Tag Archives: Utopia

Anarchy versus Libertarianism

I suppose it could accurately be said that all anarchists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are anarchists.

But I believe anarchists are to libertarianism what socialists are to Democrats. They are the extremists of the wing, and by no means the norm.

In my experience, most libertarians, including the Libertarian party, believe in the rule of law, and a government designed solely to protect rights, such as those enumerated in the United States Constitution. Anarchists of course, want no government nor laws whatsoever.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

There are anarchists I’ll call the “Chaos Wing” who just want to “burn it all down, ” take whatever they want, kill whomever they want, etc.

Conversely, there are also anarchists I’ll call the “Utopian wing,” who are more practical. They think if we’re all free from any rule of law enforced by government, that we’ll all peacefully coexist.

As with anything in life, there are two sides to an opinion, and then there’s the middle ground that is likely closest to the truth. While I feel both anarchists are misguided in such beliefs, let’s explore the two sides, and what I believe to be the actual truth.

The Chaos Wing think it would be great to just steal whatever they wanted, but let’s think about this. Imagine you steal some rich guy’s Corvette, for instance. At first, it’s great, you have a free Corvette. But with a little critical thinking, it starts to display its problematic logical outcomes.

  • Why would anyone buy a Corvette if they knew that it was just going to get stolen, and they’d have to risk their life in an act of vigilantism to recover it?

    Corvette ZR1
    Corvette ZR1 executing a rather nice burnout
  • Why would Chevrolet build cars at all if they knew no one would pay for them or buy them because of the above?
  • Why would oil and gas companies dig oil out of the ground if they knew people would just steal it so you could drive the Corvette or any other car?
  • If you get shot or harmed in some way while stealing the car, where are you going to go for help? There won’t be hospitals with doctors in them, because they won’t show up if they aren’t getting paid.
  • Why would people go to work to earn money at all if stealing it were the path of least resistance?
  • If no one is working, who is going to build the things you want to steal?

Eventually, there would be no nice things to steal, no technology to enjoy, we would essentially be living the lives of cavemen.

While that seems silly, look at some third world countries that are largely defunct of any government. That’s effectively how they live, like modern day cavemen. The idea of such violent anarchy as a Utopia, is truly an delusional idea. I rarely take the chaos wing seriously, they lack the vision to understand the implications of their ideas. Many are simply violent psychopaths desiring to be unobstructed in life.

But more importantly, I think they are the more delusional of the two wings, because the evidence clearly shows that human nature is such that we’re typically not sociopaths like that. Humans are pack animals who have arisen on Earth as the most dominant species, in large part because of our inherent social nature.

Don’t believe me? How do you think democratically elected governments arose in the first place? It’s literally part of mankind’s natural evolution.

The more serious anarchists however, are of the Utopian wing. They are at least more thoughtful in their ideas, but I fear they are still eronious when considering the actual outcome compared to their desired and predicted outcome.

These folks believe that if people were free to do whatever they wanted, humans are inherently good and won’t harm others due to our genetic predisposition to be social creatures.

They rightly point out that many violent acts towards our fellow-man are because of government laws against things like drugs and prostitution, which encourage people to lash out because of the oppression of such laws, and to defend themselves violently against those who might infringe on their ability to do them freely.

They feel that if you get rid of victimless laws, certainly drug use, prostitution, gambling, etc., will occur, but will occur peacefully between two consenting adults.

In Colorado, where recreational marijuana was legalized, crime rates did indeed go down, despite the adamant belief by prohibitionists that the other would occur. It’s as if these folks forgot we had Alcohol Prohibition from 1920-1933. Not only did it not stop the consumption of alcohol; it drastically increased crime as well.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

If you look at the number of violent crimes and people in jail because of marijuana consumption and distribution, the parallels to alcohol prohibition are so obvious, I can never fathom how any reasonable person could suggest that repealing alcohol prohibition was the right thing to do, but ending marijuana prohibition isn’t.

However, if I agree that humans are inherently kind to one another, why do I support a government to protect rights versus the rational anarchist system?

Because there are victimful crimes like murder and theft that occur all of the time, for one. And I don’t think the average citizen is capable of processing a crime scene for another. Again, let’s apply some logical thought to this theory.

  • If someone were to steal from me, I may be carrying a gun and shoot them. But what if I come home and my stuff is just gone? Are you really OK with me grabbing my gun and perusing the neighborhood, breaking into homes until I find my stuff? Because that’s the only way I can get justice in a governmentless community.
  • If I were to come home to a murdered relative, do I have the ability to process the crime scene, do a DNA test, and all the other staggeringly expensive investigative processes the police do? Maybe rich people could afford a private investigation, but most couldn’t. So do we want the poor having to resort to vigilantism where they just go after the person they think is guilty?
  • If there is no government to enforce contracts, how many businesses will willingly do business with another knowing there’s no recourse in case of a breach of contract? Most of the goods we have today are because companies have such contracts, so there is no doubt, we wouldn’t enjoy most of the technological advances brought to you by the cooperation amongst vendors.

In America, our government was established by the people and for the people. We have essentially agreed to pool our resources collectively for the purposes of protecting all of us from those who would do us harm. There are non-elected governments who oppress people, but by design, ours is supposed to essentially be an extension of our social nature.

Libertarians like myself, have a decent understanding of the ramifications of passing victimless crime laws, but we also understand the ramifications of anarchy. We want our rights protected honestly and fairly, something government is generally pretty good at in this modern technological era, and certainly better at it than your random individual. But we believe government would be better if it weren’t distracted by all the victimless crimes it’s currently far too involved with, which is why we non-anarchist libertarian fight our fight.

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Utopia: The Grand Oxymoron

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

The Associated press recently reported here that in Michigan, after a year of repealing their mandatory helmet law, motorcycle injury costs were on a significant rise. Since more riders are riding sans helmet, this makes sense. But is it a problem? I say yes and no.

As you may know, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) which passed in 1996 prohibits a practice called patient dumping, thus requiring hospitals to treat critically ill or injured patients regardless of their ability to pay, or the reckless actions that may have put them in that situation.

Helmet Law Map
Helmet Law Map

EMTALA is a very good example of how one law often leads to another which is only justified by citing the first. We libertarians argue that the duty to protect our rights is the only duty of government. EMTALA gives the left a reason to use our own arguments against us by saying that we have to enact helmet laws to protect the public from having to pay for their reckless decisions, when if we didn’t have EMTALA in the first place, that wouldn’t be an issue.

Health care is part of the market place, but people often see hospitals as a public service like local police, fire, and rescue, then pass laws that treat them as such. Their argument being that if government has a duty to protect your life, then health care is, by extension, a right as well, and thus a role of government.

Why do I believe otherwise? Because government mandated health care means I have to pay for your poor choices; like doing drugs, over-eating, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Therefore, it violates my right to property to preserve your right to life. A conflict that only occurs if you choose the opinion of those pushing for health care as a publicly mandated service that must be provided to everyone. If it’s a private service available to those who can pay for it or those whom doctors choose to help pro-bono, the conflict is gone.

We feel it’s morally wrong to let someone die—I do to, to some extent. But it’s a moral issue, not a legal one. Just as I don’t want the government outlawing adultery, lying, or just generally being a jerk, I don’t want them outlawing the ability of a doctor to decide to help or not help someone who has done themselves harm—passing those costs on to me afterwards.

Health Care CostsWe all agree that when someone dies, it is sad, even tragic. But we also all know that no one gets out alive. Death is a natural and unchangeable part of life, at least for now. So if we understand we’re all going to die anyway, we cannot spend ourselves into oblivion trying to evade the inevitable.

When asked about the difference between libertarians and authoritarians, one of the distinctions I feel is often overlooked is that authoritarians are idealists, libertarians are realists. Authoritarians believe that government can create a Utopia if they just spend and regulate enough to rid the world of every immoral or dangerous act; creating a perfectly sterile and safe society. Libertarians see this as foolhardy and misguided goal.

While I generally abhor comparisons to Hitler; they’re so often hyperbole used for shock value, in this case it is somewhat appropriate here. Hitler also believe he could create a Utopia through ridding the world of all but the master race and by using advancements in genetic engineering. What he wanted to do violently and unethically, authoritarians aspire to achieve through legislation and regulation.

“The rich should all be like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, giving their money away to charity and happily paying more taxes. If they don’t, we’ll legislate it away from them” is just a financial version of “People should all worship this particular god or be killed.” One is an infringement of property, one life, but our Constitution guarantees rights to both. So why tolerate the first if we wouldn’t dream of tolerating the second?

I don’t want a boring life without any danger, and I defy you to honestly tell me you’ve never done something reckless just for the thrill of it. But if we take the authoritarian mentality to its logical conclusion, all risky behavior will be illegal.

Casual BASE Jump
Casual BASE Jump

We ride motorcycles without a helmet (I alternated depending on my mood), jump out of airplanes, or engage in extreme sports because we enjoy the freedom and the excitement that comes from the inherent danger. Humans love pushing the envelope, and without it, we wouldn’t be happy. So doesn’t that defeat the point of a Utopia?

I’m sad for these people who got injured without helmets. I was wearing mine when I wrecked and despite my noggin surviving in tact, I still got a collapsed lung out of the deal. Maybe we should legislate a suit of armor for motorcycle riders, and training wheels while we’re at it? The last two of course seem silly, so why is the first not?

Risk is fun, but risk means there’s also a chance of harm. While death may be the downside of risk, no one wants to live in a world without it—we’d all effectually become drones.

So I say that Utopia is an oxymoron. It’s supposed to be a perfect world where everyone is happy, but human nature dictates that almost no one would actually be happy in a Utopia. So let’s always mourn the lost—I’m not arguing that death is good; but let’s champion the freedom that allowed them to live and die by their own accord instead.