I know… I know… now that I have your attention…follow me.
When I say anarchists are better people, I intend that they are “better” in the sense they understand that systematically aggressing against people is unethical. They hold no exceptions to this position. They also understand that the ethical question is paramount and it therefore carries the day. Anarchists hold that coherency based on irrefutable axiomatic statements is the ethical position. To employ philosophically inconsistent arguments is not to argue at all, but to be purely argumentative. These discussions by definition are unprincipled, put forth nothing of any value, and further, reduce the likelihood of meaningful conversation.
Some may think “I know some so-called libertarians and they don’t behave any better (observably) than any other group.” That may be true on an individual basis, but anarchists reject the use of the most destructive (philosophically and historically) mechanism, the state. The state has at is disposal its only tool, force. And the mere threat of the use of that tool, causes fear, creates intimidation and ultimately compliance by the citizenry. To ignore this – to deny that the state is a coercive agency – is incoherent.
A common critique of libertarianism is that it sounds good in theory, but its functionality remains in question (or is flatly rejected). Not only do libertarians refute the workability question, the political philosophy of freedom asserts that a free society would enjoy improved peace and prosperity. However, it remains that the ethical question holds the weight.
The argument made by the anarchist is that even if the performance of a free society would be less than that of a statist society (not possible), it represents a morally superior society. If the choice is a better performing immoral society v. a lesser performing moral society (which it is not), the ethical society represents the better society. How is it possible that a society employing systematic coercion could outperform a moral one? Or how could the removal of a criminal gang of thieves from society cause the society to generate less wealth?
Many claim, however, that the current society performs quite well. Well? Compared to what? Comparing the society of the US to other societies? Libertarians contend that compared to a free society the US society underperforms. They do not deny that temporarily the elites do quite well, however, at the expense of the vast majority of society. And the generally better condition of the US society is not an endorsement of the statism that exists, but is a credit to its culture that performs reasonably even while be coerced.
This culture generally understands and conducts their lives to the their benefit employing social cooperation. They inherently understand the cost of conflict and seek to avoid it. They dedicate themselves to creating the wealth they seek through voluntary exchange rather than engaging in immoral behavior even as they witness and endorse the state engaging in coercive activity. They have been indoctrinated into believing that the state, and the services it provides, require an exception to ethical behavior or they simply do not recognize it as such (even though it is).
It is a wholly incoherent argument to make the case that bank robbing is a superior profession because bank robbers can make a fine living. The robbers engage in an immoral act (theft, the taking of another’s property without his consent) and they reduce the wealth of society materially as well as wrecking havoc on the level of social cooperation in society. In short robbery also breaks down the “social fabric” whereas a moral society supports and enhances the “social fabric”. Similarly, agents of the state can make a fine living (and are generally respected by the populace), but do so at the expense of the ruled.
To make an incoherent argument is to argue for nothing substantively. There is no principle at stake. It is in fact not an argument, but rather simply argumentative. Libertarians understand this. Further, as an example of incoherency, many statists claim to be devout in their religious faith and to their faith’s moral teachings. However, it is wholly inconsistent to support theft, murder (warfare) and more on a mass scale through the mechanism of the state while claiming to support the moral teachings of one’s religion. Not only inconsistent – it leads one to objectively conclude that it renders one’s support of the tenets of one’s religious faith utterly meaningless – to decry individual acts of aggression while simultaneously advocating and supporting the same act on a mass scale. Incoherent arguments carry no weight, hold no meaning and are not arguments at all.
Anarchists are better people. They understand that systematically aggressing against people is immoral. They also understand that the ethical question is paramount and wins the argument. Anarchists hold that coherency based on irrefutable axiomatic statements represent the moral position. Anarchists support self government rejecting the state as an immoral institution.