Fear of a free planet

The arguments that come from statists, that is to say, people who believe in government as a legitimate organization, are almost all based on fear.  Occasionally one might come across a positive argument for government intervention here and there, but those are quite rare these days.  But even those are usually based around removing a source of fear. “Once program X goes into effect, we won’t have to worry about Y anymore!”  The “liberal” wing of statism will harp on fear of unfettered plutocracy, though they are themselves all plutocrats.  They just want to make plutocracy “safe”.  The modern liberal/progressive program is essentially and inescapably plutocratic, though many of the rank and file don’t ever connect the dots that way.  Any society with central banking and heavy levels of regulation can only survive economically if those few who can afford to own capital under such a system are protected from failure, with captive markets and practically guaranteed perpetual profit for those who make it to the “club”.

The “conservative” wing will talk about fear of foreign threats or cultural degradation, even though they are by and large in favor of threatening other countries and undermining their cultures.  They just want us to do it to “them” before “they” do it to us.  And they will invent an endless series of “them” to keep up the excuse for more police intervention, more military intervention, and more militarization of society in general.

So there are these endless fears which statists use to call for government intervention.  But all of this relies on a belief that there is something magical about the organizations known as “government” that somehow makes them capable of doing things that any other organization can’t or won’t do.  The anarchist position is simply that this magical veneer is an illusion.  We want roads and electricity and running water and peaceful cities and friendly neighbors too.  We just don’t believe that there are things which are so difficult for mere mortals to do that the only way to accomplish them is for one group of special people to assault everyone else in order to make it happen.

There are many possible arguments one might hear from a statist against anarchy in the form of “Well what if X happens?”  To me, the proper answer is “Well what if it happens now? Someone will do something about it, is what.”  In fact, the someone will most likely be in a much better position to do something about it because they won’t be hindered by a limited number of legislated solutions to any problem X which may arise.  Often times this answer will not satisfy the statist.  They want a guarantee.  But of course, the response to that is simply that the “government” can’t (and won’t) guarantee a damn thing.  How’s that war on drugs coming along?  Oh boy, it’s a good thing we can’t buy those evil drugs anymore, isn’t it?  To argue that bad things will happen under anarchy as some sort of argument for the state is laughable, considering how many bad things already happen, and so many of them as a *direct result* of one state action or another.  What will be different is that those bad things will not be systematic and predictable.  Which can be scary to those who are on the trigger side of the statist gun. 

The statist position, if it is at all consistent, sees the human race as a bunch of corrupt and destructive losers, except for a small elite who somehow have their act together.  And this elite can somehow rise to power without being totally corrupted by it, or driven out by obsessive sociopaths.  The elite are able to somehow then impose their will and their incredibly complex, yet functional plans on everyone else who happen to be corrupt and destructive losers.  Of course most statists would never see their position in a consistent clear way.  This is evidenced by the fact that they will change their arguments around when one fails.  One is tempted of course to ask, “What is the real, actual reason you believe in having a government? Not an excuse, but the actual reason you want all this intervention.”  There usually is no one reason they can articulate because the reason is fear.  A blind fear of their neighbors that overwhelms the understanding that everything they fear about The Other is even more reason to fear the government.  Because that thought would be unbearable.  In such a world there is no escape, and all is lost already. 

Of course, this all depends on who we’re talking to.  We by and large are living in the elite centers of power, and we are probably benefiting from intervention in a lot of ways.  Those benefits would be gone under anarchy.  So for many of us, things might not be “better” at least for a few years until the society retooled itself.  Many people in the first world may indeed have more to fear right now from freedom than from their government, who works to destroy other people in order to feed and protect them.

Yet the moral argument says “so be it”.  If we have sown the wind, let us reap the whirlwind.  Better us than the billions of people who would finally find hope that they never had before, in a society that allowed them to begin building their own prosperity.

The Anatomy of Escape
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist