Anarcho-Capitalism is Stupid

Anarcho-Capitalism (also referenced as libertarian anarchism) is a nihilist political philosophy that libertarians drift toward. The philosophical hierarchy that leads to this philosophy are non-existent. Since nihilism is the non-belief in anything, this inevitably leads to anarchism, which is the non-belief in everything. Despite rhetoric of believers, in the absence of belief there can be no rights or defense of them.

Overview

In today’s world, the government holds a monopoly on all retaliatory force, aside from an individual’s immediate self-defense. Anarchist libertarians believe this type of force can have the monopoly broken and allow competing businesses to provide force, where consumers vote with their dollars. Each business would be able to choose their version of “laws” that it would use to regulate it’s use of force. For example, a libertarian security force would protect/respect property rights and a socialist security force would view property as theft.

In today’s world, the government holds a monopoly on the objective interpretation of laws for all, which is the judicial system. Anarchist libertarians believe this type of court system should have the monopoly broken and allow competing businesses to provide their own independent justice through their own view of law. These courts can be used to mediate problems between two parties, but they can also administer justice for “criminal” activity. For example, an environmentalist friendly court could punish you for crimes against nature, just as a libertarian court would recognize a person’s right to copyright infringe.

The glue that holds this society together is the wish to not die. It is viewed that you’ll choose supplication to others in order to avoid a risky violent fight. If you and Bob have a disagreement, you go to a court that will mediate the situation for a common solution because trying to kill each other isn’t productive.

The Argument

There isn’t a philosophical drive towards anarcho-capitalism, but only from a single argument. This argument is built on two false premises; non-aggression principle and the government is force. Below is the argument summed up with premise A, B and conclusion.

You should never initiate force against another person. The government can only function by force. Therefore there should be no government.

**Initiated force is used in such a way that it’s using force first. Therefore a bank robber being arrested would be retaliation force and fine.

****There is a variation of this argument. The government holds a monopoly on force, therefore that is an initiation of force against people. Same premises hold.

When arguing with someone of this persuasion, you should also focus on the main premises of the argument. It’s true, that the arguments do lead to the conclusion, but you’ll notice one thing that is apparently absent – capitalism. There is no argument for this anarchism to be capitalist. Why? Because there isn’t one. There can’t be one. Anarchism by it’s very definition cannot be constrained to a system like capitalism.

Non-Aggression Principle

The problem with the non-aggression principle (NAP) is that most libertarians and ALL anarcho-capitalists don’t understand the contexts surrounding such a principle. Without ethical or moral context it isn’t even a principle, but merely tautology. It’s the equivalent of saying “it’s bad to do bad things.”

The odd thing that happens with anarchists and sympathetic libertarians is they treat NAP as an axiom of the only absolute moral principle and take it to extreme ends to form their views. In fact, a libertarian that isn’t an anarchist yet simply hasn’t taken NAP to the extreme ends.

NAP is essentially “it’s bad to do bad things,” but there is nothing saying what is bad. “Do not initiate force against another person.” To the intellectual lightweight, it might seem like a pretty agreeable idea. If someone expresses an opinion, you shouldn’t beat them up. Very agreeable. What does NAP say about the following (less easy) scenarios?

I’m being attacked and I have a gun to defend myself, but in my process of shooting the attacker I’ll probably shoot an innocent person.An unloaded weapon is pointed at my head.

Cars produce exhaust harmful to my health.

Terrorists fired rockets at our citizens, but responding will probably kill innocent people.

I’m not going to apply context to NAP for anarchist/libertarians because it’s certainly not my job. The problem here is that NAP is being treated as an absolute principle without answering the question of what the principle is for and without a hierarchy of morals. Without that vital context, the statement is agreeable by militant environmentalists, socialists and PETA.

Government is Force

This premise is accurate when referring to modern governments of today. The governments of today do initiate force in a number of regards to act. For example, taxation is taken from people whether they choose to give it or not.

The problem with this premise is that the government doesn’t have to be one that initiates force. Libertarians are often described as constitutionalists because the original constitutional government of the United States functioned as a government that didn’t initiate force. Government revenue can be raised through voluntary means; donations, lottery, bonds, etc. The scope of government can be limited to retaliatory force.

What is often used as a rebuttal to this fact, is that all governments trend and move toward more rights violations, therefore all governments will eventually erode away rights. The problem with this is a false view of induction. It is similar to having a bag of red apples. You look at the bag of apples and you see they’re all red. Therefore, all apples are probably red.

The problem with this type of thinking is that the evidence is merely a count on what you personally know or enumeration. The question that needs to be asked what is in their nature that makes them red?

Therefore you cannot argue that since all governments have violated individual rights, that all governments must violate rights. It is up to the anarchist to identify what is it in government’s nature that causes the violation of individual rights. There has yet to be an argument given.

Capitalism

Even though the argument never contained anything regarding capitalism, I felt it needed to be addressed. The use of “Anarcho-Capitalist” is an oxymoron. By definition, anarchism has no constraints. Capitalism is a system that functions with constraints on the type of rights that are protected. Capitalism does not work if a moral system took hold that regarded property as theft. For a person to regard anarchy that contains the protection of rights capable for capitalism to work, is lying.

There will be markets, of course, but to regard them as “free market” capitalism would require a very serious argument on the part of anarchist.

Subjectivism

The idea of subjectivism, in my opinion, is one of the most dangerous philosophical ideas that one can possess. The simple definition is that there is no way to know whether something is so or not. It’s nihilist. By it’s vary nature, requires you to reject objective reality. This is the philosophy.

For the modern libertarian, NAP leads to the rejection of government. The reason that a better form of government isn’t considered is that things are subjective. You’ll hear people say “who is to say that’s better?” Well, when you take this position, you’re taking the position that no position is acceptable. Absence of positions is just that, anarchy.

Rights are Subjective

I had a great discussion with an anarchy libertarian lately that was quite eye opening. Even though libertarians are about rights and liberties, on the surface, deep down is where the subjectivism lives. I posted a nice article on Reddit called “Libertarian Mindlessness”. The main reply I received was “the author makes the assumption that the only way to protect rights is with the government.” I gave a simple reply:

How do you protect rights without objective standards for rights?

I bolded this question because I feel this is the most important question. If you’re ever talking with a libertarian anarchist, this is the question you need to ask. You need them to explain this because if they can’t, they are no defenders of rights.

**I received a question from an anarchist asking what objective standard is supposed to mean. Well, first we need to know what rights are. We need to know the moral imperatives that allow us to determine whether a right has been defended or being infringed. We also require due process, which would be the means of figuring out the answer to the previous question.

Libs: This question has a hidden premise/agenda.
Me: There are no premises. I gave no argument. I just want to know.
Libs: Your question has hidden beliefs in it. Do you believe …
Me: I don’t have a premise. I just want to know. Let me throw you a bone. I’m in anarchyland. I’m walking down the street, how do I know if I’ve violated Billy Bob’s rights at any given time? I go to the store to buy bacon and eggs. Billy Bob uses force against me. How do we know if my rights have been violated or if Billy Bob is acting in defense of his rights?

One libertarian exits conversation.

Lib: I can’t answer the question, if I don’t know what your agenda is.
Me: Subjectivism.
Lib: Well to defend rights, people would need to define them.

I didn’t like this answer.

Me: Let’s say that you define freedom of speech to include hateful and bigoted comments. Billy bob defines freedom of speech to not include hateful of bigoted comments. Who is right?
Lib: Both or neither … who is “right” just depends on your own personal values. […] If you cannot come to agreement, hopefully they’ll use the most peaceful way possible to settle the disagreement. I’d suggest a neutral 3rd party help settle it. If neither side refuses to back down … law of the jungle always wins in the end.

End conversation. This is it right here folks. This is libertarian anarchy. You’ll curb your rights to any group that will do harm to you through a “third party”, so you won’t have any freedom of speech left. If you choose not to, well, whoever has the biggest guns will determine what your rights will be.

This is what libertarian anarchy is all about. This is what the defense of rights are under libertarian anarchy. This is no defense of anything. This is the anti-thesis of liberty, freedom and rights.

Laws are Subjective

Imagine living in a society where you didn’t know the law. Law is completely subjective and you could be guilty at anytime. Sounds like something George Orwell would have written. This society is where there is no objective law, but the law that people choose to believe in. Voting with your dollars for the type of security force you want, is a vote for a specific type of enforcement of law.

The incentive for a consumer of force is the type of force and justice they want to see delivered. A libertarian will vote [with dollars] for their type of laws and get them. An Islamist will vote for their type of laws and get them. And a socialist will vote for their type of laws and get them. As an individual in this society, I can be a completely law abiding person and also guilty of crimes at the same time.

Justice is Subjective

This is the most interesting aspect of Anarchism because justice is an important part of society. We know the basics of a libertarian anarchism utopia. A land owner is going to patron a security force that respects property rights. A socialist is going to patron a security force that views property as theft. These two forces ideologically conflict and are opposites. The existence of one is a violation of the other. At what point does one act on the other?

Well, this actually comes down to economic need. A socialist force can’t go around and take back property all the time. It would be quite expensive. Conversely, no security firm is going to defend your property when it costs $100,000/hr to defend in a battle because they can’t turn a profit on your yearly dues.

Since laws are subjective, we find that justice is subjective. The other concept is that justice also becomes an economic need only when the act of doing it is profitable. To evade justice a person merely has to make it expensive to deliver justice.

The same thing applies to freedoms as well. For example, think of a security firm that believes in free speech and another that believes in Sharia law. The freedom to draw pictures of Muhammad becomes a very expensive policy versus the freedom to draw pictures of the Pope. Freedom, it seems, becomes price adjusted based on how violent other parties are to exercising a freedom.

This lack of justice leads to the next point…

Vigilantism of Subjectivism

With justice being subverted due to economic restraints the need to deliver justice doesn’t disappear. Anarchist libertarians love to stick with the usual rhetoric to describe their solutions, but they leave out the obvious. Any individual in this society can be an entrepreneur of force. If someone feels something wrong is done, they can stick a gun in your face (security force) and sentence you to death (court) and pull the trigger (executioner).

Society will degenerate into a free for all of kidnappings, shootings and deliveries of this justice. The socialist might not be able to get the rich oil business owner, but the vegan can get the dairy farmer. The husband can get to his cheating wife and lover. An Islamist can get to cartoonist and the only people that are safe from vigilantism are those that can afford to create an artificial wall of security forces around them.

Other Disconnects

The most fascinating part about this form of libertarian anarchism is the complete lack of detail on some of the more important issues of a society and living in it are accomplished. Or maybe the lack of detail is a desire for them not to be accomplished.

Warrants

Justice is a big issue for me, and this ideology (or lack there of) doesn’t contain much on the subject. Warrants (search warrants) are an important part of police work, which is the most important part of evidence gathering that allows a prosecutor to make a case. (work in progress)

Reactions from Anarcho-Libertarians

I wanted to post the article around to the authorities on the subject. I received a lot of ad homs and other insults (for whatever reason, installing Wiki software on this website really distracts people from the fact that I just wrote an article), but I thought I could point out a few objections.

Of course there are a lot of people that say I have no idea what anarcho-capitalism is. Well, I suspect this is more to do with my refusal to use their rhetoric, but let’s see what they have to say.

Anarchism is a political system in which there are no rulers. […], but in the context of anarcho-capitalism it means not allowing people to interfere with someone else’s person or property without their consent (with the exception of situations where such interference is necessary to protect another individual’s person or property).

First off, Anarcho-capitalism is not a political system. It’s the absence of a political system. Despite the view of no ‘rulers’, whatever that is supposed to mean. Choosing the ‘rules’ (in theory) in a world where there are no rules and where people choose what rules to follow and people support the rules they want to choose is irrational. There is no reason why anyone would choose not to interfere with individuals property or person anymore differently than people vote for politicians today.

The absence of belief rights and the defence of rights is reduced to rational and utilitarian arguments rather than emotive ones.

Utilitarianism is incompatible with individual rights. There is always a case to sacrifice an individual’s rights for the ‘greatest good’ for the ‘greatest amount of people’. Utilitarianism is the anti-thesis of the individual.

It’s still possible that Bob might not be ameniable to peaceful resolution and that force is necessary, which beings up the important question: Where did this argument between myself and Bob happen? The answer to that question determines what happens and whether the issue is settled by police and a traditional court or some kind of communal militia.

I find this one funny. It is irrelevant when the argument occurred unless both parties actually care. The answer doesn’t determine whether it should be settled with ‘police’, ‘traditional court’ or a ‘communal militia’.

The big point to take away is why should ANYONE surrender their rights if they truly are rights? Supplication isn’t a defense of rights, it’s the surrender of rights. The course of action is based on nothing more than what ONE party chooses to do, whether rational or not. I’m not sure what the ‘police’ or ‘traditional court’ has to do with anything. The police will ‘initiate’ force against whatever party they feel is wrong. Not based on objective laws, but on the laws the enforcement firm chooses to follow.

This brings up an abundance of other scenarios. If I go to the ‘police’, I’m obviously going to go to one that sides with me.

These three sections suffer from the assumption that all arguments about rights must derive from beliefs.

There is this assumption that I think rights come from beliefs. This isn’t true. This same person later states rights are subjective. Cognitive dissonance.

Capitalism “by definition” has no “constraints” either; it is merely an observation of whether or not the economy has a significant state ownership/interference or not.

Capitalism has several constraints. First, capitalism requires that force be removed from the market. Anarcho-capitalism has force traded. Secondly, capitalism requires property rights to be protected, including those of intellectual rights – such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc. Thirdly, capitalism has to protect specific rights for people to peacefully engage in voluntary trade.

The goal of anarcho-capitalism is to replace the monopoly state system with a polycentric private system, that provides protection of property and justice.

I pointed this out because the goal isn’t to have a better life, more freedom or better protection of individual rights, it’s just to change the current political system into competing firms, but with no constraints on force, justice or rights.

It would not be Anarcho-capitalism if their were socialist security forces forcefully expropriating property. An anarcho-capitalist society would be based on private property.

This is why I spent most of the article not wanting to use the term ‘anarcho-capitalism’ because it’s just anarchism and you have idiots on the sidelines trying to say how it would work. In a anarchist ‘free market’ where force can be traded like a commodity, people are free to vote with their dollars for whatever force they want. That’s how it works. And if enough people choose the ‘Hillary Clinton Security Force’, you’ll see that being the most popular one. Just because anarchy isn’t likely to go the libertarian way, doesn’t mean that it officially no longer becomes your philosophy. It just means you’re clinging onto an ideology that finds you in quicksand.

The Non-Aggression Principle has a context. That context is property rights. Property defines what is the initiation. It might be easier to think of it as the No Trespass Principle except that it also prohibits fraud.

The context isn’t property rights either, it’s merely another function of the process. Adding in property rights will help to eliminate socialists agreeing with you, but that isn’t context. (I’ll also point out that fraud has nothing to do with physical force or property rights).

Context is where the principle derived from. NAP isn’t the starting point. What is NAP for? What are property rights for? What is freedom of speech for?

If it allowed a competing justice system that used retaliatory force it would not longer be a state, so it must initiate violence to maintain itself as a state.

I agree with this sentiment.

Many anarcho-capitalists believe an anarcho-capitalist legal system would be more objective than state legal systems.

The big question is what evidence is used to help with this ‘belief’. The fact that there can be competing law tells us it would be subjective, but you can also look at the way people vote for politicians.

Vigilantism would be a risky option in an anarcho-capitalist society. If your action were deemed unjust by arbitrators you could face serious consequences. Likely most protection contracts would have prohibitions on customers using retaliatory force, aside from an individual’s immediate self-defense.

I find this the most interesting. I have the freedom not to sign up to a protection firm, therefore no contract. I can also be an entrepreneur of force and start my own business. I can lock people in cages in my basement for ‘crimes’ I sentence them too. It’s perfectly fine. The only people that stop me are the ones that choose to.

For the great majority, anarchocapitalism is justified with the nonaggression principle, which is supposed objective morality i.e. all aggression is immoral.

A lot of hate over the nihilism I used in my article and here we get the NAP as being objective morality. It just shows how bankrupt and nihilist this person really is. I should never do aggression? Self defense off limits apparently… though I’m sure they would clarify that isn’t what they mean.

I’ve talked about NAP above and it really is funny. We, as people, do NAP not because NAP isn’t self evident ‘morality’, we do it because of higher philosophical hierarchical points. Like I mentioned above, I’m not here to provide context to NAP for a bunch of anarchists.