The Top 10 Most Common Arguments Against Anarchism
Author’s Note: Last night (April 5th), a colleague and I were on a call with a Constitutionalist and we decided to refute the most common statist arguments– some stemming from that call, others not. For those of you who are already anarchists, this is simply a link for you to share to save your precious time. For those that aren’t, these are the most common arguments against anarchism we have come across. If your question isn’t answered (or not in the extent that you would like), please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us during a live show and we would be happy to answer any questions.
By: Shane Radliff and Kyle Rearden
April 6th, 2016
1) “Without government, who would build the roads?”
Back before abolition, this question would be similar to, “Well, without slaves, who would pick the cotton?” To put it simply, the same people that build them now: private companies. Government simply acts as the middle-man by contracting out the work and much time and money is wasted when they act as the facilitator. Simply put, people already pay for roads by way of coercive taxation, and since they are a necessity (demand), entrepreneurs will be incentivized to supply them.
2) “But without government regulation, the free market (entrepreneurs) would rip off their customers.”
Believe it or not, government is actually a terrible “investment.” There is a fundamental misunderstanding about the free market. When it comes to government, there is a monopoly; in a free market, there is competition. When there is competition, quality goes up, prices go down. Let’s say that there was an entrepreneur gouging his customers—it would actually create a market demand for more affordable goods and services. The only way that the businessman would be able to continue gouging his customers, would be to arbitrarily raise the barriers to entry; and in the real world, this is done by way of government law (fascism/corporatism), not through market dynamics.
3) “Without government, who would care for the poor?”
The simple fact that you are asking that question, implies that you care for the poor—this is a common question brought up. Henry Hazlitt once said that, “The only real cure for poverty is production.” Yet, production comes from the market, not from the government. Before the New Deal, there were friendly societies, whose function was to care for the poor through voluntary charity. It just so happens, that poverty was decreasing rapidly until government interfered. That said, if you care for the poor, you should oppose taxation and the programs that actually end up hurting those that it’s intended to help.
4) “Without government, who would protect the rights of minorities?”
As Murray Rothbard once said, “Rights are universal, but their enforcement must be local.” As per Hans-Herman Hoppe’s argumentation ethics, if the person in question is capable of arguing, then they enjoy private property rights. Since “society” (and all demographics thereof) are made up of individuals, those said individuals are ultimately responsible for defending their own rights. Governments cannot protect the rights of minorities, because the government does not protect the property rights of anyone in the first place. In summation, government is the entity that instituted race slavery, and also marriage licensure to prevent interracial marriage.
5) “Without government, who would protect public property?”
According to the government’s own lawyers, the government acts as trustee for “public property”. As such, this property is owned collectively by the public, who is composed of the people in common. However, over time, the government has become a despotic trustee. So, the question is not so much who is to protect “public property”, but rather who is to replace government as the trustee? It could also be argued that “public property” itself is nothing more than the tragedy of the commons in action.
6) “Without government, who would defend us from the _________________ (Russians, Muslims, Communists, etc.)?”
The government’s borders are “public property”, except when they are not. Simply put, the international borders are a failed government program, and as such, they are evidence that the government is incapable of defending its own citizenry from hostile foreigners. Therefore, a bloated military bureaucracy armed with the latest technology is ultimately superfluous in deterring and repelling invasion. Specifically in regards to Muslims, the United States government’s foreign policy (through sanctions, mass murder, and destruction of infrastructure) explicitly encourages attacks upon Americans; this is known in the intelligence community as blowback. Public policy proposals that aim to restrict immigration or build walls deliberately avoid addressing the foreign policy entanglements into the affairs of other nations.
7) “Without government, who would ‘keep the peace’?”
In the time of the founding, there was no such thing as a professional police force. Rather, each individual citizen had a duty to “keep the peace” and subdue criminals. That said, professional policing has actually had the complete opposite effect of “keeping the peace,” and is instead detrimental to the life, liberty, and property that each individual is guaranteed inherently. Private security provides a much better alternative, an example being the Threat Management Center in Detroit.
8) “Without government, who would issue the money?”
We’ll leave this one to Carl Menger: “The origin of money…is, as we have seen, entirely natural and thus displays legislative influence only in the rarest instances. Money is not an invention of the State. It is not the product of a legislative act. Even the sanction of political authority is not necessary for its existence. Certain commodities came to be money quite naturally, as the result of economic relationships that were independent of the power of the State.” In summation, cryptocurrencies are the embodiment of the natural evolution of money and gold and silver have been around forever.
9) “Without government, everything would be chaotic—there would be blood in the streets and people rioting.”
Consider the aforementioned police state, democide (murder by government), the warfare–welfare state, mass surveillance, political prisoners arrested for victimless crimes, central banking, civil asset forfeiture, narcotics prohibition (the war on drugs), etc. We are already living in the Mad Max (post-apocalyptic) world and it is because government inherently brings chaos. It is the unilateral, coercive imposition of authority that creates such social instability. If the tools necessary for a “civilization” are coercion and the initiation of force, you are not living in a “civilized society.”
10) “Without government, who would protect me from myself?”
The government constantly abuses the precautionary principle. They feel that it is their duty to protect you from yourself, without knowing anything about your individual preferences. Since you are an individual, it is your duty to defend against aggression and to minimize risk wherever it is necessary. Victimless crimes are simply an excuse by government to infringe upon your liberty, despite the fact that there has been no crime. In accordance with the libertarian twin axioms of non-aggression and self-ownership, you have the right to protect yourself from coercion. Simultaneously, you are also absolutely responsible for the consequences of indulging in your vices.
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