As anarchists and believers of the free market, capitalism, and the sovereignty of the individual, we are often labeled as “rude” or “opinionated” and left as outcasts. At least I have been in my conversations with people. I’m often asked “Why do you care so much?” or “What you are saying will never work”. People even accuse us of being rude, insensitive and uncaring because we do not hold the same things in reverence as they do. Honestly, this sort of interaction becomes redundant.
I have had many conversations with people about government and I always start out by explaining the non-aggression principle to them. I state how using force on others outside of defending yourself and you property is immoral. Often it seems like this concept, which is a really simple concept to understand in my opinion, goes right over their heads.
“Who will build the roads?”
“What about national defense?’
“But the troops defend our freedom!”
“Who will take care of the poor?”
“Capitalism has already failed us!”
“Not all police are bad!”
These responses and many more, we encounter every time we talk about the ethics of government. It becomes tiresome. These “arguments” have been refuted by us a million times over so having to have these same conversations over and over again can make us a little cranky. I don’t speak for every anarcho-capitalist out there, but I don’t necessarily believe that statists are stupid people. I find their faith in government naive and foolish, but I understand their position and where they are coming from.
From the moment we exit the womb we are taught that government, especially democratic constitutional government, is good. We learn in government funded schools that government is the pinnacle of human endeavor and that without people to rule over us, we would have nothing. This indoctrination continues into college and everyday life through the media, churches, and entertainment industries. This eclectic and illogical ideology is everywhere and it is a definite example of “if everyone says it, it must be true.”
This means anarchists, believers in the sovereign nature of the individual, are in complete opposition to the collectivist culture around them. We are sojourners in a foreign and nonsensical land. We understand true economics and how human action, the action of individuals, is the driving force behind all economic activity (all of life is economics by the way). How often do we point out the moral, logical, and philosophical contradictions inherent in the worship of the state? All the time. We raise thoughtful, fact driven, arguments in opposition to statism every day. What is the statist’s response? One of the statements above or simply a personal attack.
“You hate poor people.”
“I hope you’re the first to be beheaded when ISIS invades.”
“I hear Al Qaeda and ISIS are recruiting.”
The statists can never respond with anything as thoughtful and logically sound as we present. It’s simply childish name calling in defense of their childish ideology. As you can see, confronting this wrongheadedness gets wearisome. The anarchist becomes cranky, they know exactly what the statist is going to say before they say it. They know exactly how this conversation is going to unfold. Why do they continue to converse with people about it? Because most of them care. I care. I know some anarchists really are jerks and their beliefs give them this “intellectual high”, but most care about their communities and families. They really do care about the poor, that’s why they advocate private property, so the poor have the ability to actually find a way out of poverty. They care about everyone, they really do love everyone! That is why they advocate the rights of the individual because every individual is beautiful and special and not a single one should be sacrificed against their will for “the greater good” as defined by those in power with special privileges.
So, what can we do as anarchists and what do I plan to do? Be patient. The cause of freedom will never be won by being as nasty and mean as the opposition is. We were all locked in statism at one point and we understand how hard and world shattering, but also freeing, waking up to freedom is. It takes great patience and love on our part to show everyone else that they have value and that they do not need bureaucrats who steal from them and tell them how “best” to live their lives. They were born free and only allowed these criminals in government to shackle them and that they have the power to take the shackles off.