The Road to Anarchy: an Alaskan Example

When I started reading an article on the Dollar Vigilante called “Anarchist Highway”, I thought it might be about the original toll road in Alaska that was built and maintained privately, and patrolled by the owner to make sure people paid him for the product he provided. But this article was about a different road, and more about the destination.

Although the road is pretty anarchist as well. Few police patrol the 500 miles stretch from Deadhorse to Fairbanks, where the oil companies run their businesses. One cop liked to issue tickets for truckers’ “protection” and remind everyone that he wore a shiny piece of metal on his chest. When he broke down on the side of the road, I imagine he got a little cold waiting for “official” help as the truckers buzzed past him. You only get what you give.

And that’s how this road is regulated. If you slow down to 30 (despite the 50 mph speed limit) in order to not spew rocks at passing trucks, then that is the same way you will be treated. It is in your best interest to stop and help broken down truckers, because you will be in that situation at some point, and word spreads fast. The road was built with a mixture of state and private funds, then the maintenance was taken over by the state, at which point 150 miles of the road fell into such disrepair that 15mph was too fast.

A truck driver hopped into a State road grader and did a little road maintenance himself for about 30 miles; it turned out to be the best stretch of the road. The State was quite miffed because one person did that much during a time the DOT was complaining about lack of funding (but no one will rat out the driver who did it).

And then you get up to the town where about 30,000 people work at any given time for the oil companies. There aren’t any police, but there is private secuirty. Strangely, this private security doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to get shot if you accidentally put your hand in your pocket. And yet there are no murders, and almost no crime in general in this large oil town. And if you are on the private roads and get pulled over, the security might even give you a break if there’s an emergency reason for you to be speeding… you know, like how the cops can speed in “an emergency”… or whenever the hell they feel like it.

My brother has commented to me that at no time has he ever felt threatened when working there, or interacting with security, and I can say I have never felt threatened either, which is a far cry from when I see flashing blue and red lights from a car of a person who wishes to give me a little State protection.

So there you have it, just a little answer to the old question, “But who would build the roads?” Based on this example, we might assume the roads would be safer, better maintained, and offer a better sense of community. Those individualists certainly love their communities—when they are voluntary that is.

One thought on “The Road to Anarchy: an Alaskan Example

  1. Pingback: Wait, High Tax Rates Make Businesses Flee? Duh. | Joe Jarvis

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