Let Us Prove That Anarchy Can't Work

Column by Paul Bonneau

Exclusive to STR

In my recent Facebook escapades, this challenge came up: My longstanding challenge to create a society larger than a commune or a small town that functions well without any government is still open. Create one, and you'll shut me up quick. Until then, I'm going to refer to your notions as ‘unproven theories’ at best, and ‘utter fantasies doomed to a horrible outcome’ at worst.”
 
This came up in a discussion where the original poster claimed governments were supposed to protect rights. I thought it amusing the agency that would bring about the horrible outcome he worried about, was the very same government he was depending on to protect his rights.
 
I said there were 3,000+ counties in the US, and that we only required one of them to prove or disprove the paranoid fantasies of the anarchy paranoiacs. After we failed, then he might have a leg to stand on with his argument. It’s funny to be challenged for something, then to not be permitted to take up the challenge . . . .
 
Still, it’s an interesting idea to entertain. Imagine a letter-writing campaign was gotten up. Write the papers and the legislatures in a few selected states (e.g., Wyoming and New Hampshire). The letters might go as follows:
 
Dear Senator _____,
I am tired of hearing all these anarchists saying they don’t need government, aren’t you? Please designate one county in this state as an “anarchist-friendly zone.” This would mean that anyone who moves there and declares himself an anarchist shall no longer be taxed for services, and shall get no services other than what he wants to pay for on a per-use basis, and that he can’t vote. Anarchists would flock there, buying out most of the non-anarchist population (who can still be taxed and served). Then we can watch things just fall apart. I think we really should do this so we can shut those anarchists up. Don’t you agree, Senator?
Regards, _____
 
I’m sure all those folks who are anarchy-paranoiacs would like to have a real arrow in their quiver rather than mere assertion that anarchy can’t work. I think we should help them get it, don’t you?
 
Of course, there is one fly in the ointment: anarchy might work after all.
 
We should downplay this possibility. Agree with them that there is no chance of that, but tell them how much happier they will be once it’s actually been proven with a real test case.
 

We don’t even need a good county; just some crappy little one somewhere. Let’s prove anarchy can’t work. 

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Paul Bonneau's picture
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Comments

Mark Davis's picture

Boy, wouldn't that be nice: an anarchist haven to show the world how freedom really works. And hopefully it wouldn't start out as a contradiction ala the "Free-State" project.

I am amused by statists who claim to require some kind of empirical data (apparently because logic, reason and sound moral principles don't cut it) to "prove" that anarchy isn't "doomed to a horrible outcome." I would love for statists to show me a country, town or even small commune that isn't doomed to a horrible outcome because it has a monopoly on the use of force. We have examples galore of thefailure of statism. That statism will ever work by "reforming it" or changing politicians is pure fantasy. Therefore, even though the existing system has proven to not "function well" we must continue using this failed system because we are not allowed to try something that may work well, yet as you point out, we are not allowed too. So I would respond, show me a state that is working right now.

Samarami's picture

I'm in total agreement. "We" will never reform or change political action, politicians, (predators and sociopaths all), or monopoly states. They're here, they're stayin', and we in all our passion aren't going to change that. Paul's detractor states:

    "...“My longstanding challenge to create a society larger than a commune or a small town that functions well without any government is still open. Create one, and you'll shut me up quick. Until then, I'm going to refer to your notions as ‘unproven theories’ at best, and ‘utter fantasies doomed to a horrible outcome’ at worst.”..."

I discovered anarchy DOES work. For me. I can't "make" anarchy work for you, or for him, or Ken, or Paul. Anybody who thinks of anarchy in terms of "creating a society" cannot be convinced, and I don't have time to mess with them. They're unmitigable.

I have declared myself a sovereign state. Wanta argue with me about that? Be my guest. I've fielded every argument at least once, and suspect I've never convinced a single naysayer. Good. I have no need to convince anyone that anarchy works. In fact to attempt to do so falls into an inverse of the category attributed to Thomas Pynchon:

    "If they can keep you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."

The predators and parasites who make up "Our-Great-Nation" will be around as long as there are "voters" and naysayers who need some substantive "proof" that "anarchy works". As Ken comments below, there are and probably will always be individuals in every crowd who simply can't grasp individual responsibility or individual cooperation in a free market "system" (even the word "system" implies leaders and followers to most people using the term).

The enormity of the truth is incredible. Sam

Paul's detractor laments:

Glock27's picture

Greetings Samarami,

Grand concerance with you. The system was intrencehed in 1772 at the first contenintal congress. As timepassed there was no room for another party to slip in and get roots put down. Spooner was too late, Bastiat was unknown at the time along with others and there were too man still in love with england, even Adams wanted a monarchy. Why do we come here to compaine about what is happening when there is absolutely nothing any of us are going to do to make a difference except within our own personal lives which will not reflect upon the rest of the population which we live in.

I watch the debates and the stupidity that comes out of them is incredable. How can you over come stupidity. Someone once said "You can't fix stupid" and I honestly believe that.

KenK's picture

I have a suspicion that once population density hits a certain number "x" that a proto-state naturally forms. This would be one way to prove my theory valid or not.

Thunderbolt's picture

Until recently, it was nearly impossible to be an anarchist. Now, the missing element is here: an anonymous currency. Frank Chodorov correctly pointed out that the I.R.S. must be defeated, before there can be freedom. As long as the tyrants can confiscate your wealth at gunpoint, then they are secure. Individual anarchy, such as that of Sam, is doable now. Silver Shire hard-money cards. Also, Bitcoin is untraceable and anonymous, as long as you avoid Mt.Gox., which may seize your money, without government I.D. (game over). Intersango is apparently honest. There is a new, encrypted cash-in-the-mail service: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=82983.0
Other cash services are found at SilkRoad and BlackMarketReloaded.

AtlasAikido's picture

Re: Until recently, it was nearly impossible to be an anarchist.
Nope. See: The Art of Not being Governed and the Vikings in Iceland amongst others (e.g. The Current Wenchou Province that has promulgated itself all over the world)

Re: Now, the missing element is here: an anonymous currency.
Nope. The change in my pocket and gold and silver coins and even the paper are all anonymous and have been for centuries.

Re: Frank Chodorov correctly pointed out that the I.R.S. must be defeated, before there can be freedom.
Nope. They can be ignored. (Secretly of course IF YOU ARE SMART)

Re: As long as the tyrants can confiscate your wealth at gunpoint, then they are secure.
Until they run out of--WILLING--victims (such as those who STILL vote)...

Re: Individual anarchy, such as that of Sam, is doable now.
Got one right!!

BrianDrake's picture

Don't you love the inherent dishonesty of statists?

Case in point, the deliberate changing of methodology to fit their predetermined conclusions.

Anarachist: Let me enumerate the many many logical flaws with the theory of statism and the logical and moral coherence of liberty. For one, see how the most basic understanding of how economics works proves that what we know about monopoly is a severe blow to the state, and a cause for confidence that market provision of formally monopolized-services will increase their quality and reduce their cost?

Statist: Though I can find no flaws in your theory (an admission almost never given outright; their engaging on this level indicates their acceptance of theory methodology), you can't provide me any empirical evidence of a stateless society (empirical positivist methodology) and so I won't believe you until you can show me. But you can't be given freedom to try because it will fail horribly (back to theory methodology).

If they were honestly advocating empirical positivism, they could only respond with "we'll have to see if it works". But no, they're already convinced it won't/can't which is "knowledge" they can only have derived through theory (flawed theory at that).

AtlasAikido's picture

Great Point!!

If they were honestly advocating empirical positivism, they could only respond with "we'll have to see if it works". But no, they're already convinced it won't/can't which is "knowledge" they can only have derived through theory (flawed theory at that).

AtlasAikido's picture

"I can confidently point towards a nonviolent society that you’re *intimately aware of* – YOU. I am guessing that you do not use violence directly to achieve your aims. It seems likely to me that you did not hold your employer hostage until you got your job; I also doubt that you keep your spouse locked in the basement, or that you threaten to shoot your “friends” if they do not join you on the dance floor. In other words, you are the perfect example of a stateless society. All of your personal relationships are voluntary, and do not involve the use of force. *You are an anarchic microcosm* – to see how a stateless society works, all you have to do is look in the mirror."

LOL...

"When people dismiss the possibility of anarchy out of hand by saying, “Oh, but how would roads be provided?” what they are really saying is that they support war, genocide, tax enslavement and the incarceration and rape of the innocent, because they themselves cannot imagine how roads might be provided in the absence of violence. “People should be murdered, raped and imprisoned because I am concerned that the roads I use might be slightly less convenient.” Can anyone look at the moral horror of this statement without feeling a bottomless and existential nausea?

Now, imagine that the reality of the situation is that roads will be provided far more efficiently and productively in a stateless society?

If that is the case, then the practical considerations turn out to be the complete opposite of the truth – that we are accepting murder, genocide and rape for the sake of bad roads, rather than good roads!"

A couple of passages from "Practical Anarchy" by Stefan Molyneux.

[Question: How many *Me* and YOU's are out there? I would say more than can be or ever need to be counted But the point is?

Clearly some who ask for proof of a stateless society--focus on the "We" and completely MISS (and perhaps blank out) the self evident criteria of what is one's own authentically anarchic identity].

References:
1. There is *No We*: Challenge the Premise.
zerogov.com/?p=2334

2. Practical_Anarchy
freedomainradio.com/free/books/FDR_5_PDF_Practical_Anarchy_Audiobook.pdf

3. [Thanks] Samarami, posted on July 10, 2012: "I'm in total agreement. "We" will never reform or change political action, politicians, (predators and sociopaths all), or monopoly states. They're here, they're stayin', and we in all our passion aren't going to change that. Paul's detractor states..."

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Bravo, Paul! Bravo!!

Glock27's picture

Greetings Paul.
No matte how badly I would desire anarhy, libertarianism, voluntarisn, etc to succed in the political realm it is not going to happen because the eliet have a strpng hold with their money, their influence along with a plethoria of other organizatinal segments in place to spy, counter espionage, disrupt, discredit any organization that attempts to get a foot hold into the political system. There are far too many special inteest groups with piles of money to disrupt a new organization. Currently the only organization that has the nearst possibilit is libertariansm. They have made inroads where other groups have merely talked but have takne no action to organizae. We are doomed to dream and tit for tat back on spaces like this and to what purpos.

Repectfully,
Glock 27