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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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Can't the same be said

for any and all political philosophies?

A philosophy is enforceable to the extent that a person or persons subscribes to it, has the will to enforce it, and the relative strength to implement it.

No it cant.

A minarchists has the enforcement mechanism to actually achieve the abolition of slavery.

Rothbard's philosophy explicitly strips the enforcement mechanisms that banned slavery to begin with. It is incoherent. Plenty of ancaps understand this and support voluntary slavery. Not because they like slavery, but because they understand that there are no enforcement mechanisms for abolishing slavery in anarchy.

Ventura 2012

By the way...

Although I consider myself a minarchist, I will play devil's advocate.

How do you eliminate slavery in a minarchy?

You can't, so long as you support coercive taxation.

If that is not forced labor at the will of another, then it is the very next thing to it.

#1 Assault and battery is not murder, wouldn't you agree?

#2 in anarcho-capitalism, you pay your community fees that the "market"(the dollar majority) has ordained you must pay or be deported and your lands seized.

Sometimes anarchists forget their actual policy proposals.

Ventura 2012


The reality of the situation is that the only thing that keeps any business or government "honest," is competition among similar enterprises.

Contra conventional wisdom (in the wider population), it would appear that persistent monopolies are almost impossible to achieve in the free market, and that they are almost always a result of forceful government intervention in the voluntary marketplace.

Unfortunately, the same logic does not apply to governments. Governments hold the monopoly on violence within a particular geographic region. Contra the private market, success is not achieved by delivering the best product in the voluntary market, but at being the best at wielding force (coercion).

So, there does not appear to be any natural limit to the size and intrusiveness of government. Instead, it is a race to see who can wield the most force over the widest geographic region.

Even a natural monopoly like

Even a natural monopoly like courts is not released from market pressures. Consumer demand is the driving force behind any institution, including government.

See Mises:

[Classical] liberalism realizes that the rulers, who are always a minority, cannot lastingly remain in office if not supported by the consent of the majority of those ruled. Whatever the system of government may be, the foundation upon which it is built and rests is always the opinion of those ruled that to obey and to be loyal to this government better serves their own interests than insurrection and the establishment of another regime. The majority has the power to do away with an unpopular government and uses this power whenever it becomes convinced that its own welfare requires it.

And Rothbard:

The [Monopolistic]producer can earn money only by serving the consumers. Why has he been able to extract a “monopoly price” through restricting his pro­duction? Only because the demand for his services (either di­rectly by consumers or indirectly from them through lower-order producers) is inelastic, so that a decreased production of the good and a higher price will lead to increased expenditure on his prod­uct and therefore increased income for him. Yet this inelastic demand schedule is purely the result of the voluntary demands of the consumers. If the consumers were really angry at this “mo­nopolistic action,” they could easily make their demand curves elastic by boycotting the producer and/or by increasing their de­mands at the “competitive” production level. The fact that they do not do so signifies their satisfaction with the existing state of affairs and demonstrates that they, as well as the producer, benefit from the resulting voluntary exchanges.

Ventura 2012

An astute observation.

I will consider it.

Not really...

Slavery existed for thousands of years. The early republic was a reasonable approximation to minarchy, and they codified slavery in their Constitution.

Like anything else, slavery can only be eliminated when there is sufficient agreement that it should be eliminated, the will to eliminate it, and the power to eliminate it.

Slavery was eliminated virtually worldwide in the space of less than a century (mostly peacefully) because of changing perceptions and attitudes; not because of the particular form of government prevailing in any of those societies.

First of all, your version of

First of all, your version of history is totally false and making my point for me.

Attitudes changed, people sued for laws abolishing slavery.
That's actually what happened. The Minarchist method in action.

Do you think every person on earth no longer wanted to own slaves?
Of course not. Slavery was only abolished across the board by law. Slavers were put out of business by LAW. And we still have it today in parts of the world that the law hardly reaches, customary(anarchy) law societies.

Secondly, what you're doing is making a non-argument. I am talking about process of enforcement. Because you are backed into a corner, you have been reduced to the irrelevancy of talking about the will to enforce anything to begin with. That is not what we are talking about.

Imagine if you made the point that people use machine guns to kill people and I responded by saying that its not the machine gun but hate in the human heart at the root of it.

Two completely different points.

Ventura 2012

Yes yes and yes

Those who say no are wrong. But it's because they only understand from our current outlook and understanding of government.

Even If you lived in a generally peaceful anarchist society, and a bunch of the citizens decided to hire a sherrif to protect them from those few aggressors, that sherrif is a very simple government. The difference with current government is that they are only transferring a right they already have: protecting life, liberty and property. In an anarchist society, there should be no force to participate in hiring the sherrif, and no obligation of the sherrif to protect those who haven't contractually agreed to be given protection. But again, the sherrif in this scenario is acting an extension of natural rights. But he is the simplist form of proper voluntary government.

If you don't like that example, here's another. Let's say a group of people own a large plot of land and form a community in an anarchist society. They create a charter of laws and regulations that anyone who moves into must abide by. So in order to move in and become a tenant of a property, you must agree to the contractual laws of the community. You do so voluntarily. If you do not agree, you can leave or be expelled according to the contract that you signed. This is what is likely to happen in most anarchist scenarios and is pretty close to what many of the founding fathers wanted. To keep government mostly on a local level and higher government with little to no authority.

If you don't like that scenario, then this is my last one. Mike owns dailypaul.com. It is his property and his rules. If you don't play by them you will get kicked out of the dailypaul community. Here, he is the government and the law and he has his officers/moderators. There is nothing wrong with this because you have no right to access. Access can be given and taken away because it is his property. The key is that participation or non participation in this community is voluntary.

Voting yes on defining terms

As to anarchy:


"Another of Proudhon's startling paradoxes, seemingly so at least, and I think we shall see really so, is the use of the term anarchy, to denote not chaos and confusion, but the basis of order in the freedom of the individual from the control of others. Etymologically, this use of the term has a show of reason as it merely means absence of government, and a writer has the right, if he choose so to revert to etymological origins; and frequently there is a great advantage in so doing. There is a loss it is true in the temporary obfuscation of the mind of the reader, but, it may be, a more than compensating advantage in arousing deeper thought, or in furnishing a securer technicality. But in this ease the disadvantage is certainly incurred; and neither advantage is secured. There are two very different things covered by the term government: personal government by arbitrium, and the government of inherent laws and principles. Proudhon is denying the rightfulness of the former, and affirming the latter. Now the Greek arche meant both of these things; but if either more peculiarly than the other, it meant the government of laws and principles, whence the negation of such rule by the prefix an has meant, and rightly means, chaos. Proudhon undertakes to make the Greek word mean exclusively the other idea, whereby he spoils one excellent technicality without getting for his other purpose a secure and good one in place of it."

There is evidence suggesting that the use of the word causes problems, and since that suggestion was made the actual problems suggested continue.

Liberty is a useful word in this context as the word Liberty appears not to be so easily mistook, misleading, or misunderstood.



it might depend on which definition you use for anarchy and ruler. It also depends on the type of government.

if anarchy means "no rulers" and a ruler is someone who claims authority without consent. then, yes, you can have certain types of governments and anarchy at the same time.

if you're using a new definition of anarchy that contains "no government" in it, then.. obviously, no. ;)

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.


I'm specifically referring to "anarcho-capitalism", but as for anarchy, I'll turn to Merriam-Webster and Oxford again:


an·ar·chy noun \ˈa-nər-kē, -ˌnär-\
: a situation of confusion and wild behavior in which the people in a country, group, organization, etc., are not controlled by rules or laws

Full Definition of ANARCHY

a : absence of government
b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
a : absence or denial of any authority or established order
b : absence of order : disorder

and Oxford:


1A state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority:

A ruler claiming authority without consent is anarchy in a sense, as that ruler has violated natural law.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

There's no difference between

There's no difference between either of your definitions of anarchy. No rulers = no government = self-ownership = anarchy. So no, you can't have someone claiming authority without consent and call it anarchy.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.



I specified with consent.

A government formed by consent does not have "rulers."

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Yes, but only if 100% of the people

who lived 'under' that government were living 'under' it voluntarily. For that reason, governments would be fundamentally different than they are today.

Perhaps we would not call them a government, but rather a 'collective defense agreement/entity' or a 'collective justice agreement/entity'.

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry


I don't see why people would need to change the definition of government for this to work. But yes, I am talking about 100% consent (to the government itself).

I should state - I don't think any specific person agency needs "consent" in order to enforce natural law, but they do need to consent to forming a specific organization to do so.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I'm not saying the definition would change

I'm simply saying that they would be fundamentally different (due to the absence of a right to forcibly tax their citizens and to forcibly include non-consenting persons in their citizenry) and so would instead be thought of as voluntary agencies that would perform the agreed-upon functions.

Of course, I don't think it is likely that people would decide to create one, centralised agency that would dispense justice, defense, etc, all in one. It may, and indeed could, happen. But it is likely that any body of people who had moved into Anarcho-capitalism in the first place, would be wanting to separate those functions into agencies that would specialise in them. There also may be a concern that there is competition in each field.

All of this amounts to a re-thinking of what governance is, and how it would take place.

One thing, too, is that the definition above states:
"the group of people..."
"a particular system..."
"the process or manner..."
"the governing body..."

If this is the definition of government, then in some (or many) cases under Ancap'ism, the definition may indeed change. As there would not necessarily be only one agency dispensing justice within a given geographical area.

But my answer remains the same, as people within a given geographical area could indeed all voluntarily form or join one organisation that performs these roles, and thus, it would be defined as a government.

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry

wolfe's picture


Because all anarchism requires voluntary consent. All governments depend on forced use.

I cannot choose to not be a part of a government, therefore a government has authority through force and not acceptance. i.e. They will kill me if we disagree enough.

Any construction of governing bodies within an anarchism look more like Consumer Reports than the FDA. They succeed through your acceptance, and not by holding a gun to your head.

On a side note. Do you stop at a red light because that is the law, or because you know you are likely to get hit if you do not? Cops/laws do nothing beneficial. And do you think the guy that ran the red light in the middle of the night with no traffic because the light didn't seem to be working should be fined $200 (most likely an entire day's wage stolen from him)?

Governments are silly. Anarchism REQUIRES consent of the governed (sound familiar)? Not a majority, not the important folks, not the wealthy... the governed.

Some would take issue with this next statement, but I believe the closest thing we have had to anarchy in modern times was the US prior to the civil war. During this time, tax collectors were run off at the point of a gun (family story I told a long time ago), laws from the federal government were a joke at best, and small communities could decide for themselves. This isn't to say that it was perfect, but it did usher in the greatest rise to prosperity and freedom that anyone has seen in more centuries than could be counted.

And don't let the "western" mentality sway you. Fiction is fiction and the dime store novel versions of American history that we see in movies (and paperbacks, both old and new) do NOT represent what life was really like.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -


You start off with a fallacy:

"Because all anarchism requires voluntary consent. All governments depend on forced use."

Why do all governments depend on forced use? If people want to form a system of law and order within their own property boundaries, how is that not consent?

"I cannot choose to not be a part of a government, therefore a government has authority through force and not acceptance. i.e. They will kill me if we disagree enough."

But I said "do people have a right to form a government?" Obviously if people formed it stands to reason they did consent to it.

I'd go through the rest point by point, but it seems like you are coming up with another definition of government that "REQUIRES" that it be created through force, despite the fact there is nothing in the definition of government dictating that this must be the case, and that explicitly asked if people have the right to form one, not the right to be forced into one.

When you say "small communities could decide for themselves", what differentiates those small communities deciding things from the definition of government as provided above?

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

wolfe's picture

"You start off with a fallacy:"

No, I don't. And you should be careful to apply that word only when it is accurate.

Just because 3 people get together and agree to steal from the forth does not mean there was consent. The 4th most certainly did NOT consent.

In order for a ruling body to be valid under anarchism it would require an opt-out clause, which is literally the death of a government. (Basically, the right of the 4th to say, "Naw, I don't think so... Thanks anyway.")

If you could choose not to pay taxes, would you? If you could choose not to follow anti-MMJ laws, would you? Of course. They are enforced against those who do NOT consent with a gun.

Anything else you have to say would be just more dancing around what a government is, and what it requires to be functional.

Consumer Reports, AAA = Anarchism (choice).
FDA, DMV = Government (gun).

Side note, if you had to provide a 1-5 opinion about those four organizations... I am going to take a wild guess that Consumer Reports and AAA would win. Two services which I use, voluntarily (as many do). If I could choose not to use the FDA and DMV, it would literally feel like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Why dont you actually read

Why dont you actually read some an cap materials before you come here and say things like this? There is no opt out in ancap, there is deportation and forced sale.


Ventura 2012

wolfe's picture

I'm done arguing with you...

I personally don't find it interesting at all.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Have fun knocking down

Have fun knocking down strawmen over and over *gag*

Ventura 2012

wolfe's picture


I don't find it interesting because instead of trying to understand and discuss, your conversation has degraded into pure ad homs devoid of reason or substance.

Coupled with the fact that you almost seem to go out of your way to be rude and demand some sort of deference for your "clearly superior everything".

I will tell you the same thing I once told an employee, if you want comfort and an ego boost or some kind of affirmation, get a girlfriend because it ain't my job.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Yes, the lack of substance...

Yes I was just to this recently from the same commenter. You do all the work, all the heavy lifting, producing arguments; and he chooses one-liners devoid of substance. I notice it too.

Im sorry you were offended

It is just frustrating to see people pretend like anarcho-capitalism is something that it is not, just to win a point.

Ventura 2012

wolfe's picture

You should love ancaps.

Of which, I am not one. I am an anarchist. And yes, there is a difference.

An anarchist understands that he is not the one to decide or plan anything. An ancap thinks he can plan society in a way that "works". Which is what you minarchists are always asking for.

I don't give a rats ass what society would like, only that it should be. Everyone armed to the teeth with an occasional gunfight or perfect harmony is irrelevant to me.

It is only relevant to minarchists and the various groups of anarchists that have decided it is worthwhile to try and alleviate your fears.

Minarchists are constantly trying to solve problems that they themselves have created. I do not have answers, nor questions.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -



Ventura 2012


" All governments require forced use".

This certainly is a fallacy based on the definition of government. It may not be a fallacy based on *your* definition, but that I cannot help.

I don't disagree with any of your points about coercive organizations and their efficacy versus voluntary organizations. But the subject at hand is a voluntary government.

So I return to the original question:

Are people allowed to form a government (voluntarily) under anarcho-capitalism?

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*