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The "There has never been a successful anarchist society" argument is a non sequitur

As a proponent of anarcho-capitalism, I've noticed some try to make the argument - "Anarchism can't work because there is no successful historical example." While this may or may not be the case, it is irrelevant. Before the Wright Brothers, people said the exact same thing about human flight.

"Humans can't fly. It's been tried before. Every one of them failed."

That argument, while prevalent, is likely the most bunk of them all.

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belief vs actual logic and information

I just love it when believers all argue about what they believe, and then point to "the book" to justify their belief.

Nature can not be fooled. And she always has the last word. First of all the statement that anarchy never existed kind of depends on what is meant by anarchy. If you mean a tribe or clan or something similar of many people and those clans organized into groups and there was no hierarchial structure who lived at the expense of the regular folk. Well then you are either incredibly ignorant or stupid. Many such exist now. The native americans, at least north of Mexico were nothing but various anarchist bands.

This is, in fact, the default means of tribal organization. A ruling elite can not exist until you have large scale agriculture. One of you pontificationg wizards can waste a lot of hours attempting to find an exception.

So, tribes without a ruling elite whose only "job" is to govern have existed since humans existed. Such groups still exist. They do not exist once you have large scale agriculture and ownership of land and the need to have large scale organization of water delivery grain storage etc, because if such a thing were possible, then it would have happened. Again, nature can not be fooled.

I didn't point towards any book...

Such groups still exist. They do not exist once you have large scale agriculture and ownership of land and the need to have large scale organization of water delivery grain storage etc, because if such a thing were possible, then it would have happened.

From your logic, since large scale agriculture exists, tribal communities etc cannot exist. However, the first sentence you typed here (from this excerpt) contradicts your conclusion.

And again, saying something cannot occur on the basis that it hasn't occurred yet is, like I said, clearly a non-sequitur.

A Rose By Any Other Name...

ATHEIST ALERT!!! Please don't read this comment if you are intolerant of any perspective from a Believer.

Anarchy can never exist as long as 1 person uses force against another person UNLAWFULLY. Anarchy can not exist while sin exist.

Fact: Humanity will always be Good and Evil
Fact: Evil will always be a force against Good

Before the flood (yeah I said FLOOD, you know the one that every ancient mythology in the world talks about) there was Anarchy and you know what happened? The "Gibborim" where bullies over the weak. You don't need a central government, or any "government" at all to have tyranny, all you need is assholes willing to hurt others to benefit themselves.

Anarchy means NO GOVERNMENT. Libertarian can mean "A Government limited to Lawful Force". As libertarians we are opposed to government's USE OF UNLAWFUL FORCE, in short we are opposed to ANYONE using force whatever you want to call that group or individual. The best "Anarchy" can produce is competing governments which has good and bad results. The best Libertarian Government can produce is a vigilant society committed to virtue.

There will be no heaven on earth until Christ reigns.

Anarchism as the model of just society is a non-sequiter

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
Thomas Jefferson

As a believer myself, I

As a believer myself, I differ from you in that I am an anarchist.

You are right to state that there will always be good and evil in the world, which I agree with, however I disagree that a somehow virtuous libertarian government is going to work out.

Didn't the U.S. start out as a virtuous libertarian government, and are we still one?

People are bad therefore we need a government of people. Do you understand the silliness of this circular reasoning?

I think you like the idea of liberty on one level, and it scares the crap out of you on another level. Give me liberty, but not too much.

If competing factions is a bad thing, then you must support the stability a one world government would bring? My bible warns about that one.

If a one world government is what satan rules over, why would you not want to get as far away from centralized control as possible?


Didn't the U.S. start out as a virtuous libertarian government,
-NO! how this got started, I don't understand. The people that founded this government believed that a BIG STRONG GOVERNMENT would protect them from the other governments that occupied this planet. So they set out to design the biggest of the big, and baddest of the bad government they could imagine. Both on the federal level and on the state level. Read your state's constitution some time. It is totalitarian and only leaves a few rights to the individual.

and are we still one?
-No...see above

The people revolted because

The people revolted because they thought they were going to get some liberty, and compared to King George, they did get a small limited government w/lower taxes.

That small limited government gradually expanded into its own tyranny, and I like the term "mission creep", although it's not the right use of the term exactly.

they established totalitarian government. Black and white.

Read your state constitutions. Go back as far as you wish. TOTAL power to the legislature with minor "rights" reserved to the individual.

And the current federal government was established to replace a truly limited government formed by the Articles of Confederation. The current federal government by way of article 4 has the power to decide any controversy it is involved with.

How do you or anyone substantiate the claim of limited government?
-Not with narrative, but with law. The operative portions of the constitutions say it all.

I would say that tyranny is

I would say that tyranny is not determined by what is written on a piece of paper, but how it is applied in the real world.

Write all the rules you want but they only become tyranny when you create a large enough apparatus of enforcement, and apply violence.

You could say that jaywalking laws are tyrannical, but if police never hand out tickets, is there really jaywalking tyranny?

Discretion/power vs exercise of that power

The people founded governments with the power/the discretion to micromanage the private daily affairs of the individual.
They could have just as easily founded limited governments. They chose not to.

Those governments have been exercising that power ever since. Shay's rebellion, The whisky rebellion, the civil war, the income tax, tariffs, licenses, regulations, institutionalized fractional reserve banking, inflation, and on and on...

This is not limited government. It never has been. It was designed from the beginning to have TOTAL power, not LIMITED power.

Whether or not our rulers are benevolent when deciding how to exercise that power is a non sequitur.

As a voluntarist, I don't

As a voluntarist, I don't believe in any such thing as limited government existing, because the people with the death squads will always just do what they want one way or another.

I also don't believe a voluntary society can exist given human nature. Some evil people will always step in and fill the power vacuum.

Since I have come to the logical conclusion that voluntary societies and limited government cannot exist given human nature, and I intuitively don't believe our existence is pathetic and pointless, I put my faith in a creator with a larger plan that I have not been fully briefed on. Otherwise what's the point of existence, randomness? The mathematical probabilities are unlikely.

Thanks for the talk

Good luck to you friend :)

It's interesting...

...that a parallel argument was made for thousands of years by philosophers and theologians justifying slavery -- that while it was not the ideal from prelapsarian times, it was basically a necessary evil in a fallen world, with the polis or society dependent on it, just as it was dependent on coercive government. Thus, you have folks like St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle justifying both things in similar ways. In fact some even saw slavery as a moral advancement over killing those captured in battle -- keep them alive in exchange for labor.

If this kind of argument has collapsed for slavery over time, with revolutions in moral understanding and societal structures, where such postlapsarian justifications seem obnoxious, why should we accept that slavery to a coercive State that claims a moral authority to steal, kidnap and kill not granted to anyone else should be excused and justified on such grounds? Just as the rope of chattel slavery has been cut, why not other forms of slavery.

Hence, my posting of the balloon clip below -- are we not perhaps being too much like Adams is portrayed here, and not enough like Jefferson?


As both a pilot and an anarchist this really speaks to me. I find it interesting too because there are some parallels between the two, with those who desire their liberating qualities and those who fear it.

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

Reminded me of...

...this scene from the 'John Adams' series.

One day perhaps the 'umbilical cord' tying humanity to the State will be finally severed...



Israel was an Anarchist society until they decided against Gods warning to not institute a king. He warned them that a king would take their sons and use them to fight wars. Would take their daughters to serve him and take there treasures and propriety. And by choosing a king, they would reject God himself.

Etienne de la Boetie also...

pondered why the Israelites were so foolish.

That's right,

I forgot about that!

Hey look ...

... you just can't have a cotton plantation without slaves. It would never work. My God, man, who would make the shirts?!

ChristianAnarchist's picture

I do believe that some

I do believe that some examples of anarchist societies exist but of course they were quite small, more like communities of today. If you really look at what is NOT anarchy, my argument is that we are currently and mankind has always lived in anarchy. "Government" is a fiction. It exists only on paper (and in the minds of those who believe in it). As such there is no "authority" for groups of men to dress up in black costumes and break down doors to kidnap and kill people for ingesting substances (for instance). Since there is no "authority" we currently live in ANARCHY. What do we see? We see certain men of criminal minds who try to gain followers who then take orders from them to steal money from the masses and kill those who resist them. Looks like anarchy to me...

Beware the cult of "government"...


It is the criminal minds which cause and direct the disorder and destruction. It is the productive capacity of the anarchistic principle which creates *all* wealth in society.

Thus, the comment on another thread...Have you driven the car of anarchy? Yes, we all have. It has produced all the wealth we have seen in society.

When will people recognize the mental disorder which, among other things, has destroyed so much of that wealth?

A parallel from Aimee Allen and Ron Paul: Can you imagine how great a nation we'd have if we didn't have the Federal Reserve printing all this money?

I highly admire your train of thought.

Completely free of the box and absolutely refreshing.