Tag Archives: anarcho-capitalism

RT interviews Lew Rockwell regarding Fascism, Government & Tyranny



Anarcho-capitalist libertarianism: What is it?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe interviewed in Australia (audio version here):

Michael Duffy: As it happens, we’re going to start the year with a guest from the right, but so far to the right you certainly couldn’t call him conservative. I’m not sure what you’d call him, he is right out of the ideological ballpark. His name is Hans-Hermann Hoppe and he’s a German intellectual who lives in America. He’s going to propose ways of thinking about government, society and the economy that are literally radical.

Paul Comrie-Thomson: And I think in this case, Michael, the word ‘literally’ is being used literally.

Michael Duffy: Indeed it is. Hans-Hermann Hoppe is probably the world’s leading living libertarian philosopher. He’s emeritus professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a distinguished fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Perhaps his best-known book appeared about a decade ago, and it had the challenging title Democracy: The God That Failed. His critique was from the libertarian right.

Libertarians are part of a pretty broad church, so how would Hans-Hermann Hoppe describe his position? Just where is he coming from?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: I am a libertarian but there exists various wings of libertarians. I am a member of the wing that is referred to as the anarcho-capitalist libertarians or, as I prefer to say, I’m a proponent of a private law society, and a private law society is a society where the same laws apply to every individual and every institution, not just separate groups of individuals—government officials on the one hand and private citizens on the other—to whom different laws apply.

Michael Duffy: In general terms, is there one particular place that you’re coming from? Is there a sort of fixed point where you start whenever you consider a new subject or a problem? Are you interested in freedom, for example?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Of course I’m interested in freedom. I think freedom is defined precisely by the position that I take, that every individual and every situation is subject to exactly the same law and there is no group of individuals or no particular individual that has certain privileges that other people do not have.

Michael Duffy: Okay, let’s apply those beliefs to what you’ve written about the differences or the comparison between democracy and monarchy. I suspect most of our listeners would consider that democracy is a marked improvement and a dramatic difference from monarchy. How do you see the two?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: First you have to define a state because monarchies as well as democracies are states, and then in the second step we have to explain what the difference between these two types of states are. States are defined as institutions that are the ultimate arbiter in cases of conflict on a certain territory, including conflicts involving the state itself. And secondly, states are territorial monopolies of taxation. So this applies both to monarchies and to democracies.

In monarchies, the head of the state considers the territory as his private property, and the people inhabiting the state territory as his renters who owe him rent payments. And of course he uses his privilege that he has as the ultimate arbiter in any case of conflict and a person who has the right to tax individuals to his own advantage. He exploits his population. This is also true in a democracy. Taxation exists in a democracy, just as much as it exists under monarchy. Democratic states also assume that they are the ultimate arbiter in any case of conflict, including conflicts involving themselves.

And there is distinction in democracy also between public law and private law. Public officials under democracy can do many things that private individuals in their private dealings would not be permitted to do. They can tax individuals on a private level, this would be called stealing. They can tax individuals and redistribute income in the private level, that would be considered stealing and fencing of stolen goods. They can draft people into the army or force them to work for the state, which on a private level would be considered enslaving people or kidnapping people…

Michael Duffy: But people choose this, don’t they? People will vote for democracy, for democratic governments.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Yes, that brings me to the difference between democracy and the monarch. Under monarchy it is relatively clear who the ruler is and what the rules are, under democracy you can hope that you will end up on the other side, that you will be on the receiving end, and that reduces the resistance against increases of taxes, against unjust verdicts in conflicts of a situation. But the most important difference between monarchy on the one hand and democracy on the other hand is that you replace somebody who considers himself to be the owner of the country with somebody who is a temporary caretaker of the country, and that does not improve matters, it makes matters much worse.

To give you an example, if I give you a house, in one situation I make you the owner of the house so you can determine who will be the heir, you can sell the house off and keep the receipts from the sale, while in the other case I make you the temporary user of the house. You can use to your own advantage the income that you can get off the house but you have no right to sell the house, you have no right to determine who will be the heir of the house.

Will you treat the house in a different way? And the answer seems to be quite clear; yes, you will treat it in a very different way. In the one case as the owner you will be interested in preserving the value, the capital value embodied in the house. In the other case, as a democratic politician where you can only use the house but don’t own it, you will try to increase your income that you can get from the house without any regard to the capital value embodied in the house, and you will engage in capital consumption, you will want to rob the country as fast as possible because, after four years or eight years you have no chance anymore to do it. So it is far more destructive of wealth formation than monarchy.

Michael Duffy: But isn’t it the case, using your analogy, that because of elections if I want to keep the house, keep my control of the house at the end of a period of four or five years, I have to act within certain limits? In other words, elected rulers, even if they do exploit people a bit, they have to keep that exploitation within boundaries in the hope of being re-elected.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: But this is also true for monarchs. Monarchs have frequently been killed if they overstep their boundaries, and the dynasty of which they are a member is very much interested in keeping the dynasty in power. Democrats are far less frequently killed because people always have the hope that in four years somebody else will come to power. So the resistance against attempts to increase government power to increase the amount of taxes is far lower under democratic conditions than it is under monarchical conditions.

And in addition it should be said that competition for entry into government, competition is not always good. Competition is good when it comes to the production of things that are good. We do not want to have a milk monopolist, we do not want to have a car monopolist, we do want to have competition in the milk industry and the car industry, but competition is not good when it comes to producing something that is bad from the point of view of property owners. We would not want to have competition in people­—who runs the best concentration camp, who is the best mugger on the street—and this is precisely the type of competition that we have in democracy.

Michael Duffy: It’s the case, isn’t it, that democracies on the whole have higher standards of living than other forms of government, and also the case that many people who do not live in democracies would like to, to the extent that we can gauge what they want. Why is that so, do you think? Are people deluded to want to live in democracies?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Democracies have won out in competition against monarchies in the course of history. The monarchical age has ended by and large with the end of World War I, so it would be unfair to say that democracies are in fact richer than monarchies because we compare the 19th and 18th century with the 20th century. Societies can grow richer despite the fact that governments grow richer. So my thesis would be if we would have kept monarchies of the style that we had in the 19th and 18th century we would be far richer than we are currently under democratic conditions.

Michael Duffy: Moving on, what might a libertarian society look like? How might it organise itself?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: The basic idea is that if every institution, every person is subject to the same set of laws, then also the production of law and order has to be provided by freely financed institutions. There is no monopoly institution in this place. This would lead to a situation where we would indeed get some sort of contract of what will happen to us in certain situations of conflict, what the provider of security of law and order will do. They will have to describe what it is that they will protect, how will they protect it, what will they do in the case of a conflict between a client of a protecting agency and the agency itself, what will happen in the case that two security providers and their clients have conflicts with each other.

They will have to agree, for instance, that there will be independent arbitration in the case of conflicts between various protecting agencies, whereas if you compare that with the current situation, we have a situation where no contract exists between the citizens that are allegedly protected in their life and their property by the government, where it is not clear what will happen if the clients, the so-called clients of the state, are dissatisfied with the provisions that the state gives, where the clients have no possibility of appealing to independent third parties if it comes to a conflict between the state and the individual, where instead we have a situation where if you have a conflict with the state, some state agent, over property rights, it is another state agent who decides who is right and who is wrong in this case of conflict. And there you can predict of course what the outcome will be; they will by and large decide that they are always right.

Michael Duffy: Can I ask you for an example? In this sort of world you’re describing, say there was a law and everyone else agreed with it but I didn’t. So if, for example, I live in a street and I’ve got a one-hour parking sign out the front and I disagree with that but the other people in the street agree with it, what might happen then? I’m just trying to get a concrete idea of this.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: The street would be privately owned. In a private law society there exists no such thing as public property, there exists only private property, and of course the owner of the private property lays down the rules that apply to this piece of private property. So conflicts like this would not even arise. Public property, on the other hand, generates conflicts. Allegedly we all own it. If we do not happen to agree, as if by magic, conflicts are almost unavoidable. If the unions want to demonstrate on the street and the car drivers want to drive on the street, both claim to be owners of this territory, and conflict is unavoidable. If everything is privately owned, it is perfectly clear whose rules apply and whose rules do not apply.

Michael Duffy: So if I own a house in a street, would that street belong to all the people in the neighbourhood or to another company? How would that work?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: That can be arranged in various ways. It might be owned by all the residents on the street, it might be owned by a third party and you have the right to access your property. Obviously nobody would buy any property if he did not have the right to access his own property, so you would have a contract with the person who owns the street. Or there are neighbourhood associations that jointly own the street and make joint decisions, as in stock companies or as in gated communities or institutions of that kind.

Michael Duffy: And if I didn’t agree with them I could leave basically, I could sell my house and…

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: And then you could leave.

Michael Duffy: In Australia we have a large number of people who are on welfare, poor people who are looked after by what we call the welfare state, possibly more than in America. What would happen to those people under the sorts of arrangements you’ve been describing?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: First of all I think that a large number of voluntary organisations would spring up, voluntary donations would dramatically increase given the fact that no taxes have to be paid. Currently the situation is such that you pay massive amounts of taxes and then people of course have the feeling why should I also support people who have this condition or that condition given that I am already paying an enormous sum of taxes.

Second, I think there would be greater pressure exerted on people not to become dependent on welfare because they are not entitled to it. They would have to behave in such a way that they satisfy their donors in some way, they have to be nice to their donors, whereas currently the situation is you feel entitled to these things and that breeds of course bad behaviour. Whatever you subsidise through taxes you will get more of it. If you support poor people, this does not eliminate poverty, it increases poverty, it increases the incentive to stay poor or to become poor. Whenever you subsidise people because they suffer from drug addiction or alcoholism, you increase of these forms of behaviour instead of discouraging them.

Michael Duffy: Do you think the welfare state can survive?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: No, the welfare state will ultimately collapse for the same reason that communism collapsed. All Western welfare states will not be able to repay their debts, will not be able to fulfil their obligations that they have assumed vis-à-vis people who are retiring. The only way that they can fulfil it is by engaging in a massive amount of inflation, that is printing up the money in order to give the impression that they might fulfil the obligation, with the consequence of course that the purchasing power of money drastically falls and an expropriation of productive individuals will take place.

Michael Duffy: I’d like to ask you a bit more about economics but unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time left. Just very generally, can you tell us a few of your most important thoughts about how you think the international financial system ought to be arranged differently?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: The fundamental problem that we have which began in its most drastic form since 1971 is that all governments are nowadays on a pure paper money standard. All governments or their central banks can create money out of thin air. Increasing the amount of money in existence does not increase wealth in society, it is just additional pieces of paper. There is not one additional consumer good resulting from more money being printed, there is not one additional producer good resulting from more money being printed. If by money printing we could make societies richer, there would not be a single poor society. In fact, there would not be a single poor person on earth.

All that this money printing does is redistribute income and wealth from those people who print and get and spend the money first, and it impoverishes and expropriates who do get the newly printed money last, who are on fixed incomes and are confronted with rising prices resulting from the fact that additional money was being printed.

So the most important monetary reform that we can hope for would be the abolishment of all central banks and the return to a situation that existed for most of mankind, namely a situation where money is a regular commodity that must be produced in a costly way, such as gold and silver, by the market. Again, no monopoly in the production of money but competition in the production of money, and money being a regular commodity that cannot be generated out of thin air.

Michael Duffy: What about the role of intellectuals? We’ve never had anyone like yourself on our program before and that is disappointing. Why don’t more people think like you or it least engage in more diverse thinking about freedom?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: The answer to that one is very easy. Most intellectuals are state employees, and of course they know where their money comes from. While that fact does not determine in the Marxist way how people think, it definitely helps to know where your money comes from. The demand for intellectual services on the market is far lower than the impression that intellectuals themselves tried to spread. Their salaries would probably be significantly less, there would be significantly less so-called intellectuals because they realise that their biggest helper is the state. They tend to be in favour of state institutions, tend to be in favour of having public education, public funding for research. Again, most research that is being done, especially in the social sciences, appears to me as a big waste of money. Societies would be richer if many of these so-called research projects had never been carried out at all.

Michael Duffy: Professor Hoppe, thanks very much for your time today.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Thank you very much.

Michael Duffy: Hans-Hermann Hoppe is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Nevada, and a distinguished fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

In coming weeks here on Counterpoint we’ll be talking to another prominent libertarian, David Hart. He’s an Australian historian, now resident in the US, a self-described ultra-sceptic who runs the important website, the Online Library of Liberty, and we’ll hear his views on freedom, war and the growth of the state.

The Coming Attack On Bitcoin And How To Survive It

From EconomicsAndLiberty.com:

By Anthony Freeman

(This article is the third in a series on bitcoin. Read parts 1 and 2 here and here.)

With bitcoin gaining mainstream attention the coming attack on its users is inevitable. In this short piece I will explain how it is likely to unfold and how you can survive it.

First, a little background:

In 1996 E-gold was one of the early entrants to the market with a private, global e-currency. They achieved stellar growth and widespread attention – much like bitcoin today. Accolades came from freedom-lovers everywhere. They were the “Great Gold Hope” that would free the people by freeing the money. Privacy-enthusiasts, libertarians, gold-bugs, autarchists, anarchists, voluntaryists, drug-dealers, and even unsavory types flocked to it with praise and adoration.

Of course, the monopolists of the monetary system didn’t take lightly to this threat to their very existence. They came after the independent exchangers and e-gold with their full force and fury – eventually succeeding in convicting the key players for “conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business” and “conspiracy to engage in money laundering”. E-gold was fairly easy to take down because their operations and data-center were centralized and readily accessible.

Many folks who are now currently acting as currency exchangers for bitcoin will be the first to come under attack. Many will get hurt and possibly even imprisoned but, because of its decentralized nature, bitcoin will survive where e-gold did not.

If any of the large exchangers like mtgox.com are operating out of the US then it won’t be long before they are raided and shut down. Individual exchangers will be targeted as well – just to make an example and to scare others out of the community. This will create a giant “wet blanket” on the current enthusiasm for bitcoin and I expect the currency to take a major drop in exchange value when this happens. Not to fear though. Bitcoin will survive due to its decentralized “peer to peer” nature and it will continue to operate as an “alter-cash” resuming its growth albeit at a slower rate during the immediate aftermath.

To protect yourself I recommend the following:

You probably have a little more time before the attacks come (maybe a couple of months?) to acquire bitcoin with cash – and there are profits in speculation to be made until then but, when the raids come, expect a sharp correction before exchange values move on to new highs over a longer period of time. What you do not want to do is be involved as an “exchange service” conducting exchanges in and out of national currencies and you definitely do not want to have your money sitting in the exchanger’s account when they are raided and shut down.

Remember, e-gold was shut down for “conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business”. Do not store any money in online accounts like mybitcoin.com in case they get taken down along with the exchangers. Keep all of your bitcoins on your computer with multiple, encrypted back-ups both on the cloud and on an external thumb drive.

The safest way to acquire bitcoin is to let people know that you will accept it as payment for your products and services. Do not ever exchange it for national currencies. The point that people miss here is that national currencies are the very problem that freedom-lovers are trying to get away from. Instead, use bitcoin to trade with merchants and individuals who accept it as payment. Offer it as payment to those who are unaware of it and explain the benefits to them. This will help develop the market and create a solid economy outside of national currencies. After the initial attack, bitcoin will likely be one of the most powerful and revolutionary tools to bring about more freedom and liberty to humankind.

Agorism in action…

From Gawker:

The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable

Adrian Chen — Making small talk with your pot dealer sucks. Buying cocaine can get you shot. What if you could buy and sell drugs online like books or light bulbs? Now you can: Welcome to Silk Road.

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an ordinary envelope to Mark’s door. Inside was a tiny plastic bag containing 10 tabs of LSD. “If you had opened it, unless you were looking for it, you wouldn’t have even noticed,” Mark told us in a phone interview.

Mark, a software developer, had ordered the 100 micrograms of acid through a listing on the online marketplace Silk Road. He found a seller with lots of good feedback who seemed to know what they were talking about, added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit “check out.” He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins—untraceable digital currency—worth around $150. Four days later the drugs, sent from Canada, arrived at his house.”It kind of felt like I was in the future,” Mark said.

Silk Road, a digital black market that sits just below most internet users’ purview, does resemble something from a cyberpunk novel. Through a combination of anonymity technology and a sophisticated user-feedback system, Silk Road makes buying and selling illegal drugs as easy as buying used electronics—and seemingly as safe. It’s Amazon—if Amazon sold mind-altering chemicals.

Here is just a small selection of the 340 items available for purchase on Silk Road by anyone, right now: a gram of Afghani hash; 1/8th ounce of “sour 13” weed; 14 grams of ecstasy; .1 grams tar heroin. A listing for “Avatar” LSD includes a picture of blotter paper with big blue faces from the James Cameron movie on it. The sellers are located all over the world, a large portion from the U.S. and Canada.

But even Silk Road has limits: You won’t find any weapons-grade plutonium, for example. Its terms of service ban the sale of “anything who’s purpose is to harm or defraud, such as stolen credit cards, assassinations, and weapons of mass destruction.”

The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug ImaginableGetting to Silk Road is tricky. The URL seems made to be forgotten. But don’t point your browser there yet. It’s only accessible through the anonymizing network TOR, which requires a bit of technical skill to configure.

Once you’re there, it’s hard to believe that Silk Road isn’t simply a scam. Such brazenness is usually displayed only by those fake “online pharmacies” that dupe the dumb and flaccid. There’s no sly, Craigslist-style code names here. But while scammers do use the site, most of the listings are legit. Mark’s acid worked as advertised. “It was quite enjoyable, to be honest,” he said. We spoke to one Connecticut engineer who enjoyed sampling some “silver haze” pot purchased off Silk Road. “It was legit,” he said. “It was better than anything I’ve seen.”

Silk Road cuts down on scams with a reputation-based trading system familiar to anyone who’s used Amazon or eBay. The user Bloomingcolor appears to be an especially trusted vendor, specializing in psychedelics. One happy customer wrote on his profile: “Excellent quality. Packing, and communication. Arrived exactly as described.” They gave the transaction five points out of five.

“Our community is amazing,” Silk Road’s anonymous administrator, known on forums as “Silk Road,” told us in an email. “They are generally bright, honest and fair people, very understanding, and willing to cooperate with each other.”

Sellers feel comfortable openly trading hardcore drugs because the real identities of those involved in Silk Road transactions are utterly obscured. If the authorities wanted to ID Silk Road’s users with computer forensics, they’d have nowhere to look. TOR masks a user’s tracks on the site. The site urges sellers to “creatively disguise” their shipments and vacuum seal any drugs that could be detected through smell. As for transactions, Silk Road doesn’t accept credit cards, PayPal , or any other form of payment that can be traced or blocked. The only money good here is Bitcoins.

Bitcoins have been called a “crypto-currency,” the online equivalent of a brown paper bag of cash. Bitcoins are a peer-to-peer currency, not issued by banks or governments, but created and regulated by a network of other bitcoin holders’ computers. (The name “Bitcoin” is derived from the pioneering file-sharing technology Bittorrent.) They are purportedly untraceable and have been championed by cyberpunks, libertarians and anarchists who dream of a distributed digital economy outside the law, one where money flows across borders as free as bits.

To purchase something on Silk Road, you need first to buy some Bitcoins using a service like Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange. Then, create an account on Silk Road, deposit some bitcoins, and start buying drugs. One bitcoin is worth about $8.67, though the exchange rate fluctuates wildly every day. Right now you can buy an 1/8th of pot on Silk Road for 7.63 Bitcoins. That’s probably more than you would pay on the street, but most Silk Road users seem happy to pay a premium for convenience.

The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug ImaginableSince it launched this February, Silk Road has represented the most complete implementation of the Bitcoin vision. Many of its users come from Bitcoin’s utopian geek community and see Silk Road as more than just a place to buy drugs. Silk Road’s administrator cites the anarcho-libertarian philosophy of Agorism. “The state is the primary source of violence, oppression, theft and all forms of coercion,” Silk Road wrote to us. “Stop funding the state with your tax dollars and direct your productive energies into the black market.”

Mark, the LSD buyer, had similar views. “I’m a libertarian anarchist and I believe that anything that’s not violent should not be criminalized,” he said.

But not all Bitcoin enthusiasts embrace Silk Road. Some think the association with drugs will tarnish the young technology, or might draw the attention of federal authorities. “The real story with Silk Road is the quantity of people anxious to escape a centralized currency and trade,” a longtime bitcoin user named Maiya told us in a chat. “Some of us view Bitcoin as a real currency, not drug barter tokens.”

Silk Road and Bitcoins could herald a black market eCommerce revolution. But anonymity cuts both ways. How long until a DEA agent sets up a fake Silk Road account and starts sending SWAT teams instead of LSD to the addresses she gets? As Silk Road inevitably spills out of the bitcoin bubble, its drug-swapping utopians will meet a harsh reality no anonymizing network can blur.

Update: Jeff Garzik, a member of the Bitcoin core development team, says in an email that bitcoin is not as anonymous as the denizens of Silk Road would like to believe. He explains that because all Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public log, though the identities of all the parties are anonymous, law enforcement could use sophisticated network analysis techniques to parse the transaction flow and track down individual Bitcoin users.

“Attempting major illicit transactions with bitcoin, given existing statistical analysis techniques deployed in the field by law enforcement, is pretty damned dumb,” he says.

Why I Will Not Vote For Ron Paul – by Anthony Freeman

Before my fellow friends of freedom “flame” me, let me first define my terms. I define “voting” as:

– the use of the political process by which individuals seek to force their will and opinions upon those who disagree with them.

I consider the political process of voting as nothing more than “mob rule”. It is akin to encountering a group of thugs in a dark alley who claim a right to your property because they outnumber you. Political voting is simply a contest for the control over the use of coercive power.

I, like the Voluntaryists, consider the political process to be illegitimate. Here is the Voluntaryist view from their website:

Statement of Purpose: Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society. We reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as incompatible with libertarian principles. Governments must cloak their actions in an aura of moral legitimacy in order to sustain their power, and political methods invariably strengthen that legitimacy. Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends.

This is in alignment with the inescapable conclusions so eloquently presented by Lysander Spooner in No Treason VI: The Constitution of No Authority and Robert LeFevre’s A Way To Be Free – Epilogue. I consider both of these a “must read” for anyone who considers himself a supporter of life and liberty.

I will not vote via the political process.

Instead, I propose a different kind of voting. It is voting with your dollars through mutual, voluntary exchange. Pay, voluntarily, for those products and services which you value. Withhold your resources from those offering products and services which you do not. If products and services are forced upon you seek any peaceable means possible to avoid or evade the imposition. This is the essence of self-defense.

While Ron Paul is no doubt a friend of liberty, I do not agree with his chosen means by which to achieve his desired end. While his motives may be pure, it is inconsistent to utilize the coercive process of politics to bring about the end of coercion. His motive may simply be to use the political platform to publicize the ideas of liberty but it is a dangerous and misleading path. It gives legitimacy to the most destructive institution of all – coercive government. What is the alternative? Self Government.

The Wealthy Live Without Government

The following is right in line with Robert LeFevre’s Autarchy and A Way To Be Free:

The Wealthy Live Without Government

by Bill Walker

New Hampshire’s judicial branch recently announced an attempt to recapture business law from private arbitration. It’s quite hopeless; even the one judge assigned to the quixotic charge of this judicial Light Brigade admits that he doesn’t expect many businesses to use his court. And they won’t.

Why would anyone leave the relatively rational, honest, quick world of private arbitration for the endless delays and corruption of government courts? They wouldn’t. Even if they disagree with any one decision of a private arbitrator, at least the case will be OVER and they can get on with their business. That doesn’t happen once you sink into the tar pit of the US judicial system (ask my brother-in-law about his four-year divorce case…) As one of the NH Supreme Court judges said, “businesses don’t use state courts.”

But it goes further than that. Wealthy people and corporations don’t use state facilities of any kind when they can avoid them. The wealthy, including those in charge of inflicting government programs on the rest of us, use private services for themselves:

First and most important, the wealthy send their children to private schools. Even the Clintons and the Obamas sent their daughter(s) to private school, while talking loudly about the importance of keeping school vouchers away from working people. Many private schools may cost less than public schools, but they’re far better for the students in any measurable outcomes. And of course it’s easier to stay wealthy if you have a decent education.

The wealthy don’t get felt up by TSA or blasted with x-rays; they use private aircraft. Because of course private jets [or private suborbital rockets] could never be loaded with explosives and used to take down a skyscraper… errr, um….

The wealthy don’t depend on government police. They have bodyguards and private security for their homes. Private guards, of course, enforce private law… the wealthy don’t have to fear the Drug War unless they forget themselves and stray into “public” territory.

The wealthy may claim to be for gun control, but their guards are their weapons… and their guards are armed. Even when they go overseas in government service, the wealthy are protected by Xe (“the company formerly known as Blackwater”) or some other mercenary group.

The wealthy don’t depend on government health services. They don’t go on two-year waiting lists for treatments or transplant organs. They just fly to wherever the medical services are available. They don’t wait all night to beg a doctor to prescribe an antibiotic for their strep throat, either… they just have a private doctor get out of bed and get them some, or they fly to a country where the pharmacists are actually allowed to practice.

Some of the wealthy even travel to the future for better medical care… of course they may become some robot’s pet, but is that worse than the emergency room at Parkland?

The wealthy don’t depend on government fiat money or bonds for their savings. They diversify into assets in different countries. Even their accounts are hidden in the Caymans or other havens. Inflation can only affect the small amounts they keep for everyday use; most of their money is in ownership of companies with real assets, or in hedge funds. And of course many have an emergency stock of gold.

Unless victim of temporary hormonal insanity (which of course does happen), the wealthy don’t end up in four-year divorce cases. They write their own contracts, pre-nups, specify private arbitration, etc.

The wealthy, obviously, don’t depend on Social Security, or unemployment, or the rest of the supposed “safety net.” And that makes them a lot safer.

So the wealthy live as anarcho-capitalists, even those dependent on corporate welfare or even holding official positions within a government. They get by without all the “vitally important government services,” even those of the central banks, courts, police, and armed forces. Perhaps this is why so many of the wealthy advocate more socialism; they don’t live under it.

Don’t Envy the Wealthy, Join Them

My point is not that we should all stand around consumed by envy and bloated by cheeseburgers like Michael Moore. It doesn’t hurt me if someone else has more money…in fact it helps me a whole lot. It’s really hard to sell products or services to poor people, and fundraising from them isn’t that productive either.

And while the wealthy live with more private services than we do, they only live in ersatz anarcho-capitalism. They may have private airplanes, but they can still only go as fast as our grandfathers did in 1960 in 707s. They may go to private doctors, but overall medical progress is still held up by the FDA, so they still get cancer. They may have private security against carjackers, but governments still have nuclear weapons, nerve gas, Ebola/flu, and billions of dollars’ worth of lethal pro-war propaganda.

However, joining the wealthy is a worthy goal (assuming we do it by producing a good or service and not by rent-seeking). Being wealthy may not guarantee you a life free of government interference, but it does mean that you’ll have the resources to make an impact on the world. Web publishing is cheap, but it’s hard to get people to listen to you if you’re poor… they assume that if you knew what you were doing, you’d be better off. You don’t have to spend money to have credibility, you just have to accumulate it.

You may say that “wealth is relative.” Not really. If you’re a millionaire, some billionaire may have a thousand times your wealth, but you can still afford private schools, private arbitrators, and private medical care. Once you escape dependence on government services, you are “wealthy” in an absolute sense.

Most of us can reach the level of productivity needed to escape most government “services.” It just requires that we live the economic lessons that we supposedly learned from all those free-market economics texts on our shelves. That means that we don’t become hermits and ignore the division of labor, comparative advantage, and the necessity to live by the sweat of our brows. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Ron: it’s time for you to give up lion taming and go back to chartered accountancy!)

Anyway, even the “socialists” nowadays have mastered the practical ways of capitalism and live in a relatively free-market world. It’s time more libertarians joined them.

May 12, 2011

Bill Walker [send him mail] works for the medical imaging company M2S. He lives with his wife Patricia in Plainfield NH, where they are active in the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Quote of the day…

“The fatal attraction of government is that it allows busybodies to impose
decisions on others without paying any price themselves. That enables them to
act as if there were no price, even when there are ruinous prices — paid by
— Thomas Sowell
(1930- ) Writer and economist