Further Thoughts on AnarchismSubmitted by Molusk on Thu, 06/19/2014 - 23:14
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.