It’s one thing to agree that the state and the belief in authority are Bad Things. But how are we going to get from our present democratic dystopia to a society without rulers? How are we actually going to bring about the end of the state?
And last but not least – can it be done without violence?
I think the answer is yes in the sense that we do not need to and should not see violence as a means to bring down the state and get rid of our rulers.
It’s so easy for people who believe in the state to brush anarchists off just by saying: “You may be right about some of what you’re saying, but it’s never going to happen anyway because there is no practical way of making it happen – so why not just forget it and let’s get on with our lives.”
I don’t believe this is true. While it may be a very long journey, we do in fact know the path that will get us there – a path that does not require violence.
The circle of freedom
There are three closely related changes that we must bring about if we are to get rid of rulers:
- We must free people from belief in authority
- We must make the state superfluous
- We must deprive the state of income
As the figure shows, these changes have a positive-feedback effect on each other.
Belief in authority is fundamentally the belief that there exists a special class of people that may behave according to a different set of rules than everyone else – they are exempt from moral behavior. This is of course an incoherent view on morality.
When people start questioning the moral basis of authority – or even completely stop believing in it- they will naturally begin to solve everyday problems by voluntary interaction with their fellow human beings.
And when voluntary interaction gets going, the people who engage in it and enjoy its benefits will tend to not want to fund the authorities who want nothing more than to stop this voluntary interaction because it competes with the state’s monopolies and thus reduces its revenue.
Coming full circle, the clear benefits of voluntary interaction and the state’s use of force to stop it will further break down belief in authority. And voilà, a beautiful positive feedback loop has been set into motion – and it holds the power to getting rid of rulers, that is, to establish true, anarchist civilization.
Our beliefs determine our actions. They also determine which actions we allow others to take against us and our neighbors. The only reason that our rulers are still in power is because people believe in authority. Imagine one day if everyone’s belief in authority was gone. That is to say, everyone believed that everyone must act morally – without exception. How would it be possible for the state to steal if everyone saw that the state was trying to steal from people? It would simply not be possible at all.
One of the main obstacles to changing people’s beliefs is the unfortunate fact that the human mind is able to entertain directly contradicting beliefs simultaneously. Many people suffer from a sort of delusion about democracy and the state in general. For example: on the one hand, they know perfectly well that stealing is wrong, but on the other hand, they support taxation. This simple word trick – calling theft ‘taxation’ when the state does it – is enough to confuse almost everyone. But over time, most people are actually capable of seeing the blatant hypocrisy at play here.
By going about this in an intelligent and civilized manner, you can continue from here and help people come around in their beliefs. Even small changes count – if you can make one person believe that government should be reduced in scope and power, then that is a step in the right direction. And that step will lead those people to focus more on voluntary interaction and free market solution, getting the positive feedback loop spinning.
Voluntary interaction: free market solutions
These days there is an abundance of clear examples of the free (well – free-ish, with the state always meddling and regulating) market being able to produce superior solutions to problems that previously were solved directly by government or through government intervention.
For example, transportation by chauffeured car used to be handled only by taxis. This is a government created monopoly where drivers have had to pay huge amounts of money to get in on the deal, the cost of course leading to increases in the price of the service for the consumer. But now this is changing rapidly because of Uber and other similar crowd-sourced solutions.
Another great example is the brilliant Cell 411. A social network that allows people to protect each other without using the state’s monopolist solution – the police – has the potential to end police brutality. (Of course, police brutality will only finally end once there are no more rulers.)
All of these solutions based on voluntary interaction and without coercion tend to make the state superfluous over time.
Refusing to fund the state
Since the state is immoral, it is moral to refuse to fund it. By refusing to fund our rulers, we will simply force them out of business – which is the business of extortion.
Bitcoin is a currency that is not under the control of any state. Therefore, it has created an economy that operates in parallel to the one that our rulers can directly access. If you buy and sell in Bitcoin, your rulers will only know about it if you want them to.
Notice how closely connected the funding of the state is to not using its services. For example, the taxi licenses that become meaningless after Uber and other non-coercive services take over deny the state big chunks of revenue. The more you can interact with others voluntarily, the less funding the state gets. Get some bee-hives on your roof, barter the honey for your neighbor’s eggs from the hens he keeps in his backyard: zero sales tax. In this way, the state will die by a thousand cuts – without any actual violence though.
Be a part of the solution
I encourage you to spread this message of positive feedback, free market solutions and refusing to fund the state apparatus. Show your friends how we can create better solutions with voluntary cooperation. Challenge their beliefs in authority – in the right way. Do your best to avoid funding your government. And while you’re at it, subscribe to our email list so you can get fresh inspiration along the way.
Get started on the path to freedom – one day, we will get there if we walk together.