I have two brothers who are mostly living off the grid. I could, probably should, blame myself for this, since I acted this way in my 20’s. Except I was never their hero and I’d knocked off doing this stuff for 20 years before they started. I’m starting to suspect there’s a genetic issue, and I just phenotyped early, thank God. If so, they will get over it too.
I had a book-challenge with one of them earlier this year. I sent him Hayek and he challenged me to read some anarchist guy in Canada. I don’t remember who. I’m not trying to be snarky, but my wife packs up stuff, and “anarchist author canada” didn’t find him. I believe there were a bunch of B’s in his name.
Anyhow, here’s everything I’ve concluded over my entire life about political economy, the good parts version.
There are only two approaches to dealing with other people when it comes to deciding whether you should impose your will on them: libertarian or totalitarian.
Both of these approaches are mere tendencies. You can’t tell which one people really believe from what they claim to believe. But it’s really important to your life to categorize people as one or the other.
Libertarians believe that unless there’s a really really good reason, you have no right to interfere with what other people decide to do, no matter how stupid and destructive it is.
Totalitarians believe that unless there’s a really, really good reason, you should interfere with other people when they are being stupid and destructive.
Moving on, why Anarchy is Idiocy:
Being good at violence is an economic good, just like being good at making bread. The thing that makes civilization possible is that different people are better at some things, and everyone does what they do best to make the sum total of what we can do work more efficiently than if we all tried to be good enough at everything we need and do everything on our own. If we didn’t need each other, there’d be no civilization.
Most people are no good at violence, just as most people are no good at baking bread. The division of labor implies that bakers will pay those good at violence for protecting them from people who are also good at violence who want to take their bread without giving value in return.
That’s how government starts. People who are good at other stuff, but not at violence, pay the good-at-violence to keep them from getting raped and robbed.
Violence, as a business, is different from other businesses. In other businesses, competition rules. Unless you resort to violence to remove your competition, in which case, you are now in the violence business.
In violence, if you don’t have a monopoly, you’re nothing. You must have sovereignty over a territory. The business of violence, as exemplified in gang wars, the Mafia, and governments is all about nobody else but you dares to exercise violence on your turf. Violence is about monopoly. If you don’t get a monopoly, you turn into the Middle East.
The business of violence is different from other businesses. The violence business only works if you have a monopoly. And then the business is subject to all the bad things that happen to monopolies. Laziness, excess, hubris, corruption.
This is the world we live in:
Specialization of labor inevitably leads to most of us paying others who are better at violence to protect us from predation. Because we know how dangerous such people are, we inevitably hedge them in with rules, contracts and management that evolves into government. Like all businesses, government inevitably tries to grow and get more customers, thus the situation we find ourselves in today.
Anarchists talk about “privatizing” government’s function of protecting the peaceful against the violent. As if you’d want people to open up new protection services like they open up new bakeries. When you have competing protection agencies in a single territory, that’s not competition, that’s war. Even the Mafia and street gangs understand that, but anarchists remain oblivious.
The “privatized” version of government anarchists favor will always turn into de facto, and if you’re lucky, de jure monarchy, autocracy or dictatorship because of the business need for a government to have territorial exclusivity. Democracy may be subject to degeneration over time, but it provides external oversight and control of government agents. And the possibility of reigning in government without having to exercise overwhelming violence against the violence experts.
I’d rather try to vote out Obama than overthrow Assad or Putin.