I often argue that people would be better off without a coercive state. During these arguments, I am put in the position of explaining how the absence of government would lead to utopia. I am asked how this new system would be perfect, while the other party defends an imperfect system.
I am asked to account for how a free market will catch and punish every last murderer, while millions of murders go unsolved by governments. I am asked to explain the deep intricacies of the free market and how they will deliver various goods and services to the public. If I can answer, my knowledge of economics is said to be little more than mystical suppositions. If I cannot answer, it is taken as my point having failed, versus the lack of time and expertise to explain exactly how customer and business relations work for the 100 plus steps that would occur from a consumer deciding they want protection, and a criminal being brought to justice.
But what about the people who can’t afford, who don’t have access, who are disadvantaged? Well what about those people with government in charge? Are we to pretend that all those problems have been solved under every government—or how about even by one government? My answer is that excess wealth, not squandered and stolen by government, will find its way to those who need it, because the standard of living of the poor and rich has risen with each innovation and invention.
Mobile devices for money exchange are currently proliferating in Africa with the effect of less theft, because people do not need to carry around money. They can therefore live more productive lives knowing that more of what they produce will benefit them instead of a thief. This is the progress to be expected from the technology and innovation of a free market. Governments never solved that problem, in fact they were a part of it.
Under voluntarism, is it possible that someone steals from you. With government, it is a guarantee. And under the truly free market of anarchy, you can defend yourself against a thief, or hire someone to do so in a complex free market justice system, regulated by the people.
Oh so we don’t need roads, laws, police, protection, security, a safety net, help to the poor, retirement, money, or education? Bastiat, want to handle this one?
We need many of the services government provides, we just don’t need to be robbed for those services to be provided. We need to have control over them, and regulate them effectively with a free market, because they are not properly regulated under government systems.
If we all wait for something to be perfect before implementing it, it will never happen. Why refuse to discard the broken, because the new may one day become broken? Is every new innovation not an imperfect improvement, versus a final unfailing solution? Did the invention of cars not lead to death by car accident? But the market (the people) decided the benefits of cars outweigh the negatives. Likewise, the benefits of abolition of all slavery outweigh the negatives.
I get it, if something kind-of works, then we are afraid to replace it with something that hasn’t been tested. But keeping government is likewise a gamble, a flip of the coin. This current system could end up far worse for you. Would you give anarchy a try if you suddenly found yourself in 1930 Russia, or 1943 Germany, or 1960 China, or 1975 Cambodia, or 1985 Iran, or 1994 Rwanda, or 1999 Venezuela, or 2003 Iraq etcetera, etcetera, etcetera? And do you think you would have the opportunity at these points in each of these places living under each of these genocidal governments? Or rather is the imperfect but invariably better alternative of abolishing the state–AKA requiring consent for all human interaction–something that must be accomplished before “shit hits the fan”, so to speak?
One option is to obey, conform, bow to the state, ignore or defend their atrocities, attack their detractors, hope things remain okay, but be ready and willing to sacrifice yourself for the greater good. This is the best bet on how to “live” “peacefully” under our current system.
Personally I would see no point to a life sanctioning and defending evil. Taking one more breath, and gaining one more heartbeat is not worth the trade to me. I don’t want to exist, I want to live. And for anyone that believes in a soul, an afterlife, a spirit, an energy, karma, or eternal anything, sanctioning evil is not a solid long term plan.
I love the rare instances when I have an honest conversation with someone arguing which would be better, government or anarchy. And this is always my point; anarchy, voluntarism, a free market, is not perfect, but it is better than the current system.
Out of the pot, and into the fire, so they say. I’ll roll with that. Each of us is a water drop. All we have to do is exit the pot in great enough volume, and the fire will be extinguished.