Anarchy and its failings

Anarchy, Voluntaryism, Anti-Statism, Miniarchism and other various similar strains of thought rejecting the idea of a state entirely seem to becoming vogue in some online communities and various channels. Similar tools for combating Libertarians can be used for Anarchists but a few notable strategies have to be modified. Libertarianism will give you a state and a government, and various degrees of public spending from national defense to contract law and sometimes up to education and other minimal public goods and is at least theoretically possible. Anarchists are an amorphous, nebulous group that is difficult to pin down, as their ideologies cannot be examined in any empirical or real world sense in the developed world.

We are not interesting in gambling with our lives on a hypothesis so risky without good reason for supposing it would be successful.

The evidence shows that markets do not exist in a vacuum: they are shaped by our legal system and our political institutions. In order for us to enjoy today’s modern comforts and prosperity, we would have to presumably achieve some form of market system. In this regard, markets are created and do not exist in the ether. Libertarian argument tactics can be used here.

Questions the Anarchist would need to answer for us to take his position seriously:

What Transcendent law does one appeal to?

How is vigilante justice, which is often and usually arbitrary, severe, and disparate dealt with?

How is national defense organized?

How do markets form?

How is market failure corrected?

How are the sick and infirm treated?

How is investigation undertaken for murder? Privatized markets?

How are property rights established and enforced?

How are collective action problems and free riders addressed?

How is freedom not left up to private purchasing power? In the absence of a state, presumably organization much take place through private markets. What if someone cannot pay? Freedom becomes a commodity, and no longer any sense of a right.

How are rights defined and protected?

In the past Anarchist have gotten angry at me for asking such questions, as though we are supposed to take it on faith that such complicated matters will simply resolve themselves. What these questions demonstrate is someone with a reasonable background in economics and psychology who understands markets do not arise from the ether and are not in any sense natural but must be created, maintained, and enforced by an accountable entity with a call upon a public treasury to avoid free riders and collection action problems.

Practical Arguments 

In an example where Sawyer, from LOST, took someone elses medicine after the plane crashed, it was pointed out how he violated Sharon’s property rights. She did not consensually relinquish her right to property. The rebuttal came forth: that there is a construct known as abandonment. The medicine was said to have been abandoned and therefor free for the taking and tranfer of ownership. But look at this problem. Abandonment itself is a legal construct, etched out and defined by law and enforced through state funded courts. Outside of any legal system or under the assumption of a stateless society, such a claim becomes absolutely arbitrary. The strong can manufacture any reason they want to to steal from the weak. Concocting a faulty reason through appeal to an unsupported rule doesn’t change anything. How would this dispute be settled? If no arbitration is appealed to then our main objection to anarchy remains a towering spire of truth – anarchy just means everything belongs to whoever has the power to take them, for whatever reason they wish. Complete unaccountable tyranny to the private or the cruel.

Anarchy, or removal of government is best for society. How can we check to see if any of this is true.

Every single problem must be caused by government, and only governments removal will solve everything (as well as can be solved pragmatically – perfection or utopia isn’t’ assumed.) Child Poverty, lack of affordable healthcare, lack of clean drinking water, lack of food or nourishment, market failure, foreign invasion, recessions, everything all have to be caused by government. The only way we can check this is to examine places with no government or virtually none to see if these problems are solved. Nowhere is this the case. This is the only way we can answer the question “How can we check to see if what you say is true.”

How could this possibly inspire confidence in your hypothesis? The places where these are lowest, are all places where there is modern economic government. If you see variables that are all lower in the presence of one overriding factor than in its absence, how can you reach the conclusion that the removal of that factor will LOWER these variables?

The problem is that offering a hypothesis with an entirely market solution (even granting modern markets dont’ exist without government), with the premise that it “would” work because people “would” behave in this way makes probability judgments which are very, very ambitious and that we are simply not in a position to make with any kind of confidence. The counter doesn’t work for the anarchist. Saying we cannot say taxing income and paying for schools is an ambitious claim we cannot judge the liklihood of success isn’t accurate. 1) We have examples of it working 2) The mechanism of action is simple, and requires no heroic leaps of assumption on the actions of humans.

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