Anatomy of the State

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Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:36 pm

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American Zombie
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Or read it !!!


What the State Is Not

The State is almost universally considered an institution of social service. Some theorists venerate the State as the apotheosis of society; others regard it as an amiable, though often inefficient, organization for achieving social ends; but almost all regard it as a necessary means for achieving the goals of mankind, a means to be ranged against the "private sector" and often winning in this competition of resources. With the rise of democracy, the identification of the State with society has been redoubled, until it is common to hear sentiments expressed which violate virtually every tenet of reason and common sense such as, "we are the government." The useful collective term "we" has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life. If "we are the government," then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also "voluntary" on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that "we owe it to ourselves"; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is "doing it to himself" and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have "committed suicide," since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree.

We must, therefore, emphasize that "we" are not the government; the government is not "us." The government does not in any accurate sense "represent" the majority of the people.[1] But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority.[2] No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that "we are all part of one another," must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.

If, then, the State is not "us," if it is not "the human family" getting together to decide mutual problems, if it is not a lodge meeting or country club, what is it? Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.[3] Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects. One would think that simple observation of all States through history and over the globe would be proof enough of this assertion; but the miasma of myth has lain so long over State activity that elaboration is necessary.


What the State Is

Man is born naked into the world, and needing to use his mind to learn how to take the resources given him by nature, and to transform them (for example, by investment in "capital") into shapes and forms and places where the resources can be used for the satisfaction of his wants and the advancement of his standard of living. The only way by which man can do this is by the use of his mind and energy to transform resources ("production") and to exchange these products for products created by others. Man has found that, through the process of voluntary, mutual exchange, the productivity and hence the living standards of all participants in exchange may increase enormously. The only "natural" course for man to survive and to attain wealth, therefore, is by using his mind and energy to engage in the production-and-exchange process. He does this, first, by finding natural resources, and then by transforming them (by "mixing his labor" with them, as Locke puts it), to make them his individual property, and then by exchanging this property for the similarly obtained property of others. The social path dictated by the requirements of man's nature, therefore, is the path of "property rights" and the "free market" of gift or exchange of such rights. Through this path, men have learned how to avoid the "jungle" methods of fighting over scarce resources so that A can only acquire them at the expense of B and, instead, to multiply those resources enormously in peaceful and harmonious production and exchange.

The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth; one, the above way of production and exchange, he called the "economic means." The other way is simpler in that it does not require productivity; it is the way of seizure of another's goods or services by the use of force and violence. This is the method of one-sided confiscation, of theft of the property of others. This is the method which Oppenheimer termed "the political means" to wealth. It should be clear that the peaceful use of reason and energy in production is the "natural" path for man: the means for his survival and prosperity on this earth. It should be equally clear that the coercive, exploitative means is contrary to natural law; it is parasitic, for instead of adding to production, it subtracts from it. The "political means" siphons production off to a parasitic and destructive individual or group; and this siphoning not only subtracts from the number producing, but also lowers the producer's incentive to produce beyond his own subsistence. In the long run, the robber destroys his own subsistence by dwindling or eliminating the source of his own supply. But not only that; even in the short run, the predator is acting contrary to his own true nature as a man.

We are now in a position to answer more fully the question: what is the State? The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the "organization of the political means"; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory.[4] For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively "peaceful" the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society.[5] Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a "social contract"; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute.[6] One method of the birth of a State may be illustrated as follows: in the hills of southern "Ruritania," a bandit group manages to obtain physical control over the territory, and finally the bandit chieftain proclaims himself "King of the sovereign and independent government of South Ruritania"; and, if he and his men have the force to maintain this rule for a while, lo and behold! a new State has joined the "family of nations," and the former bandit leaders have been transformed into the lawful nobility of the realm.

How the State Preserves Itself


Once a State has been established, the problem of the ruling group or "caste" is how to maintain their rule.[7] While force is their modus operandi, their basic and long-run problem is ideological. For in order to continue in office, any government (not simply a "democratic" government) must have the support of the majority of its subjects. This support, it must be noted, need not be active enthusiasm; it may well be passive resignation as if to an inevitable law of nature. But support in the sense of acceptance of some sort it must be; else the minority of State rulers would eventually be outweighed by the active resistance of the majority of the public. Since predation must be supported out of the surplus of production, it is necessarily true that the class constituting the State – the full-time bureaucracy (and nobility) – must be a rather small minority in the land, although it may, of course, purchase allies among important groups in the population. Therefore, the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens.[8] [9]

Of course, one method of securing support is through the creation of vested economic interests. Therefore, the King alone cannot rule; he must have a sizable group of followers who enjoy the prerequisites of rule, for example, the members of the State apparatus, such as the full-time bureaucracy or the established nobility.[10] But this still secures only a minority of eager supporters, and even the essential purchasing of support by subsidies and other grants of privilege still does not obtain the consent of the majority. For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the "intellectuals." For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the "opinion-molders" in society. And since it is precisely a molding of opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear.

It is evident that the State needs the intellectuals; it is not so evident why intellectuals need the State. Put simply, we may state that the intellectual's livelihood in the free market is never too secure; for the intellectual must depend on the values and choices of the masses of his fellow men, and it is precisely characteristic of the masses that they are generally uninterested in intellectual matters. The State, on the other hand, is willing to offer the intellectuals a secure and permanent berth in the State apparatus; and thus a secure income and the panoply of prestige. For the intellectuals will be handsomely rewarded for the important function they perform for the State rulers, of which group they now become a part.[11]

The alliance between the State and the intellectuals was symbolized in the eager desire of professors at the University of Berlin in the nineteenth century to form the "intellectual bodyguard of the House of Hohenzollern." In the present day, let us note the revealing comment of an eminent Marxist scholar concerning Professor Wittfogel's critical study of ancient Oriental despotism: "The civilization which Professor Wittfogel is so bitterly attacking was one which could make poets and scholars into officials."[12] Of innumerable examples, we may cite the recent development of the "science" of strategy, in the service of the government's main violence-wielding arm, the military.[13] A venerable institution, furthermore, is the official or "court" historian, dedicated to purveying the rulers' views of their own and their predecessors' actions.[14]

Many and varied have been the arguments by which the State and its intellectuals have induced their subjects to support their rule. Basically, the strands of argument may be summed up as follows: (a) the State rulers are great and wise men (they "rule by divine right," they are the "aristocracy" of men, they are the "scientific experts"), much greater and wiser than the good but rather simple subjects, and (b) rule by the extent government is inevitable, absolutely necessary, and far better, than the indescribable evils that would ensue upon its downfall. The union of Church and State was one of the oldest and most successful of these ideological devices. The ruler was either anointed by God or, in the case of the absolute rule of many Oriental despotisms, was himself God; hence, any resistance to his rule would be blasphemy. The States' priestcraft performed the basic intellectual function of obtaining popular support and even worship for the rulers.[15]


Another successful device was to instill fear of any alternative systems of rule or nonrule. The present rulers, it was maintained, supply to the citizens an essential service for which they should be most grateful: protection against sporadic criminals and marauders. For the State, to preserve its own monopoly of predation, did indeed see to it that private and unsystematic crime was kept to a minimum; the State has always been jealous of its own preserve. Especially has the State been successful in recent centuries in instilling fear of other State rulers. Since the land area of the globe has been parceled out among particular States, one of the basic doctrines of the State was to identify itself with the territory it governed. Since most men tend to love their homeland, the identification of that land and its people with the State was a means of making natural patriotism work to the State's advantage. If "Ruritania" was being attacked by "Walldavia," the first task of the State and its intellectuals was to convince the people of Ruritania that the attack was really upon them and not simply upon the ruling caste. In this way, a war between rulers was converted into a war between peoples, with each people coming to the defense of its rulers in the erroneous belief that the rulers were defending them. This device of "nationalism" has only been successful, in Western civilization, in recent centuries; it was not too long ago that the mass of subjects regarded wars as irrelevant battles between various sets of nobles.

Many and subtle are the ideological weapons that the State has wielded through the centuries. One excellent weapon has been tradition. The longer that the rule of a State has been able to preserve itself, the more powerful this weapon; for then, the X Dynasty or the Y State has the seeming weight of centuries of tradition behind it.[16] Worship of one's ancestors, then, becomes a none too subtle means of worship of one's ancient rulers. The greatest danger to the State is independent intellectual criticism; there is no better way to stifle that criticism than to attack any isolated voice, any raiser of new doubts, as a profane violator of the wisdom of his ancestors. Another potent ideological force is to deprecate the individual and exalt the collectivity of society. For since any given rule implies majority acceptance, any ideological danger to that rule can only start from one or a few independently-thinking individuals. The new idea, much less the new critical idea, must needs begin as a small minority opinion; therefore, the State must nip the view in the bud by ridiculing any view that defies the opinions of the mass. "Listen only to your brothers" or "adjust to society" thus become ideological weapons for crushing individual dissent.[17] By such measures, the masses will never learn of the nonexistence of their Emperor's clothes.[18] It is also important for the State to make its rule seem inevitable; even if its reign is disliked, it will then be met with passive resignation, as witness the familiar coupling of "death and taxes." One method is to induce historiographical determinism, as opposed to individual freedom of will. If the X Dynasty rules us, this is because the Inexorable Laws of History (or the Divine Will, or the Absolute, or the Material Productive Forces) have so decreed and nothing any puny individuals may do can change this inevitable decree. It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any "conspiracy theory of history"; for a search for "conspiracies" means a search for motives and an attribution of responsibility for historical misdeeds. If, however, any tyranny imposed by the State, or venality, or aggressive war, was caused not by the State rulers but by mysterious and arcane "social forces," or by the imperfect state of the world or, if in some way, everyone was responsible ("We Are All Murderers," proclaims one slogan), then there is no point to the people becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds. Furthermore, an attack on "conspiracy theories" means that the subjects will become more gullible in believing the "general welfare" reasons that are always put forth by the State for engaging in any of its despotic actions. A "conspiracy theory" can unsettle the system by causing the public to doubt the State's ideological propaganda.

Another tried and true method for bending subjects to the State's will is inducing guilt. Any increase in private well-being can be attacked as "unconscionable greed," "materialism," or "excessive affluence," profit-making can be attacked as "exploitation" and "usury," mutually beneficial exchanges denounced as "selfishness," and somehow with the conclusion always being drawn that more resources should be siphoned from the private to the "public sector." The induced guilt makes the public more ready to do just that. For while individual persons tend to indulge in "selfish greed," the failure of the State's rulers to engage in exchanges is supposed to signify their devotion to higher and nobler causes – parasitic predation being apparently morally and esthetically lofty as compared to peaceful and productive work.


In the present more secular age, the divine right of the State has been supplemented by the invocation of a new god, Science. State rule is now proclaimed as being ultrascientific, as constituting planning by experts. But while "reason" is invoked more than in previous centuries, this is not the true reason of the individual and his exercise of free will; it is still collectivist and determinist, still implying holistic aggregates and coercive manipulation of passive subjects by their rulers.

The increasing use of scientific jargon has permitted the State's intellectuals to weave obscurantist apologia for State rule that would have only met with derision by the populace of a simpler age. A robber who justified his theft by saying that he really helped his victims, by his spending giving a boost to retail trade, would find few converts; but when this theory is clothed in Keynesian equations and impressive references to the "multiplier effect," it unfortunately carries more conviction. And so the assault on common sense proceeds, each age performing the task in its own ways.

Thus, ideological support being vital to the State, it must unceasingly try to impress the public with its "legitimacy," to distinguish its activities from those of mere brigands. The unremitting determination of its assaults on common sense is no accident, for as Mencken vividly maintained: The average man, whatever his errors otherwise, at least sees clearly that government is something lying outside him and outside the generality of his fellow men – that it is a separate, independent, and hostile power, only partly under his control, and capable of doing him great harm. Is it a fact of no significance that robbing the government is everywhere regarded as a crime of less magnitude than robbing an individual, or even a corporation? . . . What lies behind all this, I believe, is a deep sense of the fundamental antagonism between the government and the people it governs. It is apprehended, not as a committee of citizens chosen to carry on the communal business of the whole population, but as a separate and autonomous corporation, mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefit of its own members. . . . When a private citizen is robbed, a worthy man is deprived of the fruits of his industry and thrift; when the government is robbed, the worst that happens is that certain rogues and loafers have less money to play with than they had before. The notion that they have earned that money is never entertained; to most sensible men it would seem ludicrous.[19]

How the State Transcends Its Limits


As Bertrand de Jouvenel has sagely pointed out, through the centuries men have formed concepts designed to check and limit the exercise of State rule; and, one after another, the State, using its intellectual allies, has been able to transform these concepts into intellectual rubber stamps of legitimacy and virtue to attach to its decrees and actions. Originally, in Western Europe, the concept of divine sovereignty held that the kings may rule only according to divine law; the kings turned the concept into a rubber stamp of divine approval for any of the kings' actions. The concept of parliamentary democracy began as a popular check upon absolute monarchical rule; it ended with parliament being the essential part of the State and its every act totally sovereign. As de Jouvenel concludes:

Many writers on theories of sovereignty have worked out one . . . of these restrictive devices. But in the end every single such theory has, sooner or later, lost its original purpose, and come to act merely as a springboard to Power, by providing it with the powerful aid of an invisible sovereign with whom it could in time successfully identify itself.[20]

Similarly with more specific doctrines: the "natural rights" of the individual enshrined in John Locke and the Bill of Rights, became a statist "right to a job"; utilitarianism turned from arguments for liberty to arguments against resisting the State's invasions of liberty, etc.

Certainly the most ambitious attempt to impose limits on the State has been the Bill of Rights and other restrictive parts of the American Constitution, in which written limits on government became the fundamental law to be interpreted by a judiciary supposedly independent of the other branches of government. All Americans are familiar with the process by which the construction of limits in the Constitution has been inexorably broadened over the last century. But few have been as keen as Professor Charles Black to see that the State has, in the process, largely transformed judicial review itself from a limiting device to yet another instrument for furnishing ideological legitimacy to the government's actions. For if a judicial decree of "unconstitutional" is a mighty check to government power, an implicit or explicit verdict of "constitutional" is a mighty weapon for fostering public acceptance of ever-greater government power.

Professor Black begins his analysis by pointing out the crucial necessity of "legitimacy" for any government to endure, this legitimation signifying basic majority acceptance of the government and its actions.[21] Acceptance of legitimacy becomes a particular problem in a country such as the United States, where "substantive limitations are built into the theory on which the government rests." What is needed, adds Black, is a means by which the government can assure the public that its increasing powers are, indeed, "constitutional." And this, he concludes, has been the major historic function of judicial review.


Let Black illustrate the problem:

The supreme risk [to the government] is that of disaffection and a feeling of outrage widely disseminated throughout the population, and loss of moral authority by the government as such, however long it may be propped up by force or inertia or the lack of an appealing and immediately available alternative. Almost everybody living under a government of limited powers, must sooner or later be subjected to some governmental action which as a matter of private opinion he regards as outside the power of government or positively forbidden to government. A man is drafted, though he finds nothing in the Constitution about being drafted. . . . A farmer is told how much wheat he can raise; he believes, and he discovers that some respectable lawyers believe with him, that the government has no more right to tell him how much wheat he can grow than it has to tell his daughter whom she can marry. A man goes to the federal penitentiary for saying what he wants to, and he paces his cell reciting . . . "Congress shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech.". . . A businessman is told what he can ask, and must ask, for buttermilk.

The danger is real enough that each of these people (and who is not of their number?) will confront the concept of governmental limitation with the reality (as he sees it) of the flagrant overstepping of actual limits, and draw the obvious conclusion as to the status of his government with respect to legitimacy.[22]

This danger is averted by the State's propounding the doctrine that one agency must have the ultimate decision on constitutionality and that this agency, in the last analysis, must be part of the federal government.
[23] For while the seeming independence of the federal judiciary has played a vital part in making its actions virtual Holy Writ for the bulk of the people, it is also and ever true that the judiciary is part and parcel of the government apparatus and appointed by the executive and legislative branches. Black admits that this means that the State has set itself up as a judge in its own cause, thus violating a basic juridical principle for aiming at just decisions. He brusquely denies the possibility of any alternative.[24]

Black adds:

The problem, then, is to devise such governmental means of deciding as will [hopefully] reduce to a tolerable minimum the intensity of the objection that government is judge in its own cause. Having done this, you can only hope that this objection, though theoretically still tenable [italics mine], will practically lose enough of its force that the legitimating work of the deciding institution can win acceptance.[25]

In the last analysis, Black finds the achievement of justice and legitimacy from the State's perpetual judging of its own cause as "something of a miracle."[26]

Applying his thesis to the famous conflict between the Supreme Court and the New Deal, Professor Black keenly chides his fellow pro-New Deal colleagues for their shortsightedness in denouncing judicial obstruction:

[t]he standard version of the story of the New Deal and the Court, though accurate in its way, displaces the emphasis. . . . It concentrates on the difficulties; it almost forgets how the whole thing turned out. The upshot of the matter was [and this is what I like to emphasize] that after some twenty-four months of balking . . . the Supreme Court, without a single change in the law of its composition, or, indeed, in its actual manning, placed the affirmative stamp of legitimacy on the New Deal, and on the whole new conception of government in America.[27]


In this way, the Supreme Court was able to put the quietus on the large body of Americans who had had strong constitutional objections to the New Deal:

Of course, not everyone was satisfied. The Bonnie Prince Charlie of constitutionally commanded laissez-faire still stirs the hearts of a few zealots in the Highlands of choleric unreality. But there is no longer any significant or dangerous public doubt as to the constitutional power of Congress to deal as it does with the national economy. . . .

We had no means, other than the Supreme Court, for imparting legitimacy to the New Deal.[28]

As Black recognizes, one major political theorist who recognized – and largely in advance – the glaring loophole in a constitutional limit on government of placing the ultimate interpreting power in the Supreme Court was John C. Calhoun. Calhoun was not content with the "miracle," but instead proceeded to a profound analysis of the constitutional problem. In his Disquisition, Calhoun demonstrated the inherent tendency of the State to break through the limits of such a constitution:

A written constitution certainly has many and considerable advantages, but it is a great mistake to suppose that the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the power of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted with the means of enforcing their observance [my italics] will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers. Being the party in possession of the government, they will, from the same constitution of man which makes government necessary to protect society, be in favor of the powers granted by the constitution and opposed to the restrictions intended to limit them. . . . The minor or weaker party, on the contrary, would take the opposite direction and regard them [the restrictions] as essential to their protection against the dominant party. . . . But where there are no means by which they could compel the major party to observe the restrictions, the only resort left them would be a strict construction of the constitution. . . . To this the major party would oppose a liberal construction. . . . It would be construction against construction – the one to contract and the other to enlarge the powers of the government to the utmost. But of what possible avail could the strict construction of the minor party be, against the liberal construction of the major, when the one would have all the power of the government to carry its construction into effect and the other be deprived of all means of enforcing its construction? In a contest so unequal, the result would not be doubtful. The party in favor of the restrictions would be overpowered. . . . The end of the contest would be the subversion of the constitution . . . the restrictions would ultimately be annulled and the government be converted into one of unlimited powers.[29]

One of the few political scientists who appreciated Calhoun's analysis of the Constitution was Professor J. Allen Smith. Smith noted that the Constitution was designed with checks and balances to limit any one governmental power and yet had then developed a Supreme Court with the monopoly of ultimate interpreting power. If the Federal Government was created to check invasions of individual liberty by the separate states, who was to check the Federal power? Smith maintained that implicit in the check-and-balance idea of the Constitution was the concomitant view that no one branch of government may be conceded the ultimate power of interpretation: "It was assumed by the people that the new government could not be permitted to determine the limits of its own authority, since this would make it, and not the Constitution, supreme."[30]

The solution advanced by Calhoun (and seconded, in this century, by such writers as Smith) was, of course, the famous doctrine of the "concurrent majority." If any substantial minority interest in the country, specifically a state government, believed that the Federal Government was exceeding its powers and encroaching on that minority, the minority would have the right to veto this exercise of power as unconstitutional. Applied to state governments, this theory implied the right of "nullification" of a Federal law or ruling within a state's jurisdiction.

In theory, the ensuing constitutional system would assure that the Federal Government check any state invasion of individual rights, while the states would check excessive Federal power over the individual. And yet, while limitations would undoubtedly be more effective than at present, there are many difficulties and problems in the Calhoun solution. If, indeed, a subordinate interest should rightfully have a veto over matters concerning it, then why stop with the states? Why not place veto power in counties, cities, wards? Furthermore, interests are not only sectional, they are also occupational, social, etc. What of bakers or taxi drivers or any other occupation? Should they not be permitted a veto power over their own lives? This brings us to the important point that the nullification theory confines its checks to agencies of government itself. Let us not forget that federal and state governments, and their respective branches, are still states, are still guided by their own state interests rather than by the interests of the private citizens. What is to prevent the Calhoun system from working in reverse, with states tyrannizing over their citizens and only vetoing the federal government when it tries to intervene to stop that state tyranny? Or for states to acquiesce in federal tyranny? What is to prevent federal and state governments from forming mutually profitable alliances for the joint exploitation of the citizenry? And even if the private occupational groupings were to be given some form of "functional" representation in government, what is to prevent them from using the State to gain subsidies and other special privileges for themselves or from imposing compulsory cartels on their own members?

In short, Calhoun does not push his pathbreaking theory on concurrence far enough: he does not push it down to the individual himself. If the individual, after all, is the one whose rights are to be protected, then a consistent theory of concurrence would imply veto power by every individual; that is, some form of "unanimity principle." When Calhoun wrote that it should be "impossible to put or to keep it [the government] in action without the concurrent consent of all," he was, perhaps unwittingly, implying just such a conclusion.[31] But such speculation begins to take us away from our subject, for down this path lie political systems which could hardly be called "States" at all.[32] For one thing, just as the right of nullification for a state logically implies its right of secession, so a right of individual nullification would imply the right of any individual to "secede" from the State under which he lives.[33]


Thus, the State has invariably shown a striking talent for the expansion of its powers beyond any limits that might be imposed upon it. Since the State necessarily lives by the compulsory confiscation of private capital, and since its expansion necessarily involves ever-greater incursions on private individuals and private enterprise, we must assert that the State is profoundly and inherently anticapitalist. In a sense, our position is the reverse of the Marxist dictum that the State is the "executive committee" of the ruling class in the present day, supposedly the capitalists. Instead, the State – the organization of the political means – constitutes, and is the source of, the "ruling class" (rather, ruling caste), and is in permanent opposition to genuinely private capital. We may, therefore, say with de Jouvenel:

Only those who know nothing of any time but their own, who are completely in the dark as to the manner of Power's behaving through thousands of years, would regard these proceedings [nationalization, the income tax, etc.] as the fruit of a particular set of doctrines. They are in fact the normal manifestations of Power, and differ not at all in their nature from Henry VIII's confiscation of the monasteries. The same principle is at work; the hunger for authority, the thirst for resources; and in all of these operations the same characteristics are present, including the rapid elevation of the dividers of the spoils. Whether it is Socialist or whether it is not, Power must always be at war with the capitalist authorities and despoil the capitalists of their accumulated wealth; in doing so it obeys the law of its nature.[34]

What the State Fears

What the State fears above all, of course, is any fundamental threat to its own power and its own existence. The death of a State can come about in two major ways: (a) through conquest by another State, or (b) through revolutionary overthrow by its own subjects – in short, by war or revolution. War and revolution, as the two basic threats, invariably arouse in the State rulers their maximum efforts and maximum propaganda among the people. As stated above, any way must always be used to mobilize the people to come to the State's defense in the belief that they are defending themselves. The fallacy of the idea becomes evident when conscription is wielded against those who refuse to "defend" themselves and are, therefore, forced into joining the State's military band: needless to add, no "defense" is permitted them against this act of "their own" State.

In war, State power is pushed to its ultimate, and, under the slogans of "defense" and "emergency," it can impose a tyranny upon the public such as might be openly resisted in time of peace. War thus provides many benefits to a State, and indeed every modern war has brought to the warring peoples a permanent legacy of increased State burdens upon society. War, moreover, provides to a State tempting opportunities for conquest of land areas over which it may exercise its monopoly of force. Randolph Bourne was certainly correct when he wrote that "war is the health of the State," but to any particular State a war may spell either health or grave injury.[35]

We may test the hypothesis that the State is largely interested in protecting itself rather than its subjects by asking: which category of crimes does the State pursue and punish most intensely – those against private citizens or those against itself? The gravest crimes in the State's lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of private person or property, but dangers to its own contentment, for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, subversion and subversive conspiracy, assassination of rulers and such economic crimes against the State as counterfeiting its money or evasion of its income tax. Or compare the degree of zeal devoted to pursuing the man who assaults a policeman, with the attention that the State pays to the assault of an ordinary citizen. Yet, curiously, the State's openly assigned priority to its own defense against the public strikes few people as inconsistent with its presumed raison d'être.[36]


How States Relate to One Another

Since the territorial area of the earth is divided among different States, inter-State relations must occupy much of a State's time and energy. The natural tendency of a State is to expand its power, and externally such expansion takes place by conquest of a territorial area. Unless a territory is stateless or uninhabited, any such expansion involves an inherent conflict of interest between one set of State rulers and another. Only one set of rulers can obtain a monopoly of coercion over any given territorial area at any one time: complete power over a territory by State X can only be obtained by the expulsion of State Y. War, while risky, will be an ever-present tendency of States, punctuated by periods of peace and by shifting alliances and coalitions between States.

We have seen that the "internal" or "domestic" attempt to limit the State, in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, reached its most notable form in constitutionalism. Its "external," or "foreign affairs," counterpart was the development of "international law," especially such forms as the "laws of war" and "neutrals' rights."[37] Parts of international law were originally purely private, growing out of the need of merchants and traders everywhere to protect their property and adjudicate disputes. Examples are admiralty law and the law merchant. But even the governmental rules emerged voluntarily and were not imposed by any international super-State. The object of the "laws of war" was to limit inter-State destruction to the State apparatus itself, thereby preserving the innocent "civilian" public from the slaughter and devastation of war. The object of the development of neutrals' rights was to preserve private civilian international commerce, even with "enemy" countries, from seizure by one of the warring parties. The overriding aim, then, was to limit the extent of any war, and, particularly to limit its destructive impact on the private citizens of the neutral and even the warring countries.

The jurist F.J.P. Veale charmingly describes such "civilized warfare" as it briefly flourished in fifteenth-century Italy:

the rich burghers and merchants of medieval Italy were too busy making money and enjoying life to undertake the hardships and dangers of soldiering themselves. So they adopted the practice of hiring mercenaries to do their fighting for them, and, being thrifty, businesslike folk, they dismissed their mercenaries immediately after their services could be dispensed with. Wars were, therefore, fought by armies hired for each campaign. . . . For the first time, soldiering became a reasonable and comparatively harmless profession. The generals of that period maneuvered against each other, often with consummate skill, but when one had won the advantage, his opponent generally either retreated or surrendered. It was a recognized rule that a town could only be sacked if it offered resistance: immunity could always be purchased by paying a ransom. . . . As one natural consequence, no town ever resisted, it being obvious that a government too weak to defend its citizens had forfeited their allegiance. Civilians had little to fear from the dangers of war which were the concern only of professional soldiers.[38]

The well-nigh absolute separation of the private civilian from the State's wars in eighteenth-century Europe is highlighted by Nef:

Even postal communications were not successfully restricted for long in wartime. Letters circulated without censorship, with a freedom that astonishes the twentieth-century mind. . . . The subjects of two warring nations talked to each other if they met, and when they could not meet, corresponded, not as enemies but as friends. The modern notion hardly existed that . . . subjects of any enemy country are partly accountable for the belligerent acts of their rulers. Nor had the warring rulers any firm disposition to stop communications with subjects of the enemy. The old inquisitorial practices of espionage in connection with religious worship and belief were disappearing, and no comparable inquisition in connection with political or economic communications was even contemplated. Passports were originally created to provide safe conduct in time of war. During most of the eighteenth century it seldom occurred to Europeans to abandon their travels in a foreign country which their own was fighting.[39]

And trade being increasingly recognized as beneficial to both parties; eighteenth-century warfare also counterbalances a considerable amount of "trading with the enemy."[40]

How far States have transcended rules of civilized warfare in this century needs no elaboration here. In the modern era of total war, combined with the technology of total destruction, the very idea of keeping war limited to the State apparati seems even more quaint and obsolete than the original Constitution of the United States.


When States are not at war, agreements are often necessary to keep frictions at a minimum. One doctrine that has gained curiously wide acceptance is the alleged "sanctity of treaties." This concept is treated as the counterpart of the "sanctity of contract." But a treaty and a genuine contract have nothing in common. A contract transfers, in a precise manner, titles to private property. Since a government does not, in any proper sense, "own" its territorial area, any agreements that it concludes do not confer titles to property. If, for example, Mr. Jones sells or gives his land to Mr. Smith, Jones's heir cannot legitimately descend upon Smith's heir and claim the land as rightfully his. The property title has already been transferred. Old Jones's contract is automatically binding upon young Jones, because the former had already transferred the property; young Jones, therefore, has no property claim. Young Jones can only claim that which he has inherited from old Jones, and old Jones can only bequeath property which he still owns. But if, at a certain date, the government of, say, Ruritania is coerced or even bribed by the government of Waldavia into giving up some of its territory, it is absurd to claim that the governments or inhabitants of the two countries are forever barred from a claim to reunification of Ruritania on the grounds of the sanctity of a treaty. Neither the people nor the land of northwest Ruritania are owned by either of the two governments. As a corollary, one government can certainly not bind, by the dead hand of the past, a later government through treaty. A revolutionary government which overthrew the king of Ruritania could, similarly, hardly be called to account for the king's actions or debts, for a government is not, as is a child, a true "heir" to its predecessor's property.

History as a Race Between State Power and Social Power

Just as the two basic and mutually exclusive interrelations between men are peaceful cooperation or coercive exploitation, production or predation, so the history of mankind, particularly its economic history, may be considered as a contest between these two principles. On the one hand, there is creative productivity, peaceful exchange and cooperation; on the other, coercive dictation and predation over those social relations. Albert Jay Nock happily termed these contesting forces: "social power" and "State power."[41] Social power is man's power over nature, his cooperative transformation of nature's resources and insight into nature's laws, for the benefit of all participating individuals. Social power is the power over nature, the living standards achieved by men in mutual exchange. State power, as we have seen, is the coercive and parasitic seizure of this production – a draining of the fruits of society for the benefit of nonproductive (actually antiproductive) rulers. While social power is over nature, State power is power over man. Through history, man's productive and creative forces have, time and again, carved out new ways of transforming nature for man's benefit. These have been the times when social power has spurted ahead of State power, and when the degree of State encroachment over society has considerably lessened. But always, after a greater or smaller time lag, the State has moved into these new areas, to cripple and confiscate social power once more.[42] If the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries were, in many countries of the West, times of accelerating social power, and a corollary increase in freedom, peace, and material welfare, the twentieth century has been primarily an age in which State power has been catching up – with a consequent reversion to slavery, war, and destruction.[43]

In this century, the human race faces, once again, the virulent reign of the State – of the State now armed with the fruits of man's creative powers, confiscated and perverted to its own aims. The last few centuries were times when men tried to place constitutional and other limits on the State, only to find that such limits, as with all other attempts, have failed. Of all the numerous forms that governments have taken over the centuries, of all the concepts and institutions that have been tried, none has succeeded in keeping the State in check. The problem of the State is evidently as far from solution as ever. Perhaps new paths of inquiry must be explored, if the successful, final solution of the State question is ever to be attained.[44]

Notes

[1] We cannot, in this chapter, develop the many problems and fallacies of "democracy." Suffice it to say here that an individual's true agent or "representative" is always subject to that individual's orders, can be dismissed at any time and cannot act contrary to the interests or wishes of his principal. Clearly, the "representative" in a democracy can never fulfill such agency functions, the only ones consonant with a libertarian society.

[2] Social democrats often retort that democracy – majority choice of rulers – logically implies that the majority must leave certain freedoms to the minority, for the minority might one day become the majority. Apart from other flaws, this argument obviously does not hold where the minority cannot become the majority, for example, when the minority is of a different racial or ethnic group from the majority.

[3] Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: Harper and Bros., 1942), p. 198.

The friction or antagonism between the private and the public sphere was intensified from the first by the fact that . . . the State has been living on a revenue which was being produced in the private sphere for private purposes and had to be deflected from these purposes by political force. The theory which construes taxes on the analogy of club dues or of the purchase of the service of, say, a doctor only proves how far removed this part of the social sciences is from scientific habits of mind.


Also see Murray N. Rothbard, "The Fallacy of the 'Public Sector,"' New Individualist Review (Summer, 1961): pp. 3ff.
[4] Franz Oppenheimer, The State (New York: Vanguard Press, 1926) pp. 24–27:

There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one's own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. . . . I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the "economic means" for the satisfaction of need while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the "political means". . . . The State is an organization of the political means. No State, therefore, can come into being until the economic means has created a definite number of objects for the satisfaction of needs, which objects may be taken away or appropriated by warlike robbery.

[5] Albert Jay Nock wrote vividly that

the State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime. . . . It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien.

Nock, On Doing the Right Thing, and Other Essays (New York: Harper and Bros., 1929), p. 143; quoted in Jack Schwartzman, "Albert Jay Nock – A Superfluous Man," Faith and Freedom (December, 1953): p. 11.
[6] Oppenheimer, The State, p. 15:

What, then, is the State as a sociological concept? The State, completely in its genesis . . . is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group of men on a defeated group, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors.

And de Jouvenel has written: "the State is in essence the result of the successes achieved by a band of brigands who superimpose themselves on small, distinct societies." Bertrand de Jouvenel, On Power (New York: Viking Press, 1949), pp. 100–01.
[7] On the crucial distinction between "caste," a group with privileges or burdens coercively granted or imposed by the State and the Marxian concept of "class" in society, see Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1957), pp. 112ff.

[8] Such acceptance does not, of course, imply that the State rule has become "voluntary"; for even if the majority support be active and eager, this support is not unanimous by every individual.

[9] That every government, no matter how "dictatorial" over individuals, must secure such support has been demonstrated by such acute political theorists as Étienne de La Boétie, David Hume, and Ludwig von Mises. Thus, cf. David Hume, "Of the First Principles of Government," in Essays, Literary, Moral and Political (London: Ward, Locke, and Taylor, n.d.), p. 23; Étienne de La Boétie, Anti-Dictator (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942), pp. 8–9; Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 1998), pp. 188ff. For more on the contribution to the analysis of the State by La Boétie, see Oscar Jaszi and John D. Lewis, Against the Tyrant (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1957), pp. 55–57.

[10] La Boétie, Anti-Dictator, pp. 43–44.

Whenever a ruler makes himself dictator . . . all those who are corrupted by burning ambition or extraordinary avarice, these gather around him and support him in order to have a share in the booty and to constitute themselves petty chiefs under the big tyrant.

[11] This by no means implies that all intellectuals ally themselves with the State. On aspects of the alliance of intellectuals and the State, cf. Bertrand de Jouvenel, "The Attitude of the Intellectuals to the Market Society," The Owl (January, 1951): pp. 19–27; idem, "The Treatment of Capitalism by Continental Intellectuals," in F.A. Hayek, ed., Capitalism and the Historians (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954), pp. 93–123; reprinted in George B. de Huszar, The Intellectuals (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1960), pp. 385–99; and Schumpeter, Imperialism and Social Classes (New York: Meridian Books, 1975), pp. 143–55.

[12] Joseph Needham, "Review of Karl A. Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism," Science and Society (1958): p. 65. Needham also writes that "the successive [Chinese] emperors were served in all ages by a great company of profoundly humane and disinterested scholars," p. 61. Wittfogel notes the Confucian doctrine that the glory of the ruling class rested on its gentleman scholar-bureaucrat officials, destined to be professional rulers dictating to the mass of the populace. Karl A. Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1957), pp. 320–21 and passim. For an attitude contrasting to Needham's, cf. John Lukacs, "Intellectual Class or Intellectual Profession?" in de Huszar, The Intellectuals, pp. 521–22.

[13] Jeanne Ribs, "The War Plotters," Liberation (August, 1961): p. 13. "[s]trategists insist that their occupation deserves the 'dignity of the academic counterpart of the military profession.'" Also see Marcus Raskin, "The Megadeath Intellectuals," New York Review of Books (November 14, 1963): pp. 6–7.

[14] Thus the historian Conyers Read, in his presidential address, advocated the suppression of historical fact in the service of "democratic" and national values. Read proclaimed that "total war, whether it is hot or cold, enlists everyone and calls upon everyone to play his part. The historian is not freer from this obligation than the physicist." Read, "The Social Responsibilities of the Historian," American Historical Review (1951): p. 283ff. For a critique of Read and other aspects of court history, see Howard K. Beale, "The Professional Historian: His Theory and Practice," The Pacific Historical Review (August, 1953): pp. 227–55. Also cf. Herbert Butterfield, "Official History: Its Pitfalls and Criteria," History and Human Relations (New York: Macmillan, 1952), pp. 182–224; and Harry Elmer Barnes, The Court Historians Versus Revisionism (n.d.), pp. 2ff.

[15] Cf. Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism, pp. 87–100. On the contrasting roles of religion vis-à-vis the State in ancient China and Japan, see Norman Jacobs, The Origin of Modern Capitalism and Eastern Asia (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1958), pp. 161–94.

[16] De Jouvenel, On Power, p. 22:

The essential reason for obedience is that it has become a habit of the species. . . . Power is for us a fact of nature. From the earliest days of recorded history it has always presided over human destinies . . . the authorities which ruled [societies] in former times did not disappear without bequeathing to their successors their privilege nor without leaving in men's minds imprints which are cumulative in their effect. The succession of governments which, in the course of centuries, rule the same society may be looked on as one underlying government which takes on continuous accretions.

[17] On such uses of the religion of China, see Norman Jacobs, passim.

[18] H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (New York: Knopf, 1949), p. 145:

All [government] can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.

[19] Ibid., pp. 146–47.

[20] De Jouvenel, On Power, pp. 27ff.

[21] Charles L. Black. Jr., The People and the Court (New York: Macmillan, 1960), pp. 35ff.

[22] Ibid., pp. 42–43.

[23] Ibid., p. 52:

The prime and most necessary function of the [Supreme] Court has been that of validation, not that of invalidation. What a government of limited powers needs, at the beginning and forever, is some means of satisfying the people that it has taken all steps humanly possible to stay within its powers. This is the condition of its legitimacy, and its legitimacy, in the long run, is the condition of its life. And the Court, through its history, has acted as the legitimation of the government.

[24] To Black, this "solution," while paradoxical, is blithely self-evident:

the final power of the State . . . must stop where the law stops it. And who shall set the limit, and who shall enforce the stopping, against the mightiest power? Why, the State itself, of course, through its judges and its laws. Who controls the temperate? Who teaches the wise? (Ibid., pp. 32–33)

And:

Where the questions concern governmental power in a sovereign nation, it is not possible to select an umpire who is outside government. Every national government, so long as it is a government, must have the final say on its own power. (Ibid., pp. 48–49)

[25] Ibid., p. 49.

[26] This ascription of the miraculous to government is reminiscent of James Burnham's justification of government by mysticism and irrationality:

In ancient times, before the illusions of science had corrupted traditional wisdom, the founders of cities were known to be gods or demigods. . . . Neither the source nor the justification of government can be put in wholly rational terms . . . why should I accept the hereditary or democratic or any other principle of legitimacy? Why should a principle justify the rule of that man over me? . . . I accept the principle, well . . . because I do, because that is the way it is and has been.

James Burnham, Congress and the American Tradition (Chicago: Regnery, 1959), pp. 3–8. But what if one does not accept the principle? What will "the way" be then?

[27] Black, The People and the Court, p. 64.

[28] Ibid., p. 65.

[29] John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government (New York: Liberal Arts Press, 1953), pp. 25–27. Also cf. Murray N. Rothbard, "Conservatism and Freedom: A Libertarian Comment," Modern Age (Spring, 1961): p. 219.

[30] J. Allen Smith, The Growth and Decadence of Constitutional Government (New York: Henry Holt, 1930), p. 88. Smith added:

it was obvious that where a provision of the Constitution was designed to limit the powers of a governmental organ, it could be effectively nullified if its interpretation and enforcement are left to the authorities as it designed to restrain. Clearly, common sense required that no organ of the government should be able to determine its own powers.
Clearly, common sense and "miracles" dictate very different views of government (p. 87).
[31] Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government, pp. 20–21.

[32] In recent years, the unanimity principle has experienced a highly diluted revival, particularly in the writings of Professor James Buchanan. Injecting unanimity into the present situation, however, and applying it only to changes in the status quo and not to existing laws, can only result in another transformation of a limiting concept into a rubber stamp for the State. If the unanimity principle is to be applied only to changes in laws and edicts, the nature of the initial "point of origin" then makes all the difference. Cf. James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962), passim.

[33] Cf. Herbert Spencer, "The Right to Ignore the State," in Social Statics (New York: D. Appleton, 1890), pp. 229–39.

[34] De Jouvenel, On Power, p. 171.

[35] We have seen that essential to the State is support by the intellectuals, and this includes support against their two acute threats. Thus, on the role of American intellectuals in America's entry into World War I, see Randolph Bourne, "The War and the Intellectuals," in The History of a Literary Radical and Other Papers (New York: S.A. Russell, 1956), pp. 205–22. As Bourne states, a common device of intellectuals in winning support for State actions, is to channel any discussion within the limits of basic State policy and to discourage any fundamental or total critique of this basic framework.

[36] As Mencken puts it in his inimitable fashion:

This gang ("the exploiters constituting the government") is well nigh immune to punishment. Its worst extortions, even when they are baldly for private profit, carry no certain penalties under our laws. Since the first days of the Republic, less than a few dozen of its members have been impeached, and only a few obscure understrappers have ever been put into prison. The number of men sitting at Atlanta and Leavenworth for revolting against the extortions of the government is always ten times as great as the number of government officials condemned for oppressing the taxpayers to their own gain. (Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, pp. 147–48)
For a vivid and entertaining description of the lack of protection for the individual against incursion of his liberty by his "protectors," see H.L. Mencken, "The Nature of Liberty," in Prejudices: A Selection (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), pp. 138–43.
[37] This is to be distinguished from modern international law, with its stress on maximizing the extent of war through such concepts as "collective security."



Reprinted from Mises.org.

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Last edited by Cray on Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:06 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  TumbleWeed on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:46 pm

Good stuff. I'll be checking this out for sure. Will post my thoughts.
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:56 pm

This is the first thing people should read to learn about politics.
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  wolfman on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:02 pm

my question is., since we already understand what the State is., how do you go about and changing how a State works?, what alternative do you have to the State? ..
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:22 pm

^^




Society Without a State

by Murray N. Rothbard


In attempting to outline how a "society without a state" – that is, an anarchist society – might function successfully, I would first like to defuse two common but mistaken criticisms of this approach. First, is the argument that in providing for such defense or protection services as courts, police, or even law itself, I am simply smuggling the state back into society in another form, and that therefore the system I am both analyzing and advocating is not "really" anarchism.
This sort of criticism can only involve us in an endless and arid dispute over semantics. Let me say from the beginning that I define the state 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. An institution not possessing either of these properties is not and cannot be, in accordance with my definition, a state.

On the other hand, I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of an individual. Anarchists oppose the state because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights.

Nor is our definition of the state arbitrary, for these two characteristics have been possessed by what is generally acknowledged to be states throughout recorded history. The state, by its use of physical coercion, has arrogated to itself a compulsory monopoly of defense services over its territorial jurisdiction. But it is certainly conceptually possible for such services to be supplied by private, non-state institutions, and indeed such services have historically been supplied by other organizations than the state. To be opposed to the state is then not necessarily to be opposed to services that have often been linked with it; to be opposed to the state does not necessarily imply that we must be opposed to police protection, courts, arbitration, the minting of money, postal service, or roads and highways. Some anarchists have indeed been opposed to police and to all physical coercion in defense of person and property, but this is not inherent in and is fundamentally irrelevant to the anarchist position, which is precisely marked by opposition to all physical coercion invasive of, or aggressing against, person and property.

The crucial role of taxation may be seen in the fact that the state is the only institution or organization in society which regularly and systematically acquires its income through the use of physical coercion. All other individuals or organizations acquire their income voluntarily, either (1) through the voluntary sale of goods and services to consumers on the market, or (2) through voluntary gifts or donations by members or other donors. If I cease or refrain from purchasing Wheaties on the market, the Wheaties producers do not come after me with a gun or the threat of imprisonment to force me to purchase; if I fail to join the American Philosophical Association, the association may not force me to join or prevent me from giving up my membership. Only the state can do so; only the state can confiscate my property or put me in jail if I do not pay its tax tribute. Therefore, only the state regularly exists and has its very being by means of coercive depredations on private property.

Neither is it legitimate to challenge this sort of analysis by claiming that in some other sense, the purchase of Wheaties or membership in the APA is in some way "coercive." Anyone who is still unhappy with this use of the term "coercion" can simply eliminate the word from this discussion and substitute for it "physical violence or the threat thereof," with the only loss being in literary style rather than in the substance of the argument. What anarchism proposes to do, then, is to abolish the state, that is, to abolish the regularized institution of aggressive coercion.

It need hardly be added that the state habitually builds upon its coercive source of income by adding a host of other aggressions upon society, ranging from economic controls to the prohibition of pornography to the compelling of religious observance to the mass murder of civilians in organized warfare. In short, the state, in the worlds of Albert Jay Nock, "claims and exercises a monopoly of crime" over its territorial area.

The second criticism I would like to defuse before beginning the main body of the paper is the common charge that anarchists "assume that all people are good" and that without the state no crime would be committed. In short, that anarchism assumes that with the abolition of the state a New Anarchist Man will emerge, cooperative, humane, and benevolent, so that no problem of crime will then plague the society. I confess that I do not understand the basis for this charge. Whatever other schools of anarchism profess – and I do not believe that they are open to the charge – I certainly do not adopt this view. I assume with most observers that mankind is a mixture of good and evil, of cooperative and criminal tendencies.
In my view, the anarchist society is one which maximizes the tendencies for the good and the cooperative, while it minimizes both the opportunity and the moral legitimacy of the evil and the criminal. If the anarchist view is correct and the state is indeed the great legalized and socially legitimated channel for all manner of antisocial crime – theft, oppression, mass murder – on a massive scale, then surely the abolition of such an engine of crime can do nothing but favor the good in man and discourage the bad.

A further point: in a profound sense, no social system, whether anarchist or statist, can work at all unless most people are "good" in the sense that they are not all hell-bent upon assaulting and robbing their neighbors. If everyone were so disposed, no amount of protection, whether state or private, could succeed in staving off chaos. Furthermore, the more that people are disposed to be peaceful and not aggress against their neighbors, the more successfully any social system will work, and the fewer resources will need to be devoted to police protection. The anarchist view holds that, given the "nature of man," given the degree of goodness or badness at any point in time, anarchism will maximize the opportunities for the good and minimize the channels for the bad. The rest depends on the values held by the individual members of society. The only further point that needs to be made is that by eliminating the living example and the social legitimacy of the massive legalized crime of the state, anarchism will to a large extent promote peaceful values in the minds of the public.

We cannot of course deal here with the numerous arguments in favor of anarchism or against the state, moral, political, and economic. Nor can we take up the various goods and services now provided by the state and show how private individuals and groups will be able to supply them far more efficiently on the free market. Here we can only deal with perhaps the most difficult area, the area where it is almost universally assumed that the state must exist and act, even if it is only a "necessary evil" instead of a positive good: the vital realm of defense or protection of person and property against aggression. Surely, it is universally asserted, the state is at least vitally necessary to provide police protection, the judicial resolution of disputes and enforcement of contracts, and the creation of the law itself that is to be enforced. My contention is that all of these admittedly necessary services of protection can be satisfactorily and efficiently supplied by private persons and institutions on the free market.

One important caveat before we begin the body of this paper: new proposals such as anarchism are almost always gauged against the implicit assumption that the present, or statist system works to perfection. Any lacunae or difficulties with the picture of the anarchist society are considered net liabilities, and enough to dismiss anarchism out of hand. It is, in short, implicitly assumed that the state is doing its self-assumed job of protecting person and property to perfection. We cannot here go into the reasons why the state is bound to suffer inherently from grave flaws and inefficiencies in such a task. All we need do now is to point to the black and unprecedented record of the state through history: no combination of private marauders can possibly begin to match the state's unremitting record of theft, confiscation, oppression, and mass murder. No collection of Mafia or private bank robbers can begin to compare with all the Hiroshimas, Dresdens, and Lidices and their analogues through the history of mankind.

This point can be made more philosophically: it is illegitimate to compare the merits of anarchism and statism by starting with the present system as the implicit given and then critically examining only the anarchist alternative. What we must do is to begin at the zero point and then critically examine both suggested alternatives. Suppose, for example, that we were all suddenly dropped down on the earth de novo and that we were all then confronted with the question of what societal arrangements to adopt. And suppose then that someone suggested: "We are all bound to suffer from those of us who wish to aggress against their fellow men. Let us then solve this problem of crime by handing all of our weapons to the Jones family, over there, by giving all of our ultimate power to settle disputes to that family. In that way, with their monopoly of coercion and of ultimate decision making, the Jones family will be able to protect each of us from each other." I submit that this proposal would get very short shrift, except perhaps from the Jones family themselves. And yet this is precisely the common argument for the existence of the state. When we start from zero point, as in the case of the Jones family, the question of "who will guard the guardians?" becomes not simply an abiding lacuna in the theory of the state but an overwhelming barrier to its existence.

A final caveat: the anarchist is always at a disadvantage in attempting to forecast the shape of the future anarchist society. For it is impossible for observers to predict voluntary social arrangements, including the provision of goods and services, on the free market. Suppose, for example, that this were the year 1874 and that someone predicted that eventually there would be a radio-manufacturing industry. To be able to make such a forecast successfully, does he have to be challenged to state immediately how many radio manufacturers there would be a century hence, how big they would be, where they would be located, what technology and marketing techniques they would use, and so on? Obviously, such a challenge would make no sense, and in a profound sense the same is true of those who demand a precise portrayal of the pattern of protection activities on the market. Anarchism advocates the dissolution of the state into social and market arrangements, and these arrangements are far more flexible and less predictable than political institutions. The most that we can do, then, is to offer broad guidelines and perspectives on the shape of a projected anarchist society.

One important point to make here is that the advance of modern technology makes anarchistic arrangements increasingly feasible. Take, for example, the case of lighthouses, where it is often charged that it is unfeasible for private lighthouse operators to row out to each ship to charge it for use of the light. Apart from the fact that this argument ignores the successful existence of private lighthouses in earlier days, as in England in the eighteenth century, another vital consideration is that modern electronic technology makes charging each ship for the light far more feasible. Thus, the ship would have to have paid for an electronically controlled beam which could then be automatically turned on for those ships which had paid for the service.

Let us turn now to the problem of how disputes – in particular disputes over alleged violations of person and property – would be resolved in an anarchist society. First, it should be noted that all disputes involve two parties: the plaintiff, the alleged victim of the crime or tort and the defendant, the alleged aggressor. In many cases of broken contract, of course, each of the two parties alleging that the other is the culprit is at the same time a plaintiff and a defendant.

An important point to remember is that any society, be it statist or anarchist, has to have some way of resolving disputes that will gain a majority consensus in society. There would be no need for courts or arbitrators if everyone were omniscient and knew instantaneously which persons were guilty of any given crime or violation of contract. Since none of us is omniscient, there has to be some method of deciding who is the criminal or lawbreaker which will gain legitimacy; in short, whose decision will be accepted by the great majority of the public.

In the first place, a dispute may be resolved voluntarily between the two parties themselves, either unaided or with the help of a third mediator. This poses no problem, and will automatically be accepted by society at large. It is so accepted even now, much less in a society imbued with the anarchistic values of peaceful cooperation and agreement. Secondly and similarly, the two parties, unable to reach agreement, may decide to submit voluntarily to the decision of an arbitrator. This agreement may arise either after a dispute has arisen, or be provided for in advance in the original contract. Again, there is no problem in such an arrangement gaining legitimacy. Even in the present statist era, the notorious inefficiency and coercive and cumbersome procedures of the politically run government courts has led increasing numbers of citizens to turn to voluntary and expert arbitration for a speedy and harmonious settling of disputes.

Thus, William C. Wooldridge has written that

Arbitration has grown to proportions that make the courts a secondary recourse in many areas and completely superfluous in others. The ancient fear of the courts that arbitration would "oust" them of their jurisdiction has been fulfilled with a vengeance the common-law judges probably never anticipated. Insurance companies adjust over fifty thousand claims a year among themselves through arbitration, and the American Arbitration Association (AAA), with headquarters in New York and twenty-five regional offices across the country, last year conducted over twenty-two thousand arbitrations. Its twenty-three thousand associates available to serve as arbitrators may outnumber the total number of judicial personnel … in the United States…. Add to this the unknown number of individuals who arbitrate disputes within particular industries or in particular localities, without formal AAA affiliation, and the quantitatively secondary role of official courts begins to be apparent.[1]

Wooldridge adds the important point that, in addition to the speed of arbitration procedures vis-à-vis the courts, the arbitrators can proceed as experts in disregard of the official government law; in a profound sense, then, they serve to create a voluntary body of private law. "In other words," states Wooldridge, "the system of extralegal, voluntary courts has progressed hand in hand with a body of private law; the rules of the state are circumvented by the same process that circumvents the forums established for the settlement of disputes over those rules…. In short, a private agreement between two people, a bilateral 'law,' has supplanted the official law. The writ of the sovereign has ceased to run, and for it is substituted a rule tacitly or explicitly agreed to by the parties." Wooldridge concludes that "if an arbitrator can choose to ignore a penal damage rule or the status of limitations applicable to the claim before him (and it is generally conceded that he has that power), arbitration can be viewed as a practically revolutionary instrument for self-liberation from the law…."[2]

It may be objected that arbitration only works successfully because the courts enforce the award of the arbitrator. Wooldridge points out, however, that arbitration was unenforceable in the American courts before 1920, but that this did not prevent voluntary arbitration from being successful and expanding in the United States and in England. He points, furthermore, to the successful operations of merchant courts since the Middle Ages, those courts which successfully developed the entire body of the law merchant. None of those courts possessed the power of enforcement. He might have added the private courts of shippers which developed the body of admiralty law in a similar way.

How then did these private, "anarchistic," and voluntary courts ensure the acceptance of their decisions? By the method of social ostracism, and by the refusal to deal any further with the offending merchant. This method of voluntary "enforcement," indeed provided highly successful. Wooldridge writes that "the merchants' courts were voluntary, and if a man ignored their judgment, he could not be sent to jail…. Nevertheless, it is apparent that … [their] decisions were generally respected even by the losers; otherwise people would never have used them in the first place…. Merchants made their courts work simply by agreeing to abide by the results. The merchant who broke the understanding would not be sent to jail, to be sure, but neither would he long continue to be a merchant, for the compliance exacted by his fellows … provide if anything more effective than physical coercion."[3] Nor did this voluntary method fail to work in modern times. Wooldridge writes that it was precisely in the years before 1920, when arbitration awards could not be enforced in the courts,

that arbitration caught on and developed a following in the American mercantile community. Its popularity, gained at a time when abiding by an agreement to arbitrate had to be as voluntary as the agreement itself, casts doubt on whether legal coercion was an essential adjunct to the settlement of most disputes. Cases of refusal to abide by an arbitrator's award were rare; one founder of the American Arbitration Association could not recall a single example. Like their medieval forerunners, merchants in the Americas did not have to rely on any sanctions other than those they could collectively impose on each other. One who refused to pay up might find access to his association's tribunal cut off in the future, or his name released to the membership of his trade association; these penalties were far more fearsome than the cost of the award with which he disagreed. Voluntary and private adjudications were voluntarily and privately adhered to, if not out of honor, out of the self-interest of businessmen who knew that the arbitral mode of dispute settlement would cease to be available to them very quickly if they ignored an award.[4]

It should also be pointed out that modern technology makes even more feasible the collection and dissemination of information about people's credit ratings and records of keeping or violating their contracts or arbitration agreements. Presumably, an anarchist society would see the expansion of this sort of dissemination of data and thereby facilitate the ostracism or boycotting of contract and arbitration violators.

How would arbitrators be selected in an anarchist society? In the same way as they are chosen now, and as they were chosen in the days of strictly voluntary arbitration: the arbitrators with the best reputation for efficiency and probity would be chosen by the various parties on the market. As in other processes of the market, the arbitrators with the best record in settling disputes will come to gain an increasing amount of business, and those with poor records will no longer enjoy clients and will have to shift to another line of endeavor. Here it must be emphasized that parties in dispute will seek out those arbitrators with the best reputation for both expertise and impartiality and that inefficient or biased arbitrators will rapidly have to find another occupation.

Thus, the Tannehills emphasize:

the advocates of government see initiated force (the legal force of government) as the only solution to social disputes. According to them, if everyone in society were not forced to use the same court system … disputes would be insoluble. Apparently it doesn't occur to them that disputing parties are capable of freely choosing their own arbiters…. they have not realized that disputants would, in fact, be far better off if they could choose among competing arbitration agencies so that they could reap the benefits of competition and specialization. It should be obvious that a court system which has a monopoly guaranteed by the force of statutory law will not give as good quality service as will free-market arbitration agencies which must compete for their customers….

Perhaps the least tenable argument for government arbitration of disputes is the one which holds that governmental judges are more impartial because they operate outside the market and so have no vested interests…. Owning political allegiance to government is certainly no guarantee of impartiality! A governmental judge is always impelled to be partial – in favor of the government, from whom he gets his pay and his power! On the other hand, an arbiter who sells his services in a free market knows that he must be as scrupulously honest, fair, and impartial as possible or no pair of disputants will buy his services to arbitrate their dispute. A free-market arbiter depends for his livelihood on his skill and fairness at settling disputes. A governmental judge depends on political pull.[5]

If desired, furthermore, the contracting parties could provide in advance for a series of arbitrators:

It would be more economical and in most cases quite sufficient to have only one arbitration agency to hear the case. But if the parties felt that a further appeal might be necessary and were willing to risk the extra expense, they could provide for a succession of two or even more arbitration agencies. The names of these agencies would be written into the contract in order from the "first court of appeal" to the "last court of appeal." It would be neither necessary nor desirable to have one single, final court of appeal for every person in the society, as we have today in the United States Supreme Court.[6]

Arbitration, then, poses little difficulty for a portrayal of the free society. But what of torts or crimes of aggression where there has been no contract? Or suppose that the breaker of a contract defies the arbitration award? Is ostracism enough? In short, how can courts develop in the free-market anarchist society which will have the power to enforce judgments against criminals or contract breakers?

In the wide sense, defense service consists of guards or police who use force in defending person and property against attack, and judges or courts whose role is to use socially accepted procedures to determine who the criminals or tortfeasors are, as well as to enforce judicial awards, such as damages or the keeping of contracts. On the free market, many scenarios are possible on the relationship between the private courts and the police; they may be "vertically integrated," for example, or their services may be supplied by separate firms. Furthermore, it seems likely that police service will be supplied by insurance companies who will provide crime insurance to their clients. In that case, insurance companies will pay off the victims of crime or the breaking of contracts or arbitration awards and then pursue the aggressors in court to recoup their losses. There is a natural market connection between insurance companies and defense service, since they need pay out less benefits in proportion as they are able to keep down the rate of crime.

Courts might either charge fees for their services, with the losers of cases obliged to pay court costs, or else they may subsist on monthly or yearly premiums by their clients, who may be either individuals or the police or insurance agencies. Suppose, for example, that Smith is an aggrieved party, either because he has been assaulted or robbed, or because an arbitration award in his favor has not been honored. Smith believes that Jones is the party guilty of the crime. Smith then goes to a court, Court A, of which he is a client, and brings charges against Jones as a defendant. In my view, the hallmark of an anarchist society is one where no man may legally compel someone who is not a convicted criminal to do anything, since that would be aggression against an innocent man's person or property. Therefore, Court A can only invite rather than subpoena Jones to attend his trial. Of course, if Jones refused to appear or send a representative, his side of the case will not be heard. The trial of Jones proceeds. Suppose that Court A finds Jones innocent. In my view, part of the generally accepted law code of the anarchist society (on which see further below) is that this must end the matter unless Smith can prove charges of gross incompetence or bias on the part of the court.

Suppose, next, that Court A finds Jones guilty. Jones might accept the verdict, because he too is a client of the same court, because he knows he is guilty, or for some other reason. In that case, Court A proceeds to exercise judgment against Jones. Neither of these instances poses very difficult problems for our picture of the anarchist society. But suppose, instead, that Jones contests the decision; he then goes to his court, Court B, and the case is retried there. Suppose that Court B, too, finds Jones guilty. Again, it seems to me that the accepted law code of the anarchist society will assert that this ends the matter; both parties have had their say in courts which each has selected, and the decision for guilt is unanimous.

Suppose, however, the most difficult case: that Court B finds Jones innocent. The two courts, each subscribed to by one of the two parties, have split their verdicts. In that case, the two courts will submit the case to an appeals court, or arbitrator, which the two courts agree upon. There seems to be no real difficulty about the concept of an appeals court. As in the case of arbitration contracts, it seems very likely that the various private courts in the society will have prior agreements to submit their disputes to a particular appeals court. How will the appeals judges be chosen? Again, as in the case of arbitrators or of the first judges on the free market, they will be chosen for their expertise and their reputation for efficiency, honesty, and integrity. Obviously, appeals judges who are inefficient or biased will scarcely be chosen by courts who will have a dispute. The point here is that there is no need for a legally established or institutionalized single, monopoly appeals court system, as states now provide. There is no reason why there cannot arise a multitude of efficient and honest appeals judges who will be selected by the disputant courts, just as there are numerous private arbitrators on the market today. The appeals court renders its decision, and the courts proceed to enforce it if, in our example, Jones is considered guilty – unless, of course, Jones can prove bias in some other court proceedings.

No society can have unlimited judicial appeals, for in that case there would be no point to having judges or courts at all. Therefore, every society, whether statist or anarchist, will have to have some socially accepted cutoff point for trials and appeals. My suggestion is the rule that the agreement of any two courts, be decisive. "Two" is not an arbitrary figure, for it reflects the fact that there are two parties, the plaintiff and the defendant, to any alleged crime or contract dispute.

If the courts are to be empowered to enforce decision against guilty parties, does this not bring back the state in another form and thereby negate anarchism? No, for at the beginning of this paper I explicitly defined anarchism in such a way as not to rule out the use of defensive force – force in defense of person and property – by privately supported agencies. In the same way, it is not bringing back the state to allow persons to use force to defend themselves against aggression, or to hire guards or police agencies to defend them.

It should be noted, however, that in the anarchist society there will be no "district attorney" to press charges on behalf of "society." Only the victims will press charges as the plaintiffs. If, then, these victims should happen to be absolute pacifists who are opposed even to defensive force, then they will simply not press charges in the courts or otherwise retaliate against those who have aggressed against them. In a free society that would be their right. If the victim should suffer from murder, then his heir would have the right to press the charges.

What of the Hatfield-and-McCoy problem? Suppose that a Hatfield kills a McCoy, and that McCoy's heir does not belong to a private insurance, police agency, or court, and decides to retaliate himself? Since under anarchism there can be no coercion of the noncriminal, McCoy would have the perfect right to do so. No one may be compelled to bring his case to a court. Indeed, since the right to hire police or courts flows form the right of self-defense against aggression, it would be inconsistent and in contradiction to the very basis of the free society to institute such compulsion.

Suppose, then, that the surviving McCoy finds what he believes to be the guilty Hatfield and kills him in turn? What then? This is fine, except that McCoy may have to worry about charges being brought against him by a surviving Hatfield. Here it must be emphasized that in the law of the anarchist society based on defense against aggression, the courts would not be able to proceed against McCoy if in fact he killed the right Hatfield. His problem would arise if the courts should find that he made a grievous mistake and killed the wrong man; in that case, he in turn would be found guilty of murder. Surely, in most instances, individuals will wish to obviate such problems by taking their case to a court and thereby gain social acceptability for their defensive retaliation – not for the act of retaliation but for the correctness of deciding who the criminal in any given case might be. The purpose of the judicial process, indeed, is to find a way of general agreement on who might be the criminal or contract breaker in any given case. The judicial process is not a good in itself; thus, in the case of an assassination, such as Jack Ruby's murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, on public television, there is no need for a complex judicial process, since the name of the murderer is evident to all.
Will not the possibility exist of a private court that may turn venal and dishonest, or of a private police force that turns criminal and extorts money by coercion? Of course such an event may occur, given the propensities of human nature. Anarchism is not a moral cure-all. But the important point is that market forces exist to place severe checks on such possibilities, especially in contrast to a society where a state exists. For, in the first place, judges, like arbitrators, will prosper on the market in proportion to their reputation for efficiency and impartiality. Secondly, on the free market important checks and balances exist against venal courts or criminal police forces. Namely, that there are competing courts and police agencies to whom victims may turn for redress. If the "Prudential Police Agency" should turn outlaw and extract revenue from victims by coercion, the latter would have the option of turning to the "Mutual" or "Equitable" Police Agency for defense and for pressing charges against Prudential. These are the genuine "checks and balances" of the free market, genuine in contrast to the phony check and balances of a state system, where all the alleged "balancing" agencies are in the hands of one monopoly government. Indeed, given the monopoly "protection service" of a state, what is there to prevent a state from using its monopoly channels of coercion to extort money from the public? What are the checks and limits of the state? None, except for the extremely difficult course of revolution against a power with all of the guns in its hands. In fact, the state provides an easy, legitimated channel for crime and aggression, since it has its very being in the crime of tax theft, and the coerced monopoly of "protection." It is the state, indeed, that functions as a mighty "protection racket" on a giant and massive scale. It is the state that says: "Pay us for your 'protection' or else." In the light of the massive and inherent activities of the state, the danger of a "protection racket" emerging from one or more private police agencies is relatively small indeed.

Moreover, it must be emphasized that a crucial element in the power of the state is its legitimacy in the eyes of the majority of the public, the fact that after centuries of propaganda, the depredations of the state are looked upon rather as benevolent services. Taxation is generally not seen as theft, nor war as mass murder, nor conscription as slavery. Should a private police agency turn outlaw, should "Prudential" become a protection racket, it would then lack the social legitimacy which the state has managed to accrue to itself over the centuries. "Prudential" would be seen by all as bandits, rather than as legitimate or divinely appointed "sovereigns" bent on promoting the "common good" or the "general welfare." And lacking such legitimacy, "Prudential" would have to face the wrath of the public and the defense and retaliation of the other private defense agencies, the police and courts, on the free market. Given these inherent checks and limits, a successful transformation from a free society to bandit rule becomes most unlikely. Indeed, historically, it has been very difficult for a state to arise to supplant a stateless society; usually, it has come about through external conquest rather than by evolution from within a society.

Within the anarchist camp, there has been much dispute on whether the private courts would have to be bound by a basic, common law code. Ingenious attempts have been made to work out a system where the laws or standards of decision-making by the courts would differ completely from one to another.[7] But in my view all would have to abide by the basic law code, in particular, prohibition of aggression against person and property, in order to fulfill our definition of anarchism as a system which provides no legal sanction for such aggression. Suppose, for example, that one group of people in society holds that all redheads are demons who deserve to be shot on sight. Suppose that Jones, one of this group, shoots Smith, a redhead. Suppose that Smith or his heir presses charges in a court, but that Jones's court, in philosophic agreement with Jones, finds him innocent therefore. It seems to me that in order to be considered legitimate, any court would have to follow the basic libertarian law code of the inviolate right of person and property. For otherwise, courts might legally subscribe to a code which sanctions such aggression in various cases, and which to that extent would violate the definition of anarchism and introduce, if not the state, then a strong element of statishness or legalized aggression into the society.

But again I see no insuperable difficulties here. For in that case, anarchists, in agitating for their creed, will simply include in their agitation the idea of a general libertarian law code as part and parcel of the anarchist creed of abolition of legalized aggression against person or property in the society.

In contrast to the general law code, other aspects of court decisions could legitimately vary in accordance with the market or the wishes of the clients; for example, the language the cases will be conducted in, the number of judges to be involved, and so on.

There are other problems of the basic law code which there is no time to go into here: for example, the definition of just property titles or the question of legitimate punishment of convicted offenders – though the latter problem of course exists in statist legal systems as well.[8] The basic point, however, is that the state is not needed to arrive at legal principles or their elaboration: indeed, much of the common law, the law merchant, admiralty law, and private law in general, grew up apart from the state, by judges not making the law but finding it on the basis of agreed-upon principles derived either from custom or reason.[9] The idea that the state is needed to make law is as much a myth as that the state is needed to supply postal or police services.

Enough has been said here, I believe, to indicate that an anarchist system for settling disputes would be both viable and self-subsistent: that once adopted, it could work and continue indefinitely. How to arrive at that system is of course a very different problem, but certainly at the very least it will not likely come about unless people are convinced of its workability, are convinced, in short, that the state is not a necessary evil.


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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  wolfman on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:28 pm

the reason it is termed anarchism, is not because it is anti-state, but because that's exactly what things will turn into when there is no State., you have over 7 billion souls in this world, and do you really expect everyone to play fair? city states would be the most obvious leftover choice to a large and powerful State., but that only worked back in time., when there were smaller and more distant populations., the world has grown and become more crowded since...
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:40 pm

It's got nothing to do with anyone playing fair. The above text touches on the subject. Keep in mind though, that essay is just a rough introduction to the idea of anti-statism.
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  Elvo on Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:37 pm

wolfman wrote:the reason it is termed anarchism, is not because it is anti-state, but because that's exactly what things will turn into when there is no State., you have over 7 billion souls in this world, and do you really expect everyone to play fair? city states would be the most obvious leftover choice to a large and powerful State., but that only worked back in time., when there were smaller and more distant populations., the world has grown and become more crowded since...

If monetarys and omish ppl can do it who's to say we cant?

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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  wolfman on Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:40 am

elvo wrote:
wolfman wrote:the reason it is termed anarchism, is not because it is anti-state, but because that's exactly what things will turn into when there is no State., you have over 7 billion souls in this world, and do you really expect everyone to play fair? city states would be the most obvious leftover choice to a large and powerful State., but that only worked back in time., when there were smaller and more distant populations., the world has grown and become more crowded since...

If monetarys and omish ppl can do it who's to say we cant?

who's we? and why do you even think that i'd like to live and look like your hutterite thug face?
i want to live and look clean, with style.. i don't want to be looking and smelling like a farm boy

there is no utopia., and there'll never be a utopian government, kingdom, nation state or whathave you under the sun

and when i think of anarchism, i refer back to the hebrews when they went around wandering looking for the promised land.. at first, they were patriarchal and tribals., it all worked for them at the time., but then things got complicated as their numbers grew and they needed more land, more resources., and then they were rubbing shoulders big time with other peoples., so people started drifting away from the social oder that they once had., so they asked from GOD leaders to lead them., leaders to keep them in order., on check., so they asked for wise men (prophets)., but then that eventually didn't work either., so then they asked for judges, and after judges didn't work out either, so then they asked for a king., but after so many kings, they found that kings didn't necessarily worked for the best either., so they went from patriarchs to wisemen to judges to kings, and after one system after another., they started clamoring for a saviour.. so that's how we are in this here earth., clamoring for one thing after another to save us from these dreaded governmental systems.. but the system(s) will not change, because society as a whole is corrupt., you can only be a hutterite or an amish or whatever you want under the auspices of the ruling society., those small communities can only survive when there's a large society who accepts them and protects them., but if you take away that greater, ruling society-in-charge, then those small communities would be crushed.
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:18 pm

I'm convinced that statism is the past. 500 hundred years from now, if humans are still around, they will look back and be amazed how superstitious people were in these times. Our election process, our entire political process and how every few years there were ceremonies held for new rulers elected as the new savior of all our problems. The way society is organized through state violence will eventually be obsolete....


Statelessness doesn't have to mean going back in time. Quite the opposite....the worship of rulers, putting hope into "public officials" whether elected or not, is what is ancient...and the world now is way too populated and complex for an obsolete, extremely inefficient, wealth-destroying state.....I see it the as the opposite....The bigger the population, the less effective the state. A small state governing a small population can almost work better, because the rulers are more in tune with its people and are likely more apart of them..They know the everyday needs of the people...A giant state ruling millions of people is just absurd....


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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:50 pm

Cool
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:05 pm

State or Private Law Society

by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Recently by Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Argumentation and Self-Ownership







This talk was delivered at the Mises Institute Brasil's 2nd Austrian School Conference in Porto Alegre on April 10, 2011.

The Problem of Social Order

Alone on his island, Robinson Crusoe can do whatever he pleases. For him, the question concerning rules of orderly human conduct – social cooperation – simply does not arise. This question can only arise once a second person, Friday, arrives on the island. Yet even then, the question remains largely irrelevant so long as no scarcity exists. Suppose the island is the Garden of Eden. All external goods are available in superabundance. They are "free goods," just as the air that we breathe is normally a "free" good. Whatever Crusoe does with these goods, his actions have no repercussions – neither with respect to his own future supply of such goods nor regarding the present or future supply of the same goods for Friday (and vice versa). Hence, it is impossible that a conflict concerning the use of such goods can arise between Crusoe and Friday. A conflict is possible only, if goods are scarce; and only then is there a need to formulate rules that make orderly, conflict-free social cooperation possible.

In the Garden of Eden only two scarce goods exist: a person’s physical body and its standing room. Crusoe and Friday each have only one body and can stand only at one place at a time. Hence, even in the Garden of Eden conflicts between Crusoe and Friday can arise: Crusoe and Friday cannot occupy the same standing room simultaneously without coming into physical conflict with each other. Accordingly, even in the Garden of Eden rules of orderly social conduct must exist – rules regarding the proper location and movement of human bodies. Outside the Garden of Eden, in the realm of all-around scarcity, there must be rules that regulate the use not only of personal bodies, but of everything scarce, such that all possible conflicts can be ruled out. This is the problem of social order.

The Solution: The Idea of Private Property

In the history of social and political thought, myriad proposals have been offered as solutions to the problem of social order, and this multitude of mutually incompatible proposals has contributed to the widespread belief that the search for a single "correct" solution is futile and illusory. Yet a correct solution does exist. There is no reason to succumb to moral relativism. Indeed, the solution to the problem of social order has been known for hundreds of years. The solution is the idea of private property.


Let me formulate the solution first for the special case represented by the Garden of Eden and subsequently for the general case represented by the "real" world of all-around scarcity.

In the Garden of Eden, the solution is provided by the simple rule stipulating that everyone may place or move his own body wherever he pleases, provided only that no one else is already standing there and occupying the same space.

Outside of the Garden of Eden, in the realm of all-around scarcity, the solution is provided by four logically interrelated rules.

First: Every person is the private (exclusive) owner of his own physical body. Indeed, who else, if not Crusoe, should be the owner of Crusoe’s body? Friday? Or Crusoe and Friday jointly? Yet that would not help avoid conflict. Rather, it would create conflict and make it permanent.

Second: Every person is the private owner of all nature-given goods that he has perceived as scarce and put to use by means of his body, before any other person. Again: who else, if not the first user, should be their owner? The second user? Or the first and the second user jointly? Yet such rulings again would be contrary to the very purpose of norms: of helping to avoid conflict, rather than to create it.

Third, every person who, with the help of his body and his originally appropriated goods, produces new products thereby becomes the proper owner of these products, provided only that in the process of production he does not physically damage the goods owned by another person.

Fourth, once a good has been first appropriated or produced, ownership in it can be acquired only by means of a voluntary, contractual transfer of its property title from a previous to a later owner.

I can spare myself here the task of providing a detailed ethical as well as economic justification of these rules. This has been done elsewhere. However, a few statements in this connection are in order.

Contrary to the frequently heard claim that the institution of private property is only a convention, it must be categorically stated: A convention serves a purpose, and it is something to which an alternative exists. The Latin alphabet, for instance, serves the purpose of written communication and there exists an alternative to it, the Cyrillic alphabet. That is why it is referred to as a convention. What, however, is the purpose of action-norms? If no interpersonal conflict existed – that is: if, due to a pre-stabilized harmony of all interests, no situation ever arises in which two or more people want to use one and the same good in incompatible ways – then no norms would be needed. It is the purpose of norms to help avoid otherwise unavoidable conflict. A norm that generates conflict rather than help avoid it is contrary to the very purpose of norms. It is a dysfunctional norm or a perversion. With regard to the purpose of conflict-avoidance, however, the institution of private property is definitely not just a convention, because no alternative to it exists. Only private (exclusive) property makes it possible that all otherwise unavoidable conflicts can be avoided. And only the principle of property acquisition through acts of original appropriation, performed by specific individuals at a specific time and location, makes it possible that conflict can be avoided from the beginning of mankind onward, since only the first appropriation of some previously un-appropriated good can be conflict-free – simply, because – per definitionem – no one else had any previous dealings with the good.


The Enforcement of Social Order and the Protection of Private Property: The State


As important as this insight is: that the institution of private property, ultimately grounded in acts of original appropriation, is without alternative given the desideratum of conflict-avoidance (peace), it is not sufficient to establish social order. For even if everyone knows how conflict can be avoided, it is still possible, that people simply do not want to avoid conflict, because they expect to benefit from it at the expense of others. In fact, as long as mankind is what it is, there will always exist murderers, robbers, thieves, thugs and con-artists, i.e., people not acting in accordance with the above-mentioned rules. Hence, every social order, if it is to be successfully maintained, requires institutions and mechanisms designed to keep such rule-breakers in check. How to accomplish this task, and by whom?

The standard reply to this question is to say: this task, i.e., the enforcement of law and order, is the first and primary duty – indeed: the raison d’etre – of the state. In particular, this is the answer also given by classical liberals such as my own intellectual master, Ludwig von Mises. Whether or not this answer is correct, depends on how "state" is defined. The state, according to the standard definition, is not a regular, specialized firm. Rather: it is defined as an agency characterized by two unique, logical connected features. First, the state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making. That is, the state is the ultimate arbiter in every case of conflict, including conflicts involving itself. It allows no appeal above and beyond itself. Second, the state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of taxation. That is, it is an agency that unilaterally fixes the price that private citizens must pay for the state’s service as ultimate judge and enforcer of law and order.

The Fundamental Error of "Statism"


As widespread as the standard view regarding the necessity of the institution of a state as the provider of law and order is, it stands in clear contradiction to elementary economic and moral laws and principles.

First off, among economists and philosophers two near-universally accepted propositions exist.

First: Every "monopoly" is "bad" from the viewpoint of consumers. Monopoly is here understood in its classic meaning as an exclusive privilege granted to a single producer of a commodity or service, or as the absence of "free entry" into a particular line of production. Only one agency, A, may produce a given good or service, X. Such a monopoly is "bad" for consumers, because, shielded from potential new entrants into a given area of production, the price of the product will be higher and its quality lower than otherwise, under free competition.

Second: The production of law and order, i.e., of security, is the primary function of the state (as just defined). Security is here understood in the wide sense adopted in the American Declaration of Independence: as the protection of life, property, and the pursuit of happiness from domestic violence (crime) as well as external (foreign) aggression (war).


Both propositions are apparently incompatible with each other. This has rarely caused concern among philosophers and economists, however, and in so far as it has, the typical reaction has been one of taking exception to the first proposition rather than the second. Yet there exist fundamental theoretical reasons (and mountains of empirical evidence) that it is indeed the second proposition that is in error.

As a territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making and law enforcement, the state is not just like any other monopoly, such as a milk or a car monopoly that produces milk and cars of comparatively lower quality and higher prices. In contrast to all other monopolists, the state not only produces inferior goods, but "bads" (non-goods). In fact, it must first produce bads (such as taxes) before it can produce anything that might be considered a (inferior) good.

If an agency is the ultimate judge in every case of conflict, then it is also judge in all conflicts involving itself. Consequently, instead of merely preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will also cause and provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage. That is, if one can only appeal to the state for justice, justice will be perverted in the favor of the state, constitutions and supreme courts notwithstanding. These constitutions and courts are state constitutions and courts, and whatever limitations on state action they may set or find is invariably decided by agents of the very same institution under consideration. Predictably, the definition of property and protection will be continually altered and the range of jurisdiction expanded to the state’s advantage. The idea of some ‘given,’ eternal and immutable law that must be discovered will disappear and be replaced by the idea of law as legislation – as arbitrary, state-made law.

Moreover, as ultimate judge the state is also a monopolist of taxation, i.e., it can unilaterally, without the consent of everyone affected, determine the price that its subjects must pay for the state’s provision of (perverted) law. However, a tax-funded life-and-property protection agency is a contradiction in terms: an expropriating property protector. Motivated, as everyone is, by self-interest and the disutility of labor, but equipped with the unique power to tax, state agents will invariably strive to maximize expenditures on protection, and almost all of a nation’s wealth can conceivably be consumed by the cost of protection, and at the same time to minimize the actual production of protection. The more money one can spend and the less one must work for it, the better off one will be.

The Error Compounded: the Democratic State

Apart from the fundamental error of statism generally, additional errors are involved in the special case of a democratic state. A detailed treatment of this subject has been provided elsewhere, but a brief mention is indicated.

The traditional, pre-modern state-form is that of a (absolute) monarchy. Yet monarchy was faulted, in particular also by classical liberals, for being incompatible with the basic principle of "equality before the law." Monarchy instead rested on personal privilege. Thus, the critics of monarchy argued, the monarchical state had to be replaced by a democratic one. In opening participation and entry into state-government to everyone on equal terms, not just to a hereditary class of nobles, it was thought that the principle of the equality of all before the law had been satisfied.

However, this democratic equality before the law is something entirely different than and incompatible with the idea of one universal law, equally applicable to everyone, everywhere, and at all times. In fact, the former objectionable schism and inequality of a higher law of kings versus a subordinate law of ordinary subjects is fully preserved under democracy in the separation of "public" versus "private" law and the supremacy of the former over the latter. Under democracy, everyone is equal insofar as entry into government is open to all on equal terms. Everyone can become king, so to say, not only a privileged circle of people. Thus, in a democracy no personal privileges or privileged persons exist. However, functional privileges and privileged functions exist. Public officials, as long as they act in an official capacity, are governed and protected by public law and occupy thereby a privileged position vis-à-vis persons acting under the mere authority of private law. In particular, public officials are permitted to finance or subsidize their own activities through taxes. That is, they do not, as every private law subject must, earn their income through the production and subsequent sale of goods and services to voluntarily buying or not-buying consumers. Rather, as public officials, they are permitted to engage in, and live off, what in private dealings between private law subjects is considered "theft" and "stolen loot." Thus, privilege and legal discrimination – and the distinction between rulers and subjects – will not disappear under democracy. To the contrary. Rather than being restricted to princes and nobles, under democracy privileges will be available to all: everyone can engage in theft and live off stolen loot if only he becomes a public official.


Predictably, then, under democratic conditions the tendency of every monopoly of ultimate decision-making to increase the price of justice and to lower its quality and substitute injustice for justice and is not diminished but aggravated. As hereditary monopolist, a king or prince regards the territory and people under his jurisdiction as his personal property and engages in the monopolistic exploitation of his "property." Under democracy, monopoly and monopolistic exploitation do not disappear. Rather, what happens with democracy is this: instead of a prince and a nobility who regard the country as their private property, a temporary and interchangeable caretaker is put in monopolistic charge of the country. The caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his and his proteges' advantage. He owns its current use – usufruct – but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. To the contrary, it makes exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock. Exploitation becomes shortsighted and capital consumption will be systematically promoted.

The Solution: Private Law Society instead of State

If the state, and especially the democratic state, is demonstrably incapable of creating and maintaining social order; if, instead of helping avoid conflict, the state is the source of permanent conflict; and if, rather than assuring legal security and predictability, the state itself continuously generates insecurity and unpredictability through its legislation and replaces constant law with "flexible" and arbitrary whim, then inescapably the question as to the correct – obviously: non-statist – solution to the problem of social order arises.

The solution is a private law society, i.e., a society in which every individual and institution is subject to one and the same set of laws. No public law granting privileges to specific persons of functions (and no public property) exists in this society. There is only private law (and private property), equally applicable to each and everyone. No one is permitted to acquire property by any means other than through original appropriation, production or voluntary exchange, and no one possesses a privilege to tax and expropriate. Moreover, in a private law society no one is permitted to prohibit anyone else from using his property in order to enter any line of production he wishes and compete against whomever he pleases.

Specifically regarding the problem at hand: in a private law society the production of security – of law and order – will be undertaken by freely financed individuals and agencies competing for a voluntarily paying (or not-paying) clientele, just as the production of all other goods and services.

It would be presumptuous wanting to predict the precise shape and form of the security industry emerging within the framework of a private law society. However, it is not difficult to predict a few central changes that would fundamentally = and favorably – distinguish a competitive security industry from the present, all-too-well-known statist production of (in)justice and (dis)order.

First off, while in a complex society based on the division of labor self-defense will play only a secondary role (for reasons yet to be explained), it should be emphasized from the outset that in a private law society everyone’s right to defend oneself from aggression against one’s person and property is entirely undisputed. In distinct contrast to the present, statist practice, which renders people increasingly unarmed and defenseless against aggressors, in a private law society no restrictions on the private ownership of firearms and other weapons exist. Everyone’s elementary right to engage in self-defense to protect his life and property against invaders would be sacrosanct, and as one knows from the experience of the not-so-wild Wild West as well as numerous recent empirical investigations into the relationship between the frequency of gun ownership and crime rates: more guns imply less crime.

Just as in today’s complex economy we do not produce our own shoes, suits and telephones, however, but partake in the advantages of the division of labor, so it is to be expected that we will also do so when it comes to production of security, especially the more property a person owns and the richer a society as a whole. Hence, most security services will without doubt be provided by specialized agencies competing for voluntarily paying clients: by various private police-, insurance-, and arbitration-agencies.

If one wanted to summarize in one word the decisive difference and advantage of a competitive security industry as compared to the current statist practice, it would be: contract. The state, as ultimate decision-maker and judge, operates in a contract-less legal vacuum. There exists no contract between the state and its citizens. It is not contractually fixed, what is actually owned by whom, and what, accordingly, is to be protected. It is not fixed, what service the state is to provide, what is to happen if the state fails in its duty, nor what the price is that the "customer" of such "service" must pay. Rather, the state unilaterally fixes the rules of the game and can change them, per legislation, during the game. Obviously, such behavior is inconceivable for freely financed security providers. Just imagine a security provider, whether police, insurer or arbitrator, whose offer consisted in something like this: I will not contractually guarantee you anything. I will not tell you what specific things I will regard as your to-be-protected property, nor will I tell you what I oblige myself to do if, according to your opinion, I do not fulfill my service to you – but in any case, I reserve the right to unilaterally determine the price that you must pay me for such undefined service. Any such security provider would immediately disappear from the market due to a complete lack of customers. Each private, freely financed security producer instead must offer its prospective clients a contract. And these contracts must, in order to appear acceptable to voluntarily paying consumers, contain clear property descriptions as well as clearly defined mutual services and obligations. Moreover, each party to a contract, for the duration or until the fulfillment of the contract, would be bound by its terms and conditions; and every change of terms or conditions would require the unanimous consent of all parties concerned.


Specifically, in order to appear acceptable to security buyers, these contracts must contain provisions about what will be done in the case of a conflict or dispute between the protector or insurer and his own protected or insured clients as well as in the case of a conflict between different protectors or insurers and their respective clients. And in this regard only one mutually agreeable solution exists: in these cases the conflicting parties contractually agree to arbitration by a mutually trusted but independent third party. And as for this third party: it, too, is freely financed and stands in competition with other arbitrators or arbitration agencies. Its clients, i.e., the insurers and the insured, expect of it that it come up with a verdict that is recognized as fair and just by all sides. Only arbitrators capable of forming such judgments will succeed in the arbitration market. Arbitrators incapable of this and viewed as biased or partial will disappear from the market.

From this fundamental advantage of a private law society all other advantages follow.

First off, competition among police, insurers and arbitrators for paying clients would bring about a tendency toward a continuous fall in the price of protection (per insured value), thus rendering protection increasingly more affordable, whereas under monopolistic conditions the price of protection will steadily rise and become increasingly un-affordable.


Furthermore, as already indicated, protection and security are goods and services that compete with others. If more resources are allocated to protection, fewer can be expended on cars, vacations, food, or drink, for example. Also, resources allocated to the protection of A or group A (people living along the Pacific) for instance, compete with resources expended on the protection of B or group B (people living along the Atlantic). As a tax-funded protection monopolist, the state's allocation of resources will necessarily be arbitrary. There will be overproduction (or underproduction) of security as compared to other competing goods and services, and there will be overprotection of some individuals, groups, or regions and under-protection of others. In distinct contrast, in a system of freely competing protection agencies all arbitrariness of allocation (all over- and underproduction) would disappear. Protection would be accorded the relative importance that is has in the eyes of voluntarily paying consumers, and no person, group, or region would receive protection at the expense of any other one. Each and everyone would receive protection in accordance with his own payments.

The most important advantage of a private, contract-based production of law and order, however, is of a qualitative nature.

First, there is the fight against crime. The state is notoriously inefficient in this regard, because the state-agents entrusted with this task are paid out of taxes, i.e., independent of their productivity. Why should one work, if one is also paid for doing nothing at all? In fact, it can be expected that state agents take an interest in maintaining a moderately high crime rate, because this way they can justify ever increased funding. Worse, for state agents the victims of crime and the indemnification and compensation of such victims play an at best negligible role. The state does not indemnify the victims of crime. To the contrary, the harmed victims are still further insulted in making them, qua taxpayers, pay for the incarceration and "rehabilitation" of the criminal (should he be captured). The situation in a private law society is entirely different. Security providers, in particular insurers, will have to indemnify their clients in the case of actual damage (otherwise they would find no clients) and hence, they must operate efficiently. They must be efficient in the prevention of crime, for unless they can prevent a crime, they would have to pay up. Further, even if a criminal act could not be prevented, they must be efficient in detecting and recovering stolen loot, because otherwise they must pay to replace theses goods. In particular, they must be efficient in the detection and apprehension of the criminal, for only if the criminal is apprehended is it possible for them to make him pay for the compensation owed to the victim and thus reduce their costs.

Moreover, a private, competitive and contract-based security industry has a general peace-promoting effect. States are, as already explained, by nature aggressive. They can cause or provoke conflict in order to then "solve" it to their own advantage. Or put differently: as tax-funded monopolists of ultimate decision-making states can externalize the costs associated with aggressive behavior onto others, i.e., the hapless taxpayers, and accordingly will tend to be more aggressive vis-à-vis their own population as well as "foreigners." In distinct contrast, competing private insurers are by nature defensive and peaceful. On the one hand this is because every act of aggression is costly, and an insurance company engaged in aggressive conduct would require comparatively higher premiums, involving the loss of clients to cheaper non-aggressive competitors. On the other hand, it is not possible to insure oneself against every conceivable "risk." Rather, it is only possible to insure oneself against "accidents," i.e., risks over whose outcome the insured has no control and to which he contributes nothing. Thus, it is possible to insure oneself against the risk of death and fire, for instance, but it is impossible to insure oneself against the risk of committing suicide tomorrow or setting one’s own house on fire. Similarly, it is impossible to insure oneself against the risk of business failure, of unemployment, or of disliking one’s neighbors, for in each case one has some control over the event in question. Most significantly, the un-insurability of individual actions and sentiments (in contradistinction to accidents) implies that it is also impossible to insure oneself against the risk of damages resulting from one’s own prior aggression or provocation. Instead, every insurer must restrict the actions of his clients so as to exclude all aggression and provocation on their part. That is, any insurance against social disasters such as crime must be contingent on the insured submitting themselves to specified norms of civilized, non-aggressive conduct.


Further, due to the same reasons and financial concerns, insurers will tend to require that their clients abstain from all forms of vigilante justice (except perhaps under quite extraordinary circumstances), for vigilante justice, even if justified, invariably causes uncertainty and provokes possible third party intervention. By obliging their clients instead to submit to regular publicized procedures whenever they think they have been victimized, these disturbances and associated costs can be largely avoided. Lastly, it is worthwhile pointing out that while states as tax funded agencies can – and do – engage in the large-scale prosecution of victimless crimes such as "illegal drug" use, prostitution or gambling, these "crimes" would tend to be of little or no concern within a system of freely funded protection agencies. "Protection" against such "crimes" would require higher insurance premiums, but since these "crimes," unlike genuine crimes against persons and property, do not create victims, very few people would be willing to spend money on such "protection."

Still more: While states, as already noted, are always and everywhere eager to disarm its population and thus rob it of an essential means of self-defense, private law societies are characterized by an unrestricted right to self-defense and hence by widespread private gun and weapon ownership. Just imagine a security producer who demanded of its prospective clients that they would first have to completely disarm themselves before it would be willing to defend the clients’ life and property. Correctly, everyone would think of this as a bad joke and refuse such on offer. Freely financed insurance companies that demanded potential clients first hand over all of their means of self-defense as a prerequisite of protection would immediately arouse the utmost suspicion as to their true motives, and they would quickly go bankrupt. In their own best interest, insurance companies would reward armed clients, in particular those able to certify some level of training in the handling of arms, charging them lower premiums reflecting the lower risk that they represent. Just as insurers charge less if homeowners have an alarm system or a safe installed, so would a trained gun owner represent a lower insurance risk.

Last and most importantly, a system of competing protection agencies would have a two-fold impact on the development of law. On the one hand, it would allow for greater variability of law. Rather than imposing a uniform set of standards onto everyone (as under statist conditions), protection agencies could compete against each other not just via price but also through product differentiation. There could exist side by side, for instance, Catholic protection agencies or insurers applying Canon law, Jewish agencies applying Mosaic law, Muslim agencies applying Islamic law, and agencies applying secular law of one variety or another, all of them sustained by a voluntarily paying clientele. Consumers could choose the law applied to them and their property. No one would have to live under "foreign" law.

On the other hand, the very same system of private law and order production would promote a tendency toward the unification and harmonization of law. The "domestic" – Catholic, Jewish, Roman, etc. – law would apply only to the person and property of those who had chosen it. Canon law, for instance, would apply only to professed Catholics and deal solely with intra-Catholic conflict and conflict resolution. Yet it is also possible, of course, that a Catholic might come into conflict with the subscriber of some other law code, e.g., a Muslim. If both law codes reached the same or a similar conclusion, no difficulties exist. However, if competing law codes arrived at distinctly different conclusion (as they would at least in some cases), a problem arises. "Domestic" (intra-group) law would be useless, but naturally every insured person would want protection against the contingency of inter-group conflicts as well. In this situation, it cannot be expected that one insurer and the subscribers of its law code simply subordinate their judgment to that of another insurer and its law. Rather, as I have already explained, in this situation there exists only one credible and acceptable way out of this predicament: From the outset, every insurer would have to be contractually obliged to submit itself and its clients to arbitration by an independent third party. This party would not only be independent, but at the same time the unanimous choice of both parties. It would be agreed upon, because of its commonly perceived ability to find mutually agreeable (fair) solutions in cases of inter-group disagreement. If an arbitrator failed in this task and arrived at conclusions that were perceived as "unfair" or "biased" by either one of the insurers or their clients, this person or agency would not likely be chosen as an arbitrator in the future. As a result of the constant cooperation of various insurers and arbitrators, then, a tendency toward the unification of property and contract law and the harmonization of the rules of procedure, evidence, and conflict resolution would be set in motion. Thus, in buying protection-insurance, every insurer and insured becomes a participant in an integrated system of conflict-avoidance and peace-keeping. Every single conflict and damage claim, regardless of where and by or against whom, would fall in the jurisdiction of one or more specific insurance agency and would be handled either by an individual insurer’s "domestic" law or by the "international" or "universal" law provisions and procedures agreed upon by everyone in advance.


Hence, instead of permanent conflict, in-justice and legal insecurity, as under the present statist conditions, in a private law society peace, justice and legal security would hold sway.
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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  Elvo on Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:02 pm

wolfman wrote:
elvo wrote:
wolfman wrote:the reason it is termed anarchism, is not because it is anti-state, but because that's exactly what things will turn into when there is no State., you have over 7 billion souls in this world, and do you really expect everyone to play fair? city states would be the most obvious leftover choice to a large and powerful State., but that only worked back in time., when there were smaller and more distant populations., the world has grown and become more crowded since...

If monetarys and omish ppl can do it who's to say we cant?

who's we? and why do you even think that i'd like to live and look like your hutterite thug face?
i want to live and look clean, with style.. i don't want to be looking and smelling like a farm boy

there is no utopia., and there'll never be a utopian government, kingdom, nation state or whathave you under the sun

and when i think of anarchism, i refer back to the hebrews when they went around wandering looking for the promised land.. at first, they were patriarchal and tribals., it all worked for them at the time., but then things got complicated as their numbers grew and they needed more land, more resources., and then they were rubbing shoulders big time with other peoples., so people started drifting away from the social oder that they once had., so they asked from GOD leaders to lead them., leaders to keep them in order., on check., so they asked for wise men (prophets)., but then that eventually didn't work either., so then they asked for judges, and after judges didn't work out either, so then they asked for a king., but after so many kings, they found that kings didn't necessarily worked for the best either., so they went from patriarchs to wisemen to judges to kings, and after one system after another., they started clamoring for a saviour.. so that's how we are in this here earth., clamoring for one thing after another to save us from these dreaded governmental systems.. but the system(s) will not change, because society as a whole is corrupt., you can only be a hutterite or an amish or whatever you want under the auspices of the ruling society., those small communities can only survive when there's a large society who accepts them and protects them., but if you take away that greater, ruling society-in-charge, then those small communities would be crushed.

LOL what are you a peacock? facepalm Also please dont talk about monks or omish if you dont even know or understand what their about or why they do the things they do theirs a reason you think like that and that means youll never understand a monk so please have some respect and dont talk about them or their ways with such disregard thankyou!

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Re: Anatomy of the State

Post  American Zombie on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:31 am

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Re: Anatomy of the State

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