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If Not Anarchism, What? A Third Way

Anarchism is a crackpot ideology. Anarchist philosophy was born holding hands with socialism, its roots in a spiritual rebellion against capitalism and the state.

The capitalistic anarchism springs from even less healthy soil than socialist anarchism. At least the instincts that rebelled against the excesses of industrial capitalism were basically healthy and sound, even if they adopted crackpot ideas about practical politics and economy theory.

The capitalist-anarchism is even worse in its embrace of rule by financial power, seeing its power-brokers as heroes of liberty rather than inane criminals they are. They adopt just as impractical ideas about human nature, political interaction and economics, but in order to run toward unlimited economic power, not away from it.

The idea of multinational corporations as ideal, taking over the role of government, openly, not bashfully, buying out the courts and the military, the police, the jails, and keeping the show going in private hands... what instincts could consider that an ideal?

And what fools could imagine it a practical, stable order?

A voluntary, self-regulating constellation of firms, banks, independent commercial power centers, their power rooted in concentrated property, with theoretically subordinate armed forces, vying for wealth and control outside any public law; producing law in a two-way interchange, in the manner of treaties; without any recourse to binding, disinterested, public external justice.

To hold something so unnatural together would require an essentially religious devotion, imbued with a zeal as strong as early Islam or Christianity, in a belief in non-violence, in the sanctity of Rights and inviolable property, held ascetically by all engaged in economic and political power. Everyone in a position of power able to abuse the rights and property of others would have to voluntarily refrain from doing so and resign the desire.

Even that would fall apart and go to factions and subside into the general tide of human nature after a short period, even if it could get kicked off. And what a bizarre spiritual movement it would be, rooted in materialism, money and individualistic consumption!

Pure democracy might be the antithesis of property and economic liberty, and a horror worse than its opposite. But the opposite - unlimited economic power - with the elimination of any political redress against economic power, property, is almost as bad. Some would say worse, that really depends on your personal bias.

I would much prefer a mixture of the two holding each other in check, and more than that, would welcome a third center of power in the balance, like that provided historically by Church, or by a stable political class of 'statesmen' not engaged in democratic politics, but with some permanent status and influence.

Some third body not tied to political factions or to economic interests to carry on a tradition and teaching in virtue, a political ethic, a civic identity, a way of life.

Some body or institution devoted to principles higher than money or political power, commerce or career politics.

An institution to provide the balast and anchoring for a healthy education in character and morality and identity, not connected to either private economic interest or the state. A body that could actually carry on and seed moral principles, even if it were merely NAP or some basic liberty ethic.

With those competing sorts of institutions you can achieve a balance that permits actual liberty to exist for centuries. If you destroy all of those institutions but one, liberty disappears. An imperfect real liberty is better than a perfect pipedream.


The return of a third class into the balance between economic and political power would be most welcome and appropriate, and historically realistic. It is real, it is proven. Until modern times this third power always existed and countered excesses and abuse from either side, held off tyranny when possible.

It always stood outside and aloof from merely economic or secular political power considerations.

Unlimited political power in the hands of demagogues, disregarding individual property, is one extreme. Unlimited economic power, enforced with goons and a police state, disregarding the right of persons separate from property, is another extreme.

Balanced against each other, they are an unstable brew like what presently exists in America. They could tip into open conflict and violence, with one side gaining the concentrated power.

What is lacking, what is missing?

What were the Founding fathers? They were a type of a class, maybe not the most perfect example in history, separate from either pure economic interests or pure political demagogues.

A semi-stable, semi-permanent class, a body that was an anchor and source of stability to the political order of the time, and a source of a sound civic education to the people. A referee and rallying point for the people to draw strength when up against dangerous concentrations of private power.

Their ideas, their sense of civic virtue aligned with their identity, and their great stores of political wisdom and knowledge of history enabled them to provide center of gravity to economic and political power.

The Roman republican class was a similar institution. The Church in European history is another example.

An institution not rooted in purely private interests of class, power or property, and able to balance the other two impulses, and ameliorate the harm of excessive economic and political power.

That is the proper answer to the dangerous conditions developing now, the diminution of distributed economic and social resources, the growing wealth disparity and the ripening potential of economic conflict that could break out into violence at any time, and which could see one side or the other come to a complete tyranny.

A third way, a third power, a third institution. Way of the Future.


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I have to agree with you BILL3

There are many who cannot argue their own ideas. They constantly say "Go read this guy" or "Go watch this video". The way I see it if you can't argue a point on your own then you have no business arguing in the first place. This is especially funny when it comes from anarchist who promote self sufficiency.


I just argued my own idea

I just argued my own idea and BILL3 ignored it, so yes there was a follow up video... here's the argument

" You don't trust people to behave, so you are going to have a ruling authority MADE OUT OF PEOPLE...wow, so make a third party to rule... out of what.. people... those untrustworthy savages that would all rip each other apart if not for rules.."

This is why videos are posted to people like BILL3 because they are not worth it.

If you were worried about time

If you were worried about time BILL3 you wouldn't be typing a short novel of BS here on Daily Paul just about every day. Seems like you have plenty of time on your hands. Yes, let's not go back and forth with boring videos... let's just watch the hilarious ones that Larken has created to help wake you up. I post videos to you because I don't have time to keep going back and forth over this, plus it really isn't for you, it is for anyone that mistakenly reads your thread.

Well happy let me just tell

Well happy let me just tell you how much I LIKE you even though we disagree. You are top notch.

I tried this direction once

The idea was that you enact policy in the direction of anarchism, and I guess eventually the public just ceases to need or care about government. The problem is that public policy exists because of political economic incentives, not public need. So the model seems broken.

Still, I don't see why we can't create a platform that *most* of us can agree on.

My fix was reducing federal power, in a Kokesh-lite sort of solution. I envision an Antebellum sort of federal power. Hence, I called it the Columbia Party.

columbia party

I haven't put any effort in to it for a while though. But, as far as electoral politics goes it seemed like an ideal to me: a federal political party whose sole focus was reducing federal power in a controlled, moderate, but deliberate way. Thus, social issues would be a moot point. Differences between state law and custom would be a given. War would be a moot point because the party would proscribe the methodology of foreign policy (congress declares war, war powers act abolished, security state abolished). The party wouldn't punish members for having differing opinions on foreign policy itself. Etc.

We shall all see.

Whatever the next coming terror is(I'm guessing biological). It might be more like the wild west. The police state will only have strong holds of power in certain areas. The common good or lack there of will be up to the neighbors, friends, and families that are left to resist or pick up the pieces. Of course the common bond will probably be basic survival.

But about myself I will not boast, except as it concerns my weaknesses (2 Cor 12:5). Let the unbelievers seek praise from each other; I wish that which is from God alone.

You're waiting for a savior?

If people do not bind themselves together through common interest in being free because they WANT to, then the only way to have a free society is to have a third party point a gun at the people and INSIST that they be free. Does this make sense?

The idea of an elite group of saviors swooping in and setting everything right neglects human nature: power corrupts. The history of America is one of the PEOPLE desiring freedom, and jealously protecting it. The Founders were just representative of the mind set of a large percentage of the American colonists. After 150 years of learning to live without the heavy hand of government, they learned to trust and love their freedom. The country was lost when the PEOPLE stopped valuing individual liberty. That started very early in history and is reaching its' logical conclusion today.

Politicians, even statesmen, can do nothing if the PEOPLE do not want it, too. We have Obamacare because the PEOPLE wanted to be taken care of. They might have been unsure about it, they might have disagreed with parts of it, but the PEOPLE have in general liked the idea of getting something for nothing. Wars don't happen because the politicians are bad, they happen because the PEOPLE accept the idea that it is right an natural for the U.S. to run the world.

If you want a free society, you've got to get PEOPLE to WANT to be free.

By throwing in words like

By throwing in words like 'savior' and 'point of a gun' you've lowered and cheapened the discussion. Nothing like that was suggested. I am ashamed for you, sir.


I am the one who made the comment, and I am not ashamed.

On the contrary, I am in good company, with the likes of George Washington who noted that government is nothing but force. I don't think you should be ashamed for him, either. And since you are the one looking for an elite group to set things right, perhaps you should be ashamed for yourself. Sir.

Well clearly GW was involved

Well clearly GW was involved in government his whole life, so I'm not sure this appeal to GW helps your position. Besides, the government isn't only force, it's also mediocrity and bad uniforms. Choose your words wisely.

Bill, please, acknowledge the obvious

Governments are force. They exist via the threat of or the use of force to ensure that their dictates are followed. All the rest is window dressing.

You can make the argument that force is necessary for the good of society, or the greatest number, or the nation, or morals, or for the protection of the rest of our rights...but it is not possible to avoid the reality that government is, at its' core, force. Nothing, I repeat, nothing government does comes without the threat "or I'll shoot you" somewhere. Just try to continually say 'no' to government and see how long you can go before meeting a man with a badge and a gun.

You really ought not disparage GW without more study. He was a really remarkable man...not unlike the men you hope will arise to save us all.

I didn't disparage GW, I

I didn't disparage GW, I stated a simple fact, he was part of the government. Stick with arguments, don't resort to even more shameful lows of rhetoric (Don't disparage [insert national hero or person on a stamp...] That's just lame.

Let's both acknowledge the obvious: Humans are capable of using force. Force exists. Can you abolish force? No. So shut up about "force," as if you guys are anti-force, and have the key to abolishing force, and everyone else is pro-force. That's just some really simple minded foolishness, anyone who thinks that way has not a brain tumor.

It's like saying human sh1t smells bad. Yeah, but unless you can actually abolish human sh1t, your argument is useless. You can't abolish human sh1t anymore than I can, you can't abolish force anymore than I can. Stop pretending you can. Once you've put down the moronic argument that others are pro-sh1t and you're anti-sh1t, you can shower and re enter the adult discussion arena. Until then, you can wallow in this argumentative poop.

Ok, one last time...

Don't get too hung up on the GW comment. I believe that you were saying that I should not use GW's words to support my anti-government argument because he spent much of his adulthood involved with government. So? A truthful observation is truthful despite who says it, and no matter what postion they held. If you prefer, I'll leave GW out of it. I will also leave out Napoleon's comment about the inability of force to accomplish anything...because we really don't care what he thought, right?

I do not deny that all humans are capable of initiating force. Such is free will. But simple observation shows that billions of people manage to live, love, trade, socialize, etc., without resorting to any kind of threats. But government cannot. Governments are created, supported, staffed, and run by people who believe initiating force is ok. Those same people, if they acted that way as private citizens, would be deemed criminals or accessories to crime.

Because all men are capable of initiating force does not mean they will do so. Casual observation shows that humans generally live their private lives peacefully. On the other hand, all governments must initiate force...or we would simply ignore them and they would cease to be governments.

Goodnight, Bill. I'm done with you for tonight.

That's just disjointed

That's just disjointed thinking. People go about there lives without engaging in force because they live by the law, which is force, which is handled by government, with their consent support and funding. The government isn't composed just of violent people. Do you consider the typical civil servant violent? lol. No more than your neighbor who votes and pays his taxes. I think people could stand to do a lot less outsourcing a lot more handling of their own security. But the most successful societies are the ones who have governments of some sort, have military, courts, public justice.

If you think a better society with less violence, more stability, more justice, could be cobbled out of private firms selling security services, more power to you. Set it up. Show me why it wouldn't turn into government. The early American environment was very little government there was no central bank. Why did the concentration of economic power proceed apace, and the power conglomerates themselves create and empower a government to do their bidding? Because there was already government?

Fine, go back further. There was no government in the Roman provinces after the Roman law receded. The result? Feudalism. Certainly a picturesque and interesting system, but not at all akin to the outcome anarchists would predict by receding government.

I have seen no convincing or even persuasive argument, or even an attempt at argument, for why dismantling modern governments would result in more individual liberty and not less. I'm not even saying I oppose it, truth be told! I am not saying it wouldn't be a worthwhile experiment. I'm just arguing that it would not proceed according to anarchist expectations. Might be better than where the modern State in the West is going, but it wouldn't create individual liberty utopia.

Also, it is a dead end as far as a political sell. No one on the upper, lower or middle strata stands to gain anything out of anarchism. It might be an interesting shake of the dice, but the likely winners would be the remaining State ordered societies that didn't adopt anarchism (China?). I suppose you're gonna sell China on anarchy before pushing the anarchy button here?

That's you guys... 'Ok.. everyone.. on the count of ten... Anarchy.... Now..'

Goodmorning, Bill

If I could wave a magic wand and make government disappear today, it would be back tomorrow. Why? Because the bulk of our society is used to the idea of something-for-nothing "services." The People cannot imagine living without government to provide streets, unemployment insurance, Soc. Security, drug raids, etc. Like lifetime prisoners released from prison, they do not know how function without government certifying their plumbers and licensing their dog groomers.

If you could, with the stroke of a pen, eliminate all the bad things government does (I'm sure you think it does SOME bad things), the next day they would be reinstated. Why? Same as above.

The key to thinking about enhancing freedom, maybe all the way to achieving anarchy, is the People. We had functional anarchies in colonial times because the people who inhabited them wanted them. We have a dysfunctional, corrupt, byzantine society today because the People want what it gives them (like the drug user who likes the high, though it is killing him). They just don't realize what it's costing them...their lives.

Nothing will change until the People change their thinking. And once they change (if they do) then all things are possible...including anarchy. Or tyranny. It's a matter of what philosophy the People decide to follow. I'm arguing for the non-aggression principle.

There was never any anarchy

There was never any anarchy in colonial times. The British military defended the colonies from other states and tribes, until America set up its own state. All enjoyed taxes and public services.



A functional anarchy, taxless, peaceful, highly resistant to William Penn's attempts to impose order from above.


1. The colony was Quaker, i.e., a people with a religious devotion to NAP. That was exactly the point I made in the OP, that a religious devotion is required for NAP adherence.

2. The policies you champion failed when the devotion to the religious ideals faded, or were supplanted by new immigrants. Exactly my point in general, and on other related issues, like immigration.

3. The criteria of anarchism was not met in other respects, like the enforcement of religious rules and other stuff.

4. In Rothbard's own account, he acknowledges that religion freedom was granted only to "theists," so the criteria for anarchy are emphatically not met!

Only Christians were eligble for office, and all Catholics barred.

5. Rothbard:
The government, as instituted by the Frame, comprised a governor, the proprietor; an elected Council, which performed executive and supreme judicial functions; and an Assembly, elected by the freeholders, Justices of lower courts were appointed by the governor. But while the Assembly, like those in other colonies, had the only power to levy taxes, its powers were more restricted than those of assemblies elsewhere. Only the Council could initiate laws, and the Assembly was confined to ratifying or vetoing the Council's proposals.

To make justice more efficient and informal, the government undertook to appoint three arbitrators in every precinct, to hand down decisions in disputes. The Quakers, however, unsatisfactorily evaded the problem of what to do about a military force. So as not to violate Quaker principle against beating arms, the Friends refused to serve in the militia, but they still maintained a militia in the province, and non-Quaker officials were appointed in command.

On the question of free speech for criticizing government, laws were, unfortunately, passed prohibiting the writing or uttering of anything malicious, of anything stirring up dislike of the governor, or of anything tending to subvert the government.

The tax burden was extremely light in Pennsylvania. The only tax laws were enacted in 1683; these placed a small duty on liquor and cider, a general duty on goods, and an export duty on bides and furs. But Governor Penn promptly set aside all taxes for a year to encourage settlers.

This is too easy, I feel bad, will stop now...

Thanks for playing anarchy or not anarchy! Cut the BS!

Your selective reading does not include the rest of the story

For a period of several years, the "government" was without funds or recognized authority, leaving the Pennsylvania colonists effectively to their own devises. What's more is the Penn government had a hard time filling positions to enforce their 'laws.' The Quakers were fiercely independent, in a non-violent way, and frustrated all attempts to re-impose government for several years.

There are other similar instances in the colonial period when, without government 'services' or taxes, the People functioned just fine. In all cases, it was force initiated by government that reasserted its' power to tax and collect quitrents.

There is nothing easy about history. It's messy and immensely complicated.

Look, I'm not going to continue this pointless exercise. You are convinced that anarchy cannot work. I say it can and it has. You say government keeps us from each other's throats, I say it is the major violator of the peace. You say anarchism is a daffy idea, I say if the People are jealous enough of their freedom they will accept anarchy.

Anarchy is not a system and it cannot be imposed. It is the result of removing the initiation of force from a society. Government is force, which on the most minimal level assists in protecting us from those who would otherwise do us harm. But we have seen the corrupting influence of power, even on a limited basis.

I'm not arguing for Anarchy. I'm arguing for the reduction of the initiation of force. I'll start with overturning the ordinance that requires I pay $25 per year to have a fire pit in my backyard. Then I'll try to overturn the taxes that are diverted to local sports teams...etc. If you follow that line of thinking in a straight line, eventually there is no government left. That's ok with me because if it turns out we don't need it we should get rid of it. But that would only happen if the rest of the People came to accept that idea, too. I'm not holding my breath.

You argued that in 1680s

You argued that in 1680s anarchy existed, I showed this to be false, simple as that. Just because Penn wasn't running show doesn't mean locals didn't have their own government with elements of force, as demonstrated above. Not anarchy. You have no examples of any anarchy, functional or otherwise. And the colonies were shielded from external aggression by the British military, so even during those times they didn't have a colonial government, they still had some its protections, and had their own internal governance systems involving coercion and violence, religious laws, etc.

Since you brought up Rothbard....

I thought my memory may have been tricking me, so I dusted off my old set of Conceived in Liberty.

In Volume 1, pages 406 and 407, Rothbard concludes that there was no effective government for several years in Pennsylvania. It was, for all practical purposes, an anarchy.

My memory also recalls that there were other places that functioned without assistance of a government apparatus, but I'd have to re-read it to find the exact passages.

Poor old books. The bindings are cracking with age. Shame.

what is effective

what is effective government?

what is functional anarchy

why all these qualifiers? Because it's not anarchy, as Rothbard acknowledges in the same book, which I quoted above.

It may have aspects of what Rothbard would consider an ideal form of anarchy, but there is no "almost anarchy" anymore than there is a little bit pregnant. Either there is anarchy, or there isn't. And there isn't. Your only example has already been refuted. Find another one, or move on.

Smells like NWO propganda

How would one enter this third "stabilizing class"? By birth? By money? By popular vote?

How does this new class of stabilizers remain un-corrupted? Give them everything? Give them nothing?

Crony capitalism is what destroyed our government, exactly as you suggest that anarco-capitalism would. Anarco-capitalism could hardly do worse (no, that's not my preferred solution either).

In a country that has WAY too many divisions, you think adding more is the way to go? Interesting.

The original government (as outlined by the Constitution) is supposed to be exactly what you say, three branches, each holding reign over the other, like a game of "rock, paper scissors".
They all complain that they "can't get things done". Good, exactly how it should be. Getting something done in government should be nearly impossible, then maybe, they would leave us alone and what they do get done might actually be worth doing.
Some of the politicians measure their success on how many laws they were able to pass, content of those laws be damned.

These problems we face won't be fixed overnight, and certainly not by another class or division of people.

You want to fix a problem, fix the education system. All the other problems pale in comparison and most stem directly from it.

For starters, get the government OUT of education and keep them out, permanently. Without that first step, no other solution can last past the next batch of recruits.. er.. graduates.

Another good step might be to hold politicians to the same laws they pass for the peons. That one thing, done tomorrow, would leave the halls of congress a nearly empty echo chamber.

Just open the box and see

Three is better than one.

Three is better than one. Three at odds is better than one unlimited power. It's history. Also, three is just a superior number in itself. Way of the future, man.

I agree with that

on a purely utilitarian basis. But how did the THREE branches of government fail, exactly? How would adding another, elite class offset this type of corruption?

The anarchists impossible pipe dream for society has more chance of success than a new elite class of people fixing the issues and remaining un-corrupted, IMO. In 100 years, we'll just have more corrupted people telling "the unwashed masses" how to live and think.

If we as a people can't make our tools work for us and properly educate ALL our citizens, we are lost. Maybe it's always been that way, and always will be. All of recorded history points to this conclusion to me.

I would point out that it was supposed to be the media, "the fourth estate", who filled the role you suggest. They are truly lost too.

Let's sum up. The THREE branches of government are corrupted, and blended to one. The media, "the fourth estate", is lost and corrupted. Add another class in there? Evidence suggests that won't work out well, and I don't know how many more people I can stand trying to tell me how to live.

England has a royal family that's supposed to be their moral voice and guidance. How's that working out for them? Personally, I scoff at anyone who thinks they are "royal". They are a Royal pain in the a.. :)

Just open the box and see

Well I wasn't talking about

Well I wasn't talking about three branches of government. As penalty for failure to read/comprehend my post, I don't finish reading yours.

You were, actually

Since our government seems to present as one giant, evil entity, your confusion is understandable. Our government IS three branches, so when you talk about the government, you ARE talking about the THREE branches.

You were suggesting adding another ruling class to this giant mess.

It's not my comprehension I'm worried about. ;)

Just open the box and see

I was talking about economic

I was talking about economic power (not government), political power (government), and some third institution (not government).

My apologies for the misinterpretation

Thanks for the clarification.

I suspect most systems of control are prone to the same failing.
Even the Roman civilization fell, though they did have a good run.

What to men with power want? More power. ~ The Oracle

Just open the box and see

I upvoted this thread...

because I like the dialogue it created..
if the founders were here.. it would resolve into
a discussion of checks and balances..
because they HAD to get something DONE.
Are 'additional' checks to government/corporate.. as you say
"raw economic power" needed?
I think so BUT
it MUST resolve itself into 'Law'
and NOT 'people' or an 'institution'... (unless you propose a 4th Branch?)
LAW alone is the BEDROCK of a Republic.
►So... back to you BILL3...
pretend you are addressing the Founders themselves...
and you have their attention.. they are listening and waiting...
What (missing) LAW (Amendment)do you propose to check this abuse of POWER? The colonies, the Republic is waiting.. we have to get something done (tick tock).