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Further Thoughts on Anarchism

Modern anarchism is the theory that in the absence of government, people will generally do the right thing in all their social and commercial interactions. That isn't the normal definition given, but it follows from the arguments offered for anarchism.

In market anarchism or anarcho-capitalism, there is no special jurisdiction for justice: arrest, holding a trial or giving a verdict and sentence. There's no chain of appeals to finalize a decision.

Whether or not someone has committed a crime is the decision of a private court, either attached to or commissioned by some force-agent or agency.

Unlike under a government, there is no final arbiter or appeals process, going to higher courts, all of which follow the same law in relation to each other.

Today, if you commit theft, you go to a specific court, have certain rights like the right to an attorney, bail, jury trial, etc. If convicted you can appeal up to a certain point.

It is all very clear in terms of who has jurisdiction and what rights the accused has, even if it doesn't always work out that way in practice. The law is in the letter, the spirit is free to roam. If people lack vigilance about their rights, they are gone regardless of the paper.

There are problems with rights-literacy and there are problems with plea bargains and risk-reward of demanding trial, and these problems are deliberately imposed by the corrupt criminal justice system in order to prevent defendants from accessing their rights.

Too many laws and too many bureaucratic mouths to feed from the Crim Just trough create the incentive to avoid prolonged trial by jury with high standards of evidence. It costs too much to the beast, over what it takes in. This corruption needs to be remedied, and the only answer to that is vigilance and willingness to demand justice, as with any political goal.

Under anarchism, anyone can claim jurisdiction over anyone else. There is no magic number of jurors, and no single legitimate force agency sanctioned by the public or a majority in a territory.

There's nothing that requires a security agency or an arbitration agency to apply one code of law over another, and no requirement that all recognize a common appeal process or final arbiter.

Does someone have a right of appeal after conviction? Appeal to who, and how many times?

If a separate court deems the person innocent, and there is no tie breaker or final arbiter, then both sides could fight for the accused on the grounds that the other side is acting aggressively, and there is no tie breaker or final say. Neither side is in the wrong in terms of non-aggression, because both are convinced of their rightness and the aggression of the other. For any case where both sides aren't budging, there is no final arbiter.

Anarchists can only respond to these problems with their claim that people wouldn't do any of this, that everyone would agree to a harmonic legal system that would function smoothly, and rarely or never violate anarchist principles or the non-aggression principle.

For the anarchist, the real enforcement mechanism for NAP and anarchism is not in any institution, but the free market, allowing the true wishes of the people for anarchism to be expressed. Anarchists believe that everyone is an anarchist at heart, and that no matter how uncertain or dangerous an environment, most people will adhere to the non aggression principle and the golden rule on inherent moral grounds.

Anarchism is largely a theory of human nature, and that's why it ties in closely with economics. Someone like David Friedman will argue that people generally always act in what he considers their rational economic interest. He isn't worried about violence under anarchism because it is expensive in the present legal and market order. He thinks the rules and thought processes that prevail for the manager of a McDonald's are the same that would prevail for the leader of a force-agency, or an average Joe, in a world where no agreement is certain, no justice is guaranteed, and the devil take the hindmost.

This also applies to left wing anarchism. Its less sanguine theory of economics gives a different flavor of anarchism, one which is largely about preventing concentration of economic power, capital, market control, etc., and treating firms a a kind of government. The left anarchist sees predatory power lust in private as well as government organizations.

Suffice it to say that aside from all the problems of a functional justice system or of national defense conforming to NAP, and aside from other concerns, the deeper issue is the fundamentally flawed understanding of human nature as a merely economic nature.

Because of this wrong conception of human nature, anarchists are forced to concoct a villain. A collective called "government" or "the state" is designated scapegoat for all human political and social ills. Rather than saying "Humans behave violently, and the consequence is the State" they think, "Because of the State, there is violence among humans. If not for the State, people would not behave violently." They credit a nebulous, dehumanized collective with the crime of force, and anyone who engages in force is said to be "acting like a State." The reverse is true: People form States because humans use force; the State is acting humanly.

The need to resort to a villain is always the corollary and shadow of a faulty concept of human nature. A correct understanding of human nature, good and bad, will inoculate one from anarchism.

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You must have missed the part

You must have missed the part of the question about limited government enduring, or you believe we still have one in your view, and there is no reason to want the status quo to change.

I understand your concern that too much freedom is dangerous, liberals feel the same way, hence all the rule making and guns to back it up.

It's every generation's

responsibility to secure its own liberty. A stable minarchist government that is leashed, and fears the people, can be bequeathed generation to generation. After that its up to them. Anarchy results in tyrants and gangs overrunning peaceful people and destroying the work of centuries, not generations, and should only be embraced by sociopaths who want to see others suffer.

Bill, the original item of

Bill, the original item of discussion I chose to respond to was not about whether or not anarchism could work, I was disagreeing with Jan about anarchism having more violence.

The argument of statists is that if you give government the monopoly on violence, we will be safe from gangs, however in the process we just wind up with one large violent gang instead of a lot of little violent gangs. At least with a lot of little regional gangs you have a choice in moving from one place to another.

You said calling gangs and warlords government, doesn't answer Jan's arguments. How can I respond to Jan's arguments if the fundamental premise is wrong in the first place? Anarchism is a lack of government, and warlords/gangs are not a lack of government.

If you want to debate whether or not my white car is a nice shade of black, and I point out we can't debate that point because my car is not black to begin with, I am not skirting the point, creating a straw man, or dodging the issue. First you need to agree on a fundamental premise before you can argue about it.

If anarchism is a lack of government, are warlords either some crude form of government, or are warlords no form of government? If warlords are a form of government, then why persist in attributing warlords to anarchism?

Local warlords and consolidation of territories is the germination process that leads to a giant overreaching state. Don't blame people opposed to any form of government when it is minarchists that want to stick the seeds in the soil and believe they can keep it from becoming a might oak tree of oppression.

Jan's premise isn't

wrong, you're just playing a semantic game where anyone who uses violent or forms a gang is "government." Well if those are the rules of the game, not much is at stake. People will always use gangs and violence, end of discussion.

It's much better to have one big gang with general security in the land, where the people can try to hold the leadership structure of that gang accountable, hold their feet to the fire, like a pitchfork wielding mob surrounding the kings palace.

That is infinitely preferable to 1000 feudal landlords, where the constant threat of the other 999 prevents any internal accountability, since you can always be shoved outside the walls and be easy prey to the other gangs and marauders in general.

If you really think you're such a billy bad ass, leave the government, go live among the gangs/cartels south of the border. Stop complaining, grab your stuff and go, no one stops you. You choose to live under the govt and then bitch and moan about how gangs would be better. Such a joke!

An individual that uses

An individual that uses violence is not a government, but when you organize and use violence to control a territory, you have created an entity that governs that area, hence a government.

Are you sure you are not a neocon in the closet with that, like it or get out of my country comment?

If you think it is preferable to have one big gang for security, why would you be on a website that is about reducing the size of the gang in charge? Perhaps you should be commenting on liberal oriented forums.

You said that many feudal landlords would be a bad thing and one big gang would be preferable, does that mean you wish to do away with competing nation states and create a one world government? By your logic, it would be preferable to you.

the circular logic of minarchists

Do you see how minarchist argue against themselves? A voluntary society won't work because someone will form an oppressive group, so instead of that we need to form our own group, which will somehow not be corrupt and oppressive itself

Minarchist offer up a

Minarchist offer up a DEFINITE system of force and violence because they are afraid of theoretical force and violence! Sheer idiocy!

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

let me see if i can make one

people are bad, so we don't need any protection from

a circle does not an argument, prove

That's the same circular logic my loony mayor uses all

of the time. Ironically, he calls me naive.

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

That's not the argument I'd make

Here's the argument I'd make.

There will be some who want to violate the NAP. They may have a different philosophical concept of property rights to which they are passionately attached. They may think that being a warlord is a pretty sweet life, and worth the risks. They may find themselves in a desperate situation in which following the NAP would result in something they strongly want to avoid, such as a kid dying for lack of a medicine they can't afford. Maybe they're an addict, and not rational about satisfying whatever addiction they have. For many reasons, the NAP won't be universally accepted.

So suppose I don't voluntarily agree to abide by the NAP. And as a result, you and me have a conflict.

You can propose to resolve disputes via DROs. And disputes between DROs via a meta-DRO. And disputes between meta-DROs via a meta-meta-DRO. But there's no "Supreme DRO" that has the final authority. I'm rich and/or powerful enough, and I feel strongly enough about wanting to do whatever NAP-violating thing it is I want to do, so there's no reason for me to ever accept the authority of whatever DROs and meta^n-DROs you're paying to try to get me to do something I won't voluntarily do.

Since I'm not going to voluntary comply with your NAP, you're going to have to force me to comply. But I have enough money to outlast you as we climb a never-ending tower of meta-DROs. There's no "supreme DRO" whose authority I'm going to voluntarily accept, because your'e trying to get me to do something I'm not voluntarily willing to do. (And/or I have enough hired guns, and you don't (individually) have enough money to get those DRO employees to be willing to die on your behalf over our dispute. But let's stick with the power-by-wealth scenario for now.)

Individually you may not have enough money to make that happen, but you can perhaps find like-minded people to join forces with you, and force me to do what I won't voluntarily do.

You need enough people joining you that your combined power is greater than my combined power. And you need them to accept the authority of whatever DRO is saying that you're right and I'm wrong. They have to believe in that authority with sufficient conviction that some of them are willing to die for something that directly affects you but only indirectly affects them.

You don't need universal acceptance of that authority. Human nature being what it is, you're not going to get universal acceptance of anything across a large population. But you need wide enough acceptance that when the DRO you want to be the "supreme DRO" (and that I disagree with) says that using force to take something away from me or lock me up or kill me is justified, most people are willing to believe you and not oppose your use of force.

So let's look at what's happened here. There was no "supreme DRO" that I was willing to accept voluntarily, and I had enough money to have my own meta-meta-...-DRO go up against yours for as many levels of meta as you could afford. So since whatever super-DRO you prefer had no authority that was voluntarily accepted, you had to use force to impose the decisions of that super-DRO on those like me who don't voluntarily do what you want us to do.

You didn't need (and wouldn't get) universal voluntarily acceptance of that DRO whose decisions are being imposed by force on those who don't agree. But you did need enough acceptance that if your force-backed DRO says I should be killed or imprisoned or have something taken away by force, the action is fairly widely accepted as probably just. As opposed to me doing the same thing, on the authority of my force-backed DRO, and killing you or kidnapping you or taking something away from you by force. When your DRO says I'm doing a bad thing, you want general acceptance of your DRO over mine.

So on the one hand we have your force-backed DRO with wide but not universal recognition of it's authority, forcing compliance with what it says on those who don't comply voluntarily, and using that force to take things away from people or kill people or kidnap and imprison people. Some people will disagree, and some will suspect corruption in this ultimate authority imposed by force whether it's corrupt or not, but the force-backed DRO will survive so long as the number of people who don't accept its ultimate authority as genuine isn't large enough that it's overthrown by force.

On the other hand, we have government. What's the difference?

Great visual...

Thanks :)

Great comment, Jan

That could be a good post on its own. Thanks for taking all that time to go over the key points, it's very comprehensive. I think you and I have nearly destroyed anarchism on the dailypaul. Well, I'm sure after you wake up tomorrow, with a good conscience, me with a bad one, they'll all be back in stride volunteering their nostrums for others.

I think someone has a

I think someone has a minarchist man crush.

Is that the mission Bill3, "destroy anarchism on the DP"? Spoken like a true statist controller. It's not enough to live and let be with someone else's non-violent ideology, you have to crush it because it is in competition with your superior ideology that makes excuses for aggression. That line of thinking is how wars start in the real world.

Like I commented to Jan, and probably at least once to you in the past, anarchism can't last because someone will start a government, and sure as rain is wet, that minarchist government will grow out of control eventually. Statists think that a tyranny can be maintained without an uprising. One thing the anarchist, minarchist, and statist have in common is that they are all delusional if they think the can get their way for very long. All have their time in the rise and fall of societies, but it is fleeting.

Anarchists here try to

Anarchists here try to destroy minarchiam through insults and purposeful logical fallacies. Havent you seen this,

Ventura 2012

If you were an anarchist you

If you were an anarchist you would view minarchists as trying to do that to your ideology as well.

Can you please provide me one example where a large population has had a small limited government that lasted for a very long time without growing out of control? Please do not be silly and say America, because this country is a case study in how minarchism fails.

Youre wrong about that,

Youre wrong about that, minarchists are on the defensive here, anarchist bring the vitriol and shaming language of "statist" into it.


Can you provide me with an example of an anarchist society with a capitalist economy?

Ventura 2012

So do you want to throw out

So do you want to throw out Obamacare's mandates to buy private insurance and replace it with the Swiss system of universal socialist medicine? Would that make us more minarchist like the swiss, lol ?

I would have rather been born swiss myself, as well as quite a few other nationalities if I had a say in it. A lot of Mexicans wish they were born in the U.S. I guess you just get born on a piece of dirt with a fence around it, and freedom of travel is restricted according to the money you have, or your level of desperation.

Comparing a minarchist to a statist is an exaggeration yes, but you have to admit that both want to restrict the freedoms of people, just to different degrees. Both minarchists and statists think their ideal levels of restriction on liberty are just common sense, good ideas.

deacon's picture

I haven't seen what you suggested

I see one who fears living without any form of government,and one
who's very life depending on the gov staying just as crooked and f'ed up
to maintain their lively hood.to think anyone needs anyone to lord over them,to dictate policy and tell them how and when they will live their lives is appalling to some .To the rest it is appealing.

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

Your blanket...

...insults about us being insulting are insulting. ;)

I don't think

showing people the path to sound viewpoints is violent. The problem is when you, or Micah, or 10 other people speak about what anarchism is, and what you think will happen, they're all claiming different things, usually contradicting each other, and really haven't though it through. As someone who has thought it through, I'm providing a free service by sharing my thoughts. If the consequence of debating is changing views, that is a success. If you weren't interested in the debate, you wouldn't be involved, so stop with the acting like you're above it all. Everyone engaged in this discussion is interested in persuading others.

When it gets to the details,

When it gets to the details, you could ask 10 minarchists what it would actually look like, and get 10 different views as well.

I readily admit...

...to not having thought this all through. I'm a relative newb when it comes to considering anarchism possibly being more than protestors in Seattle smashing in store-front windows. I feel like I'm off the fence in terms of recognizing the problems of any claim of political legitimacy (Michael Huemer's book was the key there). But I'm still wrestling with the picture of how it all would work in reality, in conjunction with my convictions on Love, etc.

To steal a phrase from Dr. Robin Parry from his book on Evangelical Universalism, maybe I'm a 'hopeful dogmatic' anarchist at this point -- still a little wiggle room for being persuaded otherwise by minarchism, etc.

I appreciate all your engaging discussions on this and other issues, however much we disagree here and there.


...unless there is a radical shift in inner morality such as has occurred with views on chattel slavery, such that it becomes psychologically impossible to allow it to bubble up again. But over time, moral decay could eventually bring back past horrors. This is where feedback mechanisms for instilling principles of Love and Liberty in each generation are vital.

The first rule established in any anarchic system:

Hey man you can't shit there!

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

Anarchy = No Law. President

Anarchy = No Law.

President Obama doesn't follow the laws of the land.

How does it taste?

Sour, right?

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

Government is the law.

Government is the law. Whatever they say, we have to do. Doesn't matter if theres a constitution or whatever. Government makes a bunch of rules and either we follow or we don't. Every country has a constitution and a bill of rights. What difference does it make. It's all criminal.

f___ all forms of govt.


"I'll go ahead and have a statist, diet please." -- Bill3

Anarchy is not a theory.

It's the realization that government is not real. The only thing that is real is people and the actions they do. A guy wears a uniform and pulls you over so that's government. It's not really real. Its just a guy with a uniform. A politician signs a piece of paper. So what? Why does it mean any thing? Anarchy is not a theory on how to organize society; it's basically the realization that govt doesn't really exist or at best a bullshit hallucination. There always has to be someone to turn to when something goes wrong. Waa waa, I don't want to be responsible.

f___ all forms of govt.

The uniform means

if you fight him, even if you kill him, another will come and more will come, and if you get a gang to back you up, more will come, until you lose. If you won, you'd be the government.

Trust me, it all really exists. Well, you know that!

just like in the Matrix. You

just like in the Matrix. You kill one agent and another appears. How did he defeat them? By realizing he was more powerful than them. If you believe it exists, it exists. If you realize everything is in the mind, there are no more rules. Peace.

f___ all forms of govt.