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Does Anarcho-Capitalism Allow People To Form Governments?

I'm creating a new thread for this topic that has come up in another thread.

The Merriam-Webster Definition of "government":

: the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.

: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.

: the process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.

Oxford Dictionary definition:

"[TREATED AS SINGULAR OR PLURAL] The governing body of a nation, state, or community:
an agency of the federal government

Are people allowed to form governments in an anarcho-capitalist society?

If so, how can we continue to call a world where such is a possibility "anarchy"?

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what is the basis for your claim?

thats not the definition of a market.

all markets in history take place within the context of involuntary government. all human societies at all times have had involuntary government. involuntary government is the precondition for all human life. the government of the family and the small group is 99.99999999% of all human history. the history of landed property and capital is under the protect of states and law.

if you can find an example of a society without involuntary government, please do so.

if not, then any example of exchange you can give will be within the context of rules and government imposed by force, even if only a small family unit.

two people of peaceful disposition might trade and abstain from force. larger groups tend to have disparities of power that are large enough to make force profitable to some members. this necessitates the imposition of involuntary government to allow free markets.

that's all there is to it, wishful thinking notwithstanding.

Those are some sweeping claims...

In reality, "states" have only had effective dominion over the entire habitable surface of the earth since around 1940.

Even as recently as Roman times, "states" only controlled a small minority of the planet's surface, and most people existed outside their control, jurisdiction, and authority (in a de facto sense).


the term 'state' appears one time, referring to the administrative legal apparatus, and military power, of early states, like egypt or Mesopotamia. but less urban civilizations or societies still had govt.

for the rest of my comment, i used the term involuntary government. your "quotes" around the word state don't really carry the punch you want, as i didn't depend on that term for my point.

plus, you're equivocating the meaning of state from the typical an-cap usage--any involuntary government--to a super-restricted description of the modern state form. equivocation is bad, kyle. its even worse when you do it with words that weren't even used!

That's why anarchism never lasts.

Anarchism allows everything, even governments, by definition.

Without a ruling body, how can anyone prevent governments?

Since certain people like to form governments, one always pops up.

Then anarchism ends.

Even if there were a ruling body that outlawed governments, wouldn't that body technically be the government?

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.


Also author of Stick it to the Man!



If a ruling body outlawed voluntary governments, that ruling body would be a tyrannical government.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

exactly right.

as long as you believe that contracts are valid and enforceable without violations of rights (a controversial position, since contract enforcement arguably violates the NAP), then yes, everything up to and including slavery can be contracted to voluntarily. to prevent voluntary contracts, even including slavery, would require a government violating voluntary contracts.

the problem in this whole recent spate of posts is equivocal definitions of government in the context of anarchism.

the starting point for all sound discourse is shared definitions.

if we have a shared definition of anarchism, which, by its own definition, means opposition to all government, then all this hemming, hawing and confusion and fuzzy thinking could be avoided without delay.

I agree with your point

about definitions, but good luck with that. So far as I have been able to determine, the Objectivists are the only ones who have systematically attempted to construct an authoritative lexicon, and their definitions vary so significantly from the vernacular that one is unlikely to understand them in any meaningful way without studying their lexicon first.

reedr3v's picture

I didn't read through the entire thread,

but as far as I did read no one mentioned the term Panarchy (please Google it), which I think includes all peaceable governance/a-governance choices even within a shared geographical area.

Irreconcilable differences: "governing" and "consent"

"There are two basic ways in which people can interact: by mutual agreement, or by one person using threats or violence to force his will upon another. The first can be labeled "consent" -- both sides willingly and voluntarily agreeing to what is to be done. The second can be labeled "governing" -- one person controlling another. Since these two -- consent and governing -- are opposites, the concept of "consent of the governed" is a contradiction. If there is mutual consent, it is not "government"; if there is governing, there is no consent. Some will claim that a majority, or the people as a whole, have given their consent to be ruled, even if many individuals have not. But such an argument turns the concept of consent on its head. No one, individually or as a group, can give consent for something to be done to someone else. That is simply not what "consent" means. It defies logic to say, "I give my consent for you to be robbed." Yet that is the basis of the cult of "democracy": the notion that a majority can give consent on behalf of a minority. That is not "consent of the governed"; it is forcible control of the governed, with the "consent" of a third party.

Even if someone were silly enough to actually tell someone else, "I agree to let you forcibly control me," the moment the controller must force the "controllee" to do something, there is obviously no longer "consent." Prior to that moment, there is no "governing" -- only voluntary cooperation. Expressing the concept more precisely exposes its inherent schizophrenia: "I agree to let you force things upon me, whether I agree to them or not."
- Larken Rose, in TMDS pp. 15-16 (Note, you can read more of that chapter, "The Myth of Consent," here.

The bottom line: No, there can be no moral right to govern, in a moral code which values individual freedom.

Yes, a property owner can decide what use others may make of his property and how they must conduct themselves while on his property. Those others may consent to his rules, or avoid his property. That is not governing; that's voluntary association.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

A Drug Addict..

A drug addict might ask their friend, "Even if I ask you for it, don't let me have it." Or, "If I have it take it from me."

Is their friend keeping that promise an act of "governing"?

If so, is that not an example of moral government?

Is the love of money the root of all that is evil? Is materialism: the priority of personal material comfort over the living comfort of others; immoral?

Jack Wagner

Government: the morality of slaves.

1. Agreeing to take away a drug addict's drugs at the addict's request is an example of a moral system which does NOT value individual freedom. The drug addict is trying to voluntarily abrogate moral responsibility for his own life, and give it to someone he thinks is a friend. Not all moral codes value freedom. Quoth George Bernard Shaw, "Liberty means responsibility; that is why most men dread it."

2. Government IS moral, for those who believe in the peculiar view of right and wrong which accords special, privileged moral status to those one regards as "authorities." Murder becomes moral, when "authorities" name it "war," and theft becomes moral, when "authorities" name it "taxation." And taking an addict's drugs away becomes moral, when both of them view one as "authority" over the other. What's missing from this moral viewpoint is regard for independence and self-responsibility.

3. Moral codes differ in their views of money, materialism and comfort. I don't scorn any of them, myself. If you do, that's okay with me, as long as you leave me free to pursue my own values which do not impose on others. P.S. If you truly believe money is evil, feel free to give me yours. :)

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

If it is an agreement between you and your friend

then it isn't government. Government is where their friend not only keeps the drug addict from having it, but also everyone else...

If you...

...have any group or individual governing a piece of land or a website even, setting the rules, determining what others can and cannot do on the land, that is a mini-government. It's up to these stewards to decide what kind of governance they will employ when it comes to visitors, renters, etc. If such governance violates the higher natural law, such as the Golden Rule, they will suffer the consequences from both within and without over time.

Once these people start banding together to coerce their neighbors in any form, other than in self-defense against aggression, the governance crosses the line into a State. At least that's my current thought on that. :) Subject to be tweaked...lol.

Unless your

higher law decides what is, and what is not, property, then anyone's claim of a right to use force against anyone else to protect their property is dependent on an arbitrary definition.

So where do you get a definition of property from? Group consensus? Higher law?

Great points...

..., Bill. Still have tons of thinking to do in this area, of course, as far as connecting the higher ideals to the every-day practicalities, but...

If the highest natural law is to Love your neighbor as your self, then however you go about claiming property under your stewardship and establishing agreement with your neighbors on boundaries, right of way, etc., it must be done in a way that fulfills that highest law.

For example, any person who is the first to use an area of land and dwell there would want to have that respected by others; therefore they should also respect such first-use by their neighbors. (Also, subsequent transactions to buy the land.)

I would appreciate it if my neighbor wanted to meet with me voluntarily to confirm what made sense as far as boundaries and to make adjustments if needed. Therefore I should have an attitude of wanting to do that, myself.

I would want my neighbors to be clear with me about such agreements and help create documents as reference to that agreement, witnessed by others, to help sort things out if any confusion or disputes ever arose. Therefore, I should also want to offer such methods of agreement to my neighbor, for his benefit and mine. (Of course, we'd be free to forego the written documents altogether and just have a gentleman's agreement, if we so chose.)

If I moved into an area, next to some neighbors, I would want them to revisit the pre-existing agreements with me, just to confirm all's clear and to double-check whether any adjustments should be made. Therefore, I should be willing to revisit agreements with new neighbors as well.

If I was in an area and new neighbors moved in, I wouldn't want them to just totally disregard the pre-existing agreements, but to respectfully discuss and consider any concerns or possible adjustments. Therefore, I should show respect for pre-existing agreements when I move to an area as well.

To the extent that neighbors do not consider others as they would themselves, and instead focus on 'mine, mine, mine' and grabbing all they can while sticking it to the others, then these violations of the natural law will breed resentment, hostility, strife, chaos in the society, bringing consequences over time.

Love is the key for a stable society. Approaching everything with a gun to the ribs attitude -- seems like that can only go so far.

Again -- still subject to tweaking on how I'm envisioning things here....


"If such governance violates the higher natural law, such as the Golden Rule, they will suffer the consequences from both within and without over time."

That's it right there.

Jack Wagner

Does Anarcho-Capitalism divide the Daily Paul?

Is that the whole point of these stupid threads? I don't want to join your group of anarchists (what a joke).

"To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world."

Come on man

I'm all about uniting on common causes of liberty, but discussion over philosophical differences is important.

The only thing we have to be careful of is getting focused on minute and insignificant details, but honestly that is a free person's choice.

Tu ne cede malis.

Candidates for Liberty Webpage:

2016 Liberty Candidate Thread:

Does philosophical discussion divide the Daily Paul?

No , I believe it unites us.

If we can't work out our differences through reasonable debate in these and other forums, how will we ever convince others about the ideas of liberty?

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

It's to avoid confusion over the word anarchy

that I have focused on principles like NAP and voluntary-ness to demonstrate how social systems that do not involve violations of voluntariarity are not viable for functional criminal justice or national defense. You may still prefer such a system, but it will quickly be overrun by competing systems that are not voluntary, because it cannot defend itself. Whatever the right and wrong of it, not usually my interest, a cruel selective process will decide the matter. The final answer to me is that 'if everyone really believed in NAP, then NAP/voluntary systems would survive the selective process.' While possibly true (and possibly not), I don't expect this to happen, so I have minor interest in it.

My interest is in protecting my own rights and property, and the only realistic way I see is banding with others of like mind and holding off late - empire conditions, for a while anyway. And that about sums it up.

If yall idealists want to preach a new gospel after the collapse, by all means do so. I think you are banking on a much too early collapse, under estimating the staying power of the American empire at this stage. But by all means, preach what you believe. It is a relief and a charming novelty to find people who believe in something, as long as its not political correctness.

Carry on.


You need to focus on active writing. You have some good things to say, but your writing style begs the user to either skip or misinterpret your posts.

Tu ne cede malis.

Candidates for Liberty Webpage:

2016 Liberty Candidate Thread:

I thought

I was focused on active writing.

I would say of course they are allowed to form governments.

That's why I prefer the term "voluntaryist." What's important to me is that interactions and relationships between people are voluntary. If people want to form a communist town, for example, I am cool with that, if everyone participating agrees to it.

"It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go - maybe even longer. If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play Go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs." - Piet Hut

Precisely Ed`

I don't care if someone wants to live in complete anarchy, 'anarcho-capiitalism, a 'welfare state" or what have you, so long as they do not force others to participate in said system.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

precisely why the word

precisely why the word anarchy is useless. Its voluntarism, and it is a philosophy not a social construct or inevitabilty.

great point

I don't love "isms", but of all the "isms", voluntarism is one that seems to most fit a consistent philosophy of liberty. The system (or non-system, for market anarchists) isn't nearly as important as the underlying principle behind it.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I dont understand the mad

I dont understand the mad rush for a "consistent" philosophy. Why not adopt a philosophy that is first and foremost consistent with history and economics, aka reality?

Ventura 2012


Wait, you are against a consistent philosophy but want a philosophy "consistent with history and economics".

So do you seek consistency or not?

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Internal vs external

Internal vs external consistency. Theoretical vs empirical consistency.
Its about what the starting point is for your political philosophy. If your philosophy is that no coercion can ever be allowed so that you can sleep at night with your "internal consistency"(I call it black/white thinking) and it turns out that coercion is necessary empirically, then what goood is your internal consistency? You dont have a political philosophy anymore, you have a religion.

Ventura 2012

This presumes

That the philosophically consistent path is diametrically opposed to the practical, or "empirical" path; it is my belief they are one and the same. To act immorally towards others is to invite others to act immorally towards oneself.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*