For many years I have heard complaints that the life of consumer goods, in particular appliances such as washing machines, and refrigerators, is getting shorter and shorter. A typical complaint goes that a refrigerator bought 30 years ago likely still functions, but a modern refrigerator lasts at most 6-7 years before breaking down. Typically, the market is blamed for this (i.e. manufacturers create faulty products so that when they break down they get new orders). That means that they intentionally work against the interests of the consumer. While the observations of consumers correspond with reality, their explanation of this phenomenon is wrong. I want to stress that the producers of consumer appliances are unjustly blamed.
Two of the main questions asked by statists about Anarcho-Capitalism is, “Who will defend us?” and “Who will handle the court system?” For the answer to the first question please see my articles “Defense and the State,” “Costa Rica and Defense,” “Liechtenstein,” and “Maritime Defense.” In these articles I show real world examples of defense that’s not being provided by the state, and that the people living in these territories are thriving and prosperous despite being located in some violent and dangerous points in world history. For the answer to the second question let’s look at the issue of private courts.
“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude… I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
Yet we bound ourselves, and continue to add bindings, to a mechanism that is incapable of avoiding these perils, or their consequences. Even an admirer of Jefferson must regret that he misunderstood the inevitability of the machine, and his naivete in trusting human reason as an antidote. The question is, will debt crush republican virtues? Or maybe the question is, are there any republican virtues, anyway?
Since World War One the United States has engaged in wars of aggression and military occupation in Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. To this day the US military occupies 56 bases in Germany, 113 facilities in Italy, and 84 in Japan. They have an armed force in the “demilitarized zone” on the Korean peninsula, and hundreds of bases in at least 70 different countries.
In order for a civilization to function there are certain pillars, which are required. The first pillar is security, which is needed to protect lives and property, and to provide stability. The second is laws or contracts that define behavior and resource use. The third is some form of judicial system to arbitrate the disputes that inevitably arise between individuals and groups. Zonas de Empleo y Desarollo Economico (Zone for Employment and Economic Development) or ZEDE is a project being implemented in Honduras as an attempt to create an autonomous city with a separate judicial, legal, and security system from the rest of Honduras.
For those who don’t know, the Free State Project‘s goal is to get 20,000 liberty loving individuals to pledge to move to New Hampshire within a 5 year period of reaching 20,000 signers. As of today the Free State Project has over 16,000 signers. That means we’re only 4,000 signers away from seeing a massive migration of libertarians and anarchists to a compact geographical region.
Before I made the step from Minarchist to Anarcho-Captialist I couldn’t envision how a stateless society would work. Like many people I worried that Warlords would take over, and the world would become like the movie “Mad Max” or “Lord of the Flies.” Then I read “Power and Market” by Murray Rothbard. The first chapter is on how private defense could work. Rothbard shattered what I thought I knew about the state, and how defense and agreements between individuals would actually work.
Not long ago I was struck by a Revelation. While considering the Dire State of Affairs our world currently resides in, and why it is that things have reached such strange proportions of mass insanity, I realized that most people don’t truly want freedom. They are comfortable in the slave/master relationship. This is why it has proven to be so difficult throughout the ages to form a society based on individual rights and responsibilities. The majority of people are sheep-like creatures, content to be herded, whether out in the fields to graze, or into the pens to be slaughtered. They want to be dominated. They want to be led around on a leash. They want to serve a hierarchical power structure that provides their every need for them. They want to be fleeced. They want to be taxed. They want Big Brother watching over their shoulder. They want pie-in-the-sky promises from politicians. They want spoon fed mass media. They want corporate advertising. They want pop culture. They want these things, they have them, and they aren’t going to give them up without a fight.
Anyone who has ever watched wildlife videos has probably seen the magnificent creatures that inhabit the wilds of Alaska, the northern parts of Canada, or even the most remote parts of Africa. Sadly, you have also probably noticed that these beautiful creatures are plagued by swarms of mosquitoes, gnats and flies. These animals mind their own business (grazing, mating, rearing young, running, hiding, and whatever else wild animals do), but the swarms never leave them alone. Their flesh quivers and shakes quite often as a method of making the parasites get off of them – if only for a second or two.
I am proposing “high tension system” as a descriptive term, as well as a generative theory behind it. I am mostly speaking in general terms, because although the application to government should be obvious, the concept can also be applied very widely to non-government systems. All systems exist to achieve certain stated goals, and by extension all systems have ways to be diverted from the intended, or desired goals. These systems can be usefully distinguished by whether they are dominated by positive feedback with respect to corrupting influences, such as government, or negative feedback, such as free markets and open source development.