If anarchy is violence, destruction, and mayhem, what could be wise about that?
Of course, if that is what anarchy actually meant, then nothing.
But such is the world in which we live where familiar words and phrases often have vastly different meanings to different people.
Where climate change means something different than eons of climate change.
Where capitalism means something different than saving your resources for future use or investment.
Where social justice means something different than justice.
Where inflation is a natural economic phenomenon, unconnected to governmental manipulation of money.
Where the absence of government and rulers (the real meaning of anarchy) necessarily results in violence, destruction, and mayhem.
We are often not speaking the same language. In an ever more frenetic world if it all seems upside down, trust yourself, it is.
Let us quit worrying so much about “fake news” or who has the best “facts” and start focusing on which principles create the best foundation or lens for evaluating any fact or situation as they relate to justice – remembering that a greater state of justice necessarily trends toward greater peace and then prosperity – this is the essence of real libertarianism.
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.
Ironically, there is plenty of violence, destruction, and mayhem, not to mention graft, waste, and corruption that stems from government, the proponents of which nonetheless claim is a necessity for 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 to the well-being of every working person not enriched through special interests connected to government – to the extent that it has become a form of slavery.
Government is no more than a legally sanctioned protection racket accepted by a critical mass of people.
Yet, those of us who know or should know better are responsible for rejecting this fact – an act akin to the fable for 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 personally bashing politicians, bureaucrats, military leaders, Democrats, Republicans, etc. 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 the growth of nation-states. But the structures in 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, to assess its structure as objectively as possible – to examine 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. 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 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 reach 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 of their cash on hand). 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 and utterly laughable.
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 it is going to 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. And not yield power to anyone, except through individual consent. Any gardener or laborer will tell you: fill the back of the shovel and the front takes care of itself. Similarly, when justice is maximized, peace and prosperity necessarily follow. Governance can and will positively evolve.
So, what does “anarchy” 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 actually 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 changing government – not its wholesale elimination – was their political aim. They are terrorists, not anarchists. Real anarchists want governance without government or rulers.
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 for 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, seeking and spreading wisdom, especially when it is misunderstood and unpopular, requires a little courage.
As counterintuitive as the “wisdom of anarchy” may seem, if one is willing to examine and challenge many of today’s sacred cows through this libertarian perspective, an even greater realm of wisdom will reveal itself with clarity akin to revelation. Except, unfortunately, it will not occur instantly. For most, unlearning dogma and related viewpoints, based upon inconsistent, irrational, or false principles gained and reinforced over many years, will require personal motivation, humility, and grit. A certain unease with the status quo and a hunger to better understand human nature will help.
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.
However, 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. And rest assured, these are not new ideas. Many of the components leading to the development of libertarianism and its ultimate expression 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 continually refined yet expanded by many others that followed such as Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Joseph Salerno, among many others, who in time logically deduced AC, a socio-economic-political philosophy, that is entirely aligned with human nature – one that is internally consistent and arguably unassailable – an incredible achievement …and not surprisingly the reason why most people likely haven’t heard of it, much less were ever taught anything about it.
The non-aggression principle (NAP) is the heart of AC. The NAP defines aggression as the initiation or threat of initiation of any forceful interference to an individual’s body or property, and that 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. Period. 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/control of others), gift (by voluntary transfer of ownership), purchase or barter (by voluntary transfer of ownership for consideration or trade), or production (by literally mixing one’s body with other property to create new property, whether making things individually or in some concert with others or otherwise using one’s body in the service to others i.e., services provided).
Shockingly for most, the application of the NAP necessarily results in a state of anarchy – again the absence of government – not the assumed disorder and violence thought by some to result without it – because the existence of government is founded upon force and theft of property – clear violations of the NAP …and why this is not found in the curricula in virtually every public school and university on earth.
Amazingly, 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. It can be easily communicated, in the present or generationally, and can be the legal foundation in resolving any dispute. And there is awe in its potential to create maximum and sustainable justice as the 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 the brilliance of the NAP shines.
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 cannot rely on force and intimidation without hypocrisy.
Thus, education is the only 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. 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.
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 more morally consistent which will lead to the faster and more efficient settlement of disputes.
All human action can be evaluated and enforced under the NAP through free market-based services, and most easily 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 overall will naturally always trend positively.
As previously alluded, 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.
Legally and economically, these ideals are 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 further 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-political 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 demand 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 event may be inevitable given the nature of the market, pro-action will speed the process and relieve and shorten the pain of disruption.
Critics of AC contend that it is utopian and idealistic. But to paraphrase Murray N. Rothbard, the central figure in the final development of AC, 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. All government – not to be confused with the services of governance – is the single greatest threat to humanity. Government is socio-economic cancer.
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 and long-term planning, all while the underlying bureaucracy expands its power at the expense of the consensual working class.
As history has demonstrated 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 AC must be the foundation of any just effort for fundamental change – not more rules and certainly not more government.
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 all governments and how the application of AC through the NAP 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 ruling class, government hinders the expression of everyone’s unique abilities. If there is to be a level playing field, no government can exist.
And in reality, 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 or preferential treatments along with the long-term abuse of power and the disproportionate distribution of wealth. A true and just meritocracy would arise where monopolistic and oligopolistic players can never last for long.
Aside, many ignorantly call the current U.S. economic system capitalistic. When it is in fact, if not ironically, 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 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 – one’s property – nothing more or less.
Socialism and fascism are simply variations where a smaller group of persons, who can never comprehend the infinite knowledge and options within the marketplace, unjustly impose their also unescapable self-interest and deficient decision-making and 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 and implement worthy and consistent principles that conserve time, space, and resources to improve ourselves and our relations 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.