Tag Archives: anarcho-capitalism

Firm; Yet Flexible (Anarcho-Capitalism is)

I have a running joke with a friend.  We often cite the mantra “firm; yet flexible”.

It occurs to me that this could be the mantra of an anarcho-capitalist.  How so?  I might argue an anarcho-capitalist is the very definition of the “firm; yet flexible” mantra.

An anarcho-capitalist is undeniably firm.  He strictly adheres to the two pillars of the philosophy of liberty – the non-aggression axiom and private property rights rooted in self ownership.  These rules apply to all people in all places at all times.  There are simply no exceptions.  It does not matter if you are associated with others, wear nice uniforms or even gain popular support.  The anarcho-capitalist stands firm against the initiation of violence (fraud, theft, rape, murder etc. – violations of property).

An anarcho-capitalist is the epitome of flexible.  Adherence to the two pillars of the philosophy does not make one inflexible.  The anarcho-capitalist holds that peaceful acts are not crimes – no matter how distasteful, outrageous, or destructive they may appear as there is no violation in property rights.  Anarcho-capitalism holds that one has the right to engage in activities including drug dealing or use, prostitution (or facilitation), blackmail, speculation or other vilified or disfavored activities.  That does not intend that the anarcho-capitalist supports engaging in such behaviors.  And there is no contradiction in supporting a right while simultaneously advocating against exercising the right.  (One is a legal matter – the other a moral matter.)

The only tool at the disposal of the state is force.  The introduction of violence does not remedy the situation, but in fact makes it worse.  Force does nothing to address the underlying demand for these goods and services.  The state can only offer punishment for engaging in them.  There is no doubt some deterrent effect from punishment.

On balance, criminalization of these behaviors has a multitude of negative effects.  It provides the incentives for the creation of  black markets.  Black markets have limited competitors – only those willing to assume the risk of violence and police action – or the cost of police protection (bribes, payoffs or offering of information) will enter the market.  This scenario has a variety of deleterious effects including reduced safety (communicable disease in the case of prostitution), higher costs, and reduction in the quality of products and services.

Criminalizing increases the impetus for violence – gangs (in lieu of using peaceful means for dispute resolution – impartial third party arbitrators) and violent resistence.  Violence begets violence.  Criminalization also creates a parasite industry of jailing non-violent “criminals”.

There are many societal ill effects as well.  Futures are destroyed by convictions and imprisonment removing individuals from the possibility of learning and engaging in productive work.  Jailing severely limits the possibility of the experience of satisfaction from a job well done.  And the emotional damage and scars left on the families of the convicted weigh heavily on the innocent.  These families are victims of illegitimate laws and as a consequence lose respect for legitimate laws.

As these acts are non-crimes, they therefore are not preventable or punishable by violence.  To change one’s beliefs, behavior, ideas or position, he must be properly persuaded through education or example.  The use of violence does not improve society.  It simply makes it violent.  The state reduces cooperation by introducing itself into peaceful, voluntary transactions.

Many anarcho-capitalists deplore these distasteful or unsavory activities.  They insist, however, that the initiation of violence is improper on the grounds that it is a violation of the non-aggression axiom and that it does not provide the desired outcome while in fact making the state of affairs worse.  The anarcho-capitalist is in fact “firm: yet flexible”.

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Performance: Why a Free Society Beats the Statist Society, Everytime

The common objection to a free society is the contention that it simply will not work.  At best, the statist claims, “it is potentially a viable theory, but it just won’t work”.  The market failure theorist (a term Dr. Thomas Di Lorenzo has coined) insists that the liberty advocate fundamentally misunderstands the realities of man.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The common argument has the statist endlessly questioning the liberty advocate placing the burden of describing every detail of human cooperation squarely on the shoulders of the natural order supporter.  The freedom advocate is caught in a never-ending game, a game in which he cannot “win”; a tactical error however, not an inherent weakness of liberty.  But the “how” is not where the primary support for a free society lies.  The case for liberty is rooted in its coherent argument.  No system of governance by a state (as is commonly understood) can make such a coherent case.

However, how a free society outperforms the society encumbered by a state is of course important and can and has been explained.  There is no doubt it outperforms the encumbered society.  Presented here is an abbreviated case for why this is so.  To gain a full understanding of the case for liberty, one must engage in a larger scale effort.

The problems presented by the statist regime are many, however, fundamentally this form of dominance does not properly recognize the nature of man, scarcity, property rights and the incompatibility of the use of aggressive force.  The private law society recognizes all of these fundamentals.  The natural order requires that society not be divided into two classes, the rulers and the ruled as does statism.

Reason dictates that the removal of encumbrances necessarily allow for an increase in the productive effort.  The theoretical and historical cases support the claim that societies acting in accordance with well-defined property rights (and those in concert with the nature of man) exceed the performance of a society encumbered by a state.  Support for this claim rests on the assertion that: 1) Defined property rights, when adhered to, reduce the potential for conflict.  2) The cost of production will be reduced.  3) Many items currently provided by the state will not be produced at all.  4) The cost of services currently offered by the state that have a market demand will be available at a lower price.  5) Possibly the greatest single gain will be made to the psyche of the populous, the only wealth creators.

Conflict avoidance, a concept emphasized by Hans-Hermann Hoppe will cause more resources to be dedicated to productive effort and reduce the destruction of wealth.   A system of justice, understood and practiced reduces the potential for conflict, creating stability and peace.  As the potential for conflict is reduced, society will divert resources from war and preparedness for conflict to peaceful cooperation – the creation of wealth.  Preparedness for conflict and war will be acknowledged as an inefficient use of resources.  The market will encourage the diversion of resources to more efficient use.  Further, the destruction of wealth that occurs in conflict will be limited, offering the preservation of existing wealth producing capital keeping them available for productive use.  There is a twofold gain resulting from stability and peace.  It will redirect resources currently used for preparation for conflict and also eliminate the destruction of resources as a result of war.

The cost of production will be reduced as a result of eliminating the burden the state currently places on production.  With the help of large-corporation honchos, regulations that discourage small businesses and start ups punish any attempt to enter the marketplace with red tape, burdensome regulations, minimum wage laws and healthcare laws.  Many readily recognize endless red tape requiring entire departments that produce nothing of value.  They exist solely to gain and maintain compliance and appease government inspectors, officials or bureaucrats.  Resources used currently for lobbying will be eliminated as the use of authority will not be for sale as it is now.  And the destructive mandates created as a result of lobbying will never come into existence.  Additionally, tax attorneys and tax accountants will be available for productive work.  All of this capacity will be realigned to create wealth, products and services demanded by the market.

Further reducing the burden on a free society, many services currently provided by the state will not be produced at all.  The “bads” produced by the state will be eliminated in short order.  Examples abound.  The US Postal Service will cease operation or be absorbed by those supplying delivery services.  Subsidized, poorly designed and maintained roads will be placed in the hands of businesses who will satisfy the needs of the marketplace or face elimination.  The FDA, responsible for the deaths of many annually will cease to exist.  The monopolization of money will be eliminated requiring no central bank.  The market will ensure the highest quality money at the lowest price just as it does for mail delivery, medical service delivery and any service.  Consistent with a free market, only goods and services demanded will be produced and those producers who cannot efficiently use resources will become more efficient or face elimination from the marketplace.

Upon elimination of the “bads” that the state currently supplies, the cost of the remaining services supplied by the state will be offered at a lower cost.  The state currently enjoys its status as a holder of a legal monopoly on the supply of its services which inevitably makes it an exploiter and expropriator.  No entity will enjoy a similar status.  The competitive marketplace will push suppliers to innovate to reduce costs further.  The result will be the reduction of the cost of producing these goods.

The affect on the psyche of the populous may in fact be the greatest impact.  The realization of the fruits of one’s labor will unlock the full potential of man’s creative spirit.  And unlocking the full potential of man’s productive capacity yields the greatest wealth.  In addition the psychological affect on the happiness is likely not quantifiable nor measurable, but is no less real because of a lack of a metric.

The journey to liberty requires context.  It takes effort to gain the proper prospective.  It has been said that to know truth you must risk everything.  Imagine the first ocean going explorers; the intense fear of the unknown, the possibility of falling off the edge of the earth.  The journey to liberty is similar in so many ways.  The enlightenment that comes from this effort is fulfilling and “liberating”.  So question the legitimacy and very existence of the state.  Use your ability to reason.

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