As next year’s election cycle draws near perhaps you, like me, are already exhausted (and disgusted) with the political process. There are no interesting ideas circulating on either end of the political spectrum. The average voter has absolutely no influence on the political process. Oligarchy is here and the traditional political process seems pretty pointless. The famous Gilens and Page Study actually provides hard data that what voters want is irrelevant. Special interests alone dictate whether or not a bill passes or a candidate gets into office. So, even if 90% of American citizens want to audit the Federal Reserve it’s not going to happen under the current system. So, if the political process is a game where the individual is set up for failure, then what are the solutions? How do we address problems like crime, crumbling infrastructure, economic growth, and national defense if the political system is not an option? The simple answer is that the market can best address all these issues. The difficult question is how do we go from the era of the nation state to the era of free markets and free individuals?
The next time one of your friends says “name one place where Anarcho-Capitalism has been tried,” you can proudly respond “The Republic of Cospaia.” For nearly four hundred years, this tiny republic thrived in central Italy with no government, no rulers, no military, no bureaucracy, and no taxes!
It has been said that carrying a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. This phrase has been running through my mind a lot as I read the comments made by Cuban American politicians upset over the thawing of relations between Cuba and the United States. To hear their hysterics you would think America was arming people who want to kill Americans (a policy they seem to support for the Middle East), instead of liberalizing trade and travel with one of our closest neighbors.
In the summer of 2004 I found myself and twenty other “classmates” doing push-ups, jumping jacks, and all manner of physical torture for over an hour, while my Marine Corps drill instructor (a five foot two black woman from Arkansas) screamed at us. She was inflicting upon our class a form of group punishment called “Remedial Physical Training” or RPT. This “training” usually consisted of doing one exercise after another all while the drill instructor yelled in our faces. This was a common occurrence during my twelve weeks in Naval Officer Candidate School, but this event stands out in my memory because the lesson our drill instructor was trying to drive home was the importance of questioning orders that do not make sense.
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.
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.
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.
The twentieth century was defined by the nation state, and the wars, which resulted from the clash of these leviathans as they competed for power and influence. The British, Soviet, American, German, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese empires all controlled nearly every square inch of the Earth at one time or another in the last century. There is one notable bastion of freedom that survived unscathed during this clash of empires, and it did so with no military. That country is Liechtenstein.
If you have never visited the tropical, Central American paradise that is Costa Rica than I highly recommend that you make it your next vacation stop. I have been twice, once with my wife, and again with my wife and infant child. I felt completely safe the entire time I was in the country, and was treated with kindness by the locals. The landscape is beautiful, the people are peaceful, and there has been no standing army since 1948.
One of the most common objections to a stateless society is “Who will provide the defense?” Doesn’t any nation with a weak military or no military suffer the same fate as Poland in WWII, subjection to a larger force bent on looting wealth, and enslaving the native population? It turns out the answer is “no.” There are a number of examples of states (just to be clear I am talking about sovereign nations) with no military. These are places that exist today in the 21st century, and many have been around for quite a while. They happily go about their lives with no standing army.