As mentioned in a previous post, A free society is a culture in which…
- The vast majority of participants voluntarily and consistently use NAP as a guide for living their own lives and for judging the actions of others.
- The vast majority of participants are effectively able to shield themselves from both internal and external sources of aggression using voluntary means.
The result is a culture in which the vast majority of individuals are free to live as they wish, neither aggressing against others nor being aggressed against. This concept raises plenty of questions…
Will it be a utopia?
No. There will still be an occasional act of aggression. But this would be the rare exception, not the widely accepted institutionalized status quo as it is today.
Will there be laws?
Yes. Free market law driven by a consumer demand for justice.
Will there be government?
No. Government is an organization based on aggression and therefore is incompatible with a free society.
Will there be corporations?
No. Not as they exist today. Corporations today, are created by government fiat. They are protected by government from non-contractual liabilities, e.g., environmental disasters, personal injury, etc. Those that can afford lobbyists and campaign donations enjoy all sorts of legislative privileges, including subsidies and reduced competition.
In a free society, if you want to protect yourself from liability you need to purchase insurance or include it in your agreement with others. And no coercive central authority can protect you from competition. So companies will be much more vulnerable to the natural pressures of risk, consequence, and competition.
Without government regulation won’t powerful companies abuse the little people?
No. Government regulation does not protect “the little people.” Only freedom provides competitive incentive to treat your employees and customers well. If you don’t, you lose valuable employees and customers to competitors.
Won’t poor people die in the streets without government welfare?
No. Freedom elevates our quality of life so poverty will be significantly reduced. Those who still need help can turn to friends, family, and charities for voluntary help that is far more compassionate and effective than the current system of grand theft and perpetual dependency.
What about money, roads, environmental protection, national defense, firefighting, etc.?
A free society could easily handle all these needs. If you’d like to discuss how, follow me on Google plus and send me a personal message so we can have that discussion.”
In the Freedomain Radio podcast episode “450 Libertopia,” Stefan Molyneux, who’s work I recommend highly, presents compelling arguments against an effort to migrate to a geographic location and convert it to a free society. Although I disagree with the overall conclusion, I agree with many of the points he makes. The following are questions and responses inspired by those arguments. (Keep in mind, Stephan’s views could have easily changed since this podcast was published.)
Won’t a free zone be viewed as hedonistic, or libertine and thus be opposed by the general public?
Today people mistake libertarians with libertines for two reasons.
- The pronunciations are similar.
Solution: Choose a better brand name, e.g., “Voluntaryist,” “freedom-lover” or “non-aggressionist.” “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” – Mark Twain
- Just because voluntaryists oppose the government’s way of dealing with vices, people assume voluntaryists embrace vices. (a non sequitur)
Solution: Any plan to achieve a free society should incorporate effective strategies for influencing public opinion and preventing or disproving these misconceptions.
Lastly, it is possible that a Voluntaryist town could develop a reputation as a place to experience vices. Has that been so bad for Las Vegas? As Voluntaryist towns develop, each one will likely develop it’s own unique image and associations, just as statist towns do today.
Won’t the government force the free zone to fail?
Are we supposed to wait until all governments in the region dissolve on their own, before we attempt to increase our freedom from government? If so, the human race may have to wait until extinction. You don’t have to wait until all the plantations disappear before you take the underground railroad to freedom.
Won’t a free zone attract drug suppliers, and thus military violence similar to the Colombian drug war? Won’t it attract criminals in general? What if the government comes after them?
Incrementalism and good judgement…
We don’t start a free society by directly challenging the federal government to a fight. At the stage in which we first establish a free society, we should focus on the local culture, winning hearts and minds, proving the viability of voluntary alternatives and dissolving local government.
Like Vegas, much of what happens in a free society should stay in a free society. When you’re here, you’re free. When you enter surrounding statist regions you are no longer protected.
For example, exporting large amounts of illegal drugs into statist zones or laundering millions for violent “terrorist” organizations are both very bad ideas, not to mention contrary to our preference for minimizing violence. Any individual who intentionally participates in reckless activities like these, thus encouraging military or police invasion is endangering others, and should be ostracized out of town or simply not defended.
Note, voluntaryists are free to choose to defend criminals or not. Voluntaryists are not obligated to harbor and defend everyone in town from neighboring governments. Afterall, someone intentionally encouraging an invasion by committing high profile crimes may be an undercover agent.
Location and behavior
U.S. politicians prefer to bomb people in distant countries, because they’re able to hide these atrocities from their own people. They’re less trigger happy when it comes to civilians within their territory. The Bundy Ranch protesters could have been slaughtered, but they weren’t. When nuclear soviet missile sites in Cuba, 90 miles off our coast were installed and aimed at us, our government didn’t bomb them.
I’m not saying we’re impervious to attack if we live in or near the U.S. After all the Branch Davidians at Waco were murdered. Randy weaver’s family was murdered. To avoid a similar fate, we’ll need a critical mass of local supporters, enough people to outnumber federal agents and enough to make sure their crimes can’t be covered up. We’ll need to maintain public support by embracing a philosophy for preventing and minimizing violence. It wouldn’t hurt to earn a reputation for helping others. And we’ll still need sufficient systems in place to provide disincentive for violence and protection from invasion.
That said, some rulers are willing to bomb their own people, especially if they fully control the media. For that reason we must choose locations carefully.
What if government uses propaganda to make us look like a threat?
With streaming video surveillance to the Internet, a culture of non-aggression and non-violence, and public relations efforts, large scale military violence in a free zone will benefit us, in terms of public support, not them. I suspect this is the main reason the BLM backed down during the Bundy Ranch standoff.
Won’t a free zone attract violent drug cartels?
No. We don’t tolerate senseless violence and aggression. More importantly, violent drug dealing gangs don’t rise to power in a Voluntaryist town. They rise to power within government jurisdictions…
- Government prohibition artificially inflates the profit they make selling drugs. In a voluntaryist town there is no prohibition of mutually voluntary trade or victimless activities.
- Powerful cartels and mafias gain control over local politicians and bureaucrats using bribes or threats. In a Voluntaryist town, there is no single coercive government monopoly on security and justice they can buy or intimidate.
- Criminal gangs rise to power in urban cities where peaceful citizens have been rendered defenseless by laws prohibiting the concealed carrying of weapons. People of a Voluntaryist town are free to defend themselves, especially against private criminals.
- In a statist culture, people that commit aggression are admired and respected as community leaders by the public. In a Voluntaryist town people that commit aggression and attract violence are ostracized out of town.
If a Voluntaryist town did acquire a violent drug cartel, the people are free to allow a neighboring government to extract such unwanted residents. Once again we have no obligation to protect criminals from the governments that pursue them.
In fact, this is one very effective aspect of public ostracism. If a criminal commits a violent crime, and fails to pay restitution, free people can choose to no longer provide protection to that criminal, leaving him vulnerable to attacks from other criminals. Refusing to provide him with protection is a voluntary act. It is not an initiation of coercion. And if he is attacked by another criminal, e.g., a neighboring government, it is simply the natural consequence of his actions.
Won’t a free zone attract victimless criminals who Voluntaryists tend to support, and won’t they attract government invasion?
Voluntaryists by nature are less likely to call in an anonymous tip to the police, and less likely to consent to searches, making arrests over victimless crimes much less likely.
As mentioned before, if a victimless crime that attracts violent attention from neighboring governments, should generally be avoided and discouraged until a free society is strong enough to fully defend itself. By “strong enough” I mean they have won public support, developed proven voluntary alternatives to all legitimate needs previously handled by government, grown to a significantly large population, can successfully defend trade routes, etc.
Look, you either believe freedom works or you don’t. If a free society cannot defend itself from a neighboring extortion racket called government, then what’s the point? I believe, for good reason, that a free society has the potential to defend itself more effectively than any government monopoly.
It’s ready-aim-fire, not fire-ready-aim.
Agreed. That’s why we take our time. Prepare thoroughly. Tackle challenges incrementally instead of all at once. And continue learning from our experiences.
Aren’t personal relationships, e.g., raising children with respect, ending abusive relationships, and forming healthy ones, the best way to freedom?
Raising children with love, respect and critical thinking skills, and achieving freedom in your own personal relationships is one of many essential strategies for achieving freedom. Moving together to seek personal relationships with other Voluntaryists is a natural extension of that process.
Shouldn’t we just pay taxes to keep government off our back? It’s just money.
No, it’s not. It’s the funding of human suffering. But yes, you should pay certain taxes to keep government off your back depending on the situation. One can argue that you are not morally culpable for the taxes you pay because the government uses armed coercion against you, thus you have no choice. But there are effective ways to reduce the taxes you pay, e.g., tax deductions, off shore companies, barter, etc.
If you pay more taxes than you have to, you are morally culpable for the violence that results from the additional money you voluntarily paid. Similarly if there is a way to reduce government aggression without ending up in a prison, you should take advantage of it.
Won’t people argue between limited government and no government? Between in the system activism and outside the system activism? And thus be unable to follow a single strategy?
This is why a group that supports a single strategy and goal should move to a single town or even a single neighborhood, so they can achieve a critical mass and give the strategy a chance to prove itself. The essence of Voluntaryism; let people voluntarily set up the system of their choice and see which one works best.
Doesn’t focussing on something remote like government, allow people to avoid addressing their own personal relationships?
The same argument could be reversed. Doesn’t focusing on your own personal relationships allow you to avoid addressing government oppression? Both are problems that diminish the quality of life for you, your loved ones and descendants. It’s important to address both, in a methodically, step-by-step, strategic way.
Shouldn’t we learn from history. It’s difficult to find examples of this working in the past.
Throughout history migration has served as an effective way to improve one’s life…
- Europeans migrating to the U.S. during the 17th and 18th century to achieve more political and religious freedom.
- Eastern Europeans migrating west to escape Soviet influence after WWII.
- 2.2 million East Germans migrating to West Germany from 1949 to 1961 before the wall was erected.
- Southern U.S. slaves following the underground railroad.
- North Koreans risking everything to escape oppression.
- Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. to increase their income.
Not only is immigration an effective strategy for improving one’s situation, and enhance a group’s influence. It’s part of human nature.
Anyway, aren’t you sick and tired of statists saying, “If you don’t like it, move!” If you migrate, you can shut them up with an “I did ;)”
But the general public won’t embrace freedom unless they’re ready for it.
If we were using legislation to impose change on a national scale, we would need the national public to be ready before hand. But that’s not our strategy. All we need is enough public support in a single small region to set an example. Once the general public sees how successful our example is, they’ll be more likely to follow it.
Without migration and creating such an example, when will the general public be ready? In a hundred years? A thousand? Ever? Humans have been conditioned to tolerate the status quo. They’ve made the same statist mistakes repeatedly for thousands of years. How much time will it take?
Do we have that much time? The vast majority of species on this planet have gone extinct. What makes you think homo sapiens are any different? Clearly we have the potential to colonize space, to escape an earthly extinction. But will we be able to do it, before our earthly extinction arrives? I don’t know. Considering nuclear warheads, biological weapons, artificially intelligent drones, endless wars, crippling effects on economic, medical and technological progress, government isn’t helping our chances.
The point… We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know how much time we have. We don’t know if the general public will ever “be ready.” I’m willing to be patient. I support public relations efforts. The timing of certain strategies may depend on the level of support we’ve gained. But I’m not willing to wait for the general public to say it’s ok, before I stand up for what’s right and do something about it. You don’t need public approval to start this ball rolling.