Anarchy

Hello and welcome to Reality Check. Hi, I’m Mark Pellegrino, and today I’m going to talk about anarchy. I think it’s safe to say that people in America are disillusioned with the two-party system and who can blame them? The democrats promise us a socialist utopia where every member of society is forced to work for the common good, and everyone is supposedly made equally prosperous and happy. The republicans promise us a conservative utopia fueled by venerable traditions where social harmony is apparently achieved by sticking to what has worked for generations.

The problem, is both of these options suck, and so it’s easy to see why people are disillusioned and why they’re becoming more open to something that challenges the tradition state versus the social state narrative we’ve all grown so suspicious of. Unfortunately, the only option that has reared its ugly head and generated some steam with the younger generation is the anti-state philosophy popularly called anarchy. I know, you thought you outgrew that anarchy thing when you stopped listening to the Sex Pistols around about 1984.

But what was once the province of silly rich white kids playing at punk rock in the suburbs of LA has now become a bona fide anti-political philosophy with its own set of intellectuals, economists, and historians. So what is this thing called anarchy? Anarchy is the belief that the state is inherently evil, will always do bad things to people, and so should not exist. What should exist in its place? A market.

See, the inherent evil of government comes from the fact that it claims a monopoly on the use of force. It’s this restraint of choice that is the source of all its evil. To amend this obvious moral problem, anarchists claim there should be competition in government. They deduce this from the nearly self-evident fact that competition in the marketplace of goods and services yields better products and results in customer satisfaction. So why can’t the same thing happen with governments? After all, government is only a kind of service. Right?

Now, these are actually good questions. Is government a marketable service? Is it open to competition? Should customer satisfaction be a primary driver of government services? Let’s see.

Markets are distinguished from governments by one blaring feature. The absence of force. I know it’s difficult to tell nowadays, but people in markets are persuading each other to exchange values for mutual profit. If the terms of a proposed exchange are not mutually satisfactory to both parties, no exchange happens. The end. Force is not about persuasion and exchange. Rather it’s about the imposition of one person’s will over another. Force is always monopolistic in nature, and monopolies are anti-market establishments that do not tolerate competition, have given up on persuasion, and are not working for reciprocity. Just compliance. Can one say that which destroys the fundamental conditions of a market is marketable? I don’t know. I think not.

As I already described, force is always monopolistic, and monopolies are anti-competition. Just as the robber attempts to establish a forced monopoly over you upon breaking into your home, and you do the same in defence of your values, so opposing governments can only compete by making war on each other until one wins. Don’t believe me. The 50-year-long spectacle of the cold war is a perfect example of the incompatibility of competing force institutions. As communism and liberalism clashed incessantly all over the globe in conflagrations that took the lives of millions and left only one power standing in the end.

The quick answer is no. Rights protection should drive government services. In the market, each person seeks to satisfy his own subjective wants and tastes, but force is a unique beast that comes in only two shapes and sizes. And given its nature as other directed cannot be subjective at all if we are to maintain a civil society. Think about the various people that live together in society peacefully, satisfying their subjective wants and now carry that subjective satisfaction over to force and ask yourself, would Tony Soprano be satisfied by the same force services as you? Would his satisfaction make you more or less safe? What about Charles Manson or MS-13? Should their force preferences and subjective satisfaction be allowed to compete against yours, or should they be totally discouraged?

Okay, here’s the deal. Government is a gun. And like a gun, it is only as good or bad as the values of those who are using it. If a culture is dominated by collectivism, where individual rights are non-existent, and a wide degree of initiated force is tolerated in society, as a necessary means of achieving ethical ends, the government will be a scourge to human life and prosperity. And this has been the case throughout the majority of history.

On the other hand, if a culture is dominated by individualism and holds each individual life as a sacred and sovereign entity, initiated force would not be tolerated, and retaliatory force would be seen as a problem solved by systematizing universal standards of right. Which at all stages of the retaliatory process would elevate reason above satisfaction. Such a government would be incapable of deliberate harm, so the anarchists are as wrong as any other group of intrinsicists who divorce notions like good, right, the state, liberty, government, and force from the living context of actual human beings and rationalize all systems connected to nothing.

Anarchists, like it or not, government is here to stay. The only question is will it be guided by collectivism and continue to turn back human progress and parasitize the virtuous and productive. Or will it finally unapologetically embrace liberalism and individualism and unleash the great potential of humankind to a greater degree than it already has? Check.