Toward a stateless society

Is it possible to have a society without a government?

The Center for a Stateless Society would say so.

Established Tuesday by the Molinari Institute, “a market anarchist think tank,” according to its press release, the Center for a Stateless Society will put forth arguments for free market anarchism, also known as anarcho-capitalism or voluntarism, publishing “news commentary written by anarchists with radically free-market oriented views on economics.”

In the 19th century, economist Gustave de Molinari argued that the functions of law and courts should be handled by voluntary associations rather than a single coercive State, calling such an arrangement market anarchism. A similar political system existed in the Icelandic Commonwealth from 930 to 1262 A.D.

“For too long libertarians, and I mean anarchist libertarians, have treated market anarchism almost as an esoteric doctrine,” said Roderick Long, president of the Molinari Institute. “It’s time to put market anarchism front and center in our educational efforts, time to start making it a familiar and recognizable position. The Center for a Stateless Society aims to bring a market anarchist perspective to the popular press, rather than leaving it confined to scholarly studies and movement periodicals.”

Self-described radical libertarian political activist Brad Spangler will run the project, distributing market anarchist thought across the Internet using “free as in freedom” open source technologies.

“With this site, we aim to awaken more Americans than ever before to the brutal reality that all governments everywhere are essentially nothing more than murderous bandit gangs, and show them the shining light of hope for a world without the State,” Spangler said.

The Molinari Institute is not alone. Syndicated talk radio show and podcast Free Talk Live host Ian Bernard, calling himself a “free marketeer” on air, espouses similar principles on his radio show, and frequently calls for the state to be abolished and replaced with voluntary associations. His co-host, Mark Edge, remains unconvinced that a society without a state could be successful at protecting life, liberty and property.

For quite a long time I also remained unconvinced that such a society could work, for a variety of reasons, but primarily because I’m not sure the human race is civilized enough yet to manage its own affairs without a state keeping it out of other people’s affairs. But after seeing the example of Iceland, and giving it some critical thought, I think a stateless society is quite possible, even with the six billion imperfect humans we have to work with.

Of course it’s going to take a while to work out all the little details, and hopefully the Center for a Stateless Society will get right on that.

(Hat tip)

One thought on “Toward a stateless society

  • October 30, 2006 at 6:51 am

    The Icelandic Free State referenced in the original posting would seem to contradict your claim. It seems that the “tribe” can be organized/subdivided in any way that the members find agreeable. Your argument has merit, I think, but to me it is a stronger argument *for* stateless societies, rather than against them.

    As a society grows without bound, how can a monolithic government hope to serve the needs of the people equally? Sheer efficiency will dictate that the needs and rights of the majority will be respected while the edge cases are ignored or oppressed. A state is necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution. A stateless society may not be capable of providing the “services” that we have all come to expect from the Nanny State, but it is also incapable of putting a boot to your throat. Which, in the end, is far more important.

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