Montreal, August 27, 2006 • No 190

 

OPINION

 

Christopher Awuku lives in England and works within the voluntary-community non-profit sector.

 
 

ONE LIBERTARIAN'S JOURNEY
T
OWARDS MARKET ANARCHY

 

by Christopher Awuku

 

          Ever since I have been politically aware, I have always possessed an inclination towards freedom-oriented ideologies. I think this is because freedom is something man, by nature, always seeks, irrespective of place, time period or circumstance. People in hunter-gatherer societies, for example, wouldn't make strides to achieve (say) economic equality, if such societies already lacked any great disparities in wealth.

 

          Once I became a principled libertarian, I was a staunch minarchist. As a minarchist, I naturally believed that a government (of very small size and scope) should exist within a libertarian society. The sole function of this government would be to uphold individual and property rights.

          Since I had spent all of my life living under a government, the concept of a lack of government didn't really appeal to me, nor seem an entirely rational or acceptable one to me. My opinions regarding minarchy even altered over time too. Initially I would have called for state ownership of the roads and the money supply. Gradually, I limited myself to advocating only for a judicial system, armed forces and a police force, out of some reflection.

          For a few years, I was quite content with the nature of my minarchism. However, things started to change. Around late 2005, I began to listen to a radio show called Free Talk Live. This is an American radio show, available over the Internet, which is soundly libertarian in its ethos and programming.

          One of the hosts of this show, Ian, is a self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist or "free markeeter," as he labels it. His views have inspired me since they denote a logical, clear and reasonable approach to the ideology of market anarchy, which I had seldom heard before. Prior to this, the only market anarchists I had encountered were those on Internet bulletin boards, who didn't really seem that receptive or agreeable when discussing ideas.

          At about the same period, I also discovered the podcasts of Stefan Molyneux, who is a libertarian writer from Canada. Molyneux's podcasts are very insightful and inspiring, and helped in also presenting a credible rationale for market anarchy. Molyneux also formulated the concept of Dispute Resolution Organisations (or DRO's), as a replacement for the current functions of the state, which seemed quite intriguing.
 

“As a libertarian, how could I oppose the initiation of force, yet still condone force in the form of a government?”


          The final act (or the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak) that swayed me to market anarchy was my own introspection and a thorough analysis of my own viewpoints. As a libertarian, how could I oppose the initiation of force, yet still condone force in the form of a government?

          A government would have to fund its operations in some manner and taxation is in all likelihood the most efficient means of doing this. To libertarians though, taxation is theft since it is a forcible transfer of money from the individual to the state. Clearly it would be contradictory for me to support the existence of government, if government had to be funded in this fashion. It would be like stating that cancer is bad, but limited cancer is good.

          Ultimately, my new reasoning was based upon a logical and consistent application of the principle of non-aggression. If no one is to initiate force against others' person or property, then this logically includes the government. Governments are made up of individuals, after all. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, John Reid, Jack Straw, John Prescott, et al are ALL individuals.

          Permitting the free market to conduct the operations of the state would reduce and eliminate force, since the free market is voluntary. People can choose between providers in a free market. One can choose whether to buy groceries at Tesco or Sainsbury's, or whether to buy fast food from McDonald's or KFC. Under the rule of the state, no one has the power to choose whether they submit to the state or not.

          Also, as a libertarian, I believe that ALL human interactions should be voluntary. If this is the case, then I possibly cannot support the existence of the state. No government, even "tolerant" liberal democracies, ever operates on voluntary means. All governments are coercive in nature, irrespective of the exact type and kind of government. If anything, this dilemma has taught me that minarchism is an intrinsically contradictory philosophy.

          Despite my change, I am still tolerant of minarchists at large, even if I suppose their beliefs are contrary in nature. However, my reformation means a lot to me, since I personally value being able to reflect on one's views and holding the wisdom to recognise whether one might be in error. I feel that true wisdom comes from stating that you know nothing and are eager to learn about the world around you.

          As of mid 2006, I now label myself as a market anarchist. As a libertarian, I shall continue to combat the initiation of force in human affairs and call for universal voluntary association. As a libertarian, I believe this shall lead to more happiness for more people.
 

 

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