Tag: stateless society

The Importance of Voluntary Hierarchies

By Jack Parkos | United States

The basis of leftist movement has been an anti-hierarchy mentality. That all hierarchies are evil and should be abolished to obtain a state of egalitarianism. Far leftists use words like “patriarchy” or “class struggle” to get their point across. The leftist view is that all hierarchies are authoritarian. These include capitalism, the nuclear family, and sometimes the government.

While it is true, that hierarchies can be tyrannical, this certainly does not mean all hierarchies are such the case. Hierarchies are, in fact, natural and do much good.

The wolf pack is a great example of why the hierarchy is naturally occurring. Wolves are very social creatures and form packs to work together to survive. Every wolf plays its role in the pack. In the wolf pack, the leader is the Alpha. The Alpha is in charge of the hunts and makes group decisions to benefit the pack. Below him is the Beta, and at the end is the Omega, the last in line. Such a system allows wolves to survive and work together. Many other social creatures use similar systems.

Humans too are social creatures, and thus require interaction with people. Groups can form from people with common goals and belief not only just to survive, but to thrive. Humans also maintain the idea of rights that can prevent a hierarchy from being tyrannical.  Let’s take a farming community for example.

The community needs to plan what crops and livestock will grow and where it will grow. Amongst all the debate, a natural leader will rise and take charge, allowing groups to compromise and figure out a plan as to what to do. He leads the community through the harsh winter with his leadership ability. As the work expands, he must have people below him, but above the average man. This new group may manage certain areas of the land.

This is the common business model. There’s the CEO of the business. Below him may be managers, and below them is the average worker. This works best for business. Without such a leader, the average workers would all have to run the business equally. This could not be done. Suppose there are disputes, which are common in the workplace. How would they be solved? One may say a vote would be a good resolution. But democracy (voting) creates a hierarchy of the majority over the minority, which can be dangerous.

Thus, natural rulers must take charge and run things. They should not be tyrannical as no one would follow them. Such hierarchies, like in the business world, should be voluntary. The leader should not disregard the rights of people. If so, the people can leave. Each man should be in charge of his own property. But, if they choose to form a group based on common defense and beliefs and have a leader, then this is not authoritarianism.

Natural and Unnatural Hierarchies

One may observe the wolf packs can be vicious, the Omega being “bullied” by the higher ranking groups. Such is a tragedy. But in human hierarchies, this can be protected. Humans, again, have greater thinking abilities. Only humans truly grasp the idea of property.  As long as a leader respects the people’s property, they cannot be tyrannical. The modern state does not respect private property.

The unnatural hierarchy rises from elites attempting to rule over the people.  Through force and violation of rights. The natural hierarchy rises by the will of people to have order and protect property. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe puts it:

Natural order defends these basic property principles. Locations were selected by defensibility. Leaders of small communities were able to act as courts by shunning wrong-doers and directing compensation to the victim. Law was discovered, not created. Taxes in the modern sense did not exist. The king, lords and nobles established protection villages against invaders.

People, having property rights, will need a defense for their property. If they agree to join a group of property owners and establish law, is it authoritarian? Certainly not. Law is necessary for any society, and law can create hierarchies (Reminder: these laws are not forced on the people).  Law should be local, decentralized, and non-tyrannical. Law should serve to protect life, liberty, and property. These rules could be established via a contract, perhaps a constitution of sorts. If laws go beyond these intended uses, property owners should have the right to leave such a contract.

A Non-Hierarchal Society

The common myth that hierarchy is anti-libertarian or anti-freedom is a lie from Marxists. Not only is it ineffective, but it’s also a lie about libertarianism. Libertarianism is not about chaos. Libertarianism is about peace and voluntarism. Libertarians aren’t against rules, but rather cohesive violent rules.

Assume all hierarchies were abolished. Unless we ignore human nature, humans will still require interaction. With interaction comes disputes. If two people cannot agree on something, how can it be solved? Removal of the hierarchy is the removal of the law. Without any sort of law, there is no way to solve disputes without violence.

Moreover, without hierarchies, there is no private property. If people cannot keep what they own, there is no incentive to work. Without an incentive to work, there can be no production. Without production, no food, technology, etc.

Assuming people would work for the betterment of the group, how is it decided what gets done? Who decides what is done? Suppose we use the farming example again. Say there is a dispute over whether land should be used for crops or livestock. How would this be solved? Again, the only way would be through either violence or democracy. However, as stated above, democracy is a hierarchy of the majority. This hierarchy gains its power simply from the majority, not from any natural leading ability.

The hierarchy is a natural part of human nature. Capitalism is not tyranny. The tyrannical hierarchy is not part of this. While the tyrants who use the law for personal gain should be overthrown, there must be a replacement with leaders. These leaders must only have authority based on consent from individuals. These leaders must be decentralized and have their only purpose to protect their property, as well as the people who they have engaged in a contract with.


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This Danish Anarchist Community Believes Freedom Works

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Without government, who will build the roads? How will society prevent an influx of crime and pollution? Can civilization as we know it truly exist at all? Many people may think that an anarchist society has never really been tried, especially in the modern era. However, a Danish community, after it left the influence of the state, has truly thrived.

Freetown Christiania: An Anarchist Paradise

It may be easy to miss the small, oddly shaped territory. But sitting in the middle of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is not trying to hide from anyone. In fact, since its dawn in 1971, the Danish anarchist community has grown into the third largest tourist attraction in the nation’s capital. Or, to be more technical, surrounded by the nation’s capital.

The Freetown Christiania project began, as mentioned, in 1971, at an abandoned military base. Many of the initial squatters moved to the new settlement because of a lack of affordable housing in the city. In the coming years, the society grew in population, and now, is home to up to 1,000 people.

Law in Freetown Christiania is quite simple. As no governing body exists in the region, the rules that they set do not have binding power. However, seeing as they own the property, the community does have the right to remove those in egregious violation of their principles of peace and order. In fact, all of their community guidelines are printed on big signs which stand in public areas. Some of the rules refer to the principles of nonviolence, and others are simply community desires and values. The anarchist community, for example, prohibits all violence, as well as weapons, hard drugs, and cars.

Rules sign in Freetown Christiania
Rules in Freetown Christiania are simple and prohibit only a few actions, such as violence and selling fireworks.

The Green Light District

Throughout the settlement’s history, it has had a fairly large involvement in the drug market. Pusher Street, the main drag in Freetown Christiania, has a major part in Copenhagen’s marijuana industry. Though the anarchist community does not tolerate hard drugs, it is much more open to the use and sale of marijuana.

As a result, many vendors opened up on Pusher Street, also known as the Green Light District. Community members and tourists alike can buy and sell at their will in one of the freest markets in the world today. Altogether, the market has an estimated annual value of $96.2 million.

In Denmark, the use of drugs is not explicitly illegal. However, both possession and sales of any type of drug carry a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment for small amounts. For harder drugs and higher quantities, the sentence can be as long as 16 years.

Despite this, for much of Freetown Christiania’s history, Danish police have entirely ignored the area’s drug trade. Though recently, there have been a few altercations between the anarchist citizens and Danish authorities. Although in the worst incident, three people were shot, violence, even in the drug industry, seldom occurs.

Just What Kind of Anarchists are They?

Interestingly, Freetown Christiania does not follow the ideology of any particular anarchist sector. As stated above, there is a massive, multi-million dollar drug market, which represents a free market. All transactions in the market occur entirely voluntarily and without taxes of the threat of force. The people also created their own currency, and use it for various purchases around the district, including a variety of local and imported foods in cafes and restaurants.

On the contrary, the anarchist community takes a very critical stance on property ownership. Their official website, for instance, remarks that anyone has the right to use, but not own, the land. And after purchasing it from the Danish government in 2012, community leaders made sure that the collective, rather than any individual, owned the land. As a guiding principle, they do not believe in land ownership. Freetown Christiania also emphasizes the importance of the community, and most citizens work for the benefit of the community as a whole. Breaking from modern capitalist tradition, some may work as community launderers, cooks, or trash collectors as a favor for their continued residence.

Anarchist Community Unity

Thus, it seems that the anarchist community adopts ideas from many schools of thought. This suggests that anarchist unity, rather than division, leads to success. The residents, after all, some third generation, appear highly proud of their tight-knit community.

Without a doubt, community engagement and pride have led to the ongoing success. The peaceful group lives under the Freetown Christiania flag, a red banner with three yellow dots. Debate still exists over whether the dots represent the three “I’s” of Christiania or the O’s in the song “Love, Love, Love”. Despite this disagreement, the community continues to live on as one of the world’s longest-standing examples of peaceful society without a state.

Performers under the Freetown Christiania flag.
Singers perform under the Freetown Christiania flag.

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An Anarchist Society is a Better Society

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!