If anarchy is violence, destruction, and mayhem, what is wise about that?
Of course, if anarchy actually meant that, then nothing.
But today many important words and phrases have different meanings and connotations to different people. For example,
- Slavery means something other than a person who is held in forced servitude.
- Social justice means something other than justice.
- Capitalism means something other than individual preference for saving or using resources.
- Climate change means something other than eons of climatic change.
- Anarchy means something other than the absence of government.
What is this “something other”?
What do these “something others” have in common?
All share vagueness, subjectivity, and varying “facts” that are woven and presented as some truth from a supreme authority.
The goal is to persuade or force the alleged certainty of a particular view in an uncertain world. It is human nature to fear and avoid uncertainty. In the quest for political power, the competitive forces know no boundaries in offering us a trade: their alleged security for our compliance. These predators gladly borrow and smear historical concepts and words in making this deal, even if their views are violations of common sense or inherently hypocritical. For this hullabaloo, we can see why one man’s truth is another man’s fake news.
How do we know the difference?
How do we know what is right or wrong?
Answering these questions is premature, if not fruitless. Ultimately, we can never fully separate bad facts from good facts in arriving at some accurate description of an event because many alleged facts contain a little nuance or are not verifiable by another. The validity of many truths is often in the eye of the holder. We never have direct experience of an event related to us by another. Even when we do, our senses can belie a deeper truth that may be counterintuitive to our initial impression. It pays to keep an open mind.
For the same, we can quit worrying so much about fake news, who has the facts knows the truth. They are still important but there should be more to our analysis in making a judgment. Instead, let us focus, discuss and argue on which principles create the best lens for evaluating any news, fact, or truth asserted, especially as they relate to justice — remembering that a greater state of justice necessarily trends toward greater peace and then prosperity.
Libertarianism provides just such a lens to evaluate the justness of any news or view, regardless of its factual content or alleged truth, and a body of principles to guide our subsequent reaction toward peace and prosperity. This is a better question than gunning for factual accuracy and truth. It allows taking another’s view for its alleged truthfulness and bypassing the inevitable arguments that can be brought against it. It redirects our focus to higher standards. But there is a major hitch: libertarianism and government (not governance) are mutually exclusive — libertarianism can only provide greater justice in the absence of government — that is in a state of anarchy.
Contrary to what most politicians and pundits assert, the “absence of government” does not mean the absence of leaders or law and order. Both existed prior to modern governments and there is no evidence that they cannot exist today without them. In other words, government is not required for governance.
Not to mention, there is plenty of violence, destruction, and mayhem (what many would consider being “anarchy”) in addition to graft, waste, and corruption that flow from government, the apologists for which claim is a necessary cost for our protection and the maintenance (and now development) of our general well-being.
Is that logical?
Is that true?
Simple observation reveals that the not-so-invisible hand of government is a constant interference and restrictive force upon the well-being of every working person not enriched through protective legislation gained by special interests connected to government — to the extent that we have created a political class that effectively has enslaved the unconnected. The competition to become connected further accentuates all that is bad with governance based upon force.
Government is no more than a legally sanctioned protection racket accepted by a critical mass of people. It is the Mafia model extraordinaire. The only difference is the scale and the Mafia doesn’t sugarcoat its purpose and means of existence.
Yet, those of us who know or should know better are responsible for ignoring this fact – an act akin to failing to see that the “emperor has no clothes”. We tempt fate when we conveniently move on letting the lies and resultant injustices accumulate.
This site is not about personal attacks on politicians, bureaucrats, military leaders, or pundits. There are good and bad folks everywhere. But most people are good most of the time. Otherwise, social cooperation could not have driven human progress for millennia, despite extended periods of warfare and long before the arrival of nations as we perceive them today. We can never lose sight that the structures of governance under which we live and work influence and incentivize us to act in certain ways over time – it is human nature.
This site is about seeing government for what it is, assessing its structure as objectively as possible – examining its foundation and rules of operation, to recognize that it is inherently flawed because all forms of government contain the seeds of their own demise — they all lack sustainability. Every great civilization has perished. Barring famine or other extraordinary natural events, abuse of power is the recurring theme in the life and death of governments and often the cultures subjected to their rule. And no country or culture is immune.
No government has ever contained any reliable mechanism to consistently, peaceably, and sustainably control or cleanse the accumulation of bad characters and the abuse of power. Coups, wholesale revolution, and migration have usually been the cure, but with the unwanted side effects of loss of life, liberty, and property – or worse, a total collapse of societal order.
Lord Acton was on to something when he was to have said that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This could be why governments are always growing in power, influence, privilege, and committing ever greater acts of waste and graft. Accumulation of the bad eventually overflows, the pain spreads, and at some point, mass rejection results and order collapses.
Many industries and quasi-governmental organizations enjoy significant governmental protection and largess — finance, healthcare, energy, agriculture, and academia to name a few. Phrases like:
- Too big to fail
- Relief act
- Stimulus package
- Tax break
- Tax deduction
- Foreign aid (aid of any kind)
- Quantitative easing
- Target rate
- Stimulus checks
- Universal income
- Free education
- Free lunch
- Free “anything”
should alert us to the massive network of preferences extended to or through the politically connected. And then, much of the “aid” rarely reaches the intended beneficiaries. It often remains parked in government coffers or is disproportionately expended for grossly inefficient administration and implementation.
These measures and programs are always at the expense of the unconnected – those without leverage, without influence, without a voice, without time, who are often too busy creating value through mutual consent without governmental assistance or protection. They are in a constant battle to maintain what they have earned; working against the double-edge sword of ever-increasing taxation (confiscation of their earned wealth) and the “printing of money” (devaluation of purchasing power their money). At heart, this is nothing but legally sanctioned theft through confiscation and counterfeiting.
Stripped of euphemisms, in what culture is such corruption moral? How and why is it being tolerated?
Objectively, there is no conceivable justice in this system of governance. Justice is nothing, if not consistent. The only consistency is arbitrary preference and ongoing injustice. There is no rule of law. To assert otherwise is pure fiction.
But should this state of affairs surprise us?
Is it reasonable to expect justice from a system of governance that is based upon force and injustice?
Of course not. But unfortunately, as already noted too many blindly tolerate the hypocrisy and this scourge continues.
And no cop-outs: these deficiencies are not a “necessary evil” or the “price of democracy” or the “lesser of two evils”. That is absolute nonsense. The status quo in governance is unacceptable, if for nothing else because there is clearly a better way. But change will require a certain mass of folks to critically think, then stand up in sufficient concert to challenge the authorities – good old-fashioned resistance, if not revolution, just as prescribed in the Declaration of Independence:
“…it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Power in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Impossible? Is this tilting at windmills?
That is what some pundits thought of democracy during the age of the great European monarchies.
But where are they now?
So, fundamental change is clearly possible, if not inevitable, as the early immigrants to the Americas found.
We must be responsible to ourselves and our children – to retain our self-ownership, to think, decide and act in ways that create and test principles to achieve more justice. We should treasure our individual sovereignty and not yield power, i.e. our spectrum of choices, to anyone, except through individual consent. It cannot be over-emphasized: when justice is maximized, peace and prosperity necessarily follow. Governance can and will positively evolve.
How has the definition of “anarchy” evolved and what does it really mean?
According to Wikipedia, the Grecian meaning was “without chief or ruler”. For the French, it became “without government”. A more modern definition includes “violence and mayhem” which is an evolving assumption as to what happens in the absence of government. For many, those who commit any violence and mayhem, especially in masse with political motivation, are called “anarchists”. But this is incorrect. These are terrorists. A terrorist is “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”
As an example of this widespread inaccuracy, pundits called the violent and destructive rioters seen across the United States in 2020 anarchists. But destroying public and private property and injuring others was their political aim — not the wholesale elimination and replacement of government with something better. They are terrorists, not anarchists. Real anarchists want governance without government or rulers.
Yet obviously, nobody owns language. Definitions often change over time organically or with the help of those in power or with other influences. Despite the possibility of confusion, the first meaning of “anarchy” is simple, concise, and historically appropriate for mankind’s love-hate relationship with rulers – not to be confused with the respect for natural leaders. “Anarchy” may be a provocative term today, but given our collective slumber, historical clarification and a little provocation are in order. Plus, spreading misunderstood and unpopular ideas as wisdom requires a little courage, but more grit.
As counterintuitive as the “wisdom of anarchy” may seem, if one is willing to examine and challenge many of today’s sacred cows through libertarianism, greater revelation occurs. Except, unfortunately, it cannot occur instantly. For most, unlearning dogma and unwinding inconsistent viewpoints gained and reinforced over many years of exposure to inconsistent principles will require personal motivation. However, as governments continue to fail in the delivery of their myriad of promises, more people will be incentivized to consider the alternatives.
This site is dedicated to sparking interest and inspiration, encouraging self–education, and promoting action for the application of the non-aggression principle as the single rule of law in governing all social and economic interaction – both locally and globally.
A quick disclaimer: this author takes no credit whatsoever for the libertarian concepts or phrasing found at this site, only that these principles have resonated and gave meaning to decades of observations and experiences for which no other consistent explanation could be found. Rest assured, these are not new ideas. Many of the components leading to the development of libertarianism and its ultimate expression often sub-categorized as anarcho-capitalism (AC) can be found in the writings of Aristotle, and then at various times later in history by other philosophers, social theorists, and economists such as Étienne de la Boétie, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and Frédéric Bastiat.
But it was the development of the Austrian School of Economics first established by Carl Menger, then refined by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Joseph Salerno, among many others, who in time logically deduced libertarianism, a socio-economic-apolitical philosophy, that is entirely aligned with human nature — one that is internally consistent and arguably unassailable — if true, a monumental achievement, and not surprisingly the reason why most people have never heard of it, much less taught anything about it.
The non-aggression principle (NAP) is the core principle of libertarianism. The NAP states that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion and such action is always wrong.
The basis for this principle is that each person owns his body i.e., where any form of slavery is wrong. One’s body is sovereign relative to any other entity. When other laws fail to respect this maxim, injustice necessarily results.
Property is defined as an extension of one’s body when it has been acquired and is under his control without violation of the NAP. Property is acquired by either finding it (where it is not under the ownership or control of others), gift (by voluntary transfer of ownership), purchase or barter (by voluntary transfer of ownership for consideration or trade), or production or products (by literally mixing one’s body with other property to create new property, whether making things individually or in some concert with others), or provision of services (by using one’s mind and/or body in the service to others.)
Shockingly for most, the application of the NAP necessarily demands a state of anarchy – again the absence of government (not governance) — and certainly not the assumed disorder and violence thought by some to result without. The existence of government is founded upon force and theft of property, clear violations of the NAP. The logical conclusion of the NAP is the death knell to the political class. You’ll likely never see it in any curricula of a public school or university. In most circles, discussion of the NAP is taboo, and if raised, subjects one to immediate derision or ridicule.
Regardless, the NAP allows for maximum freedom because anything is allowed that does not violate it. But conversely, it imposes maximum accountability because all violations are rooted in a person’s or group of persons’ acts or omissions.
There is beauty in its simplicity and symmetry. It humanely encompasses many diverse cultural and religious maxims that make it more than suitable as the legal foundation in resolving any dispute. It is easily communicated, in the present and across generations. There is awe in its potential to create maximum and sustainable justice as the only rule of law.
And this is only the beginning. Persons can voluntarily agree to modify their freedoms and responsibilities to each other to the extent that the arrangement does not violate the NAP as it relates to others outside of their agreement. This is the basis of contract law which allows for the exchange of resources that further empowers human ingenuity, entrepreneurialism, and the specialization of labor – all foundational elements for any economy.
Because every service or product is made by bodies or the mixing of bodies and property, i.e., by a person’s efforts or the succession of efforts of many persons, every known human activity can be justly gauged by the NAP for the application of maximum justice.
With an honest understanding of inconsistent and equivocating dogma, the balance and brilliance of the NAP shine.
However, like any law or principle, a sufficient number of people must understand and respect the NAP before any benefit may be had by mainstream application. And the NAP definitionally always remains rooted in mutual consent. Implementation by force and intimidation cannot occur without hypocrisy.
Thus, education is the sole means by which the NAP can become the rule of law.
That may sound like a non-starter. Although self-ownership and property rights cannot be obtained through force, they are nothing if they cannot be defended and preserved through force. And therein lies the key to expanding and maintaining the use of the NAP — preventing and resisting present oppression. But there must be momentum for its support and use. As it is adopted, the security and protection of body and property become solely the function of providers in the free market and the application of the NAP can spread more quickly.
As with any law, there will always be differences in interpretation, and the same will be true in the application of the NAP. And like security and defense services, for all the reasons previously noted, there is no logical reason that all judicial services cannot be privatized to interpret whether the NAP has been violated or a contract has been breached. Ironically, lawyers will need to practice law in a framework that is internally and morally consistent which will lead to faster and more efficient settlement of disputes.
All human action can be evaluated by and enforced under the NAP through free market-based services, especially in cases upon consensual exchange for any type of product or service which constitutes all economic activity.
The free market alone is not enough to maximize and sustain justice and all the benefits that flow from it. However, when the NAP is applied as the only boundary for the free market, sustainable justice, peace, and prosperity can be maximized, and will naturally trend positively over time. Conversely, accountability and restitution can be more equitably determined.
How society would operate without forced governance, within the free market under the NAP, is best described by AC. It is also called private property society, libertarian anarchy, market anarchism, or free-market anarchism; regardless, all are founded upon the NAP. Unlike other forms of anarchy, where there is always a small group of people in control, AC respects self-ownership and property rights and the distribution of power and wealth is maximized.
There are other alleged forms of libertarianism, but they fail to respect the full ramifications of the NAP and thereby become like any other political school of thought — a jumbled mass of semi-principles and the associated discourse. AC is modern libertarianism. There can only be one.
Legally and economically, libertarianism is best understood and applied to human activity through the study of common law, contract law, and the Austrian School of Economics. This lineage of law and economics supports the provision for maximal choice in the peaceful creation and consensual movement of people, goods, services, and ideas, subject only to the NAP.
Although perfect justice and total equality can never exist, the application of these ideas organically creates a socio-economic-apolitical environment that more justly, quickly, and efficiently self-corrects for abuse of power and undue concentrations of wealth. Thus, cultures and traditions ever trend toward greater and more sustainable justice, peace, and prosperity for all persons – all without the positive force, control, bureaucracy, lag, and hopeless centralized planning associated with any form of government.
The key to creating this environment lies in achieving a critical mass of the population who understand the NAP and act for its application. At the tipping point, government becomes helpless. It erodes and collapses because free-market participants have supplanted its ineffective services. Although this progression toward free-market solutions has been growing for decades, a proactive transition with the NAP and resulting principles will help will speed and ease the transition.
Critics of libertarianism contend that it is utopian and idealistic. But to paraphrase Murray N. Rothbard, the central figure in the final development of libertarianism, what is utopian and idealistic is believing that government can centrally plan and provide for the endless needs and desires of constituents in increasingly pluralistic or diversified societies – an easy example is the ongoing failure of public education.
In all forms, government based upon force (subsisting from confiscation via taxation and counterfeiting) is inherently unjust and hypocritical. Even democracies, while often deemed the best form of government, still suffer from this fatal flaw. They may even be more detrimental to society over the long run, given that the revolving door of political offices fails to incentivize the creation of fiduciaries for long-term planning, all while the underlying bureaucracy expands its power at the expense of the consensual working class.
As history has shown in the rise and fall of past civilizations, government as a form of human organization, when based on force, has always been and will continue to be a hypocritical and unsustainable venture. A deeper examination of logic and history shows why libertarianism can be the best foundation of any just effort for fundamental change – not more government and rules.
Fortunately, due to entrepreneurial advancements in technology such as the decentralization in knowledge (internet resources and online libraries), communication (internet, cellular and satellite services), energy (distributed renewable energy such as geothermal, solar, and wind power), and money (open-source cryptocurrencies), more people will better physically, mentally, and spiritually understand the fallacy of government and how libertarianism would result in the most decentralized and sustainable system of governance where both individual choice (freedom) and responsibility (accountability) are simultaneously maximized; and by extension, the well-being of society as a sum of its individuals.
Humankind has not only survived without government but has significantly evolved in spite of it. Only individuals can think, feel, decide, and act, whether alone or in concert with others, regardless of the type of entity through which they work. With the exception of the political class, government hinders the expression of everyone’s unique abilities. If there is to be a level playing field, no government can exist.
There is no government per se, only individuals acting through its fundamentally unjust structure. Dismantle the structure of government and there can be no special interests, no undeserved big business, or preferential treatment along with the long-term abuse of power and the disproportionate distribution of wealth. A true and just meritocracy would arise where any monopolistic and oligopolistic players can never last for long.
Aside, many ignorantly call the current U.S. economic system capitalistic. In fact, if not ironically, it is socialistic and often fascist (think executive orders terminating continental pipelines, mask mandates, forced business closures, and other unilateral decrees). Unlike other “isms”, capitalism happens naturally, with or without government, as a result of changes in individual time preferences for the use of scarce human resources e.g., money or other resources (in whatever form) – whether to spend or invest one’s capital today or to spend or invest it at some point in the future. It is about how and when one uses his resources.
Socialism and fascism are simply variations of where a smaller group of persons, who claim but can never comprehend the infinite knowledge and options within the marketplace, unjustly impose their also unescapable self-interest and deficient decision-making upon others through the force of government – and without any effective and non-violent checks and balances. In time, this structure always ultimately begs for revolution. And you are seeing it progress before your eyes.
The degree to which capitalism currently operates exists at the pleasure of our socialistic rulers, bureaucrats, and special interests. Do not confuse capitalism with crony capitalism which is really just a form of socialism and fascism.
Regardless that some forms of government like democracy or monarchy are deemed better than others, the overwhelming and undeniable evidence proves that all forms of government have failed and will continue to fail their constituents.
Although everyone has been born into this bondage, people live in the present, and it is incumbent upon each person to understand, discuss, and implement worthy and consistent principles that conserve time, space, and resources to improve ourselves and our relationships with each other to enhance our individual physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, and by summation that of society.
This is the wisdom of anarchy.