Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
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07-02-2013, 12:09 AM
Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
I started this thread because a fellow member (hat tip to Dark Light) expressed some curiosity in another thread about how self defense would be handled in a free society. In the interest of not derailing the other thread, we both agreed that that topic deserved its own thread and since I like to talk about freedom I decided to go ahead and start talking.

I didn't name the thread specifically about defense because the topic of stateless societies encompasses a lot more than just "national" defense and because I want everyone to feel free to pose any question they like.

To begin with, I'll address the questions Dark Light asked in the other threads but first, a caveat. I'm not an expert on defense or military strategy but I am a member of a race of animals among whom some very smart members specialize in such matters. In short, I have some ideas but I don't claim them to be the end all be all.

The questions, in summary, were who would provide defense and who would pay them? The short answer is, the same people who provide it and pay for it now. i.e., people who are trained in defense would provide it and they would be paid by other members of society. The benefits of defense in a free society are plenty. First of all, the number of personnel would be vastly smaller, given that a free society wouldn't be involved in nation building, enforcing trade sanctions, ousting the leaders of other countries for the purposes of installing puppet leaders, maintaining military installations on other continents, etc. Additionally, this much smaller defense force would be a part time force not unlike the reserves are today, so these people would be able to pursue other careers in concert with their defense obligations. They would likely be security providers (cops) in their primary careers as that's a similar occupation. Thus, the cost of paying this defense force would be minimal. Likewise, the amount of hardware required to defend the borders of a continent is remarkably less than that required to maintain a political empire so again, minimal costs. In fact, a few well placed nuclear weapons could well be the only deterrent needed. But even so, a small cache of military like hardware would likely be maintained.

Yet another benefit of a free society is that there is no reason to attack it. With no tax base to pillage and no populace that's used to being ruled, there's not much booty to be gained. Moreover, there's no reason whatever to retaliate against a society that doesn't restrict trade, doesn't restrict immigration (which is actually just the act of moving), etc. Think of Switzerland and how many times they've been attacked.

From a cost standpoint, if these personnel and the requisite hardware cost $600 million per year, that's about two dollars per person per year by today's population count in the US.

As for who would manage this force and who would make the decisions.... a consortium of insurance companies is a likely candidate since defense is essentially an insurance. Of course, that's not to say that only insurance companies could manage the force. Any willing group of qualified individuals could be charged with that task.
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22-02-2013, 08:12 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
(07-02-2013 12:09 AM)bbeljefe Wrote:  I started this thread because a fellow member (hat tip to Dark Light) expressed some curiosity in another thread about how self defense would be handled in a free society. In the interest of not derailing the other thread, we both agreed that that topic deserved its own thread and since I like to talk about freedom I decided to go ahead and start talking.

I didn't name the thread specifically about defense because the topic of stateless societies encompasses a lot more than just "national" defense and because I want everyone to feel free to pose any question they like.

To begin with, I'll address the questions Dark Light asked in the other threads but first, a caveat. I'm not an expert on defense or military strategy but I am a member of a race of animals among whom some very smart members specialize in such matters. In short, I have some ideas but I don't claim them to be the end all be all.

The questions, in summary, were who would provide defense and who would pay them? The short answer is, the same people who provide it and pay for it now. i.e., people who are trained in defense would provide it and they would be paid by other members of society. The benefits of defense in a free society are plenty. First of all, the number of personnel would be vastly smaller, given that a free society wouldn't be involved in nation building, enforcing trade sanctions, ousting the leaders of other countries for the purposes of installing puppet leaders, maintaining military installations on other continents, etc. Additionally, this much smaller defense force would be a part time force not unlike the reserves are today, so these people would be able to pursue other careers in concert with their defense obligations. They would likely be security providers (cops) in their primary careers as that's a similar occupation. Thus, the cost of paying this defense force would be minimal. Likewise, the amount of hardware required to defend the borders of a continent is remarkably less than that required to maintain a political empire so again, minimal costs. In fact, a few well placed nuclear weapons could well be the only deterrent needed. But even so, a small cache of military like hardware would likely be maintained.

Yet another benefit of a free society is that there is no reason to attack it. With no tax base to pillage and no populace that's used to being ruled, there's not much booty to be gained. Moreover, there's no reason whatever to retaliate against a society that doesn't restrict trade, doesn't restrict immigration (which is actually just the act of moving), etc. Think of Switzerland and how many times they've been attacked.

From a cost standpoint, if these personnel and the requisite hardware cost $600 million per year, that's about two dollars per person per year by today's population count in the US.

As for who would manage this force and who would make the decisions.... a consortium of insurance companies is a likely candidate since defense is essentially an insurance. Of course, that's not to say that only insurance companies could manage the force. Any willing group of qualified individuals could be charged with that task.


You don't address the nuts and bolts of how a 'free society' operates. How are people protected from others who violate their rights? History shows us that people will act selfishly, against the interests of others, in many ways including polluting the environment, creating dangerous or shoddy products, conning, embezzling, and oh so many ways.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-02-2013, 09:39 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
"You don't address the nuts and bolts of how a 'free society' operates."

I don't know how many words this forum allows per post but I would bet good money (if I had some) that is isn't enough for me to cover just the small number of ideas I have about how a free society would function. Not to mention, if I'm gonna write an all inclusive book, I should probably publish and stuff. Maybe git me on off tehm editars, two.

"How are people protected from others who violate their rights?"

That question presumes people are protected from others now. History shows us that the state's law enforcement modus operandi is reactive, not proactive. And rightfully so, because no one can expect to be protected from a would be predator without a personal body guard. However, the state doesn't even have any incentive to pursue a predator, save serious violent crimes. This is because it doesn't have to restore the victim of the crime to his/her previous status. Another problem with state provided law enforcement is that if it does catch a thief, the victim is burdened with part of the cost to prosecute and, if prison is involved, part of the cost of incarceration without any restitution. Private police services would have to include some sort of restitution (insurance) for the victim and because of this, it would have a great amount of incentive to catch the perpetrator and to gather restitution from him/her. In a peaceful society, if the perpetrator weren't able to make restitution, he could be entered into a work program or his current wages could be voluntarily garnished until such time as he had made full restitution, plus court costs, et al... which the state also charges the convicted. Of course, there would be rare occasions where a person was simply too violent to be in society and in those cases, there would be incarceration and that would be funded just like any other insurance claim is funded.


"History shows us that people will act selfishly, against the interests
of others, in many ways including polluting the environment, creating
dangerous or shoddy products, conning, embezzling, and oh so many ways."

That's true.And for centuries the solution has been to write threats on paper which were backed up with violence. How has that worked? I would say it hasn't worked at all. And I could evidence it by the hundreds of thousands (and growing) of threats written on paper along with the millions of people sitting in cages around the world.There are a lot of different ways to approach these problems but all of them, even in a free society, are focused on cure rather than prevention. I talked about cure above and the problem of environmental crime can be handled in the same way. After all, there must be a victim for there to be a crime (philosophically speaking) so if there's a victim of environmental pollution, he should be able to prosecute the perpetrator in the same way you would prosecute a mechanic who ripped you off on a transmission repair. There are three main roadblocks to that action in a statist society. First, environmental polluters are more often than not corporations and since corporations are essentially legal fictions created by the state for the purpose of raking the profits and dispersing the losses, the corporate offender can't be sued in civil court. Second, it is incredibly expensive to access state courts and again, you're fighting a legal fiction that legally protects the actual offender from legitimate creditors. Third, environmental rule breakers are subjected to fines that are paid to the state, not the victim. Thus, the victim has to appeal to the state to get that fine invoked... provided he can prove his damages to the EPA, et al. Even if he's successful, he still isn't remunerated unless he files a civil suit. What makes this even worse, because of the corrupt nature of modern democracy, the fines prescribed are usually authored by the people who will most likely be paying them. Imagine if you could go to a restaurant and set the price you wanted to pay for a filet mignon.

Moving on from cure to prevention.... wouldn't it be a lot better for everyone in society (statist or voluntary) if we could prevent the majority of crimes before they ever happened? The law enforcement as insurer business model provides considerable incentive to create property crime deterrents. And, we now have the technology to do that inexpensively. For instance, if your car had a fingerprint reader or iris scanner instead of a key, it would be much harder to steal. Why not one on your laptop? Your television? Am I wrong, or aren't they already available on smartphones?

Another logical approach to crime prevention is to find out why crime occurs and solve the problem at its root. If we could stop one child from becoming a career criminal, we could potentially prevent ten to ~1,000 petty crimes over that person's lifetime and obviously, some very serious violent crimes as well. The science for this prevention has been pretty well established for a few decades now and it has been being studied in earnest for about fifty years. Well, I guess Sigmund Freud started it, although not in earnest. In simple terms, we create peaceful adults by raising children peacefully. Children learn their native tongue in the home and they also learn how to treat people in the home. So, if we treat our children with strict, authoritarian demands that are backed up with violence, that's exactly how they will treat others. If we teach them conflicting morals such as don't hit others to get what you want but then we hit them to get what we want.... they will learn not from our words but from our actions. Correction... they DO learn from our actions and not our words. We should probably also stop drugging them when they become bored of sitting in a Prussian style classroom learning through rote memorization of inconsequential minutia. After all, our kids today are using computers before they can write but our schools still look like they did 150 years ago, save the fact that the black board is now white. The Flynn effect demonstrates that each generation is, if I remember correctly, about 25% more intelligent than the last and we should be accommodating these higher intellects rather than trying to stuff them into the small boxes we grew up in.


I'm interested to hear what you think.
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23-02-2013, 07:17 AM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
(22-02-2013 09:39 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "You don't address the nuts and bolts of how a 'free society' operates."

I don't know how many words this forum allows per post but I would bet good money (if I had some) that is isn't enough for me to cover just the small number of ideas I have about how a free society would function. Not to mention, if I'm gonna write an all inclusive book, I should probably publish and stuff. Maybe git me on off tehm editars, two.

"How are people protected from others who violate their rights?"

That question presumes people are protected from others now. History shows us that the state's law enforcement modus operandi is reactive, not proactive. And rightfully so, because no one can expect to be protected from a would be predator without a personal body guard. However, the state doesn't even have any incentive to pursue a predator, save serious violent crimes. This is because it doesn't have to restore the victim of the crime to his/her previous status. Another problem with state provided law enforcement is that if it does catch a thief, the victim is burdened with part of the cost to prosecute and, if prison is involved, part of the cost of incarceration without any restitution. Private police services would have to include some sort of restitution (insurance) for the victim and because of this, it would have a great amount of incentive to catch the perpetrator and to gather restitution from him/her. In a peaceful society, if the perpetrator weren't able to make restitution, he could be entered into a work program or his current wages could be voluntarily garnished until such time as he had made full restitution, plus court costs, et al... which the state also charges the convicted. Of course, there would be rare occasions where a person was simply too violent to be in society and in those cases, there would be incarceration and that would be funded just like any other insurance claim is funded.


"History shows us that people will act selfishly, against the interests
of others, in many ways including polluting the environment, creating
dangerous or shoddy products, conning, embezzling, and oh so many ways."

That's true.And for centuries the solution has been to write threats on paper which were backed up with violence. How has that worked? I would say it hasn't worked at all. And I could evidence it by the hundreds of thousands (and growing) of threats written on paper along with the millions of people sitting in cages around the world.There are a lot of different ways to approach these problems but all of them, even in a free society, are focused on cure rather than prevention. I talked about cure above and the problem of environmental crime can be handled in the same way. After all, there must be a victim for there to be a crime (philosophically speaking) so if there's a victim of environmental pollution, he should be able to prosecute the perpetrator in the same way you would prosecute a mechanic who ripped you off on a transmission repair. There are three main roadblocks to that action in a statist society. First, environmental polluters are more often than not corporations and since corporations are essentially legal fictions created by the state for the purpose of raking the profits and dispersing the losses, the corporate offender can't be sued in civil court. Second, it is incredibly expensive to access state courts and again, you're fighting a legal fiction that legally protects the actual offender from legitimate creditors. Third, environmental rule breakers are subjected to fines that are paid to the state, not the victim. Thus, the victim has to appeal to the state to get that fine invoked... provided he can prove his damages to the EPA, et al. Even if he's successful, he still isn't remunerated unless he files a civil suit. What makes this even worse, because of the corrupt nature of modern democracy, the fines prescribed are usually authored by the people who will most likely be paying them. Imagine if you could go to a restaurant and set the price you wanted to pay for a filet mignon.

Moving on from cure to prevention.... wouldn't it be a lot better for everyone in society (statist or voluntary) if we could prevent the majority of crimes before they ever happened? The law enforcement as insurer business model provides considerable incentive to create property crime deterrents. And, we now have the technology to do that inexpensively. For instance, if your car had a fingerprint reader or iris scanner instead of a key, it would be much harder to steal. Why not one on your laptop? Your television? Am I wrong, or aren't they already available on smartphones?

Another logical approach to crime prevention is to find out why crime occurs and solve the problem at its root. If we could stop one child from becoming a career criminal, we could potentially prevent ten to ~1,000 petty crimes over that person's lifetime and obviously, some very serious violent crimes as well. The science for this prevention has been pretty well established for a few decades now and it has been being studied in earnest for about fifty years. Well, I guess Sigmund Freud started it, although not in earnest. In simple terms, we create peaceful adults by raising children peacefully. Children learn their native tongue in the home and they also learn how to treat people in the home. So, if we treat our children with strict, authoritarian demands that are backed up with violence, that's exactly how they will treat others. If we teach them conflicting morals such as don't hit others to get what you want but then we hit them to get what we want.... they will learn not from our words but from our actions. Correction... they DO learn from our actions and not our words. We should probably also stop drugging them when they become bored of sitting in a Prussian style classroom learning through rote memorization of inconsequential minutia. After all, our kids today are using computers before they can write but our schools still look like they did 150 years ago, save the fact that the black board is now white. The Flynn effect demonstrates that each generation is, if I remember correctly, about 25% more intelligent than the last and we should be accommodating these higher intellects rather than trying to stuff them into the small boxes we grew up in.


I'm interested to hear what you think.


You aren't addressing my question, you have provided no mechanisms.

And you are wrong about:
"There are a lot of different ways to approach these problems but all of them, even in a free society, are focused on cure rather than prevention."

The laws and regulations against pollution, for example, are preventative.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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23-02-2013, 01:34 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
"You aren't addressing my question, you have provided no mechanisms."

Can you elaborate?

"The laws and regulations against pollution, for example, are preventative."

Certainly they're designed to be preventative. But how do they function? If they're working, then the problem of environmental pollution should be shrinking, or at least, its growth should be appreciably slowed. Moreover, if they're working, then the state should be the smallest polluter, given that it's the author of the legislation, right?

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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23-02-2013, 02:39 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
Switzerland is in a completely different situation, tactically, than we are. They are surrounded by countries which they wouldn't stand a chance against in conventional armed conflict, thus making neutrality basically a survival necessity, and occupy mountainous terrain with little strategic value and no natural resources worth fighting over (not yet anyway, wait 20 or so years given the predicted water issues).

We are in an entirely different situation. We have something worth taking, and often the best way to make sure we are able to defend it is to pursue international interests not only to make sure we have the resources we need, but to eliminate or weaken potential dangers before they can materialize into something that truly poses a threat. For us, an attempt at neutrality would end in us being conquered, if not by foreign powers then by hostile groups already within our borders, and whatever system we have in place ended.

If you can find a little desert island, a spot in the mountains, or a frozen chunk of land in a remote part of Northern Canada, and have your population composed of a small enough number of people that they can actually regularly agree with each other on important issues, I suppose you've got a shot at it. But 300+ million people on a resource rich land mass with borders on multiple major trade routes, both land and sea? Without the ability and willingness to pursue our interests by force and in a manner that depends on decisive leaders (even if they do make mistakes), our days are numbered.

Plus I don't want a desk job Tongue I'm happy with the way things are.

"Character is not made of sunshine and roses. Like steel, it is forged in fire, between the hammer and the anvil." Zhu Jin Ning, Thick Face Black Heart.
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24-02-2013, 04:24 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
"Switzerland is in a completely different situation, tactically, than we are."

I agree.The Swiss government hasn't been building military bases in other people's back yards for years, because when you don't go into another man's house and destroy his things, you don't have to look over your shoulder.

The US government is a tyrannical bully on the world stage. The lie is liberation but the actual motivation behind the US's interests in other countries is anything but a concern for the welfare of its citizens. And don't get me wrong, just like on an elementary playground, the alpha bully always has a gang of thugs with him. Enter, NATO.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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24-02-2013, 06:36 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
(24-02-2013 04:24 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "Switzerland is in a completely different situation, tactically, than we are."

I agree.The Swiss government hasn't been building military bases in other people's back yards for years, because when you don't go into another man's house and destroy his things, you don't have to look over your shoulder.

The US government is a tyrannical bully on the world stage. The lie is liberation but the actual motivation behind the US's interests in other countries is anything but a concern for the welfare of its citizens. And don't get me wrong, just like on an elementary playground, the alpha bully always has a gang of thugs with him. Enter, NATO.

A nice thought, but then again so is heaven. I'm not interested in idealism, I'm interested in what the data shows, and history is full of societies that fell as a result of minding their own business. You're certainly welcome to proceed on the path you've defined, I would honestly love to be proven wrong. In the mean time, I find it more rational to prepare for war than to dream of peace.

"Character is not made of sunshine and roses. Like steel, it is forged in fire, between the hammer and the anvil." Zhu Jin Ning, Thick Face Black Heart.
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24-02-2013, 06:51 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
Peace is not a dream, is an action. Like war, it cannot happen unless it is worked toward.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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24-02-2013, 08:06 PM
RE: Anarchism or Statism? A Voluntarist's Perspective
I wish you the best of luck in that action. To answer your question regarding the defense of your defined society more directly, there are considerations that must be taken into account when relying on a part time force with no plans for putting them into situations where they may gain combat experience, and these considerations create something of an unfortunate cycle.

Inexperienced, even if well trained, soldiers within a peaceful society (the culture of those doing the fighting is indeed a critical factor) are generally no match for professional, aggressive armies lead by experienced veterans. However you choose to judge conflict and the countries who take part in it, doing so gives them ample opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes and refine their tactics and modify their equipment and training accordingly. Thus, the longer an army goes without conflict, the more vulnerable it will be if someone does choose to take advantage of its peaceful nature. Countries who choose not to get directly involved in conflicts have historically dealt with this vulnerability in one of two ways. Either by forming alliances with more aggressive neighbors who otherwise have similar interests, or by influencing both potential allies and rivals via economic manipulation (i.e. Switzerland during WWII).

"Character is not made of sunshine and roses. Like steel, it is forged in fire, between the hammer and the anvil." Zhu Jin Ning, Thick Face Black Heart.
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