Friday, May 4, 2012
Anarchist and anti-anarchist
Anti-anarchist: We need the government to protect the economy. You won't have free markets without the government.
Anarchist: What you need is not a government, but law, justice, and protection of people's rights for the free markets. That's true. You also need paper. But just like there is no reason to nationalize paper industry, there is no reason to nationalize "government" industry.
There is no reason that paper-producing service cannot be provided by competing private agencies (non-monopolies). Likewise, there is no reason that law, justice, or protection could not be provided by competing private agencies.
Anti-anarchist: What you're advocating for is mafia!
Anarchist: Actually, mafia is the government's creation. When the government says it's illegal to sell alcohol (or gamble, or carry guns), only the outlaws (violent individuals with high time preferences who don't care about social norms) get involved in that activity. The moment the government legalizes alcohol, mafia organizations go out of business. Why? Because the public would rather buy beer from a local bar or alcohol store than from Al Capone.
The same goes for protection or law. The public would rather hire a peaceful law/justice/protection–providing firm than a violent mafia organization.
Anti-anarchist: But won't the warlords take over?
Anarchist: Let's go back to your first question for a second. When you said that "we need a government to have free markets", you didn't mention what sort of conditions in a society you need to have a government. Surely not an already-existing government — that would be paradoxical. (Unless you claim that government is some sort of unmoved mover.) So, even the governments need something else that will allow them to exist. What?
Some people say that they need consent of the governed. But that is actually not true. As Lysander Spooner explains, most governments operate without the citizens' consent. (In that, they are different from most other businesses.)
It is more accurate to say that what they need is the people's tolerance. A government will not be able to survive, despite all armies, if the populace does not tolerate its existence. That is why governments have fallen in the history. Now, let's go back to anarchy and warlords. If no government can exist without tolerance of the governed, why would you say that a bunch of warlords competing with peaceful protection agencies could exist without tolerance of the governed?
In a society whose people demand a necessarily peaceful government, even more so will the people favor only those competing private "protection agencies" (mini-governments) that are peaceful. Just like they favor bars owned by reputable people/organization rather than anti-social jerks who gun-down any competition.
So, the only way that warlords could take over an anarchist society is if the population overall prefers strife and conflict over peace and tranquility.
Sources: Robert Murphy's video and talk.
at 3:19 PM