Some anarcho-capitalists have asked me why I shy away from using the word “anarchist” to describe anti-state views. In this excellent takedown of the Washington Post, David Boaz provides the evidence. Because most of the people who call themselves anarchists are simply trying to tear down society — and because the media almost universally believe this is all the term means — it’s come to be representative of people who simply want chaos and to destroy property. I don’t want chaos and I don’t want to destroy anyone’s property. I want order, but I want voluntary co-operative order. But since the word “anarchist” has come to mean the kinds of people who loot and destroy, it’s become pretty useless to those who believe in property and freedom, regardless of what it really means. What do you think?
In one of my favorite science fiction novels, author F. Paul Wilson calls the guiding philosophy of the heroes Kyfho. In reading the book, you just accept the label without thinking about it, only later learning that the word had originally been an acronym in an old Earth language for “Keep your freaking hands off.” (I’m cleaning up the meaning of the F from the book.) Since the people in the book — “An Enemy of the State” — didn’t understand English, they had no idea what the words had originally meant, but their actions made it clear that they believed something very much like what we do. They just wanted to be left alone.
Over time, I’ve used a number of words to describe my political/social beliefs, but I’m not really happy with any of them now. I’ve called myself a libertarian, but that word carries the implication of being someone who wants to use the existing political system to elect people who will (hopefully) be more inclined toward individual freedom. Since I want to avoid the system entirely, the connotation doesn’t seem right. Then there’s anarcho-capitalist, which has seemed the most technically correct, but is loaded with misunderstandings, to put it mildly. The word “capitalist” itself has come to refer to the kind of corporatism that is practiced in the United States today, rather than the laissez-faire that it originally meant. Anything with the word “anarchy” in it implies chaos to most people. Even if we see it as meaning a lack of rulers rather than a lack of rules, I’m afraid the word has been ruined by people who’ve used it for too many other purposes — including the nutcases who attack businesses during protests.
Others have suggested “voluntaryist,” but that seems really forced to me. Another label is “agorist,” but that one sounds even stranger to me. Do you have a better label that I’m overlooking? I think it’s important to have a quick way to tell people what I believe, but I don’t have one. Any ideas?
Most people associate heading out to sea with vacation cruises, but what if a floating platform in the ocean could be home rather than just an escape to a beach? With all of the available land on Earth claimed by one state or another, some people believe that the oceans offer the best chance to escape the control of coercive governments. The Seasteading Institute is an organization devoted to pursuing such a future. (Its founder is the grandson of the late free market economist Milton Friedman.)
I’m a little skeptical that a huge percentage of people will ever want to live without solid land underneath them, but I see a strong possibility that if something such as this happened, it could put pressure on governments not to tax productive people so much if those productive (aka wealthier) people have an alternative to pursue. What do you think? First, would you ever be interested in living on such a floating platform? Second, do you think it would pressure governments to be less coercive? And, third, do you think governments would band together to try to stop it?