Monthly Archives: May 2014

How Can We Have A Voluntary Society And The State?

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In my last blog I announced the start of a voluntary, Truly Human Society. Those of you who have noticed that the Government is still here and operating at full throttle may wonder how a central coercive government and a society that rejects the concept of a central coercive government could exist in the same place at the same time. And that excellent question is the topic of this blog.

To answer your question, let’s begin by comparing the definitions of ‘society’ and ‘government’.

Society (Merriam-Webster)

: a voluntary association of individuals for common ends; especially : an organized group working together or periodically meeting because of common interests, beliefs, or profession
: an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another

Government (Merriam-Webster)

: the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions for a political unit : RULE
: the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it

Notice that the definition of ‘society’ uses words like ‘voluntary association’, ‘working together’, ‘cooperating’.

Compare that to the key words used to define ‘government’ – ‘authority’, ‘rule’, ‘power’.

A society is, by definition, a collection of voluntary ways that people organize. People can choose to participate according to agreed upon rules, or not.

A government, on the other hand, uses power to exercise authority over people’s activities and relationships, backed by force.

Our Truly Human Society, being a voluntary society, does not want to have, or be, a government. We are not competing for the right to govern.

Since government is not the space our Truly Human Society wants to occupy, it is not a prerequisite for that space to be vacant.

That is not to say that the existence of a government is a good thing, or even a neutral thing. It is, in fact, a bad thing.

But what hope is there for ever achieving a voluntary society if it can’t operate in the presence of bad things or bad people?

Under the best of conditions, there will still be criminal gangs, demagogic and violent dictator wannabes, and lots of people who just don’t have the self-discipline to be voluntaryists. Under any realistic conditions, a voluntaryist society will be composed of only those who voluntarily participate, and a voluntaryist community will be faced with many external challenges.

We have those conditions today.

Now, the Government will violently interfere with voluntary interactions within our society. And, the Government will require, at gunpoint, that people in our voluntary society do things that they do not want to do. But why should that stop us from conducting ourselves, in all other ways, in a completely voluntary manner?

If those of us who have the desire and will to form a voluntary society begin to build up the basic structures and mechanisms of a voluntary, free-market society today, we will be, at the same time, creating a better world for ourselves and demonstrating to the non-believing masses that our ‘utopian’ ideas actually do have real-world value.

Today Is The Start Of A Truly Human Society

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Today is the start of a new, worldwide, Truly Human Society.

Many of you have already developed your own smaller, more individual Truly Human societies. Now we can go ahead and take the idea global.

As you may recall, what makes us Truly Human is to follow one simple rule, “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.

We often think of ‘ownership‘ as a legal or financial concept, but in practical terms, to own means to control. What you own, you control.

So, to take control of something is, in effect, to take ownership. To take control of anything without the current owner’s consent is to steal.

What makes “Thou Shalt Not Steal” the key to defining a Truly Human Society is that for anyone to take control of another person’s life without their consent is to steal from, and to take ownership of, that other person.

Our Truly Human Society, then, is based on the belief that no people should be owned by other people. In practical terms, that means no people should have control over other people. All Truly Human interactions should be voluntary.

Most of us already live our everyday lives as ‘voluntaryists’. Do you use force or threats against others as you go through your day? Probably not. For most of us, being controlled and forced to do this, or not do that, generally only occurs in our relationships with government.

And that brings us to the 800 pound gorilla – involuntary government – that has continually blocked our path to a voluntary, Truly Human Society.

Today we realize – we’ve been on the wrong path!

We have been stopped by the gorilla only because we believed we had to retake the path he sits astride.

We have assumed that we can only have a voluntary society in the absence of an existing government.

But a government isn’t a society. A government is a parasite living off of a society. A government is simply a “bandit gang writ large“.

Libertarians have developed and documented all kinds of practical strategies for how a voluntary society could be effectively organized without coercive government. But we never seem to get beyond the idea stage because we see no practical way to be rid of government.

The gorilla owns that path.

Let us travel another path.

To counter claims of being utopian, libertarians have always insisted that a voluntary society would be able to deal with the reality of criminal gangs – small and large.

So, if libertarians think that the presence of criminal gangs is not a showstopper, and that government is simply a criminal gang writ large…

…then now is a great time to start a libertarian society.