When I tell people that I’m an anarcho-capitalist, folks that are unfamiliar with the ideology usually suggest that I am out of my mind. They suggest that without a state, there would be chaos. This stems from the idea that man will inevitably do immoral things, therefore they are not fit to govern themselves. But this is a self-defeating non-argument.
To be fair, the suggestion that a stateless (or even a minarchist) society would be chaos is an understandable notion; at least, the reason why people think this way is understandable. We have been born and bred to believe that government is a just entity that has to exist in order for us to be civilized. As a former leftist, I was also under this illusion and it is very hard to undo years and generations of indoctrination. The objective of this article is not to necessarily make the case for anarcho-capitalism. I simply want to highlight one thing: If you fear less or no government because of the unpredictability or inherit immorality of man, you’re probably being logically inconsistent.
When one advocates for no government involvement in a certain human affair, the immediate rebuttal normally consist of, “without government doing X, Y would happen;” Y, is, of course, always a bad thing. Freedom is man at its natural state. So to fear humans conducting affairs without government is to fear freedom of individuals.
But what is government? We generally accept that man does not have the natural right of infringing on the liberties of other men. Individuals do not have the right to confiscate the private property of other individuals. Individuals do not have the right to wrongfully detain or take the lives of peaceful people. Individuals do not have the right to initiate force. If normal individuals do this, they meet certain consequences. But if an individual belongs to the club known as government, these fundamental ideas go directly out of the window.
That’s what government really is: individuals that have been delegated rights that other individuals do not have. These rights consist of having a monopoly on initiatory violence and use of force. And it is a monopoly because they not only get to make the rules on this use of force, they get to disregard the rules and consequences as that would apply to other individuals. So, it isn’t with government doing X, Y would happen — it’s more correct to say without an entity legally using violence, coercion, and extortion, Y would happen.
But if man in its natural state tends to be corruptible, immoral, and is unable to peacefully coexist with others, then we must reject government. If we are to fear man, then we must fear government even more. Government is made up of the same individuals that people fear in their natural state, only with illegitimate monopolies on force and violence. They do not magically become divine and honest. These are the same men that many suggest are unable to self-govern. If this is to be the case, they will be inevitably unsuccessful in governing hundreds, thousands, or millions. If anything, government actually attracts those same corrupt and immoral individuals because it hands them the keys to this illegitimate power. One does not have to be an historian to understand that mass killings and genocides that have been orchestrated by governments: Zedong, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, and scores of others have highlighted that immoral men will utilize government to kill and oppress their own people. It is government that makes it significantly easier for them to do so and you can see that today with the endless amounts of war and turmoil created by governments.
Take a look at the presidential election. Bernie supporters are scared of a Cruz presidency. Cruz supporters are scared of a Hillary presidency. Supporters of all three are scared a Trump presidency. Some might highlight this as an example of Democracy, but this is more an example of the impossible task of governing millions successfully. And no matter who wins, the economic elites have already infiltrated government and have a seat at the table. All these different characters are fighting with each other for this power to rule over you. Many do not trust this process and believe it to be rigged, yet still think that expansion of government or having the “right” people in office will fix this situation.
But there will always be unhappy people. We’ve made advancements in societies due to people voluntarily interacting with each other. When we point to successes, it’s credited to individuals and their efforts. Government is just a lagging indicator that has created more problems than they have been able to solve. The most honest politician (which is rare form) would seem to be the one that recognizes he can’t successfully rule over you, nor does he want to.
I am not suggesting that all people that seek to hold office are bad people. But there’s nothing stopping the bad people from holding office too. If anything, government is attractive to bad people because it allows them to do bad things on a massive scale and get away with it free of consequence.
If you want to have a conversation about how a ‘small’ government or no government set up would look like, let’s have that discussion. If you believe government to be a necessary evil, say that. If you are unsure who will build the roads or provide defense, ask that. But you’ve immediately defeated your argument if you suggest that man can’t be free because they cannot voluntarily govern or govern themselves without complete chaos.
Out of logical consistency if you fear man in its natural state, you must fear a government created and made up of man.