The Stateless Equilibrium
The stateless market society—a peaceful social arrangement based on voluntary relations among individuals in which the state is not present—is not a popular idea. Many people believe that this society would lack the capacity to define and enforce property rights, and that this would result in chaos, tyranny of the rich or in a reversal to a state. This belief has led to a widespread dismissal of the stateless society paradigm.
Murray Rothbard is by many considered the champion of the stateless society doctrine. However, even Rothbard conceded that “there can be no absolute guarantee that a purely market society would not fall prey to organized criminality.”
While it is true that absolute guarantees for any social outcome are generally inappropriate, I argue that there are good reasons to believe that outcomes like chaos, tyranny of the rich, or even “organized criminality” in the absence of a state are unlikely.
To show this, I will assess the core economic forces that govern the development of any society and ultimately hold it together. This will show how the internal economic features of a stateless society provide incentives for nonviolence and cooperation and disincentives for violence, theft, and extortion. This analytical journey will also lead us to the realization that the glue that keeps state societies together in their current form may be nothing other than fear of an imagined enemy. As far as humans can overcome this fear, they can open the path to a stateless society.
All of the services commonly thought to require the State—from the coining of money to police protection to the development of law in defense of the rights of person and property—can be and have been supplied far more efficiently and certainly more morally by private persons. The State is in no sense required by the nature of man; quite the contrary.
Professor Rothbard identifies the fixed nature of the state and points out the problem with a Constitution that cannot enforce itself. http://www.LibertyPen.com
Source: Murray Rothbard, “For A New Liberty, The Libertarian Manifesto.” Read by Jeff Riggenbaum.
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Rothbard on Marketing Liberty
Murray N. Rothbard presented this speech at the Michigan Libertarian Party Convention, held in Southfield, Michigan, in May 1989. This is an excerpt where he responds to a question about whether to explain the benefits as opposed to saying “abolish the IRS”.
The first great lesson to learn about taxation is that taxation is simply robbery. No more and no less. For what is ‘robbery’? Robbery is the taking of a man’s property by the use of violence or the threat thereof, and therefore without the victim’s consent. […] But if taxation is robbery, then it follows as the night the day that those people who engage in, and live off, robbery are a gang of thieves. Hence the government is a group of thieves, and deserves, morally, aesthetically, and philosophically, to be treated exactly as a group of less socially respectable ruffians would be treated.
…the libertarian sees no inconsistency in being “leftist” on some issues and “rightist” on others. On the contrary, he sees his own position as virtually the only consistent one, consistent on the behalf of every individual. For how can the leftist be opposed to the violence of war while at the same time supporting the violence of taxation and government control? And how can the rightist trumpet his devotion to private property and free enterprise while at the same time favoring war and the outlawing of noninvasive activities and practices that he deems immoral?
Libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral, or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life… Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another. What a person does with his or her life is vital and important, but is simply irrelevant to libertarianism.
The libertarian is also eminently realistic because he alone understands fully the nature of the State and its thrust for power. In contrast, it is the seemingly far more realistic conservative
believer in “limited government” who is the truly impractical utopian…it is the conservative laissez-fairist, the man who puts all the guns and all the decision-making power into the hands of the central government and then says, “Limit yourself”; it is he who is truly the impractical utopian.