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The Case Against Libertarianism And Ancapism

1. What are Libertarianism, Voluntaryism, and Anarcho-Capitalism?

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that upholds Liberty and the Non-Aggression Principle as its core values. Libertarians seek minimal and/or minarchist governments.

Anarcho-Capitalism is a political and economic philosophy that seeks to abolish centralized states in favor of stateless societies with systems of private property enforced by private defense agencies, free markets, and the Non-Aggression Principle. Under Anarcho-Capitalism, all the functions of government would be replaced with private defense agencies and other non-statist institutions.

Voluntaryism is essentially the same thing as Anarcho-Capitalism, but the primary functions of government aren’t necessarily replaced by private defense agencies, as they can be administered by any non-statist institution. Voluntaryists emphasize “self-ownership” and the Non-Aggression Principle.

I used to be a Libertarian and an Ancap myself for about 4 years, so I’ve spent hundreds of hours thinking about this stuff, hence why this essay is so long. I wasted a lot of time believing in Libertarianism, so my hope is that this post will help open-minded Libertarians understand why Libertarianism is naive. Many of the claims stated in this article will include links to other blog posts that elaborate on the arguments made here.

Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is not the focus of this essay, but it’s notable for being an influential philosophy that inspired the morals held by many Libertarians and Ancaps. I was a Randian Objectivist for ~2 years during my Libertarian phase, so I’ve also written an essay that focuses on Ayn Rand’s Objectivism specifically.

For a shorter and more general list of reasons why Anarchism is anti-civilization, I strongly recommend: The Case Against Anarchism by Blithering Genius. For many people, that essay is not convincing enough for debunking Anarchism, and many of the arguments stated in Blithering Genius’s essay don’t apply against Libertarianism since non-anarchist Libertarians support a (minarchist) government, hence why I decided to write this much longer essay addressed against Libertarianism and Anarcho-Capitalism specifically.

To any Libertarians and Anarchists who may read this essay, I invite you to first consider the ideas within this another essay that I have written: Why It’s So Difficult To Change People’s Minds.

Disclaimer: It should be acknowledged that not all of the arguments made in this essay apply against all Libertarians or Ancaps. Some arguments are aimed towards Ancaps xor Libertarians specifically, or sometimes even factions of Libertarians or factions of Ancaps. In these cases, the arguments don’t necessary attack a spoke or hub of those people’s belief networks specifically, and the reader can move on to read another argument regarding a belief that they do believe in. Nevertheless, most of the arguments on this page do apply to most Libertarians and Ancaps.

2. The Libertarian NAP Is Vague And Misleading

The Libertarian Non-Aggression Principle is typically defined as an ethical rule prohibiting aggression (or actions that violate negative rights). But there are lots of disagreements among Libertarians regarding what the NAP prohibits, allows, and mandates since “aggression” is not clearly defined.

Some people might be inclined to believe that it’s obvious as to what counts as a negative right or not since it can be asked as a yes/no question, but it’s actually not that simple because there are infinitely many gray areas. Even if someone try to resolve the gray areas by definitively drawing a line in the sand, that is never going to be an end-all-be-all solution to defining the NAP because there will always be some people who disagree with where the line was drawn, whether that’s a small minority, or whether the disagreement is split half and half among the population. It is very dangerous to view morality as completely black and white.

Drawing lines for restricting “immoral” behaviors are indeed attempts to resolve gray areas and make the NAP less vague, but what good is that if not everybody can agree on where the line is drawn (i.e. Libertarians can’t agree on what the NAP should be)? Libertarians will probably never reach a consensus on being “pro-life” vs pro-choice, for instance.

2.1. The Problems With Deontological Ethics

Most libertarians are deontologists, so they view morality as a list of rules that shall never be violated. The justification for these rules is that at a macro-level these rules have consequences that cannot be considered at a micro-level. To put this in perspective, let’s take the example of lying. If a drug addict lies to a police officer about the presence of cocaine in his house, he can avoid getting arrested. But if too many people lie, then people won’t trust each other. Here the micro level concern is getting arrested, and the macro level concern is social trust.

For libertarians, the fundamental rule is “do not commit actions that harm others they did not consent to”, which is basically the NAP. The problem is that a lot of people won’t follow that rule without some kind of policing force, which requires violence.

In addition, deontology needlessly elevates the value of rules over the consequences of them. Rules cannot be reasonably formed without some sort of appeal to consequence, because it’s not possible to judge a value without another value to judge it by. When rules and values are made without appreciating the consequences of them, they become arbitrary and shitty. For example, you can’t explain why a rule saying that a man can have sex with whichever women he wants is a bad rule without an appeal to the consequences of that rule. You could argue that the first rule violates the autonomy of the women. However, you would need to justify why women are entitled to a certain amount of autonomy, which requires appealing to the consequences of implementing that autonomy. In these scenarios, the appeal of the NAP comes from reducing the amount of coercion that occurs. If the justification for the NAP ultimately appeals to consequences, then why not evaluate the actions and specific rules you make based on the consequences themselves rather than some general rule that doesn’t always work out?

It is true that rules are important for setting precedents. If people stole and pirated whenever they want in a society, people would be less incentivized to create wealth, which is a net negative. On the other hand, respecting private property creates a macro-level effect of encouraging wealth because people will think it won’t be stolen. However, would 10 acts of fraud intended to fund research into embryo selection be ethical? I would say yes – you increase the amount of utility in the society without severely damaging the precedent of private property. 10 acts of fraud are the kind of crime that makes the papers for a few days until people forget about it, rather than something that seriously undermines people’s trust.

Sure, people frequently engaging in actions that break rules would undermine the precedents that these rules uphold. However, there are clearly violations of rules that don’t break the precedent they set. Let’s take private property as an example. When people having a right to property, that incentivizes them to protect it and create more value. Taxing people at the threat of incarceration would be a violation of private property. However, if these taxes are used for institutions that help uphold private property, then there is no moral objection to it as they are massively preventing the very thing they are violating.

There are plenty of cases where Deontological Ethics leads to undesirable outcomes:

  • Valuing “freedom” for freedom’s sake gets in the way of establishing the most ideal rules and principles for creating an ideal society. Moral purity is a distraction. If we delude ourselves into believing that big tech companies have the moral right to censor whatever they want on their own platforms, then the end result is a society that de facto has no free speech, since it’s not possible to gain the benefits of free speech when there’s no other way to broadcast one’s ideas to a large audience due to the censorship by Big Tech and the Network Effect. On the other hand, if we recognize that free speech is important for a society, and we take a consequentialist approach to free speech, then we’ll end up with a society that truly reaps the benefits of free speech and is better off because of it.
  • Some Libertarians are in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing drunk driving on the basis that it doesn’t necessarily harm others, but this would only increase the number of traffic accidents and death.
    • Even more confusingly, some of them point out how laws against drunk driving like security checkpoints can be abused to infringe on people’s individual freedom, but this would be consequentialist justification, not a deontological one.
  • Adamantly supporting “property rights” leads to opposition against Georgism, which in turn leads to worse outcomes for everybody.
  • Libertarians tend to oppose term limits since they argue that people can always vote incumbent politicians out of office, so term limits exist in a sense. But this is illogical, the absence of term limits for legislators is a clear net-negative to society.
  • Most minarchists would agree that everybody should have a right to an attorney or representative during a court trial. While this grants a positive right to the attorney’s labor to the defendant, it’s ultimately justified by consequentialist ethics.
  • Pretty much everything else listed in all the other sections of this essay, honestly.

Furthermore, arguing that people should be held accountable for their actions can only be soundly defended from a consequential point of view.

2.2. Negative Rights Require Positive Rights For Their Enforcement

Negative rights require positive rights for their enforcement. The right not to be assaulted implies the right to justice if you do get assaulted. Negative rights requires positive rights to: the labor of the police, detectives, lawyers, and the entire justice system.

Law enforcement isn’t needed because people can defend themselves.

That implies that disabled people have weaker negative rights. For example, some might struggle to defend their family from a murderer. Hence, they have a weaker right to life.

(This argument applies towards Libertarians specifically, not Ancaps. See the introduction disclaimer.)

2.3. Every Existing Organism Can Only Exist At The Cost Of Another

From a purely biological perspective, it is a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle to just exist since any organism’s mere existence requires consuming resources that someone else could be deprived of. Life becomes a zero-sum game when a population reaches the carrying capacity of the environment. (Note that life is not a zero-sum game when the carrying capacity is increasing like it is modern times, but carrying capacities cannot increase forever). Every Libertarian would agree that if someone attacks someone else in order to steal their land and resources, then the attacker broke the NAP, but it’s less clear if that’s really a violation of the NAP when a population is well above the carrying capacity of its environment.

For example, if there are 20 people on a deserted island but only enough calories to feed 10 people, is it really a violation of the NAP for some of those 20 people to kill the others in order to secure their continued existence? If they don’t kill their competitors, their competitors may kill them first, but then the competitors would have the exact same justification as well since everybody knows that there aren’t enough calories on the island to feed everybody. The people who eliminate their competitors will be the ones who survive to live another day and reproduce, so everybody has strong selfish incentives to kill the other people inhabiting the island. If the NAP is going to apply equally to everybody on the island, then it ought to be the case that every living person is aggressing against every other living person by merely existing and consuming calories that the other people would need in order to survive.

Libertarians might object that this is a rare and unlikely scenario, and thus not worth considering, but it is actually a very common scenario, as humanity has lived at its carrying capacity for most of its history, with the main exception being the history during and after the Industrial Revolution (this won’t last). Humans have been killing each other throughout all of human history because resources one’s own survival always comes at the cost of somebody else once the environment’s carrying capacity has been reached.

This is the why cities and densely-populated jurisdictions tend to be less Libertarian than rural areas. Bigger governments are necessary for higher populations in order to resolve the increased number of game-theoretic conflicts.

Just because someone has “more resources” and I have “less resources”, that doesn’t mean that they win and I lose. We can both win if I am better off with less and they with more, hence life is not a zero-sum game.

I know that, and I personally don’t need a lot of resources to be happy either. But the point here is not about how much resources a person is consuming. The bottom line is that every person’s or organism’s mere existence is initiating at least some aggression towards any living thing that could be using the resources used to sustain that organism for itself instead. The scarcity of resources is what causes Life to be intrinsically violent and competitive. Even if someone tries to use as few resources as possible for financial reasons, environmental reasons, or personal taste, there are still other humans / organisms that would benefit if they could consume the energy needed to sustain that person for themselves instead. When populations reach the carrying capacities of their environments (i.e. there are more organisms than resources), every organism’s existence imposes competition, which leads to aggression, which leads to NAP violations. The entire Libertarian NAP spectrum is incompatible with human nature.

But human civilization is not zero-sum. The Modern World has plenty of resources for everyone.

So did Ireland in 1843. The next year they had a famine and mass emigration. No one saw it coming, and no one expected it be as bad as it was. (See: Debunking Chapters 6 through 9 of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty).

Again, life is not a zero-sum game when the carrying capacity (as it currently is in modern times). But carrying capacities cannot increase forever), if life isn’t currently a zero-sum game, it will become one eventually, just as it has been for nearly all of human history. Resources are finite, infinite population growth is unsustainable, and overpopulation is a free-rider problem.

We also currently live in the most abnormal and unpredictable times in human history. The world has never experienced anything like the Industrial Revolution before.

2.4. List Of Ethical Topics That Libertarians/Ancaps Could Disagree On

Two Libertarians might say that they both believe in the NAP (whatever they think that is), but if we dig deeper and ask more specific questions, we’ll find that they actually disagree on a number of issues regarding the NAP, such as the following:

  • Abortion?
  • Capital Punishment?
  • Veganism?
  • Animal Rights?
  • Children’s Rights?
  • Rainwater Rights?
  • Pollution Laws?
  • Is Private Property based on Labor or Original Appropriation?
  • Should land value taxes be collected? If yes, then how so?
  • Intellectual Property Rights? Copyrights? Trademarks? Patents?
  • The appropriate penalties, fines, and jail times for committing any type of crime, or breaking the laws?
  • When Democracy Is Valid (If Ever)?
  • The legality to open carry firearms?
  • Can people be naked or topless in public?
  • The legality of loitering?
  • What Should The Age Of The Majority Be?
  • What should the age of consent be?
  • Immigration? (perhaps in and out of a private city)
  • What Procedure Should Be Followed For The Court System?
  • One-Party Or Two-Party Consent For Revealing Private Communications?
  • The Legality Of Blackmailing?
  • Should it be legal for parents to starve their children to death?
    • Some Ancaps say “yes”, others say “no”
  • Legal Status and Procedures regarding Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders?
  • Legal Status and Procedures regarding someone deemed mentally-incompetent
    • Who/what authority can deem someone mentally-incompetent?
  • Should drunk driving be legal?
  • Should pitbulls be banned?
  • The Validity of Argumentation Ethics?
  • Is it ethical to have children without their consent?
  • Is it okay to indoctrinate children?
  • What counts as indoctrination?
  • What counts as deception?
  • How should parents raise their children?
  • Et Cetera. This isn’t even a complete list of all the ways how Libertarians might disagree with each other.

The bottom line here is that morality is subjective, “aggression” is subjective, and the NAP is also subjective. That means that there’s at least dozens or hundreds of different conceptions of the NAP, instead of just one. It’s insufficient to define a legal code only according to the NAP because there’s simply too much variation and ambiguity regarding what people would consider to be “aggression” or “non-aggression” for such a legal code to mean anything. A legal code would have to be much more specific and rigid because people will disagree on what counts as negative rights, and then some. The consequence of any such rigidly defined legal code would be the exclusion of Libertarians from a different Libertarian society.

Not only are there too many disagreements to make polycentric law possible, but polycentric law creates more problems than it solves for it to ever be practical. Likewise, the geopolitical problems created by secessions are too serious to make private cities viable. Whether the proposal is for polycentric law, private cities, or even a world of microstates, it will never be possible to create enough legal systems that can perfectly satisfy every single Libertarian.

It’s more accurate to think of the Libertarian NAP as a spectrum of Non-Aggression Principles that tends to favor negative rights, depending on what people think should and should not count as negative rights.

2.5. Propertarianism: Different Legal Systems Have Different NAPs

In a way, this world already has exactly what Ancaps are asking for. “Aggression” has no clear definition, so if people disagree with the American version of the NAP, they can migrate to Canada and live under the Canadian version of the NAP instead. If they still don’t like that, then they can also choose to opt-out for the Mexican NAP, the Japanese NAP, the Australian NAP, the German NAP, the Afghanistan NAP, the Nigerian NAP, the Swiss NAP, and so forth. If every person does some researching, they can shop around and find a legal jurisdiction that has a decent interpretation of the NAP that they’re looking for (assuming that they can leave their current jurisdiction, and that their destination of choice will accept them). This is essentially the same thing as Propertarianism.

But we don’t want to move to a different country because there are no Ancapistan jurisdictions that enforce the NAP.

If we lived in an Ancapistan/Propertarian world, then the motto “if you don’t like it, then leave” is essentially what Ancaps tell anybody who’s in a similar situation where they don’t like a rule(s) regarding where they currently live. So, how is it any different when someone tells that same motto to an Ancap in the real world (i.e. “if you don’t like this jurisdiction, then move to a different one”)?

With so many options for “opting-out” available to them, how could anyone reasonably argue that it’s not possible for Ancaps to opt-out of the laws that they live under today? It’s not clear how Ancapistan would be any different. If Ancaps can’t even be satisfied with migrating to a different jurisdiction with different laws when there are at least hundreds to choose from, this suggests that Propertarianism and the freedom to migrate somewhere else (or opt-out) won’t be sufficient for resolving every human’s moral disagreements with one another.

It’s also not clear what the Libertarian conception of “Self-Ownership” is exactly or what it entails. Libertarians who believe in the Labor Theory of Property or Georgist Theory of Property will insist that self-ownership includes being able to keep the fruits of one’s labor, while Ancaps who favor the OATP have convoluted and confused beliefs regarding the fruits of one’s labor.

3. Libertarianism Is Incompatible With Human Nature And Biological Realism

  • Overpopulation is a real, imminent threat to humanity. If population control is not enforced, then humanity is destined to face famine, war, and disease caused by overpopulation beyond the Earth’s carrying capacity and the depletion of the Earth’s resources. See this FAQs page for more information.
  • Eugenic Population Control (EPC) is necessary in order to preserve modern civilization in a world where the traditional constraints on evolution have disappeared due to modern technology. See this FAQs page for more information.
  • It’s a good idea to have immigration controls within an individualist country, especially since genes are the main factor controlling how individualist a person’s personality is. Even Stefan Molyneux recognizes that mass immigration is incompatible with Libertarianism due to race realism.
  • Genetics and culture, genes and memes go hand in hand. Adaptive coherence is the reason that people and ideologies are not interchangeable cogs. It is the reason why you can’t simply impose liberal European society on Afghan Muslims and expect it to work. It is the reason why tribal people don’t assimilate well into civilized societies and vice versa. It is why people tend to self-segregate based on biological and cultural differences. By the same reasoning, you can’t impose individualist Libertarianism onto the entire world and expect that it will work harmoniously everywhere.
  • Similarly to leftists, many Libertarians argue that it’s “racist” to monitor areas that have predominantly Black, Amerindian, or Hispanic demographics more strongly, even if they have higher crime rates. Monitoring areas that have higher crime is not racist at all, and it’s necessary for effective policing, if a government wishes to protect its citizens. If anything, policing such areas is one of the best things that police departments can do for their citizens.
  • Due to the intrinsic selfishness and competitiveness of human nature, it is necessary for government to solve problems of cooperation that are necessary for sustaining civilization, many of which Libertarians and Ancaps fail to address.
  • Resource depletion is a real concern. It is horribly mistaken to believe that humans will never run out of resources when they live on a planet with a finite amount of material resources. Natural Resources Taxation is the most logical solution.

A lot of Libertarians keep repeating that we currently live in the prosperous times in human history, and while that is technically true, we’re also heading for collapse. Modern civilization has been going on a downhill trajectory ever since the 2000s began (especially since 2001-09-11).

3.1. Inclination Towards Individualism Is Determined Mostly By Genetics

Most Libertarians are inclined to insist that race doesn’t matter, that “there’s only individuals”, that race realism is pseudo-science, and that race and genetics don’t matter for how individualistic, intelligent, hard-working a person can be, but there are several problems with believing this:

There is plenty of evidence to prove that genes are the main factor controlling how individualist a person’s personality is. In the serotonin transporter gene for example, East Asians are significantly more likely to have the short “S” allele compared to Europeans who are relatively more likely to have the longer “L” allele, which may be a contributing factor to the more collectivist culture in East Asia versus the more individualist culture in Europe. Source

Read More: Genetic and Hormonal Differences Affect People’s Beliefs.

3.2. Mass Immigration Will Make Western Countries Less Individualist

Once one understands race realism, it’s no surprise why Libertarianism has very little popularity in non-Western societies, which generally tend to be culturally collectivist. The only region in the world where Libertarianism has a sizable amount of popularity is the West, since Europeans have the most individualist genes. I’m not saying that individualism is necessarily good or necessarily bad, because clearly both individualist and collectivist cultures can be evolutionarily advantageous since they are more common worldwide, but what I am saying is that’s it’s naive to believe that every culture and society around the world can and/or will become individualist as well. For the most part, Libertarianism has already gained most of the followers that it will ever have, and this is one of many reasons why Libertarianism will never be achieved. Adaptive Coherence explains why it’s unrealistic to expect that memetic ideologies like Libertarianism can be successfully imposed on people whose genes are incompatible with the memes.

In fact, individualism is destined to become less and less common as more collectivist people migrate to Western countries and have higher fertility rates than the native individualist-leaning Western populations. Libertarianism and pro-immigration may be ideologically consistent since they are both individualist positions, but supporting mass immigration will ironically make individualist countries less individualist in the long run, due to the Thermodynamics of Globalization. Immigration would also lower the wages of the native population, which would decrease their birth rates even further, so proposing immigration as a “solution” to low birth rates would only make the problem even worse. The United States is the most Libertarian country in the world because it is the most individualist country in the world. Its founding and environment created a country where more individualist-minded people were tempted to migrate to. Unfortunately, the prosperity and high individualism of the United States is destined to cease by the end of the century.

It should also be noted that approximately two-thirds of all Libertarians are men and 94% of Libertarians are non-Hispanic whites. This extremely skewed sex and racial distribution should be very indicative of just how important race, biological sex, and other genetic factors are for determining what ideologies someone is inclined to believe in (and why fringe ideologies like Libertarianism will never be popular).

To be clear, even if greater quantities of individualist genes, races, and countries existed across the world, that might give Libertarianism greater mass appeal, but that still wouldn’t do anything to the resolve the inability of Libertarianism to create a long-term prosperous society.

Libertarians also tend to be more educated and have higher incomes than most people. Perhaps this indicates that they are more logical thinkers and are hard-working than most people on average. But we should recognize that Libertarians would probably be less keen on Libertarianism if they weren’t so well-off themselves. Morality naturally involves hypocrisy. To quote from What is Morality?:

Being selfish, individuals naturally try to maximize social benefits and rights, and minimize social costs and responsibilities. In other words, they advocate for themselves within the social environment. Much of this advocacy involves appealing to moral values. The individual argues that his actions are morally good, and what is good for him is morally good. For example, a rich man might claim that his wealth is a just reward for his contribution to society, while a poor man might claim that his poverty is due to accident or oppression, and thus he is deserving of charity. – Blithering Genius

One last thought. Theoretically, the political groups with the highest fertility rates are going to eventually be the ones who get what they want as the centuries go by, assuming that their children vote similarly to their parents, the elections are fair, etc, etc. But the reason why we don’t notice this yet in the real world is that democracy has only become so recently to Western societies in around the world within the last 200 some to 50 years, so democracy has only existed in human societies for a very short time span, especially in the current form of democracy. So maybe it’s the case that given a few generations of subtle variations or so on that the people the highest fertility rates will get whatever they want eventually. That’s one theory anyway.

Related Video: The Case Against Mass Immigration.

3.3. Cornucopianism Is Wrong And Overpopulation Is Real

Libertarians promote Cornucopianism due to ideological reasons rather than practical reasons. No one is denying that Malthus was wrong. But that doesn’t mean that the concepts of overpopulation and ecological overshoot are incorrect, not applicable to humans, and/or not a risk which bears investigation. Ecological overshoot is a real phenomenon and a likely existential threat to humanity.

Also see:

For more information, see: Overpopulation FAQs.

3.4. Overpopulation is a Free-Rider Problem

4. Libertarians Neglect Game Theory

Government is necessary for doing quality urban planning since there are many conflicts of interest at stake for designing cities. Urban planning is very important because it affects future societal and economical outcomes.

Global government is a good idea since it is the only way to prevent Tragedies of the Commons from happening on a global scale. The humanist ideology of the United Nations is a terrible basis for a global government, but if a rational ideology that understands evolution well was the hypothetical global government’s ideology instead, then the arguments against global government aren’t really any better than the standard arguments given against any form of government.

Laws against collecting rainwater are ridiculous and authoritarian.

The intuition for this belief comes from the fact that it’s a really simple thing to do, and that many people rely on this for getting their water. Most anarchists would see it as their right to get water if they collected it via their own labor. However, it is actually very reasonable to have rational regulations against collecting rainwater for the purpose of preventing a Tragedy of the Commons where everybody (or even just a few insistent people) collects as much free rainwater for themselves, at the cost of disrupting groundwater, aquifers, rivers, and the general flow of the water cycle. Just because collecting rainwater is easy and simple and water is necessary to live, that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any regulations against it when it comes to society’s best interests. Anarchists and other shallow thinkers fail to realize this because they fail to recognize the importance of government in resolving game theoretical problems.

Open-carry is not a good idea for the same reason why public nudity is not a good idea. It disturbs the peace, and it’s not advantageous anyway since concealed-carry is superior from a game-theoretic perspective.

Lastly, game theory debunks the idea that running third parties is a feasible strategy for seizing power in a two-party first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system. Perhaps running third-party candidates would incentivize the two-party candidates to adopt more third-party positions in order to attract third-party voters, but there is no evidence that this actually happens in practice, especially since it could potentially alienate the people who already plan to vote for them. No third-party candidate is likely to ever have a shot of winning the election unless FPTP voting is eliminated. Even then, replacing FPTP probably won’t improve democracy. At best, running third-party candidates is a way for Libertarians to increase the amount of public attention that they receive. While I agree that it does a good job at accomplishing that, it probably doesn’t significantly increase the number of people who will become long-term Libertarians since a person’s receptiveness to Libertarianism is strongly influenced by genetics.

4.1. Ancaps Are Even Worse At Game Theory

Proponents of polycentric law argue that it’s possible for multiple different legal systems to operate on the same territory (for an example, listen to 1:23:51 of this debate). The reasoning is that the enforcers of each legal system ostensibly have a strong incentive to avoid war and conflict with the other legal systems because it would presumably decrease their profits and cause potential buyers to switch to more peaceful legal providers instead.

This is the root justification that Ancaps give for why they believe that polycentric law wouldn’t fail. The main problem with this argument is that just because something is very costly, destructive, or undesirable for both sides, that doesn’t mean that it will never happen. If that were true, then Prisoner’s Dilemmas would not exist in Game Theory. There are countless wars and battles in human history where the war made both sides worse off, and yet they all happened anyway because both sides thought that they were going to win and that the gains from winning would outweigh the costs of war (or alternatively, both sides knew the costs would be extreme, but they had to keep fighting anyway to defend and preserve whatever might remain for their side after the war finally ends). Humans are especially likely to attack others if they perceived the attacks or battles to be in their self-interest, if they evaluated the costs to be short-term and the gains to be long-term, or if they’re extremely self-righteous and they believe that they have a moral duty to enforce their religion/rules/etc on other people. In a polycentric law society, legal providers are not going to be concerned with generating the most profit. Instead, they are going to be obsessed with doing whatever they believe is “morally right”, even if that decreases their profits.

In an Ancap society, people will always choose to cooperate and engage in free trade because cooperation makes both sides better off than if they worked alone.

The problem with this argument is similar to the problem with the justification for polycentric law, but with positive incentives instead of negative ones. Just because something is mutually beneficial for both sides, that doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to happen. If mutual cooperation that causes mutual benefit was always guaranteed, then Prisoner’s Dilemmas would not exist in Game Theory. Once again, human history is filled with innumerous instances and examples where both sides could’ve been better off if they cooperated, and yet both sides failed to cooperate.

Even if two or more parties do agree to cooperate, it’s not always guaranteed that one side won’t defect, especially if they have strong incentives to defect, hence why cooperation is not a good standard for believing in objective morality. People will only cooperate if they have a guarantee that the other side will cooperate too and not defect. That’s why the state is necessary to establish the free market. The state punishes people who steal from others, so people choose to work and trade the fruits of their labor with others instead of stealing from others. Read more: Why Cooperation Is Not Objectively Moral, Even If Would Produce The Most Wealth.

See Also: Anarcho-Capitalism Debate: Trust And Being Able To Switch Providers.

Third-Party Arbitrators, or Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs), cannot exist since people will simply choose to not accept the terms if they lose. Ancaps may point to examples like eBay, but these examples are not true examples of third-party arbitration since they exist within the context of a state-governed society where eBay is ultimately backed by law-enforcement.

Game theory concludes that free markets can only be established by government. To conclude otherwise requires circular reasoning.

Lastly, while it is true that nuclear weapons have enabled the most peaceful time in human history with the fewest wars of any era, we also need to seriously recognize that there is a major prisoner’s dilemma regarding the world’s nuclear weapons arsenals. Theoretically, all it could take to destroy modern civilization around the world is for one nuclear-armed country to step out of line.

The Prisoner's Dilemma Between Militaries
Figure 1: The Prisoner’s Dilemma Between Militaries, CC BY-SA 3.0, by CXJ Jensen.

4.2. Valuing individual rights over collective rights is often infeasible

4.3. Voluntary Self-Protection Versus The Free-Rider Problem

People won’t need the protection of the state as long as people are free to form mutual protection agreements.

This is not true. Unless there is a top-down authority that will ensure that everybody will protect the community when called upon to do so, there will be a free-rider problem because members of a voluntary army would be incentivized to not protect the community so that they don’t have to put their life on the line, while they still get the benefits of everybody else doing the actual fighting and defending. The end result will be that the voluntary army only consists of ghost soldiers.

The same argument applies when conscription is necessary to defend a country, whether that be Israel, Taiwan, Finland, South Korea, etc. The fact is that if those countries didn’t require conscription, they would cease to exist as we know it because they would all be invaded by their aggressive neighbors. If Finland didn’t have a well-trained, well-equipped military with mandatory conscription, it’s very possible that Russia would’ve attacked Finland instead of Ukraine in 2022 since Finland is a smaller, less-populated country that would be much easier to conquer if it had a Libertarian military.

On the other hand, the ancap army could have an authority that will ensure that every person on the military rolls is guaranteed to fight if the community is under attack. In order to do this, it would have to punish defectors, and that would avoid the free-rider problem. But in that case, it wouldn’t be a voluntary army anymore. It would just be another state.

States that don’t require conscription will eventually be replaced by states that do require conscription, especially if they have geography that makes the territory vulnerable to foreign invasions. That’s why most modern countries (especially ones that are located in regions where there is the imminent threat of being attacked by one of their close neighbors (e.g. Israel, Finland, South Korea, etc)) have systems in place to draft their citizens (or even mandatory military service for the aforementioned countries), should a war ever break out that requires more manpower than their militaries. Most governments retain the power to draft their citizens because it creates a more politically stable state (assuming that the population believes that the wars in question are worth fighting for). This is what natural selection (in terms of countries) selects for.

But conscription makes it easier to exploit the populace.

Free-rider problems still make it more likely the populace to be exploited by foreign militaries. Most countries and most people would agree that using conscription to solve the free-rider problem regarding self-defense is more preferable than increasing the risk that the entire country will be conquered and exploited by a foreign enemy.

Voluntary armies would be paid based on their performance, so there would still be incentives for soldiers to defend the country.

War may be reasonably and predictably lethal enough that no amount of money could persuade most people to fight. When the threat of death is imminent and not just theoretical, conscription is necessary if a country is going to have any at chance at survival.

4.4. Regarding Standing Armies

There is always a chance that the army will defect, start a coup, or oppress the people.

That’s true, but if there is no standing army, then the populace and militia will be the only form of protection of protection left, and it is dubious that a militia would be effective against invaders due to: 1. the Free-Rider Problem, and 2. the fact that the militia will be less trained and less prepared than a standing army. If it is up to the populace themselves to defend the territory, then it might be the case that nobody defends the territory due to the free-rider problem.

But what if the army is only ghost soldiers?

Then we need to investigate why the army doesn’t have more loyalty to the state, and their incentives for not fighting. If this is true, then it’s beneficial to have both a standing army and an armed militia.

But a standing army isn’t necessary to defend a country. Look at how the Vietnamese Communists won against the United States. Or how the Afghanis won against the USSR.

These may be good examples of how the defenders won against the invaders without a professional army, but the United States absolutely could’ve won against the Communists if they tried harder, since the North Vietnamese would’ve eventually ran out of troops. The only reason why the US lost was because the government lost the support of the people in the war. Ditto for the Soviet-Afghan War. I talk more about this here: Libertarian Ignorance Of Geopolitical Realities.

And even if militias are sufficient for winning defensive wars, why take any chances? The defending country will be greatly damaged even if they “win” the war. Instead, it’s better to have a standing army to improve the country’s national defense.

A standing army is also needed so that other countries are deterred by the threat of retaliation. For example, the United States invaded Canada during the War 1812 in retaliation to the British Empire’s internment of Americans sailors, but the invasion of Canada by the American militias was a complete failure since the American Army was not well-trained against the much better trained British soldiers. The British then captured Detroit, Michigan and burned the White House in Washington D.C. The war was ultimately a stalemate for both sides, but there is a much higher chance that the United States would’ve won if it had a professional standing army.

Likewise, if a country like Ukraine did not have a standing army before the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine, not only would far fewer of its inhabitants bother protecting the country due to the Free-Rider Problem, but those left defending the country would be less trained, less organized, and less prepared to defend their territory against the invasion. It’s hard to believe that having a standing army would always make a country less safe in every situation.

The best case scenario is that the standing armies act as a deterrent against foreign invaders. I don’t deny that a well-armed populace could also be a deterrent, but it still isn’t as effective as a military with tanks, planes, warships, military-grade training, etc.

5. Libertarian Ignorance Of Geopolitical Realities

Libertarians tend to be ignorant of geopolitical realities. Military spending is not a waste if it secures rational national security interests, whether that be preventing wars, protecting free trade routes, securing natural resources, etc. Yes, the military is susceptible for corruption and killing innocent people, but that’s an argument for structuring the government to be less vulnerable to corruption, not an argument for not having a military. I strongly recommend watching episodes from the Caspian Report Youtube Channel for better understanding geopolitics.

For example, Reason.com blamed NATO (a defensive alliance where all members join with democratic support) for allegedly aggravating Russian aggression, even though Russia has a history invading its neighbors and a well-known Russian interest to restore the USSR:

“Instead of reorganizing what had always been a defensive alliance, NATO during the 1990s went on the offensive. First, it admitted new member states that had previously been part of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, like Poland and Bulgaria. …”

Moreover, the world should have already learned from 1939 that appeasement is not an option for ending international wars. If Ukraine brokered a deal to let Russia keep its annexed territories, Russia would simply attack Ukraine again and again in the future until they finally take over the entire country. Unless Russia’s leadership changes, Russia will not stop until it accomplishes the rest of their outdated geopolitical desires and worldview. But that hasn’t stopped Reason.com from foolishly arguing that Ukraine and the West should be willing to negotiate Ukraine’s territory.

Reason.com has also argued that the Russian Invasion of Ukraine demonstrates that wars are too costly to be worth fighting in the modern world due to modern weaponry, similarly to the failed Afghanistan and Vietnam Wars (see the next paragraph). There are several problems with this analysis. First, war can be worth its cost if your side wins. Second, the Russians were very poorly prepared to invade Ukraine. Before the invasion, most geopolitical analyses concluded that Russian forces would be insufficient to conquer Ukraine. The Russians are not failing to conquer Ukraine because modern-era wars are too costly to fight, but rather because they didn’t allocate enough troops, conscripts, training, weaponry, allies (Belarus and North Korea), planning, and other preparations to help them win the war. Additionally, the Russian military uses a very inefficient push logistics system of a pull logistics system like that of the United States military. The point that I’m trying to convey in this paragraph is not that the Russian Federation should be doubling down on its invasion of Ukraine (it should if it wants to win), but rather that the failure of the Russian Invasion is not an argument in favor of the futility of war supposed by Libertarians.

Most Americans view the Korean War as being a worthy war, and the Vietnam War as being a failed war. But to the contrary, the Vietnam War would’ve been worth fighting too if the United States didn’t withdraw. The Vietnam War was the first televised war, so the US lost the support of the people since the media caused the public to view the Vietnam War very negatively. By contrast, the Korean War killed millions more people than the Vietnam War and its conditions were just as brutal. It’s also reported that if the Americans didn’t withdraw, the North Vietnamese would’ve eventually surrendered since they would’ve eventually ran out of troops. You can always argue that you can’t put a price on human life (a view that’s more common than ever in our Humanist-dominated world), but we have to recall that the primary geopolitical struggle facing the Earth back in the 1960s was the pervasive infiltration of Communism across the world. The people of those times had different concerns and moral values to the point where most people initially believed that the war was worth fighting, especially if it would’ve prevented yet another Communist takeover in Asia, had the Americans not given up.

While foreign aid to other countries is often a bad thing because it is altruistic and highly susceptible to corruption, it can still be strategic if it’s a political favor and it wins foreign and geopolitical interests. For example, Poland has had a tendency to send small contingents to fight in wars along the side the United States since the 1990s. Poland’s intention for doing this is to have a bargaining chip that make the United States somewhat more obligated to defend Poland if the country gets invaded by a foreign power. If the United States does come to the aid of Poland, then this will be a successful example of foreign aid that suits the country’s collective interests.

There is also a geopolitical dilemma with switching from gas-powered vehicles to EVs.

5.1. The Geopolitical Problems With Allowing Secessions

It’s almost never a rational decision to divide a country, unless there are ethnic, religious, linguistic, and/or political differences that are drastic enough to justify such a division. Some good examples include: the division of the Balkans over the 20th century, the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, or the independence of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011. In most other cases however, dividing the country is simply too geopolitically impractical for it to justify the internal turmoil and international strife that it would cause.

If Republicans and Democrats disagree over the morality and legal code of the United States, then the country should be divided in half.

It is physically impossible to separate all the Republicans and Democrats into different geographic territories since they both live all over the United States. And even if there was a major anti-American secession within some territory in the United States, that would severely degrade all of the United States’ geopolitical, economic, and international influence around the world. If America were divided in twine, geopolitical enemies/rivals of the US like Russia and China would jump at the opportunity to support the secessionist movement as a proxy war that could further weaken the United States. Not to mention that the Left will never allow a Red state to simply leave and be left alone. If a union of Red states seceded from the United States, the leftists would probably do everything they can to sabotage and/or destroy their ideological enemies.

Governments should provide an “opt-out option”, so that they don’t violate people’s consent.

Secession does not lead to peace. Secession leads to war, whether they be civil wars and/or proxy conflicts where foreign powers support and reinforce the rebels. As an example, consider the Berber secessionist movement in Algeria. Algeria’s greatest geopolitical rival is Morocco. If the Berbers in Algeria did secede from Algeria, then Morocco would exploit the opportunity by arming the rebels and backing them in a proxy war that could weaken Algeria. For similar reasons, I would support a theoretical secession movement in an enemy country (e.g. Russia, China, etc) if it would weaken the geopolitical opponents of the United States and the Western World in general, but I would never support such a movement in any Western countries. The entire world would be closer to achieving the Pragmatopian vision for Earth if China and the Russian Federation were to both collapse and be replaced with Western-aligned governments.

For similar reasons, if Ancap private cities controlled the world, they can’t just let a territory secede whenever they want because an existential geopolitical risk could jeopardize the private city’s ability to protect their customers/citizens from foreign threats, which would hurt the profitability of their businesses/countries.

Allowing people to “opt-out” of society could also cause various Tragedies of the Commons. The prevention of pollution, the protection of a country’s natural resources, and the enforcement of the country’s laws are all game-theoretic problems that require the attention of a government, so Ancap secessions cannot be allowed.

See paragraph 109 of Industrial Society And Its Future for Ted Kaczynski’s thoughts on the American Revolution. To elaborate upon it, if the United States never seceded from the British Empire, then there would essentially be a “Mega-Canada” that would be similar to both Canada and the United States, but bigger. Between the 1700s to 1900s, almost everybody who migrated to the USA within our timeline would’ve instead migrated to Mega-Canada, thus making the country more Libertarian as a whole. The US Bill of Rights was not created during the American Revolution, but if the US never seceded, then Mega-Canada probably would’ve invented something similar if it had a similarly individualistic population that would’ve created the political will and desire for one. There would be other minor differences, but the people of Mega-Canada would probably have more individual freedom than Canadians in our timeline, but less than Americans. In some ways, Mega-Canada would be better than the modern US since it would have a parliament instead of a presidency.

Lastly, if Ancaps are interested in creating their own “society” that’s free from government interference, then wouldn’t it make more sense to set up a private city in Antarctica? Settling existing land is more economically feasible than seasteading. Moreover, there are areas of Antarctica that are currently not claimed by any government, like Marie Byrd Land (which also happens to be the Antarctic land that is the most likely to warm up to more suitable temperatures in the future by global warming). Additionally, the Antarctic Treaty System forbids countries from recognizing existing claims to land in Antarctica. These two facts would safeguard an Ancap private city in Antarctica from any geopolitical interference by a foreign government. So, colonizing Antarctica would be easier than seceding from an existing country, in most cases. If Ancaps complain that allowing them to colonize Antarctica is not a valid concession due to the poor quality and undesirability of Antarctic land, then that reaffirms the point that not all land is equally valuable (according to economic markets), which reaffirms the impracticality of the OATP, assuming that one values free markets.

5.2. Historical Examples Of Secessions Leading To Instability, Conflicts, And Wars

Countries are naturally tempted to capture or invade enclaves belonging to other countries or territories, as a matter of national pride and national/ethnic/historical unity. It’s strange how Libertarians point out how it is humiliating and a national embarrassment for the locals of a country when a foreign power occupies part of their country with military bases, yet they don’t recognize that the same reasoning applies to seceding microstates. Examples:

  • Both the Communists and the Nationalists were opposed to having Hong Kong remain under British rule, and Macau remain under Portuguese rule. If there was one thing that both Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong could agree on, it’s that China shouldn’t be divided.
  • India annexed the enclave territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portugal in 1954.
  • India wouldn’t tolerate Portugal’s unwillingness surrender the Portuguese colony of Goa. In 1961, India annexed Goa from the Portuguese Empire, to unite Goa with the rest of the country.
  • Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The only reason why Cuba hasn’t annexed Guantanamo Bay is because the United States controls the most powerful military in the World.
  • The Falkland Islands near Argentina.
  • How Spanish has been tempted multiple times to invade and annex the British Overseas territory of Gibraltar.
  • Many Irish wish that they could reunite with Northern Ireland and free it from British rule, so that the Island of Ireland could be whole once again.
  • Most of the residents of Okinawa Island wish that the US military bases on the island would be either reduced or removed completely for a number reasons. US military bases occupy ~18% of the land area on Okinawa.
  • Both North and South Korea wish that the Korean Peninsula would only be ruled by one country.
  • North Vietnam and South Vietnam both tried to conquer each other in an effort to unite the country.

Generally speaking, there is always strong desires for ethnic majority territories to be united. Examples:

  • The Nationalist desire to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.
  • The Nationalist desire to unite the Italian city-states into an Italian nation-state.
  • The Nationalist desire to unite all the Germans under Bismarck, the following desire to unite Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland under Nazi-Germany, and the following desire to reunite West and East Germany.

Supporting secessions would also cause a domino effect. For example, when the US supported Kosovo’s secession in 2008, that gave Putin justification for supporting the secession of the Donbas region from Ukraine. If one country allows a secession to happen, that provides the impetus for motivating rebels in other countries to secede as well, which would further weaken regional and global geopolitical stability.

5.3. Secession Wouldn’t Even Work In An Ancapistan World

There is a conflict between Alloidal-Voluntaryists’ support for the Libertarian NAP and their support for Propertarianism. We already live in a Propertarian world, but Voluntaryists and Ancaps are still unhappy with this because the NAP is not enforced the way they want it to be.

Even if it’s possible to “opt-out” of an ancap defense agency or an ancap microstate (in theory), this runs into the respective problems:

  • For Polycentric Law, there’s no way Ancaps could ever guarantee that people could agree to some defense agency’s legal system, when they could always “opt-out” and shop around for another that fits their own moral preferences instead.
  • For Private Cities, there’s no way Ancaps could ever guarantee that Ancap microstates wouldn’t also outlaw succession or forbid people from leaving the territory.
  • For Propertarianism, Sharia Law says that apostles and people who leave Islam should be killed. Non-Muslims argue that this contradicts the Libertarian NAP, so Ancaps should be against it. But what if Ancap jurisdiction establishes Sharia Law in its own borders? Wouldn’t Propertarianism suggest that apostasy laws are justified since Sharia Law is being enforced on private property? And if it’s not justified, then what are Ancaps going to do about it?

In addition to all the forementioned problems, why would a state allow a group of Ancaps secede when Ancaps view government as being evil, tyrannical, and oppressive? Ancaps view government as being their foremost enemy, so why would the government allow their enemy to secede if that would strengthen them? Does that make any sense to anyone? Ancaps may view the government as being less evil if they government is willing to allow uninhabited territories to secede, but that wouldn’t change the fact that the State knows that Ancaps hate the Government enough to the point where they would rather secede.

5.4. Why A World Of Microstates Would Fail

A world ruled by thousands of microstates would be better than a world of nation states.

This isn’t feasible for geopolitical reasons similar to why secessions are doomed to fail. Not only is there the problem of enabling an enormous number of secessions and national divisions to occur in order to achieve a world of microstates, but there are several other problems too:

  1. Many microstates would have to form defensive/military alliances amongst each other in order to survive, otherwise they will be so small that they would be at risk of being conquered by other larger microstates.
  2. Many microstates would have to form economic trade and immigration agreements with each other, in order to create economies of scale that would generate the same economic prosperity as the economies of nation states.
  3. Many microstates would have to form treaties with each other over the consumption of natural resources in the region and the pollution of the surrounding environment. As a general rule, the scale of social order tends to grow.
  4. The elephant in the room: some microstates and military alliances would conquer other microstates until larger, nation-states form. This is bound to happen since some geographies naturally make countries more vulnerable to invasions than others, and since there will always be conflicts among humans for natural resources. Many empires began as city-states.

To summarize, dividing the world into microstates would necessitate many more international agreements and organizations than what exist today, and this would essentially cause many de facto nation states to emerge, if one didn’t already emerge via national conquest. Dividing ethnically and culturally homogenous countries would be also at odds with many people’s desires for ethnic unity among the people of their respective ethnicities.

Additionally, if Anarchists are willing to accept the monopoly on law and violence at one scale (city-states), then why not accept it at higher scales too? If the objection to a monopoly on law and violence is moral, then scale shouldn’t matter. There’s no evidence that the size of a state correlates with how authoritarian it is, and it’s impractical for nation-states to provide an “opt-out option”, aside from allowing citizens to renounce their citizenship if they so choose.

Read More: Aren’t higher levels of government more authoritarian?

Related: Defence Strategy For Small Nations - Force Design, Friends, And Deterrence On A Budget.

5.5. Why The US And NATO Should Want Russia To Lose the War Against Ukraine

5.6. Why Taiwan Is Worth Defending With Cold, Dead Hands

5.7. The Benefits Of Free Trade Are Over-Exaggerated

It’s rational to support free trade when it’s practical, feasible, and unlikely that the costs will outweigh the benefits. Many of the claimed benefits of free trade are true to an extent, but we shall cover their caveats.

Free trade decreases the cost of living and leads to greater economic growth.

Free trade is usually beneficial to a country’s economy, but it’s impractical to eliminate tariffs over night, just as it would be impractical to switch to Georgism over night. Opening up the floodgate of free trade all at once would destroy so many home-grown organic things that developed in different cultures. Even if the resulting state is ultimately more efficient than the initial state, the transition between the two states is by no means efficient. This is why almost all so-called “free trade” agreements usually carry exceptions for specific goods and industries, as well as long transitory periods where tariffs and exemptions are slowly tapered off. In one industry, there are usually winners in country A and losers in country B, and vice versa for some other industry. To resolve this, there ought to be some sort of mechanism to compensate the losers with the increased revenue of the winners, etc.

Free trade lowers the probability of conflict and war with rival and enemy countries.

This relies on the assumption that the revocation of that free trade would damage the enemy country’s economy. As it was wonderfully explained from 5:45 to 8:10 of this Polymatter video, countries can simply switch trading partners if they do get sanctioned by their current trading partners. For example, we saw in 2022 that the threat and subsequent imposition of economic sanctions against Russia did nothing to discourage Russia from invading Ukraine. After European countries chose to stop buying natural gas and wheat exports from Russia, Russia candidly switched to trading even more with China, India, and other countries that were willing to trade with Russia. Moreover, it’s likely true that Taiwan’s economic trade and semiconductor industries discourages China from invading Taiwan, but that hasn’t stopped China from pursuing increased militaristic aggression against Taiwan since 2020. Free trade likely won’t be enough to stop China from invading Taiwan in the future since China has strong nationalistic, geopolitical, and corrupt incentives to invade the country. Free trade is not enough to prevent war when there are strong-enough incentives for such a war, especially when sanctioned countries can reduce the cost of their sanctions by switching trading partners.

Generally speaking, most proponents of free trade downplay or ignore the geopolitical reasons to oppose free trade. Free trade increases dependence on foreign markets, thus making countries more vulnerable to changes in demand and economic conditions in those markets. This benefit is perhaps best exemplified by how the Soviet Union economy avoided the Great Depression due its autarky and had the greatest economic growth during the 1930s (although decades of self-sufficiency eventually proved to be inefficient). But as it relates to the modern world, the argument that free trade can favorably influence our geopolitical enemies and rivals goes both ways. In theory, it’s nice to think that free trade with China would make China become less authoritarian and more aligned with the West, but in practice, we see that it is China who has gained tremendous influence over the rest of the world by becoming the world’s factory and greatest exporter. Very few countries are afraid to stand up to China since many are too dependent on Chinese imports and Chinese-funded infrastructure projects to confront China. If free trade were to truly influence our enemies positively, then it has to be bilateral and reciprocal, which would generate more stable market forces. If we want to reduce Chinese influence on our country, then installing tariffs against China can be a practical geopolitical move, whose costs who can be offset by trading more with other countries instead, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. Tariffs should be viewed as a tool for maintaining geopolitical and economic stability, rather than an obstacle to prosperity (although they can be).

The same can be said for countries like Saudi Arabia. If the US trades with Saudi Arabia, it is mainly the Saudis who gain power and geopolitical leverage over the US when the US becomes dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia. Sure, fracking in the US during the Trump presidency might’ve turned the US into an energy exporter with energy independence, but peak oil and global oil depletion are real things, so oil supplies from fracking and such cannot last forever. Even better than relying on foreign countries or depleting one’s own energy supplies would be to find an abundant renewable energy source to replace the non-renewable energy. And even better than that would be to reduce the need for said energy in the first place.

Instead of using free trade to influence countries like China and Saudi Arabia, a better solution for changing the main ideologies of the peoples and governments would be to translate and distribute the works that spawned the Enlightenment in Europe. For instance, many of those works have just been translated into Arabic for the first time very recently.

Another point is that when jobs in first world countries are shipped overseas, it is sometimes/often the case that the new people who are taking jobs cannot do the jobs as well as the people who used to do the jobs, and yet the employers still hire the newer people anyway, just because they are cheaper to hire. I am aware that the only evidence I have for this is purely anecdotal (e.g. claims that foreigner tech support workers can’t speak English fluently enough, claims that foreigner programmers can’t program as well, etc), and I am also aware that this depends on which jobs are being shipped overseas. But if this is true to some degree, then it should be considered. Perhaps some employers are too focused on the superficial costs to fully consider all the tradeoffs of shipping jobs overseas.

Lastly, some free trade agreements have questionable motives and too much secrecy. For example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement had a lot of classified information that couldn’t even be revealed to the United States Congress or the business representatives involved in the negotiations. If the information behind trade agreement(s) cannot be disclosed to the people, then the country should not authorize the trade agreement since they can’t fully know the consequences of it.

Who benefits from free trade? The people whose jobs aren’t hurt from it.
Who benefits from stifling free trade? Nobody, except those whose jobs benefit from it.

Relevant Book: Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why by Ian Fletcher.

6. The Problems Concerning Polycentric Law

  1. The main issue with polycentric law is that people will stratify themselves to whatever body of laws that suits them the most. Businesses will choose the pro-business codes, minorities will choose the system with laws against hate speech and discrimination laws, and the poor will choose the body that redistributes wealth back to them. This turns society into a divided Tragedy of the Commons where people are trying to overpower each other, more than it already is now.
  2. It requires strong majority support for Libertarianism among the population as a prerequisite.

    • Ancaps assume that the defense agencies are going to enforce the NAP (however that’s defined), but what if they never do? The vast majority of people have no desire for Libertarian ethics, and without consumers interested in enforcing the NAP, corporations who prioritize enforcing such ethics would not make enough money to stay in business against their competitors.
  3. Even if general support for Libertarianism was achieved, there’s still too many issues that Libertarians could easily disagree on.
  4. Political parties would be replaced by morally-righteous political corporations that would fight each other over power and morally superiority. This would combine market failures and tribal warfare with democracy’s worst problems. It would be bring us back where we started, maybe even farther back.
  5. Conflicts and disagreements would be resolved by might makes right, not according to which corporations have the most consumers and the most money. Corporations and states are not so different. Corporations are just states that have not yet established a monopoly on violence.
  6. The corporations would be interested in collective massive profits and political power. Collecting massive profits would lead to gaining more political power, and gaining more political power would lead to increased profits. The synergy from this combination would make it easier than ever for monopolies to form.
  7. The political data analytics, manipulative political advertising, and laborious campaign events done by today’s political campaigns, parties, and organizations would be amplified with even greater intensity. The largest, most profitable political corporations would collect the most intrusive data analytics (demographics, job occupations, interests, passions, social bubbles, what people buy, etc) to figure out how they could manipulate everybody into joining their tribe, and it would be foolish for any corporation to not do this. Does anybody really want to live in a world where corporations have even greater incentive to collect such information and brainwash people?

6.1. Reductio Ad Absurdum of Polycentric Law

Suppose that there are two legal systems operating on the same territory, legal system A and legal system B. Suppose that legal system A has a law that says that it is okay to murder anybody who subscribes to legal system B, and legal system B has a law that says that it is okay to murder anybody who subscribes to legal system A. The result is all-out war between the two legal systems, and a complete failure of polycentric law to produce a functioning society.

6.2. Defining Polycentric Law Versus Private Cities Anarcho-Capitalism

Polycentric Law: A theoretical legal structure in which “providers” of legal systems compete or overlap in a given jurisdiction.

Private Cities Anarcho-Capitalism (PCAC): Anarcho-Capitalism, except that only one political corporation can have control over a plot of territory. Different communities that favor different laws, legal codes, customs, and such would each form their own private city where their ideals are exclusively enforced. Gurgaon, India is the closest real-world example to an Anarcho-Capitalist private city, as far as I know.

Most people don’t make a distinction between these two types of Anarcho-Capitalism, but it’s important to identify these differences because some Private City Anarcho-Capitalists don’t like polycentric law since PCAC has far fewer problems and is more likely to be successful.

6.3. Argumentation Ethics Is Nonsense

In short, Argumentation Ethics is wrong because it makes false assumptions. It is not required for two debaters to implicitly accept voluntariness, as demonstrated when someone has to defend themself in a court of law and make an argument that they should be released.

There are even Ancaps who have given their own reasons for why Argumentation Ethics is invalid:

It’s a bad idea for Ancaps to keep arguing that Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics proves anything because people would only ever believe that it is a performative contradiction to use force or violence in a debate (since of debating purportedly requires a peaceful agreement) if they already accepted the general Ancap belief network and philosophy.

7. The Correct Answers to Larken Rose’s Five Questions “Government on Trial”

This section is a response to this video by a prominent anarchist, Larken Rose: Five Questions (“Government on Trial”). I can credit Larken Rose1 for being the one who persuaded me towards my anarchist phase in the first place, so I’m going to address his questions here and explain why he’s wrong.

7.1. Government On Trial - The Five Questions

  1. Is there any means by which any number of individuals can delegate to someone else the moral right to do something which none of the individuals have the moral right to do themselves?
  2. Do those who wield political power (presidents, legislators, etc.) have the moral right to do things which other people do not have the moral right to do? If so, from whom and how did they acquire such a right?
  3. Is there any process (e.g. constitutions, elections, legislation) by which human beings can transform an immoral act into a moral act (without changing the act itself)?
  4. When law-makers and law-enforcers use coercion and force in the name of law and government, do they bear the same responsibility for their actions that anyone else would who did the same thing on his own?
  5. When there is a conflict between an individual’s own moral conscience, and the commands of a political authority is the individual morally obligated to do what they personally view as wrong in order to “obey the Law”?

How Ancaps would answer these questions: No, No, No, Yes, No.

7.2. The Correct Way To Answer The Questions

For context, I first need to point out that objective morality doesn’t exist. I also have an FAQs page for any further questions about the true nature of morality.

  1. Yes. Because governments exist to solve prisoner’s dilemmas and tragedies of the commons between groups and individuals with different competing interests. If one of the groups or individuals themselves were to unilaterally solve the game-theoretic problems themselves, then the other side would be unlikely to capitulate, hence why it makes sense to delegate the power to resolve conflicting interests to the government. Anarchists think that both sides will just try to meet each other halfway in the absence of government, but there is no historical evidence or game-theoretical reasoning that this would occur in most cases.
  2. Yes. By the same reasoning used above. It’s not about whether someone has the “moral right” to do anything (whatever that means). It’s about who has the power to get what they want and enforce their own rules/laws. Sometimes, opposing parties are willing to compromise with each other, reach an agreement, and delegate someone or some entity to settle disagreements, but this typically only happens in the presence of a state with a monopoly for settling the compromise, or via a third-party arbitrator that operates within the context of the state as its backup authority.
  3. N/A. Objective morality is a delusion, so this question is pointless. Morality depends on perspective, so unless the perspective that this question is being viewed from is stated, this question means nothing because it doesn’t define what it’s talking about.
  4. Yes. Every individual is responsible for their own actions, but if they don’t want to be held accountable for their actions, then they need to make sure that they can evade the law or use a sufficient amount of power to avoid being held accountable. This question also assumes that it’s possible to create a society that doesn’t have coercion or force, and that is false. Agency is always circumstantial.
  5. No/Maybe/Yes, it depends on the situation. Although I would answer “No” to this question if I could only pick one choice, “Yes” and “Maybe” are also valid answers if the question is answered from a perspective that is different from the individual and the political authority in question, since moral values depend on the perspective from which they’re viewed from.

TL;DR: The correct answers to Larken Rose’s five questions are: Yes, Yes, N/A, Yes, and It depends.

8. Freedom Only Exists Within A System Of Constraints

Freedom only exists within a system of constraints. Freedom is subjective, as shown from many historical perspectives and ideological viewpoints. It’s arbitrary to claim that Libertarians have the best definition of Freedom because not everybody agrees with the Libertarian conceptions of “Freedom”.

Libertarian and Anarchist rhetoric portrays humans as being indoctrinated by the government to support the government, but this thetoric is misleading. It’s not a good argument to portray culture as indoctrination because culture and context are always inseparable from human life.

8.1. Power And Agency Are More Important Than Freedom And Consent

Most people don’t want freedom for its own sake because freedom in and of itself is meaningless. What really matters is power or agency, not freedom. Life is, in general, a Kratocracy.

There are multiple philosophical problems to be considered with basing a society around “freedom” and consent that pertain to the definitions and arbitrariness of the two notions. “Voluntary” itself is a contrived term since it is entirely circumstantial.

Libertarians tend to say that something being “naturally difficult” (e.g. avoiding starvation) is a choice, whereas something being functionally difficult due to other people (the government) is not a choice. But they are actually the exact same thing. If I wander across some naturally grown fruit on an apple tree, only to find that it is on somebody’s land, and illegal to eat, I have been functionally stopped from eating by another human being. If the tree were manually grown, the same argument would apply. This is once again a conflict of subjective morality.

The end result is that the victor is whoever holds the most power (either directly or indirectly) through the state and its generally accepted principles. In this example, the landowner clearly has the most power. If I were to take the fruit, I could be arrested. If I weren’t caught, then I win and the landowner loses. It’s an example of force being utilized against one considered “natural right to property” against another one’s “natural right to life”.

In the end, everything is ultimately settled the same way anything is settled, via force. Force in the modern era is generally exerted through the state for practical reasons. It is well-accepted by most of the population, or normalized if you will. We no longer war for lands. We simply buy them and allow the state to destroy anyone who disagrees with the claim. The state allows us to hide this force and pretend it doesn’t exist. We act as though there is some divine plan, that property is decided via homesteading, or purchase, or “getting there first”. But it’s not. It’s always force, whether direct or subtle.

But consensual solutions to societal problems are more preferable and efficient than government.

They often are, but that’s only when they’re not susceptible to all the game-theoretical problems and practical considerations mentioned in this essay.

8.2. Higher Population Densities Necessarily Lead To More Constraints On Individual Freedom

More people means more conflicts. More conflicts means more crime. More crime and more conflicts necessitates more rules and efforts dedicated to preventing and arbitrating said conflicts. More people means more degrees of separation between people and higher supplies of labor. Higher Dunbar numbers thus entail that each individual is worth less in the eyes of others who don’t know him or her. When a population reaches its carrying capacity, every existing organism can only exist at the cost of another. Higher population densities are the ultimate origin of conflicts, crime, and problems of cooperation.

It’s no coincidence that cities are less Libertarian than rural areas. When a society has more people, citizens often want rules imposed before the fact, since having more people increases the inevitability of conflict. In small communities, people can know and trust restaurant owners. In a city, everyone is a stranger to everyone else and people gravitate toward trusting health inspectors. Requiring mandatory vaccinations for schools and other institutions are more common in cities since herd immunity is especially important where human contact is the greatest. Note that vaccination and herd-immunity is a free-rider problem.

Maintaining higher populations and higher population densities require accepting trade-offs. It’s contradictory that many Libertarians insist that human ingenuity will prevent overpopulation, and yet they oppose many of these linked ideas (e.g. Georgism, mandatory vaccinations, smart electrical meters, etc). Some people may not like the tradeoffs, but they are the cost living in a densely populated world. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

We also note that higher levels of government aren’t necessarily more authoritarian than smaller ones.

8.3. Libertarians Praise Free Speech, But They Don’t Protect Free Speech

Freedom of expression exists to enable people to spread ideas. The best ideas cannot circulate in the public discourse if they are forbidden or otherwise prevented from being spoken. Freedom of association is important freedom, but it has the potential to conflict with free speech. In some cases, if there are enough platforms that have surpassed the network effect with no censorship, then there’s no need to regulate against the corporations that do censor people’s speech because it’s still reasonably possible for good ideas to circulate in society. Freedom of association should be respected when it does not conflict with free speech.

It is not enough to have laws protecting free speech. If Big Tech is censoring people’s speech, then there is effectively no free speech, nor are any of the benefits of free speech to be gained. If Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Google, Reddit, Discord, Twitter, etc are able to censor whoever they want, this defeats the purpose of having free speech laws in the first place. Sure, people can always flock to other platforms like Mastodon, Bitchute, Odyssey, Gab, Parler, etc if the bigger tech platforms are censoring them, but fewer people use those platforms due to the Network Effect. Since those platforms don’t have the necessary critical mass, not as many people use them. This means that ideas censored on the larger tech platforms are heard by far fewer people, so it doesn’t reap the benefits of free speech. What’s the point in having free speech if the society does not guarantee that the benefits of free speech will be gained?

The Twitter Files have shown undeniable evidence that government corruption contributed to the censorship and lack of free speech on social media and Big Tech platforms. While this is definitely a failure on the government’s part, it’s also a failure on the market’s part since there’s no laws to prevent Big Tech from censoring people.

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter in 2022 could be interpreted by Libertarians as “free market” forces shifting to grant more free speech on the Internet, but this is not enough. Musk ended pro-leftist censorship on twitter, but Twitter still doesn’t enable society to fully gain the benefits of free speech because the voices of those who bought the subscription are prioritized over those who don’t have it (i.e. Twitter has become pay-to-play). Not only that, but before Musk bought Twitter, there were still several years worth of censorship done on the platform, and that’s several years for which society had not been able to gain the theoretical benefits of free speech on Twitter. Additionally, there are still several major Internet platforms that still censor people, and thus lack true free speech: Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, Discord, Google, etc.

Furthermore, very large platforms and search engines wield tremendous weight in influencing what people think and believe, so there’s still grounds to regulate the censorship in Google’s search results. Even though alternative search engines are available, Google is the most popular search engine, due to its status as the default search engine for many web browsers.

The Libertarian position on free speech shoots itself in the foot.
Figure 2: The Libertarian position on free speech shoots itself in the foot.

8.4. Licenses Exist For A Reason

Licenses exist to provide cover for nepotism, favoritism, racism, and corrupt behaviors.

That is true in many cases, particularly for occupational licensing. Nevertheless, many state-provided licenses exist for good reasons, so we can’t and shouldn’t remove all forms of state-provided licensing. This might sound obvious to most people, but it needs to be said. During the 2016 Libertarian Party presidential debates, the crowd at the convention cheered all the candidates who were against requiring driver’s licenses to drive. Gary Johnson was the only one who spoke in favor of driver’s licenses, and he got booed by the entire crowd. This segment of the debate sounds so ridiculous that it sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit.

In response to that video, the first thing to note is that most roads shouldn’t exist to begin with. Second, driver’s licenses exist to keep the roads safe by preventing people who may drive under the influence, have dementia, have vision problems, have hearing problems, or other conditions that prevent them driving safely and not being a potential danger/hazard to the other drivers around them. Society uses licenses because they work.

In the same debate, some Libertarians booed Austin Petersen for saying that 5-year-olds should not have access to heroin. Minors do not have the knowledge or the brain development to know what’s “good” or “bad” for them, so they should not be authorized to do drugs until they become legal adults. This is another case where it is naive to get rid of state-provided licenses.

If some people shouldn’t be allowed drive, then why do we need the state to intervene if other people (e.g. the disabled person’s family) could have intervened themselves?

If we have to rely on an honors system to prevent people who shouldn’t drive from driving, then some people who are bound to endanger others are still going to drive anyway. Many people who lose their licenses are elderly and/or have dementia. For such people, they may get mad and angry at their family and caretakers for preventing them from driving because they don’t cognitively understand that they’re not supposed to drive. In such cases, it’s already going to be hard enough to stop those people from driving, and it would needlessly hurt their relationships with the people around them if the burden to stop elderly/demented people from driving is placed entirely on their caretakers. It simply makes more sense for the state to require licenses to drive, and to threaten imprisoning people who are not authorized to drive. Even if it does have the potential to be abused, it’s still much better than the alternative.

State-provided licenses also serve the purpose of resolving tragedies of the commons and ensuring that natural resources are used efficiently. Requiring licenses to fish can prevent everybody from completely depleting a body of water of all its fish. As another example, there’s a limited number of electromagnetic frequencies that can be transmitted within a given area, and perhaps not enough frequencies for every person who wants to broadcast over radio, so it makes sense to regulate who can occupy which electromagnetic frequencies with licensing, and to tax everybody who’s occupying a frequency. The collected tax revenue compensates everyone who wanted a frequency but couldn’t get one, and it discourages people who don’t really need to use a frequency so that the people who need to broadcast the most can use one instead.

Sometimes, there will be the occasional debate whether IDs should be required to vote. Opponents argue that voter ID can be used arbitrarily to prevent select people from voting, while proponents argue that it prevents voter fraud by preventing people from voting multiple times. Although there’s potential for corruption either way, voter ID is vastly more preferable. Humans are selfish, and it’s not reasonable to rely on an honors system for ensuring that people won’t vote more than once in an election. If people have enough at stake in an election, they’ll certainly try to vote multiple times if they can get away because it’s in their self-interest.

8.5. Taxation Is Not Theft

Even if the state is unaccountable for its actions or spending, historical evidence and game-theoretic reasoning conclude that taxation is inevitable. Complex civilizations have to have governments in order to solve prisoner’s dilemmas between humans, and if government is going to be funded, then taxation has to exist. There has never been a single complex human society that that didn’t collect taxes. The Inca Empire might be an exception to that, but instead they had compulsory labor mandated by the State, which effectively amounts to slavery or “taxation” from a Libertarian perspective.

Property rights within a society are legally determined and enforced by government recognition, so taxation is not theft because theft is illegal by definition, whereas taxation is legal. Other examples that are not theft include confiscating nuclear weapons from someone or taking away a knife from a kid who’s running around with it (because both those examples are legal). Land value taxation is especially not theft because it’s just protecting negative rights, or compensating society for someone to have the legal right to possess land and use it however they like.

Private property rights can also be defended with self-defense.

That’s true, but self-defense alone is not sufficient for defending one’s rights within a society that’s populated by lots of people, especially if someone is poor and has weak defenses. We are only concerned with legal rights because they’re the only rights that have any tangible existence in reality, since they’re created and enforced by intersubjective agreement. Legal rights exist to solve game theoretical problems. Moral rights are incoherent and they inevitably lead to hypocrisy.

Services for preventing crimes are not free. Taxation exists to collect revenue to fund government expenses, the most important of which are to solve the prisoner’s dilemmas relating to theft, murder, rape, vandalism, etc. Even in an Ancap society, people would have to pay someone to protect their rights since it’s too costly for people to do it by themselves in most cases. Opposing taxation overlooks the goals that we want society to accomplish. Since taxation is inevitable, we might as well choose the best taxes possible: taxes on natural resources.

In the past, people used to say that slavery is inevitable too.

That’s a terrible comparison. Unlike taxation, there have been many societies that have managed to exist without slavery. Slavery is also detrimental to economic growth and societal development, whereas taxes on natural resources would increase economic growth.

8.6. A True Voluntaryist Would Be Anti-Natalist

If consent is going to be upheld as the most important ethical value, then it is completely indefensible to have children:

  • Fact #1: Nobody asks to be born.
  • Fact #2: Many people wish they were never born.
  • Fact #3: You can never know if your children will consent to being born.
  • Fact #4: Having children is unethical, according to Voluntaryism (assuming logical consistency).

No matter how people might justify otherwise, it is logically inconsistent to uphold maximal consent while rejecting anti-natalism. It may be impossible to get consent before giving birth to someone, but there’s no reason why that should deem an exception for these scenarios, for any True Voluntaryist. Nobody ever asks to be born. If a Voluntaryist cannot get their unborn children’s consent to do something that would be potentially harmful to the unborn children, then they shouldn’t do it. There are no excuses.

Libertarians tend to believe that greater “freedom” means giving parents more choice in deciding how to raise their children, but this interpretation of freedom is problematic because it doesn’t consider who’s being allowed more freedom. Greater parental “rights” might be more “freedom” for parents to choose, but is this really worth it if comes at the expense of the children’s freedom? Parents are already given so much authority over their children, which only reinforces the point that no one asks to be born, since being born entails having to experience an unquantifiable number of non-consensual experiences.

9. The True Purpose of Government

Libertarians have a moral narrative that the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the citizens, and while that is a better understanding of why government exists than what most people believe, it’s still inaccurate to a great extent. See: The Purpose of Government.

The foremost goal of government is to resolve Prisoner’s Dilemmas, Tragedies of the Commons, and Free-Rider Problems. Government comes from the necessity to create a reasonable set of laws that would create a societal framework from which selfish individuals can cooperate together for greater mutual gain (than if they didn’t cooperate together). Cooperation is the foundation of civilization, and the best legal code is the one that enables that to the greatest extent possible.

It’s important to understand is that government don’t endlessly grow beyond their collectively ideal goals because governments suck, but rather because most people will seize power when they have an opportunity to do so. When governments are unnecessarily growing beyond reaching a Nash equilibrium that most equally benefits all members of society, it is simply yet another game theoretic problem that is arguably just as difficult to solve as the one that was created to solve. The challenge for every civilization is to create game-theoretic conditions that make society possible, while also creating game-theoretic conditions that make government fair and efficient for all.

Prisoner's Dilemma Chart
Figure 3: The Basic Prisoner’s Dilemma, CC BY-SA 4.0, by CMG Lee.

The relationship between a government and its citizens is usually known as a “social contract”, but it shall instead be called an Implicit Mutual Social Agreement (IMSA) in this essay. Every time the word “contract” is used, some people complain that it’s not really a contract because they never signed it. And while they’re right about that, they’re missing the point. The idea is that if you want the benefits that society gives you, then you have to comply with society’s rules, even if you don’t like all the rules. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you’re going to break the IMSA, then society is justified to prosecute you.

10. Anti-Democracy Arguments Apply Against Anarcho-Capitalism

Democracies fail to live up to its promises because culture determines what the most popular beliefs and arguments of a society are, not rational arguments. Democracies don’t necessarily elect leaders that are the best for society, but rather they elect the leaders who are the best at manipulating people into voting for them. Dollar Voting for private defense agencies political corporations would be hardly any different from how proportional representation democracies work. The most successful and most popular political corporations of an Ancap society wouldn’t be chosen by whichever one protects individual rights the best (a naive assumption), but rather by whichever ones are the most successful at manipulating the masses. Actually, it would be even worse than that. Not only would such a system inherit the worst qualities of democracy, but it would introduce all the problems of polycentric law as well.

Political campaigns started using invasive data analytics and intensive propaganda techniques to manipulate the public in the late 2000s, and private companies do it all the time too nowadays since it increases their profits. In Ancapistan, a political corporation would be foolish to not use these tactics to boost their power and profits. The largest, most profitable political corporations would use the most intrusive data analytics (demographics, job occupations, interests, passions, what people buy, etc). They would collect as much information on everybody as they possibly can to figure out what makes everybody tick. They would use that data to manipulate everybody into joining their tribe. And they would try to conquer as many people as they can in order to more widely enforce their arbitrary definition of the Law, whatever that may be. The following videos are great for explaining the massive data analytics done by companies and political campaigns.

While I don’t think a non-Ancap society would be impervious to the problems mentioned in this section, it’s hard for anyone to believe that the problems wouldn’t be even worse in an Ancap one, especially since a non-Ancap society could pass laws regulating political advertisements and the invasive collection of data. In addition, since most Ancaps support the Original Appropriation Theory of Property, they would have no qualms about private companies recording people’s DNA since they view DNA as “information” instead of “property”. This would further exacerbate all these problems since companies would now be taking people’s genetics into consideration when formulating all their propaganda tactics. Read More: How They Caught The Golden State Killer, And The DNA Sharing Dilemma - Veritasium.

11. Ancap “Free” Markets Are Established By Circular-Reasoning

Government is necessary in order to establish, guarantee, and protect a free market, lest the market be neither free nor fair. Ancaps argue that the roles that would be traditionally filled by government (police, courts, and army) should be filled by a free market, but this uses circular reasoning. The protection of individual rights cannot be supplied by a market since the very existence of a market itself requires the protection of individual rights. An infinite regress occurs when trying to explain this away.

[A] Individual rights will be protected exclusively by private entities, without any government protection.

[B] Private defense corporations will compete against each other in a free marketplace with the intent of gaining the most profit.

[C] A free and fair marketplace can only exist if individual rights (trade, property, etc) are protected, otherwise the marketplace is neither free nor fair.

If you believe all the premises above as well as: (A -> B) and (B -> C) and (C -> B), then you believe in a circular reasoning fallacy. It’s not possible to sufficiently protect individual rights without a free marketplace that can distribute the necessary weapons and defenses, private defense corporations would not exist if the free marketplace does not exist, and the free marketplace does not exist because there is no entity that can independently guarantee its existence since we already assumed premise A. By negation introduction, we can reject proposition A.

Communities could still provide their own defenses until a free market forms.

This is not true because no community or defense agency would be able to purchase the necessary goods and services for protecting themselves against foreign invaders (guns, ammunition, defenses). This effectively means that everybody would be defenseless unless they already had modern weapons and defenses to begin with. Producing modern weapons on an industrial scale is impossible without an existing free market that could produce and distribute defensive goods. No free market could exist since individual rights cannot be protected without sufficient defenses in the absence of government.

Even if communities were able to provide their own private mutual protection, they would still be vulnerable to collapsing due to the Free-Rider Problem.

If Community X has a greater Comparative Advantage and a greater Division of Labor at producing better quality weapons than Community Y, then Community X would be able to subdue Community Y by force if they wanted to. But if governments existed, they could prevent Community X from conquering Community Y, and it would be possible to establish a free marketplace that could produce and distribute high-quality weapons across all regions.

Conclusion: A laissez-faire government is necessary to protect a free market where corporations of any kind are able to compete against each other.

12. Libertarian Economies Don’t Bootstrap Market Prices

Most people don’t understand what prices are, how they originate, or how they work.

Read: Natural Resource Taxation as a More Efficient Way to Bootstrap All Prices.

13. The Georgist Theory of Property Versus the OATP

As explained in my crash course, Georgism is necessary for truly free markets, to maximize economic production, to protect negative rights, to significantly reduce wealth inequality, to prevent real estate bubbles, to conserve the Earth’s finite natural resources, and to maximize land-use efficiency.

The Original Appropriation Theory of Property (OATP) is a Finder’s Keepers approach to property and land rights. It is also the indefensible culprit behind real-estate recessions, the ever-increasing cost of housing, inefficient urban planning, increased pollution, and so much more, as we shall cover in the following sections.

13.1. The Georgist Theory of Property

13.2. Land And Negative Rights

  1. Negative rights do not entitle someone to the fruits of someone else’s labor.
  2. Positive rights do entitle someone to the fruits of someone else’s labor.
  3. An equal right to land does not entitle someone to the fruits of someone else’s labor (because land cannot be created by labor).

Conclusion: Having an equal right to land is a negative right, not a positive right.

13.3. Private Land Ownership Violates the NAP

Land ownership and homesteading are very clearly not “natural rights”. It is not decreed by the heavens, nor is it decreed by nature, or any objective force in existence. All land comes to be owned (originally) by claiming it, and then threatening or using force upon everyone who disagrees with one’s claim. Eventually society distills a government where that force is not obvious, but subtle. You can see this in the early founding of America. A small state became the universal defending force for private property.

As such, all resources come to be owned through force. Throwing people off land that you have claimed is offensive use of force, not defensive. It may be a matter of perspective, but initiating the throwing off of somebody from your land, is an initiation. Standing on some land is not some natural crime. Any claim to property is not objectively recognized by some kind of God. Homesteaders simply decided that they own some patch of land, and they enforce that by throwing others off the land and enforcing rules.

The homesteading claim is effectively a combination of your labor with a scrap of land (e.g. building a shack or farming a patch of land) that you come to own that land “naturally”. Anybody can make a moral justification for that, but it has no objective or historical basis.

13.4. Why Everybody Owns Land Equally

Libertarians: But if a landowner has to pay taxes on their land, then they don’t truly own it.

Correct, they don’t truly own it. The rightful owners of the Earth’s land is (collectively) everybody:

  1. If someone steals something and sells it to someone else, then the transaction is not valid, because people cannot trade things that they don’t legally own.
  2. If stolen property is used within a transaction, then the transaction is invalid, and the property has to be returned to the original owner.
  3. Claiming land that is already owned by someone else is invalid. Settling it is tantamount to stealing it.
  4. Before any of the Earth’s land was ever privately owned by anybody, land was not owned by anybody, which is essentially the same as everybody owning the Earth’s land equally.
  5. Everybody was therefore the original owners of the Earth’s land.
  6. All current landowners acquired their land by either: stealing it, settling it, inheriting it, or buying it.
  7. Land that was bought or inherited was originally possessed by someone who stole, settled, inherited, or bought it.
  8. All privately owned land was either settled or stolen at some point, by [6] and [7].
  9. All settled land was stolen at some point, by [5] and [3].
  10. If land was initially stolen, and passed onto its current owners through a combination of settlement, theft, inheritance and trade, then none of those transactions were valid because stolen property was used in the transactions, as established in [1] and [2].
  11. All privately owned land was stolen at some point in human history.
  12. All privately owned land should therefore be returned to its original owners: Everybody.

Occupying land prevents other people from using it. If land is owned equally, then a person who fences off land to prevent other people from using it (without giving due compensation) is effectively stealing that land from the commons. Libertarians have no solutions for resolving this injustice, whereas Georgists have a clear solution. Georgists propose that people can privately possess land, as long as they pay compensation to the original owners, in the form of taxes on land value and natural resources.

Can people own nature comic Land speculators in a nutshell

But if everybody owns land equally, isn’t that the same thing as nobody owning any land at all?

Technically yes, but that does not constitute an argument against equitable land ownership. Georgism still solves the Tragedy of the Commons with respect to land because Georgism explicitly allows private possession of land.

Why is everybody owns land equally the same thing as nobody owning any land at all?

Because there’s nothing to differentiate the two. The Raven Paradox is relevant to this discussion here. Information is created by recognizing differences and patterns.

Alternatively, if we argue that there is no “original owner” for land, then the land was simply there then some guy decided it magically became his and he decided to use force to defend it from others.

But if all the world’s land is already claimed, and late-comers can make claims to land, there will be irresolvable conflicts. The OATP is the only fair way to resolve land ownership.

This is not true. In fact, OATP proponents would argue that if people have to pay taxes on their land, then they don’t truly own all of it because the government would be owning part of their land. (And they have to, because otherwise there’s no way for most people to feasibly protect their property rights.) Since Georgism achieves equal land ownership by collecting land rents and redistributing the value to everybody else, it’s perfectly possible for first-comers and late-comers to own land equally, without all the wealth inequality that the OATP causes.

13.5. Fallacious Arguments Against UBI

UBI would lead to massive inflation since everybody would now have more money in their pockets. Prices would adjust accordingly.

This is uncertain since inflation is a complex and debatable issue. Inflation probably wouldn’t occur if the UBI is funded by taxes instead of printing money. Land Value Tax especially would definitely have lesser effects on inflation since LVT would not tax labor, production, or sales.

Funding UBI by LVT would also eliminate the need to adjust UBI depending on location, for the reasons discussed here.

Read More: Zero Contradiction’s Critique of UBI.

13.6. Equal Land Rights Are Required For Equal Economic Opportunities

  1. There is a finite supply of land and natural resources on Earth. (At the same time, there is an ever increasing human population)
  2. A homesteading system that grants private ownership of land and natural resources some (but not most) people to claim most of the land and natural resources before anybody else could.
  3. Once all the land and natural resources are privately owned by a minority of people, that minority will gain massive amounts of unlabored economic value (while everyone else suffers undeserved economic inequality).

Conclusion: If we want to ensure that everybody on Earth has a fair and equal opportunity to use land and natural resources for themselves, then land and natural resources should belong to everyone.

13.7. Rent-Seeking Bestows Positive Rights And Reduces Economic Productivity

  1. The value of land in residential areas depends on all the businesses, shops, services, etc surrounding that land.
  2. Land speculators can claim land and do absolutely nothing with it.
  3. If the community surrounding the speculated land grows in size, then the speculated land gains value.
  4. Whenever someone is given a dollar that they didn’t work for, someone else worked for a dollar that they didn’t get.
  5. The land speculator did absolutely no labor to improve the value of the land that surrounds their speculative area (nor did they provide any restitution back to the surrounding community).
  6. It follows that the community surrounding the speculated land worked for a dollar that they didn’t get.

Conclusion I: The land speculator is able to siphon the fruits of the community’s labor away from the community for himself (this is called rent-seeking). This is tantamount to invisible theft, similar to inflation, but stolen by a different means.
Conclusion II: Conferring this value to the land speculators without them paying back to the community is a covert way of granting undeserved economic value (positive rights) to the land speculator.
Conclusion III: Georgism (Land Value Taxation and a Citizen’s Dividend) is necessary in order to avoid granting positive rights to land speculators (in addition to supporting negative rights in general).

But the land speculator was making an investment that had the potential to go down as well.

So? A land speculator is a rent-seeker, someone who aims to gain wealth without producing any wealth. Rent-seekers don’t deserve to gain wealth, nor do they deserve to be compensated if they lost wealth, since they didn’t do anything to produce any new wealth to begin with. The land speculator was also taking land from the community without compensation. Why should the surrounding businesses compensate the land speculator if their land declined in value, when the land speculator was damaging the economic productivity of the surrounding businesses? Furthermore, if the land value went down, it’s probably because either some sort of pollution made the land less valuable, or some local businesses closed down. In the case of the latter, perhaps the businesses wouldn’t have closed down in the first place if there wasn’t any land speculation that was unfairly digging into those businesses’ profits and productivity.

There’s nothing free market about some guy calling dibs on a plot of land. Alloidal libertarians are able to recognize that inflation is a form of invisible theft, and yet they turn a blind eye to land speculation which also extracts other people’s labor into the hands of a few, yet differently.

Relevant Video: How to be a Landlord 101: Being A Landlord Gives You The Right To One-Third Of A Household’s Income.

Relevant Video: How to be a Landlord 201.

The Onion: Archaeologists Discover Early Humans Developed Shelter To Provide Passive Income Stream For Landlords.

13.8. Equal Land Rights Are Necessary For Truly Free-Markets

  1. Land is necessary in order to be productive (because it’s one of the three factors of production: land, labor, and capital).
  2. If everyone had an equal right to land, then everyone would have a more equal opportunity to be as productive as anyone else.
  3. If everyone had an equal opportunity to be productive, then the economy as a whole would be more productive and more laissez-faire.

Conclusion: If everyone had an equal right to land, the economy would be more free-market and more productive.

  1. When people have unequal rights to be productive2, the economy is less laissez-faire.
  2. The current system of property rights leads to everybody not having an equal right to land.
  3. Land is necessary in order to be productive (because it’s one of the three factors of production: land, labor, and capital).
  4. The current system of property rights thus causes everyone to have unequal productive rights2.

Conclusion: The current system of property rights leads to everyone not having an equal right to be productive2, which leads to an anti-laissez-faire economy, thus contradicting Libertarian values.

Moreover, markets can’t exist in the first place if there’s no way to bootstrap them. Natural Resource Taxation is the best way to achieve this.

13.9. Inefficient Land Usage

As some examples, consider:

Eminent Domain can be justified in favor of society’s collective interests in the right situations, especially if a land-possessor fails to pay their Location Value Tax.

See: How Eminent Domain Works Under Georgism.

Also see: Wikipedia: Concentration of Land Ownership.


But the existence of land reclamation and seasteading technologies refutes the argument that “land is finite”.

No, it doesn’t. Land reclamation is not a solution to land scarcity.

  1. This ignores the fact that we are losing more land due to rising sea levels than whatever land we could ever hope to gain with seasteading.
  2. Seasteading is extremely expensive since it costs billions of dollars, and it could never produce enough land to go around for everybody.
  3. There wouldn’t be a need to seastead more land in the first place if we used the land that we already have more efficiently, which we could most practically accomplish via LVT.
  4. Most land reclamation likely won’t be permanent. Even though Incheon International Airport was built on reclaimed land, it has been slowly sinking at an alarming rate every year. Climate change and rising sea levels will further worsen this problem. If the numbers are correct and this trend continues, then the airport is projected to sink below sea level within the next 100-200 years.

Given all these facts, it would be more reasonable for Ancaps to colonize Antarctica, if they are interested in creating private cities on new land that is not claimed by any government. If Ancaps complain that they don’t want to colonize Antarctica due to the poor quality and undesirability of Antarctic land, then that reaffirms the point that not all land is equally valuable (according to economic markets), which reaffirms the impracticality of the OATP, assuming that one values free markets.

13.10. The Space Utility Optimization Principle Versus The OATP

13.11. Inefficient Usage Of Natural Resources

It is unreasonable to allow mega-corporations to profit billions of dollars just because they claimed that land first under a finders’ keepers system. That is rent-seeking, and it doesn’t contribute to economic growth at all. If anybody is going to be making billions of dollars off of selling coal, oil, iron, copper, cobalt, natural gas, etc, it ought to be the government so that everybody else can pay fewer taxes (and maybe receive some money in return).

Helium should be taxed. If the Earth ever runs out of helium, the people of the future will wish that it had been taxed, because that would’ve discourage people from wasting helium on unproductive things, like floating balloons at birthday parties and other wasteful uses of helium. The end result is that the world runs out of helium at a much later date, and that helium is only used for actually important purposes.

The same logic applies to every other resource. “We need to ensure that future generations will have ”adequate“ amounts of Earth’s resources”.

This fallacy doesn’t distinguish non-renewable resources from renewable resources. Helium is not a renewable resource. Neither is oil. Resources that cannot be regenerated should be taxed.

Renewable resources would be taxed differently (if at all) to ensure that they will be able to regenerate at maximum capacity, thus ensuring greater resources for all.

Helium and other non-renewable resources can be mined extra-terrestrially.

No, they can’t. It’s never been done before, and it never will. The “Asteroid Mining” chapter of Futurist Fantasies by T. K. Van Allen explains the absurdity of asteroid mining in more detail, but the short summary is that there are multiple challenges and dangers with long-distance space travel:

  • Life support: We need oxygen, water, food and waste disposal. Life-support supplies and equipment will add a lot of mass. An energy source is also necessary to power on-board equipment, which adds more mass.
  • Radiation: Space is full of dangerous radiation. Adding shielding to protect us would add more mass.
  • Micro-gravity: The human body is adapted to gravity. Low or no gravity is harmful. Generating pseudo-gravity by rotation has many issues.
  • Thrust: We need some kind of engine and propellant to accelerate, decelerate, and maneuver in space. Again, this adds mass to the vehicle. And the rocket equation applies: we need propellant to accelerate propellant.

Not only that, but the energy that would be needed to search, extract, and transport helium and other non-renewable resources from asteroids, the Sun, Jupiter, or wherever else would be ridiculously expensive. It could never be made cheap enough to justify doing it. That’s why we should use the non-renewable resources that we have on Earth as efficiently as possible, and why we should start doing so ASAP.

13.12. Anti-Georgism Causes Land Monopolies

There is a consensus among most economists that land monopolies and natural monopolies are the greatest monopolies of them all since they have the fewest competing alternatives for when monopolies do form. In Anti-Georgist economies, land is owned on a finder’s keeper’s basis, so it’s easy for a small number of people to corner the market and drive up prices for everyone else.

13.13. Terrible Urban Planning

The closest thing the world has to an Ancapistan city is the Privately Owned City in India. Although it’s functional in many ways, Humans can do much better than that, under Pragmatopianism.

See: City Beautiful: Why Car-Centric Urban Planning is Inferior.

See: Why Cars And Car-Centric Urban Planning Suck FAQs.

More Information: Political Philosophy: Urban Planning.

13.14. Cars And Roads Are Bad For Energy Independence

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

13.15. Unaffordable Housing And Homelessness

Most Americans live in paycheck to paycheck. This isn’t much different from the monopoly board game where all of the currency and circulation eventually flows into the pockets of the richest landowners.

Although eliminating property taxes would make housing more affordable (which Libertarians support), Alloidal Libertarians don’t support Land Value Tax, which is necessary in order to more strongly incentivize landlords to build more housing.

Comparison between land value taxes and property-taxes, based on land area and building size Parking lots don't pay enough land value taxes

(right-click the images and open them in a new tab to view them in full resolution)

13.16. Georgism And Wealth Distribution

Since the wealthiest people are naturally the ones who own the most land and the most valuable land, Land Value Tax would reduce economic inequality, because the LVT would mostly fall on the wealthiest members of society.

Not only does land value tax tend to fall on the wealthy, but it is also the best tax to place on the wealthy because land cannot leave the country. Even if the possessors of the most valuable land gave up their land and left the country, whoever ends up becoming the new possessors of the land would become the new title holder who has to pay the land value tax. We can be certain that someone will definitely take the land title and pay the LVT if the land is as valuable as it is.

Opposing Georgism is tantamount to supporting slavery (where slavery is defined as having a right to the fruits of someone else’s labor). As we know from playing Monopoly (the board game), it is always better to have all the land instead of all the money. If you have all the land, and your opponent has none, you can quickly take steal all their money without even trying.

This is essentially what the end game of an anti-Georgist system would be. Monopoly wasn’t made to criticize Capitalism, it was made to criticize Anti-Georgism, where landlords and rent-seekers eventually suck up most of the wealth, while everybody else has to scrape by. This isn’t too different from how things are now, given that roughly two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

13.17. Ineffective Solutions For Preventing Pollution

Pigouvian taxes are the best solution to regulating pollution, reducing climate change, and reducing society’s current dependence on inefficient roads and cars.

There are other ways to reduce pollution without using taxation.

None of them are systematic or guaranteed to work, nor do any of them quantify pollution. All of these other “solutions” would only make it harder to reduce pollution and open up many more opportunities for corruption. Pollution is a bad thing that everybody should want to discourage, so it’s common sense to tax it if the goal is to reduce it. If pollution taxes are being abused, then the solution is to find better methods of governance that reduce corruption.

13.18. The Geo-Austrian Theory On The Boom And Bust Cycle

This video gives a good introduction to the Austrian School of Economics.

The boom and bust cycle is principally caused by land speculation. It is visually illustrated in this infographic (the third in a three-part series on Georgism). It works as follows:

  • The Fed manipulates rates below the natural rate to artificially boost growth with cheap credit.
  • Loose monetary policy combined with boosted growth causes inflation.
  • The Fed is forced to raise rates to put downward pressure on prices.
  • Investment in high-order capital goods like housing slows as rates rise.
  • Mortgages become more expensive.
  • Demand for homes falls.
  • The slowdown in construction begins to spread to other sectors of the economy as investments turn bad.
  • Banks toughen lending rules as growth in property prices slows.
  • Demand falls further and supply begins to increase.
  • Uncertainty in the real estate market causes a credit crunch for homeowners.
  • The credit crunch extends to asset-backed commercial paper.
  • A reduction in the supply of loanable funds raises rates further, significantly discounting future cash flows and corporate profits.
  • Homeowners with adjustable mortgages begin to default.
  • Supply increases further and home prices start to fall significantly.
  • The stock market crashes.

It is said that a real estate bubble causes an economic depression every 18 years on average. The last one happened in 2008, so that would place the next depression for ~2026, but our ability to accurately predict the exact year has been thrown off due to the economic aftermath of the coronavirus lockdowns.

13.19. Anti-Georgism Leads To Inferior, Less Efficient Solutions To Society’s Problems

Since Reason.com is non-georgist (perhaps even anti-georgist), so they often write articles point out problems in our current society, only to propose inferior solutions that wouldn’t work as well as just implementing Georgism. Some examples:

  • Eliminating NIMBY laws protecting skyline views or zoning laws to increase the housing supply. While this would help, it’s only part of everything that could and should be done, regarding land usage.
  • Proposing electric cars and other “solutions” that don’t decrease the ubiquity of car-centric urban planning and all its negative consequences.

14. Market Failures

14.1. Infrastructure

Government is Necessary to Build Infrastructure.

TL;DW: Infrastructure for EVs won’t be built unless enough people have already bought EVs to make it profitable enough to do so, and people won’t buy EVs unless there’s enough infrastructure to support using them, so the cycle repeats. Government is thus necessary to create the infrastructure to support EVs since the free market won’t be able to solve this.

Private companies could build roads instead.

This meme is misleading. In practice, companies would not build infrastructure, even if the government failed to do so itself. And why would they? Why should they build infrastructure if it’s not possible to make up the costs and have someone else could build it instead? This has been demonstrated in life in India’s Privately Owned City - Polymatter. We wouldn’t even have live in a world with polluting-causing cars in the first place if car-centric urban planning wasn’t so prevalent. Alloidal Libertarians always joke about who will build the roads, but they’re naively assuming that car-centric urban planning is the best when they say this, even though it definitely isn’t.

Alloidal Libertarians are focused on the wrong solutions to achieving the best public transportation, and their ignorance of good urban planning practices is a major reason why they fail to understand Georgism.

14.2. Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence is a serious market failure that results from the mismatch of corporate and consumer values. Since many ancaps believe in the OATP, they reject right-to-repair and other government solutions to planned obsolescence. This is a colossal mistake, as it increases economic inefficiency and accelerates the depletion of the Earth’s scarce resources.

The Problem of Planned Obsolescence - Veritasium.

It’s hypocritical how Libertarians and Ancaps will pretend that Planned Obsolescence is not a problem, but then they’ll acknowledge political planned obsolescence, only because they’re so skeptical of political authority. As I see it, if they were truly consistent, then they would recognize that planned obsolescence can be abused in the same that political planned obsolescence can.

Read more: The Various Forms of Planned Obsolescence.

The real reason McDonalds ice cream machines are always broken is an excellent example of where corporate cronyism, market failures, and a form of planned obsolescence have gone too far. It’s also a perfect problem to be resolved by government, if we wish to increase economic efficiency and solve a game theoretic problem that will leave society worse off as a whole if nothing is done to fix it.

14.4. Land Monopolies

14.5. Other Market Failures

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

The Network Effect is another example of a market failure that Libertarianism has no solutions for solving. I talked about the consequences of this in the section on free speech.

15. Government Services

15.1. The Healthcare System

15.2. The Education System

For the record, I believe that it is feasible to provide education to nearly everyone in the modern world that is comparable to today’s current standards, if the public education system were to cease to exist. However, there’s a good argument to be made for a government-provided safety net for education. Public education can have a unifying effect on the collective values of society, which helps reduce the variance of the society’s values.

Furthermore, for-profit colleges tend to be some of the worst colleges anyone could choose. It’s true that Ancaps and Libertarians also support private non-profit colleges (which are among the best colleges, i.e. the Ivy League). Nonetheless, this is a great example of why it’s unreasonable to replace all government services with private corporations.

Read More: Political Philosophy: The Education System

15.3. The Welfare System

First, let’s clarify that welfare states are unsustainable because they are a free-rider problem.

All welfare should be replaced by charity. Charity is more efficient too.

Charity does tend to be more efficient than government services, and removing all forms of government welfare would increase the amount of charity that is delivered today (for now). However, human beings are intrinsically selfish, so we should be skeptical that increased charity would remain a sufficient long-term replacement for welfare. Charity is altruistic, so it is destined to die off due to natural selection.

  Anti-Welfare Pro-Welfare
Pro-EPC Sustainable Unnecessary
Anti-EPC Inhumane Unsustainable

In the long-run, a society can’t be truly anti-welfare unless it enforces EPC. If society is anti-welfare and anti-EPC, then the only other option is to let impoverished children starve to death, which everyone would label as inhumane.

  • Sustainable: A Sustainable future, fewest moral dilemmas.
  • Unnecessary: Being Pro-EPC eliminates the need for virtually all welfare, except during extremely dire situations (similar to the Great Depression or WWII), so there’s no dilemmas or contradictions here.
  • Inhumane: Impoverished children must starve (to death) since there’s no welfare and no method for preventing their unfortunate existence in the first place.
  • Unsustainable: The status quo, a system that subsidizes irresponsibility and taxes responsibility because anti-welfare is “cruel” and pro-EPC is “evil”.

The best solution to this dilemma is to enforce reasonable legal requirements for people who want to have children, so that we can eliminate the unsustainablility of the welfare state, while achieving the most humane conditions possible.

Read More: My Critique of UBI.

16. Advancing Technology Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing

In this section, I write my response to some quotes that were written by ancaps who don’t realize that technology is a double-edged sword.

16.1. The Problems With Crypto-Currencies

Tax evasion is one of the main uses for bitcoin.

So are scams, ransom, hacking attempts, human trafficking, etc. By making transactions anonymous, yes there are some good people who gain freedom from the government, but there’s always at least two sides to every moral action. When transactions become anonymous and untraceable, it’s easier for criminals and evil-doers to get away with their bad deeds and immoral acts. As more and more companies, individuals, and governments become more accepting of cryptocurrencies, they are also becoming more accepting of these criminals’ nefarious and untraceable means of collecting money. Crypto does have some advantages, but this perspective on cryptocurrencies is very one-sided.

This is huge. Future generations will chuckle at your short-sightedness and small mindedness for doubting the power of crypto-currency. You sound like the nay-sayers when the Internet was in its nascency.

Yeah, sure. The Internet totally hasn’t had any negative effects on society whatsoever. This perspective is still one-sided. With the Internet also came the Dark Web, a popular hub for criminal activities. The Internet also causes ideological extremists (e.g. Communists, Ancaps, incels, racial supremacists, etc) to congregate together, and the rise of these radical ideologies has contributed to the rising instability and declining faith in our culture and society. The Internet is also responsible for spreading fake news and misinformation all over the world, and social media is probably not worth the costs that it’s had on society. In many ways, human societies would be better off if the Internet was never invented.

Why should we expect the growing popularity and adoption of cryptocurrencies to be any different? Cryptocurrencies might do some good for society, but they will also undoubtedly cause some predictable harm as well. This is just one of many reasons why it’s so illogical to believe in “universally preferable behavior”. It’s non-existent because every cause and every action has both an upside and a downside. It just depends on the perspective you’re viewing the cause/action from.

Crypto-currencies are also unstable and unreliable. A reliable currency has to fluctuate very little in order for its users to have confidence in it. Consider how Bitcoin also lost two-thirds of its value between November 2021 and November 2022, while the US dollar lost only 7% of its value during the same time period. That was during a period of unusually high inflation, but the point is that even during the worst of times, the US dollar held more of its value than Bitcoin did. And although it’s possible to use currencies like Bitcoin to buy some things nowadays, most people use crypto-currencies for their speculatory value, not for buying and selling things.

16.2. Other Examples of Technology Backfiring

The collection and intensive analysis of data are critical reasons why Ancap societies would not offer any improvements over a democracy.

Electric vehicles are evidence that voluntary options are sufficient for reducing climate change.

This ignores all the problems with EVs. An electric car still produces half as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car since lots and lots of CO2 is still produced during the manufacturing process. That doesn’t change much at all, especially when considering that the world population is still continuing to increase, which will further increase the demand for cars. And I’ve already covered that if electric cars are going to be a serious method for reducing carbon emissions and climate change, then government is necessary in order to build the electric charging stations (infrastructure) for making them a viable option for consumers, since the free market will not be able to resolve this.

Not only that, but cobalt is necessary in order to build the batteries used inside electric cars. China owns most of the world’s cobalt mines, so increasing the number of electric vehicles in the West is guaranteed to increase the West’s reliance on China, which would give China more geopolitical leverage to make the West do as it wants. This is also yet another good argument why natural resources should be owned equally by all humans.

More Information: Technology Causes Just As Many Problems As It Solves.

17. Middle Ground

This essay has been entirely critical of Libertarianism, but many Libertarian positions are still reasonable, and I recognize them fondly as being reasons that attracted me to the ideology in the first place. John Stossel’s videos were especially influential in converting me to Libertarianism when I was 18 years old. I even still have most of the memes that I collected from the Internet from when I used to be Libertarian (I only collect quality memes that I feel convey decent arguments), although I have since deleted all the ones that felt too particularly cringy to be worth keeping. I agree with Libertarians on the following civil and economic issues.

17.1. Civil Issues

17.2. Economic Issues

  • Abolishing income, sales, and property taxes
  • Ending crony-capitalism
  • Removing corporate farm subsidies
  • Abolishing the minimum wage and rent control laws
  • Opposition to “price-gouging” laws
  • Very limited welfare
  • Opposition to free college
  • Opposition to single payer healthcare
  • Understanding the broken window fallacy
  • Opposition to federal insurance subsidies that incentivize people to keep building, maintaining and living in areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters, such as New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Support for removing the USPS’s monopoly on mail delivery.
  • Et Cetera

17.3. Better Defense of Rights

In some ways, I’m even more “Libertarian” than all Libertarians, on the basis that my proposals would do a better job of protecting negative rights than the traditional Libertarian proposals.

As much as I will disagree with Libertarians and especially Ancaps, I seem to agree with moderate Libertarians more often than I disagree with them, especially if they’re GeoLibertarians.

18. Conclusion

In summary, the main problems with Libertarianism all stem from the denial of biological realism, a misunderstanding or refusal to apply game theory to society, moral delusions, and an ignorance of the importance of equitable land distribution and efficiency.

Footnotes:

1

Larken Rose once chose to not file his taxes on purpose, despite many receiving many notices that his legal arguments for not paying or filing taxes were/are invalid. He was imprisoned for tax evasion for 15 months.

2

Having an equal right to be productive means having an equal opportunity to be as productive as anyone else.

Last Modified: 2024 June 10, 01:23

Author: Zero Contradictions