Top 10 Common Objections to Anarchy, Answered! (Introduction)
(Author’s note: I started working on this essay a couple of months ago, but it’s starting to get a bit unruly and I haven’t been able to work on it as often as I’d like due to some unforeseen personal issues. For that reason, I’ve decided to split it up into pieces, much like my Reject Your Political Party series. As today is Independence Day in the USA, I figured now is a good time to post my introduction. I’ll probably post my answers to one objection at a time. Enjoy! Thanks for reading.)
As world governments become increasingly totalitarian and as western economies deteriorate, libertarianism and anarchism have become increasingly popular, especially among the younger generation that recognizes the raw deal they’ve inherited. Distrust of authority, specifically corporate and governmental authority, has risen to an all-time high. (I’m speaking mostly of the US, since I am an American and I know the US the best.) The approval rating of Congress is at an all-time low, President Obama’s popularity around the world has dropped sharply in other parts of the world and has waned significantly among American voters. People are sick of the war, inflation, debt, new taxes, and lies coming out of D.C. on a daily basis. What is to be done?
That’s a hard question to answer. I have always been distrustful of government, even from a young age. I think my distrust has been well-founded… In today’s world, the US government literally rains down hellfire (missiles) and death on innocent people around the world, including small children. It steals money from US citizens (through taxes, debt, and inflation) in order to do so, and the tax victims basically have no say about it. The rights of US citizens are also being eroded, as we’ve seen a rise in no-knock police raids, sexual assault at the airports, warrantless wiretapping, and the creation of terrorist watch lists that include basically anyone who objects to the evil practices of Uncle Sam, including yours truly.
My own limited government beliefs morphed from strict constitutionalism to libertarianism to anarchy. Anarchy is a scary word for a lot of people, as it brings to mind images of riots, disorder, and young, hoodie-clad revolutionaries throwing molotov cocktails. In my last political post, I mentioned that when I use the word “anarchy” I am using it in its literal translation taken directly from the Greek: “an” (not, without) “arkhos” (rulers); Without rulers. (Not “without leaders.” They are different things.) Some people call this voluntarism or voluntaryism, some call it the application of the non-aggression principle. Frankly, I don’t care what you call it as long as the point gets across: that no human being has the moral or ethical right to rule another.
Many people take issue with this stance for one reason or another. Some think it makes sense in theory but won’t work in practice; they say we’ll just be ruled by gangs or the mafia in the absence of a state. Others think we absolutely must have a state to provide certain public goods that the market cannot or will not provide. In this post, I will try to answer the most common objections I hear, including the ones I just mentioned. I must warn you, a lot of my answers to these questions will be something along the lines of: “I don’t know, let’s have some choice in the marketplace; the government’s one-size-fits-all solution is not working.” This answer will not be satisfactory to many readers, but to them I say to think about this: Why do you insist that anarchists know all the perfect answers to solve society’s problems but do not hold your political leaders to the same standard? It is an impossible standard for any person, anarchist or statist. Human intellect, as amazing as it is, is limited and no one single person knows how to solve complex social issues. Isn’t it better to have a variety of solutions to choose from? That’s really the whole point of voluntarism/anarchism: That we all should recognize our mental limitations and penchant for error and not impose our way of living on others through force.
Since I’m big on defining your terms before discussing political matters, I’ll define a couple. I already defined anarchy: no rulers. “Anarchy” is not disorder or a breakdown of society, rather it is a moral stance on how society should be ordered. A “market” is any collection of goods being traded. It could be a market of goods, services, or ideas. It could be based on barter or monetary transactions. It could be worldwide or very limited in scope. A “free market” is a market in which all participants are totally free to choose the terms of and participants in their trades. A “free market” is simply a collection of voluntary transactions.
Here’s the list I’ll be tackling one by one. Please note that my rebuttals are simply starting points to try to get my readers to think outside the box a little. Better minds than mine have answered all these questions, and many more. Leave me a comment if you think there’s an important objection that I’m missing.
First up: Anarchists are utopians.
Objections to Anarchy Rebutted
- Anarchists are utopians. Anarchy, as a system of order, will never work. We’ll kill and eat each other, children will be slaves, etc. because human nature is selfish and violent.
- Corporations will take over. Without a state, a power vacuum will be created in which the corporations/drug cartels/mafia will just take control!
- How will (roads, police, schools) be provided?
- How do you provide for national defense against a foreign invasion?
- Examples of anarchist societies in history have all been small and have all been failures.
- What about the social safety net? (Welfare, Social Security, unemployment)
- How do you get people to participate in civic issues in an anarchist society?
- How do you handle private crime/small scale violence in an stateless society?
- What about the environment? How do you hold corporations accountable with no state?
- How is there accountability when traveling to different geographical regions with different cultural histories?
A Disclaimer About My Politics
Thanks for reading this post, I hope I challenged you in some way. Agree with me? That’s cool. Disagree? Even better. I’m just a random guy on the internet, voicing his opinion (at the time of writing this blog post; opinions change as more facts and experience are gathered). But imagine if I had the political power and will to force you to agree with me! That would be terrible, and that’s the point of voluntarism and non-aggression. You should not be forced to agree with me. Please extend me the same courtesy.
“The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’ meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’ meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.” -Larry Hardiman
Political Blog Posts
- The Democrats Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- The Republicans Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- The Libertarians Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- Democracy ≠ Freedom
- I Don’t “Feel the Bern.”
- Confessions of a Public Servant
- Leaders vs. Rulers
- Libertarianism is Better Than Progressivism
- Why I Do Not Vote (And Neither Should You)
- The Traffic Court Swindle
- Top Five Reasons I Don’t Argue Politics on Social Media
- Why Meaningful Debate is Impossible
- Dos and Do Nots for the Liberty Minded
- “There ought to be a law…”
- A Defense of Fugitive Slaves
- Conspiracy Theories are Dumb
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