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Deus ex Anarchia

In the ancient theatre of Greco-Roman times, the play would often terminate a dead end in the plot with a God, deus, descending from the riggings above to move things along, and allow the play to proceed.

The phrase deus ex machina has its origin here, and has since been used in modern film criticism to denote a plot device for moving the story along by introducing an outside element that has no real business being in the story.

The wiki sums it up thusly: "a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object."

Deus ex anarchia, then, is that unidentified, undefined social force that is just assumed, to perpetuate a state-less condition or anarchy once established, just because.

The anarchist theorist does not offer any reason why force, political power, would or could not be reintroduced by economic power, or why economic power would never concentrate in a state of full "freedom." This has always happened in history.

The late, great historian Will Durant, who wrote ten or eleven magisterial volumes of the best comprehensive historical scholarship concluded as one of his key takeaways that freedom is the precursor, always, to concentration of wealth in power. The simple fact of inequality, expressed most actively in the state of full freedom, guarantees this.

And as libertarian and social scientist Charles Murray (of Bell Curve fame or infamy) notes, as technology increases, the economy permits more and more division of labor, more and more degrees of inequality, and more and more social sorting by intelligence and wealth disparity.

Quite aside from all its other questionable suppositions, this supposition of perpetual anarchy proceeding from an original anarchical state is one is one of the more humorous, especially as it lends itself to the cool new phrase Deus ex anarchia.

So then, you anarchists in the machine, tell us what is the hidden something that perpetuates anarchy forever, once the board is cleared, it is established, and no political restraints exist? What, then, restrains the growth and development of economic, social and other forms of power?

What hidden mechanism prevents the power that grows up in anarchy from creating political power for itself?

Is that not what already happened? Did the State not grow out of the the non-State power, like Athena, sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus? Did the American state not grow out of conditions which are considered the closest in history to ideal anarchy?

Replying "the market will insure no concentrations of power emerge" is simply assuming the conclusion, but I predict that will be the most common reply, asserted without any actual argument of why. It must be assumed, in order for anarchy to be maintained.

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First, nothing. The exact

First, nothing. The exact same thing that protects a small-government minarchist republic from becoming the modern Collectivist US of A. A fascist empire that prints money and engages in endless war.

The reason a stateless society "could" persist "if" the law was upheld is that in a stateless society based on the natural rights and the rule of law, the "government" would be percieved as what it is. Force. No one has the right to initiate force against another. When (if) people understand that depriving another of their rights by use of force, fraud, or coersion is a crime, we would no more be suseptable to being taken over by a government than we would be of being taken over by a burgler, rapists or murderer.

Therefore if we educated our children correctly and dispelled the insipid acceptance of arbitrary authority which we endocrinate our children with from the day they are born, we "might" have a chance that human minds would begin to understand what true liberty is, and why its a good thing. When enough humans understand that the initiation of force against another human is a CRIME that we can enforce through "due process," there will be liberty.

From that day their would be a statless society based on voluntary action where only criminals would feel they could deprive others or their rights. However, this stateless society would end the moment enough humans began to once again believe in the immoral (as defined by the principal) and illusionary myth of arbitrary authority. As soon as enough humans believe it is okay for some humans to use force against others so that they can have free stuff, or be safe, the dream would end, and we'd be back to the same miserable, sadistic tyrannical history of humanity.

A stateless society and a minarchist "small government" both depends on people's reason and ability to educate their children about liberty to exist, though one has a much higher price for failure. The minarchist government approach violates its own principals from inception. Worse it keeps the figurative "devil" on a leash, whispering sweet promises into the ears of its holders if only they will just let it go free. Sooner or later, people will get sleepy or the holders will be seduced.

Far better to not even entertain the idea that you can use this monster for "good." Evil, used for the purpose of good will always turn to evil. You cannot use a government for good, it will always end in disaster.

guns and violence

that's what.


"What hidden mechanism prevents the power that grows up in anarchy from creating political power for itself?"

This mechanism is called the non aggression principal. The point is to not allow which ever socipath is come to have access to the big stick known as central gov. It's the same dang argument minarchists use against their 100% statist cousins to advocate for smaller gov....Amazing to me they cannot see the hypocrisy when trying to argue against anarchists. What hidden mechanism is preventing the current gov gone wild from going wild? Itself? What's the mechanism in place to prevent a minarchist gov from becoming another facist pile of terd sandwich? Voting?
Anarchy doesn't mean no rule of law and no enforcement of that law. It simply means no rulers.... You'd still have peace officers, and 3rd party arbitrators directly accountable to the people, not some politician.

"Is that not what already happened? Did the State not grow out of the the non-State power, like Athena, sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus? Did the American state not grow out of conditions which are considered the closest in history to ideal anarchy?"

The founding fathers deserve credit for molding the freeist country to date. However they were no anarchists imo and they were not perfect people either. And your point actually works for the counter argument. All gov, no matter how smalland how well intentioned becomes corrupt.

Doesn't matter what ism people want to believe is the "WAY". Until people can evolve to unanimously accept and adhere to non aggression principals there will always be ones trying to control others. As long as people are imperfect, there will be no perfect system. Minarchism, as you pointed out has grown in to a monster that could careless about the individual. So why repeat the insanity.

I'd rather deal with the occasional thug with a small mercenary army, who has taken control of his housing development then constant tyranny backed by the worlds most powerful Army.

I disagree. For example, most

I disagree. For example, most anarchical systems have very evenly distributed incomes, bordering on communism in some instances. America had more of a middle class before it became socialistic/less free. I would say freedom leads to income equality, but too much "freedom" via anarchy leads to impoverishment and too little leads to too much income inequality.

I do however agree that anarchy leads to government in the end. It certainly does nothing to prevent it, that much is self-evident.

Ventura 2012

You said 'For example, most

You said

'For example, most anarchical systems have very evenly distributed...'

not to be a niggler, but that is not an example, it's an assertion. Can you provide some examples? I am not really aware of any anarchical systems, let alone one's with data on income distribution.

Sure, for example the

Sure, for example the anarcho-communist African tribes, as well as Tribal Israel and Ireland. The income equality is sort of inherent in tribal structure.

Ventura 2012

Sure, if you go back to pre

Sure, if you go back to pre property tribal structures you can find less income inequality. There's no capital, no real wealth... its debatable that they're really anarchic. Wherever the tribe resides there are laws imposed by force, including exile.... don't be wherever the tribe is gonna be if you flout its conventions. This is a stretch, definitely not what the anarchists on DP have in mind.

What they have in mind is

What they have in mind is really besides the point haha. The glove fits. We both know that what they have in mind is a polyanna nirvana. Any structural criticism you make will be written off as "not what we had in mind". Marx probably didn't have the gulags in mind.

Ventura 2012

Guess you're right there. So

Guess you're right there. So there is no anarchy, just the variety of possible states in which anarchy terminates.

yes! that is correct!!!! BILL3 gets it!

I never didn't get it, son.

I never didn't get it, son. Step to the back of the line and give me ur desert.


"I never didn't get it, son."

your command of the English language is quite awesome!

This I know.

This I know.

I am dumb BILL3,

YOU are the master Cylinder.

Don't talk that way, you're

Don't talk that way, you're not dumb BILL3.

I thought anarchists weren't your audience?

"anarchists aren't my audience, they're my foil, the butt of the joke."

Both your posts address the topic of anarchy while denouncing it. And here you specifically put anarchists to task, "So then, you anarchists in the machine, tell us..." Are you being rhetorical? Well, no because below you accuse someone of dodging your question.

This is not dodging. I'm calling you out. I've tried a few times already to engage you in a good healthy debate, but you choose to talk out of both sides of your mouth, much to your convenience. You do exactly what you accuse others of doing. You're condescending in your tone, and your use of logical fallacies are off the charts.

It would appear the purpose of your posts are to aggravate (e.g. "the butt of the joke" as you say). Regardless what your motives may be, I think you're being disingenuous. We don't have to agree, but I'm not going to waste time on someone who is unwilling or incapable of engaging in an honest discussion.

Your response (or lack thereof) will determine if you become the victim of my block list.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

economic power begins and ends with the state

The anarchist theorist does not offer any reason why force, political power, would or could not be reintroduced by economic power, or why economic power would never concentrate in a state of full "freedom."

Economic power is created when you use the government to gain a business advantage, such as creating barriers to entry via licensing laws, regulations, zoning laws, etc.

Without a state, economic power will be more evenly distributed and will not be concentrated in the hands of a few who are well connected, or privileged by some government granted monopoly (patents, etc.).

Economic power is not created

Economic power is not created ust because of the state. Economic power can exist simple because someone has a lot of wealth and can hire other people to do what they want, including violence. This is elementary, simple stuff.

Economic power certainly can increase its scope with using a state apparatus, which is exactly what it can be expected to do if able.

Your claim that economic power would be safely, evenly distributed rather than concentrated is just a claim, it hasn't been argued or reasoned beyond the simple assertion. Why do you believe this? do you even know why? that is the question, not the answer.


Was there any economic power wielded in Feudalism by the rich and powerful against the weak? Of course there was. And no formal government to speak of.

Ventura 2012

In feudalism, land ownership

In feudalism, land ownership didn't follow the homesteading principle. Not even close. At that time, those who claimed to own land, didn't actually own it.

Feudalism is not a fair example of how land owners could exploit non-land owners in a stateless society where all services are provided by a free market.

I'm not sure that your point

2 points

#1. I'm not sure that your point is addressing mine. I'm talking about what systems ACTUALLY develop when government is removed.

#2. You're not actually correct about property in Feudalism. The Lord was the landlord, literally. The Lord's family homesteaded the land at some point. He provided protection and rented property to peasants and serfs for 1/3 of the proceeds. Economic necessity(scarcity) demanded that serfs "ran with the land". Similarly, landlords owned their land by fee tail, which means the land ran with the family blood. Both of these property principles are no older than our republic.
We have landlords and tenants today, but not serfs because of the 13th Amendment and economic development under capitalism and an ordered government.

Ventura 2012

#1. So if government is

#1. So if government is removed, a feudalistic system will develop, where landowners take advantage of non-land owners?

#2. I thought that the King (who claimed to own all the land) leased it to the landlord who then took advantage of the serfs. If I'm correct, my point is that the King didn't own it because the homesteading principle was not followed, and therefore exploitation couldn't take place.

#1 It might not be feudalism,

#1 It might not be feudalism, it could be tribalism or communism. Based on the forms of anarchy that existed in History. However, I think Feudalism is most likely simply because the advanced mercantile systems of the ancient world devolved into feudalism once the central government's collapsed.

#2 Kings came after pure feudalism. Original feudalism had no kings(at least not really). Kings were a form of centralized government entered into by landlords to attempt to provide order out of the chaos. Originally Kings were weak, but eventually they seized control of vast areas of land and provided enough stability for industrialization and capitalism.

Ventura 2012


I think we agree that the stability which allows markets to function, is some sort of trust and respect for property rights and enforcement of agreements/contracts. And that both feudalism or government are a type of stabilizing system.

But once we have a market, why can't the market deliver this same stability by providing the service of enforcement of property and contracts?

Markets are very good at spontaneously coordinating and transmitting so much of what people need in the most fair way. Why can't markets provide stability in property rights?

why didn't the markets in the

why didn't the markets in the Roman empire deliver stability and deliver the people from the dark ages once the central government collapsed?

You shouldn't be asking questions, you should be telling us why we should risk everything on your idea.

Ventura 2012

you are kinda defeating your own argument here

If accumulation of economic power by someone does not require the state, why would that someone suddenly want to create the state? Out of fear of losing the accumulated economic power?

If we start from a state of no state, and if we assume that people desire to maintain that state of no state, why aren't you open to the possibility of a market solution to maintaining this state of no state? I can think of many possibilities, such as a watchdog agency that rates different economic agents on the dangers of becoming a state and offers advise to its customers on how and when to stop supporting an economic agent financially.

The point here is that if we arrive at such a situation, in which the government has been eliminated, that implies that a large portion of the population agreed with this ideal of no government. Otherwise how did we get there? So, since a large portion of the population desires this ideal, market participants will jump in with innovative solutions to attempt to satisfy this ideal.

Obviously, we are not there right now. So, if we magically removed the government right now, another government would spring up, because that is what people want. So any talks of an anarchic society are premature until a large portion of the population is educated about the benefits of such a society. This is no easy task, of course, but it's the only way to proceed, if we believe in this idea of an eventual state of no government: educating people one at a time.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

If we start from no state,

If we start from no state, there's no reason to assume anyone would want to continue it. How we got there is anyone's guess. I don't think it will ever occur democratically, so I can't picture your first premise of most people choosing it.

Assuming they did, of course, democratically dissolve the state in favor of bi-lateral contracts with mercenary firms and private legal arbitrators with their own armies of enforces and jails etc., what then?

They'd probably regret their mistake and not want the situation for long. The winner of the resulting instability and conflicts would probably resume the role arbiter of disputes (government) and represent the large part of non property owners that had no representation in the government-for-hire market.

People would only want to continue it if it fulfilled their expectations going in. I think that for anarchists, their reason for wanting to eliminate the state is their belief that they'd enjoy more liberty and less interference without any state. They're probably simply mistaken.

Very few people believe that, because most people couldn't personally afford the services they currently get from the state, which protect their liberty and property from worse thugs and gangs and possible private governments. They believe they couldn't get their present level of liberty if they had to pay out of pocket.

The few ideologues who think they'd benefit from anarchy by having more liberty probably are mistaken. Some might flourish as economically successful power brokers running a private power complex, and I imagine this could be a lot of fun and make good sci fi. Anarcho-cap sci fi could be a good genre.

Either way, supposing everyone wanted to give it a try, and they voluntarily dissolved all coercive institutions, and 'privatized' force, like military and police, into the marketplace, then what?

Unless we simply assume conditions of abundance for all, and moral perfection, we still have all the problems that we had when there was government. Poverty, crime, corruption, evil, etc. Why believe the dissolution of central government into thousands of private governments interacting with bi-lateral contracts (treaties) would remedy those problems better, or permit more individual liberty to individuals? Why assume there would be more freedom to travel, more freedom from patdowns and searches, background checks, fees and tolls, etc.?

What about conflict resolution in an environment of concentrated economic power blocs?

If two private centers of power, say economic conglomerates, are in a dispute over some property claim, the right to develop some tract of land let's say, and they go to a third party agency to decide the issue, both have the incentive to try to compromise the integrity of of the third party, and whichever way the decision goes, the losing side still has the right to disregard the decision and use its privately owned or employed force-agency to get its way. After all this is what states have always done, and private power centers, in the absence of a state, are themselves states.

This is how economic power blocs have always behaved in state-free places like colonial possessions. The history of economic power and private intel agencies is a rich history of private wars for resources between competing economic powers using mercenaries, often the desperate poor living on the disputed land, whos own property claims have no standing. The state grew up as the servant of these competing economic power blocs and their tentacles in law firms, spy firms, political parties, media, etc. They created the modern state out of a very weak minimal government. The state didn't empower them, they empowered the state.

When two blocs clashed, they would win or or lose the fight depending on the better force agency, etc. Each economic center is simply its own state with the same human nature, desires, motivations and potentialities as previous states.

The people living on that tract of land who can't hire such mercenaries or pay the dispute arbitrators have no rights, claims or recourse to any law, and are just social detritus in a world where property is the only basis for any political rights.

The peaceful, orderly anarchy of ideology is a fantasy, but there is plenty of historical experience with real anarchy.

This should be a thread of

This should be a thread of its own, good analysis. Sad to see it wasted in a lowly response.

Ventura 2012

Thanks, b. Seems like these

Thanks, b. Seems like these threads aren't very popular, get tiring.


> The anarchist theorist does not offer any reason why
> force, political power, would or could not be reintroduced
> by economic power, or why economic power would never
> concentrate in a state of full "freedom."

> This has always happened in history.

Actually, this has *never* happened in history. There has never yet been a society full of freedom. We have only seen a society built on a foundation of slavery. The simple question is: Because society has been built on the foundation of slavery, is that the only possibility?

To assert that freedom has ever resulted in concentration of power is simply false.

Successful attempts at enslaving others have resulted in concentration and growth of power. Successful attempts at resisting slavery have resulted in the reduction of concentrated power. (April 19, 1775)

So far, resistance against slavery has not yet resulted in the complete overthrow of the foundation of slavery. This is mostly because of the error of assuming slavery is the only possible foundation. This is your error Bill3. It's forgivable for now, since very few people see the underlying cause of the problem, and therefore unwittingly perpetuate it.

The situation is very much like the situation of humanity before it was understood that microscopic organisms cause diseases and that these organisms can be eliminated or hugely reduced in number by exposing them to sunlight, soap and water, or other chemicals.

When these things were understood, the entire foundation for dealing with disease changed.

Just like the common "cold" does not originate with cold temperatures, tyranny is not the result of freedom. Anarchy has never been fertile ground for tyranny. The alternative: Believing in the myth of authority is the germ from which tyranny arises.