“I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men and women are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. ”; Henry David Thoreau,”Civil Disobedience”
I am interested in Understanding the Anarchic, Voluntarist bent , of many of my interlocutors online.
I’m confronted, almost daily, with the sentiment…the insistence…that “the State is Illegitimate…because it has a Monopoly on Force…and I did not give my Consent…therefore; Do Away with the State.”
Well and good.
I’ve read a little Proudhon…a little Bastiat… a lot of Lysander Spooner…and everything Thoreau produced.
I agree, that the State, as we see it, today, is in bad need of a corral.
What I don’t understand, is how to get to the stated goal of a Stateless, Voluntarist Society of Free Individuals.
In this milieu, even the word “Society” seems suspect.
From Wiki,”Voluntaryism”:” Rothbard maintained, first, that every government "presumes to establish a compulsory monopoly of defense (police and courts) service over some geographical area. So that individual property owners who prefer to subscribe to another defense company within that area are not allowed to do so"; and, second, that every government obtains its income by stealing, euphemistically labeled "taxation." "All governments, however limited they may be otherwise, commit at least these two fundamental crimes against liberty and property."”
I cannot argue that this is an Untrue statement.I can argue that I haven't seen a Rational Argument for a Replacement.
In their "Statement of Purpose" in Neither Bullets nor Ballots: Essays on Voluntaryism (1983), Watner, Smith, and McElroy explained that voluntaryists were advocates of non-political strategies to achieve a free society. They rejected electoral politics "in theory and practice as incompatible with libertarian goals," and argued that political methods invariably strengthen the legitimacy of coercive governments. In concluding their "Statement of Purpose" they wrote: "Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate the withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which state power ultimately depends."”
Well and Good, again….
My Problem with this, is the How….and the real world Results of Universalising such a Philosophy.
It seems to me, that this is a recipe for the Negative Definition of Anarchy.
No one seems willing to explain….or to even address these misgivings…falling, instead, into almost-ad hominem, or eye-rolling.
A large part of the Argument against the State is that, it has never worked before…that Government Always ends up resorting to Violence and Coersion…
This has, indeed, been the case…sometimes for Good, mostly for Bad.
I’m still missing a Pragmatic Program to Implement the supposed Remedy….because, it seems, having such a Program, would violate the Tenets of Anarchism/Voluntaryism. I am left to read much, and think much….and try to reconcile , what appears to me as, Nihilistic Absurdism….with what we have, today.
Remove all Government, and we are left with No Laws….aside from whatever we can agree on…individually.
This Nonprogram seems to rely on many assumptions…and harkens back almost 10 Millennia, to an Idealised time when there were no Governments, no States, no “Rulers”.
Proudhon, himself, late in his life, abandoned a lot of his earlier Thought on this…leaning, instead, towards a “Federalism” of Individuals…and Democratic Ownership.
He called for “ a Balancing of Authority by Liberty”…meaning, I guess, something akin to “Limited Government”.
Bakunin, whom I have never read(so many books, so little time)…seems to have had similar, and better thought out, ideas.
From his Wiki:” By "liberty", Bakunin did not mean an abstract ideal but a concrete reality based on the equal liberty of others. In a positive sense, liberty consists of "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity." Such a conception of liberty is "eminently social, because it can only be realized in society," not in isolation. In a negative sense, liberty is "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."”
Fits , loosely, with J.S. Mill: paraphrased, “ Your Liberty ends where it meets my Liberty”….
More:” By federalism Bakunin meant the organization of society "from the base to the summit—from the circumference to the center—according to the principles of free association and federation." Consequently, society would be organized "on the basis of the absolute freedom of individuals, of the productive associations, and of the communes," with "every individual, every association, every commune, every region, every nation" having "the absolute right to self-determination, to associate or not to associate, to ally themselves with whomever they wish."”
Again, where does this “Organisation” come from?
That is the Nub of my Problem with the Anarchist.
Our long History shows a remarkable trend, over the last 500 years, or so…of better and better Government….better and better relations , between the State and the Individual…
I maintain that this Progress should be continued….despite the Backsliding of the past Decade.
Instead of Abolishing the State, altogether…Take the one, salient Idea of the recent Tea Party…Take the Government Back.
The only place I differ with the Tea, is in who, exactly, we are to Take It From…and Who constitutes the People….
My Idea of the People is Inclusive; All of Us.(and I have been consistent in this…despite a lack of such considerations, on their part.)
I am eye-rolled away, when I ask these questions…folks get mad at me…that I am so “Unimaginative”…lol.
I honestly want to Understand…but a Rational Answer does not seem forthcoming…
Just what I regard as more Nihilism, cloaked in “Liberty”….and much Impassioned Critique of Taxation(Theft)…Authority(Coersion)…and the State, itself(Tyranny).
Under a reinvigorated system of Federalism(see my last post), I can see Voluntarian Anarchism working , at the County level…same goes for Communism, Theocracy, and every other conceivable system of Living Together. This is what I mean by Laboratories….as opposed to the One Size Fits All, that we have today.
Under the nonsystem, as put forth..I’ll spend all of my time defending whatever I have, from Everybody….which is hardly a recipe for Liberty. Or, I band together, with others…for Mutual Defense….which looks a lot like “Government”, to me.lol.
As it stands, today, even with our poor excuse for Government…I don’t have to do that. Rule of Law, etc
When this Rule of Law breaks down…as under Bush2…and continuing, in some respects, under Obama….there are mechanisms to claw back…
Instead, these failures of Government are put forth as Evidence that we must abandon the Rule of Law… and the State.
I would like someone to explain how Abolishing the State will Not lead, almost immediately, to the Middle Ages. After all, the Fall of Rome was, in many respects, a Test of Statelessness.
Explain how that is not so.