Sorry Fake Libertarians, Capitalism Requires Anarchy

I just read a rather painful article in Forbes titled “Sorry Libertarian Anarchists, Capitalism Requires Government“. It was written by a contributor named Harry Binswanger, who ironically enough says he defends laissez-faire capitalism, except for, you know, those things he wants the government to do.

To make matters worse, reading that article lead me to remember a friend linking me to a leftist piece at Center for a Stateless Society titled “Anarcho-”Capitalism” Is Impossible“, where a libtard anarchist named Anna Morganstern said basically the same thing, but favoring some left anarchist economic fantasy world of universally equal outcomes to Harry’s imaginary benevolent rulers. Actually, I shouldn’t call her a libtard. For a leftist, she actually managed to make a coherent, if easily disproven argument, which I’ll need to address in a different article, because I wound up with quite a bit to say about the Forbes piece.

Imagine that though, Forbes and C4SS teaming up against the AnCaps… Now I have a headache, and I cannot sleep.

To Harry’s credit, he made Swiss cheese out of some of the same incoherent “voluntaryist” arguments that I’ve spent a lot of time thwarting. Harry recognizes, as I do, that force is a necessary function of human society. Essentially, all these conversations are about, is when, and how, to use physical violence in plotting the course for human society. Most people who would call themselves anarcho-capitalists are very uncomfortable with this reality, and so they don’t spend very much time thinking about it. They far prefer to spend their time smoking marijuana, and thinking of ways to avoid violence, and we should all thank them for doing that, since violence is almost universally intolerable in polite society. Because of this however, they either deny that force will be necessary, or just have no coherent ideas on how it will be applied in a free society.

I also suspect that Harry, like me, has been spending a great deal of time speaking to people who aren’t anarcho-capitalists at all. A lot of these people are actually left-market-anarchists like Anna. Not capitalists, but rather leftists who are just desperately trying to insert some semblance of coherent economic reasoning into their liberal la la land fantasies about universal equality of outcomes. When somebody attempts to apply rational economics to universal equality, we need not act surprised when they fail, and minarchists like Harry should not declare victory for their justifications of initiatory violence, just because they bested an intellectually weak opponent.

Like most limited government fetishists, Harry has a romantic fairy tale in his mind about the once great American republic. He speaks a lot about a “proper” “limited” government that once existed but has only recently been betrayed by some unnamed force.

binswanger

The genius of the American system is that it limited government, reining it in by a Constitution, with checks and balances and the provision that no law can be passed unless it is “necessary and proper” to the government’s sole purpose: to protect individual rights–to protect them against their violation by physical force.

Facts be damned, this guy thinks the constitution used to mean something, and even more hysterically, he seems to think it might mean the same thing some time in the future if he just complains about it enough.. I wonder if he’s ever read the Constitution of North Korea, or the Soviet Union, or Mao’s China?

I’d rather make this an economic discussion than a history lesson, as to not bore my regular readers with repetitive historical oversights that we’ve all discussed ad nauseam with the PaulBots, but to make a proper response to any minarchist argument, this is sort of necessary.

Any honest study of history will show that the fable of this free market society with a limited government was all a scam brought on by government schools to convince you that your slave master in fact makes you free. Is it really necessary to remind anyone that the United States began with chattel slavery? The government declared that one class of people owned another class of people, and should the slave class escape from the owning class, the government would, at taxpayer expense, return the chattel slave to the master, by force. Sure, your business could choose to not own slaves, but not only would you be competing against a competitor with a slave army for his workforce, but you would be subsidizing his slave ownership with your taxes (which makes you a slave too, btw). Nobody in their right mind can talk to me about free markets where there is State sanctioned ownership of human beings. If this is your definition of capitalism, sir, then that explains why so many people hate it. This kind of reasoning does more harm to free market economics than donating to the Democratic party.

Before that ended in a civil war, George Washington signed the law authorizing the First Bank of the United States. A private central bank, that, while it did issue money theoretically backed by precious metals, did print paper notes exceeding the amount of precious metals they were backed by. It may have kept inflation to a minimum right up until the first American Civil War, but a central bank with a de facto fiat currency, manipulating markets on the whims of men like Alexander Hamilton, is hardly a free market. To say otherwise is to hand the argument over to Keynes on a silver (or would he prefer paper?) platter.

Before we move on from George Washington, can we officially say the spirit of the first American Revolution was dead upon the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion?

If slavery and central banking don’t snap you out of this cognitive dissonance, Harry, then perhaps the Alien & Sedition acts, signed by the second president of the United States, John Adams, will. John Adams claimed the power to imprison and deport immigrants who were “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States”, and restricted speech that was critical of the federal government, in the name of “National Security”. Sound familiar? Under these acts, numerous journalists were arrested, fined, and imprisoned for criticizing the federal government. Perhaps the most notable of which, was Benjamin Franklin Bache, grandson to the Benjamin Franklin on your hundred dollar bills.

We’re not even 12 years into the nearly 240 year history of this republic yet, and things only get worse from there. So if your fabled “land of the free” begins with slavery, central banking, debt, insurrection, and jailing reporters, only to lead up to a bloody civil war and full on fiat currency, before moving on to the income tax and modern Federal Reserve system, I’m sorry, but you don’t even know what freedom means.

With Puff the Magic Government slain, let us move on to the argument at hand.

Can capitalism exist without a government?

I’d like to think we’re all speaking the same language here, but the more I talk to people, the more I realize that we are not. The symbols we use to form words on paper are the same, the words they form are the same, and they represent the same sounds. This allows us to communicate with each other well enough to order hamburgers at McDonald’s, but when we start talking about economics and politics, people have a really nasty tendency to redefine words to benefit their argument. Two words need clarification of my definition before we move forward, so the minarchists and liberals can properly respond with their baseless criticisms of the painfully obvious realities I’m about to point out.

For the purpose of this discussion, capitalism is defined as private property rights, trade, and contracts. Anybody can do whatever they want with their property. They can stockpile it, give it away, destroy it, whatever they want. They can choose to protect it with force, or they can leave it unguarded, where someone else has no right to, but probably will, take it against the will of the owner.

For the purpose of this discussion, government is defined as the State. An excuse to do harm, a legal fiction entity with the supposed moral and legal right to initiate force against others for the purpose of organizing human society, as the rulers of a given arbitrary geopolitical boundary see fit.

Continuing with Harry, he begins his article as follows…

As it says next to my picture, I defend laissez-faire capitalism. “Anti-government” is the term Leftists use to smear this position. And, amazingly, some calling themselves “libertarians” are indeed anti-government across the board; they argue for what they call “anarcho-capitalism.”

“Free competition works so well for everything else,” these anarchists say, “why not for governmental services, too?”

But that argument comes from an anti-capitalist premise. Like the Marxists, who prate about “exploitation” and “wage slavery,” the anarchists are ignoring the crucial, fundamental, life-and-death difference between trade and force.

Marxists claim that capitalistic acts use force. “Anarcho-capitalists” claim that acts of force can be capitalistic. Though they come at it from different directions, both ignore or evade the fact that producing and exchanging values is the opposite of physical force.

Production is the creation of value, and trade is the voluntary exchange of value for value, to mutual benefit. Force is destruction, or the threat of it. It may be the destruction of a value, as when a hoodlum throws a rock through a store window. Or it may be the destruction of destruction, as when a policeman pulls a gun on that hoodlum and hauls him off to jail. But in either case, it is the opposite of wealth-creation and voluntary trade.

Here’s a fun irony… Harry says anarcho-capitalists are approaching economics from a Marxist perspective, and while I start off praising him for understanding that force is necessary, his mistake is that he’s actually coming at the use of force issue from a pacifist perspective.

Harry here makes the argument that force has no value, and his entire argument hinges on this point. For him, force provides him with nothing. He is a writer, he pays taxes so police can protect him, and while he’s very happy to have that protection, he doesn’t see any economic benefit in it. Instead, he equates it to some unnatural drain on the economy.

Yes, the hoodlum can throw a rock through your window. No, broken windows do not improve economies. Yes, the police can gun the hoodlum down. No, dead hoodlums do not improve economies. For sure, we would all be better off if people didn’t throw rocks and no protection agency of any sort were necessary, and as soon as you find a way to prevent any of this from happening, I’m really interested to hear about it.

In the meantime, hoodlums throw rocks, rapists rape, murderers kill, thieves steal, leftists vote, and police do exactly what to prevent any of it?

If a rock came flying through your window while you were reading this article, the average citizen would likely call 911. Within a few hours, police would arrive and take a report, and the hoodlum would go back to his friends and brag about how he got away with throwing a rock at a statist.

Police are not the reason you still have windows. Most people have no desire to throw rocks, rape, kill, or steal. It’s just plain easier to work for a living. With wages, tax rates, and regulations being what they are, that kinda says a lot about how much people prefer work to crime, that would be all the more true in a free society, and so it’s not because they fear the almighty police state putting them in prison. As a guy who claims to stand up for free market capitalism, Harry, you of all people should understand how reputation and incentives work. If a guy is in the business of sticking up liquor stores, he’s not going to last long in a free society. For one, a free society is going to be an armed society, and he’s probably going to get himself shot pretty quickly, cops or no cops, public or private. He’s also not going to be making many friends or developing many lucrative business relationships. His loneliness, misery, poverty, and early violent death serve as a warning to others, that honest trade is the way to go. The only things preventing this are gun control, fear of prosecution for defensive/retaliatory force, and reverse Jim Crow laws that require businesses to serve and hire people they don’t want to do business with. So in short, far from preventing crime, the State assures us that crime pays.

But of course, those people will exist in any society on some limited basis, State or no State. The more property you have to protect, the greater the incentives to steal it, the greater the need for protection. Since we believe in private property rights, we have this tendency to say that nobody has a “right” to take our property from us without our consent. It is however sort of important for capitalists to do away with this notion that this is somehow sacred and inviolable, because it just plain isn’t. Just like owning a home requires you to do some maintenance, to keep the heat running in the winter to prevent pipes from freezing, fix a leaking roof, if for no other reason, just to avoid loss of value to other natural circumstances, so must one protect one’s property from theft and vandalism to avoid losing value to aggressors.

No, a broken window doesn’t help an economy, but that doesn’t mean the glass man isn’t providing you with a valuable service when he comes to replace your windows. No, frozen pipes do not help the economy, but we’re more than happy to pay to keep the gas on in a vacant house in a winter time to avoid paying someone to replace all our pipes and floorboards. No, leaky roofs do not help the economy, but we’re more than happy to pay the roofer to fix the roof before the leak ruins the carpet. Likewise, rape, murder, and theft do not help an economy, but a protection agency, public or private, that uses force to stop aggressors provides a valuable service, and near any sane person would be happy to pay for that service, if you need proof of that, look no further than the fact that people aren’t killing tax collectors on a daily basis.

Take a look around you at all the violence in the world, then you try to tell me there is no market for violence? You might not like it, I certainly don’t, but that’s nothing more than our own market preference. That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee in this world. It doesn’t matter if you state your market preference on Forbes or on BlogTalkRadio, the market is the market, and your choices are limited to protecting yourself, hiring someone to protect you, or being victimized by private and public sector aggressors alike.

Use of force is a valuable trade that has been monopolized by the State, and yes, we see that monopoly as a bad thing.

The wielding of force is not a business function. In fact, force is outside the realm of economics. Economics concerns production and trade, not destruction and seizure.

You have no right to call yourself an economist, and say that anything is outside the realm of economics. You have no right to be that wrong. You have property, your property is part of the economy, you want it protected, and whether the government steals your property to protect your property in some sort of Orwellian paradox, or you voluntarily pay someone to protect it, or it is unprotected and some private sector aggressor steals it, there is an exchange of value happening here. That is economics, and the fact that I have to be the one to inform you of this should shame not only you, but everyone you’ve ever learned from.

Ask yourself what it means to have a “competition” in governmental services. It’s a “competition” in wielding force, a “competition” in subjugating others, a “competition” in making people obey commands. That’s not “competition,” it’s violent conflict. On a large scale, it’s war.

The shootout at the O.K. Corral was not a case of “competition.” Actual competition is a peaceful rivalry to gain dollars–dollars paid voluntarily in uncoerced trade.

Harry is uncomfortable with competing institutions of force. That’s understandable of course, there are competing institutions of force right now. We call them nations, and when they compete with each other, thousands of people are brutally murdered in a religious ritual they call “war”.

If Harry is so uncomfortable with the consequences of competing institutions of force, then doing away with nation-states should be step one in mitigating the damage those competitions create. Since he claims to understand “free market” economics, I’d hope Harry would just take some time to really try and apply his understanding of economics to private security firms, without the rose colored glasses a lifetime of state indoctrination has welded to his face.

Let us pretend for a moment that we both live on Gold Street in Ancapistan. (Don’t try to Google map this). We both own our homes, we both have families, and we both have jobs that earn fairly standard incomes. When I go to work, I want my family and property protected, and so I hire Security Agency X because I thought their TV commercial was really cool. You also want your family and property protected when you go to work, so you hire Security Agency Z because the receptionist was hot. These agencies are Coke & Pepsi, no discernible difference between them save for our own market preference, and we are not their only customers. They have the same market based interest to profit as much as possible, competing for customers on price and quality of service like any other company.

You and I have a dispute over widgets. I call my security agency, you call yours, and the competing agencies show up to serve their clients. Do you presume they will immediately open fire on us and one another? I imagine such a business plan would be rather difficult to maintain. Few people would want that job, the few who did would be insane, difficult to control, and expensive. Nobody would insure such an institution or its employees.

Again, he makes the mistake of approaching use of force from a pacifist perspective. As soon as there is the potential for a violent confrontation, he simply panics. He does not think it through. He wants the government to solve his problem, because he cannot imagine dealing with this responsibility on his own.

The goal of the protection agencies is not to kill the other protection agency, the goal is to satisfy the customer in order to profit. If I think you stole my widgets, it makes more sense for my protection agency to reimburse me for the widgets than it does to go to war with your protection agency. It also makes more sense for them to install security cameras and burglar alarms in my home to help prevent the theft in the first place, and if the theft occurs anyway, to have evidence to show your protection agency of your wrongdoing when they arrive.

What insurance company would insure a thief? If you run around stealing widgets, and your security agency has to go to war every time you do, what market incentive is there for them to continue doing so? You better be a damn successful widget thief if you think you’re going to hire an army of men to do battle every time you get caught!

There is your competition between agencies prepared to use force, sir. The competition is to avoid violence until it becomes absolutely necessary, because violence is expensive and hurts the bottom line. This is done through reputation, negotiation, payment, public opinion, and all the other ways people conduct business today, the only thing added to the equation is force of arms if all else fails.

Unlike the government, the market based entity has an incentive not to do violence, because violence is expensive, and it has other tools at its disposal. The State has only one tool, that tool is violence, and since it does not rely upon consent to obtain its revenue, there is little to no incentive to curb costs. Whether or not it has documents and procedures in place is irrelevant. The only reason we care what’s on those documents, show up in their court rooms or pay their taxes is because they threaten us with violence if we do not. This is a rather serious problem even inside of your fabled republic, but when it becomes the most powerful government in the history of mankind and runs around the planet murdering innocent people and caging gun owners and dissidents, the harsh reality of this becomes even more inescapable. Because you want a guarantee that the good guys win, you actually end up making absolutely certain that tyranny and oppression win.

If you hire a company to protect your widget theft racket, and I hire a company to protect my widgets, yes, my protection agency had better be more effective at using force than yours, because you and your men have to die. The good news is, there’s a lot more market demand for protection than there is for aggression, and so the good guys tend to win out in the market for violence, because they will have more customers, and therefore, more access to men and munitions.

Compare this to the State, who’s only tool is force. You cannot fire the State. The State has no competitor within the arbitrary geopolitical boundary it claims jurisdiction over. It has no interest in preventing crime, it does not reimburse you for your losses, it gets paid whether you are happy or not. It gives us all two options, obey, or die.

This is what happens when you try to remove violence from the economy. The violence only gets worse, because economic illiteracy never solves anything.

Economic competition presupposes a free market. A free market cannot exist until after force has been barred. That means objective law, backed up by a government. To say it can be backed up by “competing” force-wielders is circular. There is no competition until there is a free market, and some agency has to protect its condition as a free market by the use of retaliatory force.

If a free market cannot exist until after force has been barred, then how do you suppose to hand the legal authority to initiate force against people to a totally unaccountable monopoly that has done nothing to earn that position in the market? Force is barred by default. Most people tend to understand that, which is why most of us tend to trade and date rather than steal and rape. For those rare occasions that some unstable person decides to break from that widely accepted societal norm any of us are justified in using force to put a stop to it, or hire someone to act as our agent and do it for us.

The anarchist idea of putting law on “the market” cannot be applied even to a baseball game. It would mean that the rules of the game will be defined by whoever wins it.

Actually, the rules of the game would be, and are presently, decided upon by the players before they get to the field. They choose an arbitrator (referee) and they agree to abide by the referee’s rulings. The fans do not hold a vote after each inning to decide which referee makes the best false promises to benefit their team. The government doesn’t step in and redistribute points. The players are not threatened at gun point to follow the rules. It’s a completely voluntary arrangement, and anybody who doesn’t like it is free to walk off the field at any time. It would be a far greater stretch to insert democracy into this equation than to compare it to anarchy.

In terms of current events, anarchism means Lebanon, Somalia, and the Taliban. Nothing could discredit capitalism more than to link “freedom” with such horrors.

Right, because the Taliban was real big on freedom, and slavery and civil war in early America are far better examples of capitalism, thanks Harry. Somalia? Really? Somalia? This conversation is over…

 

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  • Pingback: Sorry Fake Libertarians, Capitalism Requires Anarchy | Die Anarchonauten()

  • Jake

    This is as far as I got: “Most people who would call themselves anarcho-capitalists are very uncomfortable with this reality, and so they don’t spend very much time thinking about it. They far prefer to spend their time smoking marijuana…” WTF? Peace.

    • Derrick Yazwa

      Hit a little too close to home for you? I’m an anarcho-capitalist that loves spending my time smoking weed instead of thinking about or participating in violence. His point still stands and we should all think about it. Even in a free society, force will still be an issue.

      • wpsmithjr

        I “liked” both your comments. Lol.

    • Seth

      You got farther than I did. I stopped at “libtard.”

  • Kyle Tegler

    Jake if that is as far as you got then you should get a thicker skin.

    • Gene Linet

      Dude needs to roll back with a blunt.

    • Seth

      It’s not about feelings. It’s about tactics. Anyone who can combine a strawman with an ad hominem in a single phrase ought to rethink his or her position.

  • Ashley Arthur

    I really enjoyed this article…thank you. I often find it difficult to illustrate how, in an anarchocapitalistic society, a free market could handle these government monopolized services; ie police, courts, fire dept, etc. Nearly my entire family consists of “conservatives”… And we’ll agree on so much….right up to the point where they think some, albeit very little, government is nessisary. In my head I understand fully why I disagree with that notion and usually debate it from the angle of; it’s simply a contradiction of human law. I tend to argue from a philosophical/moral stand point and this often doesn’t satisfy their demands to describe what a new system would look like and it’s practicality. Thanks again, well written, and perhaps I’ll be better armed to debate the statists in the battle for true freedom.

    • Matt Wavle

      That goes double for me too. Now I’m “better armed to debate the statists in the battle for true freedom”.. Thanks

  • Arthur Robinson

    I have one substantial issue with this, I cite the Roman republic, in which there was no monopoly on force. Men could raise armies and conquer whatever they saw fit and when men were called to the common defence they armed themselves. It was theirs to see to their individual and public defence. Traditionally what’s happened with decentralized force is that it becomes centralized very quickly, and as in the case of Caesar, led to him taking total control and very much changing the society from one predicated on individual rights (albeit for a wealthy elite, but the point remains) to an empire.

    I would propose that that is the natural way humans respond to having force, they try to acquire more power until they are the only option. Mind you there are exceptions even within Rome such as Marius, but the fact that it has ended that way in most such cases seems to belie the concept of self regulation of those who have force.

    I take issue with the premise that men with power will not abuse it and try to expand upon it. The history just doesn’t support that vein of thought.

    • mike

      you can look to history for answers to the future to an extent, but societal context also should come into play. that was 2000 years ago. the world is an incredibly different place with the internet and shared information, in addition to the increase of education and knowledge across the board. a roman empire would not happen again, humans live by a completely different set of ethics. i understand that nature is still the same, including the ease of corruption through power, but i just dont think someone would be able to get away with it.

      • Arthur Robinson

        Many people over the years have said that history can’t be applied because society has evolved and we are better than our ancestors. History has proven them wrong. Consistently. To ignore history is to beg it to repeat itself, no matter the justification.

        • Salty Rater

          very true, but that’s why its so important to know the history and spread the message. It is easy for power to corrupt, and many things happen in a vicious circle. look at how any civilization has risen then fallen. We need to spread the message that X power is trying to control a monopoly, stop buying from X, and people still will but some people will stop (ignore the monsanto corprotism from here) and look at the natural movement vs GMO. the only thing we can do is take the moral and logical highground, present our facts and logic, back it up with more fact and logic, and allow people to make their own decisions. Only through this effort can we hope to change the world. Rapists will always exist, and some people will always become murderers, but that doesn’t make it right. to say that anyting is a necessary evil, you are justifying evil, thus your argument is invalid. Might does not make right. I think I’m rambling at this point but basically just because some men will always try to do X doesn’t mean that X is wrong, and as such, all work toward promoting X from being done is valid and just. We may never be able to make all men productive, but that doesn’t mean helping one person believe that all people should be productive is not worth it. does any of this make sense?
          (sorry I’m at work and multitasking so it makes my thoughts real choppy going back and forth)

    • Manley Caughell

      We already live in the Roman empire. So your fear is that this will all just happen again? Well, then what risk is there?

      • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

        He might well argue that a peaceful statism regime is better than a warring libertarian one. The reality is that none of these regimes described is an answer in themselves. Rand offered a comprehensive system. Ancap + Randian fundamentals offers a far better foundation for justice. If we are to get to some semblance of justice, because we didn’t get the basics right in Roman times, maybe we might have to tolerate some notion of ‘small’ governance in the medium term, until people have an explicit recognition that ‘reason is the standard’.

  • TyPrice

    Imagine a bunch of Backwater’s running around in our country instead of Iraq with that much force at their disposal and no accountability to the people for their actions. It would not take long for a power hungry type to get control of one and use it to set up a tribal dominion. Who would stop him. Who could? That is part of the reason why we need a good government under the rule of law, not people. I know people who are so brilliant and charismatic, enough that if they were socialists or power hungry could convince you to go along with them and do just that!

    Binswanger although not very concise and does make mistakes, is correct. Much better to read directly from the source, Ayn Rand. He is talking about too much in his article to explain in less that a book. That is his main mistake. The other is semantics. He is not explaining his definitions and concepts, assuming everyone knows them already.

    This is essentially the gist of Binswangers argument: “Economic competition presupposes a free market. A free market cannot exist until after force has been barred. That means objective law, backed up by a government. To say it can be backed up by “competing” force-wielders is circular. There is no competition until there is a free market, and some agency has to protect its condition as a free market by the use of retaliatory force.”

    We give up the right to retaliate to a government Partly so that we do not over retaliate due to and over emotional response to a recent harm done to us. And Partly so we do not have to do it ourselves.

    You have to remember that libertarianism was started by followers of Rand who never fully understood objectivism and the Anarcos were followers of Rothbard who counted her as way beyond himself. But he made many mistakes too that lead him to Anarco Capitalism. Binswanger is correct that the mistakes come from socialism, specifically utilitarianism which came from von Mises and was never discarded by Rothbard. Even though he did manage to mostly understand natural law and individual rights, which von Mises unfortunately did not understand at all.

    Chris Cantwell unfortunately is even less concise and makes many mistakes. The non initiation of force principle came from Rand who Binswanger follows precisely. And Chris says he is trying to initiate force haha. Chris may be confusing retaliation with initiation Regardless, that is called building a straw man. Chris does this throughout the article and attacks the straw man instead of dealing with the real issues. And funny enough uses Marxist arguments instead of historical fact to back up his attack. Historically the entire world had socialism/slavery and that was slowly being eliminated by the ideas of liberty and freedom. I think he is vaguely trying to point out one of the mistakes that the Federalist placed in the constitution. He somehow does not realize that the federalists were basically monarchists and the antifederalists were our intellectual for fathers. And that they were fighting each other not much different than today (Freedom vs Socialism). He goes into detail about the federalists disasters which Jefferson (Antifederalist) was able to reverse most of. History is the history of ideas. Specifically the slow movement toward liberty.

    Unfortunately for Chris’s argument, things did get astronomically better haha. Out side of the various attempts by the federalists intellectual descendants to institute national banks, by 1860 the US was the light of the world. Unimaginably so. It was after that, when the socialists ideas came in that things started to slow down. However the afterglow of that brief flash of liberty in government which allowed capitalism to from but not fully only to approximately 80%, from 1813 to 1860 created the modern world. Horse and buggy to rocket ships. Everything great that you see around you. It’s not coincidence it was then and the US was the focus. Check out the graph, western offshoots is the US haha:

    The unnamed force that betrayed Binswangers proper government as Chris put it is the mistakes made in the constitution its self and the base of the world philosophy that almost everyone follows to some extent which has made socialism, is responsible for 99 percent of the violence in the world today and keeps primitive religion from being discarded…Altruism. But that is another long article in it’s self, maybe a full book haha.

    Chris defines government correctly as it exists today. But capitalism is better defined as the result of the removal of force in human relationships. Which also defines a governments only role!

    From here on the even Chris’s straw man degrades into ridiculous mistakes and misunderstandings that multiply out of control, hence the reason why it is hard to get through Destiny.

    He does weave in truths that we all understand very well including Binswanger trying to say he doesn’t understand them (Straw man again) haha but he never refutes anything Binswanger said. In fact he as an Anarco proves competing institutions of force wrong by citing the wars of governments. Its bad enough internationally but imagine multiplying that tribalism internally.

    The answer to all of this is first understanding and fixing the problem, creating good government under the rule of law. Not exchanging the problem, current bad governments for more smaller problems many internal un controlled Blackwater’s.

    George Washington even though he was a federalist, came to understand this. “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” That is all government is and to create many uncheckable/uncontrollable “competing institutions of force” or more correctly Governments is much more dangerous. It is tribalism and has been tried everywhere and has failed every time. It’s tribal mud huts or good government skyscrapers. See the graph again. The only thing Chris seems to do is speculate on what would happen if 2 micro governments were to meet over a dispute. Forgetting all the false flag events macro governments participate in all the time. And that it would be good business to set up their competitor in violence making them look bad so they can take their costumers because there is no oversight. Remember It is still force we are talking about not a business protected from force. They are mini powerful governments. And are easier for the power hungry to take over because they are not subject to the rule of law because who would or could enforce that to stop them?

    It’s not like if their service was bad they just go out of business. They still have the power to do what they want if they are going out of business. Desperate people do desperate things when they are loosing. When one has the tools to take what they want at their disposal you are set up for a real disaster! But lets take the more successful micro government. He like a Steve Jobs at Apple dominates his industry by creating by far the best product, force remember in this case! Then with that much power, and that is true power not economic power you have what Lord Acton said: “Power corrupts” and who can now oppose this power crazed CEO, when he decides to take over? This is not speculation like Chris was doing, this is historically how monarchies and empires came to be. Anarcos ignore the centuries of devolution from this to Liberty, Freedom, Capitalism and especially Individualism! The big disconnect is that their is no difference between a state in the micro and one in the macro! How it is funded does not change its nature!

    Anyone who has a child knows that liberty, freedom, capitalism, and individualism are values that have to be earned by serious study. Morality is not something we just come by. The laws or Objective morality has to be figured out and then written out then put into political practice so that capitalism can form and then function! We almost got there by 1860. And look at the incredible results even under the duress of socialism.

    You see Chris’s mistakes and all Anarco Capitalists, are just a matter of misunderstanding due to lack of knowledge. That is why I started https://www.facebook.com/readthebooklist The future of the freedom movement is understanding and it starts with READTHEBOOKLIST (RTBL)! READTHEBOOKLIST.com

  • http://www.ultimatephilosopher.com/ The Ultimate Philosopher

    I’ve grown so weary of the gov’t/anarchy debate in libertarian circles over the years, due mainly to one consideration that keeps on arising in my head: what is the *fundamental* factor determining how *desirable* a society would be, realistically, whether or not it fit the requirements of force-usage advocated by either of the two sides of the debate? IOW, let’s say you had a functioning anarchocapitalist society that works more or less as David Friedman envisions, except that it was also full of jerks and philistines and as a result the overall quality of life suffered. Then let’s say you had a monopoly-on-force limited government that worked just as Rand envisioned – i.e., it actually remained limited to its envisioned functions – and on top of that the society was filled with much valuable art and general kindness between folks, raising the overall quality of life. Or, alternatively, reverse these two scenarios (so that you have an anarchocapitalist society with a thriving culture and community on the one hand, or a limited-govt society full of aesthetically-oblivious assholes on the other). Then ask advocates of each kind of setup they prefer (according to the sole criterion of who-gets-to-use-force-how) which kind of society they would find more desirable on the whole.

    I doubt their answer would come down to the sole criterion of who gets to use force how. So the all-important question then becomes: how do we bring about a society that would be most desirable to live in, all things considered? And that’s when philosophy and not not economics or political science becomes the focus of most primary and fundamental concern. And if you can (somehow ;-) ) bring about a society full of generally enlightened and – more or less by implication – peaceful folks, isn’t the outcome going to be overwhelmingly desirable in any event?

    This leads to the next all-important question: assuming (quite reasonably, IMNSHO) humans have a significant degree of free will such that their ideas, attitudes, and behaviors can in principle be modified for the better, what, *exactly*, is standing in the way of realistically bringing such a society about? And shouldn’t our focus be primarily upon breaking down *that* (set of) barrier(s)?

    That is to say, I find that the stakes can be much higher and therefore of much greater interest, than whatever it is of (relative) importance that this whole anarchism-government debate is about.

    • wpsmithjr

      What if the Non Aggression Principle was taught religiously to people from birth? What if instead of people being brainwashed every day of their whole lives into worshipping the state, people were brainwashed into believing that violence, aggression and coercion were horrible concepts that should never be entertained?

      A big part of our problem is that violence is celebrated in this country. It’s taught to our tiny children by spanking them. It’s super prevalent in cartoons that our children watch. Not as much today, but certainly it has been. It’s in video games and movies. Sports and other forms of entertainment. The war hero is always held up on a pedestal. Even in religion God is a vengeful, violent God.

      What if when you were caught initiating violence, all of society shunnned and ostracized you?

      It be like trying to get a bunch of hippies to declare war on each other.

      Just thinking off the top of my head. This is the kind of thing I have been mulling over in my head for awhile now myself.

    • yura1968

      There is no such thing as a limit government anything in an anarcho-capitalist society —no need for it.— As soon as a group would try positioning themselves in that power structure (most likely by force), you would have everybody else rising in arms to get rid of those scumbags… (and I mean really getting rid of them) because people would understand that their freedom and their real security is not dependent on anybody else but themselves…

  • http://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpress.com/ PeaceRequiresAnarchy

    “Capitalism requires anarchy,” “peace requires anarchy”… same thing.

    By “capitalism” and “peace” we both mean a state of society in which peoples’ libertarian rights are respected. Since all governments violate peoples’ rights when they tax them and outlaw competing defense agencies, pure capitalism and complete peace are by definition impossible in any society with a state.

    As Stephan Kinsella has concisely said, “To be an anarchist only means that you believe that aggression is not justified, and that states necessarily employ aggression.” http://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/01/stephan-kinsella/what-it-means-to-be-an-anarcho-capitalist/

    Note that, with Michael Huemer, I would say that aggression can be justified in some cases–specifically when the consequences of committing aggression are sufficiently better than the consequences of not committing it. However, the state’s aggression is definitely not justified due to the fact that even the least bad minimal state most likely would still make society worse off than it would be without a state. In order for the aggression of the minimal state to be justified it would have to result in an outcome much better than the probable outcome of having no state. See: http://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/nowhere-close-to-the-case-where-government-would-be-justified/

    So, to modify Kinsella’s statement to summarize my reason for being an anarchist: I am an anarchist because (1) I believe aggression is only justified when certain conditions are met and (2) I believe all states employ aggression that does not meet these conditions. (Perhaps I can word this more eloquently, but there’s no need to try to here.)

  • yura1968

    What I like about this article is that the author makes realistic observations of human nature in general. Real capitalism occurs naturally due to our desire for self-preservation. We rather work and trade instead of risking our lives while trying to cause harm to others. Therefore, in the absence of anything else, the next logical thing for us to do is simply to trade if we desire to do so. As we trade and become mutually wealthier, we will try it again, and again, and again (and from this cycle, a system of voluntary trading is created, a.k.a. capitalism). But as we trade, we always do so in an environment of constant distrust from each other. And here is where reality hits the ground. In an anarchical system (real freedom), we are ultimately responsible for ourselves and as such, we can contract out a protection agency, buy guns or create a small family militia (or whatever else a market can offer). This is the real state of human nature. The biggest problem for statists is to understand that such scenario is not of constant violence (in fact, it may produce much lesser violence than what we live nowadays), but yes, we would always be prepared to fight for our survival. That is very different from creating a fictionally benevolent, people-serving government to “protect” us all, when the only real thing we do by creating such a super-ganster like organization is to trust this agency with our lives and security while loosing our only means to really protect us. And the only reason those in power want more of it is because we have told them that they can own and enslave us. Those in government are only making use of the opportunity to have such power and it is in our nature to survive even at the expense of others if necessary. Socialism, communism, Democrats and republicans alike, they all offer the same fictitious “benevolent”, people-loving governments in exchange of our enslavement and historically they have been disastrous for those who supported them.

  • David Longmire

    He uses a lot of anecdotes and ad hominem.

  • Derrick Yazwa

    Easily the best article you’ve written for this site. I especially like the parts where you tore apart the idea that we need a “limited Constitutional government,’ or that such a thing could even exist in the first place.

    I’ll be saving this one to show to a lot of people that seem to always have the same shortsighted concerns about the ideas of the true free market.

  • Hanoisteve

    What happens when Security Agency X makes a deal with Security Agency Z and they turn their guns on you?

    • Don Duncan

      That would be called “government”. But if the people liked the old system, i.e., rights enforced by individuals, such a conspiracy would not have support. Without popular support, governments cannot survive. With popular support they survive until they bankrupt the society. Then a new more oppressive government comes about to “save” society from the capitalism which propped up the old govt. But the idea that govt. is the cause of bankruptcy and capitalism cannot provide prosperity without freedom (no govt.) is not considered, thanks to the oldest, most ancient of superstitions: Humankind needs a boss who bosses by force, not reason.

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com/ Thomas L. Knapp

    Binswanger and Cantwell both have it wrong.

    Since capitalism means (as coined by Thackeray, popularized by Marx and understood by most human beings) a mixed, state-regulated, industrial economy, it not only doesn’t require anarchy, but is completely incompatible with anarchy.

    You can have anarchy or you can have capitalism, but contra Cantwell you can’t have both.

    You can have the state or you can have freedom, but contra Binswanger you can’t have both.

    • yura1968

      Marx didn’t popularize Capitalism as a mixed, state-regulated, industrial economy; if he did, his whole thesis that a proletarian government would solve their own impoverish condition would fall flat on his own words. If a government controlled by a few can screw everybody else by giving capitalists benefits and privileges that nobody else has (definition of crony-capitalism), then how is it logical that a government controlled by a few proletarians would not, eventually, become the same type of government that his whole misguided philosophy was based on? And how would eventually society become real communist (anarchical) when the only way to organize society on a continuous basis is by a well-thought out plan that can only be done by a few smart-enough people? In practice, the Soviet Union ended up worse than other western, industrialized countries because their politburo was controlled by a very small group of people and the supposed “representatives” were pretty much suckers to those in power for fear of being seen as anti-revolutionaries (they didn’t want to be cleaned up by the main communist planners). That’s the main problem of people who want to change society from something we all naturally are to an ideal type of individuals who we are not; you first have to re-engineer society, even if it means to eliminate (murder) half of it.

      From an economical point of view, capitalism is 100% based on anarchy. Entrepreneurs are the main anarchists who research the market, invest their own money and/or find ways to convince others to concentrate the capital they need to start their business or expand an existing one (government bureaucrats have never done that and for the most part are incapable of doing so). Entrepreneurs use no guns or violence to do it; they only use persuasion to achieve their goals. They use persuasion to hire employees that will help build their enterprise. They use persuasion on their customers to buy their products. Persuasion is only possible because most people are more interested in self-preservation than to kill others to get what they want. Government only know force and that is exactly how bureaucrats think businesses must be done; if you don’t pay, they will send the troops to steal the product of your labor. If you don’t want to buy health insurance, they will force you by sending you fines until you do (and if you don’t pay, then government will send the troops…) Whether it is a small, tiny government or a very large one, government bureaucrats can allow people to have a little freedom for their economy to grow (which is what most people think of as “capitalism” nowadays). But capitalism is simply the voluntary interchange of goods and services produced by individuals and the corresponding increase in wealth for both parties involved (Marx’s use of the word capitalism as the accumulation of capital in the hands of industrialists —the “exploiters”— was just an incomplete picture of the whole reality that existed during the industrial revolution and basic economic facts that have been proven since his death). People buy things because they are free to do so (even in the Soviet Union, people were free to choose what they wanted to buy —too bad they didn’t have much to choose from—). Government can definitely affect their version of capitalism by limiting how people interact with each other and that will have an effect in the general economy. But that is not pure capitalism, just like if someone where to put nails on a road and then see cars pass by, blowing their tires in the process, then complain that those cars are not good enough because they cannot cross the nailed road…

      • http://knappster.blogspot.com/ Thomas L. Knapp

        So let me see if I have this right: Capitalism is what you say it is because you don’t know your Marx?

        • yura1968

          No, it is what modern economists define it like. Sorry to tell you but Marx as an economists was pretty much wrong in almost everything he came up with (“exploitation” of the workers, capitalists as inhumane “slave owners” only interested in screwing their workers, and mainly his calculations —partially copied from Adam Smith— to figure out what profit was and where it came from). Pretty far from what nowadays we know are factual economic laws. His whole concept of workers’ “exploitation” only fills the minds of those who perceive themselves as victims of the world surrounding them, which is typical of ignorant people like KKK members and their blame on racism for their own misfortunes, Christians and Muslims blaming each other for what a magic book has told them the “truth” is, and so on.

          Have you read Carl Menger? or maybe Eugen von Bohm-Bawerck? or F. A. Hayek?

          • http://knappster.blogspot.com/ Thomas L. Knapp

            I’m not a Marxist, dumb-ass. I’m an anarchist, a libertarian and an anarchist.

            “You obviously don’t understand what Marx wrote” is not the same thing as “Marx was right.”

          • yura1968

            I can see that you don’t agree with the definition of capitalism as most free-market economists would define it and then you argue that both Binswanger and Cantwell are wrong because of what you think most people understand capitalism is and define it like as if you know what percentage of the population that “majority” is. I think most people don’t give a shit about what the definition of capitalism is. Most Americans don’t care and those who are somewhat concerned (self-define as “patriots” or “conservatives”), believe capitalism is the greatest thing ever, even though they have no clue what it means. Most libtarts cannot put two coherent words in the same sentence so it really doesn’t matter what they think because for them everything is inside the same nebulous cloud. And do you think that this article is being read by Chinese or Russians? Maybe some Europeans if any and they are probably 50/50 in agreement with the author’s definition of the word…

          • Hugo González Monteverde

            I don’t like the redefinition of thw word capitalism either, but I ‘d say Marx did not define it as a mixed economy, but rather as simple mercantilism where the State favored land and factory owners.

      • penis

        There is no fucking proleterian government, you brainwashed hill billy. There’s no fucking government at all.

    • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

      You seem to be taking a leftie perspective that capitalists are inherently exploiters.

  • Don Duncan

    Harry B. has it backwards. Capitalism requires voluntaryism. People don’t interact productively with force or threat of force, compared to the wealth creation when interactions are voluntary. This is proven by the unparalleled economic growth of America. Harry would claim America achieved economic superiority far surpassing all other nations combined because of the rule of law. Does he prove that? No. He asserts the necessary for enforcement of rules as a pre-condition for capitalism, i.e., economic freedom. True. He then jumps to the conclusion that since governments enforce law, only govt. can do this. He does not prove this. In fact, history refutes his theory. The more govt. enforcement of laws, the less prosperous nations are. There is a direct correlation between authoritarianism and prosperity. The more oppressive a govt., the less prosperous the people. America achieved greatness, both economic and cultural, from the lack of control govt. had due to the pioneer spirit and rapid population growth. The 1800s were an era of relative freedom allowing the amazing transformation from agricultural backwater to industrial giant. The 1900s saw govt. growth at the expense of freedom. Many examples of govt. control were cited by Chris, e.g., the central bank, the income tax, and wars. He could have cited “The Great Depression”.
    All of these events are the result of government. All weakened America. But none did so as much as the insidious, diabolical indoctrination of our youth under the guise of education. The crippling of the cognitive development combined with the instilling of pro-govt. myths created just the intended result: obedient citizens. Pioneer values such as self-reliance, independent thought, and individual sovereignty faded as nationalism and compliance with govt. control became dominant values. Only a small percentage survived with the old values intact.

    American grew to be the greatest nation because it had more freedom than the others. Now it suffers as govt. power grows unchecked.

    • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

      He’s not supporting arbitrary, capricious rules; he’s supporting laws that protect rather than violate rights, and reason as a standard. I’ve no idea whether Randians explicitly tolerate electoral democracy, or some common law regime though.

  • yura1968

    The rule of “law” as in created by people? And if people cannot rule themselves, how can they write laws that are any good to… rule themselves? I think you better think about what you say, because you just wasted a huge amount of time writing a very long dissertation based on an illogical main idea to begin with.

    Also, if you start up with a group of mercenaries that somehow have more fire power than any anarchical society (never mind the numbers) as a way to justify the existence of a government that will use force to create an army much more powerful than those mercenaries, isn’t this kind of defeating the purpose? What you are saying is, instead of being screwed by a group of mercenaries, let’s get together and put all our resources (by force if necessary) to create a mercenary group called government to fight off another very-strong mercenary group, and somehow expect that at the end the one that we created is going to let us go free… now that is fantasy at its best. However, the worst part of your thesis is the fact that some societies created governments (voluntarily or not) which did not stop their demise. Look no further than Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, for instance. They all had governments to “protect” their people, but they simply were not strong enough when faced with our government’s industrial complex. The destruction of their countries and their societies as some of their members believed to be righteous has been evident for everyone. These few examples are evidence that government does not equal protection or even having an advantage when it comes to people’s self-preservation. None of those countries had real capitalism (a socialist economy and two crony-capitalist systems (freedom with benefits for a few government-friendly individuals, while everybody else is enslaved) also known as fascism, which in your argument is irrelevant. Your argument using Blackwater’s firing capacity as a example to justify your position of the necessity of government is simply a non-sequitur…

    • TyPrice

      Haha, Objective Laws. which means correct laws in accordance with the moral code based on life. This is why most people have problems. It’s only misunderstanding that separates people. And you misunderstood the point that Anarco Capitalism is just tribalism that leads to power, and power corrupts and as I proved. This is what we have been moving away from throughout history. So to solve this is limit power by controlling it with objective law. If you look at Hong Kong you see that Government set up with objective law that cannot be changed does not grow. It is just the mistakes made by federalists that has lead the US to this.

      • yura1968

        What you call “objective” law, the founders called common-law. And as you say, it is based on what people understand a social “law” should be. But no, it is not based on morality necessarily. Morality is a human creation invented by philosophers of antiquity. Religious people then took the concept of morality as if THEY represented it and therefore, anyone else that would go against THEIR belief (authority) on what morality should be —as well as those who dared to compete against those priests’ powers,— were put to death with accusations such as “blasphemous” or “immoral” and so on. Governments have also taken this concept to entitled themselves as being the “highest” moral individuals who can “represent” the people (just look at the courts and you will find the kind of crap they do in contrast to their “moral” high ground they are supposed to have). That is short bullshit to make the ignorant believe that politicians are so much morally superior than anyone else that they deserve to be in command of everybody else’s life.

        Also, there is no such thing as a natural rights (another philosophical invention that only exists in our imagination). There are only legal rights that are created through individuals’ voluntary contracts. Just because you are a human being does not mean I have to treat you any more special than any other living thing surrounding me. The only reason we don’t kill each other on a daily basis (for the most part) is only because of our interest in our own self-preservation. Go to the Amazon, away from any civilization, and you will find very primitive tribes whose people live and trade among themselves and also go and do war against other tribes to protect their hunting area —or simply because they want to tell the story of how great warriors they are.— If natural rights existed, then everybody would be cognizant of them from birth. But that is not the case. The only reason know about natural rights is because somebody told you so or you read it somewhere. That is nothing more than an idea placed in your head which is irrelevant in the real human world.

        From these fact about human beings (our constant interest in self-preservation at whatever cost), the idea that you can somehow control a large group of people through a government is only demonstrating your personal desire to better yourself at the expense of others. That is what government does: once the power structure is there to take advantage of others through force, it will attract the worst type of people to be in control. Power do not necessarily corrupt (as guns do not kill people). People are corrupt to begin with and they go where they can take advantage of others and get away with it. Anarcho-capitalism as a system (where everybody agrees not to create or be ruled by anyone) minimizes the probability that a group of people with tremendous amount of power will be able to control the majority of people at large. To say that anarcho-capitalism will completely eliminate that possibility is not only unrealistic, but it is illogical considering human nature. And people will trade with each other (except for those who rather use violence until they find their match and become goners) because it is safer (again, self-preservation) than trying to rob everybody around you. And some people will in fact have good will and help others, just like most parents protect their kids for no other good reason but love. So the probability of having LOTS of people trading instead of murdering each other is even greater than any statists would like to admit because that makes the state obsolete.

  • http://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpress.com/ PeaceRequiresAnarchy

    Capitalism requires anarchy.

    Peace requires anarchy.

    “A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist.” – Roderick T. Long, “An Open Letter to the Peace Movement”

    “Because the state necessarily commits aggression, the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist.” – N. Stephan Kinsella, “What Libertarianism Is”

    “Anyone who actually believes in the principle of non-aggression — the underlying premise of libertarianism — must be an anarchist, as it is logically impossible to oppose the initiation of violence while supporting any form of ‘government,’ which is nothing but violence.” – Larken Rose, “The Most Dangerous Superstition,” p. 145

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  • emintey

    All these arguments are ridiculously irrelevant, but have fun pretending to be on the cutting edge of…something….

  • http://internet.underceej.co.uk/ The Ceej

    “You have no right to be that wrong.”
    I’m afraid he does. That’s what freedom is about.

  • Tony Pivetta

    It’s a truism of human existence. People have far greater incentive to cooperate than to compete to the point of violence. A society would have to succumb to a rather advanced state of decivilization for the premise not to hold. If not for that overarching do-no-harm self-interest, language–the very spontaneous-order phenomenon on which we’re relying to discuss these lofty political and economic matters in the first place–would never have arisen in the eternally begotten place. I say eternally begotten because it precedes everything, much as the Son (Logos!) proceeds from the Father without having been created by the Father. Yet no caveman cop forced my caveman ancestors to call their clubs clubs instead of flowers or their flowers flowers instead of clubs. People just wanted to make themselves understood.

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  • Mike Mayors

    Not to be cheeky but what happens if 2 people hire the same protection agency and person A attempts to kill person B? Will the protection agency kill person A to protect their other customer? :P

    • Sam Cru

      Yes, because if they didn’t then person C, D, E, etc. would stop paying that protection agency.

  • Sam Cru

    Those who possess a capacity for violence make the rules. Get in the game.

  • Matthew Reece

    “No, dead hoodlums do not improve economies.”
    Actually, they do. They provide business for funeral homes and create a chilling effect against more hoodlumry, which saves people some capital that would have had to be spent on self-defense.

  • guber

    Good points. I am new to this. Harry was (selectively?) quoting Ayn Rand. This rebuttal was spirited and well argued, if a bit impatient and perhaps aggressive. As a newbie to the subject, I am interested if there is some body of literature that makes that argument in a calm, patient, non-reactive way? References appreciated. Thanks.