No Masters, Not Even Ron Paul

Article by David D’Amato.
Anarchists are assured that rival organizations for defense, without monopoly power or captive markets, would surely shoot it out in the streets, while the single, overarching authority that we have at present will act only for the common good. So although statists are allowed to impute godlike qualities to their apparently preternatural institution, it is anarchists that are said to have a Panglossian vision of human nature and society.

We are supposed to imagine that the best results are achieved from an organization that has absolutely no incentive to serve the citizenry, that itself is subject to no outside check on its power, but why? If human nature really is as gloomy as Hobbes was convinced that it was, with the brutish war of all against all sitting just below the surface of all human affairs, then indeed the state seems to be the very worst and most ill-conceived of our possible options for the good society.

For all other goods and services, we tend to harbor an instinctive skepticism toward lone providers, setting a high standard of proof for claims that a monopoly is either necessary or inevitable due to the nature of the case. For the state, however, the presumptions are exactly the reverse, accepting it as necessary from the outset and ruling out any argument that would call it into question.

To divest societies of the state is not to welcome chaos, but to, in the words of Lysander Spooner, “get rid of the usurpers, robbers, and murderers, called governments, that now plunder, enslave, and destroy them.” Market anarchists seek to expose the myth that unopposed aggression is capable of doing anything at all that voluntary cooperation and exchange cannot; we seek to demonstrate, by both the force of logic and empirical evidence, that the state’s first purpose, rather than creating order, is to allow a few to live off of the labor of all others — that every secondary purpose that seems to contradict the first is only an ameliorative measure.

Even some professed anarchists have, in the past, supported Ron Paul’s candidature for political office, arguing in essence that dismantling the state from within is the best chance we have. There is little reason, though, to think that those in positions of power are even capable of pulling violent hierarchies to pieces from inside of those hierarchies. The best chance we really have is to form peaceful institutions to rival those of the state, to fill up social life with the moral and practical power of the voluntary order.

A Ron Paul presidency shouldn’t be the fantasy of those who want a true libertarian revolution. The state, its every piece and office, must be disapproved and resisted at every step. Only then will its illegitimacy become apparent and its voluntary counterparts grow stronger.

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