By Insula Qui
The most important discovery as it relates to libertarianism and statecraft is Dunbar’s number, this is the number of social relationships a person can sustain. This number has been estimated to be between 100 and 250, with a median estimate of 150. And seemingly, this provides us with a solution to how many people a libertarian government can govern. This is because social trust can only function within the limits of Dunbar’s number, so the size of a polity seems unable to exceed 250. But this would only be true for purely decentralized relations.
Within a libertarian monarchy, the relevant metric is how many people the monarch can retain sustainable relationships with. And as the monarch must be well adapted to creating and sustaining relationships, we can estimate a monarch to have a capacity to sustain around 250 relationships. This means that a monarch can have reciprocal trust with 250 people, but a monarch governing 250 people will be extremely inefficient and as such, we need to accept degrees of alienation.
The most generous assumption would be that everyone the monarch has a relationship with is an aristocrat. This is unrealistic, but we can accept this in our extremely generous estimate. We can now generously estimate that each aristocrat has a relationship with 250 members of his own polity, all polities being distinct and separate, with no overlap. If this is true and if the acceptable degree of alienation is a single aristocracy, the amount of people a monarch can govern is 62,500.
We can now give the same generous estimates, however, we now can say that we can accept two degrees of alienation, this would give us a number of over 15 million, which is much closer to the current size of countries. But this is not realistically sustainable as the first aristocracy would then be unable to actually connect to the polity. The polity will be functionally unrepresented, and the monarch will have no connection to the interest of the polity. We can fundamentally only accept a single degree of alienation as there can be no trust between the two degrees alienated aristocracy and the people.
And now we have to also produce a more realistic estimate and factor in real conditions. Firstly, all people need to feel represented but do not actually need to be represented. Functionally, this means that every family must have one person actually represented who has connections to an aristocrat. If we estimate a median size of the family unit as 4, which is reasonable considering that the variations in familial structures can reach from extended families to solitary individuals, we produce that an aristocrat could functionally represent around a thousand people.
And this only works with the family because every other social unit will produce exclusion due to lacking a similar degree of interconnectedness, each family must have at least one person who is represented. But it is also unlikely that only one person from each family would be represented. We can now say that the aristocrat would usually represent two people from an average four-person family. This means that the aristocrat would represent around five hundred people in 125 families.
And we cannot estimate that polities will not be interconnected as they all fall under the same system of governance, realistically, we can suppose that the polity of each aristocrat will have around a 50% overlap with the polities of other aristocrats. Furthermore, this means that each aristocrat will also have social relations outside his own polity. We can safely estimate that every supposed polity would now have around 100 families and 400 people.
But of the 100 families in that polity, the aristocrat would only have an exclusive representation of half and a split representation of the rest. This means that the aristocrat would functionally only represent 75 families and 300 people. By introducing external factors, we have still arrived at a larger number of represented people than previously, however, we still have one factor we have not accounted for, we still have a really generous estimate for Dunbar’s number, by reducing that estimate to a more realistic degree, we can safely say that an aristocrat could represent around 50 families and 200 people.
The king has no alleviating factor of the family. The king must be in contact with every aristocrat and have reciprocal trust with those aristocrats. This means that the king will only experience a reduced power of representation. First, we can still estimate the number of relationships a king can sustain at 250, this is because the king must be extremely socially capable in order to sustain a kingdom.
But a king must also sustain relationships outside the aristocrats, we can safely say that a king might have around 150 personal friends, contacts in the police and military, and interkingdom connections. This means that the king could realistically only sustain 150 aristocrats, this is because the aristocrats have a statistically higher likelihood than the general population to be personal friends or in the police and military, thus fitting two categories. This means that the realistic size of each kingdom would be around 30,000.
This also means that every form of libertarian governance should be around the estimate of 30,000 people if it is to be a monarchic-aristocratic form of governance. However, functional systems may theoretically vary from 1 person to 62,500 people. And realistically, when the governed entity is a town, small city, or village, the amount of people governed would more closely be 500-10,000. This means that the estimate of 30,000 is only relevant in cities with populations that equal or exceed 30,000.
But would it not be useful to combine villages and towns into a larger polity? A kingdom could encompass multiple of these entities. So we must account for this possibility also. If the average small settlement is around 2000 people, the king might govern up to 15 of these settlements. But we have to account for an increased degree of complexity as each settlement is a more insular and a less homogenous entity. It is harder to govern different villages than a large amount of people who are otherwise similar. The problems and concerns of each small settlement will differ to the extent that it is hard to reconcile all interests.
This means that the capacity of the king to govern must be reduced, we can here just use our previous estimates, but also estimate the number of relationships the king can sustain to be around 150, more close to the average dunbar’s number as the relationships become increasingly complicated. This means that there could only be 100 or so aristocrats. This is because the size of the polity being reduced by a lesser amount of aristocrats would reduce military and police contacts alongside international connections. Furthermore, the king is unlikely to give up on personal friends while remaining well-adjusted.
This means that a kingdom consisting of small villages could only number around 20,000 people, so realistic estimates for a kingdom would be around 20,000 to 30,000, depending on whether the kingdom is in an urban or rural environment. But here we are also faced with a problem. Urban environments have similar increased complexity, however, this only happens when they are too large to be easily divided between multiple kings. Furthermore, in urban environments below 60,000 people, kings must see a reduction in the size of their polity.
From this we can deduce that the more kings there are in an urban settlement, the harder the governance of that settlement becomes. Furthermore, since each king would have to sustain relations with each other king, the size of kingdoms would rapidly deteriorate. This means that urban environments will either see a breakdown of rational rule and a rise of tyranny. Or that urban environments will cease being governed altogether and function in a form of ungoverned and individualistic anarcho-capitalism.
This leads us to the inevitable conclusion that the size of monarchy in a libertarian system could realistically only be a king ruling 20,000 people in a rural area or a settlement no larger than 30,000. Beyond this, we see an increasing breakdown of the rational monarchic order and a return to despotism and ungoverned anarchy. This also leads us to the logical conclusion that large cities will simply be outcompeted under a functioning libertarian system of governance and that there will inevitably be a peaceful abolition of the city for economic reasons. The city will be reduced to a giant market, an ungoverned hub of trade and not a livable environment.
We can still theoretically conceptualize a system of governance in a city that is not necessarily tyrannical. This is republicanism without externalities. We can imagine certain “political candidates” going door to door to provide their managerial services. Thus, the size of the polity would become the degree of connections the political candidates can mechanically sustain. This varies largely with the size of the firm and the capacity of those “candidates” to perform secretarial duties.
By Insula Qui
Those who have paid attention to my work know of a concept called autostatism. For the sake of brevity, I will not be providing an introduction here, but those who need one can read the excellent article I published on Zeroth Position.
To retain autostatist reciprocity there is a need for a stable structure of power. Albeit they are not conventional states, autostates are still competing and potentially hostile entities. Privatized nukes should be enough for immediate threats, but long-term stability requires more tactful and nuanced solutions, an implicit threat of nuclear annihilation is not a sufficient answer to any potential problem. I will be here providing an excellent solution to this problem and an even better refutation to that solution.
The imperium has been a part of human civilization, no matter if we want to deny it or not. A person with the supreme power of command has always arisen to defeat conflicting factions and has always enstated his reign over the resulting imperium. This has been the seeming law of nature from ancient Rome and China to modern-day America. This provides the most intriguing solution to the potential problem of conflict between the autostates. If every autostate was subject to one supreme command that only aimed to uphold reciprocity, we would find ourselves in a perfect imperium. This would be akin to the patchwork of the holy roman empire.
This would effectively eliminate all potential problems with conflict while retaining local sovereignty over local issues, enstating an imperial order seems like an excellent way to preserve the autostates. But there are some very obvious objections to this. The imperium itself is not one entity and there will always be conflicts of interest. The person with the supreme command has no reason not to exercise that command for selfish purposes. It is impossible to ensure that a central empire is socially responsible. The knowledge problem essentially defeats any unnecessary centralization.
But simple objections have simple answers. Even though there are obvious conflicts of interest within the imperium, they will exist without the imperium. It makes very little difference whether the conflict is over centralized or decentralized force. A central decree by the ultimate owner of the imperium is akin to a decentralized nuclear threat, just far less destructive and violent.
And although the emperor has no necessary reason to not exploit his people, it is an extremely unprofitable strategy. Autostates still retain a degree of sovereignty insofar as they have the capacity to replace the emperor whenever the emperor becomes insufferable. The emperor only has resources insofar as the autostates allow him to, when deprived of consent by the autostates, the emperor is denied any means by which to exercise coercion. Tyrants face the same opposition from individual autostates that individual autostates face from their people. Thus, we can call this imperium an autoempire as it is not formed through conquest.
Furthermore, the autoempire will have to be socially responsible due to its nature as an autoempire. The autostates are pressured to retain the capacity to do away with bad emperors. If they did not, individual people would dissolve the autostates by the means provided within the foundational documents of the autostate. This provides bottom-up pressure that functionally ensures social responsibility.
And the knowledge problem is similarly irrelevant as the only knowledge the autoempire needs to have is who is in conflict with whom and act as the ultimate arbiter over disputes between multiple autostates. The autoempire will serve the role for the autostates that the autostates do for the people. This deliberate assignment of power to many people for unique purposes functions according to the division of labour and not according to unnecessary centralization. The autoempire is seemingly the best approach to ease conflicts between autostates and can seemingly provide a proper response to any criticisms of autostatism.
However, the autoempire is not immune to complex problems. This means that by asking the right questions, we are able to get to the heart of the problem with the autoempire. The first one of them is that an autoempire is not yet the ultimate form of centralization, if there is an autoempire, that empire must then be under an autoworldgovernment. There will always need to be a step above until all degrees of centralization are united under an ultimate arbiter. This is self-evidently ridiculous and not desirable for any person.
And the very same reasons for why an autoworldgovernment is undesirable apply to the autoempire. With any increasing degree of centralization, the people themselves lose their power to make decisions over the way that they are governed. The autostate is manageable precisely because it is a small form of organization with the full consent of those involved. If the autostate then gave a portion of its own power to a central agency, the link between the people and governance is permanently broken.
So even though the autoempire is responsible to the autostate, the autoempire will not be responsible for the individuals who ultimately make up an autostate. The use of an empire to solve the problems of conflict is made even worse because that empire is not solving the conflicts of individuals. This is yet another reason for why autostates can function, the only law that they can manage is that which applies between individuals. The autoempire, however, would then have to settle conflicts between sovereignties which distorts the incentives from restitution to power politics.
Furthermore, the other uses of autostates are to synthesize interests and institutionalize norms. The autostate is supposed to reduce social conflicts and establish institutional norms for the resolution therein. It seems as if the autoempire would also need to establish itself as the arbiter of norms and synthesizer of interests. If it did not do so, it would not need to retain ultimate power and could simply take the form of a treaty.
And this arrives at the same problem that legal judgement does, norms in governance and the interests of different autostates will devolve into power politics when another degree of abstraction is introduced. The autostate is the highest sustainable degree of central governance as each solitary person is interested in their own interest and the interest of their kin. The autostates, however, do not have such individual pressures and can quickly devolve into corporate actors when an empire serves to facilitate such behaviour.
And as a final death blow to the autoempire; there is no such person as a voluntary emperor as no person alive has the sheer capacity to maintain an empire based on their own qualities alone. There have been people who have managed to form empires and they can theoretically still emerge, but this is not guaranteed. A Napoleon is only born once every few centuries. Most emperors are simply chosen by good fortune and have no capacity to maintain an empire.
The solution to the problem of conflict should now be obvious to a keen reader, I never denied the necessity of a way to prevent imminent nuclear destruction. The solution is simply establishing a reciprocal treaty between the various autostates to prevent possible conflicts so as to uphold the reciprocity. This would not be a further abstracted metastructure as it is only a matter of policy in individual autostates.
Such a treaty would only serve as a contract to establish the means by which to solve various conflicts between autostates without resorting to warfare. This does not mean the establishment of a functional imperium insofar as the imperium has superior legal sanction comparatively to the individual autostates, rather this simply allows for predictable answers to potential conflicts. And since each autostate is incentivized to reduce conflict for the sake of their polity, they will aim to maximize the ways by which they can do so. If an autostate can have a policy of unnecessary warfare when people have the capacity to dissolve the organization, then that is only a testament to the extraordinary personal powers of those in charge of the autostate.
The same solution does not apply between individuals as the problem of interpersonal violence is not mainly predicated on a conflict of interests provided that there is a low degree of ambiguity in property ownership. Individuals use violence when they assume that the risk and moral price therein is worth the potential reward. Criminals are simply those people who are willing to take such a risk and disregard morality. Most individuals resolve conflicts peacefully. Unless autostates become states and thus criminals, there is no threat to reciprocity.
The real problem with an autostatist order is in which way can it defend against the established state, or in a hypothetical scenario, against a new nexus of violence. And regretfully, the only answer to this question is either a complete abandonment of liberty or completely embracing a privatized arms race. Reciprocal relations are impossible whenever states are involved.
By Insula Qui
The main disagreement between Rothbardian and Misesian monopoly theory is the theoretical possibility of monopolies on the free market. This is the most wonkish topic possible as the disagreement is extremely slight. Mises believed that monopolies are only sustainable with state aid while Rothbard denied the existence of monopolies without the state outright. What will make the article even more technical is that I will be finding a middle ground between the two very close positions as I think both missing a very slight possibility that could change our view of monopoly theory.
The crux of Misesian monopoly theory is that it is possible to become the sole owner of a singular factor of production. Thus, when a particular capitalist is the only person who owns a factor of production, he can charge a higher price due to not having competition in regards to producing a certain good. And if we adopt some neo-classical terminology, we can characterize it as a disparity between perfect competition and monopolistic competition.
The objection Rothbard has to this theory is that there is no proper definition of monopoly as factors of production are either always monopolized and perfectly competitive. This is because there are substitutes for every good, which would leave every factor of production perfectly competitive. And if substitutes do not constitute competition, then everything is monopolized as there can be no perfect duplicates of any factors of production. Thus, a monopoly can only be defined as a state-given exclusive grant.
But we need to consider a possibility found in one of Rothbard’s throwaway lines in “Man, Economy, and State” in his discussion about monopolies (One that I cannot find at the present moment due to the immense size of that volume.). He posits that if a person owned two factors of production at the same time, he could control the price of both. He disregards this as an implausibility due to the fact that specialization is profitable and the fact that the calculation problem also applies to business. Thus, Rothbard never finds the immense theoretical value in exploring this possibility any further.
This value is not in the fact that a person could own both a farm and a store, both of these forms of production are so far removed from one another that the overlap is minimal enough to discredit the possibility of having a monopoly by owning both factors. However, we can consider that one could possibly own a road and the necessary tunnels under that road. This means that one could charge extra rents from customers of different utilities due to owning a road which is also, by far, the most efficient location for any tunnels for electrical, water, and gas systems in an urban environment. This is just one example, so it does very little good to expound on the theory behind this specific incident, but the general principle can be explained as follows:
Person A has exclusive control of good A in some area, this does not allow him to sustainably charge extra prices for the use of good A due to the nature of both competition and consumer demand. The only way we can imagine charging an excessive price is if a very large scale operation owned good A to the extent that no other company could even consider producing good A. This is unlikely as large companies are generally less efficient than small ones, in large part due to the immense inefficiency in calculation that always affects the optimal size of the firm. There are countless other reasons why monopolies are not sustainable, many of which I have written about in the past. (My second book, “Capitalism Works” has a very extensive chapter about monopoly theory.).
However, if good A is necessary for the production of good B and person A had a territorial monopoly over goods A and B, he could charge a surplus for good B. To out-compete the double factor monopolist one would have to produce both goods A and B. Producing good A on its own might not be profitable as the person who controls both goods A and B cannot overcharge for the use of good A. This means that to produce good B, the person aiming to introduce competition would have to first produce good A. The monopolist does not desire competition and would have no reason to let any other person produce good B using his good A.
This leaves any potential competitor only with the option to find another source for good A or to create one himself. And here is the only situation where the proponents of natural monopoly theory have a good point. If good A belongs in a category of natural monopoly, it has a fairly large barrier to entry, this is usually not a problem in the long run by itself, if the company overcharges for the good, it will be outcompeted. But if there’s a large barrier to entry for producing an unprofitable good which facilitates profits for another good, there is very little possibility for any competition for the production of good B.
This is my concept of double factor monopoly and the reason why I differ from both Mises and Rothbard on the issue of monopoly theory. When the monopolistic good is alienated from all competition by two steps, it becomes hard to argue that there really are no monopolies on the free market. And when the good is a natural monopoly in the sense that the demand for it is very vertical and the barrier to entry is immense, it can sustain itself for long periods of time and will always be a minor inefficiency in a completely free market. But this does not mean that state intervention will necessarily solve it, which is why we need a proper conclusion before we can put this issue to rest.
The first thing that alleviates the problem is a systematic incentive to not create such monopolies, it’s almost always more efficient to have multiple companies manage multiple goods. This solves the issue of electrical grids and other similar goods as the people who own the generators do not need to own the grid itself. This is more efficient for both the company and the consumer of the particular good and will usually provide better results. However, this does not avoid the fact that there are corner cases where free market organization is theoretically inefficient.
But this inefficiency is relatively minor when we consider that government ownership of a particular good is always a monopoly and is an even worse example of all of these problems. The only solution to this is to create a voluntaryist mode of governance where owners of property band together to make decisions without the government owning any property itself. This would allow for the only proper use of anti-monopolistic action in separating the entities that provide both goods, which eliminates any concern for this kind of monopoly. However, the inconvenience is so slight and unseen that most people would not bother creating a covenant to fix this issue and the issue may ultimately be better left unsolved.
This is the same scenario as with the monopolies in social media created by the fact that the value of free platforms only lies in that many who use them. A new platform is unable to provide a userbase and is less valuable than the old platform. In this sort of monopolistic structure, the demand is the supply with no proper solution to remove this monopoly other than the natural perpetual change in a market economy. And this is what we ultimately have to accept, there are minor inconveniences in all market economies and no degree of government action can change those inconveniences without creating worse ones. We can theorize about a better market economy but we can never create such an economy. Capitalism works, although it’s occasionally imperfect.
By Insula Qui
Although the title correlates to the social classes this article references, I am not going to use the particular terms. This is mainly because they are already used in contradictory ways and I do not aim to cause any confusion for other followers of Spencer Heath and classical monarchism. However, we can purpose those elements discussed by Heath and the classical monarchists into a functional examination of all political power. Furthermore, this analysis of power will ultimately answer the question of abusing power under voluntary governance.
Whenever there is a political system, there must be a ruling class and a servile class, the servile class must always exist as subjects to the ruling class as otherwise, the ruling class would have no power. This means that, in the context of politics, we have already established a perpetual power structure which must exist irregardless of any outside factors. But this power structure could not be retained without the ruling class having the support of the military, so the military must be aligned with the ruling class in ideology and action.
But there must also be a way in which the ruling class can prevent the military class from rising up against the authority in power and the servile class from revolting against the military. This is the ideological class, whether it is religious, journalistic, or intellectual. The state always requires propaganda to ensure that there is never a mass uprising against the state. The construction of this united state front is accepted by many, but usually from people who accept the legitimacy of the state and never from those who support the practice of libertarian statecraft.
To establish a correct perspective of statist and libertarian statecraft from this fairly common view of the state, we need to start by examining democracy. Modern liberal democracy has been the state ideology of the occident since the second world war and is thus the most relevant philosophy to examine. Furthermore, democracy is the most convoluted of any system and deserves the most attention. Democracy is distinct from all other systems as the ruling class seemingly requires the volition of the servile class to ascend to power. The ruling class will always exist and the servile class will always exist, however, the servile class can combine to choose members of the ruling class. This is faulty as a premise and naive as a practice.
First, common consent is never actual consent as common people are not presented with state policy but human representatives. And even if they were, the majority in the form of non-voters and the opposition has never accepted the decision of the supporting voting minority. And no representative has the obligation to fulfil any of the reasons for which they were inducted into office and as such, there is no popular consent to state policy. This is even though there is popular consent to a select portion of the ruling class. However, most of the ruling class is comprised of people who climbed the ranks of various bureaucratic organizations and as such have no mandate from the servile class. This should erase any notion of democracies representing the people within them.
The democratic state must also be the most authoritarian state as the existence of the ruling class depends on a strong military and propagandistic class. The politicians must retain their power by creating a supposed mandate from the people, this is only possible whenever the military does not challenge the ruling class and the people do not question the ruling class. This means that the military-propaganda classes must always be on the side of the ruling class via special subsidy and command.
The democratic state survives with repressing any dissidents and creating a monolithic spread of information that elevates the state. This is what the neoreactionaries call the cathedral, the state forming an uniform counter-popular force to prevent having to face unrestrained popular opinion. People cannot have dangerous extremist ideology that could upset the current order and even if they do, must be completely hopeless when faced with the tremendous military organization. This fundamentally negates democracy while preserving the image thereof and allows for totalitarianism beyond what any autocrat could imagine.
If we move from the discussion of democracy to the discussion of autocracy, we discover a much more simplistic system of rule. The servile class expects protection and good rule which allows the autocrat to retain his power. This leaves the autocrat with two options, he can be a proper monarch or a tyrant. If the autocrat decides to exercise his power in a benevolent manner, he will retain a largely temporary and limited military force to deliver on his promise of protection. Standing armies are a largely modern concept that would not have been possible without the synthesis of classical liberalism and civic philosophy. He will also not use propaganda, however, he will ban any propaganda against his autocratic regime.
If an autocrat chooses to exercise his powers as a tyrant, the entire situation changes and starts to resemble democracy. The paranoid tendencies within the autocrat cause him to exercise massive propaganda and military might to suppress any potential rebellion and prevent the servile class from revolting. By doing so, however, the autocrat gives the servile class good cause to revolt and displace the tyrant. Since the tyrant has no trust when it comes to the servile class, he will never be able to deliver that what is necessary to retain his power.
An aristocratic regime is more complicated but mostly follows the same principles as an autocratic regime. The main difference is that the mandate of the state is split across multiple people instead of just one. The choices made are very similar and the incentives do not massively differ from autocracy. However, the choices of an aristocracy will be the compound choices of the aristocrats instead of the singular choice of the autocrat, this aids in easing uncertainty. The aristocrats will tend to be tyrannical to a lesser extent but with more consistency.
We can now look at anarcho-capitalism using the exact same framework. The premise of an anarcho-capitalist society is to combine the servile class with the ruling class, eliminate propaganda, and establish the allegiance of the military to the self-ruling class. Furthermore, as each person has a mandate to use violence under the same circumstances, the military melds into the self-ruling class creating a self-ruling and self-defending class.
The main critique of anarcho-capitalism is then that it is unsustainable, that eventually, the propagandistic class would develop alongside a military class to reinstate a ruling class. And this seems to be true, the military class seemingly profits from having an exclusive use of force, which they can only have if there is a central agency that mandates their monopoly on force. Furthermore, the propagandistic class can seek subsidy from those willing to offer wealth in exchange for power.
From this arises the perpetual fear that anarcho-capitalism would create a plutocracy. The only people who can subsidize propaganda and exclusively contract the military are those with enough wealth to do so. Eventually, they need to collect taxes again as they will be unable to sustain their violent form of rule, but once this has been established, anarcho-capitalism has fundamentally been defeated. This is why it is not productive to dismiss every claim that there is a potential for the warlords to take over.
However, realistically, it is impossible to conquer a population who aims to be free without entrenched power over another population. Making people servile is only possible insofar as it is possible to spread a culture of servility over these people, but this concern is extremely relevant if we are to have a libertarian form of statecraft. Even though this is not a realistic concern in an anarcho-capitalist system, it is a very pertinent one when we introduce libertarian statecraft to anarcho-capitalism. There are seeming downsides to accepting voluntary rule by a market agency.
A libertarian form of statecraft must then distinguish the military and ruling classes from the servile class. Furthermore, to avoid the necessity for a propagandistic class, the libertarian form of governance must avoid ever causing as much disutility as to disincentivize membership. The only proper way to avoid the necessity for propaganda and the danger thereof is to provide services that do not need to be propagandized. Furthermore, the military class who executes the will of the ruling class must never be beholden to the interests of the ruling class. The military must always be first directly responsible to the public before the ruling class.
This can fundamentally create a balance of powers where the ruling class must provide services with the real consent of the public. And the public is given a choice between various ruling classes insofar as the public has within their own power to find another ruling class. This will fundamentally ensure that there can be no such thing as a parasitic government under a form of libertarian statecraft. By analyzing power, we create a system with a stable balance of powers that can harmonize the benefits of liberty with those of authority.
How has Western civilization achieved liberty, individualism, and property? For centuries, Western Europe and the United States of America practiced the rule of law and preservation of private property, while Eastern Europe and many Southeast Asian countries practiced discretionary rule, communism, and oligarchy. But now, I fear the West heading down the path to serfdom. I am going to explain why sovereignty is important and how the death of it will be the end of the West.
Thomas Hobbes was Partially Correct
One of the most controversial philosophers from the enlightenment, Thomas Hobbes famously said that without the government life will be “nasty, brutish and short”. To expand upon this, Hobbes is correct that man is not put in a high-trust environment, but he was wrong to assume that man is isolated. People are, in fact, very kin-based and tribal social animals, they’re more likely to resort to violence to attain resources and capital for survival. In recent times, it is argued that the state evolved from tribalism to perform more complex tasks like waging war and preserving the civilian population. Many libertarians are correct that the state is a tool of coercion and a territorial monopolist, but many of them embrace the Rothbardian fallacy of aggression. In other words, they started in the middle of their analysis. The state is formed out of necessity, to protect the civilian population and to diminish the threat of external forces. As a consequence, the development of social capital and conditions of liberty are formed.
The Paradox and the Benefits of Centralization
Many libertarians will argue against the centralization of power and authority, but there are benefits to having efficient governmental institutions and strong national defense. The authors of the Federalist Papers were not trying to create a harmonious government, but to create a division of power to limit despotism and for a time it was successful. American governmental intuitions were inclusive, and the existing framework allowed for economic activities to function with very little impediment from the state. Another thing to note, the United States of America was geographically isolated from major European powers so therefore the threat of external forces (with the exception of American Indians) was significantly reduced allowing the development of high-trust social credit. My main argument is this: without an efficient governmental framework, it is impossible to achieve prosperity, cooperation, and wealth. One of many reasons why Eastern Europe is much poorer compared to the United States and Western Europe is because many Eastern European nations practiced discretionary rule, constantly invaded, and were controlled by oligarchic regional hegemons. In other words, the governmental framework was very ineffective and extractive.
When external forces are diminished, it is possible to develop high-trust social credit and the conditions of liberty. To sum up the importance of social capital, to quote the political scientist and economist Francis Fukuyama: “Trust becomes a valuable commodity only when it exists as the byproduct of a society whose members practice social virtues like honesty, reliability, and openness.” The importance of trust cannot be stressed enough, without virtues (such as honesty), it is nearly impossible to form functioning market economies and an efficient, and enforceable governmental framework. A classic example of a low-trust society and relatively incompetent bureaucracy was the Soviet Union and the modern day Russian Federation. The Russian state always been run like a Mafia throughout her history.
What is sovereignty? As far as I know, it is the only to achieve the conditions of “liberty”. The formation of sovereignty is one of Western Civilization greatest achievements, it allowed for the development for the rule of law (which Western Europe and the United States practiced for centuries until recently) and creation of strong virtues such as honesty, valuing hard work, reciprocity, and markets. This was due to the incremental suppression of free riding and other parasitic behaviors. The benefits of sovereignty is the protection of the civilian population. And as economist Thomas Sowell noted: “Larger governing units usually mean more powerful units protecting the society or advancing its interests in the international arena.” .
The Death of Sovereignty in the West
Unfortunately, in the modern era, the West developed the Faustian tendency of universalism and extreme egalitarianism. The current crisis that faces Western civilization is the lack of reaffirmation of our identity and the denial of our cultural values. This is most present in post-WWII Germany, they have made nationalism a taboo in their society and the German people seem to hold a very strong contempt for their culture. Even the Austrian economist Hans Herman Hoppe was once stated: “And it was I, then, as someone who had grown up in defeated and devastated post-WWII West-Germany with the then (and still) ‘official history’ taught across all German schools and universities of (a) feeling guilty and ashamed of being German and German history…”
Moreover, ever since the death of God in the late nineteenth century, the rise of nihilism has seriously affected Western culture and a fatal individualism has risen. People are becoming more isolated, Generation Z is the most lonely generation and the decline of families and communities in the United States has had a negative effect. People are becoming less satisfied with their lives and seeking more ways to fulfill an emptiness inside them. Furthermore, the social scientists Robert Putnam and Charles Murray have both documented the decline of social capital in America and correlated it with lower voters’ turnout, the decline of marriage, honesty, and happiness. Europeans quickly embraced the death of God and, as a result, are more culturally relativistic and likely to commit suicide. According to Pew research, it is projected that by 2050 the most dominant religion in Europe will be Islam and the natives will become a minority in their own countries. This belief of universalism and extreme egalitarianism needs to die so the West can live for another millennia.
Wealth, Poverty and Politics by Thomas Sowell - Basic Books – 2016
Political Order and Political Decay: from the Industrial Revolution To the Globalization Of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama - Farrar, Straus and Giroux – 2015
Coming Apart: the State Of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray - Crown Forum – 2013
Strange Death Of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray - Continuum – 2018
Why Nations Fail: the Origins Of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu-James Robinson - Profile Books – 2013
The Origins Of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama - Farrar, Straus and Giroux – 2011
The Future Of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 by Benjamin Wormald - http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/
Gen Z Is the Loneliest Generation, and It's Not Just Because Of Social Media by Katrina Trinko - https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/03/gen-z-loneliest-generation-social-media-personal-interactions-column/574701002/
Coming Of Age with Murray by Hans-Hermann Hoppe - https://mises.org/library/coming-age-murray-0
By Insula Qui
I have previously published an essay detailing a rehabilitation of the fascist natural law into a cohesive system with libertarian natural law on both my website and in “Anarcho-Monarchism”. This is important because the Lockean-libertarian form of natural law only accounts for the rational form of man. The far-right approaches the same question from the perspective of the animal form of man. Thus, we can call the libertarian version “rational law” and the far-right version “animal law”, for the sake of simplicity. Animal law cannot ever influence the legal system and rational law cannot ever influence non-violent relations. Thus, by combining both rational law and animal law, we can find faults in both systems and can immediately alleviate those flaws.
I will not recap that essay in its entirety, but the important takeaway is the two derivative conclusions from that combination. First, it’s an empty tautology to suppose that it is right to use force against those who aggress against someone first. If force is not actually used, it is irrelevant whether the use of force is justified or not. Secondly, we cannot extend the tribal nature of man to encompass modern states and we cannot suppose that the state has an inherent mandate from nature.
However, since writing that essay I have stumbled onto two other concepts that seem incredibly relevant to human life, and yet neither are universal in the same form the aforementioned concepts are. The first is the
law of God, the divine law that is not enforced by the rational legal system or the animal primal system. The law of God isn’t tribal or material. The law of God is something only found in eternity and as such, it is something that humans do not sustain by themselves. But the problem with universalizing this law is found in the behaviour of various groups. Even though each religion claims to be universally righteous, these universal claims only have testimonies from select groups of people. There is no religion that all peoples acknowledge as correct and as such we cannot apply religious law universally.
The second concept is the set of local and incidental norms all people must live under. No person has control which norms they fall under by birth into a community. But each person still has to embrace some norms and have allegiances beyond the animal and rational law. The argument that people can deny norms and God is not a particularly strong one, people can also deny the rational and animal laws, but this does not make them any more right in doing so.
Thus, we need to create a third category of law, this is the moral law. It encompasses the combination of local norms with the religion embraced by those in that same community. And the moral law is not universal, it is simply the supposition that all people need to have morals. This may not seem useful at first, but if we incorporate the moral law into a social system of analysis alongside the two other forms of law, we can create a near-perfect way to describe which behaviours have costs, without defaulting to the shaky notion of property-en-toto. (Property-en-toto is the supposition that whenever something has been defended with force, it becomes property due to that defence.)
However, we still need to address one complaint from the universalist libertarians. In “Freedom’s Progress?”, Professor Casey supposes that the first step towards human liberty was the creation of a notion that there are universal values. This is true in itself but does not tell the whole story. The moral law can never overpower the rational law, this relationship between the two laws creates liberty. As such, we need to first categorize the systems of law and their relation to one another.
Animal law is the baseline of all human existence. We have to accept that when all rationality fails, humans are animals and act like animals. We need to first use the notion of conflict, hierarchy, and group-preference before we can actually formulate complex law. Without the animal use of force and the animal urges that allow us to sustain civilization, there is nothing that can be built upon. Thus, animal law only describes what is and what has to be.
Rational law is a statement of when it is righteous to use force and how to prevent the misapplication of force. This law can never supercede the animal law, but the animal law cannot ever derive a right to engage in aggression from the rational law. This means that the rational law is perpetually threatened by the animal law while the animal law is bound to a developed society by rational law. The rational law allows us to maintain uniquely human interactions and describes how things best are and how to fix contradictions in reaching this ideal state.
Moral law forms the last bridge between rational law and animal law, it always supercedes animal law while never superceding rational law. When rational law and animal law are perpetually suppressing the urges of pure violent animalism and idealistic mechanical rationalism, moral law overcomes the animal while not infringing on the rational. This means that by using moral law, we can effectively instate the supremacy of rational law and approximate the conditions of the real world.
While animal law is the ground on which rational law is built, moral law is the foundation for that rational law. This also means that whenever moral law is in conflict with rational law, there can be no proper legal systems in a society. This is why it is impossible to forcefully try to bring liberalism or civilization to third world countries, it is impossible to build a rational law without a moral law that can sustain it. Furthermore, by using moral law, we can even more accurately categorize why it is ethically justified to not give reciprocal rights to savages. Savages are incapable of rational law due to a faulty moral law.
And since I have already described faulty moral law in my pieces on savagery, I now only have the task of describing which form of moral law can accurately bridge the gap between animal law and rational law. In effect, this establishes which social system is necessary for there to ever be libertarianism in the real world. Most libertarians already internally realize that only certain populations can be libertarian, but this will be a conclusive demonstration of why that has to be so.
The first important part of moral law is the acknowledgement of the individual and the existence of the individual. In a collectivist system, there is no such thing as rational law since law cannot be properly applied to individuals on the basis of their actions. This means that law must be applied in an irrational manner. This does not mean that the moral law has to be individualist, but concepts such as collective punishment and limited liability are ultimately incompatible with rational law.
Secondly, the moral law has to value reason over primal instinct. Because moral law elevates rational law above animal law, it can only exist in proper form with the presupposition that reason is more valuable than urges and instincts. There can be no rational law applied to groups that reject that law. Furthermore, there must be a framework of a rational language in which it is possible to express this law. Without proper linguistic capacity, it is impossible to form contracts and it is hard to determine which relationships are voluntary. By applying an insight from Curtis Yarvin and Hans-Hermann Hoppe, we can conclude that ambiguity in ownership must always create conflict.
And finally, the moral law must not be rejected in itself. Whenever animal law is rejected, we can expect a breakdown of society. This is even more apparent whenever rational law experiences a similar breakdown. Proper morality must be preferred over improper morality. There are still other necessary values for proper moral law, but these three are integral towards forming any sort of libertarian reciprocity.
By using this theoretical tool, we can answer more questions than we could before. By moving beyond the Lockean system of natural law and using concepts derived from fascist and neoreactionary thought, we are able to create a better way to observe the world. However, the method is only philosophically descriptive and not politically prescriptive as only the Lockean system can provide a functioning legal framework when it comes to the use of force. To use violence against those who reject hierarchy and moral values would be to destroy the system that can sustain hierarchy and morality in itself.
By Einzige Unbound
When I think of libertarianism, I think of it as having potential but no gumption. For those of you who don't know, Libertarianism is the notion that Liberty is a sacred principle above anything else. After learning what that means, it gets complicated due to branching off from the Right-Left Spectrum. The Libertarians that I will refer to is American, center-right, libertarians and that is where I will begin. Now, I've been friends with a few of them for a long time and I understand their concerns and fears. I cannot stand taxes and I won't make any excuses for them, same goes for the Social Contract, Democracy and the concept of Equality. The problem with Libertarians is that they are nuisance to anyone who has to listen to them talk. They shout like a Sunday School Preacher or a full blown DSA activist, but the answers they attempt to provide are null and void due to not having many solutions. Mencius Moldbug, blogger from Unqualified Reservations, has explained this phenomenon perfectly.
"On the other hand, it is hard to avoid noticing two basic facts about the universe. One is that libertarianism is an extremely obvious idea. The other is that it has never been successfully implemented. This does not prove anything. But what it suggests is that libertarianism is, as its detractors are always quick to claim, an essentially impractical ideology. I would love to live in a libertarian society. The question is: is there a path from here to there? And if we get there, will we stay there? If your answer to both questions is obviously "yes," perhaps your definition of "obvious" is not the same as mine" (1)
Such questions for a "Freer society" usually ends up with the individual just sitting and waiting for the State to get rid of itself and preach non violence through the Non Aggression Principle, , 'Natural' Property Rights and buying or selling cryptocurrency.
Let's start with Non-Aggression Principle (or NAP for short). The NAP preaches that everyone can get along as long as they don't commit acts of Aggression. What is aggression from libertarians are generally defined as "initiation" of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property". Notice the term “initiation” is within the definition, I'll explain this later.
The NAP is proposed by some as an Axiom, others consider it a rule of thumb that you should follow as much as possible. I intend to agree with the latter more than a former due to being realistic about the world we live in. Society and the State are merging together, this makes reality chaotic due to the unpredictably of people and governments to commit violence on a dime, this includes self-interest. The NAP cannot prevent violence, no matter how many times they say it can. Anything and everything can be considered an act of aggression due to the individuals need to take action in order to survive, threats of someone's life, or taking risks while knowing they exist. For example, if I had a 44 magnum with six cylinders in it and put one bullet in it. I then aimed the magnum at the person in front of me knowing that the bullet was not gonna shoot because it was in a different cylinder. I have violated the NAP on the initiation, despite the result being the person that I was aiming for still being alive. The Libertarian/Ancap might respond with a claim of "Performative Contradiction", in that I'm critiquing the NAP whilst being subconsciously committed to it. This is a false assertion, I don't want to be aggressive because of some axiom, it's because it's not in my self interest to do so. I'm fully aware of the consequences of such actions and I refuse to partake in such aggression due to making up my own mind about violence. A more thorough critique can be shown by David Friedman's Book "Machinery of Freedom" under part 4: ”For Libertarians, an expanded postscript.“(2)
This supposed axiom leads me to another one, Natural Property Rights. The claim most libertarians have with this is that property rights are the ultimate source of Freedom and that its as natural as animals tending to their ecosystem. Property Rights for libertarians arise from contractual obligations, these obligations are supposed to be the only true law which they should follow, IE an ultimate ideal that can be explained through “Logic and Reason.” This does not explain why people neglect property or why the masses riot to their hearts desire because they want the discussion on rights to be as simple as possible, like a christian justifying God’s anger as justified and not a mirror image of our own human anger. L.A Rollins, dedicated this whole breakdown on these arrangements as pure abstractions of paper with his booklet “The Myth of Natural Rights” and explains this as the bedrock of Rights, regardless if its a libertarian or a socialist proclaiming its existence as an absolute.
“In my view, natural law and natural rights are human inventions (not discoveries) intended to further the interests of the inventors. As Laurance Labadie put it, “...all theories of ‘rights’ are merely human inventions, used by one party or another in order to enhance as they think, their ability in getting along in the world.” It is misleading, therefore to contrast natural law with man-made law, for natural law is just as surely man-made as any governmental law”(3)
I could quote further but if any of these people have the stomach to read it, its available to read at your disposal, dear reader. Rights cannot deter people from committing crimes, the wall of legality needs to be enforced or otherwise its useless. This is why Might Makes Right, it is the ultimate decider on what the masses should or should not follow. Despite Liberalism decaying from within, its survived this long on the basis of controlling the individual spiritually and using force as a failsafe if the individual didn't listen to “the rule of law. ” Max Stirner points out the hypocrisy of State enforcing liberties by saying “The State’s behavior is violence, and it calls its violence “law”; that of the individual, “crime.” Crime, then [Verbrechen] — so the individual’s violence is called; and only by crime does he overcome [brechen] the State’s violence when he thinks that the State is not above him, but he is above the State.” (4).
I can't talk about Cryptocurrency so I want to end my tirade with Corporations. Depending on which Libertarian you talk to, they’ll either support corporations on the basis of free markets or they will hate it because they work with the State. I remember seeing libertarians praise Elon Musk for launching Falcon Heavy into space, while knowing Mr. Musk has obtained state government subsidies for his projects (5)(6). The problem isn't that some corporations within the market seeking dominance, the issue is the conception of corporations itself, they have turned from private beneficiaries into a public entity. They are now in the process of becoming incorporated into the US Government, which is already a corporation in of itself as Moldbug points out.
“So if the responsibility to fork over some cut of your paycheck makes you a serf (a reasonable reuse of the word, surely, for our less agricultural age), that's what Americans are - serfs. Corporate serfs, to be exact, because the US is nothing but a corporation. That is, it is a formal structure by which a group of individuals agree to act collectively to achieve some result. So what? So I'm a corporate serf. Is this so horrible? I seem to be pretty used to it. Two days out of the week I work for Lord Snooty-Snoot. Or Faceless Global Products. Or whoever. Does it matter who the check is written to? The modern distinction between "private" corporations and "governments" is actually a rather recent development. The US is certainly different from, say, Microsoft, in that the US handles its own security. On the other hand, just as Microsoft depends on the US for most of its security, the US depends on Microsoft for most of its software. It's not clear why this should make one of these corporations special, and the other not-special.”
So now, we have to deal with transitory phase of Monopoly Capitalism or State Capitalism into a “Global Village” and there's nothing any of these libertarians can do about it. Most of these people are Cretinous shills for some tribal identity, if I constructively criticize them, they see it as a personal attack and will either dismiss me as crazy or point and laugh collectively in an ironic matter. All the while they claim to be “free thinkers”, the only thing they're thinking about is when the next time bitcoin rises up, everything else is an absence of thought. Anything else is doctrines rewritten ad nauseam with little to no improvement for people to act independently. At the very least Egoism helps make you the better arbitrator on life and doesn't care if you reject them or not, Libertarianism will either attack you as evil, or “statist” if you don't say the correct words and/or use their lexicon.
To conclude, Libertarianism is dead and the people who believe it are trying to revive its decaying corpse. Either adapt in this world by dealing it with the intrinsic complications, or die as a person consuming the latest sex robots sponsored by the Tyrell Corporation.
(1) A Formalist manifesto by Mencius Moldbug. Retrieved from https://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/04/formalist-manifesto-originally-posted.html
(2) The Machinery of Freedom by David Freidman, Retrieved From http://daviddfriedman.com/The_Machinery_of_Freedom_.pdf
(3) The Myth of Natural Rights by L.A. Rollins (pg.3)
(4) The Ego and its Own by Max Stirner. Retrieved From https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/max-stirner-the-ego-and-his-own
By Insula Qui
The libertarian philosophy is a blank state, it can only provide us with a limited amount of information as libertarianism ultimately only states that force ought not to be initiated. But this does not mean that all libertarian theory needs to reiterate this basic principle. And although it is easy to draw the conclusion that non-aggression only implies individuals trading and interacting on a decentralized and voluntary basis, this is fundamentally naive. Although such a society is a desirable fantasy for those with inherently libertarian tendencies, a fantasy does not serve well to increase our reach beyond those with our tendencies.
Most people are not drawn to this sort of individualistic organization as most people want to have larger structures of governance in society. This is demonstrated by the fact that there is any opposition to libertarianism at all. However, libertarianism is not a statement against society or governance, it only concerns itself with the non-initiation of force. This means that the real form of libertarian organization lies outside what we would conventionally consider trade and voluntary interaction and rather take the shape of metastructures. These are structures that combine individual interests and that create organizations beyond what individuals themselves do.
We cannot describe the form of the metastructures but rather need to describe the way in which they could be formed. This is to say, metastructures are not a matter of what we prescribe but can only be formed organically by the interactions that create the metastructures. In other words, people will decide the way in which they organize and we have no inherent control of this organization. The most basic form of the metastructure is the autostate, but the inquiry of metastructural organization goes much further.
And we need to concede that most of libertarian societies will have these metastructures as a fundamental form of organization, it will not be as if libertarian societies only function to create higher GDP. People will strive to form organizations that go beyond the immediately economic and personal. I have previously written sufficiently about voluntary goverance so I will refrain from reiterating those points here.
The first and most immediate relation that demonstrates the necessity of these metastructures is the fraternal organization that used to provide for the healthcare of all within a society (For more information, I would suggest the brilliant book “Reactionary Liberty”.). This form of organization was destroyed by the advance of socialized medicine but still continues to serve as an example of what voluntary metastructures can achieve. Included in this is every other form of organization that serves collective goals. We have no reason to be opposed to mutual banking, guilds, or insurance companies, they are all vital metastructures within a libertarian society. And, as many libertarians have stated, insurance goes beyond the economic aspect of it as it has an inherent incentive to ensure the defence of a society to not have to pay the costs of damage.
This means that any other form of collective organization that serves individual ends is similarly vital to libertarianism and can serve as a tool in the repertoire of anyone arguing for liberty. We can use the very structures statists venerate to defend the cause of voluntary interactions. Whenever someone states that the state ought to do something, we can simply restate that someone ought to do that, but it does not necessarily need to be the state. This allows libertarians to have an inherent position of strength.
Furthermore, there is another vital metastructure that is not inherent to voluntary governance or mutual aid, this is the militia. Many have rightfully pointed out that the militia is the reason for why western civilization exists and we need to incorporate the militia into libertarianism if we are to have a libertarian theory that can produce civilization. Accepting metastructures serves as the first step to creating the theoretical formulation of the libertarian militia.
The milita is a fundamentally republican form of organization, it uses the testimony and input of every member to make decisions. Of course, this is not done democratically but through the meritocratically highly ranked members of the militia. Furthermore, the militia manages to decentralize violence insofar as that violence is used for common ends. The militia does not concern itself with particular groups, but rather provides the tools of violence to every willing man and woman.
The militia is the greatest threat to any monopolized violence and as such is the primary metastructure in defence against the potential of tyranny within a libertarian social order. The men in a militia are the last line of defence against any ill, and this includes every issue beyond simple aggressive uses of violence. Every society needs people who have the capacity for violence, we can call this collectively the citadel. This citadel must fundamentally be a public good insofar as this citadel acts in the defence of the entire society, this is not to say that public goods are a valid argument for government.
When the citadel only consists of voluntary governance and private contractors, the citadel is woefully insufficient at personal defence and can only defend the citadel. This means that the citadel can only fundamentally provide defence whenever it itself is attacked. For example, public or private militaries are not mobilized whenever a society is threatened by multiculturalism. However, the militia is mobilized whenever there are assaults against the members of that militia, and this includes the entirety of the men in society (This is not to say that there can be no women in the militia, rather, very few women have a capacity for violence on par with average man.). So if, for example, there was a large invasion of hostile demographics, the militia would be mobilized to defend against that invasion even when it does not directly challenge the voluntary government or the private defence organizations.
This means that the militia is the final barrier to any sort of social decay, the militia ensures that the use of violence towards necessary ends is undertaken even if those necessary ends are not ones that threaten other institutions. The militia concentrates the ability for men to do what needs to be done into a formal metastructure and as such ensures that what needs to be done gets done. The militia is the ultimate form of decentralized authoritarian organization and as such is the perfect manifestation of reactionary libertarianism.
Another vital metastructure for libertarians is the altar, or the spiritual basis of the social order in Heathian terminology. A lot of libertarians exhibit atheistic tendencies so this might not be obvious, however, social cohesion requires a shared religion or another spiritual goal in art and improvement. Religious conflict leads to a complete abandonment of all libertarian principles as eternal values always defeat temporary ethical concerns. This means that a society needs to share a singular metastructure of spiritual organization. Colliding transcendental values will always create war and conflict or a deterioration of society.
Theocracy is the natural state of man, the church will always be in a position of primacy over private exchanges, the militia, and voluntary governance. Furthermore, the church itself has always functioned as an agency of mutual aid and an investor in the advancement of society. The ultimate metastructure that libertarians need to embrace is the common faith of the people in society. And although religious tolerance is the first step towards a libertarian worldview, a decentralized voluntary theocracy is the ultimate form of libertarian organization.
This should not be objectionable to right-wing atheistic libertarians as they do not find the influence of the church obtrusive. But the church is necessarily involved in the lives of the people who subscribe to a faith and to that end, the church is also in a position of primacy in personal lives. And this leads us to our final conclusion and the necessary revelation we must internalize from this libertarian theory. As libertarians, we must see through contradiction and realize that the more liberty we have, the more authority follows. An advance of libertarianism will also be an advance of metastructures and the authoritarianism of those metastructures. Libertarian philosophy will inherently include authoritarianism once we have conceded that it only serves as a blank slate.
Whenever we decrease the influence of the state, we do not desire to eliminate private influence, rather, we have proper authority take the former role of the state. If the former role of the state is undertaken by private forces, they will be more capable at serving public ends, this also means that they have more justifiable authority than the government ever did. Theocracy, militias, guilds, and so forth will manifest under libertarianism and will be in complete harmony with the libertarian worldview.
By Insula Qui
For those who don't know, Front Range Voluntaryist was a print and online publication that mostly focused on variety libertarian content. Although my site recently became a year old and has thus outlived FRV, the publication still was a major inspiration for me creating the Libertarchy Blog. As the articles I submitted to FRV now only exist as steemit posts, I thought it would be a good idea to repost them. And as I only had the pleasure of submitting four, they can fit into one long blog post.
Tradition as Spontaneous Order
When we think about libertarianism it is easy to conceptualize libertarians as people who have no care for anything higher than themselves and are even individualistic to a fault. If you have talked to a sufficient amount of libertarians, chances are that you have come across someone who makes arguments that go completely against common decency.
This is one of the greatest problems in libertarianism, there is a streak of refusing to properly explain the importance of tradition when it comes to liberty. This is not to say that we need a war on drugs or that we need to stone adulterers. But rather libertarians tend to completely ignore everything related to expected social norms, even when they are not imposed violently. And it is easy to conceptualize norms as a sort of restriction upon the independent will and personal liberty of someone. But to know why libertarians are wrong on this, we need to apply methodological individualism to history.
Basic libertarian theory establishes that society is formed out of a spontaneous order. The interests of individuals form co-operative bonds which then create society as a concept. This view is useful because it helps us see society as something co-operative and personal. The problem with libertarians is when they deviate from this view. And that is often the case when we come to the subject of tradition.
We tend to ignore that tradition is similarly formed out of co-operative individual bonds. It’s never as if a king decreed that everyone ought to hold one another to certain moral standards and to shun behaviors that go against accepted morality. Obviously kings on occasion enforced the customs of the land, but the customs emerged spontaneously first. Not only is society co-operative, past societies which created tradition were similarly co-operative, this means that the view of society as a spontaneous order should also apply to inter-generational exchange and past societies.
And tradition is just inter-generational exchange, morals and standards passed down from the older generation to the younger generation. Tradition is a similarly spontaneously emerging order, it is in no way lesser than the order of our current era, it would be very unwise to assume that only the current society is correct. And because tradition embodies the inter-generational transfer of countless generations, we can even call tradition the spontaneous order of civilization. Tradition is outside the state, formed by the people and it should be one of the most libertarian things.
But even though tradition is best characterized as the spontaneous order of civilization, it’s so often rejected by libertarians as we tend to think that we know better than anyone before us could. Since we live now and not in the past, we are better at absolutely everything and have no need for tradition, but to do so would be to ignore the origins of tradition. The societies we live in were built by those people from whom the traditions that we have in our societies originate from.
The entire process of replacing the uncivilized man with something much better and something much greater is facilitated by the same people who created this tradition. Without the wisdom of the people who created tradition, we would not even have a society or a civilization. These millions of people who have lived through hardships that we can’t even imagine have come up with ways to deal with relationships, the self, purpose in life and every existential question there is.
This tradition was not born out of some baseless desire to repress people and not let them be themselves and it certainly is not something that we have grown out of. Our social progress and knowledge may be unparalleled and we may be at the farthest point in history where anyone has ever been, but this does not erase the necessity to answer fundamental existential questions. And if there is one thing that modern society has a problem with, it is those existential questions.
We may have the best medicine, we may have the best economies, we may live in times where everyone can access all information from home. But that does not make us any wiser, we can’t learn wisdom simply from thinking about it hard enough or using scientific formulas. We have disrupted the process of civilization by rejecting tradition. When we come face to face with strife and when we are challenged towards ourselves, maybe the right thing to do is look backward.
Why You Should Become a Libertarian Right Now
Would you be a libertarian if you knew how to build roads without the state? Would you be a libertarian if you only knew how to provide for the poor? Would you be a libertarian if it weren’t for one issue or another that you cannot wrap your head around? If so, you already are a libertarian in all of your principles. You already support liberty, but you just don’t know how it works. Since you support liberty you already know that people are able to figure things out.
Because people can figure things out, they can figure out roads, charity and everything else that you might not. It’s not your job to be the person who figures everything out. There are thousands of people who are better at building roads. There are millions who want to know how to provide for the poor. Among these great mass of people, there is bound to be someone who finds a solution.
But this may not be enough to become a libertarian. We could do everything that we want to do, but there are still things we don’t want others to do. Couldn’t people decide to do things that we find repugnant? This is a huge issue for many people. But it’s important to realize that whether people are sinful or problematic, that’s their own burden. You are not supposed to ensure that everyone is perfect. Free people are allowed to be wrong.
You gain absolutely nothing from trying either. You obviously should convince people who matter to be better. But this does not mean that strangers are your responsibility. This does not even come close to implying that you should use the state so the strangers can be more virtuous. Your only responsibility is you and the people close to you. You need to focus on yourself and your community.
People who are hundreds of miles away should not matter. The people who you see at the store and in your house should. This is not to say that you should be a busy-body. Rather you should care for the people who affect you. It’s much more important that your children have a safe neighborhood and a good upbringing than that some other children far away do. This may be cruel, but it’s the truth.
Instead of thinking within the statist mind frame, we should look at things in the libertarian way. We can see that individuals are responsible for their own lives. We can see that social organization is formed by individuals. The state should not take care of everything and everyone. And this is why you should too be a libertarian. Libertarianism is not being self-obsessed. Libertarianism is realizing that the things that matter to you are your responsibility.
We all have a fundamental urge to take care of others. We all have a fundamental urge to make large decisions. But we all need to realize that we need to first take care of ourselves. We can’t look at the world and think of how it could be better, we need to make ourselves better. If we make ourselves better, we can then try to make the world better. Libertarianism isn’t about higher profits, it’s about being able to personally make a difference.
You may still be teetering on the edge of libertarianism and statism. It’s hard to shake off the notion that everything is your responsibility. It’s hard to realize that letting others be is a valid solution. Because maybe you’re a Christian who is appalled at people having to bake gay wedding cakes. This started with just letting people be. Maybe you’re a progressive who is appalled at the spread of hate. This too might be the result of leaving people alone. Letting people be could cause them to not let you be.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Neither hate or forced acceptance have any power without the state. The one thing that doesn’t let you be is the state. If there were nazis with no chance of there being a nazi government, they wouldn’t be a problem. They may be nasty and evil, but they pose no threat. When gays cannot force you to bake their wedding cakes, they likewise are not a problem.
Your children will not be subject to propaganda if they’re not in government schools. You won’t be subject to violence if violence is not tolerated. You will not have to fear if there is no institutional force for you to fear. And what is to fear is the intrusion of the state and others into your life. The threat of force is the largest rational fear.
But if you want to be allowed to do your thing, you must allow others to do theirs. If you want to keep your principles, you must let everyone keep their own. If you want to raise your children so they would be good people, others must be able to raise their children in their personal way. If you want to live among people who agree with you, you need to let everyone separate. You cannot force an entire society to be on your side at all times.
It could be that you do not agree with libertarianism. It could be that you want to interfere in the lives of others. It could be that you need this validation and power. You can’t put your personal preferences aside because you prefer control. But why? What do you gain from controlling? Why do you need to force others to be more like you want them to be? Most likely you have some problems in your life. You may be depressed. You may lack meaning. But if this is the case then having control over others is no substitute for self-improvement.
It could be that there is no hole you have to fill, it could be that you just love the idea of control. If this is the case then there’s something seriously wrong with you. If the only reason why you’re not a libertarian is that you enjoy controlling the lives of others, you should never be in a position to control their lives. It’s fine if you’re not a libertarian. I still think that you should become one right now.
A Market in Governance
In a market system, you buy what you want. This means that prices are determined by the aggregate of all purchases. In a political system, the government decides what you buy and how much everyone collectively pays for that purchase. The government decides how much money will be put into its functions and what the rate of taxation will be.
This is the fundamental antagonism between the market and politics. The market is ruled entirely by the choices of the buyer; politics, to the contrary, is ruled by the choices of the government. Even if there is wise and just governance, it can never be governance in accordance to the wishes of the public as governance by nature ignores the public.
But it is theoretically possible that there is a combination of markets and governance. There could be libertarians that do not want to give up government for a private law society and non-libertarians who don’t think any non-governmental alternative is a sufficient replacement to the government. If there has to be a government, and if that government has to govern, how could it do so according to the principles of the market?
Democracy is obviously insufficient as it is both collective in the determination of producing goods and the purchase of those goods. Democracy could hypothetically be superior to autocracy or oligarchy, but it is in no way similar to the market system. When faced with this question most people will give up and concede that the two real options are laissez-faire anarchism or minarchism. The government ought to be reduced to the smallest role it can possibly play and the market system ought to do everything it can do.
But is there a possibility to somehow integrate these two systems? Is there some form of governance that can work as the market does despite there being a monopolist who controls a vast amount of services within a society.
True monopoly is the State giving a business or itself the right to exclusively control some area of business. And the State could theoretically be reduced to such an actor on the market. The State would still keep the monopoly it has, however, rather than forcing people to fund the monopoly, the State could instead offer its services on the market.
This would imply reducing the State to voluntarily offering its services, rather than compelling payment. This would also imply the end of taxation. Services could then be funded by individuals or communities purchasing them. This is without getting into the details of how communal purchases ought to work.
But since the services the State offers are still monopolistic, they can never really function according to the market and will form instead a pseudo-market. The prices will be set higher than the market would allow. And since, contrary to popular belief, costs are determined by prices, the services offered by the State will always be more inefficient as the State is able to charge higher prices. More money does not imply a better service, but rather a more bureaucratic and slower one.
But is there still a way in which the government can retain its control over the violence in society to allegedly prevent chaos, yet still function according to the market system? Can there really be some equivalent of free pricing within a government? After all, if there is need for a central agency to govern and if the market is superior to the State, it should be the highest priority to ensure that there can be a government that can function on the market.
And this is easy, the government must allow other competing governments or even non-governments. If it is true that a government is necessary, all the competition will be governmental. This is not only the indirect competition provided by mobility, but direct competition. In essence, the State must concede all it’s territory if it can no longer be the best provider of services in that territory. The State is reduced to a market entity like any other.
If the State does not claim any territory it does not follow that the State is necessarily abolished. But this model is also fully compatible with abolishing the State, that is simply removing any special privileges the State still claims. If we want to abolish the State while retaining governance, we can do that simply by leaving what used to be the State to only do that which the buyers decide. If the actions of the government are in no way privileged, it can still be a government and it can fully be on a market.
And it would still be a government, it would fulfill all the roles a government fulfills right now. It can provide defense, it can build the roads, it can regulate health and safety hazards. However, this is consensual governance, this is governance that is only funded insofar as people buy what it offers. This form of governance is truly economic governance and also fully conforms with the principles of voluntaryism.
Capitalism Works: The Roads
All people of all political denominations follow a sort of road-cult. Whenever the privatization of roads is proposed, they become shocked. Public roads have become a sort of idol for the modern man. Without public roads, there would be no civilization. Roads are the thin gray line that separates man from anarchy. Because of this, it is important to demonstrate how roads can be privatized without resulting in the collapse of civilization.
First, we need to realize that the way roads are currently run is a form of socialism: roads are publicly owned by the government. Roads are a nationalized industry. If it is true that without the state there could be no roads, it should also be true that without the state, there can only be starvation. If the roads are too complicated to be handled by private individuals, then how could anyone even dream of producing a pizza on the market?
To make a pizza one needs to cure meat, ferment milk, grind and spice tomatoes, produce a dough. All of these steps have infinite other steps. To cure meat one needs to herd livestock, which needs to be fed and maintained. Then the livestock also need to be butchered and processed, which requires the technology to butcher and process livestock. Then that technology needs metal, which must be mined. And the mining of metal needs tools in order to mine metal. Those tools need electricity to function efficiently. The complication of producing a pizza is infinite, far too complex for anyone outside the state.
Thus logically the nationalization of roads should also imply the nationalization of all pizzerias so as to prevent a tremendous scarcity of pizza. But even though the market is logically unable to produce pizza, the market can still produce bread. However, there is no alternative to roads. These complicated marvels of engineering are irreplaceable and irreplicable. There is no way a market system can ever produce something so complicated. Road must be the exclusive domain of the central planner.
And even though the central planners are brilliant, even they often fail at maintaining roads, as evidenced by the constant lack of road maintenance. If even the government can’t do anything about potholes, then it is impossible that a private individual could. If the government cannot keep and maintain roads, then how can it be expected that any company ever would. Furthermore, if roads were privatized we would all have to go through twenty toll booths to cross the street.
But we cannot concede this point. The fact that the government fails at maintaining roads does not necessarily imply that roads cannot be maintained. We have to consider the other perspective. It could be that the government simply has no incentive to maintain the roads. This crucial thin grey line is neglected by the government. The system of roads is not properly maintained and the state has abandoned the roads. If the roads are such a vital part of the economy, it could be that we need to privatize them to keep them from the abuse they receive at the hands of bureaucrats.
And it also just may well be that the argument about toll booths is disingenuous. It could be that having thousands of toll booths everywhere may result in at least a minor loss of revenue. Maybe there are better ways to charge money for the use of roads. The strategies of subscription services, digital tracking, and automatic tolls come to mind.
Furthermore, it might also be true that roads are not the most complex marvel of engineering. It could be true that people without the boundless wisdom of the central planner can actually maintain and build the roads. To build the roads one really does not need much more other than land no one else is using or land that is for sale. After the land is acquired, it is easy to build roads.
And even if roads could not be privately built (though they have been and are), it is very possible to privately maintain these roads. There is no harm in privatizing the roads that are already built in exchange for reducing taxation. When roads are held privately, they will be better maintained so as to attract more drivers and by extension more revenue.
It also might be that the central planner does not have any special wisdom. It could be that the central planner simply manages roads in an arbitrary manner. The central planner is not by necessity intelligent. To the contrary, the central planner is hired by the government bureaucracy. The government bureaucracy is not renowned for its great breadth of innovation and intellectual pursuit. It may just be that road socialism is not necessarily superior to road capitalism.
And if roads can be built privately, it should also hold that pizzas could be baked privately, maybe private people can indeed make pizzas for public consumption. If this is true, it should also be reflected in reality. And upon a thorough analysis of the ownership structure of pizzerias, we determine that indeed pizzas are baked by private entrepreneurs. It could just be that socialism is not the answer, even when it comes to roads.
By Insula Qui
The good folks who create “This Week in Reaction” over at Social Matter seem to often propose a similar critique of a libertarian form of statecraft, namely, this is the punishment of defectors. This is somewhat addressed in Part XI of the “Libertarianism and Statecraft” series, however, I thought it deserved a more complete elaboration. Another well-placed criticism of libertarianism is the problem of subversion and espionage. I have developed a framework to solve this problem, but I have simply not gotten around to writing about it. Special shout-outs here to Nick B. Steves and Jay Dyer for inspiring the creation of this article and hopefully helping to form a solution for many problems within our current view of a libertarian framework.
First, as with most things libertarian statecraft, we need to turn towards Hans Hoppe and Spencer Heath. Although I had a poorly formed notion of a libertarian governance even before becoming acquainted with the work of these two men, their thought has been instrumental in creating a more cohesive framework. Another important figure that we need to mention whenever we talk about libertarian statecraft is the great proto-anarcho-capitalist Gustave de Molinari. He proposed that all security must be created to meet the demand for security and as such a market for security and authority would create what I call a “perfect confederation”, but he refers to as a “monarchy without monopoly and a republic without communism”.
Molinari states that people accept this natural form of authority for the sake of protecting their properties and their liberties. This means that whenever the authority is of subpar character, it can always be exchanged for a better authority which offers a better protection of property and liberty. Now that we have established this, we can turn towards Spencer Heath to further advance this basic notion into a theory of libertarian statecraft.
Not only should each of these authorities function on a market to protect liberty and security, they are not the same as any other company. This citadel provides a barrier which defends the market, which ultimately facilitates the creation of all spiritual values. However, defence should never infringe on the market and the market should never infringe on spiritual values. Thus we have created a trinity of citadel, market, and altar, the citadel sustaining the market and the market sustaining the altar. Furthermore, by placing the citadel into the market we can create a self-reinforcing system of protection and growth. In libertarian terms, protection agencies facilitate the market itself while only being possible on a market system.
And here we can finally use the last step created for us by the great Hans Hoppe to state that these defence organizations can also facilitate the exclusion of those who do not follow accepted social norms. This creates a means by which we can effectively bring norms out of a socialistic lack of ownership and effectively begin to privatize them. By this, we have reconstructed a government in perfectly libertarian terms and can use this structure of government to create a proper justification for the punishment of subversives and defectors, but to do so we have to establish a mechanism from the top down.
First, it’s important to note that those who subvert spiritual values must also subvert the market order and thus must aggress against defence. And if we include the privatized norms under those spiritual values, we find ourselves with a justifiable means by which we can properly consider punishing subversives. When the subversion of a social order defeats the effective purpose of having a market, we can default to the citadel to eliminate this subversive threat. Furthermore, a brutal regime of exclusion guarantees that those who subvert norms must be doing so of their own volition, as they were let into the society under the auspice that they would behave themselves according to general norms.
Some may claim here that the should be no punishment of subversives and they should be simply ignored until they self-deport or get removed from the society for violating the covenant. Neither of these are real punishments as they don’t impose a cost for corrupting a society. This means that the subversive will get to infiltrate the society, impose costs on the people in that society, violate norms, and be only met with exclusion. This may be acceptable in an urban environment, but is not functional in a smaller community.
For example, if a smut peddler appeared in a traditionalist society or a hellfire preacher in a progressive one, they would have violated the purpose of that society and caused harm to the norms in that society. It’s irrelevant if we agree with the goals of these people, but only that they went contradictory to the expected norms of conduct in the society that they willingly entered. Of course, I would personally prefer hellfire preaching over peddling smut, but my preferences are ultimately irrelevant to every community I am not a part of.
This means that the intruder has imposed a cost on filling the needs and wants of the people in a community. This means that they have effectively damaged the state of the community, especially if they have influenced the young and impressionable. However, it would not be justifiable to impose arbitrary costs on these people as they have not consented to any such costs, for the sake of justice, it is necessary to have a coherent and public law. For example, a giant sign that states that everyone caught preaching the gospel or spreading smut will be sentenced to two weeks of forced labour. Thus, by entering the community that has universally accepted these norms, they will have to face those repercussions for violating the norms.
Furthermore, this justifies an elevated degree of punishment for crimes thought particularly egregious that the non-aggression principle cannot in itself create the punishment for. For example, pedophiles, pimps, and drug dealers could be charged for crimes which would theoretically be victimless as the society in which they live considers those to be criminal acts. This can be taken even further to do away with the idea of proportional response. A community could decide that rapists deserve the death penalty, which is not proportional in the Rothbardian ethical framework.
And the important part here is that these social norms and the character of subversives must be determined by a community. It’s only justifiable to hang spies if those spies know that they will be hung if they willingly engage in such unscrupulous activity within a community that does not accept spying. This means that the ethical justification is inherent in property rights, exclusion, privatizing norms, and pre-emptive consent. And if any libertarian would dispute this, they must also dispute the ethical legitimacy of signs that simply read “intruders will be shot” and will end up arguing against the right to self-defence altogether.
And this is why the state punishing non-aggressive people remains wrong while it is a justifiable endeavour for communities formed out of volition. Non-aggression can only serve as a guideline when it does not conflict with the ultimate right to property. After all, property rights are the fundamental basis of libertarianism and the non-aggression principle is simply derived from the rights to property. Thus, we must conclude that the punishment of subversives cannot be an objectionable practice as long as it is agreed upon by the holders of property.
But here we broach the exceptionally charged topic of defectors, we are faced with two conflicts when it comes to this issue. First, all libertarians fundamentally fight for the right to defect from the state and to not be bound by the coercive force of the state. Furthermore, no libertarian can argue against the right for even a conscripted soldier to defect from the army for the sake of his self-preservation and escape from slavery. However, each community does not want defectors as that would reduce the influence of that community and each community would be suspect of any defector from another community.
But here we need to establish that such a thing as defecting would not be necessary in a libertarian social order. First, as long as a child lives under his parents, he is bound to the rules of that property and the question of defecting from a community is not brought up. If that child refuses to participate in that community after he has already grown up, he may walk away never having agreed to that community. This erases all concerns about the potential of unjust treatment of future generations.
Second, no sane person would join with a community from which there is no exit and no sane community would allow unlimited exit for everyone if they want to leave. First, the person must compensate the community for any services he might have gotten without paying for. A person must pay the bill to his utilities, even when they are provided by a community. Secondly, that person may be charged for the use of public services combined with a pre-established cost if he left before a certain time or without a certain notice. If each person just followed the pre-established rules to a community, there would be no troubles with defecting.
And a community might require that the person sells his property, finds an agency willing to sell the property, or a buyer wanting to buy the property. The buyer would ultimately still have to follow the law set by the community and agree to the rules that the property is bound by. But at some point, the costs to leaving simply outweigh the benefits of joining a community, at which point the community would experience a decrease in those willing to join it altogether. Communities are only sustainable if people are willing to join those communities.
And if the person had not run from his obligation and had parted on mutually agreeable terms, no other community would have problems with welcoming him. This is as with leaving jobs when employees leave on mutually agreeable terms with the owner or manager, they do not damage their future prospects. However, if they cause problems before leaving, they will have to face the repercussions for doing so. This means that every bad actor who cannot be trusted in a community will not find any high-value communities that are willing to take him in. This solves all problems that could be inherent with defection and subversion by simply introducing the logical conclusion of property rights into our framework.