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First off, welcome to my blog, where you can read about freedom, philosophy, and the future!

I am a writer mini-farming on the panhandle of Florida; a transplant from Massachusetts.

And you heard right, I am giving away my latest novella! You can now read my dystopian thriller “Flight Grounded” for free, just by signing up for my email list.

(I’m not going to send you many emails, only when I actually have something new to share with you. Expect an email about once a week.)

Short Story Series’ are coming! That’s another good reason to join the email list now so you don’t miss the start of an epic adventure.

This blog was once geared towards politics and government, but I now write on those subjects for The Daily Bell.

Freedom is my passion, and themes of liberation are woven into essentially all my writing. I want to build a future that will only get better for future generations.

My vision is nothing like what we have experienced on Earth before, but I am not pessimistic about the possibilities of changing that trajectory.

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500th Post: Let Me Define “Vigilant” and “Vote”

This is the 500th post I have made to Vigilant Vote in the 2 years and one month since I created it. As all things should, this blog has transformed in some ways from its original version and purpose. Through researching, thinking, and writing, my opinions have altered, new information has changed perceptions, and my goals for how I would like to influence people have shifted. That is why I want to spend the five hundredth post defining what Vigilant Vote means.

The original name came from a famous quote, attributed to a couple people, but probably existing in its original form in President Andrew Jackson’s farewell address (emphasis added): “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States, as well as in the Federal Government”. I added that since Andrew Jackson had faults, it was a further reminder that actions mean more than rhetoric.

Boiled down the tag line for my blog became Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty. For a while the theme of this blog followed that within a relatively narrow scope, in terms of how it related to government. I discussed issues with government policies, and how those policies could be improved. I discussed what the scope of government should be, the incentives and disincentives they create, and why an economy is best left alone by government. The more I learned, the more I realized that not only should the government stay out of economics, but they should stay out of everything.

This feeling was expanded on when I was introduced to Anarcho-Capitalism; a scary sounding idea which really just means people can organize themselves just fine without government using force to do the organizing. The reason this would be more beneficial for societal organization is because there would be no contradictions to a core philosophy that most people agree with: the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do to you, the non-initiation of force principle, non-agression principle. And this foundation cannot support a house built from a different blue print: one that says initiating force in a particular geographical area is okay for an entity called government. If using force to organize is never okay, then government is never okay.

So this brought me to the point where on essentially every government issue my answer was, it should not be a government function, and the market would better take care of it. There were plenty of different arguments to make to this effect, various examples and facts to present, and numerous plans to put forward for alternative organization to achieve the same end, but it all came down to allowing these things to be solved through mutually beneficial transactions. I think these discussions still have a place, and I will continue to explain how current problems involving government could be better solved by a free market.

However this shifting paradigm of how much scope I believe government should have (from limited to none) has also necessarily changed my advice on how best to solve these issues. The Vote in Vigilant Vote once quite literally meant vote in elections to make things better. I still think voting can make things better, but it cannot be the thing we rely on to make positive change in the world. Let me use this landmark of 500 posts on Vigilant Vote to define what it means to be Vigilant, and what it means to Vote, in a broadened definition of the title Vigilant Vote.

“Vigilant”. Pay attention, research, learn, reason, be aware, seek understanding, seek truth, gain knowledge, gain skills. Being vigilant now means more to me than simply paying attention to what the government is doing. It means recognizing the repercussions of this, how vastly effected we are by the ills created, and what influences government has on the broader society. And then it doesn’t stop with government: we need to also make sure the businesses we patronize agree with our philosophy and values. For that matter, being vigilant means having values, setting goals, and working towards something.

It also means being vigilant over oneself. Are the actions I am taking consistent with my philosophy? For me, as I would hope is similar for most people, victimizing someone is wrong, initiating force against another is wrong. Am I aware of how each of my actions are affecting other people? And before this gets too preachy, let me say this is a constant work in progress for all of us. We are not perfect, and maybe we never will be, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for better and better. And that’s where Vote comes in.

“Vote”. You vote with your dollar, you vote with your actions and interactions. Voting is the action side of being vigilant. I once received some profound knowledge from a fortune cookie: “The proper fruit of knowledge, is action”. Gain knowledge, take action. Be vigilant, then vote. So if you see something wrong with the world, do something about it. If something seems fishy, look into it, research it, and then figure how best to move forward to effect the change you want to see.

The idea of being Vigilant and Voting fit well, because one without the other is relatively useless. If you are Vigilant, well that’s great, you could have all the knowledge in the world, and have the perfect plan to change things for the better; but if you don’t act on that, what’s the point?

On the other hand, acting without a point can be seriously damaging to society. You hear it every election, “get out the vote”. Well why would we want uninformed or misinformed people to be making governing decisions? That’s democracy, voting without the vigilance. And as with the other aspects, it goes way beyond voting in elections. Taking actions, voting with yourself and your dollars, will achieve no end if you do not define the end you wish to realize, and have the proper knowledge (vigilance) to get there.

I’ve shifted over the last two years from focusing mainly on political issues that are in the news, and analyzing how to act on them, to taking a broader philosophical look at what government really does, the consequences of government actions, and why the defining feature of government, monopolizing force so that it can be initiated without retaliation in a certain area, is inherently wrong.

We can argue any single issue until the cows come home, but without some philosophy behind your ideas and actions, the real change this country and earth needs will not take place. And if you are arguing with someone whose core ideas about life are different than yours, what change do you think you can make in them? We need to start from the point of discussing and agreeing on goals, and realizing that if there is no philosophical grounding for a person’s thoughts and actions, then having them vote for “our party”, or agree with this issue or that issue will be fleeting progress, erased when the next smooth talker convinces the person to think and act oppositely on the issue.

Be Vigilant: seek the truth. Vote: act on that truth.

Justifying the Upward Redistribution of Wealth in Centralized Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond is such an interesting look into the development of human society. The other day I discussed the factors that made Japan quickly adopt, and just as quickly abandon firearms in the 16th and 17th centuries. But Diamond also speaks of the formations of various governing bodies humans create as their numbers grow. There are bands with people numbering in the dozens, tribes which can consist of multiple bands and generally include hundreds of people, and Chiefdoms generally consisting of thousands of human inhabitants. Chiefdoms resemble State’s and are the smallest organization of humans to justify kleptocracy, “transferring net wealth from commoners to upper classes” (276).

This central control was justified in larger organizations of society when everyone in a group did not know one another, and was not related to one another in some way. In bands and tribes if you came across someone you didn’t know, it was common to discuss familial relations until one was found in common. Disputes would generally be settled by a mutual relative of the feuding parties, excluding the need for a monopoly on force, which the rulers in Chiefdoms and State’s exercise.

The problem among centrally governed societies becomes the balance between keeping peace through settling disputes, and functioning “unabashedly as kleptocracies” (276).

These noble and selfish functions are inextricably linked, although some governments emphasize much more of one function than of the other. The difference between a kleptocrat and a wise statesman, between a robber baron and public benefactor, is merely one of degree: a matter of just how large a percentage of the tribute extracted from producers is retained by the elite, and how much the commoners like the public uses to which the redistributed tribute is put (276).

Keep in mind that even though the elite maintain a monopoly on force, this does not mean that the outcome will be good for any particular feuding party. The innocent party could be punished by the elite as often as the guilty, and inevitably when the elite and their kin are involved in disputes, they will win regardless of guilt or innocence. What the monopoly on force instead does is keep violent actions to a minimum among the commoners who cannot use force without retaliation. But what makes the commoners put up with the upward redistribution of wealth inherent in all Chiefdoms and States?

Diamond pinpoints 4 solutions kleptocrats and elites have used through history to maintain control:

1. Disarm the populace, and arm the elite…

This should be obvious from Hitler, Stalin, Mao, the British marching on Lexington and so on and so forth. The biggest centralizations of power have always happened when commoners are least equipped to fight back.

2. Make the masses happy by redistributing much of the tribute received, in popular ways. This principle was as valid for Hawaiian chiefs as it is for American politicians today.

Indeed, if it is for the children, to help the poor, or to protect us from terrorists, the commoners will gladly throw more tribute (tax dollars) towards the kleptocrats in hopes that the commoners will again be safe, or taken care of. But remember what Diamond said before, the difference between a robber baron and a politician is simply the degree of redistribution. Certainly elites like George Kaiser benefited from the tribute the taxpayers gave to Solyndra through the Department of Energy, but no commoners could say the same.

3. Use the monopoly on force to promote happiness, by maintaining public order and curbing violence. This is potentially a big and underappreciated advantage of centralized societies over noncentralized ones (277).

And this is really what modern States boil down to. If their monopoly on force is used fairly, to only punish those who have victimized another, and not to protect elites who have victimized commoners, then the population is peaceful and generally happy. The real problem is how the commoners can make sure this happens.

Even in a country like the US with a generally fair justice system, the monopoly on force is used against those whose “crime” includes no victim. The war on drugs, government regulations, and corruption: these factors sometimes lead to the monopoly of force being used on those who do not deserve it, and this is when the population becomes skeptical of the legitimacy of the elites who rule them. In America for example, police officers need to be held to the same standard as the population, but unfortunately many get away with crimes because of the badge they wear while committing the crime.

The final way for kleptocracies to maintain control over a population is for elites to “construct an ideology or religion justifying kleptocracy”. Pretty much every religion has served to justify kleptocracy at least one time in history, in some society. But ideology in modern America seems to be the preferred justification. On the one hand you have an ideology that says people will not be safe from outside threats unless the elites take our money and soldier tributes. On the other hand you have an ideology that says the greater good must trump individual concerns. They are related, but appeal to different segments of the American population.

But if we throw out the ideologies supporting kleptocracy, then we realize that we can still have an organized society in modern times that does not justify kleptocracy, but keeps people safe and taken care of. It would still be centralized, but there would be no monopoly on force by one group of elites. I am not saying go back to tribes or bands of humans, that is not realistic, but perhaps take a page from their book on dispute resolution. Arbitration between feuding parties can solve problems based on the incentives of each party, and disincentive of violence. I am saying allow people to function in groups without compulsion, and decide how to get along, without elites using force to resolve differences.

Part of the ideology justifying kleptocracy involves the myth that people cannot organize themselves without an “authority”. But proper organization, the functions purported to be carried out by the elites governing, is not uniform across states, and more often leads to injustice. The fear that keeps us subservient to these elites is that things would be worse if they were gone. We may think, sure, it is an unjust society, but it beats widespread murder and mayhem.

And maybe in times past this was true, but as we advance as a society, connected by the internet and advancements in travel, we are outgrowing states. If the earth ever hopes to be linked together by a global society, we cannot rely on the archaic organizations of States monopolizing force to do it. Free interaction, trade without compulsion, and organization based on the absence of force will take humanity to the next level, where there is no distinction between elites and commoners.

Wars are Started by Governments

droneIts amusing but sad that people always seem to come from the same perspective for “solving problems”. Everybody wants to use a top down approach when dealing with borders. People just assume that we need to group people together, even if they don’t like it! So in the U.S. we have parts of Colorado that want to form a new state, we see a piece of California trying to secede, and Texas was once its own country, and entered into the U.S.A. from the position that it could leave if the population so desired. The Kurds never really wanted to be part of Iraq, and borders within the United Kingdom have shifted countless times over the past 2,000 years. So we see these problems and think, how do we divide up who controls this land? But control is the very problem.

I think a hundred years from now people will look back on the debate about whether or not part of Colorado or California or whole states should be allowed to do their own thing, and laugh because of how ridiculous it seems that anyone would try to force people to remain under their jurisdiction, like subjects or serfs. I hope the prevailing notion of that day a century from now will be that of course people have the freedom to move as they like, associate as they like, and live as they like, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone.

Because isn’t that really the issue, that governments want to force people under their control? If the Kurds hadn’t been stuck between Iraq and a hard place, they could have just continued their society and lived their lives in relative peace. But Iraq and Iran made promises, broke their promises, lied, and Saddam Hussein gassed an entire city of “his people”. They couldn’t just be left alone?

Or how ridiculous that Denver or Sacramento want to hold onto their population in the outer districts in order for the capital to extract money and labor to fund the government programs, expenditures, and extravagance which mostly takes place in the capital. I think there is a book like that…

Then there’s Crimea, and Palestine, and Israel and it has never occurred that people don’t need to be controlled, or told what to do, or where the borders are, or to whom they are supposed to pay protection money—or taxes if you prefer. It seems immature as a species that whole groups of people routinely use their military strength to force others into their way of life, or their way of thinking, or within their borders.

Who would fight wars if not for governments? Who would enforce borders, and collect taxes, and make up laws that you can lose your life and liberty for breaking, even if there is no victim? Here’s the thing: the guy that starts the war, never fights in it. Sure, sometimes he overplays his hand and kills himself in a bunker, or gets hanged or slaughtered by his own people, but these are more like exceptions to the rule. So in whose best interest is a war? Tell me, who is going to start a war, and who is going to fight a war, if we don’t have government relations to sour, and government force to muster, and government controlled populations to enslave?

War is only in the best interest of those who have something to gain from it, and nothing to lose from it. Only those who can use force without retribution are in that position, and only governments can use force without retribution. Who would be sending men off to die if people were truly free from the initiation of force? What mutually beneficial transaction includes death and destruction?

I’m not going to get into right now how a society could be organized without government, I’ve written enough about that to give you a good idea. I just want people to reflect on the dynamic that we have always seen on earth, governments starting wars with governments and pretending it is in the best interest of the people: the people who die on the battlefield so that the government can say, “see, this is the border” or “these are my subjects” or “no, no, this set of victimless crimes is legitimate, theirs was not!”. And yes, we have certainly had better governments than others; the American government as defined in the Constitution was pretty good, but not perfect.

I once thought of ways to design the perfect government, with the perfect restraints, and checks on its power. I thought of ways to design elections, to form opposing powers, and to decentralize control. This is the “government is evil but necessary” philosophy. Then it occurred to me that nothing evil should ever be necessary. Why keep a beast in your house that would devour you if its chains are too loose, or break?

Would a lion be a great deterrent to crime at your home? Yes, but it might also eat you and your family. A big dog can be just as good a deterrent to crime, and you have control over it. Your dog loves you because you feed it and pat it; you trade food and affection for protection. Protection that will never be turned on you and your family, even though your dog can go anywhere in the house. The lion you feed so that it doesn’t eat you, and it dictates where you can safely walk in your own home. And the lion provides protection only if its chain is long enough, which also puts you in danger. But if the chain is too short, it won’t be able to stop an intruder.

Right now we are a society of lion keepers, and we should be a society of dog owners.

Natural Rights: Organic Societal Organization

If good compromises with evil, evil wins. Evil can handle having good sewn into it and still live on. Good cannot live on intertwined with evil; it becomes something else, corrupted, sullied, not pure good, just less evil.

If rights are compromised with security, do we still have rights? We may have the appearance of rights in some instances, and we may be secure at times, but if a right is contingent on arbitrary circumstances and erratic individuals, it cannot be called a right. In this sense many of our rights have already been compromised, and therefore lost. Do you have the right to defend yourself against any aggressor? Yes; if you are on your property, if you have attempted to retreat, if you believe your life is in danger, if the attacker doesn’t have a blue uniform and a shiny badge. So do you have the right to defend yourself against anyone who initiates force against you?

Many in power today balk at the idea of natural rights, and Charles Kesler explains the reason: rights “endanger the ancien [sic] regime, which in our time is liberalism”. Liberalism here is really modern or social liberalism, which espouses the idea that government is necessary to promote social justice and intervene in the economy for that purpose. Obviously following this doctrine means government has a central and enormous role to play in regulating everything that is perceived to cause inequality. That’s a big tent, by design, because the people in power who keep modern politics liberal are the ones who get to choose where the next intervention for social justice takes place. Without getting into the corrupting effects of being in such a position, I would like to point out that virtually all Democrats and the vast majority of Republicans today promote a social liberal system.

If natural rights are compromised with social equality, do we still have natural rights?

You cannot support inalienable rights (the kind that don’t change depending on the circumstances and people involved), and modern liberalism, because this liberalism says that the highest ideal is social equality. The flip side is a system that defines laws objectively, and recognizes natural rights of individuals. So even though everyone would be treated equally under the law in the latter system, the results of individual circumstances would not be equal, highlighting the difference of perspective. The founding fathers said that individuals have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; modern liberalism says it is the government’s job to provide happiness, even if liberty takes a back seat.

In a country run on modern liberalism, those who promote the founding fathers’ ideals are called extremists, because by a modern liberal definition, anything non-liberal is extreme. If you do not believe the government has a central role in regulating economics and individual behavior in order to promote social equality, you are extreme, because liberals get to define what extreme is. The Constitution is the enemy of liberalism, because it limits government, thus limiting how much social and economic engineering can take place. The Constitution defines some individual rights, without claiming to be an exhaustive list, which limits how far the government can go in terms of promoting equality at the expense of the individual.

Liberalism says that if one person has more money, then the government can intervene to spread the wealth. The Constitution says that a person’s property cannot be taken unless in response to force, and even then, there is a process which needs to be the same no matter who it is being accused of initiating the force. Because the Constitution does not allow free-reigning liberalism, liberals claim the document is “living”, meaning open to interpretation depending on the needs of the era. But this idea opposes the ideas in the Constitution, because the document speaks of natural rights, which do not change depending on circumstances and people.

The Constitution itself is dysfunctional—full of institutions like checks and balances, bicameralism, the separation of powers, and federalism designed to temper hope and to slow political change, to force time for deliberation and due process, to conserve the people’s loyalty to the Constitution and laws.

Some people believe the human race amounts to a bunch of children in need of parenting. I disagree. I think that humans are problem solvers who respond to their environment in a way that allows them to gain the most personal benefit at the lowest personal cost. I think that if people are treated like children they will act like children. I think that basing society on humanity’s natural way of life will yield a more stable, productive, and beneficial society, based on the types of problems they will be presented with, and the solutions for those problems. When the government sets up a system where the easiest way to survive and gain the most comfort is to find your next victim, this changes the way humans work to survive. Instead of producing to provide essentials and more comfort, humans will find ways to take what others have produced.

In the beginning humans essentially agreed without knowing it, that there were natural rights, and that the way to survive was to solve problems in their environment. Hunger and exposure were a problem, so humans hunted animals to eat, picked food from the forest, and built shelter. They used their problem solving skills to manipulate their environment in order to survive, and if there was energy left over, add to their comfort. Another problem presents itself: one tribe of humans called “The Founders” has already hunted, gathered, and built shelter, and now another tribe, “The Liberals” is attempting to take those things. Naturally, the group which is being attacked defends itself in order to survive, and keep what they have earned through their brainpower and labor.

Unfortunately, liberalism–with the blank check it gives to government to “solve social inequality” through whatever means necessary–sets up a system where the easiest way to survive and gain comfort is to initiate force against others. Since this force is seen as a good thing which promotes social equality, defending against that forces becomes a bad thing. The right to defend yourself against any aggressor is at odds with government promotion of equality through force. Never-mind that the people promoting “equality” usually make society less equal by keeping most of the plunder for themselves and their friends.

So let’s go back to our tribes that are fighting over the products of “The Founders’” labor. Modern liberalism would say that “The Founders” should give away some of their food and shelter to “The Liberals” in order to promote the equality of all tribes. But “The Founders” are natural rights people, so they are not going to give up so easily. “The Founders” will defend their lives against those who would murder them to take their necessities. They will defend their freedom to produce without other tribes taking that for which they labored. They will defend their property which nourishes them and keeps them warm, allowing them to live a happier life than if they were hungry and cold. Should modern society not afford people the same rights that tribe naturally exercised?

The only difference is that today the tribe of “The Liberals” is much greater in number, and therefore the tribe of “The Founders” often fails in exercising its natural rights, just as the possibility existed for “The Founders” to be overrun, killed, and robbed by “The Liberals” tribe. Not only has liberalism allowed force to be monopolized so that you must seek the majorities’ approval to exercise your rights, but liberalism also uses that force for ends which are contradictory to natural rights, and the natural way humans survive, by solving problems posed by their environment. Liberalism says that some people will solve problems, and some people won’t, but regardless, everyone should have the same comfort. However this means the problem most people strive to solve is how to become part of the group that does not have to solve any other problems. The group providing solutions to problems (food, clothing, shelter, comfort, transportation, medicine) therefore dwindles.

The way for the human race to grow and mature is to not be treated like children where the parent must make everything equal, but instead be treated as human, free to respond to their environment in the best way for them–an environment that does not reward force. Since initiating force is not a right, the natural order of human interaction will trend towards a system that benefits everyone who produces without using force to the highest extent. Production is rewarded and force is punished under natural law, it only makes sense that human constructions of society should replicate and encourage that paradigm.

True Utopia: Communism versus Anarcho-Capitalism (Part I)

There is a “South Park” episode (season 9 episode 2) where hippies start to take over the tiny animated mountain town in Colorado. As the hippies begin to form the second Woodstock, they convince the protagonists, four fourth grade boys, that “the corporations” are the source of all problems in the world. The boys want to do something about it, so they hang with the hippies waiting to take action. Finally the boys get the hippies to describe their vision for a utopian society.

Stan: So it seems like we have enough people now, when do we start taking down the corporations?

Hippie: Yea man the corporations, right now they’re raping the world for money.

Kyle: Yea, so where are they, let’s go get them.

Hippie: Right now we’re proving that we don’t need corporations, we don’t need money. This can become a commune where everyone just helps each other.

Hippie: Yea we’ll have one guy who like, who like makes bread, and one guy who like, looks out for other people’s safety.

Stan: You mean like a baker and a cop?

Hippie: No, no can’t you imagine a place where people live together and like provide services for each other in exchange for their services?

Kyle: Yea its called a town.

Hippie: You kids just haven’t been to college yet…

This exchange perfectly exemplifies the difference between a fairly tale, and a truly obtainable “utopia” if you want to call it that. There are two ideas that are basically on the opposite end of the political spectrum, but are actually pretty similar in the desired outcome. Communism is the end game for what some imagine to be a perfect society based on cooperation and togetherness, but lacking incentives that would make the society function absent of force.

The problem is that communism would require an interim dictatorship, and dictators never give up power. Instead this interim government would never hand the reigns back to the people, but continue to use force and “righteous ideas” to promote and extend their own power. Even if they did hand the control back however, not enough would be produced to sustain the society. We know this from examples like Plymouth Plantation where people starved working together, until they adopted an every man for himself philosophy. Then the colony thrived.

The second idea could attain a very similar society to what communists dream of, but include incentives for production, and exclude force, or a regulatory authority or government. Anarcho-capitalism is the idea that everything in society for which there is a market or demand would be provided by those seeking to profit, even absent an organizational authority. So when the hippie talks about his ideal commune having, like, some guy that bakes bread and some guy that looks out for safety, he is thinking of these people as willing volunteers, not expecting any reward, other than what everyone else gets.

The obvious problem is that if everyone gets the same reward for different amounts of effort, the effort people put in will quickly diminish, and not enough will be produced to provide for the entire society. Anarcho-capitalism doesn’t depend on people doing things out of the goodness of their heart, it depends on people specializing in a skill in order to trade that skill for the products of another person’s labor. So everyone doesn’t have to bake their own bread, and provide their own security, they can specialize in baking bread, and trade that bread for security. Money just streamlines this process so that you don’t have to trade a physical loaf of bread, instead using a placeholder.

But the hippies imagine a society where no one goes hungry and everyone is taken care of. In an anarcho-capitalist society there would be so much extra that everyone would in fact be taken care of. How do I know this? Simply from studying the most free markets that have existed, and extrapolating from there. Right now enough extra is produced in America so that “poor” Americans now live the life that “the rich” once lived. Cell phones, heat, electricity, air conditioning, vehicles, alcohol, material comforts, free time, and access to healthcare are all things that the poor enjoy in the United States. Not because the government magically provides these things, but because there is enough extra produced from a free-ish market.

If these things were simply provided by government, then why is there so much more poverty in some parts of Africa and Central and South America where governments have no problem mandating generous redistributions of wealth? The answer is that stability provides incentives to produce more. If you know that when you grow a field of wheat, almost all of it will be taken, you are much less likely to grow that wheat. In America, there is a relative guarantee that you can keep (part) of what you produce, so we have incentive to produce more. This incentive decreases with every tax hike, every bailout, and every dollar borrowed or printed by government. As the incentive fades, so does the production. This happens on a continuum, which is why our economy is slowly bleeding to death with every government intervention.

So it makes sense that if the closer we got to a free market, the more extra there was, that in the most free market possible with nothing being taken by force, more would be produced. Why not grow more wheat if you know that you get to trade every single grain for your benefit? But don’t take an individual’s benefit as negating others’ benefits—after all there is a field of wheat where a dirt lot could have stood.

So instead of a government that automatically takes 40-50% of your labor, and the products of that labor, you have a society where each individual controls where his or her extra labor and production goes. The fact that there is no siphoning body like the government provides two-fold benefits, they aren’t taking the extra product, and because they are not taking it, the population produces more. So now the government is not there to take anything from the laborers, and this leads each laborer to make more of whatever they make.

The control in this society would be with the individuals, and that is what does not sit well with those who want a communist utopia. Many people cannot stand to think that a person could be greedy if they chose, and instead prefer a body which can use force to control producers. The inevitable effect of this force is less being produced, and therefore less to go around. When this production is not confiscated however, that extra will find its way into the hands of those who need it, instead of into the hands of government cronies like corrupt corporations, and unproductive bureaucrats.

So if the hippies could just let go, chill out, and give up their desire for control, we could get pretty damn close to their utopia. After all, aren’t communists really interested in freeing the laborer? What could be better than allowing an individual laborer to keep the entirety of what he or she produces? What could be better than freeing the individual from being forced by the government to give money to corporations in the form of bailouts, grants, and subsidies?

And guess what, no one’s going to let the wheat they worked hard to grow wither in the fields. Tomorrow I will discuss how that wheat (or whatever necessities) will get to everyone that needs it in an anarcho-capitslist society, therefore obtaining the utopia of which communists can only dream.

Without Government, Who Would Build the Roads?

In the past I have discussed Anarcho-Capitalism, the system of organizing a society based on the free market instead of the government. I began by discussing that absent of government there would still be a market for protection, police, and crime investigation, and a free market would provide these things because profit would be available to those who supply security. I discussed how different security companies would interact to avoid chaos, and how based on the desire to live a happy, healthy life, the market (customers) would demand companies which avoid violence in favor of negotiations with other companies based on prewritten contracts, and eventually a third party “arbitration agency” which companies would use to avoid the costs of mini-war, and avoid violating their customers contracts. Essentially there would be a clause in everyone’s security company contract that says the company will not go to bat for you if you actually commit a crime. Since these companies have incentives to solve crimes, they would most likely perform their investigative jobs better than the government currently does.

If you are confused you might want to start by reading the first post I wrote on this subject. But what I wanted to talk about today is the fact that most people never even imagine a society without government. People mostly default to imaging a riot, burning buildings, looting criminals, and widespread death and destruction. This is a pavlovian response that has been conditioned by government and its agents (the media) throughout each of our lives. I started by talking about police because protection is one of our most base needs, so we default to wondering how we would be safe without government. But there are plenty of other things that government currently does, which would also be fulfilled in a free market society without government–and it would be done better because of the incentives a company has to provide a product based on demand, and turn a profit.

Think about the incentives politicians have to provide us with government benefits. Just their jobs, which many “useful idiot” voters provide them time and time again, despite poor performance. What if the entity that was responsible for building roads could go out of business if it did a bad job? In a free market, a better company would take its place. Currently we have to beg and plead for our government to correctly use our tax dollars in order to provide us with good roads. Too many of those dollars are siphoned off by greedy politicians, and well meaning but ineffective government programs.

People want roads, and other people want profits (we all want some degree of profit to get us the things we need in life, it is not a bad thing). The desire for profits makes some people respond to the demand for roads with a supply of roads. Since roads are shared by many people, you may think that the government needs to pay for them, so that everyone could use them. But why not cut out the middleman–the government–and just leave it to the people who need the roads most to build them? Maybe if you live on a dead end street with 3 other houses, you put up with a dirt road because who would be willing to pay for your road? Maybe you and your neighbors put your money together and pave your dirt road at some point.

But you might live on a busy street with businesses; businesses that want people to be able to access them on smooth well maintained roads. Problem solved, now the business payed for something that you will be able to benefit from. Maybe a shipping company teams up with other companies in the area who need to move their goods, and builds a highway. Since they don’t want their money wasted, they restrict access and make it a toll road. Other companies need to use the road, and decide to pay the toll–after all, they have the money to spend on things like tolls, because they don’t have to spend it on taxes. But if the tolls are too excessive, there will be a market for another road to be built in order to compete and drive prices for using the road down.

If the toll roads cause gridlock, road companies may start teaming up with each-other to sell subscriptions. “Subscribe to toll road A company and get access to all toll road B company roads!” because the two companies have a mutually beneficial agreement. “Subscribe to toll road C company now and 50 cents of every dollar you pay for the first 6 months will go towards buying cars for families in need”. “For one low price subscribe to the Toll Road Association and  get access to every road in the country”. The free market solves these types of things because there is profit to be gained in doing so. Since no one is forcefully restricted from competing, prices are driven down, and quality up by companies vying for your business. If you are dissatisfied with a company for any reason, there is always one waiting to take your business and give you what you want.

Its a useful exercise to consider different things which the government provides, and think about how they would be provided in a free market. If there is a market for charity, those charities will exist. Right now many people pay their taxes and assume they have contributed to helping others, but the government is really bad and inefficient at helping the poor and needy. Since we do not want to see people starve, be homeless, or left to their own devices if they are unable to take care of themselves, markets would arise to fulfill these things. With all the leftover money not going to government in taxes, people would be much more willing to throw some money towards charities. And even if they were not willing to give up their money to charity, companies that they patronize will see a profit in providing charity, because it attracts customers.

A restaurant may have a free meal program once a month for the hungry. A school would give out 20 scholarships a year subsidized by those enrolled at the school. A security company would offer protection to those who could not afford it, because their customers feel better about themselves when they contribute to society’s safety. The only difference is that these things would be done better, because they would have to be done better to compete. The government takes away the competition by force, and monopolizes certain industries and services, leaving us with no choice if we are not satisfied with the quality and price.

Everyday I hear about another private company dropping their healthcare coverage for part time workers or retirees, because the government has made it too expensive through regulation in Obamacare. At one point those companies decided to offer healthcare to their employees in order to attract and retain good workers, but the government stepped in and has ruined a good situation for a lot of people by using force in the economy. Give anarcho-capitalism some thought. Next time you use a vital government service, ask yourself if that service could be absorbed and improved by the free market. I think that in an honest assessment, you will find that incentives are the key to quality goods and services.