1 vote

Anarchism and Eschatology - Why anarcho capitalism is not a solution, per se

My argument is that anarchism is impossible - sort of. Let me note that I think that anarchism is the most just, and probably most beneficent 'system' a society can arrange for itself - if such a thing can be said.

It is absurd to say that we should 'enact' anarcho-capitalism. Obviously, no anarchist would suggest this. You can't vote anarchism into existence.

So, anarchism is supposed to come by default. The state will collapse, people will take care of things themselves - POOF - anarcho capitalism. In another scenario, the people take care of things themselves first, and then the state dissolves into nothing.

I propose that neither scenario is possible, for two reasons. One, while the state exists it will prevent anarchism. That is, it won't use force to stop liberal behavior, it will instead construct a social paradigm that is unbreakable as part of its statecraft. The problem with statism is that people choose to support it and its paradigm. This leads to problem #2, which is that in the economics of division of labor, feudalism is vastly more cost effective than 'private security and insurance'. People value and seek stability, and for most of history the petty wars of princes have provided more of it than raw barbaric gang-ism. Feudal arrangements are horrible, unjust, and repressive contracts that no one would rationally select. However, the cost of education and trust are much higher than the benefits of stability under a feudal lord.

Thus, when the state exists, it reinforces its position in the market for security through social policy (education, wealth distribution, and repression). When the state does not exist, economic conditions cause society to associate the state with stability itself, due to the cost of acting otherwise (to include taking the time to become educated, and engage in political activity).

Thus, there is simply no political path to anarchism (by political I specifically do NOT mean statist, I refer to that process of people in a society coming to a consensus through voluntary behavior and consent over what rules govern interaction between them. Anarchism treats this differently, because the market drives a lot of behavior, as opposed to debate and voting, but there is still a political process by which the actors in a society choose to adopt different norms when interacting with each other).

Thus, anarchism is impossible.

Now, I take it back. It is possible, but only in one scenario. True anarchism won't result upon the collapse of the state. It will be the result of society's transcendence beyond the state. As society progresses, becoming more and more educated and experienced, it will need the state less and less. That is, at some point that cost of being educated and providing stability will be less than the cost of repression - and everyone will know it. The state will shrink as pressure is brought to bear against state intervention as participants will know this intervention to be more costly than not. At some point, the state will shrink to nothing. Perhaps it will remain as a curious tradition, much like many old monarchies.

I think that is a scenario under which society will have anarchism. Anarchism will result from society's progress, and therefore is a sort of eschatological system of government. Only after the perfection of society will it be a viable system. And, I am certainly being hyperbolic, but only to make the point.

With all this in mind, the question remains: what is to be done until then? The first conclusion is that anarcho-capitalism is a counterproductive ideology. Again, I take it back some. The ideology must be taught, people must be made aware of the argument against the state, and be taught civilized behavior that transcends the state. Discussions on anarchy-capitalism are incredibly useful, and have not come close to reaching their maximum utility. Indeed, it has only begun.

Politically oriented discussions of anarcho-capitalism miss the point. It is not enough to argue against the state. There is a state, and there is a society which depends on the state. I depend on the state, because it is there and has shut down its alternatives.

We must therefore devise political solutions that benefit from an awareness of the anarchistic ideal, but are practicable. I don't mean solutions that give any credence to the morass of electoral politics. Rather, solutions that acknowledge the present position of the state in society.

For example: compared to the rest of military spending, a defensive nuclear deterrent is a good deal and probably necessary until other nuclear players become convinced that the aggression of the US government has ceased. That trust may take a century. Some agent has to manage that nuclear deterrent. Maybe or maybe not, but a nuclear deterrent is perhaps something that needs to be 'kept' for a while even if we end all aggression through policy.

Also: social insurance. Be it food regulations, unemployment insurance, or social security. People and institutions have planned generations around these things. You can't defensibly pull out the rug from these programs. The fact is society depends on them, even if they aren't the ideal means of solving the problems they purportedly exist for. To get rid of them before society can transition in the least costly way to some alternative is to rob society. If a communist government owned everyone's house, dissolving communism wouldn't justifiably involve auctioning everyone's homes to three big banks.

So, unlike the 'Libertarians', I see anarcho-capitalist idealists as much much more moderate about government reforms. Oh, there would be doozies if 'we' took over, in terms of shuttering the activities of governments the states over. But there would be no intrinsic nativist/populist hatred of different kinds of programs. Big government is not the fault of a few antagonistic demographics, it's just a big darn mess everyone played a part in. The goal is to end the mess, not punish the people who we blame it upon.

Part of this is recognizing that the ideal - anarchy - is not something you can enact. So there's nothing like 'libertarian' policy. It's not like we can adjust the tax rates and make the world right. No, the world stinks and it will for a long time. We need to create a sustainable transition, one that produces the obvious short-term benefits, but leads to the long-term ideals. One that includes immediate justice: stopping wars of aggression, and police statism. And, sure, that can include some tax cuts.

Do you get what I mean? Anyone?

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I didn't intend to sound offensive

In fact, I did miss the quotes on the second use of "education".

Education and experience has not brought us any closer to anarchism

That was what I saw first.
I applaud the home schooling, and I'm sure your kids are smart, independent thinkers.

I was indoctrinated many years ago, before it got as bad as it is now, and escaped before the program was complete, but experience and self education has brought me to an anarchists view point. I'm not entirely convinced that anarchy is workable on a grand scale, though I am hopeful that a way can be found (hope is for suckers, or so I'm told).

Just open the box and see

Let's see, we could try

Let's see, we could try proposing ideals such as "no person has the right to initiate violence".

Just because NAP isn't easy doesn't mean it's not right, and just because the absence of violence isn't going to occur until humanity reaches a significantly more enlightened stage doesn't mean it shouldn't be held as the ideal.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein