'Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.' —Woody Guthrie

20 Hard Questions! Challenge - Accepted

by Ethan Glover, Thu, Aug 15, 2013

20 Hard Questions! Challenge

Over at my favorite forum The Daily Anarchist a non anarchist by the name of Abyssal Demon issued this challenge with 20 tough questions for anarchy. Just my kind of thing, here we go.

1. A functioning anarchist society would have to be based on the non-aggression principle and private property, right? But what if someone prints their own money, how could they be punished, legally? They're not hurting anyone directly by printing fake money, even though it leads to inflation. Are money gonna be "copyrighted"? Are courts gonna be flexible? And what about the gold standard, won't that give additional benefits to countries that already have a lot of gold stored?

A reasonable start. First of all, there is nothing illegal about printing your own money. But how would an individual printing money use that money? Generally stores are only going to come to accept certain currencies, it would be impossible to accept everything because there would be no way for store owners to know what it was worth. Those currencies would more than likely have to be backed by gold and silver and be issued by well known and respected banks (much like checks). The gold standard emerged out of the fact that gold works well as money, just because it was once "law" is not the reason gold is thought of as money today. It's divisible, durable, valuable, fairly scarce all that jazz. There is nothing wrong with trading ducks on the free market you just have to worry about finding a person that has what you want who also happens to want a duck. Gold acts as a medium of exchange that can easily be traded later.

Using bank notes as a substitute for carrying around gold coins is great, but those bank notes must be recognizable in some way and if they don't go through (like a bounced check) that is when you have a problem with the law.

All that being said, one must consider that today most transactions are electronic and tied to debit/credit cards which go straight to bank accounts or other financial accounts. In the modern day this wouldn't be a huge issue. Even with paper there could easily be electronic scanners that pick up invisible markings or digital keys for that paper money.

2. Okay, let's say a country manages to become totally free. Naturally, a whole lot of people from all over the world will want to move there, how can we preserve forests and water reserves, if people wanna build a huge amount of new homes? How many people will own a local forest, and why will they get it, and not anyone else? How will the owners decide what to do with it? Democratically?

If the government were to disappear the ownership of now public land would come down to homesteading. Whoever takes control and starts working it or using its resources for whatever reason has the moral authority to claim ownership. Once all land is owned, private property may change hands through free market exchanges. Not only that but with no public land there is no longer any worry of the tragedy of the commons.

With private property there is actually incentive for the owner to preserve his land in order to maintain value. Nobody decides what to do with private property except private owners, they always get final say without question.

As for homes popping up, they can only be built where resources are available. If you come to a place where all the homeowners in the area have reached the maximum reasonable level of taking in water, why build a house? If you have the land you could, but you can not get water from the owner of the water source unless he is willing to destroy his business and over exhaust his resources.

3. What about secret police, inside the free society and in potential threatening countries like Iran, North Korea and so on? Will we be able to legally fund them? If someone is caught wiretapping the homes of radical Muslims or some morbid gothic person, who have not yet done anything wrong, will the free voluntary courts be able to dismiss the charges against the spy because of security reasons? Can't this easily lead to oppression of minorities?

Why are there secret police in the first place? Who's wasting their money spying on Muslims? And who in the free society would bring charges against somebody in Iran spying on others? I don't rightly understand the question. If you are in Iran spying on people you may be caught and put in an Iranian jail, no one from your home free society is going to come to save you because you alone are responsible for your own actions.

On the other hand if a private security company is caught with spies in another country they have to deal with that, and they will probably lose customers because there is really no reason to be doing that in the first place, it is a waste of money. If a company feels the need to spy they alone bear the consequences within the jurisdiction they are spying. They may bear some consequences with their customers but in the end they are not breaking any laws as far as those customers go. In summary, this is not a local problem.

4. Who will decide how much pollution or radiation is tolerable on a property? Can't this lead to minorities with asthma and certain illnesses being legally trampled by the majority's opinions? What about patents and copyrights, people say 15 years is an adequate limit, why? How do we defend that philosophically? If we "just need a limit", could we also need a limit for how many acres of forests should be protected? What about levels of noise from neighbors or factors? And then suddenly we end up with specific laws again, instead of the simplistic beauty of the non-aggression principle?

Ok, um, there are a lot of unrelated questions here all rolled up into one terribly confusing package. What I'm going to do is just pick a few subjects out and give them a general explanation.

How much pollution is produced is up to the owner of a property. If that pollution harms someone elses property or body and they can prove it in court, they would have to stop and suffer some consequences.

Rothbard proposed that noise pollution would come down to who was there first. If you move into a loud area, (such as one with an airport) you move into that area with the understanding that that is the norm and have no real legal basis for complaining. If you are living in a house and a new neighbor moves in who likes to play loud music. It is first more efficient to work things out with that neighbor. If he persists you can bring up the case in court.

There was also something about copyright so... Intellectual property is a subject of high debate and you can learn more about the arguments against it in the videos here, here, here, here, here, here and here. I think most AnCaps are against any copyright law, but some are not. However intellectual property can be protected by free market solutions. For instance it is very hard to rip a DVD or pirate a movie today thanks to technology and services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have become very popular because they provide a superior service to torrents. They can do this because they work with the companies rather than against them.

5. There was a story a couple of years ago about some scientists who made a new virus that could be incredibly fatal and lead to civilizational damage, and they put the recipe out on the internet I think, I don't have the link to the story, but I'm sure you heard about it. How could we stop things like that? And people putting out recipes for bombs? Or people who have made bombs on their own property? There was even a Swede some years ago who made a nuclear reaction in his kitchen. They are not violating the NAP, so if someone were to kidnap these guys and put them in prison, and these prisoners would sue them, could the courts just "be reasonable" again, and not accept the charges?

The lack of sources don't help your stories so let's downgrade this to hypothetical. A nuclear weapon for instance is totally unable to target any one single individual. This makes their presence a threat. A rifle or even machine gun is actually aimable and can be used with discrimination, a large bomb, not so much. An AnCap community would not be violating their beliefs by having it removed. The exact same logic applies very simply to viruses.

Once something gets on the internet it is impossible to stop completely and so the risk of somebody using those plans remains, however remote that chance is. When they do they face serious legal consequences.

With all that being said let's do a reality check here. The chances of someone being able to build or buy a large scale nuclear weapon? May as well be zero. Go check the black market to see if you can even come up with a quote on price. Chances are that nuclear weapon, or even the virus plans are nowhere to be found.

6. Imagine this, you are now the president of Iraq, where Sunni extremists are killing Shia Muslims with carbombs all the time. How do you solve this? Can you solve this in a moral way without violating individual rights? Go against your principles and run a police state, and hope for a future in which people will be ready for something better?

If I were now the president of Iraq I would quit and walk away. Other peoples problems are not my problems, I only ask to be left alone and not be stolen from or harmed.

7. Should civilians be allowed to own machine guns and anti-aircraft weapons, in case certain police and military groups band together to try to form a state? Would an enormously armed population lead to more peace?

Yes and yes. I don't know how are these civilians got the money to pay for this stuff, but why shouldn't they. This is not only a deterrent from the warlords taking over but it is a deterrent for foreign nations.

8. So, there's no bank bailouts, right? What if a bank suffers a big robbery or cyber/terrorist attack, and this causes the bank's customers to lose their money? Is that simply a risk people will have to take?

Just because there are not "bailouts" that allow banks to take major risks without consequence, doesn't mean there isn't private insurance for banks. If a bank is robbed you get as much money as you can from the robbers through conviction and use insurance for the rest.

9. Something like the FDA, how would that be handled? Of course private companies could do quality check of products, but would you have to look for their symbol on every product you buy? Or maybe shops could sell products from these quality ensurers only. But what about guns? Sure, gun stores could have signs like "We only sell guns to people with this and this license", but wouldn't gun shops who sold guns to anyone, including criminals, schizophrenics and so on, also have a good market and stay in business?

What's the question? You've answered yourself. You can't stay in business by selling bad guns. Are you saying "criminals, schizophrenics and so on" only want guns that blow up in their faces? And what kind of place sells to these crazy people so much that they are the primary customer with most of the influence?

10. Really mentally ill people and heroin addicts, could we put them in mental hospitals and rehabilitation camps, and would the same system apply where courts could be reasonable if these people filed charges? And drop the charges? And if courts are gonna be flexible and there are no absolute laws, won't it be very easy for mafias or sneaky rich people to bribe the juries, or just charge with a court that they own themselves, and get away with heinous stuff, or make innocent people fall guys? Can't this very easily lead to mafia wars or even civil wars?

A lot of questions in one package again...

Mentally ill people are usually perfectly capable of making their own decisions and living with their own consequences. So are heroin addicts. There are people who would want to help them but they would need to gain cooperation.

If a court finds out its jury has been bribed that would easily lead to a retrial and larger charges.

Also a mafia court isn't going to have enough respect to stay in business. For instance we must assume that this mafia exists by stealing money. Bye. This supposed court must then exist by the support of that mafia who is tried in other courts for committing crimes. Bye to them to. You can't just create your own court and be tried in it, that's the point of competing court systems. There no conflicts of interests. This mafia situation is exactly what the government currently does.

11. Who will own the borders, military groups? And can they deny people access to pass? Should there be no borders? If so, then it will be very easy for terrorists to get in with chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons that could otherwise be easily detected. For example, the US has systems that can detect chemical weapons coming near it's borders, maybe also nuclear and biological weapons.

The turrists are coming!!! No there are no borders except those on private property. I don't know what kind of crazy nuclear terrorists are coming in all the time but those on the Mexican borders may have to pay a higher price for security. (MAY, the violence there is mostly due to the drug wars.) The Canadian border? It's already open, criminals can cross it no problem. Other than that this is a major exaggeration. You're talking about a well armed peaceful nation totally open to free trade.

12. There's a suburban neighborhood with a lot of homes who all share a water supply, what happens if the owners of the water raises the prices? People say that other water companies could drive in there with trucks of water and water bottles, really? One house uses quite a lot of water, and transportation is expensive... But maybe the owners of the homes could own the water reserves? I've heard that contracts in the past used to include water access, that you wouldn't have to pay for.

You just answered your own question again. There are an infinite amount of solutions to every problem. With no government it is about what you can think of to solve your own problems. Not some bureaucracy 1,000 miles away full of old white guys who have no idea what they ate for breakfast.

13. I see that some anarchists are anti-war, well, if we hadn't stopped Hitler and Japan, they would increase their evil and possibly eventually conquer the world. If we faced the same threat today, isn't it right to strike pre-emptively? Iran are now working on clandestine nuclear programs, and their nutjob leaders (who also terrorize their own people obviously) have prophecies that the end times will begin after Judeo Christian civilization is destroyed, let's say our spies in Iran warn us that the nuclear weapons are almost complete, isn't it right to attack them and disarm them?

What is up with these god damn spies everywhere? This isn't very anti-war. I'm not paying for snoopy pricks to stick their noses in other peoples business. By the way, there are no nuclear weapons in Iran and if there were the only incentive they have in attacking the U.S. is because of our meddling. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ATTTAAACCCKKKK!!!!! That's just not how it works.

As for Japan, they gave the U.S. plenty of chances and asked them to stop the trade embargoes. The U.S. made the first blow and got what it deserved. Roosevelt made it his job to find a reason to go to war without making the U.S. look bad.

The second world war was brought on mostly by the Treaty of Versailles, this question is applying statist tactics for control to the AnCap society. Hitler probably would have never taken control in the first place if it weren't for government, the U.S. made that situation possible. This is similar to what it does now by overthrowing governments it knows nothing about. Does not compute.

14. What will be the hardest challenges in a free society? Will people stop funding the military because they forget it's importance? Will a group of policemen and/or military men band together to form a state, and we'll have to fight them? Will societal attitudes lead to laws and possibly even a government again? Because "people aren't paying enough to the military or to people who can't afford health insurance", etc

I don't even know what this is supposed to be asking. What if a meteor hit the earth and people went extinct tomorrow? What if God exists and he developed a sense of humor and decided to make Sharknadoes a real thing? What do you think the hardest challenges will be?

All of these questions are just general ramblings that should be separated as individual questions, in fact most of them have already been asked/answered.

15. Telling kids about hell or circumcising them, will that be reason for a voluntary child protective service to take the kids?


16. A lot of these dilemmas need the general population, who are gonna be jurymen in courts and so on, to have reasonable values, so, is a free society only possible if the philosophical foundation in people's lives are changing first? What about technology, is a free society only possible in our time of technology and information, or could it have worked in any age and place in history? Before modern detective work, wouldn't it be a lot easier to get away with crimes, and therefore you may have needed a fierce state in the past to uphold some order?

UGH! What is this stuff? If you're going to number these things at least organize it into actual questions.

Who will be the jury? The same people it is now.

Is anarchy possible in history? Yes, it has existed before, long before government.

Detective work blah, blah, blah? The police state is bigger now that it ever was and less effective. "Fierce states" only make things worse.

17. Many conservatives will think that  it's good for kids to see some horrible stuff (traffic accidents, Holocaust footage) and maybe even be slapped lightly if they do something wrong in order for them to behave and to be aware of the dangers of the world, so they can protect it when they get older. If we give our kids a purely wonderful childhood with no "darkness", won't they be, on some emotional level, oblivious to the fact that there are really dangerous people in the world we need to protect ourselves from? If we as humans are born "gorillas", don't we need discipline in childhood to not turn out to be violent and sociopathic bastards

Can you not teach your children about these things without slapping them around and showing them horror movies and terrible traffic accidents? Is that so impossible? Making kids think violence and terrible images is the answer to everything is how they turn into sociopaths in the first place. Self reflection time.

18. Is it good to campaign for conservative or minarchist parties to give people a taste of the wonders of freedom and personal responsibility? I know that many libertarians and anarchists refuse to vote and will not encourage others to vote, but is that really smart?

What do I care about other people? So they want to be slaves, I don't. I do my best to live in the most moral way possible. Minarchists think the ends justify the means and that they are superheroes. To each his own.

19. What would you say to so-called "socialist anarchists"? People who want no hierarchy and no private property and no money? How to win these people over? Do they need an explanation of how the economy works, or something else?

I don't need to win anybody over, they as a community are welcome to claim their "public land" and I shall interpret that as private land. Problem solved. There's no need to force anybody into any system.

20. It's always important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Does every intelligent person have a "blind spot"? Ayn Rand was brilliant, but couldn't imagine a society with no state. Stephen Hawking is brilliant, but can't imagine how there could be a creator of the universe. Stefan Molyneux is brilliant, but he doesn't seem to understand determinism. (And regarding that, do you people believe in free will? I personally don't, but I think freedom is still a very moral and also powerful stance that unleashes human beings' talent, creativity and potential)

Do I believe in free will? Yes.