I’ve been in touch recently with an old friend – specifically, my spades partner on multiple deployments. Let’s call him Scooter Pave. We were discussing an-cap philosophy, and he brought up some great points. I thought I would share some of the conversation…
Scooter Pave: So here is a question: We all know the govt is not even close to what it was supposed to be 200+ years ago. And we all want less govt…Waaaay less. I don’t know if I would go so far as to get rid of it all together. So how do we get there from here? I know huge question, but aside from a revolution, there is no way to get there quick. Believe me, I have all kinds of ideas but I get so depressed seeing the state we are at now and sometimes just don’t think there is a way out.
Anarcho Mama: You’re absolutely correct that the federal government hardly resembles what was put in place 200+ years ago. While I think that the Constitution was well thought-out and well-intended, I’m reminded of the Lysander Spooner quote “But whether the Constitution be one thing or another, this much is certain: that it has either authorized a government such as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” Fun fact: Spooner was writing in the 1800s…still pretty applicable in my book. Personally, I would be happy if we just followed the original text – that would be a vast improvement over the goliath in place now.
Where are we trying to go and how do we get there? I’m gonna make an assumption that ‘there’ is a voluntary society, in which people are free to do as they please and the rules are pretty much ‘don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.’ That’s the society I want to live in – BUT I recognize that others might want something different. So, if you and your buddies want to start a socialist community, that’s fine. If others want a democracy, that’s fine, too…the important concept is that individuals can opt out (secede) from any government that does not suit them. It is the same with religion, philosophy, food choices, health choices, etc…why should governance be any different? Each person should do what makes sense to them. By implication, the concept of voluntaryism rules out any sort of central planning, central governance, etc because it will inevitably oppress some individuals and relies on coercion/force for policy enforcement.
How do we get there? You’re right – there is not a quick way, and I don’t think violent revolution is the answer, either. As a NAP-absolutist, I would use violence/force only in defense. The key is the idea…when enough people come to think that the state is unnecessary, it will simply fade away. You must offer an alternative, and let your ideas stand on their own merit. Homeschooling is one example – more and more people are opting out of the government monopoly on education. FedEx and UPS are another example – were it not for federal intervention, the USPS would have gone out of business long ago. Two years ago, I hadn’t heard of the Non-Aggression Principle. Now I subscribe to it and I know dozens of others. Sure, some of that is just the circles of people I’ve found, but some of it is discovering what your instincts have been telling you all along. I don’t know whether a voluntary society will happen in my lifetime in America, but I am compelled to keep moving towards that vision; slavery was not abolished overnight, but I would never argue that it shouldn’t have been (I’m paraphrasing some old guy there).
Ways out: Get a second citizenship. Buy silver and gold as a hedge against the dollar. Stop paying taxes (risky move). Incorporate a business in another country so that Uncle Sam doesn’t take 40% of what you earn and spend it on shit you don’t need or don’t want (or believe to be immoral). Most importantly, figure out what you believe to be right and wrong, and then live your life according to that.