Somebody asked a (convergent) series of questions in one of the comment sections. Since it would take a very long time to answer all of these questions I figured I might make a post answering these questions and explaining some of the positions in more detail. The full question can be found here.
I do want to begin by saying that I am probably the worst person you can ask. Because I am very ignorant on this subject at this moment. I have learned a lot this year, but there are other people that can do a much superior job answering these questions.
Question 1: That you do not want any individual or state to have any power or control whatsoever because power corrupts.
Answer 1: Okay, not really a question, but a statement I wanted to expound on. That is part of the reason. That is not the whole point. I have many reasons for opposing statism and that is just one of them. I am also against people owning other people. If you take the position, "people cannot own other people but themselves", and you apply this principle consistently then you will see how the state contradicts this principle constantly.
I want to make it clear that I do not think that if the state is eliminated the corruption will go away. The state does terrible things because it has a lot of power. But the same can also be said with non-state private organizations as well. The police as known to be corrupted, definitely in the United States. And certainly the largest mafia in all of history. But the corruption of power still exists in private guards also.
If you have an unpleasant encounter with cops you will find yourself in a situation where they will do something they cannot do. Because they are corrupted by their power to act in such a manner. But this does not stop private guards from acting in such a way also. Consider for example the casino. The casino got no cops. They have their own security guards. If the casino wants to kick you out for whatever reasons, and they send the security after you, the guards can be rather nasty also. I am not saying that this is bound to happen, I am just saying that the possibility of corruption and control exists in both these instances.
Basically, what I am saying is that it is not that the state is bad and private is good. I am saying that power is the source of the problem. Since the state is the ultimate concentration and monopolization of power, do not be surprised that it will be the most corrupted organization you will come across, do not be surprised that it will be capable of doing the greatest of all evils. Private can also have power, like security guards, and do bad things with it too. However, the more and more power is decentralized the less damage there can be done with it.
I do not actually believe that the corruption of power can ever be eliminated. Nor do I believe that private companies will not exercise their power if given an opportunity towards corruption. Because human being suck, and this flaw will always be present. But giving that power into an ultimate institution is the most irresponsible solution to this problem.
Question 2: What powers will be needed to put this into practice? What about law enforcement? What about human rights / civil liberties / drugs / medicines / education / police / military / defence etc etc etc?? What you are advocating would seem to me to be total anarchy and could surely only be brought about in the short term by bloody revolution.
Answer 2: Anarchy comes from the words "archon" and the pre-fix "a". Archon is a Greek word meaning "ruler". The pre-fix "a" denotes that "anarchy" means "no ruler". Therefore, what anarchy means is simply "no rulers present".
There is a very big difference between the teenage bad-boy notion of anarchy and the political movement (I guess, more precisely, lack of political movement) of anarchy. The rebellious teenager hates rules. He just wants to do what he wants, when he wants, with disregard to the law. Sadly, this is the common misrepresentation of anarchists.
What most people think of anarchy is a system (lack-of-system) of no rules and that people get to do whatever they want to do. This is not true. Anarchy does not mean "no rules", it simply means "no rulers".
What precisely is a "ruler"? The ruler here represents the state. In the past it were kings and despots, today it is various complicated arrangements in bureaucracy and democracy. Both are examples of a state.
It is important to define what the state is, so that it is clear what we are doing about. If you ask most people "what is the state?" or "what is the government?", they will probably (and foolishly) tell you this, "the government is us, it is society getting together to decide what needs to be done". The definition of state that I use is very specific. The state is a coercive monopoly over a region of land that claims ownership over this land and will use violence against anyone who disobeys its rule.
Examples of states are all over the world. Pick any place and the chance is that you would find a state. The United States is clearly a state. It satisfies all of these conditions. The United States is a coercive monopoly. It has all the arms. It is a monopoly because it would not allow competition with itself. If you were to try that, you will be send into jail or killed. It claims ownership over everything that goes on within its borders (and actually outside the borders too in some locations). If you disagree with this claim you will be send to jail or shot. So the United States is clearly a state.
Anarchism is opposition to the state. That is it. That is all. Anarchism is not against human communities forming and coming up with laws. Anarchists are not against having traffic laws. Anarchists are not against forming agencies that will act in the "public good" (whatever that even means). Anarchists do not believe in egoism. So the common misconceptions about anarchism are wrong.
Then you ask about law enforcement. Anarchism is not opposed to law enforcement. Law is necessary, and police are necessary. Anarchists simply dismiss the state as the means to provide these services. How police and law will emerge is a topic that will take far too long to explain and discuss. There are entire books written on these ideas. But the general idea is that law and police are necessities that people need. These services can be obtained through the market, just as any other service that people buy and sell. Since law and protection are valuable to people, people would buy these services from the market and hence would be the birth of a police force and law systems. A bad analogy is food. Food is a necessity that people need, but it is not provided by the state, it is provided through the market. Just as people purchase food because they need it, they would purchase protection and security because it is valuable.
Now I realize this does not answer everything. You will ask many more questions on that. But as I said this is a very long discussion that I do not want to get into. And also because I am like one of the worst people to ask. There are smarter people than me on this and they can answer you much better. I am just trying to give you a general idea.
So in this way law, security, defense, enforcement, are provided in absence of a state. Remember the state is characterized by being a concentrated power structure as defined more precisely above. This means that law and defense is not the defining property of the state. You can surly have a state that does not care about law or defending its citizens. It kills its own citizens and ignores its own laws. So the service of law and defense is not the defining property of a state. And in a converse manner law and defense do not have to be provided by a state.
What I described is partially seen by Beis-Din. The Beis-Din is a Jewish court that follows the Talmudic laws. Jews who rather wish to settle their disputes in Beis-Din and agree to settle their disputes there rather than a public court. In this manner Beis-Din functions as an example of a private court.
I think I read somewhere, do not really remember where, that certain businesses have their own courts that they use to settle their disputes because it is much easier to use them than public courts. In this way businesses are able to resolve their disagreements entirely outside the state.
The question of law and order is definitely by far the most complicated question. I will move on now to other questions that were raised. The next question is about, human rights, who would give them if not the state?
Here is thing about rights. Rights are never given. Rights are already there. Everybody has them. Everybody is born with them. What happens is that someone steals them away from people. My problem with most civil rights movements is that they forget this fundamental point. They see the state as the champion that gave them their rights. But that is the error. Rights cannot be given, only taken away. What happened in the past is that various people had their rights stolen from them. By who? The state. Consider for instance black rights in the United States. Blacks suffered because the state passed laws against them. The state treated blacks differently from how it treated whites. With the rise of the civil movements the rights of the blacks were never given to them. Rather what happened is that the state stopped taking those rights away from them. Or consider the homos. A lot of homos complain about the ban on gay marriage and say that they demand their rights from the government. But that is the problem right there. They cannot demand their rights. They always had their rights. If it was not for the state preventing them doing what they want to do they would have them.
The the issue of human rights is really a simple issue. The state is the main entity in history that has violated human rights. You cannot give praise to a state for being a champion of rights if it is the institution that almost surly violates them.
The next question that was asked was about civil liberties. You think the state gives liberty? Liberty, like rights, cannot be given, it is already there, it can only be taken away. If you look throughout history, the main institution that denied people their liberty was the state. Absence of a state is usually liberty. Therefore, this is not issue at all.
The next question was asked about drugs. I am not sure what drugs we are talking about? Medical drugs? Well medical drugs are created through the market and sold for people who need them. I guess he wanted to ask about drug regulation.
It entirely possible to regulate drugs in absence of a state. Regulation comes at a price. The more regulation is used the safer the drug will be, but the more expensive it will become. I do not believe in setting an absolute measure of regulation. I think that people can decide for themselves how much regulation they need. Regulation will be provided by companies that give their stamp of approval on the drugs. The drug companies have it in their interest to make people feel secure about the drugs, so the drug companies will look for regulators that will approve their drugs. Some people are not so crazy about safety, those people will buy drugs will little (or possible no) regulation. But those drugs would be cheaper. Some people are more concerned about safety, those people will buy drugs with a lot of regulation on them. Those drugs would be more expensive. In this manner people would be able to choose exactly how much regulation they want. Drug regulation is important but it is not the only important factor. Some people want cheaper drugs, some people want safer drugs; with more regulation newer drugs would be developed slower. Finding the right mix of these factors is what the market is there to sort out. Having a central regulating body decide the proper amount of regulation (which is always increasing) is not the correct way to deal with this problem.
The follow up question is similar is about doctors. Doctors come from the market. So I guess the question is about who will license the doctors? It is entirely similar to how regulatory agencies insure drugs for profit. It is only scary and outrageous to propose no mandate on licensing because it is not the world we are used to. So when we hear a different scenario we immediately assume the worst and think it would be chaos in the streets. Here is more about unlicensing.
The last question that was asked was about education. I am a very strong opponent of public education. I would like to see an end to it one day. Education, like any other service, can be provided through the market. I am not sure about Europe but in the United States there are a lot of private schools. I went to a private school myself. There is no reason to think why education has to be provided by the state. There are plenty of private schools, and were even more private schools back in the days of no public education. Just like drug regulation this is just another service which can be provided through the market. But state education, I would argue, is dangerous. Unlike drug regulation which is just not as efficient, state education can be used by the state to influence the next generation of children. This is actually quite dangerous to a free society. I seen a good series on YouTube about a push towards a more market-friendly education system which you can find here.
Question 3: Perhaps in the much longer term a more gradual, evolutionary, process will bring about some of the more positive changes you would like.
Answer 3: I do not want to get rid of everything suddenly at once. There are way too many people dependent on the state for their necessities. If that was to happen their entire lives would be ruined.
I do not support social-security but I do wish for it to immediately be eliminated and see the old struggle to live. I think it needs to be done gradually. A magical line needs to be drawn to who from this point on will see social security in their life and who will not. That will make a lot of younger people angry who will be paying into the system, but that is inevitable, that is how ponzi-schemes work. In that way a program is eliminated from the state. And the same should be done with other programs. Such as rent-control. Rent-control should be phased out. New buildings will stop being subject to rent-control laws and when the old buildings are gone there be no rent-control laws anymore. I support a gradual abolishment of all state programs.
If everything is entirely eliminated that would create chaos. This is the reason why anarchy is always identified with chaos. Historically, most of anarchy has resulted from a collapsed state. The state ran on terrible economics, it collapsed, and all of the people are now missing their necessities which came from the state. The people are angry and it leads to a lot of riots and chaos. This is basically what is happening in Greece. It collapsed and people became very angry that all their dependency is now missing.
The chaos that results from the collapsed state is not a proof that the state was necessary. Rather it is the immediate effect of dependency. As an analogy consider leaning against a wall. If I suddenly remove the wall, you shall fall. This is not proof that you are unable to stand by yourself, it rather shows that you had support on the wall. The chaos and disorder that results from the collapsed state is anarchy, but not because there is no state. Rather the chaos is the result from the missing dependency.
If all the social programs are immediately abolished then disorder and chaos would break out. And it will make people think that anarchy is a terrible situation when compared to statism. If instead there is gradual change then there would likely be market alternatives to the needs that people have, and so this chaos will never come to be.
Question 4: Suppose we in the West did nothing about the Taliban and other Islamic Fundamentalists for example? They would soon be taking over Europe and the US.
Answer 4: It seems there is a lot of fear that people put on Muslims. It is understandable because it is partially based on truth. Consider for example the following number. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. If 1% of these Muslims are the dangerous kind that leaves you with 15 million people. This is a bigger number than the number of Jews in the world, including all Jews, both religious and non-religious. So it is still a big number. And it is true that these Muslims have a big giant-hard on for world domination. I know this because they say so themselves openly.
But I am not scared by Muslim immigration at all. If they want to come, let them come. I do agree that if Muslims start coming into your countries then crimes rates will increase. But only ever so slightly. Say the UK has 2 murders per 100,000 people. With a Muslim immigration that figure can raise to say 3 or 4 murders per 100,000 people. Oh my science, that is scary! Not really. Those numbers are still low. The crime rates do increase with Muslim immigration as the numbers seem to suggest. But it is not chaos and war zones in the middle of the streets.
People are fear-driven creatures. When they get scared of something they stop being so rational about what they are scared about. I saw on Penn and Teller's "Bullshit" series that the chances a child predator will kidnap your kids is three times less likely than being struck by lightning. Many parents have this terrible fear of sending their kids in the streets because for some irrational reason they assume that all strangers are sexual predators that want to have sex with their children. This is just not true. And if these parents stood consistent they should make their children wear lightning rods on top of their heads. But that is not how parents are. They see in the news a story of a kidnapped kid and they create this insane proposition that their kid is at risk.
There is this same fear with Muslims. I certainly agree that Islam is a pathetic evil religion (like others), it is special in that it gets the title as the most evil religion today. But the people who follow the religion are still people. People are not that bad. Most Muslims you would come across in your life are just like other people you would come across your life. Islam fills these people with dangerous ideas, but at the same time, these ideas are not that much acted out. So crime rates increase, but they do not explode astronomically.
Now you can make the argument that Muslims cannot be let into your country because they make it less safe and they increase crime. But I would not buy that argument because you should compare the benefits to the costs. The cost is an increase in crime and a few civil problems. But the benefit is much higher. In particular the benefits to the Muslims. As I said most Muslims are good because most people are good. These Muslims come to Europe and US because their life in the middle-east sucks. The Arab countries are primitive savages with low living standards. These Muslims immigrate to other countries so they can make their lives better off. Since the trouble and unrest is coming from a small minority of Muslims the benefit to the good Muslims is much higher than the costs. This is why I support Muslim immigration. Because I want the good Muslims to be able to improve their lives so that their kids would not have to deal with the non-sense they had to deal with.
The danger of Islam is not the immigration. But something else. The real threat are the fundamentalists taking over the state, or having an influence of the state. The real serious problems that go on in Europe are mainly the result of this. There are laws passed that protect Muslims differently how they protect other people. There is an attempt to push for Sharia law. There are laws passed that negate the freedom of speech of Europeans against Muslims because it is "hate-speech" or some non-sense like that. This is the real problem. The solution, again, is not the state. The state is a big deal of the problem that is in Europe.
Consider this. Christians, from about 500 years ago, where just as bad as these fundamentalist Muslims. But somehow this went away. Where did it go? Why did the Christians not take over the world, or at least Europe? Because the values of the Enlightenment were superior to fundamentalist Christian values. Liberal values are way better than what is found in the Bible. So people eventually, slowly, caught on to these values. If people have exposure to different values, that are superior, they will slowly incorporate those values into themselves. The Muslims never had an Enlightenment. I believe very strongly that Islam fears the values of the modern world. Because these are the same values that changed Christians into moderate Christians. These values do change Muslims into moderate Muslims. You can see it happening. I have seen it happening. I have seen lots of Muslims girls at college. They wear the hijab, but surprisingly they wear pants! There was a nice Muslim girl in one of my classes that told me she only wears a hijab because it is her father's request. I was also able to sense from her modern values. When she spoke it did not feel like she is some Muslim from the middle-east, but a Muslim living in a modern world. I known another such Muslim girl in my other class who used to speak with me. She wore hijab but with pants too. I very strongly believe that these changes are the result of being exposed to modern values in America. Since American and European values are far far superior (and we should be proud of that!) to Muslim values the Muslims are being influenced. Imagine what the next generation would be like? The signs indicate that there will be a big change in the Muslim religion. It will be split, like Judaism has. Into a really tiny portion known as Orthodox Judaism (which does not really do anything so crazy anymore) and other versions of liberal Judaism which are nicer.
Europe is not that big on immigration as America is. Europe consists of lots of natives that lived there for a very long time. Places like Sweden are filled with beautiful blonde white-skinned girls with blue eyes. You do not find that many black people in Russia. European population is more hereditary.
America is big on immigration. This is one of the things that made America great. Get on a train in New York City and you will find every kind of person in the world that you can imagine. White man is a minority when compared to all the immigrants. It makes a lot of people angry that this is the case (*cough* *cough* racist rednecks *cough*), but I like it. There are no natives of America. The Indians which used to be the natives were killed out in a genocide. Initially the American population consisted of European descent and blacks that were enslaved from Africa. So if you want to speak of the natives at the time of American then it were the people of English descent and the blacks. Over the years people immigrated into this country. The Chinese, the Irish, the Jewish, now the Mexicans, and the list goes on and on.
Every single time a new group of people immigrated into America the response was disapproval. There were lots of people who did not want to see immigration into America. And they came up with reasons why these people are "anti-America". They came up with excuses to why it is dangerous to have these people immigrate. Consider the Irish. The Irish were Catholic, and as Catholics they had their allegience to the Pope. When the Irish moved into America many of the people objected and said they are un-American because they do not care for America but they care for the Pope. Is there anyone today who wants to kick the Irish out, besides for kicking out Bill O'Reilly.
Being anti-immigration is the standard course of civilization. I always wondered how people justified wanting the Irish or the Chinese or the Jewish out of the country. I realized this with seeing how they treat Muslims. Every time it was based on certain half-truths. With the Irish it was true that they were Catholic who had allegience to the Pope. But the half-truth was the conclusion that they would make terrible Americans. Every time, many years later in history, when people look back at their stances on immigration they realize how foolish they were in being so anti-immigration. Today we see the Irish immigrating as a trivial issue, or the Jews immigrating as a trivial issue. Because that is a thing of the past and we can see how foolish those people were. But today we do not realize the same anti-immigration position that exists with regard to Muslims.
America has been described as a melting pot. Where all people's of the world come together and melt their ways of life together. This has been true with pretty much all people living in the US. There are still divisions and separations, but not much conflict at all. Because the people find ways to get along even though they are different, for they learned to melt their ways together. There is room in the pot for the Muslims too.
Question 5: These fundamentalists are taking advantage of our "freedom of speech" laws to spread their doctrines and when (and NOT if) they do so they will abolish ALL freedom of speech.
Answer 5: Having freedom of speech laws makes just as much sense as a hetrosexual gay guy or a Jewish Nazi. The entire point of freedom of speech is that there are no laws controlling speech. That is what freedom of speech means. You can read this if you want to know more. The fundamental concept behind freedom of speech is to speak against the state. If the state can control speech and decide laws on speech then it can also decide what can be said about it. In that case freedom of speech is pointless.
Fundamentalist Muslims has the right to say whatever they want to say. And you do not have the right to silence them. While at the same time you have the right to say whatever you want to say about them and they have no right to silence you. That is not abolishing freedom of speech, that is on the contrary a defense of freedom of speech. Because nice polite speech does not need protection, the majority does not need any kind of defense, it is the minority and the impolite and the offensive speech that needs protection.
Question 6: Your (and Wikileaks) unlimited / unrestrained / in my view totally irresponsible "freedom of speech" is a gift to them (which they see as our weakness) and not the ideological panacea to the world's problems that you both seem to imagine.
Answer 6: As I explained before the function of WikiLeaks is to expouse the state, which is part of the freedom of speech. In a free world truth cannot be silenced or hidden from the public. I wish there were thousands of WikiLeaks all over the world and over all the central banks. That way the citizens know exactly what is going on.
I cannot understand how you can possibly be against WikiLeaks? How can you be against the truth? You would rather live in a world that is based on deception and lies than live in a world where the truth have been expoused?
Question 7: On this planet there are many different worlds and I believe it is better to live in the real one and not some imaginary ideological Utopia with its illusionary benefits.
Answer 7: I get accused of that a lot. But what exactly is utopian about what I say? I do not say that the world would be great and wonderful without a state. I do not say that people will magically become wealthy if the state is eliminated. I do not say that conflicts would be eliminated without a state.
All these problems will still be there. That is not what my position is. My position is that with a state these problems are not solved. Rather they are magnified into worse problems.
To your surprise I consider statism to be utopian. I do not say anything contrary to the nature of people. You do. You think that if you create a big power structure with all the violence at hands that it will somehow actually care for its citizens, rather than seeking more power. Statism is what is wrong, and it is what is utopian. Statism is the idea of fixing the world through the use of the state. That is what is wrong, and that is what is utopian.
I think it were the communists who believed that they could change the nature of men so that he will act towards the state and the public rather than himself. They believed they can distance people away from their selfish desires. That is rather utopian. But mainstream statism is not so different, it is founded on the belief in that the people in the state can act differently and more virtuously/benevolently than common men. And that is where it is utopian.
Question 8: Somebody once said “I do not like what was said - but I will fight to the death for his right to say it!”. Very noble. Very high sounding – but totally impracticable, naive and unrealistic in many instances.
Answer 8: It was Voltaire who said that. And you condemn him for that? You condemn him for defending free speech?
You say it is "totally impracticable", how? His stance is more practical. Having a committe decide what can be said and what cannot be said is more impractical. Uncontrolled speech (which is really what free speech is) is as practical as it gets.
What does "unrealistic" mean? I hate that word. It is an empty word that does not mean anything. Its only function is to magically score some debate points. People just throw the word, "unrealistic/realistic", around without making an argument as if it immediately vindicates your argument. As I said, everybody thinks he is being realistic, and thinks those who disagree with him are being unrealistic, so it is in the end an empty statement that does not add anything of value to any argument.
Question 9: Is he being democratic? Far from it – democracy is all about people being allowed to express their opinion about something they believe. What he is doing is hanging-out other people’s “dirty washing” in public – not his own!
Answer 9: I do not care. I do not care about democracy. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner, liberty is a well-armed lamb. The American tradition is not to be a democracy. America is supposed to be a Republic not a Democracy. I do not see anything virtuous in a democracy. So the fact that WikiLeaks is being democratic or undemocratic does not concern me. I do not care.
Question 10: Is the world going to be a better place after all this “truth” has been revealed? Not one bit. Just further divided - in my humble opinion
Answer 10: So you would rather live in a world of lies than in a post-world were all the lies have been revealed? A divided world is a good world in this instance. Because the evils that were done have been brought to the light. It divided the world, but I see that as a good thing. Since now people have some idea what is going on in the world.
Why should the citizens be kept in the dark and lied to in order to maintain the illusion of unity? There is no actual unity in the world. It always was divided. And it will always be divided. With this information released people know exactly how much the world have been divided. WikiLeaks did not divide anything. The states and politicians involved in it are the ones that really caused the problems. Why do you not blame them? Why do you not blame the ones who caused the problem? Why do not not blame the ones who killed people? Why blame the messenger who simply shown to the world their evils?
Question 11: There is no government in Somalia – I do not imagine either of you will be moving there any time soon.
Answer 11: There was a government in Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany. You would not want to live under the Soviets or the Nazis. Therefore, statism is wrong.
Is that a good or bad argument? I know what you will say. You will say I am not being fair. I picked terrible representatives for statism. Well you are doing the same thing. You are picking a terrible representative for anarchism and using it as something which represents all anarchists.
Anarchists do not say "anarchism is preferrable to statism". That is not the argument. The argument has been, "if all is kept equal, anarchism is preferrable to statism". Therefore, if you want to compare countries you must compare like to like. Not unlike to like.
Comparing the United States which had hundreds of years to develop to a primitive country like Somalia, and saying "Aha, Somalia is terrible compared to a state" is a ridiculous argument. How is that any fair?
If you want to compare Somalia to anything then you should compare it to Somalia itself. More specifically, Somalia with a state to Somalia without a state. That is the only fair comparrison that you can make. Compare it to itself before it had a state to after it had a state.
Was Somalia better off with a state? No, not at all. It was way worse. It was much more terrible. The easiest way to see this is by seeing how the people voted with their feet. When the Somalia state collapsed there was a migration back into Somalia. Clearly, it was because under no state Somalia was preferrable to when it had a state.
There were a number of economists who studied how Somalia is doing under no state and they discovered that on nearly every measurement they are doing better with no state than when they did have a state. Somalia is even doing better on various measures than some of its African neighbors with states.
You have the impression that my position that if a state is eliminated then everything becomes great and wonderful. While all I say is that things will probably improve. And they have with Somalia. So Somalia is not a counter-example to what I say. Somalia is an empirical justification of what I said.
Somalia is also a bad example of what I stand for. Because I advocate an intellectual revolution of people who are pro-science, pro-reason, pro-skepticism, pro-liberty, pro-peace who recognize the state as being illegitamite and unnecessary. That way an anarchist society would certainly be preferrable to whatever exists now. But Somalia is something different. Somalia is a collapsed state. The Somali people did not come to anarchism in a philosophical and economicaly manner. They are primitive people (not that I mean them any bad) who had this event happen in their lives. And now they need to live under no state without being properly educated. But if the Somali people, as uneducated as they are on this issue, can make their lives better off with no state then does it not suggest that educated people would do it even better?