1 vote

Why should you stop being an "anarcho-capitalist"?

My main objection to "anarcho-capitalism" is the phrase itself. To call oneself an "anarcho-capitalist" is misleading to an overwhelming majority of people because they have no clue what it means, nor will they ever find out because they hold on to too many preconceived and ill-conceived notions regarding it. "Anarcho-capitalism", as far as useful discussions with an average person go, is a non-starter.

The promotion of anything "anarchy" is fruitless because it comes with too much negative connotation. Why continue to fight the battle with a word ("anarchy") that most people consider to be automatically bad--it's unnecessary; there are so many other more universally appealing descriptive possibilities. I find it more useful, less divisive, and more agreeable (but no less accurate) to say that I am for peace and individual liberty or, just the same, I like to say: "I think we ought to be governed by free and voluntary agreements".

"Anarcho-capitalists", as long as they call themselves such, will never overcome their marketing problem; you're using a phrase that only helps you identify one another, meanwhile you are misidentified and mischaracterized by nearly everyone else--I recommend that "anarcho-capitalists" end the marriage to their label. Words rule.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I completely agree

Voluntaryist is a better word. Or polycentric law. Even better, just explain what you believe in without necessarily labeling it.

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Phxarcher87's picture

Great observation

How do you think neoconservatives would have faired if they would have started out by calling their group

They had to deceive people to start with and the rest is history. First and formost any name or slogan has to be attractive and so does the message. The Neocons have turned their entire message sexy even though is comes from the king of lies.

You are absolutely right this is crucial in breaking into the minds of the masses as a reasonable blue print for a new society once things shatter. Neovoluntarist i vote

James Madison

I say Volunteerist.

I say Volunteerist.

Anarchy is not accurate. "Without hierarchy" is not really possible, especially in a society based around capitalism with companies who have owners and employees. Volunteerist works because it describes a society based around voluntary action rather than coercion.

Anarchy has negative connotations, deep ones. To most people it means "the joker" or evil thugs who want to destroy everything. Everything scary that Hollywood has been frightening them about for generations. Volunteerism on the other hand sounds sun-shiny and good. And people often say: "Huh, whats that?" with a positive outlook.

I think you mean voluntaryist

I think you mean voluntaryist or voluntarist.

Thank you!

Thank you!

tasmlab's picture

Why should I change my name? He's the one that sucks


Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

I appreciate the humor, but

I appreciate the humor, but I'll have to poo poo on it a bit, as far it is analogous. The "Michael Bolton" in the clip was named BEFORE the popularity of the singer Michael Bolton. "Anarchism", on the other hand, has been synonymous with chaos, mayhem, disorder, and lawlessness in a way that precedes and exceeds the peaceful "anarchism" that the lovely people on DailyPaul purvey and promote.

Aside from and in addition to precedence, as far as I see it, it is the same with Michael Bolton as it is with "anarchism": the popular understanding rules.

Because you have a stupid name

The name is stupid.

I think the term does us more

I think the term does us more good. When people hear "libertarian" that name has been misrepresented and misused that a name no one knows gives you an opportunity to have a rational thought out definition of the term.

It is my argument that

It is my argument that "anarcho-capitalist" comes with baggage that is far worse than "libertarian".

Kind of agree, but for

Kind of agree, but for different reasons. I think when your average person - who still believes in democrats v. republicans, mind you - hears something like anarcho-capitalism or anarcho-syndicalism or whatever, their eyes glaze over. IMO, the term itself needs to be simpler and easier to remember, which is why on my website I've basically been using anarchism and libertarianism interchangeably. IMO, you can't have one without the other.

Obviously I don't have the hangup about using "anarchism" like you do, but we're on the same page regardless. Marketing is important, and our brand name is stale.

I've also been liking the term "voluntarism" lately. The name itself tells you everything about the philosophy.

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


"Anarchism" is commonly

"Anarchism" is commonly synonymous with chaos, disorder, and lawlessness. I don't see much potential in overcoming the negativity which is so popularly attached to the word. It'll be a long long battle, but I do wish "anarchists" the best in the transformative effort.

Me, I'd prefer to call the common politician an "anarchist" because they are usually the ones who obstruct justice and order.

Do you believe government should exist, YES or NO?

1) YES -- If you believe government should exist, regardless of its size, then why care what "no government" types call themselves? It would be beneficial to your cause if you feel they have poor marketing.

2) NO -- If you don't believe government should exist, saying you're "for peace and individual liberty", or "I think we ought to be governed by free and voluntary agreements" are poor choices if you sincerely care to make this distinction very clear. Both statements can equally apply in the minds of those who believe in limited and no government.

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

It is not that I believe

It is not that I believe government "should" exist, it is rather that I believe government DOES exist, no matter if we lived ideally or not.

Would the "anarcho-capitalist" not like to govern him or her self? Is government of the self not still government?

It is my contention that the anarcho-capitalist, no matter his or her claims, cannot be an intellectual proponent of "no government". In other words, I think that I could quite well demonstrate that the anarcho-capitalist would, in fact, like his or her OWN government, which is not at all "no government".

OK, so what is moral or legitimate government?

I think you may be nitpicking.

If we take the word government down to its basic meaning to control, then absolutely, what is commonly referred to as a "no government" position does actually represent self-governed, but nothing beyond that is implied. In other words, most people understand "no government" to mean you control-govern-rule-own yourself and nothing more. So let me rephrase...

Do you believe government is moral or legitimate beyond oneself?

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

Oh and I would like to add

Oh and I would like to add that I do not think I'm nitpicking. I assert that whereas you are defining "government" inconsistently, I am defining it consistently.

Virtually none consider themselves a government

You may be technically consistent but you're not being consistent on perceptions. You started a thread on the negative perceptions of the word anarchy and yet you maintain that everyone is a government unto themselves. I hope you would agree that most people do not consider themselves a government. I've heard numerous arguments (many on this site) concerning "no government vs. limited government", and they've always been in the proper context of the common perceptive meaning.

That's nitpicking. If you don't see it then we agree to disagree.

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

I think that, upon

I think that, upon questioning, most people would agree that, for the most part, one's actions are governed most by oneself. Perhaps, as you've said, a great deal of people do not understand this, but it is, after all, quite easily demonstrated.

To change the perception of "anarchy", though, is quite a bit more difficult because it requires a basic reinterpretation of the word.

no not so much reinterpretation

but more so the correct interpretation.

Well, government certainly

Well, government certainly can be moral or legitimate beyond oneself as far as I see it. It is my choice to give others governing power over me. Do you disagree?

Perhaps if I give someone power over me you would consider this to be a power exercised "within" myself rather than "beyond" myself, but I disagree: I think that if I have given someone else power (in a voluntary contract, for instance) then I have allowed that someone else some governing power over me (beyond me) according to the conditions agreed upon. Eh?

Fair enough

Do you believe it's moral or legitimate to give others governing power over anyone beyond yourself?

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

I'd like to add: are you

I'd like to add: are you familiar with the role of an "agent"? I think that agents can have legitimate and moral power. But, again, permission is king--all parties must agree.

I agree, permission is king and all parties must agree.

What permissions do you allow in terms of governing power?

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

That would be a personal and

That would be a personal and dependent decision based upon a particular set of circumstances. If you'd like to give me a set of circumstances, I might try to describe my attitude towards governing those circumstances; there is, however, no universal way to describe my ideal form of government, I don't think, other than to say it would be based in voluntary agreements.

If you ask me permission for something and I give it, then we are governed by that agreement. This is an example of voluntary government, the only kind of government that is good, as far as I see it.

Permission is king. But what

Permission is king.

But what about the children?

Well, I think the people that we call children should be able to accept responsibility beyond what they are commonly allowed if they demonstrate the capability.

But what about the infants and the incapable who have no discernible power over themselves?

Well, can't we just use some reason? Can't we just recognize value? Do we need a steadfast law in every case? Aren't there exceptions to every thing? Can't those who have power give mercy to those who don't?

well said.

interesting, we seem to take a similar view of things.
Is your background some form of marketing?

Word's make a difference.

I have been involved in some

I have been involved in some higher level politics so I've spent a great deal of time around the "conservative" and Republican "super-voter" types. I'd like to say I have a pretty fair insight into how they think and what they consider to be appealing.

On the other hand, I have dealt extensively with the modern "liberal intellectual" as well.

I think it is useful to adhere to language that appeals to as broad an audience as possible. The organization of our words provides an infinite number of possibilities.

"I'm an anarcho-capitalist"

Once people hear it enough times from enough different sources, it will no longer be a bad word.

I'll continue to use the term.

Maybe. You can try to change

Maybe. You can try to change the common understanding of words, or you can try to describe your perspective using the understanding people already have. I'd say the latter is the more steady approach, but definitions do indeed change, so there is still hope for the acceptance of "anarchy". Personally, though, I think it is a dim hope.

There are a lot of good things tied to the word...

For instance, a lot of Murray Rothbard's work qualifies. If a person were to StartPage "anarcho-capitalism," they would certainly run into some good material to read.

Words that have solid ideas behind them can be re-redefined more easily than others.