“We must ask, not whether an anarcho-capitalist society would be safe from a power grab by the men with the guns (safety is not an available option), but whether it would be safer than our society is from a comparable seizure of power by the men with the guns. I think the answer is yes. In our society, the men who must engineer such a coup are politicians, military officers, and policemen, men selected precisely for the characteristic of desiring power and being good at using it. They are men who already believe that they have a right to push other men around – that is their job. They are particularly well qualified for the job of seizing power. Under anarcho-capitalism the men in control of protection agencies are selected for their ability to run an efficient business and please their customers. It is always possible that some will turn out to be secret power freaks as well, but it is surely less likely than under our system where the corresponding jobs are labeled ‘non-power freaks need not apply’.”
– Friedman, David. “The Machinery of Freedom Guide to a Radical Capitalism” 2nd Edition, Chapter: “The Stability Problem” p. 123-124
1. a state of society without government or law.
2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.
Again and again, people are shocked by even the hint of the elimination of large swaths, wholesale portions and the complete abolition of government at every level. I do not advocate for reduction or cost effectiveness, I advocate for the complete withdrawal of government and its attendant violence out of lives. I have mentioned before that there is no such thing as limited government; that is simply the hothouse for the future prosperity of the expansion of government.
I do advocate self-government but that is the only self-limiting government in human affairs. Mind you, this is a dystopian vision in which the individuals, businesses and entities will fail and even perish but is nothing compared to the bureaucratized slaughter that has been the story of man for time immemorial under the illusion that GOVERNMENT COERCIAN AND VIOLENCE IS THE SOLE ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE OF HUMANITY.
I want to take the time today to illustrate why anarchy is no stranger in human affairs and is, in fact, the ordinary everyday principle by which most of us conduct our business.
John wakes up in the morning and prepares to go to work in the house he purchased for an extraordinarily inflated price due to the fiat currency, building regulations and property taxes forcibly extracted from him to turn the community’s children into shambling illiterate and innumerate morons who will respond obediently to the beat of the government society they are yoked to.
In spite of this, John elects to pursue a career to bring the forty percent of his total earned income home and do the right thing with it. He is a middle class American struggling to make ends meet. John is proud to be a producer and resents mightily the high taxation and regulatory tangle that has become life in America.
He goes on to eat his healthful breakfast which is the direct opposite of the Food and Drug Administration’s soothing recommendations to ensure he does not truncate the end of his life. After breakfast, he takes the prescription drug illegally stored in an unmarked container on his way out the door. The children are home-schooled so there is no necessity to wake them up from their slumber. He is eager to ensure the government does not get their claws into his children to turn them into to the aforementioned urchins of the state.
He grabs his briefcase and pack and heads out to his truck. Under Arizona law, he is practically unrestricted in his travel with a weapon and ensures that the Glock stored in the truck is fully operable and ready for social work knowing that the cops are far more interested in ticketing drivers than catching genuine criminals. By their nature and incentives, the police cannot protect him in 99% of circumstances and he is on his own. He dials the cell-phone and sets up his meetings for the day and ensures his lunch appointment is still on. He pulls the truck onto the unimproved road and drives to the highway to head for work. He drives as he wishes on his private road but knows that once he has hit the pavement on the government built road he will be in constant danger of being stopped by the armed tax-eaters for violations as minor as having a license plate light out to provide the impetus for a fishing expedition by the constabulary to exact new monies or escort him into the prison system.
When he gets to the intersection, the entire signal system is inoperable due to a power outage but he simply waits his turn and eventually motors onto the interstate. He is a polite driver not because of the law but because he realizes that cautious and defensive driving is in his own self-interest. A woman on the side of the road is having to change a tire so he stops to render assistance.
Once he arrives at the office, he strolls in and views with amazement the huge wall-space dedicated to the mandated posting of all manner of government foolishness concerning minimum wage (none at his office make anything approaching that even the interns), harassment and all kinds of silly mandates which do their best to retard progress and blunt effectiveness. He shakes his head at the sheer waste and furrows an angry brow when he thinks that almost sixty cents of every dollar his company takes in goes to one government entity or another and he is not even paid or reimbursed for the collection service he is obligated to perform under penalty of fines or jail or worse.
After corporate income taxes and the strangling regulatory burden, one third or more of his employees are directly paid to deal with tax accountancy and regulatory compliance. He is consistently amazed at the sheer anti-business attitude of all levels of government from local to federal. They seem to attract not only the kind of folks who never met a payroll but people for him business is a dirty four letter word. Ironically, their very plush lifestyles are underwritten in part by the tremendous tax receipts robbed from productive enterprises everyday. He remembers reading “I, Pencil” and briefly being amazed at the depth and magnitude of the spontaneous order needed to produce such a simple consumable – all with no coercion or violence whatsoever.
He goes onto lunch later on and orders a burger “under the table” which is not cooked to the shoe-leather standards of the idiotic Health Department regulations. In conversation with his usual lunch crew, they engage in friendly rhetorical contests about the latest political chicanery and the looming election that will change – nothing.
After lunch, he heads back to work to spend the afternoon not pursuing profit but to deal with the latest ingenious move by the local government to exact more monies from his company’s wallet. They are pursuing the age-old nostrum of all politicians – to extract wealth from the producers to provide for their various captured parasite groups they have assembled who are their most loyal constituency.
John later calls it a day and heads home through the traffic snarl called public roads. He is contemplating whether the new 8.2 mile private toll road is worth the monthly expense and decides to give it a try. He was told by a contractor friend that private roads in new developments take an extraordinarily shorter amount of time to finish and do it under budget every time. Of course, the local government has been more aggressive in annexing (a nice word for seizure) these roads shortly after construction which then leads to cops prowling for revenue enhancement. One study reported that most signs removed improved driving instead of making it unsafe; in America, it is a simply a pretense to end-run civil liberties for ticketing although no one has yet caught a cop on or off duty coming to a full stop at a stop sign.
John miraculously makes it home without being pulled over and wearily walks into his house to greet his wife and family. She is a bit frazzled having spent the day home-schooling but glad to see the hunter return. After a healthy dinner which again violates every nostrum of the vaunted FDA, he asks after his sons and daughter and the wife relates the verities of the day. After a brief conversation, John proceeds to go to his shop to work on his gunsmithing hobby with his lads for the evening and then hit the rack in preparation for another day.
John and Jane Q. Public do not consciously realize it but they are practicing anarchists every day. Despite the shaping of their minds by twelve plus years of government education and the nearly constant barrage of government supremacism in the media, even the most hardened collectivists tend to realize that their personal behavior is largely driven not by fear of punishment for doing the wrong thing but the moral compass which starts to crystallize at an early age for taking the hard right over the easy wrong. This is not to say that fear, the sine qua non, of all government is not ever-present. It has continued to warp and fracture individuals every day in their pursuit of productivity and happiness.
No one welcomes the flashing red lights in their mirror in which they think the worst case could be their death in spite of the fact that they are decent and rule-following folk. They have read the stories and know that ALL cops are concerned about today primarily is obedience and not criminality. If you doubt this, drive on and disregard the flashing lights.
We all rue the day (or months) spent laboring over the income tax compliance madness that is unclear at best and saps our energies even further.
If you think you are free, go fly on an American airline…or stop paying the HOA dues to the petty collectivist tyrants that are on your local board…or stop paying any of the thousand cuts known as taxes everywhere…or refuse to submit to the wanton and often vicious behavior of regulatory agencies if you are ensnared in their traps as a small businessman…
Government is not the glue that holds society together. It is the savage adhesive that bonds subject populations to their rulers through the use of violence and the threat of violence to milk every possible liter of unearned succor to support the imperious warfare/welfare state that is so commonplace today. The genius of the mechanism is the endless parade of useful idiots and willing slaves, especially in all facets of the media, who sing endless serenades to their keepers and controllers. A somewhat Hobbesian version the Stockholm syndrome et large.
While I subscribe to the first and third definitions mentioned above, I do quibble with absence of law asserted in the first variation. Laws aren’t necessarily codified only by government. Countless large and small variations on the laws originated in spontaneous order occur every day. The small business owner knows that cutting corners may afford short-term gains but will lead to long-term losses. The family man knows that the care he affords his children is also a long term investment.
Honor is a gift a man gives to himself.
You participate in anarchy every day, simply expand the practice and prove to friends and family that a life lived without a yoke is a better life worth living.
Notes in the Margin: I have employed the word anarchist in this essay and avoided the term abolitionist which I had discussed in a previous essay. The reason for the semantic employment is that I consider the use of the term anarchist in this essay to be descriptive of a state of mind both conscious and unconscious. I think most humans have a natural tendency to resist being told what to do UNTIL the fear, deliberately and by chance, is wielded by external agencies. The abolitionist recognizes their servitude and chooses to do something about it.