Strategies For Advancing Liberty — Building Alternative Structures To Government

Those who have read me for a while have seen that I’ve transitioned a lot over the last few years. When I started blogging, my first post was days after the 2004 election, defending a vote for George W. Bush as the best of a couple of bad options. Now, I’m nearly indistinguishable from an anarcho-capitalist. I don’t believe that our current governmental structure has any hope to do anything but grow to an eventual collapse, and that something must be done about it.

One of those early posts was defending the use of incrementalism in our strategy for change. I’ve modified that position slightly, but there is one point that I think still bears repeating:

An entire society based on the role of a strong federal government would collapse without it. The only prudent way to deconstruct that society is incrementally, because only then can we slowly build up the private support structures to replace government.

As much as I hate to say it, I truly believe that if the government disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn’t be all wine and roses. Civil society needs institutions to operate, and if you remove all the existing institutions without having alternatives, the result will be the type of “anarchy” feared by most who hear the term: chaos.

But above, I make an error. The answer is not to slowly deconstruct government first and then let the alternatives grow in government’s absence. The answer is to create those alternatives and thereby make government redundant (and unnecessary).

Mark, writing for The Distributed Republic, has come up with a way to begin that process: The AnCap Entrepreneur Network:


Anarcho-capitalism describes a society free of the initiation of force or fraud. Each individual has a right to his or her life, liberty, and property, and no other individual or group can legitimately violate that right.

The State is a centralized organization that inherently violates rights. It funds its activities through extortion. It restricts voluntary trade through licensure, subsidy, and prohibition. It uses its monopoly of force to erode every limitation on its power, and thereby grows until it collapses under its own weight. It demands subservience to its authority.

Many of our relationships with each other are structured through institutions. We use these to simplify our trade, to transmit our culture, to communicate, and to resolve our differences. To the extent that our institutions rely on the State, they are vulnerable. Our institutions can be corrupted as the State engulfs them, or can be destroyed when the State fails.

The Anarcho-Capitalist Entrepreneur Network exists to help individuals cooperate to design and implement organizations that respect the rights of individuals; to create organizations that are completely independent of the State. In time, we hope that such organizations become familiar enough that individuals no longer consider force or fraud a legitimate way to interact with each other.

There are some who believe that working within the system, they can change it. While I think those people should continue their efforts, I don’t have much hope that they can be anything but a brake on the growth and expansion of the State.

Instead, the way to beat the State is to make them irrelevant. The more time we spend working completely outside of the State, the less reason we have to keep it alive at all. The quicker we duplicate the purposes of their coercive institutions with free and voluntary institutions, the sooner we can put an end to their institutions entirely. When they finally wither and rot, our key to ensuring peaceful anarchy rather than chaos is having something that is free to supplant the institutions which have collapsed.

An undertaking like the one proposed is not going to be easy or trivial. But right now the options I see going forward on our current trajectory are a continued trek down the road to serfdom or a painful chaotic collapse. Those aren’t the only options available, and the stakes are high enough to make it worth the effort to avoid that fate.

  • Justin

    I think your point is well-made that the way to beat the State is to make it irrelevant. The question is how do we do this when leviathan seems hell-bent on growing ever larger and larger?

    Various An-Cap and libertarian minded folks are attempting to find freedom on new frontiers — i.e. the FSP or Seasteading. But short of realizing those fantastic dreams, I think the most viable solution is to find more freedom by creating frontiers in technology via encryption and taking more and more of the important aspects of life outside the purveyance of government.

    For more discussion on this, see Freedom is found at the Frontier.

  • Jeff Molby


    Those who have read me for a while have seen that I’ve transitioned a lot over the last few years.

    I think you and I have basically taken the same path. (Aside from the fact that live in sunny Cali and have a beautiful wife, of course) :-)

    The more time we spend working completely outside of the State, the less reason we have to keep it alive at all.

    Are you essentially talking about agorism or do you draw a distinction?

    Do you read Smart guy. Talks about agorism a lot. He’s been steadily pulling me in that direction.

  • Jono

    I like the idea of proving the state is redundant in many areas, yet you have to be mindful of one huge looming threat to this strategy.

    The threat of reversal.

    Even a hugely successful privatisation of education or medicine or even banking is at jeopardy from the statist mindset.

    America used to have a very free market. In the late 19th century, schooling was not compulsory and it was not funded by the state, yet over 96% of children were enrolled in schools.

    But the statists are always searching for a crisis, looking for the safety of government guarantees and plans, and highlighting new problems where none used to exist.. for example we are supposed to believe that inequality of outcome is now a huge problem.

    Look at the internet.. a new innovation and purely successful discovery, produced by the free market, yet the state encroaches and moves in on it.

    An anarcho capitalist utopia is never going to last if the education system teaches socialist claptrap.

    Keynes, Marx and Engels need to be ridiculed and humiliated.