Austin Anderholt | USA
Whenever I try to convince someone that taxation (and therefore government) is theft, I find the process is quite easy: I explain to them how a group of people with bigger guns than everyone else call themselves “The Government” demand that you pay them a certain amount of money that you never agreed upon, or else they will threaten to lock you in a cage. The debate may last a few minutes or even hours, but I eventually can convince most people that government is bad and that taxation is theft. At this point, almost every single person says the same exact thing: “But without government, who would build the roads?” Sometimes they ask how other government projects would be handled, but for some reason, most people seem to inquire about roads first. Nonetheless, people are amazed that one could hold the opinion that people shouldn’t be allowed to lock you in a cage if you don’t pay them the money that they demand. They treat anarchism like a bad word. They assume that a stateless society would be like some sort of Hollywood movie they’ve seen, and this view is completely false.
To the masses that have spent their lives on the highly addictive sedative that we call “The Government”, it may seem crazy that people could build roads and complete other tasks without someone pointing a gun at them and stealing from them. There’s a great political comic here, that shows people standing in a breadline in the Soviet Union, starving away. One of them says, “In Capitalist countries, the government doesn’t hand them any bread!” The people in that comic couldn’t possibly imagine a successful world where bread is distributed through capitalism and a voluntary society. This is very similar to the blindness that the current public has about things that the government does. For example, on the issue of Net Neutrality: Net Neutrality didn’t even exist until 2015. Do you remember a time where you had to pay money to big scary corporations to access all websites on the internet before 2015? Me neither, but the drug of government is so powerful that it’s victims start to assume that “If we don’t have someone controlling how we live, the greedy corporations will make it too expensive to pay for anything!” This is entirely false. Companies have to cater to the individual, or else they will fail. If I owned McDonalds, and I started charging a million dollars per hamburger, everyone would stop buying from me, and my company would fail. This is common sense; if companies want to be on top, they have to compete with each other for the lowest prices and best goods/services, in order to ensure that they’ll get repeat customers. No company would ever charge a huge toll for roads or internet or any other good or service you can think of, or else another company could just sell it for a cheaper price, and therefore get more business. Companies must cater to the customer to survive, and the idea of these “greedy corporations” is just plain false.
That being said, have you ever driven on a private road before? I’m sure you have. Did you have to pay a greedy corporation a huge toll to drive on it? Probably not. In fact, many toll roads are government roads. So, how would roads work? In one scenario, you have businesses competing for the cheapest road prices. Many of them might implement different policies, such as, “Our roads are safer because we don’t allow drunk driving” or, “Our roads are cheaper because we only make you pay one small price forever!” This would make roads extremely efficient, and it has worked in the past: The first American railroad was privately owned and built. Let’s say you were really afraid of these non-existent greedy corporations, and you didn’t want them owning your roads. You could crowdfund for monetary donations to build a road that you let everyone go on for free. It would be like taxation, but completely voluntary and with a significant lack of cages.
With that in mind, privatization would help everyone a great deal. Prices would shoot down for things like healthcare, education, and whatnot. Currently, we live in a system where the government has a forced monopolies on those items, and they can demand any amount of money they want for it. Due to this, they can be wasteful and inefficient, but private companies wouldn’t have that option. However, let’s say there’s a family that’s struggling to get by in a stateless economy, and they can’t afford these items. There are tons of huge private charities that are fighting to end things such as hunger and to give free checkups, showers, meals, etc. to people who are in need. Once taxation stops existing, and people’s paychecks aren’t being slashed in half, can you imagine how increasingly generous people would be in donating to these huge causes? Private charity for people in need would skyrocket!
In conclusion, a stateless society would thrive. As we’ve seen through times like the prohibition, public school, and the Middle East, government intervention almost indefinitely makes things worse. Private companies and charities will do much more good than anything currently being accomplished. A voluntary society is a better society!