I get a lot of feedback from people that takes the form “I like your ideas but I don’t think they will work.” The two most commonly-expressed rebuttals (stemming from fear and conditioning, I feel) are as follows:
1. “It is impossible to convince enough people of the merits of a voluntaryist paradigm, so some amount of force will always be practically required.” This argument was for years the stumbling block that prevented me from making real progress. The truth is that all social construction – be it voluntary or involuntary, shared conscious pioneering or elite social engineering – depends for its implementation on the acceptance by the majority; whether that acceptance is by consent, acquiescence or resignation, is a different matter. Every advocate should come to understand that there is a threshold of support they must reach for their idea to come to fruition. For a totalitarian, it is submission of the majority; for a liberal democrat it is acquiring a larger mandate than their approved competitor; for a libertarian, it is acquiring a larger mandate than the liberal democrats; for a voluntaryist, it is the spreading of non-violence to a workable majority (an amount of people who could both claim moral majority and adequately defend their selves against elite counter-revolution).
I especially want liberals and libertarians to consider one more point on this subject: if changing people’s minds (to accept the liberal agenda, or to accept a ‘limited’ government) is the goal, then you are tacitly admitting that all social change stems from changing people’s minds. Why then not take this idea to its logical conclusion and work on changing people’s minds to see the benefits of non-violence, voluntary cooperation and reason?
(I think the reason most liberals and libertarians do not is because deep down they are afraid of a truly voluntary paradigm)
2. The second rebuttal I generally get is:- Even if the people in a given polity were to commit to a voluntaryist paradigm they would in some way leave their selves vulnerable to outside forces.
The ‘power vacuum’ argument is obviously compelling to a lot of people (I myself was hindered by it as little as 5 years ago). The fact is, that if a group of people want to protect their selves from baddies who might infilitrate their community of non-violence, then there are two essential facts to consider:
i) If those people are sufficiently dedicated to non-aggression, then there IS no power to seize! Some guys can install their selves in a prominent building and declare a dictatorship, but if the rest of the people are deeply committed to voluntaryism, they will just make a mental note to ostracise him, and carry on with their free lives. Dictators need armies, and armies need brainwashed fools to carry on fighting for them. The more would-be soldiers that are ‘converted’ to voluntaryism (and this is happening much more than you think, even now!) the ‘power’ available to dictators becomes smaller and smaller. Which leads me nicely onto…
ii) The argument that “government is necessary for the defence” of the aforementioned group of people…
Let’s say that our test group of 1000 people have, on a philosophical level, understood and committed their selves to the principles of voluntaryism. Then one person puts their hand up and says “To protect us non-violent people against potential violent interlopers, we should create an institution that has a monopoly over the MEANS of violence”. What does this person ignore? i.e. what are the flaws of this argument?
a. If you create such an institution, the FIRST place those interlopers are gonna run to is that institution. At this point, and this point only, it represents a threat to their existence, being the predators they have come to be. They need only gain control of the institution and they are no longer at much threat at all. They have all the means of violence at their disposal, and the host populace to their parasitism will have a hard time redressing this imbalance of power thereafter.
b. The institution must, in order to maintain monopoly, allow for no distinction between retaliatory and initiating forms of violence. This is why, in all ‘Western’ polities, increasing controls have been rolled out to control the ownership of arms and the ‘rights’ of families and communities to their own defence (as an aside, note this has not been the same case with corporate interests).
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May voluntary cooperation come to a neighborhood near you soon!
Thanks for reading!