Objection II: Without a State, Corporations Will Take Over, Rebutted
(This is Part II of a ten part series. Read the Introduction, here, before you start the series.)
Objection 2: Without a state, the corporations (or drug cartels/mafia) will take control!
Another common objection that I hear to anarchy as a system of order is that in the absence of a state, the corporations will have free rein and completely take over! (This objection generally comes from the left. The right-wing version is that drug cartels or the mafia will take over, so we need a powerful state to keep them in line. Both the American left and right are very pro-state, contrary to what many on the right will tell you.)
The American Left’s Fear: Corporations will Take Over!
My first, and knee-jerk, response to this objection is that this has already happened. The man who wins the presidency is the man who takes the most corporate money. (Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012 in a large part because he took the most Wall Street money in the history of the USA. Don’t take my word for it; look it up!)
Lobbyists write laws to benefit the corporations that employ them. I should know, I’ve done it myself (at the state and municipal level). The fear of corporations taking over has already happened. It has happened precisely because there is a huge well of state power to tap into and control for the benefit of the owners of the corporations, not in spite of it. Isn’t it easier to force people to buy your product or service by using government threats than it is to provide a superior product or service in a voluntary marketplace? (I’m looking at you, insurance companies, and your role in the Obamacare legislation.)
Did you know that it is legal for members of Congress to perform insider trading, while it is illegal for the rest of us? Further, they are able to influence how their pet corporations perform based on kickbacks and on the legislation they pass. How, exactly, would a lack of a large central state make this worse?
The response is typically, “Well, we need to get money out of politics.” Okay, sure, but how do you do that? Political campaigns cost money. Political candidates hire staffers who must be paid. Nothing is free. “Okay, we need to have campaign finance reform/limit contributions/give all the candidates an equal pot.” Sure, but then how do you enforce it and make sure everyone is playing by the rules? The people who would be affected by campaign finance reform are largely the ones who make the rules in the first place. Kind of a conflict of interest, don’t you think?
Wal-Mart, typically a poster child of corporate abuses, is able to pay their workers significantly less than they would in a free(r) market because many of their employees take some kind of government assistance, which they, in turn, spend at Wal-Mart. This means that the American taxpayer is indirectly subsidizing Wal-Mart’s profits, whether they support the company or not. Typically, those on the Left are not fans of Wal-Mart. The irony is that the large central government, that they claim is necessary to help the poor, forces them to fill Wal-Mart’s pockets at the expense of the poor. And at the expense of everyone else.
Corporations running the state is nothing new, either. Remember the East India Company and its ties to the British Empire? The British Crown enforced the company’s trade monopoly in the East. This ranged from waiving customs duties to flat-out crushing the competition under red tape and arresting competitors. The East India Company, whose owner was probably a sociopath, was able to form a complete monopoly not in spite of the crown, but thanks to it.
The American Right’s Fear: Drug Cartels/Mafia will Take Over!
Since the Right is largely unphased by abuses carried out by large corporate entities, their version of this objection is that we need a giant state apparatus to control drug cartels and/or the mafia. This is nonsense for mostly the same reasons as above, plus the added reason that governments help to create (and perpetuate) cartels in the first place. I’ll explain.
The CIA has long been tied to drug traffickers. If the federal government’s purpose is to fight the drug war, why are US soldiers protecting poppy fields (that are used in the production of heroin) in Afghanistan? Why did the DEA strike a smuggling rights for secrets deal with a violent Mexican cartel? Here’s another one for the Left: Why are the feds turning a blind eye to banks laundering cartel money? At best, the US government is unable to stop the flow of illegal drugs. At worst, they are using the black market drug trade to their advantage.
The US government helped create the drug cartels and the mafia in the first place. At this point, it is well-known that the mafia gained power in the 1920s due to alcohol prohibition and the black market created by it. What’s different today? If you make something illegal, that doesn’t magically erase the demand for it. It just makes the trade go underground to be ruled by violent criminals. That’s exactly what we have today with the drug cartels. A lot of violent, sadistic people (in and out of governments) are making vast sums of money because drugs are illegal.
This is a very long argument that I do not wish to get into much further in this post. These posts serve more as an introduction to arguments you may not have yet considered so you can research for yourself. A good starting point for the government’s purpose and MO in the War on Drugs is Laurence Vance’s excellent book, The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom, which you can purchase by clicking my Amazon link above.
Next: How will X be provided? (X being a current government service: roads, police, education, etc.)
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 – check the date; 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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