thought crazy have become the norm. If people can become accustomed to the idea it can work. Arguing it can’t work because human nature is simply denying the premise of the argument.

    That being said – comparing ancap to democracy on the ‘crazy idea’ scale begs for the retort ‘They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown’. Just because the idea is crazy doesn’t mean it’s a winner.

    1. in some places it might if the people are sufficiently naturally law-abiding yet fiercely protective of their liberty.

      But if the people were like that, Democracy would work. Yeah, if everyone would start respecting each others’ rights, we would all have a merry Christmas.

      1. I’m thinking of the Scandanavian countries. I’m pretty sure that’s close to my idea of Hell, but I don’t see lines of people trying to escape those countries so apparantly they like it just fine.

    2. Suppose that all of the internal problems with anarchy can be resolved — what’s to stop non-anarchist nations from carving up a successful anarchy into spheres of influence and expropriating the wealth of those areas at their convenience?

      1. what’s to stop non-anarchist nations from carving up a successful anarchy into spheres of influence and expropriating the wealth of those areas at their convenience?

        That’s not an argument against anarchy.

        1. Why not? The continuity of a system is of relevance to that system’s utility to humans, and historically the few examples of sort-of anarchy (Ireland under the system of tanistry, early medieval Iceland) all suffered from instability and then conquest and subjugation by statist neighbors.

          1. See below.

      2. what’s to stop non-anarchist nations from carving up a successful anarchy into spheres of influence and expropriating the wealth of those areas at their convenience?

        What’s to stop the largest democratic nation from invading other countries? Apparently nothing.

        1. And guess what? The biggest countries tend to invade people for any reason or no reason at all.

          In a sense, the international stage can be seen as something of an anarchy — and on the international stage, the relative goodness of a government doesn’t mean shit if a more powerful government wants something that they have.

          1. Therefore, your argument is not an argument against anarchy.

            1. Sure it is. Under an anarchy, you don’t have a monopoly of violence in a geographical area. Any modern military or defensive outfit is going to need basic control over the areas it’s defending in order to defend properly, and will need a logistical chain as well — all of which implies a monopoly on violence in those areas. Else, you end up like Ireland and Iceland — none of which put up much of a fight when they were dominated by England and Norway, respectively. (This is without getting into how treaties with other nations and scaling of force would work in a competitive environment with market exit and entry.)

            2. Under an anarchy, you don’t have a monopoly of violence in a geographical area

              One doesn’t need a monopoly, just a plurality. If a plurality of the people are not willing to use violence to protect themselves from aggressors then it wouldn’t be a stable ancap society. You’re ignoring the premise.

              The US doesn’t have a monopoly on violence. Murderers and rapists do exist here. But a plurality of Americans support the use of violence in response to murder and rape. Unfortunately, a plurality of Americans also support the use of violence in response to non-aggressive acts as well.

              1. So the premise requires the presence of a stable society to exist?

              2. Suppose that this plurality requires the use of some area or resource controlled by a rival corporation. It has one of two options:

                1) Negotiate for use of that resource under whatever version of contract law exists in an-cap land

                2) Up and take what they need for the duration

                If they go with #1 every time they need to do so, that’s going to be rather unwieldy in a scenario where invasion is imminent. If they go with #2, then they’re no different than a government exercising its monopoly on force.

                1. And again, this assumes that there is no or little exit and entry in violence markets — which is an unsupportable premise if one assumes an an-cap system with competitive markets.

                2. A democracy will also succumb to an invasion if its defense depends on actions that are in violation of its principles.

                  1. Of course. The set of such actions tends to be much, much smaller than the same set for anarchistic areas.

          2. the relative goodness of a government doesn’t mean shit if a more powerful government wants something that they have.

            You do realize that’s a universal truth, regardless of what system of government exists?

            1. Of course. I also realize it’s an acute problem with anarchy.

              Q: do you think that an anarchistic US would be as united in terms of defensive aims as the current US is?

            2. Q: do you think that an anarchistic US would be as united in terms of defensive aims as the current US is?

              What difference does it make if the anarchists are comparatively less united in defense? If they’re not sufficiently united then they’ll be destroyed, hence not stable, hence not relevant in a discussion which assumes stability.

              1. Assuming stability as a starting point is question-begging.

                Assume that governments are non-coercive. Then states are NAP-compliant. So why are libertarians always bringing up real life coercive examples of governments, when we’ve already established that we’re assuming non-coercive governments?

                1. Assuming stability as a starting point is question-begging.

                  No less so than the counter-argument to anarcho-capitalism: that anarcho-capitalism can’t exist because people won’t support it.

                  Assume that governments are non-coercive.

                  That’s an oxymoron.

                  1. What is there to “support” in an an-cap system?

                    Certainly not a government.

                    Certainly not the violent corporations that replace it — I would have the option, as in any competitive market, to not participate in the market, after all.

                    So please, tell me what it is that I would be supporting in an anarchic system.

  10. “Do you seriously mean to tell us that privatized police companies will peacefully settle disputes, instead of attacking each other until one firm becomes the new government?! Yeah, right!”

    ….Suppose however that a stable anarcho-capitalist system existed.

    Is it just me, or is there a disconnect here?

    Isn’t competition the essence of capitalism?

    Why would private police companies be exempt from this? Would they not compete with each other? And how exactly would companies that deal out the last word in violence compete except with violence?

  11. Bryan Caplan is an amusing nut.

  12. I’ll just leave this here.

    1. From the reviews:

      The book begins by pointing out that if a private individual acted like a government, almost everyone would consider his behavior immoral.

      Hmmm. Why not just read The Law?

      1. That was written, like, 100 years ago and stuff.

    2. Cool, it doesn’t cost $80 anymore.

  13. How do anarcho capitalists explain pirates?

    Who cares? Pirates exist in the non-ancap world we have now, and you aren’t using that fact to show that the system we have now has failed.

    1. Sure they exist now. And how do you plan to stop them? Create a Navy? That doesn’t sound very anarchist to me.

      1. Privateers.

      2. Insurance companies hire privateers to protect the assets they have insured.

        1. Which is just a Navy by another name. And when the insurance companies decide to do a little pirating on the side? What then? We can naval warfare.

          You guys think that if you just call something a “corporation” rather than a government it is somehow different and less apt to do bad things. That is ridiculous.

          1. There is a difference between a government and a corporation that is worth pointing out.

            Corporations rely upon people purchasing goods and services voluntarily. This creates a set of incentives where it is in the corporation’s best interest to keep its customers happy because they have a choice.

            Government uses coercion to get its customers to pay. They have no incentive because their customers can pay up or be locked in a cage.

            Sure corporations can do bad things, but unlike government if a corporation’s customers don’t like what the corporation is doing, they can stop funding it.

            Incentives matter.

            1. But the only reason corporations depend on voluntary purchase is because government have a monopoly on the force. Give them the chance and opportunity and corporations would go in the government business in a heart beat.

              1. Give them the chance and opportunity and corporations would go in the government business in a heart beat.

                Corporations that deal in violence would try to violently put out the competition and become government?

                No fucking shit!

                That still doesn’t disprove the distinction between privateers and a navy.

              2. How are the corporations funded? Do you think that WalMart would set up WalMart police and throw you in WalMart jail if you don’t shop at their store?

                1. How do the corporations get funded? The same way governments get funded. Stealing is a great way to make a living.

          2. Yep, when you’re going to redefine terms so that you’re always right then you’ve won the argument. Well done.

            I have a group of privately owner ships that I’ve hired to defend me.
            Oh, so you have a Navy.

            I have a privately held and operated company that provides security.
            Oh, so you have a government.

            1. If that navy and that security company can kill people without making any accounting to anyone but its masters, it is a government Sparky.

          3. You guys

            Pay attention to who you are responding to. Im exactly as ancap as you are, I just dont think they are crazy.

            Im capable of thinking about it.

            I just dont think anarchy can or has ever existed.

          4. *Which is just a Navy by another name*

            “Insurance Companies would charge you fees in exchange for their services”

            John: “Which is just ‘taxes’ by another name Derp!”

            1. New theory.

              John is Dan T.

              Dan T and I had this argument over HOAs.

        2. You guys think that if you just call something a “corporation” rather than a government it is somehow different and less apt to do bad things.

          You think that if you just call something a “government” rather than a corporation it is somehow different and less apt to do bad things.

          Are you completely blind to the amount of theft, murder, destruction, fraud and terrorism that democracies conduct?

          1. No H2K. I just understand how much more they could be doing but are not.

      3. Create a Navy? That doesn’t sound very anarchist to me.

        I think you need to look up the word anarchist.

  14. This is always the best way to frame an argument in my estimation – good little excerpts.. I may pick up the book that’s noted at the top of the page. Aside from ‘The Machinery of Freedom’ which is outdated in terms of real world examples, I haven’t read a lot of market specific material on the subject albeit I would consider myself a market anarchist.

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. One of the reasons no successful ancap society exists now is because if anyone tried to start one an existing democracy would violently destroy it.

    Ancap can work. Democracy can work. Socialism can work. Autocracies can work. They all depend on the strongest group supporting the philosophy. No one is arguing that if the US abolished democracy in favor of anarchism today that things would turn out well. Abolishing autocracy overnight in favor of democracy wouldn’t turn out well either.

    1. One of the reasons no successful ancap society exists now is because if anyone tried to start one an existing democracy would violently destroy it.

      And that is going to change when? Yeah, there is always going to be someone over the hill who sees it as easier to steal your shit than it is to make his own. Such is the human condition.

      As I have said before, the end result of scientific Marxism is world wide anarchy and a total withering away of government. An Caps are not going to be any more successful achieving this end than the Marxists were.

      1. Yeah, there is always going to be someone over the hill who sees it as easier to steal your shit than it is to make his own.

        You don’t think there are people who want to steal shit from democracies? There’s nothing magical about democracy. It’s might-makes-right in a pretty dress. It is the strongest person over the hill who wants to steal shit.

  16. It would be awesome if America worked the way it was supposed to. Then we COULD have examples of all different types of governance (or lack thereof). Obviously California would continue the slide into communism. Then some other state could try out an-cap and we’d have real time proof of how each system works and what the pitfalls of each are.

    And make no mistake, there are pitfalls with any system.

  17. I’m missing the part where this is different in principle than the nation-state system. Instead of dividing up the world into rival nation-states, the ancaps would divide it into rival corporations, perhaps operating within the same territory. At best, this would just mean that some of these corporations work out peaceful coexistence with others, other corporations wage war, and the rest engage in arms races, trade wars and mutual sniping. Just like with nation-states today.

    At worst, the competition for govt authority by corporations within the same territory will deny what’s left of the advantages of stable government.

    On the plus side, of course, tyrannical governments/corporations wold be smaller in size and scope, hence power to do evil. Until, that is, some coalition of really powerful companies gets together to dominate the world, or a portion of it, using war if it’s blocked from getting its way.

  18. Anarcho-capitalism is such a stupid term. Anarchy isn’t capitalistic and capitalism isn’t anarchic. Plain capitalism is what we need there’s no reason to bring anarchy into it at all.

  19. TANSTAGI

    Government is anarchy’s way of creating more anarchy.

  20. The more I think about it, the sillier this concept of anarcho-capitalism becomes.
    Anarchy is not a lack of rules. It is a lack of a central authority to enforce the rules.
    Capitalism depends on certain rules like property rights and contracts being enforced.
    How will disputes be managed without some central authority with the last word in violence? Competing police agencies and arbiters? What if different police or arbiters disagree? I go to the one that agrees with me and the other party goes to one that agrees with him. What then? Trial by combat?
    The whole thing seems to be based upon some faulty assumptions.

    1. According to anarchist theory, competing police/court agencies would be compelled to work with one another to reach some sort of compatibility in such cases, somewhat similar to how international agreements work today .

      Of course if that were a valid assumption in all cases, then every arrangement between governments would be of that nature, and there would be no wars. More likely, such organizations would only work together if they were of equivalent levels of force and when their goals are mutual.

      1. So… yes, it won’t be perfect. OK?

        And it’s important to remember that, when it comes to equivalent levels of force, it does not have to be that Company A matches Company B in power. Caplan stressed the importance of the prevailing attitude; if it is considered crazy for Company A to attack the weaker B on poor grounds, then Companies C through K may align with B to defend the prevailing conventions and maintain the profitable order of things. After all, the US obviously has greater power today than Japan, but it’d still be a terrible idea to invade Japan.

        1. That’s a good point.

    2. This article is what persuaded me that anarcho-capitalism could work:

      http://118.97.161.124/perpus-f…..ibertarian Study/Jurnal Libertarian/Anarcho Capitalism.pdf

          1. That’s way too much work man.

    3. What are the faulty assumptions?

      Under what circumstances are you willing to use force rather than (further) arbitration?

      And in such a system, I imagine there still would be “final arbiters,” only there may be multiple final arbiters according to the diversity of issues and cultures (as there in fact is today). Again, to use Caplan’s language, it may be considered “crazy” for you to ignore the rulings of a respected judge after X number of appeals. So crazy that, by defying the decision, people consider you an outlaw. Etc. etc.

  21. I can never get an anarchist to answer my question:

    How do you deal with the next Hitler?

    I’m talking about a heavily armed, modern nation-state funded through their public coffers invading your anarchistic utopia to take your shit.

    Please, I’d love to hear an intelligent response to this.

    1. Bullet to the head.

      Guerilla warfare.

      Electing a temporary general/dictator/war council.

      Hitler’s country faces a drought and its people starve, then turn on him.

      Aliens intervene and kill/save everyone.

      Under some conditions, there may be any number of solutions for the anarchist society. Under others, such a society may be doomed and fall into 1000 years of totalitarianism. You get to make up any conditions you want in this hypothetical to support your conclusion. So what’s the point?

      1. A modern state funded military would whip through anything an anarchist society could possibly field in a matter of days. Are your little bands of interested partners going to build bombers and fighters and tanks and nukes? How would you pay for it? Are they going to have a standing force ready to defend at a moment’s notice? You certainly cannot raise an effective militia fast enough to fend off a state backed attacker.

        Yes, it has been proven that unconventional guerrilla force can eventually wear down a superiorly armed attacker. But it takes years upon years of resistance. Who wants to live like that? One would be much better off with an extremely limited government dedicated to protecting the rights of the individual.

        1. One would be much better off with an extremely limited government dedicated to protecting the rights of the individual.

          Because what could go wrong?

          1. I’m sure you can envision lots of things. Just like I can envision lots of things going wrong with anarchy.

        2. We would use our super-advanced laser technology to destroy their forces the moment they touch Free Ground.

          Or our companies would wield their considerable commercial influence to get other states to rise to our defense.

          Blah blah blah. This is empty talk for empty talk’s sake. Hell, you just proposed a scenario where, apparently, this Hitler just suddenly appears with an almighty military and starts invading, while the anarchists are utterly gobsmacked and actually need some time to build their own army. I don’t know the conditions of this fantasy world. Real people living in a real situation would adjust to their circumstances. Maybe they’ll adjust poorly, maybe they won’t.

          And LOL, “Who wants to live like that?” What if your extremely limited government also fails? Still in the same position, and with some added wrinkles (an established political system for Hitler to use, a politically-friendly culture, etc.). How come your ideal is assumed to win, while mine is assumed to fail? After all, it was not extremely limited governments that stopped the actual Hitler.

          Anyway, the better question: How do you keep your extremely limited government limited? HOW!?!!?1

          1. The limited government doesn’t fail, provided it is willing to expand and do what is necessary to survive. See for example the American Civil War. Yeah, Lincoln really did expand central government. And the South didn’t. And who burned down whose country?

            1. The limited government doesn’t fail, provided it is willing to expand and do what is necessary to survive.

              So you see, a limited government won’t fail as long as it stops becoming a limited government. Got it?

              1. It goes back to being limited at the end of the war. I would take the 1866 US government over what we have today in a heart beat. The US didn’t stay on a war footing after World War II. The government strank and didn’t start expanding again until the 1960s. Yeah that sucked. But it beat living under slavery or being taken over by the Nazis.

                Life sucks sparky and is full of hard choices and best of bad options.

                1. It goes back to being limited at the end of the war.

                  No it doesn’t. Not ever. If it did, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

                  And if you’re willing to accept that a government will shrink back to pre-war size, why are you not willing to accept that an organized anarchic force would do the same?

                  1. Oh the collective self defense unicorn makes it first appearance. Sure it would Sparky. You could have this great militia where everyone was disciplined and trained hard and met on weekends to keep their skills up.

                    And it is not that I have a problem with that. I don’t. It is just that what you are describing is and national guard limited government, not anarchy.

                2. It goes back to being limited at the end of the war

                  Maybe if you are talking strictly about the number of troops, but otherwise it didn’t shrink one bit.

            2. The anarchist society doesn’t fail, provided people are willing to expand and do what is necessary to survive.

              See? Easy.

              I do love the suggestion that the South lost because it didn’t expand its central government (huh?). And if it sucks living under slavery, then Pre-Civil War US must have sucked too, right? The federal government expanded from day one – the Constitution was itself a great expansion of central power – and there are reasons to believe that limited government is unsustainable. Just as there are reasons to believe anarchy is unsustainable; I simply happen to find the former more convincing, you, the latter.

              1. And if it sucks living under slavery, then Pre-Civil War US must have sucked too, right?

                It did if you were black. And the antebellum south was an oppressive shitty government.

                the Constitution was itself a great expansion of central power

                Sure it was. And as a result of that we ended up with the richest and freest nation in human history. So maybe all expansions of central power are not so bad.

                1. And as a result of that

                  Er, what? We became the richest and freest nation because the federal government expanded under the Constitution compared to the Articles of Confederation?

                  Talk about non sequitur.

                  1. We became the richest and freest nation because the federal government expanded under the Constitution compared to the Articles of Confederation?

                    We got rich because we had a national market and a stable generally non oppressive central government. We are not any smarter than the South Americans. But we ended up a lot richer. Why? Because we had a better government.

                    1. What’s to say it wouldn’t have been better with an even weaker government under the Articles of Confederation?

                    2. What’s to say it wouldn’t have been better with an even weaker government under the Articles of Confederation?

                      We will never know. But considering that the old A of C didn’t produce a national market, that is doubtful. The states are pretty oppressive and stupid. Given the chance they would have probably destroyed themselves with trade wars. Moreover, without a central government, the UK and France and even Mexico probably would have carved up the US long before it became what it is today.

          2. I claim no utopia. BUT, you maximize liberty, while accepting the fact that there is a need for a last word in force.

            You maximize liberty by adhering to the NAP:

            1. A person may do as he chooses, PROVIDED in doing so he does not infringe upon the rights of others.

            Anyway, the better question: How do you keep your extremely limited government limited? HOW!?!!?1

            You define it’s purpose, you simplify it:

            2. The ONLY legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of the individual.

            PERIOD!

            In these two tenets you achieve maximum liberty and the means to protect it. You make those with the guns swear an oath to the tenets. Which is what we do now, and I cannot see a way that’s better.

            1. I cannot see a way that’s better.

              Why do you use your lack of vision to say it can’t be done? Maybe you can’t see a better way but others can. It seems to me like you’re refusing to accept that another idea could possibly be better than yours. You won’t accept it, therefore you won’t try it.

              1. THAT’S JUST IT SPARKY! YOU DON’T HAVE ANY IDEAS!

                I have repeatedly asked you how certain shit would work and you have no fucking idea. I’m trying to understand how this world of yours would work. You deflect my questions. In fact, your inability to answer them is leading me to believe you’ve never really thought about it.

                1. In fact, your inability to answer them is leading me to believe you’ve never really thought about it.

                  This article that Brian Doherty was kind enough to publish is pushing a book about anarchy. Why don’t you pick it up? I’m not going to sit here for hours answering every question you can dream up. And I’m sure that’s all the reason you need to say I don’t have any thoughts about what I think an anarchic society should/would be like.

                  1. Yep. I ask the same fucking question, every fucking time and I’ve yet to have one fucking anarchist be able to answer the fucking thing.

                    Do you know how many times I’ve been told to go read a book?

                    If you cannot debate simple aspects of your philosophy, you certainly aren’t going to win anyone over.

                    1. If you cannot debate simple aspects of your philosophy, you certainly aren’t going to win anyone over.

                      It appears to me that you, like John in this case, don’t want debate. You want to tell everyone why you are right and they are wrong. You determine that every answer given to you isn’t an answer because you don’t like it. Why should I spend my time debating? I have better things to do with my life than to keep typing the same things over and over at imaginary people on the Internet. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an argument or a well thought out position, it just means I’m not thoroughly invested in being grilled by imaginary beings.

                      You don’t accept my position. Fine, I can live with that. You go your way and I’ll go mine, just like in an anarchic society. However, you don’t seem to be able to live with the fact that I don’t accept yours. Which is a position that I just can’t fathom.

            2. I accept that there is a last word in force. I’d say that’s descriptive rather than prescriptive: there’s ultimately always a last word. It’s just doesn’t need to be the same in all cases.

              And I’m glad that your government will protect my right to a living wage, health care and a reasonable opportunity to fulfill my personal goals.

              1. And I’m glad that your government will protect my right to a living wage, health care and a reasonable opportunity to fulfill my personal goals.

                You have no such right. See tenet 1.

                1. My rights include the right to a living wage, health care and a reasonable opportunity to fulfill my personal goals.

                  Smart people have written books saying this is the case, and thankfully many legislators have come to accept this view. By the clear language of this founding document, the government is bound to protect these rights. It is simply a fact that an employer denying me a living wage is infringing my rights, and the government is authorized to establish laws and offices necessary to rectify this injustice, as that is its purpose.

                  1. As I said before MJG. There are two tenets:

                    1. A person may do as he chooses, PROVIDED in doing so does not infringe upon the rights of others.

                    2. The ONLY legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of the individual.

                    The “right” to a living wage does not exist as providing it would infringe upon the rights of others. See tenet 1.

                    The only positive rights you are entitled to are those granted under tenet 2.

        3. And the guerrillas only win when the central government loses the will to fight. That actually rarely happens. Usually the guerrillas get tired of dying first. For every Vietnam the anrcho caps can give, which is of course a stupid example, but go with me. There are a hundred other counter examples like the American Indian. Small bands of even the most dedicated warriors have no chance against a disciplined, industrialized army.

          1. There are a hundred other counter examples like the American Indian. Small bands of even the most dedicated warriors have no chance against a disciplined, industrialized army.

            Custer says “hi”. Oh wait, no he doesn’t… he was killed by inferior forces.

            1. And there are are still Sioux warriors out there? And he was killed by thousands of organized troops armed with modern weapons. And of course when the Sheridan came back with more troops and more weapons, the Indians who didn’t end up dead ended up confined to reservations. So I don’t think your example means what you think it does.

              Come on GB, why does this subject make otherwise smart people completely stupid?

              1. Come on GB, why does this subject make otherwise smart people completely stupid?

                HAHA! That would be an interesting question to direct your way, but I wouldn’t want to assume you started in the smart position.

    2. Is it your belief that a group of citizens banding together for common defense becomes government? I’d bet that you’ve received intelligent responses, just none that you accept as anarchist solutions.

      It seems to me a common problem is that people who believe:

      government = violence

      take it another step and say:

      violence = government

      and then use that to prove that government will always exist because violence will always exist.

      1. See, this is the kind of shit I get.

        Answer the question. How would you repel a large scale state funded invasion?

        How would that work?

          1. MJG gave the same answer as you…

            None.

            He deflected the question and called my scenario fantasy. Which is complete bullshit.

            Answer the fucking question. Are you going to have a standing military and how will you fund it and who are the answerable to?

            1. He deflected the question and called my scenario fantasy.

              No, you were given an answer that you don’t accept. That’s not the same as not being given an answer.

              When you make up a hypothetical situation, why do you not accept a made up hypothetical response? You were given a response and you don’t like it. Tough.

              If you don’t want to accept anarchy, then don’t. It’s not going to break my heart. Do whatever the fuck you feel like doing. But your idea of perpetual limited government seems to be exactly as stupid as my idea of anarchy. If neither is ever going to exist then isn’t it at least worth fighting to push general opinion in that direction? Isn’t it worth it to at least hold an extreme view worth pushing towards?

              1. The first sentence in his answer is about fucking lasers destroying things.

                That’s pure fucking fantasy and nowhere near a real answer.

                Using corporate influence and money to get other people to defend you would probably work. But that scenario is predicated on the assumption that those things would definitely exist.

            2. Answer the fucking question. Are you going to have a standing military and how will you fund it and who are the answerable to?

              I’m not necessarily an an-cap, but isn’t this the same type of question that statists throw at libertarians?

              “How will roads get built without a government?!”

              1. I can answer the question of private roadz. I can give at least one plausible answer and perhaps more if I think about it.

                Joe, they are proposing a model for a society that’s free of government. Models, by definition, are predictive. I should be able to ask any question with regard to societal issues and the model should generate an answer.

                I use war, because that is my background.

                If you cannot answer the simple question of “how would your society accommodate issue x”, perhaps it’s not a comprehensive model.

                1. If you’re still checking in on this thread, how would you stop Hitler in libertopia?

                  1. I would have a standing military capable of repelling the known capabilities of any other entity on the planet. I would know those capabilities through a robust intelligence network. The military is answerable to a civilian executive right up to the point where the executive disobeys the constitution at which point it is the duty of the military to ensure compliance with the constitution. (which is, in theory, what we have today).

                    I would fund it, and the rest of the federal government, with a flat fee on every man, woman and child who has access to these government services. As I lay it out above, the only legitimate function is the protection of the individual’s rights. So that’s military, federal cops (FBI/CIA), courts…

                    If that cost $1T (which is a reasonable estimate once you get rid of all the bullshit social programs) that would equate to $3225 a year per person.

                    This method also has the added benefit of keeping government small, as any increase hits the poor with the rich as everyone has equal skin in the game.

                    That is my libertopia.

                    1. I would have a standing military capable of repelling the known capabilities of any other entity on the planet.

                      Where do the soldiers come from?

                      The military is answerable to a civilian executive

                      What if they decide they don’t want to be anymore?

                      I would know those capabilities through a robust intelligence network.

                      At least, you think you know everything.

                      I would fund it, and the rest of the federal government, with a flat fee on every man, woman and child who has access to these government services.

                      How do you collect that fee?

                      This method also has the added benefit of keeping government small, as any increase hits the poor with the rich as everyone has equal skin in the game.

                      How do you guarantee that?

                    2. Where do the soldiers come from?

                      Volunteer force.

                      What if they decide they don’t want to be anymore?

                      No different than today.

                      At least, you think you know everything.

                      You NEVER know everything. As we’ve recently found.

                      How do you collect that fee?

                      Tax. Every year the government does your taxes for you. They take the yearly budget and divide by the number of peeps in the country. You pay it or they come get ya. Just like now only fair.

                      How do you guarantee that?

                      You don’t. I would imagine if 47% of the population that’s not getting taxed, actually were, they might not be so inclined to keep assholes raising their taxes in office.

                    3. Volunteer force.

                      What if you don’t have enough volunteers?

                      Tax.

                      Surprising, if you’re a libertarian.

                      Just like now only fair.

                      Depending on the definition of fair.

                      You don’t.

                      And then you grow, and grow, and grow, and grow…

                    4. What if you don’t have enough volunteers?

                      As with all jobs. Pay them more.

                      Surprising, if you’re a libertarian.

                      If you assume there is a legitimate function for government, you must fund it somehow. I am not against all tax, only illegitimate tax.

                      Depending on the definition of fair.

                      Everyone has equal access to the system. Everyone is “covered” equally. They can buy the same services for the same price. It’s like buying a gallon of milk.

                      And then you grow, and grow, and grow, and grow…

                      Not necessarily. When you tax everyone the same, there is no way to buy votes.

                    5. As with all jobs. Pay them more.

                      Which means raising tax rates.

                      I am not against all tax, only illegitimate tax.

                      What do you do with people who don’t think funding the military at ever increasing levels is legitimate?

                      Everyone is “covered” equally.

                      What if people don’t need or want to be covered?

                      When you tax everyone the same, there is no way to buy votes.

                      You really believe that’s the only way for the government to expand its power?

                    6. Which means raising tax rates.

                      Yes. IF, as you say, you don’t have enough volunteers. Which hasn’t been the case. The military is a pretty good gig during peacetime. And you can’t just quit if there’s a war. Keep your wars to an absolute minimum and you won’t have a problem.

                      What do you do with people who don’t think funding the military at ever increasing levels is legitimate?

                      Military spending is cyclical. You innovate, they find a way to defend against your innovation, you top their shit, they find a way around your shit… Price keeps going up, right? Yes, until there is a new innovation that starts the entire process over. You have seen your last manned fighter/bomber/transport. In fact, I suspect in a generation or so weapons won’t need a delivery platform. Weapons will fly themselves to the target. You will have sensor webs and long range weapons. Dirt cheap again. Innovation reduces cost.

                      What if people don’t need or want to be covered?

                      They can move to a more free country.

                      You really believe that’s the only way for the government to expand its power?

                      Probably not, but I’m having a hard time coming up with another way. Can you give me an example?

                    7. Can you give me an example?

                      Power grab. The men with all the power decide they want more and take it. If it can happen in anarchy or democracy it can happen in libertopia.

                      And you can’t just quit if there’s a war.

                      Oh, really? Maybe you can’t, doesn’t mean you won’t.

                      They can move to a more free country.

                      Love it or leave it. Could be your national motto. Maybe I could use that for anarchotopia too.

                      Looks to me like you’ve got a nice little country full of flaws and built on assumptions. Obviously libertopia it’s way more valid than anarchotopia.

                    8. Dude, I never claimed to have all the answers. But I have thought about how to make it the best possible.

                      I have come to the conclusion that there needs to be an ultimate say so in force.

                      Oh, really? Maybe you can’t, doesn’t mean you won’t.

                      My point exactly. Someone needs to enforce the contract. I sign up to defend you militarily and I don’t follow through on my contract, someone needs to put me in jail to protect your rights.

                      And at least I can articulate how my system might operate based upon real world contingencies.

                      And how would men with power take more without being able to buy votes? They rely on the people to give them the power. As it stands, they manipulate the system by promising candy to certain groups over others. THAT’s the only power they have.

                    9. It took the combined military might of several countries to stop the real Hitler, what do you do when you realize you’re not enough by yourself?

                    10. Probably wouldn’t take more than us alone today. I don’t like foreign entanglements. I don’t like military treaties.

                      Trade with everyone. Ally with no one. Make deep, deep financial entanglements. You don’t go to war with those you are financially interdependent with.

                    11. Probably wouldn’t take more than us alone today.

                      So you get to use 2013 US vs 1944 Hitler?

                    12. No, what I meant was, relative to anyone else in the world today, we are much stronger than we were in 1944 (relative to everyone else in the world then).

          2. The problem, Sparks, is that you can’t just wave away problems like that by saying that “it depends on the circumstance”. If we were so agnostic regarding analysis of social and physical sciences, we would be able to arrive at no conclusions.

            FdA and I both listed a few of the problems that an anarchistic framework would arrive at in the event of self defense. Mine pertained to cohesiveness of defense; FdA’s with scaling problems. You can wave those problems away, but objectively they are problems in an anarchistic system that governments tend to not have to the same degree.

            1. objectively they are problems in an anarchistic system that governments tend to not have to the same degree

              How do you know? You have real world examples of anarchic society?

            2. It’s not that we’re waving away the problem, but that there are any number of solutions, all contingent on the unique circumstances of the case. I can think of a million ways for an anarchist society to repel an invasion. And you can think of a million reasons why my solutions are unrealistic or wrong and why the invading force would win. In the end, there’s no real progress.

              We can talk constructively about the issues of cohesiveness or uniformity and cultural identification in a stateless society, as well as the issue of scaling. But it doesn’t involve flinging scenarios back at one another, each formed incompletely in our separate minds and adapted as the discussion continues to protect our conclusion. I’ve learned this the hard way after many, many wasted hours of discussion.

              And the more constructive discussions require a lot of groundwork to avoid talking past each other.

              1. That’s having your cake and eating it, too.

                Most anarchists note as a positive part of their system that force in an anarchist system tends not to scale well, allowing the average person with firearms training a shot at forging their own path. In fact, many theoretical equilibrium models of anarchism require this assumption to maintain equilibrium.

                You can’t hold to the above without acknowledging that this opens the system up to attacks from the outside from those with systems in which economies of force scale well.

                Granted, you may not be such an anarchist but anarchy is such a chimera that one is forced to rely on the few theoretical approaches out there — otherwise we’re not really arguing about anything concrete.

                1. Hmm, well I’m not sure why those are mutually exclusive. Just because everyone has their gun pointed at one another internally doesn’t mean their guns can’t be turned in unison towards an external threat. Or are you talking about something different?

                  1. I am talking about pragmatic differences between a state sponsored force and that which could realistically be set up by an anarchist society.

                    As I understand it, an anarchist defense force would be something like a paid militia, that would be set up/activated only when needed. If so you will be fighting fighter jets and tanks with rifles.

                    The only way to defend against a modern military is with a standing force. There are multiple reasons for this.

                    1. It takes years to field the equipment. From scratch a new fighter program takes about 20 years from start to finish.

                    2. It takes years to train people to use the equipment. In two years you can have a barely qualified fighter pilot. Five years for an experienced one.

                    3.Equipment becomes obsolete every 20 years or so and needs to be improved to meet the new threat.

                    And these are just a few, I could go on, and on, and on…

                    1. So does an anarchist society field a standing military or not? If not, you will be defeated handily by the first country who decides they want your shit. If so, how do you pay for it when half your society decides they don’t care to pay for it? And if only half pay, what do you do, not defend 50% of the population? Who is whom?

                      And if you have a standing force, who are they answerable to? I’m guessing you’ll say the customers. They’ll just turn off the funding if the force gets out of control. So now you’ve got bunch of well trained, well armed guys who realize you’ve shut them down and they’ve got bombers and tanks and you have rifles… How’s that going to turn out?

                      These are the things I don’t understand. These types of things always get answered like you did before. “Oh, we can’t know for certain what will happen, we’ll find a way…”

                      Foreseeable consequences are predictable.

                    2. Francisco for the win.

                    3. Francisco for the win.

                      Good one.

                      Wait, you’re serious?

      1. “Al’s Protection Racket operated out of Manhattan, Kansas. Despite the name, it was a small, insurance-oriented police service with about 20,000 customers, all within 100 kilometers of the main ship. But apparently “Al” was some kind of humorist: His ads had a gangster motif with his cops dressed like 20th century hoodlums. Wil Brierson guessed that it was all part of the nostalgia thing. Even the Michigan State Police?Wil’s outfit?capitalized on the public’s feeling of trust for old names, old traditions.
        Even so, there’s something more dignified about a company with a name like “Michigan State Police,” thought Brierson as he brought his flier down on the pad next to Al’s HQ. He stepped out of the cockpit into an eerie morning silence: It was close to sunrise, yet the sky remained dark, the air humid. Thunderheads marched around half the horizon. A constant flicker of lightning chased back and forth within those clouds, yet there was not the faintest sound of thunder. He had seen a tornado killer on his way in, a lone eagle in the far sky. The weather was almost as ominous as the plea East Lansing HQ had received from Al’s just four hours earlier.”

      2. “Look, I’m not talking about some punk gang. I’m talking about the Republic of New Mexico. Invading us.” He dropped into his chair and continued more calmly. It was almost as if passing the information on had taken the burden off him. “You’re shocked?”
        Brierson nodded dumbly.
        “Me, too. Or I would have been up till a month ago. The Republic has always had plenty of internal troubles. And even though they claim all lands south of the Arkansas River, they have no settlements within hundreds of kilometers of here. Even now I think this is a bit of adventurism that can be squelched by an application of point force.” He glanced at his watch. “Look, no matter how important speed is, we’ve got to do some coordinating. How many attack patrols are coming in after you?”
        He saw the look on Brierson’s face. “What? Only one? Damn. Well, I suppose it’s my fault, being secret like, but?”
        Wil cleared his throat. “Big Al, there’s only me. I’m the only agent MSP sent.”
        The other’s face seemed to collapse, the relief changing to despair, then to a weak rage. “G-God d-damn you to hell, Brierson. I may lose everything I’ve built here, and the people who trusted me may lose everything they own. But I swear I’m going to sue your Michigan State Police into oblivion. Fifteen years I’ve paid you guys premiums and never a claim. And now when I need max firepower, they send me one asshole with a 10-millimeter popgun.”

    3. “I’d love to hear an intelligent response to this.”

      I’m just wondering if you seriously think you are the first person ever to address this idea and that a coherent response to such a sweeping question could be adequately answered to your satisfaction on a HnR blog page?

      I’m not even picking a side here, just making the observation that, even if you are not aware of it (call it 50-50) you are simply trolling.

      But, hey, far be for me to point out that this shiny interwebz toy you are playing with has a wealth of information on the very subject you are asking about and you have obviously not availed yourself of it’s magic.

      So you are either lazy or trolling.

      Neither inclines people to take your question seriously.

      /returns to lurking

      1. I’m just wondering if you seriously think you are the first person ever to address this idea and that a coherent response to such a sweeping question could be adequately answered to your satisfaction on a HnR blog page?

        Yes. Sorry but if the outlines of your argument can’t be made in a few paragraphs, it is probably not a very good argument. I am not asking for evidence or a complete discourse. But the crux of the case and the response to the most obvious issues ought to be able to be provided in a few hundred words.

        1. “C4. What about national defense?
          This issue makes minarchists out of a lot of would-be anarchists. One view is that in a libertarian society everyone would be heavily armed, making invasion or usurpation by a domestic tyrant excessively risky. This is what the Founding Fathers clearly intended for the U.S. (the Constitution made no provision for a standing army, entrusting defense primarily to a militia consisting of the entirety of the armed citizenry). It works today in Switzerland (also furnishing one of the strongest anti-gun-control arguments). The key elements in libertarian-anarchist defense against an invader would be: a widespread ideology (libertarianism) that encourages resistance; ready availability of deadly weapons; and no structures of government that an invader can take over and use to rule indirectly. Think about the Afghans, the Viet Cong, the Minutemen — would you want to invade a country full of dedicated, heavily armed libertarians? :-)”

          http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/l…..sm.html#C4

          Sure, here’s one for you, free of charge.

          1. One view is that in a libertarian society everyone would be heavily armed, making invasion or usurpation by a domestic tyrant excessively risky.

            Unless you have compulsive military service, training and organization, it wouldn’t be risky at all, assuming said tyrant had those things. An organized, trained and disciplined military force will run all over a group of private citizens every time, no matter how well armed they are.

            And the risk is all for you not the invader. You are the one who gets your country fucked up, not him. You are left running off to hills. And even that assumes your populace is fanatical enough to fight and die. We always hear how hard it was in say Vietnam. But we never see it from the other side. It was a thousand times worse for the Vietnamese.

            1. The US (which tends to be the go-to example for a liberty-loving well-armed populace) got the ever-loving shit beat out of it in the War of 1812 when they weren’t fighting crappy Canadian militias.

              Besides, who says that a belligerent has to be in it for occupation? Vikings did just fine raiding for slaves and gold, and plenty of nations would be just peachy with blowing chunks out of the US or stealing our shit and not sticking it out for the long haul.

              1. “The US (which tends to be the go-to example for a liberty-loving well-armed populace) got the ever-loving shit beat out of it in the War of 1812 when they weren’t fighting crappy Canadian militias”

                Forgive me if I missed something. How did that war end?

              2. John, you are doing an awful lot of presupposing, predetermining, and outright overlooking for me to take you very seriously, and I’m sympathetic to your questions.

                For example:”the risk is all for you not the invader”

                When the stateless society say, engages in chemical terrorist tactics within the borders of the aggressor state would this still be true?

                1. That is possible nazdrakke. But I don’t think that would work out too well for you. Maybe the invader goes home. Or maybe the invader just destroys your entire population. That that is what the US did to the Indians.

                  1. “That that is what the US did to the Indians.”

                    Presupposing a vast technological gap.

                    Next

                    1. Presupposing a vast technological gap.

                      Don’t need that. The Romans wiped out entire populations so did the mongols without a vast technology gap. You just have to have the will and a superior military, which the invader would have.

                    2. “You just have to have the will and a superior military, which the invader would have.”

                      Ok, John, let’s try it this way. Please explain to me why these two things MUST be true, and MUST be the determining factors in a conflict.

                    3. Because there is more to winning a war than being armed. Training, combined arms, the will to fight, and such matter much more. And those things are generally only attainable via some kind of government and a professional military. Basically, the professionals nearly always beat the amateurs and it is pretty hard to be a professional without a government to support you.

                    4. Right, that’s why the Persians walked right over the Greeks. Because that ragtag Greek militia just couldn’t stand up to a trained, professional, Persian Army.

                    5. Virginian that’s a pretty bad example. Philip of Macedon is generally considered to be the inventor of the professional army. Compared to the Greek hoplites they were facing the Persians were woefully outclassed. It wasn’t the only reason for the Persian failure, but it was a big one.

                    6. I was talking about the Persian invasion of Greece actually. You know, yeoman farmers rallying under elected leaders in an ad hoc fashion to repel invasion? Not the imperial project of the Macedonian kings.

                    7. “Because there is more to winning a war than being armed.”

                      Good.

                      “Training, combined arms, the will to fight, and such matter much more.”

                      Drifting.

                      “via some kind of government and a professional military… ”

                      Better, at least you’ve moved from absolute argumentation to qualifying your statements.

                      It’s not my intention to start up my own blog on this page, and I hardly have the time for a history lesson about military conflicts and organizations. I’m also not trying to be a dick, but I believe that you are totally missing the actual structural problems inherent to a stateless society’s military questions by getting bogged down in technicalities and lazy thinking.

                      Trust me, for every technical objection you raise, I can write a counterpoint. I could do it all day long.

                      As I said earlier, I’m sympathetic, but I think your method of argumentation hurts more than it helps on this subject.

          2. So their defensive strategy is to spend your entire lifetime wearing down a superior force?

            Sorry, I’d rather enjoy my liberty and prosper.

            1. Sorry, I’d rather enjoy my liberty and prosper.

              You keep saying that like it’s an option. You must be a utopian.

  22. Ideas rule the world. A stable, ordered “anarchy” does not require changing human nature. It only requires changing some ideas.

    Anyone who claims it would obviously fail is talking out of their ass. A stateless society may fail, it may not. There is no way to know a priori.

  23. The problem with anarcho-capitalism, as with most other anarcho-ologies, is that it does not recognize fundamental human nature.

    Getting rid of government is as unrealistic as getting rid of crime. One proposed solution to crime is private protection agencies selling protection insurance. Outside of AnCap communities these are commonly known as “protection rackets”. Once they have the authority to collect on damages, you’ve got institutionalized coercion (ei. government) all over again. And someone who does not pay dues to any syndicate will be an outlaw in the original sense of the word.

    And that’s just crime. You’re still going to have a significant number of people who want to control and manage the behavior of others. Perhaps they’re puritans, or environmentalists, or bloombergians, or just people pissed at something. These people will not be rare, they will be far more common than right thinking, ideologically pure, AnCaps. And they will find each other and organize.

    But that’s all minor stuff. What will bring government back will be the first crisis. Government may not be a solution, but you can be damned sure a lot of people will be clamoring for something coercive to be done!

    This DOES NOT mean we must have big government! We need to keep government very small and very decentralized. But without a fundamental change in human nature, we will never get rid of it.

    1. The problem with the supporters of government is that they do not recognize fundamental human nature. They seem to believe that giving a small group of people a legal monopoly on violence transforms such people into wise and benevolent beings who only care about the well-being of those under their governance.

      1. For all of our flaws, I would say we live in a pretty good place today. I eat better and have more luxuries than virtually any person in history. I also have few worries about the police or government doing much of anything to me. Basically, compared to 99.9% of the people who have ever lived, the middle class 21st Century American lives in paradise.

        So I am sorry, but the bar is a bit higher than “it would be better than Stalinist Russia or Somalia”.

      2. I do not support government. I merely recognize it as inevitable.

        1. Why? How can you be so sure that it is inevitable?

          For fuck’s sake, everyone here has all the answers.

          1. And how can you be so sure anarchy is inevitable?

    2. Getting rid of government is as unrealistic as getting rid of crime. One proposed solution to crime is private protection agencies selling protection insurance. Outside of AnCap communities these are commonly known as “protection rackets”.

      Exactly. That is all mafias ever are. They are a force for people to turn to to keep other people from ripping them off. That is it. As they said it and said it will in Goodfellas, the mafia was just a police department for people who can’t go to the cops. Get rid of the cops and we are all paying our own protection money.

    3. Another argument: Anarchy is inherently unstable. You can have larger or smaller states. You have have centralized and decentralized states. But there is no such thing as partial anarchy. You can’t grow or shrink it. Once the village hires a sheriff they are no longer in an anarchy.

      Ideological anarchists love to argue about what form an anarchist society will take, but the real question is how long one could last if it ever arose.

      1. ^^THIS^^ Anarchy is a utopia. It exists in a place where people are inherently peaceful and have no desire to exploit or oppress anyone else. In other words, it exists in the An Caps’ imagination and no where else.

        1. Spot on. This is why the thousands and thousands of pages written about anarchy don’t address how power could be decentralized and reach a peaceful equilibrium; rather, it’s all flowery poems about how things could work if we just, like, gave peace a chance, man.

  24. We need to keep government very small and very decentralized.

    What makes you think that’s possible?

    1. It was possible in the US from around 1776 until about 1932. We have a real life example of this working and working well. What do you have other than fantasies and indignant retorts about the various disasters that have descended on places like China when the central governments ceased to function?

      1. You said yourself upthread that Lincoln greatly expanded the power of government, so it didn’t even exist until 1932.

        Minarchy seems to be as “utopian” as anarchy, good for only a few generations or so until people realize that getting the right group together can result in them holding more and more power and control over everyone else.

        That doesn’t mean either one is a non-starter, though.

        1. Minarchy has actually worked and produced real results. And there is nothing inherently contradictory about it. It doesn’t depend on changing anyone’s nature.

          1. Minarchy flies in the face of Lord Byron’s famous maxim “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

            If you give up even a little bit of your sovereignty, you will eventually give it all up.

            That is why I said neither form could work for more than a few generations, as we have seen with minarchist examples.

            1. An Cap couldn’t work for ten minutes let alone generations.

              1. It’s almost like you didn’t read the article, what with your question begging.

                John: An-cap won’t work.

                Others: Why won’t An-cap work?

                John: Because it hasn’t been tried so there’s no proof it will work.

                Others: Why hasn’t it been tried?

                John: Because it won’t work.

                1. Except it HAS been tried. Paris Commune. Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalism. In both cases the anarchy *quickly* degenerated into ruling committees indistinguishable from the state.

            2. All governments (and most human institutions) have a sell-by date. In the case of miniarchies like the US and Switzerland, we have stable societies which, even in their atrophied states, are far better than most other countries. In contrast, the few examples that anarchists can point to were 1) not libertarian/classically liberal, 2) not terribly stable, and 3) were ultimately conquered by nations that completely stripped them of their liberties and treated them like their playthings.

              Sorry, but I much prefer today’s US government to having chunks of the US under the control of either petty tyrants or belligerent nations.

              1. I agree to an extent, mostly with the fact that the present day U.S. is better than most alternatives. Still, it has come a long way from it’s minarchist days of youth… there are no repercussions for growing the size of government. (What’s that quote about the worth of a Constitution that doesn’t keep power in check?)

                I think de la Paz’s system of a government in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is probably one of the best I’ve seen, with a bicameral legislature made up of one house that passes laws with a 2/3 majority, and another house that repeals laws with a 1/3 majority. The argument goes that if a law is worth keeping it shouldn’t be hard to get more than 2/3 of the representatives to vote “Nay”, and if a law is worth having the same thing goes for a “Yes” vote.

                But none of these means that striving towards a more limited government or no government isn’t worth doing. That was the point of Caplan’s article: until these things are actually tried, everyone will think your crazy for even suggesting them. (See: libertarianism)

                1. Still, it has come a long way from it’s minarchist days of youth…

                  As a friend of mine says, “the early US was indeed a libertarian society… if you were a white male landholder.”

                  In many ways we have indeed become freer, our government less intrusive. But it just doesn’t fit the meme of a long lost golden age of libertarianism.

            3. Lord Acton, not Lord Byron.

  25. We have a real life example of this working and working well.

    It was possible in the US from around 1776 until about 1932.

    Your idea of success is a government that lasted for just over 150 years. And where is it now?

    1. Were is yours? And a 150 years is one hell of a long time. It is 150 years longer than any An cap society has lasted. But I am the one who is the Utopian.

      1. Were is yours?

        Hasn’t been tried. People like you stand in the way.

        1. Were is yours?

          Hasn’t been tried. People like you stand in the way.

          Maybe just maybe people’s unwillingness to ever try it, says something about its practicality.

          1. The only thing it says is that people fear change. That’s kinda the point of the entire article.

            1. No it says that people inherently have pretty lousy natures and that reality is really fucking hard. And you are never going to reach the point where people either through sincere mistake, superstition or downright hatred won’t want to oppress and exploit other people. It is called evil. And it has always been with us. And as long as you have that, an cap will never exist much less work.

              1. And as long as you have that, an cap will never exist much less work.

                Then why waste everyone’s time arguing against it? Go your way secure in your beliefs and let those who disagree or are at least willing to debate the idea have a conversation. You’re not interested in debate, you want to lord your position over all the people who aren’t as brilliant as you. It’s what you do.

                1. Because I can’t stand Utopians.

                  1. Because I can’t stand Utopians.

                    And this is why we have the country we have.

                    1. And this is why we have the country we have.

                      That’s not necessarily a bad thing… it depends whose “utopia” is trying to be achieved.

        2. Hasn’t been tried. People like you stand in the way.

          And that right there is the fatal flaw of anarchism: it requires everyone to be anarchists. If an anarchy cannot survive in the presence of people like John, then anarchy is simply not possible.

    2. For fuck sake, I’m hitting the reply button…

    3. Show me ONE anarchist society, not located within the protective bubble of an enclosing nation state, that lasted more than two decades.

  26. An Cap really is a religion. In the same way Christians believe that one day Christ will return to the earth and there will be world peace, An Caps believe that some day the need for government will go away and we will have peace and harmony.

    1. Derp derp fucking derp.

      When you get your Red Tony pants on, you get them pressed and fucking sharply creased.

      1. It is true. There is nothing on this page but absolute religious faith that people will somehow transform into something they are not if we get rid of government.

        Let me give you a clue, if people were so great they could get along in an An Cap state without killing and exploiting each other, it wouldn’t matter what kind of government we had. Things would be great no matter what.

        1. You ever find a wallet in the street? Nothing stops you from keeping it. No one is going to figure out you took it, no one is going to send you to jail.

          Why do you assume people are savage, evil creatures only held in check by the State?

          Oh that’s right….you’re Red Tony today.

          1. Why do you assume people are savage, evil creatures only held in check by the State?

            Is that a serious question? The entire history of mankind maybe? In my life time people went berserk and killed 1/4 of the population of Cambodia and half of the population of Rwanda. The Iranians sent teenagers to clear mines in the Iraq war and the Iraqis responded by dropping nerve gas on them. The Bathists in Iraq killed their political enemies and their children. The list goes on and on and on.

            Really Virginian? You really think the people who killed children with hoes in Rwanda or put people in ovens in Auschwitz don’t still walk the earth today if not those people but people just like them?

            And you are seriously telling me you are not a Utopian?

            1. Is that a serious question? The entire history of mankind maybe? In my life time people went berserk and killed 1/4 of the population of Cambodia and half of the population of Rwanda. The Iranians sent teenagers to clear mines in the Iraq war and the Iraqis responded by dropping nerve gas on them. The Bathists in Iraq killed their political enemies and their children. The list goes on and on and on.

              Really Virginian? You really think the people who killed children with hoes in Rwanda or put people in ovens in Auschwitz don’t still walk the earth today if not those people but people just like them?

              John, you are perfect example for why our freedoms are being whittled away. You see freedom and worry about how that freedom will be abused. I see freedom and wonder how much it will see achieved.

              BAD PEOPLE EXIST. EVIL EXISTS. Not everyone will agree on the origins of evil, but it does exist. Making everyone else less free because of the possible actions of a few evil makes you no better than progressives.

              You are Red Tony.

              1. Wow. talk about not getting the argument. Yes, bad people exist. And they will always exist. That is why AnCAP is a silly Utopian fantasy you half wit. None of these things will ever work, because people suck, are not generally liberty loving and are not generally peaceful.

              2. gB, John sees evil everywhere because John is evil. He has admitted that if all the rules were gone he would go on a bloody rampage. He would build up a gang of friends and start taking over the world. When such things are in your own heart it is impossible to believe that others aren’t like you.

                1. Yes, just like progressives who push gun legislation, food restrictions, and expansive bans because they can’t control themselves.

                  1. Yes, just like progressives who push gun legislation, food restrictions, and expansive bans because they can’t control themselves.

                    Are you really this stupid or are you intentionally ignoring the point because you have no response to it? Bad people exist. They do bad things. Because of that we are stuck defending ourselves and having courts and prisons and such. And no amount of belief in the anarcho capitalist unicorn is going to change that. Get rid of courts and laws and government, and the same bad people will exist and create their own governments to get what they want. That is reality.

                    1. Get rid ofKeep courts and laws and government, and the same bad people will exist and create their own governments to get what they want. That is reality.

                      FIFY. When we say bad people exist, we are making the same point. What I want to know is how the existence of bad people somehow makes anarchy unworkable, but every other form of government worthy of trial.

                      In the current system, bad people inhabit the system that is used to protect everyone else from bad people (See: police, prosecutors, judges, federal agents, bureaucrats, etc.)

                      In an anarchy, they will still exist, but they won’t have established power over anyone, because no one will recognize their authority. That is the difference, as I see it.

                2. ohn sees evil everywhere because John is evil. He has admitted that if all the rules were gone he would go on a bloody rampage.

                  Are you really that stupid Sparky? Are you really incapable of understanding the collective “you” and the hypothetical as a rhetorical device?

                  It is not that I or you or any person in particular would do such a thing. It is that someone would. We live in a world were people kill each other with hoes because they think the other person is a different tribe.

                  1. Are you really that stupid Sparky? Are you really incapable of understanding the collective “you” and the hypothetical as a rhetorical device?

                    Not at all, but what does that have to do with anything? To the best of my knowledge, as informed by your regular postings here, you fit perfectly into my definition of evil (as far a such a concept really exists). You are what you are. And I understand this is why I rarely agree with you on anything.

            2. The governments of Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq, and Iran did those things, yes.

              I love how somehow anarchists have answer for the sins of totalitarian statists.

              Red Tony, Red Tony, send more strawmen to the flames.

              1. The governments of Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq, and Iran did those things, yes.

                No Virginian, the people did those things. The governments were not made up of aliens. They were made up of people. The people of Rwanda wanted to kill each other. The people of Cambodia, or a good portion of them, decided it was a great idea to kill their neighbors. The government was just the vehicle they used.

                In the end, you are left with the idea that the government somehow corrupts people. And that is bullshit. The people are corrupted and they are the ones who corrupt the government. Getting rid of the government isn’t going to make people any less murderous. And that is why an cap is silly and utopian.

                1. That is literally exactly how progressives justified Leviathan “We are the government, and people are evil and need to be controlled”

                  Do you understand that?

                  1. He clearly does not understand that, as I pointed out the same thing about 25-30 minutes ago.

                  2. That is literally exactly how progressives justified Leviathan “We are the government, and people are evil and need to be controlled”

                    Well yeah. But that doesn’t justify totalitarianism either. There is a middle ground. Yes, the progs use what should be a self evident fact to justify all sorts of evil. But so what? That doesn’t prove you point. It just says that progs misuse the argument.

                    It is why you have LIMITED Government not no government. Arguing for no government is just as stupid as the progs arguing for total government.

                    1. Now you’re using Obama’s favorite: the false dichotomy.

                      “Communism doesn’t work. Capitalism doesn’t work. Which is why socialism is the best way!”

    2. Your so brilliant you should quit your job and go on a speaking tour of the world since you have all the answers.

    3. You’re right, it’s very religious. I have deep respect for anarchists. In my more pessimistic moods I even consider myself one. But the minute you question the possibility of a successful anarchist society, you are told “fuck off slaver!”. (Sometimes more politely than that, sometimes less).

      1. Anytime you believe that you can somehow make people peaceful and something they are not, you are practicing religion not politics.

  27. The problem with Anarcho- Capitalism is that the capitalism of it will ruin the anarcho. I love free markets and trade and even the ideals of “capitalism” but the reality of capitalism is the consolidation of private power and wealth into just a few hands. I am not advocating for socialism… I just think anarchist and libertarians need to start to think beyond capitalism and socialism.

    1. But why is consolidation such a bad thing? Economies of scale are pretty powerful. Without the consolidation of wealth, how do we have anything but a subsistence local economy? Your local food co-op may be great. But it is not building a container ship or drilling for oil in the North Sea.

      1. consolidation is bad because it results in social stratification along class lines with one group in power over another. This is fine I guess if you an authoritarian who believes that the interests of the powerful are more important than the rest…but as a libertarian, a society dominated by small, entrenched interests doesn’t sound very free to me.

        1. I really don’t give a fuck that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had all of that power and money. I really don’t care the Shell Oil has all of that power and money. I like my cell phones, computers and cheap energy supply.

          What is wrong with stratification? Every society has some kind of stratification. And generally, the more equal a society is, the more poor it is.

          1. I am not talking about economic equality I am talking about social equality. I believe that when a society is socially equal that they will also be more economically equal but that is another debate.

            You might “give a fuck” if Jobs or Shell Oil wanted to get into the “security” business if public security were only provided though private means and the commons were sold off to them as well.

            Would you “give a fuck” if someone “bought” a mile wide strip of land that surrounded your city and forbid you to “trespass” on his private property?

          2. It’s really only bad if Steve Jobs or Bill Gates decides that he wants to use his money to build his own private empire, complete with security guards and unwilling subjects. That’s a practical impossibility in today’s world, but is possible under anarchy.

            1. Well Jobs has been dead for over a year I think.

              But even saying you are right and some megacorp decides to get all Weyland-Utari or…uh…crap, I forgot the one from Robocop.

              So….they….what, show up in uniform and tell me what to do? If I refuse they….kill me? Throw me in prison. God….I can’t even conceive of something like that.

              The only difference between your scenario and the current reality is that in the current reality, shooting some jackbooted thug in the face will get me summarily executed, while in an anarchist society my neighbors would thank me for killing the dangerous piece of shit control freak.

              It always cracks me up how governments have murdered over 100 million people in the last century, yet anarchy is the crazy path.

        2. Social stratification is bad only if people allow themselves to be put into a box, i.e. corporate owner above lowly worker.

          In reality, capitalism relies on the interdependency of these social classes. The CEO has the capital to invest in a new business, but he relies on the labor force to move his product. The worker has the ability to produce said product, but he relies on the owners for his existence through the form of payment.

          In a free market, people are only as oppressed as they want to be.

          1. This is simply not true. A boss has an enormous amount of control and power over a worker by virtue of the nature of the interdependency… sure the CEO needs workers but that need is nothing like the need of a single mother for a paycheck. If you think the power relationship between these two is equal then you have had way to much ideological purple kool aid.

            1. What forces the single mother to stay at that job where a boss extorts her? That is my point.

              In a free market, people are only as oppressed as they want to be.

              1. What forces the single mother to stay at that job where a boss extorts her? That is my point.

                survival. I support the “free market” I just do not think a vision that includes capitalist owning everything is consistent with libertarian goals. Private power can be just as oppressive as government.

                1. “survival. I support the “free market” I just do not think a vision that includes capitalist owning everything”

                  Everyone is a capitalist, that means nothing. And while losing your job sucks, let’s not pretend it’s some sort of imminent death sentence, even in historical times when society was much poorer and there was little to no welfare state. And you can always look for another job while still employed at the company you work for. The hypothetical single mother may have a harder time leaving her company than someone wealthier would have, but it’s nothing like chattel slavery.

                  “is consistent with libertarian goals. Private power can be just as oppressive as government.”

                  How? Libertarianism is based on opposition to the initiation of force. A free market capitalist system is an economy based on that rule. And unless the “private power” has the power to legally compel you to do something against your will, then no it is not comparable.

    2. Social inequality in capitalist systems is nowhere near as bad as it was in the pre-capitalist systems that predated it. And the average poor person today in a capitalist economy has a much higher standard of living than even the wealthiest person back then did.

  28. The only way a ceo of a private police force who advocated war until they became the next government would get fired, is the same reason why any ceo gets fired.

    Hint: the answer is not “because people think they are crazy.”

    The answer is because firing them will allow the company to satisfy the wants of the shareholders more efficiently and more effectively. Plain and simple.

    Until the incentives are aligned in such a way as to make war, violence, government, less able to satisfy the wants of people than peace, cooperation, privatization, they will continue to exist.

    Additionally, there are very few things if any that can be done hasten the day when such conditions arise. Fighting the powers that be is probably not one of them. This is going to need not a moral, ethical, religious, or political revolution or awakening. It is going to be a ‘technical evolution’. Meaning, it is going to revolve around technology, and it is going to take a while.

    So, you want to be a ‘global force for good’? Learn more about technology. Educate yourself about computer programming, crytpography, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, TOR and I2p.

    These, among others, are going to be the tools that allow humans to look at violence, force, government, and pass on by, thinking to themselves not “those things are crazy” but instead, “those things are so expensive compared to peace and cooperation. I think ill just do those instead.”

  29. I love the historical perspective. The bloated “democratic” government monster we’ve created has convinced most of us not to question their supreme authority or anyone who wants to take away any of their power. To show how governments of a bygone era would have freaked to hear about the current system shows just how focused most people are on going along to get along. That will bite them in the a**, and it already is.

  30. Wow, this was very interesting for me to read because I had never come across the topic of anarcho-capitalism until now and have to say that it actually does sound very good. I loved the way you showed the correlation between how people view that notion today, versus how people would have reacted to the though of capitalism a thousand years ago because when you really think about it, it is pretty wild that we have come to have so many democracies in which the rulers calmly hand over their rule to their rivals, if they lose an election. This world is constantly brimming with new surprises. I’ve been tackling a lot of new topics with regard to the changing definitions of democracy, over at my blog at http://www.pennystockdream.com and think this topic of anarcho-democracy would be a great fit for the topics that I’ve been touching on lately because it really goes above and beyond, to look into the future of what may be, even if it may seem like a radical notion in the now. I’m definitely going to have to research further into this.

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