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Article posted Aug 01 2011, 11:12 PM Category: Commentary Source: Gary D. Barnett Print

Peaceful Anarchy: Imagine A Society Without the State

by Gary D. Barnett

"I am an anarchist. I suppose you came here, the most of you, to see what a real, live anarchist looked like. I suppose some of you expected to see me with a bomb in one hand and a flaming torch in the other, but are disappointed in seeing neither. If such has been your ideas regarding an anarchist, you deserved to be disappointed. Anarchists are peaceable, law-abiding people. What do anarchists mean when they speak of anarchy? Webster gives the term two definitions Ė chaos and the state of being without political rule. We cling to the latter definition. Our enemies hold that we believe only in the former." ~ Lucy Parsons

"If we look at the record of mass murder, exploitation, and tyranny levied on society by governments over the ages, we need not be loath to abandon the Leviathan State and Ö try freedom." ~ Murray N. Rothbard

Anarchy in its purest form is based on peaceful behavior and voluntaryism in a stateless society, while government is based on aggression, theft, force, and deceit. These two systems are completely opposite. The only moral social system worth having has to adhere to the ideas of non-aggression, private property, free and voluntary exchange, and self-responsibility. This ideology is based entirely on the individual as sovereign. A political order where the individual is not sovereign, such as what we have now in this country, is the type of system that eventually leads to tyranny and serfdom. We are already far along in that process.

In my opinion, peaceful anarchy as a near perfect social system must go unchallenged, because anarchy is based on the truism that the individual is sovereign. Philosophically, anarchy is the only workable system if freedom is the desired goal. All other political systems are based on a top-down structure, with those in charge holding power over all others. This type of structure, which is our current political system, is simply one of force, and force is the antithesis of liberty.

While to me this seems to be not only simple but also logical, to most others this thinking is blasphemous. The mere mention of anarchy causes grave reactions from those from the "elite" class to the common laborer. No one it seems understands the simple concept of anarchy, and certainly canít grasp the concept of anarchy as a viable social system. This says a lot about the "success" of the government indoctrination prisons called "public" schools. Obviously, the worship and acceptance of the State is now the primary driver in the American thought process. This is unfortunate.

Those who believe that anarchy is chaos without justice fail to understand that anarchists simply want to be left alone. The fact that they want to be left alone should naturally convey that they also donít want to infringe upon the liberty of others. Self-rule means that oneís life is directed from within instead of being controlled from without. This concept should not be foreign to any man who desires to enjoy a free life. But it is this simple notion that escapes so many.

Obviously, simple humans are a mixture of good and bad, so believing that a stateless society will remedy all ills is silly. The idea of anarchy assumes that most will not aggress against others, and that voluntary cooperation will be a primary factor for success. This of course seems impossible given our circumstances today, but any critical thought should help to relieve the fears of most.

If we all were self-reliant and self sufficient, if no forced welfare existed, if taxation was abolished, if positive law was not a part of society, would the manner of men change? If no standing armies were allowed, would wars cease? If the only act of force tolerated were for self-defense, would crime lessen? If none could benefit at the expense of another, would cooperation replace extortion? If no man ruled another, would there be incentive for peaceful and voluntary behavior? In my view, the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes! Would this kind of society be perfect Ö Of course not, because people are not perfect. No societal system can be perfect. But a system without the state would at least offer us the best chance for a long and peaceful existence, and one without the chains of governmental tyranny.

Our society has long been force-fed the propaganda that we cannot survive and prosper without the State. Our training in such matters begins at a very early age and continues throughout our lives. The transformation from a somewhat free society to our current one of servitude has taken a long time, but it has happened nonetheless. Now, most in this country are knowingly or unknowingly dependent on the government in one fashion or another, but many more thrive exclusively on government largess, and due to government protectionist practices. Did this happen accidentally or did it happen by design? I think the latter is the obvious answer to this question.

Given that the masses of people in this country believe so strongly in "their" government, what has that government done to deserve this confidence? What has the state brought us? What has been accomplished due to our political system these past two hundred plus years?
  • Standing armies
  • Continuous war and mass murder
  • Massive progressive taxation
  • State-sponsored welfare
  • Eminent Domain
  • Central banking and the Federal Reserve
  • Destruction of our money
  • The "War on Drugs"
  • The largest prison system in the world with the highest incarceration rate
  • Government schooling
  • FDA
  • EPA
  • TSA
  • NSA
  • CIA
  • FBI
  • Military Commissions Act
  • Killer Drones
  • Guantanamo Bay
  • Torture
  • Rendition
  • Police brutality
  • Imperialism
  • Wiretapping and spying
  • Illegal searches
  • Bailouts
  • Monopoly
  • Recessions
  • Depressions
I could of course go on and on as this is a partial list, but I think the picture is clear. If this is what the State produces, how could a stateless society be worse? As I see things, it could not! Just imagine how different life would be if all the horrible things mentioned above were removed from our society. Imagine peace? Imagine a country of non-aggressive individuals working strictly through voluntary efforts? Imagine that all your property, including your own body, is yours and yours alone to do with as you see fit? Just imagine?

Murray N. Rothbard was one of the staunchest defenders of a stateless society, and presented here a great argument for anarchism as a social system. Once those skeptical souls who hunger for authority instead of freedom are shown the way to clear those imaginary anarchy hurdles, progress has a chance to flourish. This is no easy task, but if enough are shown the way, could it happen? Could it be successful? I think that it could, but major obstacles would first have to be removed.

The obstacles I speak of are those that allow one to prosper at the expense of another. If all government forced welfare were eliminated, all would then be forced to take care of themselves and their own. This alone would make a huge difference in the minds of the masses. Immediately, self-reliance and self-responsibility would become necessary for life to continue. When the majority of society is self-responsible, liberty is the natural result, and becomes the driving force of that society.

Accepting the idea of sovereignty of the individual brings much responsibility, but that responsibility leads to a freer society. A freer society leads to a society based upon voluntary cooperation. Voluntary cooperation is the basis for free markets. Voluntary cooperation and free markets leads directly to prosperity.

It is time to break the chains of government and try freedom. It is time to throw off rule by the few for rule by self. Government has failed and failed miserably every time it has been tried. Why then continue along this path of failure? Why continue to allow rule over of the many by the few?

A stateless society has not the power to destroy the individual. I say abolish the State!
Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is president of Barnett Financial Services, Inc., in Lewistown, Montana.

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