From the White-PillBox: Part 38
Another logically inconsistent claim of statism: anarchy can never work in practice (so ignore examples where it does).
This installment of the White Pill series offers another example of the internal inconsistencies of statism. As explained in essay 36, one of statism’s fundamental weaknesses (and thus a major White Pill) is how so many of the arguments used to support it lead to logical inconsistencies.
In this essay we examine the claim that a State is necessary because anarchism would fail in practice. We will see that this fundamental justification for statism utterly collapses when we simply observe the real world.
The justification for government rests on an emotionally charged assertion…
In the practical world of day to day reality, a civilized society can only function with a State: a governing class possessing a monopoly on the use of force. Because without the State, people would suffer and starve in the chaos and mayhem of a Mad Max hellscape .
Note that statists assert this in unqualified terms. They claim anarchism absolutely cannot work in the real world. As such they claim the State is an absolute necessity.
Remember that statism foundationally rests upon this.
How the claim fails
Unfortunately for the State its bedrock justification is observably false. Anarchy has existed throughout history, and even exists today, in several respects…
News flash - there’s no world government. So today’s governments exist in anarchy.
Statism assumes the necessity of an overarching government authority. However, for the 200 or so States that exist today, there is no mega state - no world government in authority over them. Their voluntary, ungoverned choices determine how they interact.
They exist, with respect to each other, in a state of anarchy. This clearly contradicts the idea that anarchy does not work in the real world.
Anarchy exists all around us - in our private actions
This is self evident. Virtually every action not involving the State is a free choice. This is anarchy, living and breathing, in the vast majority of human actions and interactions. Your decision to read this very essay occurred in an ungoverned state of anarchy. You choose what to wear, what to eat, with whom to socialize or do business. Somehow you, and everyone else, consistently manage this without descending into lawlessness and chaos .
Cooperative behavior comes naturally to humans, as it results in mutual benefit. We even work out most disagreements without a State.
Anarchy necessarily prevailed throughout human history
At some point in man’s evolution, he acquired the ability to think and make choices. Instinct was no longer his exclusive means of action. What we refer to as free will emerged at least 30,000, and possibly hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Yet governments formed only within the last 6,000 years.
There is no escaping the fact that for most of its history, humanity survived and advanced in a state of anarchy. Tools, agriculture, and cooperative trade emerged, all in stateless conditions.
If anarchy really did lead to chaos and destruction, the species would have died out.
It is therefore false that a State is necessary for society. In fact, our successful stateless history demonstrates that a State is quite unnecessary.
Anarchist societies have existed, and exist today
Across history and the globe, stateless societies have not only existed, but persisted(some lasted hundreds of years or more). And in virtually every case, they handled the very types of problems that statists allege cannot be addressed under anarchy, such as dispute resolution .
Not to mention the double hypocrisy
Statism warns us of the dark spectre of social chaos without a government, hypocritically disregarding the monstrous and ever-present problems we already experience under statism.
Then statism tries to indict anarchism for not delivering a utopia. An appalling claim, as holding utopia as the standard of judging a social system handily indicts statism itself.
Conclusion - the White Pill
Yet again, we find that statism stands without foundation. Anarchism flourished in man’s history; stateless societies exist today; and all private consensual interactions occur without rulers. These clearly expose statism’s basic justification as false.
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This is not an overblown expression of the claim. Government is necessary, so says the statist, because anarchy is utterly intolerable. If it were somewhat tolerable, then it would at least be a debatable option, along with the various forms of government. But the statist dismisses it out of hand - he sees no place for permitting anarchy whatsoever.
The United Nations is most certainly not a world government authority. Member states join voluntarily (hardly an option for individual citizens of a government). And not all of the world’s governments are members. Most significantly, the UN does not have exclusive enforceable authority over the territory of its members, which is the only meaningful attribute of a government in this context.
Even though the State is a ubiquitous institution, its actions are only a fraction of all actions, among all people, across the world. Private, non-State activity far exceeds State activity, but is mostly unseen because it happens uneventfully. The State's smaller proportion of activity tends to dominate attention.
It is true that in today’s world, the State exists as a “backdrop”. But it is false to assume our private interactions are successful because the State “simply exists”. There is no causal connection between the State and our functioning private actions. One may as well say the existence of the Grand Canyon causes us to interact successfully.
Some historical examples of stateless or near-stateless societies (including duration):
Early Ireland (lasted about 2000 years)
Medieval Iceland (lasted about 400 years)
Cospaia (lasted about 400 years)
Free Frisia (lasted about 500 years)
Acadia (lasted about 100 years)
Moresnet (lasted about 100 years )
Some present day examples:
African Tribes using the Xeer legal system
Zomia (population appx 130 million)
In fact the only reason most historical anarchist societies ended was because outside States bullied, manipulated, or otherwise crept in and corrupted them.
The durability of an anarchist society is an interesting debate, but not the topic of this essay. The author’s view is that two fundamental elements are required to help an anarchist society achieve permanence, protecting it from re-adopting statism: the awareness that coercive rulers are illegitimate (though far less than a majority would be enough), and a sufficient level of knowledge, technology and productivity to make the excuse for a State utterly unnecessary (which, importantly, includes private arrangements for justice and dispute resolution).