Anarcho Capitalism Lecture
A lecture given on September 25, 2008 by Barry Belmont discussing the basics of anarcho-capitalism in a simple and informative way. Examples of solutions provided by anarcho-capitalism range from gay marriage to gun laws to police in this lecture.
Hello and thank you for joining me here today. My name is Barry Belmont and this club is the UNR Students for Liberty. We are a club that is devoted to the fundamental ideals of liberty and we seek to promote liberty and freedom as best we can through events such as our "Nobody '08" campaign, our bimonthly meetings, lectures and discussions such as this one, and plain leaving people alone who would like to be left alone. Today's lecture is about anarchocapitalism and a discussion will follow in which you can ask more specific questions and I will try to answer them as best I can. If at any point you think I have made a terrible faux pas in reasoning, I ask that you save pointing it out to the very end because what I will be talking about might be rather new to some people and I would like to walk through the logic clearly at first and address concerns at the end. Before I begin, there are a few things I must define. When I refer to "anarcho-capitalism" I have a very specific view in mind by which I mean a society that lacks a State, has private property, follows the non-aggression axiom, and declares the sovereignty of the individual. Anarcho-capitalism can also be referred to as individualist anarchy, anarcho-libertarianism, free market anarchism, or some variation. There are of course different flavors of anarcho-capitalism ranging from the Rothbardian a priori explanation to Friedman's "It'll-just-work". I plan to be arguing more from the position of Murray Rothbard as I will be showing that from very basic initial premises not only can anarchy not be rejected out of hand, but that indeed it is a justifiable position to take on the matter of the State. And by State or government, I'll be referring to America, because it is the State with which we are most familiar. And I take Rothbard's definition "as that institution which possesses one or both (almost always both) of the following properties: (1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as "taxation"; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area." Any form of legitimized coercion can only be carried out by a State and this will be the main point of this presentation. A society without a State. It seems like such a foreign idea to us. At numerous points in history (including the present) the idea of anarchy is seen as primitive or barbaric. No one could possibly defend such a savage notion as "the war of all against all" as Hobbes would have it and I certainly do not plan to. Chaos, disorder, dysfunction: anarchy is linked with these horrible ideas, not because this is what anarchy produces, but because it is an easy way to discredit it without getting into any substantive issues: Issues as broad as the legitimacy of the State to as narrow as someone in this school's administration to decide if this podium was necessary. Anarcho-capitalism begins not with chaos but two simple premises based on the existence of property rights (which I establish here as a given, but which is defended at length by Rothbard, Hoppe, Friedman (both of them), Molianari, von Mises, etc). The first premise is 1.) The sovereignty of the individual. All people own themselves to begin with. This is to say that people are free to do with themselves what they wish and that they are responsible for everything they do and do not do. The second premise is 2.) The non-aggression axiom, which is a fancy way of saying that all actions between individuals and their property must be voluntary. And that's it. Not even in a nutshell, that is in fact the whole kit-n-kaboodle, the rest is just derivation and expansion. So people have the right to control themselves and no one is allowed to force them to do something they do not want to do, how many people agree with this? …If nothing else, it is not such a crazy idea. It is pretty mild, actually. But, what are some of the ramifications? To begin with, it means all actions must be voluntary. Not too crazy. To highlight this I will point to three examples: pot, guns, and gay marriage. So, I'll probably get hammered left, right, and center on this, but please, hear me out. From our two premises, we can see that someone buying, selling, or using pot is not aggressing against anyone and he is thus completely free to do so. If he stole money to buy pot, stabbed someone to take it, or killed someone while high he would rightly have to pay the consequences, but the same is true if the same person bought cranberry juice. This highlights that two consenting people (adults, I will assume) are allowed to partake in any transaction they wish so long as that transaction does not affect a nonconsenting party. This idea is also applicable to guns: buying a gun is not what is wrong with it, even if it is potentially harmful. No one would think that legislation should be passed for a set of kitchen knives, putting wedges, or sharp, pointy sticks, what makes guns any different? What is wrong is the use of a gun to aggress against other people. But what about the crazies who buy guns with the intent of hurting others, how would an anarchist society prevent this? I think a more telling question is "How does the State prevent this?" Gun control laws as they stand now, do not protect the citizen because they in effect leave him unarmed and as an easier target for criminals who are not following the laws to begin with. The free market solution is to take the power away from the State and criminals (like there was any difference) and give it to the people. In allowing people to control who gets guns, the world becomes a more optimally safer place. This is not to say that in an anarcho-capitalist society that bad people won't get guns. They will. What it will do is tie responsibility to a gun seller as well as a gun buyer. If a business sells a gun to criminal, that business is criminal and would face prosecution. Besides, gun dealers would want to be in the business of selling to reliable, safe, and pleasant customers, just as they are now. Sure, maybe some shady business man can turn a quick buck doing something illegal (which he can do now), but in an anarcho-capitalist society the real money is in the long term. Since most people, most of the time, in most situations are good, fine, decent people, it would make sense to a greedy, capitalist pig to try to exploit that market. This both promotes and supports good where, currently it is left only in shackles. Looked at another way, is the only reason you aren't shooting me with a gun right now because there are laws on the books? Hopefully not. Most people agree with the idea of live and let live, if but for the simple fact that people who said "die and let die" are all dead and gone. But "live and let live" must extend beyond people buying stuff and touch social situations. Gay marriage shows this easily. If two people are allowed to consent to buying stuff from each other, are they not equally entitled to give themselves to each other? The two main issues currently with gay marriage (sans the tricky religious one) is that other people in this country would be forced to recognize a marriage they do not wish to recognize and that some people are preventing a completely voluntary act between consenting adults. An anarchocapitalist society solves both of these problems: it allows individuals to marry so long as it's consensual and it allows other individuals not to have to recognize that marriage at all. By simply letting people freely and voluntarily interact, whether it be to buy pot, sell a gun, get married, or do nothing, everybody is happy and no one is forced to agree to something that they do not wish. This leads me to my next point: coercion. I have used the words aggression, force, and coercion a lot so far, but what exactly do I mean? By these I mean when someone violates the non-aggression axiom. This is not to be confused with persuasion. Coercion is when I point a gun at you or when I give you no other options. Persuasion is when I hold money under your nose or convince you something would be a good idea. I do not force you to do something in that case, you force yourself, which (as your own owner) you are allowed to do. By not allowing coercion to occur, by making coercion an offense, some very interesting things begin to happen. To emphasize what exactly ensues I will skip over the easy one of taxes (which is the State's way of saying theft on a massive scale) and show two more subtle instances: Healthcare and governmental licensing and safety standards. Let me begin by saying, sorry Democrats, but universal healthcare is bad. Well, let me rephrase that: coerced universal healthcare is bad. It is not because it is untenable, poorly designed, or ineffective. Regardless of what some of the Republicans might say, universal healthcare could work. What makes it unacceptable and counterproductive is the fact that it forces people to support a system they may not feel comfortable supporting, on financial or moral grounds. If we are all paying for everybody's medical coverage, what happens if a woman wants an abortion or a man wants a sex change? Who decides what's right? No matter who makes the decision, no matter how well reasoned the conclusion, somebody is likely to disagree. The way to prevent this is to let people decide for themselves what they are willing to support. Only on the free market does everybody get what they want. If a group of people wanted to spend together in unison for healthcare coverage that covers them all, they all agree to the rules, and someone is willing to cover them, there is no reason this should be prevented on the free and open market. Socialistic enterprises are generally not that great on the large scale, but just because someone might regret their decision after the fact is no reason to prevent them from trying to begin with. For example, if the pot I bought in the first example was not up to my expectations, I would probably never buy from that supplier again, but that does not mean that that particular drug dealer should be forced out of business: if enough people agree with my assessment, he will be unable to maintain his business anyway. Costumers yield a greater power than citizens: where a State has control over its citizens, for example by threatening jail time for not paying taxes or dodging the draft, a business is controlled by the whims of its costumers, so long as it wants to stay in business. On the free market, buyers and suppliers come to a mutual agreement where the buyers pay for a service and the suppliers supply it. In the political arena I have a money called "votes" and I can use them only to elect people. I cannot actually withhold my "votes," because if I do not use them, they are not worth anything. It would be as if when I went to buy paper towels I could buy only Paper Towels A or Paper Towels B, but I was left without the option of buying no paper towels at all. On the free market, I have another dimension of purchasing power. If neither the Paper Towels A company nor the Paper Towels B company were meeting the expectations of its customers, they would quickly be put out of business by those greedy, capitalist pigs the Paper Towels C company and the Paper Towels D company that made money by giving the customers what they wanted. It is not because the C and D companies are nicer or kinder or more generous to their customers, in fact the very opposite may be true. But as Adam Smith said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own neccessities but of their advantages." Only by supplying what customers want can a business continue to make money and survive. This is not so with the State. The State gives you some "options" (sometimes even more than two) and asks you to buy with your votes and pay with your money. Whichever option gets the most "votes" is the option that everybody gets. It would be as if B had 55% of the market and A had 45% and everyone was forced to have B. There was a reason 45% of the market supported A, but in the game of politics all that time, money, and effort amounts to nothing but a few lines in the textbooks no one cares to read. Voting is not a choice, not a real one at any rate. It is simply a subtle form of restricting competition. The same can be said of licensing and safety standards. Licenses deliberately restrict the supply of labor by imposing certain rules, expenses, and requirements on entry into a certain business. This is just monopoly under a pseudo-righteous guise. It creates rigidity, stagnation, and inefficiency. Many licenses given by the State (such as liquor [though not in Nevada], plumbers, and taxicabs) set an absolute limit on the number of firms allowed into business. It is generally countered that licenses prevent unqualified people from entering the field, after all, most licenses given by the State are from members of the trade, doctors for instance. But this is exactly who you do not want to be in charge of such a proceeding. This is not to say that doctors aren't good people, but rather to say that they in general have a greater interest in themselves than in other people: basically, I admit they are human. By "allowing" a portion of the market to someone new automatically means that the revenue generated will be split up amongst the leaders. Since less money is usually in no one's interest, it makes sense that established tradesman will not wish to have more competition but less. American car manufacturers aren't too happy about Japanese manufacturers, but that is only because inefficient businesses tend to succumb to better ones in the free market due to satisfying more costumers. Monopolistic tendencies hurt customers. But even supposing drugs, guns, gay marriages, voluntary healthcare, and no licenses are good things and could even be provided by the free market in an anarchist society, surely it is improbable that safety standards would develop. It is argued that one needn't look farther than the industrial revolution to see how deprived the market can be. However, consider the other conditions of the day: backbreaking work outside in the fields, begging, prostitution, milder forms of slavery, or no work at all and just starvation and suffering. I am not saying that life was a pretty picture back then, but the people who went into the jobs that we find so appalling were better off than if they hadn't worked at all. Free markets always tend to create freedom. Look at the freest nations on earth and see how free their markets are: you'll be pleasantly surprised to see there's a correlation. Better technology has made this a better world, technology developed on the free market…or could you really do without your cell phone, laptop, hot water, or ipod? But I digress. Surely standards of safety and quality are important. You would be hardpressed to find someone who would disagree. The idea is that these standards should be set by the market. That is to say, standards for products should be set by the people partaking in the free market: consumers, workers, and those greedy, capitalist pigs that make it all happen. Back to our paper towels, who is to set the quality control on them? Who should decide how absorbent they should be, how soft, how much quilty-goodness should be involved? Obviously, I'm leading you down the path that PEOPLE ON THE MARKET should decide what they want. If I want to pay a nickel a roll for some awful roll that's been soaking in oil all night or I want to pay $100 for it, it shouldn't matter to anyone else. The only people involved in the transaction are me the consumer and the seller. Since my purchase is voluntary and nonaggresive towards others, it shouldn't be prevented. If sellers are willing to sell their products at a certain quality and costumers are willing to buy those products, who's to say that this shouldn't happen? If costumers don't like the products (perhaps they think they are too expensive, shoddy, or dangerous), the sellers will go out of business. Free markets promote quality, they don't quash it. What about safety, you may ask. The market and the business owners on it certainly have nothing to gain from increased safety do they? Safety is expensive. What do they have to gain? Well, at least my rhetorical version of you is starting to ask the important questions. Let's see how an anarcho-capitalist might respond. Taking our nonaggression axiom, any job that required workers to get hurt against their will or consent is criminal. The employers should be punished, the same as it is already. However, anarcho-capitalism goes one step further. Say for example that a building collapses and kills several people. The free-market method of handling this situation is to send the building owner to jail for man-slaughter, whereas currently he may get slapped with a fine, have to pay some monetary damages, and little else. By tying responsibility to the owner, it becomes in his self-interest to keep his building safe. Safety and regulations can and do exist in a free market not because there are angels at the helm but because there are people at the wheel. As another example imagine you are a worker, which many of you probably already are, working in a factory, and you may have a .5 chance of being hurt. Since you don't want to be hurt, it is in your self-interest to avoid it. If another greedy, capitalist pig is willing to pay the same wages but in his factory you only have a .4 chance of being hurt, he would invariably take the labor force from his competitors. Another could reduce it to .3 and so on and so forth. Eventually this will drive the safety to a level where workers will not only feel safe, but be safe. It makes sense to give people what they want, because they will give you what you want. Monopolies, no matter in what field, cannot give people what they want. There are numerous examples of governmental monopolies, which are the only true forms of monopolies: roads, courts, monies, and defense just to name a few, and they are always, ALWAYS less efficient, more costly, and ultimately worse than those same institutions on the free market. Since I am going for broke in this lecture, I'll skip over the easier choices and head straight for the hardest argument to overcome for any anarchist: defense and protection, the police and the military. Many people, I'm sure practically everyone in this room, is of the opinion that there is no possible, practical, or moral way for the market to handle something as precious and necessary as security. So, I have my work cut out for me. But I respectfully disagree, I believe these services not only can be provided by a free and open market but are in effect better than those same institutions under the State provided monopoly now. Let's start with a quick, unscientific thought experiment. Imagine yourself downtown. Maybe it's at night, you're not near the river, you're smack dab near the big sign, the tracks. I think most of us have experienced this. What do you do? Well, if you're a seasoned veteran at this, you go inside one of the casinos, you know, to avoid the crazies and the homeless and the muggers and the scary men with few teeth but a lot of words. What exactly does this show? The protection provided to you by the State is in the street, the protection provided to you by the market is in the casino. Where do you feel safer: in that alley behind the Awful Awful or in the casino next door? As another thought experiment, why do you never hear of muggings or robberies inside of a Wal-Mart or a Vons? How come parks at night are so damn scary? Would you rather be inside a 7-11 at night or outside, nearer the pumps? These examples highlight what you already know intuitively: business provided security is a thousand times better than any security provided to you by the State (note, this is not an actual statistic, it could very well be a billion times better). Imagine if the money you and your neighbors spent on taxes now for the police, which rarely ever prevent crime (they aren't in the business to prevent crime, in fact, they are in the business not to prevent crime), but imagine if you and your neighbors, rather than being taxed, simply spent that money for your own security guards. Since the services would be on the market, it would be a competitive industry and security could only get better and people could only get safer. With the State sanctioned police, there is no incentive to be a better cop. For instance, have you ever seen a cop drive the wrong way down a road, park on a side walk, double-parked across handicap parking spaces? Ever see a cop writing a ticket to somebody, lights all ablaze to tell the rest of us of this sinner in our midst? Are you ever pleasantly surprised when you deal with a cop that isn't a complete jerk? All of this is easily explained when you realize that granted a monopoly as they are, the police service of the State has no incentive to follow its own laws, be nice, or even have to try to give a damn, though they do give plenty of damnations. If a cop is nice or mean to a citizen, does that make a difference in his salary? No. However, cops provided by the market are subjected to the whims of their employers…and if a cop decides to rough up some costumers for the hell of it, he will quickly see himself removed, because it is in the interest of the business to have customers and since customers don't like to be roughed up while buying groceries and what not, the business will only hire and keep those good cops that do their job nicely. The same is true of the military. If people want to defend their land and their lives, it becomes rather costly (both in labor expended and labor lost) to try to hold down the fort all by themselves. Just as we all aren't farmers, not everyone must be a fighter. So, if people wanted a military, they'd pay for it. This could easily be coupled with insurance and even be part of the package: I don't want to pretend to predict what kind of market there would be for military and defense services, I just know that it would be better than the monopolistic one we have now. Going the insurance route, as an example: insurance companies are paid money by their customers for either keeping them safe or to take care of them when they are hurt. Since maintenance is generally cheaper than repair (think aspirin over weekend alone in Aspen or filling up your gas tank versus buying a new car), it makes sense that an insurance company would like to cut down on the amount that people are hurt: this is an easy way for them to make money. Obviously a police service would be a great way to accomplish this. And as we have seen, private security is better. Well what is a military if not a police force? Since we follow our non-aggression axiom, clearly our military can only defend, which also cuts down on cost (starting a war is never a good idea, economically or morally). What was the last strike on America that the State military prevented? 1812? It doesn't have a good service record, yet here it is, still in business after all these years. But what makes you think you would even need a military under anarcho-capitalism? Better yet, what makes you think you need a military now? England and France have hated each other for going on a thousand years now. They fought dumb wars for pointless reasons. Now, while they aren't friends (in fact, there is still deep felt animosity) they are trading partners, which makes it rather pointless to try fight them. It's always cheaper to pay for a service than to fight for it. But what about the cartels, surely they would form if there was no government? Wrong. For some reason, many people seem to think that anarchy just makes everybody bad. They act as if people under the State are saints and those under no State are barbarians. Aside from the rather xenophobic and racist undertones of such an opinion, where does it come from? If people are good then they wouldn't fight one another and there would be no need for a State. If people are bad then the State would be made of bad people trying to harm others. There is no us and them, we're all a mixed bag of good and bad, and the only way to promote the good and shun the bad is by leaving it up to people. Good people who work and cooperate with other good people will survive and support good. An island of murders cannot last. No one but the sickest and lowest individuals really want to fight a war, join a gang, or raid, rape, and pillage villages. On the free market, there'd be no point to fight, especially if you're the one either doing the fighting or responsible for the fighting. The reason the State gets away with it now is because it's so far removed: war is just a TV show to us. No State = No War. Trust me, nothing's worth fighting or dying for, especially when you can just get it through voluntary exchange. The two main critiques of anarchism in general and anarcho-capitalism in specific are: 1. How will you stop the powerful? And 2. Another State will just replace the old one. Both can be answered more easily when they are reversed: how does the State do this? How do you stop the powerful, when you're left defenseless? Say we're all dropped on an island all of a sudden, why would any of us agree to just give all our guns to Alyssa for defense? Sure, she's cute, but watch out, if she decides she wants more mangos, she's got the power to get them and we're left without the power to stop her. It's the same thing now. The State monopoly leaves us as individuals at its whim. And saying another State will just replace the old one is no argument for a State, rather it shows how little you want a State to begin with. A State to prevent a State is like draining your blood to prevent bleeding. But we won't stop bleeding until our hearts stop beating, and as long we're alive we must strive for the destruction of the State. Not just destruction for its own sake: anarcho-capitalism is not fundamentally a negative theory, it is not a theory that demands the annihilation of the State, rather it demands the triumph of the individual. The State is just in the way, thus, it must be dispensed with. The bricks we carry aren't for throwing through windows, but for building a new society from the ground up. We have to start somewhere if we are to bring this country to anarchy. We aren't bringing it down, we are pushing it up. Often times, when discussing my views with others, as I am prone to do, I am labeled an "anti-American" or at the very least I am deemed "unpatriotic." "UnAmerican" even. I usually have kept my composure at such remarks. "I have made a ceaseless effort," taking my lead from Baruch Spinoza, "not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn" these remarks, "but to understand them." However, this is my lecture, and as I am laying out most of my other opinions on the matter, let me make it clear how I feel about America. America is not its government. America is not an ineffective mail service, a second-rate road builder, a monopolizer of its most valuable resources. America is not a group of men who sit around dreaming of new ways to help its people by stealing from them, by telling them what they can and cannot do, by control. America is not its military strength, not its money. America is not the bureaucrats, the laws. America is not its politics, its elections, its votes. If America is any or all of these things, than yes, it could rightly be said that I am UNAmerican. If this is America, then I will spend the rest of my life trying to destroy it. But just as I do not believe people are only the bad they do or the good they fail to do, this is not my vision of America. America to me is a country that should be its people: friends, families, neighbors. America allows the freedom to interact with others responsibly. America is not just a word to be placed in a speech and repeated over and over to elicit emotions. America means more to me than this. It is only from my love for my country that I am asking for its dismantlement. Like a rabid dog, it must be put down. Didn't you all cry at Ol' Yeller? But how would I bring about this anarchist society I seem to be preaching for so fervently. Even if it could survive as I addressed earlier, how do I get from here to there? This is by far the trickiest question. Since I believe my philosophy is worth having, I also believe it is worth following, which rules out voting and violent overthrow. Well, couldn't I very well leave? No. I am not against the American State, I am against all States. And besides, what makes this land America's? If fighting wars, making treaties, killing Indians, and bartering with France are legitimate ways of establishing ones right to his own land and labor, then I think merely owning land and working are equally as valid. The State is not my tenant nor is it yours. We owe it nothing. It may use fancy rhetoric to say that without it, we would be nothing, but a quick examination of everything you do in a single day without government holding your hand is more than enough to dispel this myth. As we have seen through out this lecture, the State is illegitimate, it does nothing except inhibit the actions of actual free people actually acting freely. So how do I bring down this Leviathan? I have a single dictum as my strategy: The Joyce Dictum. James Joyce, in his excellent book A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man says, "I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself […] as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile, and cunning." This is the "apathetic" approach many people seem so unhappy about. It's "live and let live" taken to its logical conclusion. Murray Rothbard is adamantly against this suggestion, so here, he and I will depart. However, I feel that apathy is a very powerful and underutilized asset. Most people don't care about much outside of themselves, their friends and families, and their interests. By lacking interest in the State, it would become rather hard for the State to make anybody do much of anything that they don't want to do. By not caring about the State, by simply recognizing its lack of importance, a strange mix of disillusionment and revelation dawns. Benjamin Franklin, when he and the rest of our Founding Fathers were drafting our constitution, said "Gentlemen, you see that in the anarchy in which we live, society manages much as before. Take care, if our disputes last too long, that the people do not come to think that they can very easily do without us." We can easily do without them, especially when we don't care. The State already recognizes the importance of making people care about itself: why do you think there is such a strong push to get everybody to vote? Only through apathy, ambivalence, indifference do the outstretched fingers of the State cease to seize you. Look at the internet. It's the freest place in the world. You can give and get just about everything you want on it at any time you want. The internet is anarchic and it is one of the closest things we have had in the history of the world that approaches a true anarchist society. Think of all the forums or blogs you've joined: you're free to come and go as you please. Think of all the people that make it possible for it all the run, all the people involved with eBay and Google. Think of all the voluntary exchanges that happen at a rate of thousands, if not millions of times a minute. Think about all the stuff you love on the internet and how much you go to it (like UNRforliberty.com). Now think of all the things you hate on the internet and how you never ever go to them. It's freedom at it's greatest: voluntary actions and the absence of coercion. The internet itself weighs about 5.6 to 50 grams, depending on who you ask. That's about the same weight as 2-20 pennies. The greatest freedom in the world can be weighed against 20 cents. FREEDOM IS FREE, when it's people and not State running the show. The internet is all well and good, but what about the creeping encroachment upon freedoms when the State is allowed to reign and people aren't as vigilant as they once were? I believe vigilance is only important in keeping people free from the State, not in trying to keep the State in an optimal condition. A tyrant is a tyrant, regardless of the bread and water he provides. Once people loosen their grip, allow a State, and stop caring about having a State, it's very easy for it to come along and take take take all it wants. The State, by its very nature, must seek to expand itself, if it could be maintained that people don't need the State (which, clearly they don't) then it must admit that it is worthless and seek it's immediate removal. But since the State is made of people, people with the interest of keeping their jobs, it must seek new ways to show that it is worth a damn, that's why the fight to keep the internet free from governmental control is so heated. But wait a minute, didn't I just say apathy was a good thing? It's a great thing when it comes to realizing how unimportant the State is, but uncannily it leads to its direct opposite: action. Once you realize you don't need the State, you also realize you need no State. Action, in all its guises from voting in self-defense to education to protest to using silence, exile and cunning, is needed. I am painfully aware that this speech will not bring down the State. I won't pretend to say that anarcho-capitalism can delineate every situation to good and bad: this world isn't black and white. Those who deal in absolutes are merely renouncing the responsibility of their actions. Anarcho-capitalism at the very least advocates responsibility, it doesn't abdicate it. So, I must do something. I can't simply sit and watch as other people are spoon-fed and beaten like unwanted children from Big Papa Government. I can't lunge my harpoon into this great white whale of the State, but I hope I have at least sharpened a few of yours. I also hope everything I just told you is wrong. I hope that I've made some terrible mistake and that anarcho-capitalism is bad and the State is good and I've just got some wires crossed: I want to love Big Brother. Because if I'm wrong, there's something I can do about it. I can change. There's hope. I can join up in righteous statism and declare that I have been wrong and that I will serve the greater good, I will serve that which is greater than me. But I sense dimly that I am not. Our two initial premises are strikingly clear and our conclusions follow directly. Even granting that the State can do good things (look at this fine institution for instance) that is no justification for having a State. If I steal your radio to play at a YMCA event, it doesn't matter how happy I've made other people, I had no right to steal your radio to begin with. Robin Hood was just dead wrong. As we have seen, anarchy doesn't mean no laws, no order, no regulations, no hierarchies, no courts, no defense. It simply means that the rights of the individual are upheld. This can only come about through the lack of a State institution. The rights of the individual are, for all intents and purposes, inalienable: they're ours. A State can't "grant" you rights, it can only with-hold them for a time (or was the oppression of women, blacks, Indians, and foreigners okay with you?). Once you've let the State take away one right you have, you've already ceded all of your others. Once you've let the State take away one right from other people, you've already deemed them less human, unworthy of such a right, they couldn't handle the freedom anyway. No. It's not anarchy that is savage and primitive, it is the State. It is the State we must rid ourselves of.